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Decorating Tips for Your Open Concept Design

Categories: Blog | Posted: January 26, 2018

An open concept is a desirable floor plan for today’s homeowners. Having rooms without walls enhances the spaciousness, but it also presents a design challenge. With less definition provided by walls and doorways, how do you create your spaces within this open space?

These decorating tips for your open concept designs can guide you in the right direction.

Consider the flow. The colors you choose and the placement of your furnishings must flow seamlessly throughout your family room, dining room, and kitchen. Look at the natural flow of movement from one space to the next, like the kitchen to the dining area. Do you need a small workspace adjacent to the kitchen or would it work better as part of your family room? How much space do you need to comfortably move around the furniture, like the dining table, kitchen island, and family room’s seating?

Use color consistently. Decide on one color palette to pull it all together. Start with your foyer, which is the entry to this open floor plan. Expand that color spectrum by incorporating a few shades of your chosen colors.

Plan the lighting. The lighting design for your open floor plan must take into account the wide array of uses in this space. Task lighting will be critical in the kitchen and any other work areas. Be sure to incorporate dimmers on every wall switch to give you control of the room’s overall ambience.

Define task areas. You don’t need walls to create rooms. Use your furniture and decorative accents to establish smaller purposeful spaces within the open floor plan. Make a reading nook by setting a comfortable chair, ottoman and occasional table near a window, with its own area rug. Set up a small workstation for managing bills, sorting mail, or doing homework by placing a small desk or console table near the breakfast nook. Be sure you have good lighting here. You can expand the workspace by adding a bookcase or wall-mounted organizer.

Use area rugs. Define nooks and gathering spaces with area rugs that complement one another with a consistent blend of colors and styles. They don’t have to match, but avoid drastically different designs, like bold contemporary with traditional.

Don’t “arrest” the room. Placing your furniture up against the wall leaves a tremendous gap in an open floor plan. Since you don’t have walls, add boundaries by using larger furnishings, like bookcases and sofas. Break up your seating by building a large section (maybe near the television) and a smaller, more intimate conversation space.

Complement with curves. If your open concept features angular lines, soften them with rounder shapes, like an oval or round dining table, rug, or occasional tables.

An open floor plan presents a creative challenge for decorating, but also gives you plenty of room to create the space that perfectly fits your lifestyle.

2018 Color Trends for Your Home

Categories: Blog | Posted: January 11, 2018

The new year is here, and it’s bringing a new look in home color trends. Look for colors that boost your spirit with palettes of vibrant color that might remind you of opening that box of 128 crayons.

In 2017, Pantone Color Institute declared “Greenery” as its Color of the Year. The invigorating color aligns with the desire to revitalize ourselves. This year, Pantone is focusing its attention on palettes of colors that reflect different types of energies. Many of these home color combinations feature vibrant shades, which is the direction that will be trending in 2018. “Playful”, for example, blends bright yellow and lime green. “Verdure” takes its cue from nature, with colors like Celery and berry-infused purples.

There’s still room for people who prefer their neutral colors for home décor. But you might find that neutrals are taking on a bit more commitment to color and metallic accents—currently being called “the new neutrals”.

Sherwin Williams has named “Oceanside”—a bold teal shade that the paint company describes as “deep and moody”. Oceanside blends well with the current “mermaids” obsession, but also presents a richness, particularly when paired with a bright white.

House Beautiful’s editor-in-chief Sophie Donelson describes this hue as “a cocoon color”.

“I love a color that’s also a state of mind — that’s what Oceanside feels like to me,” Donelson explains. “We often see similar hues chosen for libraries and studies, because its depth makes it comforting, but also bold and adventurous. It’s like watching a Nature channel deep-sea exploration from the comfort of your sofa!”

Benjamin Moore continues the shift toward bold color by announcing “Caliente” as its 2018 Color of the Year. The vibrant red reflects the royalty of a red-carpet event, “the assured backdrop for a book-lined library, a powerful first impression on a glossy front door The eye can’t help but follow its bold strokes. Harness the vitality,” says Ellen O’Neill of Benjamin Moore & Co.

Behr has jumped into home color trends and announced its first-ever color of the year. “In the Moment” is a soft shade of blue-green that the paint company describes as evoking “a sense of sanctuary and relaxation amid our always-on lives.”

Behr also presents 19 more color trends that range from the neutral “Wabi-Sabi” and “Soft Focus” to the bold “Spirit Warrior” and “Wide Sky” and the deep “Constellation Blue” and “Nocturne Shade”.

What will you do with your home décor in 2018? Do these trends in home colors inspire you?

New Year, New Home: Benefits of Building a New Home

Categories: Blog | Posted: January 3, 2018

 

Is one of your goals this year a new home?

As we ring in 2018 ready to tackle our new resolutions, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about where you see yourself living in the new year. If you’re dreaming of a home with a fresh vision and functional design, then a new home is for you. Read on to see the many benefits of building a new home instead of buying resale.

1. Living the Dream

You’ve worked hard for your dream home—so why live in someone else’s? With a new home, you can choose the home design, style, colors, appliances, upgrades, and more, so you can get everything on your wish list right from the start.

At Tuskes Homes, our state-of-the-art Design Studio makes the sky the limit for your new home. Our Design Consultants will work with you to build a home that matches your taste and budget. (And check out our list of the most popular home designs from 2017!)

2. Location, Location, Location

Love where you live—with a new home, you decide where you live, from the township, to the community, to the specific home site you pick out.

Want your home on a corner? Need a three-car garage? Looking for a backyard big enough for a pool? How about a walk-out basement? Our Community Specialists can show you the benefits of each home site in our communities so that you can choose the land that checks off everything on your wish list.

Our communities are designed to balance personal space with public and recreational areas, ensuring safety, privacy, and fun. Each community offers its own unique set of amenities, such as playgrounds, parks, and walking trails. We build communities in locations that are quiet, yet close to modern conveniences and all that the Lehigh Valley and Northeastern PA has to offer. We can also work with you to build a new home on your own lot anywhere in the Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas.

3. No Surprises

When you purchase a resale, you may be inheriting some problems that you didn’t expect. Even the most eagle-eyed home inspectors can’t guarantee that you won’t find issues in a resale home, and there’s no telling if the previous owner (or owners) kept up with the maintenance of the home while they lived there.

Just like a new car, a new home eliminates the worry of unexpected problems that may arise when purchasing a resale. Every Tuskes home includes a 12-year builder warranty that helps assure you’ll be taken care of should you have any issues with your new home.

4. Staying “Green”

New homes are built with more energy efficiency than homes that were built five, ten, or twenty years ago. In addition to being environmentally friendly, an energy-efficient home can help you save money on utility bills and maintenance down the road.

5. A Smarter Home

Older homes were not made for today’s technology-fueled lifestyle. Unless you want your home to be Extension Cord Central, consider buying a new home with updated technology that fits your needs. When you build with Tuskes, you can decide where to place your outlets, and what smart home technology you want to wire in your home.

Retrofitting an older home for today’s tech is costly and time-consuming. With recent improvements in technology in roofing, windows, and wiring appliances, a new home is the best way to ensure your home is smarter and more functional for modern-day use.

6. What You Want, When You Want It

A new home doesn’t have to mean a full six-month building process. Tuskes offers homes at every stage of the building process, from just the foundation to move-in ready. This allows you to move in as soon as you choose—whether you’re looking to close immediately, or you want to make a few selections before you move, or you want to design your home from the ground up.

The Tuskes Design Studio is the only one of its kind in the Lehigh Valley, and it’s where most of the fun will take place. Our Design Studio is filled with hundreds of selections of every color, style, and material imaginable. We can show you fun upgrades or just selections within your budget—you’re making some big decisions here, so you’re in charge!

7. Investing in Your Future

In addition to the increased value your new home will have thanks to updated technology and energy efficiency, new homes have a much longer life expectancy than existing homes, giving them a longer period of time to appreciate in value. The high-quality, low-maintenance materials we use when building our homes means that over the years, your new home will continue to hold value without much costly or time-consuming maintenance on your part.

8. A Builder You Can Trust

For three generations, Tuskes has been handcrafting homes for more than 5,000 families in and around the Lehigh Valley and Northeastern PA. We’re committed to exceptional customer service and building high-quality homes. We work with preferred lenders we trust to help make sure your dream home is obtainable, and use only quality building materials that we know are sure to last. We know building a new home can be stressful, but our experienced team of professionals will help you through every step of the way, from design to closing, and for many years after.

Still not sure if a new home is right for you? Ready to check “new home” off your resolutions list? Call or text Martha today at 484-626-1616 to start your new home journey and learn more about our available homes, floorplans, and communities.

Understanding home insulation

Categories: Blog | Posted: December 7, 2017

Every homeowner knows that insulating a home is important for comfort and energy efficiency. But it’s equally important to understand how home insulation works so you ensure you’re taking the right steps to effectively prevent the swap of interior and exterior temperatures.

Insulation provides resistance to heat flow. Heat flow is the movement of warm or hot air to cooler air. The flow continues until there is a balance of temperatures. For example, hot air will continue to flow into your home on a hot day until the inside temperature is equal to the outside. On a pleasant spring or fall day, you might open up the windows to take advantage of the ideal temperature. When the weather is more extreme, however, you need to manage the heat flow.

When you buy a new home, insulation is installed to slow down the movement of heat. Now, heat flow moves in three ways:

  • Conduction: Heat moves through a material, like a metal pot absorbing heat.
  • Convection: Heat circulates through liquids and gases, and since hot air is lighter, it rises above cold air.
  • Radiation: Heat travels along a straight path and absorbs energy from anything along that route.

So, your home insulation is installed in any place with exposure to heat flow: exterior walls, around the foundation, and in the roof, to name a few. Without insulation, the heat will move through the walls, floors, and ceilings—up from the basement, down from the attic, and in through the walls, doors, and windows. The goal of insulation is to produce resistant to the natural flow of heat.

R-value: The resistance factor

Home insulation products are rated for their thermal resistance factor, commonly known as R-value. This measurement is determined by the insulation type, thickness, and density. To determine how much home insulation you need, refer to a map that shows the R-value zones, rated on a scale from 1 to 7, with colder climates on the high end. Southern Florida and Hawaii score a 1 rating, while Alaska and northern Minnesota earn a 7.

You probably hear about radiant barriers. This reflective material doesn’t absorb heat, like insulation does. Instead, it reflects the heat. Radiant barriers are commonly installed on roofs to deflect the heat away from the roof (where it can be absorbed and potentially pass into the main part of the home). According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a radiant barrier on a home in a sunny climate (e.g., Zones 1-3) can reduce cooling costs by 5% to 10%.

Retrofitting an existing home with the correct amount of insulation could require a professional, depending on where and what type of insulation you need. New homes incorporate the standards for home insulation. They also improve the comfort and energy efficiency in a new home by installing moisture control and air sealing.

Spend a little time learning about your home’s insulation and you’ll spend much less later on the energy costs.

2017 Homeowner Holiday Decorating Contest

Categories: Blog | Posted: November 24, 2017

 

Homeowners, it’s time to turn it up this holiday season!

For the fourth straight year, we are hosting our annual Homeowner Holiday Lights Contest exclusively for Tuskes Homeowners! Join us as we spread joy around our communities and light up the Lehigh Valley and Sand Springs. By sharing photos of your decorated homes with us, you will be entered to win prizes, which will be given to the top three submissions:

  • First Place: Win a $250 Visa gift card!
  • Second Place: Win a $100 Visa gift card!
  • Third Place: Win a $50 Visa gift card!

If you’re already decorating, why not enter to win some great prizes while you’re at it? We are accepting submissions from now until December 31st! Send your submissions to alyssap@tuskeshomes.com, and the winner will be announced on Facebook in January. In your submission, please include your exterior photo, the community you live in, house number, name, and phone number.

And be sure to check out all of the amazing decorations around your community this holiday season!

Garage organization: De-cluttering and storage tips

Categories: Blog | Posted: November 10, 2017

The garage is probably one of the most preferred stash places in your home. The attic is great, but it can be difficult to access. The basement is good, if you have one, but you might worry about dampness. Or you have a finished basement that’s already full.

Rather than continue to pack and stack boxes and bury items so deep that they are essentially lost, spend some time reorganizing your garage. Take back the space! Here are some de-cluttering and storage tips for garage organization.

  • Start with a blank canvas. Remove all the clutter from the garage. Otherwise, you will be shifting things around, not truly organizing them. Sort things out as you go. Set up bins for “Discard”, “Donate”, and “Keep”. Eliminate all items that really aren’t worthy of valuable space (like your t-shirt collection from the 80s). Will you ever repair that broken thingamajig? Be honest with yourself. If these things are buried in your garage, are they worth keeping? Once the garage is empty, sweep and clean the floor. An empty garage is perfect for cleaning the various stains and repairing cracks. You might even consider painting the floor for a really fresh start.
  • Plan the storage zones. Think about the uses of your garage: tools, car care supplies, seasonal décor and clothing, sports gear, lawn and garden care, and paint/home repair, to name a few. You probably also need an area for your trash and recycling. Once you determine the storage zones, choose the most suitable place for each, based on the frequency of use. Label each area so you know where everything will go, and you can visibly see the flow from zone to zone.
  • Design the storage spaces. Your garage offers many options for creating storage zones. In addition to the walls, you have the overhead area where you can attach hooks and shelves. You can install cabinets and pegboards. Explore the local home centers to get ideas for smart storage systems. Invest in a lockable cabinet to store potentially hazardous items (chemicals, sharp tools).
  • Respect the new and improved space. Place the items from your “Keep” stash in the designated storage zones. Give all household members a tour of the new and improved garage and remind them that your garage storage system must be maintained.

Look at your calendar and schedule a weekend for garage organization. Use the reward of not just having a perfectly organized garage but also finding the treasures that have been long lost in the clutter!

Look ahead at kitchen cabinetry trends for 2018

Categories: Blog | Posted: October 26, 2017

One of the first things people notice when they walk into your kitchen are the cabinets. Your choice is a major factor in both the aesthetics and the function of this all-important room. Before you decide on the kitchen cabinets for your new home or renovation, consider some of the style shifts happening. Here’s a look ahead at kitchen cabinetry trends for 2018.

You can never go wrong with white or light. White, off-white, and light gray continue to dominate kitchen cabinet colors. The brightness these neutral tones bring to your kitchen is unbeatable, and they work with just about any color you want in the room.

Mix and match. You don’t have to choose just one color for your cabinets. Kitchen designers are leaning toward one color for the base and another for the wall, or a complementary color for the island.

Put more behind the doors. Today’s (and tomorrow’s) cabinets are more efficient than their ancestors were. Pull-out drawers and shelves enable more efficient usage. A narrow, vertical cabinet door can hide a sliding spice rack or pull-out holder for trays, cookie sheets, and racks. Deep drawers provide more convenient access to your dishes.

Raise your cabinet standards. You know that gap between the top of your cabinets and the kitchen ceiling where you either display things or stash them? Cabinetry is now reaching to the ceiling, a design trend that gives the perception of a bigger room.

Show-offs. Glass doors on some of your upper cabinets allow you to proudly display your most eye-catching pieces, like crystal, pottery, dishware, and kitchen collectibles.

I know the fridge is here somewhere. If you find the front of your refrigerator or microwave a bit disruptive, you’ll appreciate the trend toward masking them with a door that matches your kitchen cabinets.

Mix in a few shelves. Open, “floating” shelves in a contrasting material—like rustic wood with white cabinetry—and a few less cabinets add an airy feeling to the kitchen.

Unjunk your junk drawers. The kitchen drawers are now featuring dividers and even multiple tiers to make organization easier than ever. Whether you’re separating silverware or the mounds of miscellany, these new and improved kitchen drawers are the clutterbug’s new best friend.

Park your appliance in a cabinet garage. Homeowners want a tidier look to their kitchen, so a place to store your small appliances (toaster, coffee maker, mixer, juicer) out of sight, but not out of reach, is essential.

Accessorize. Kitchen cabinets are being finished with more accents that resemble fine furniture. Decorative corbels, carved feet, moldings, and arches are easy ways to embellish your kitchen’s style.

You spend a lot of time in your kitchen. Why not make it as stylish as every other room in your home?

Tips for choosing the right wall colors for your home

Categories: Blog | Posted: October 13, 2017

For some people, changing colors in a room is like changing your hairstyle. It’s nice to try something different—and it’s easy enough to change back if you don’t like the result. For others, the prospect of switching is a scary proposition.

Painting a room is one of the most affordable ways to make a big change in your home. The only hard part can be the color choice. Looking at the array of paint chips in the store can be overwhelming. Before you head there, narrow down your choices.

Here are some tips for choosing the right wall colors for your home.

Look at your wardrobe. What colors do you like to wear? That’s a big clue to your color preferences. If you’re drawn to neutral colors, you’re comfortable with those soft shades, making this palette a smart choice for your interior walls. If your penchant for lime green or sunshine orange feels too daring for your walls, tone it down a bit.

Inspect your photos, artwork, and other accents. What colors prevail? You chose these decorative pieces for the message they communicate, but was color a factor as well?

Pull the paint color from a print. You might have a favorite pillow, upholstered chair, or even table linens. Zoom in on the shades that might work well on your wall. Take the fabric to the paint store and ask them to match it.

Use a color wheel. See how colors relate to each other. A color wheel gives insight into the hues that work harmoniously together. You might like a monochromatic color scheme, with variations of a particular color (lightness and saturation). A complementary color scheme uses colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel, usually a warm and a cool one (yellow and blue, for example). An analogous color scheme combines colors that are next to each other, like blue and green, or orange and red, and varying shades of those colors. There are several other options for color schemes, but this will get you started. Once you choose the color scheme, you build your palette of specific colors.

Check out color trends. Home décor colors are like fashion. They change with the seasons and the years. Greenery was the 2017 Pantone Color of the Year. The foliage-inspired shade is like a springtime refresh. Home décor watchers are expecting 2018 interior color palettes to move from pastels to more intense hues. With palettes named “Far-fetched”, ”Resourceful”, and “Resourceful”, you might find one to suit your taste.

Think holistically. Your house is a sum of its parts, which includes your wall colors. Make sure you have smooth flow from room to room. This is where organizing a whole-house color palette will help.

Donate to Toys for Tots with Tuskes Homes!

Categories: Blog | Posted: October 12, 2017

We are collecting gifts on behalf of Toys for Tots of the Lehigh Valley now through Monday, November 27th at our model homes! To donate, please bring a new, unwrapped toy to any one of our model homes at the following communities:

  • Hanover Oaks: 6877 Gwenmawr Road, Bethlehem, PA 18017
  • Maple Shade: 3796 Bethman Road, Easton, PA 18045
  • Saratoga Farms: 4314 Belmont Drive, Lower Nazareth, PA 18020
  • Sand Springs: 14 Reserve Drive, Drums, PA 18222

All toys will be donated locally to Toys for Tots in Northampton and Lehigh Counties. This is a great way to give back to the communities in which we build our homes. We are proud to have partnered with Toys for Tots for nearly 20 years, because We Live Here Too!

The Toys for Tots Foundation is a program by the U.S. Marine Reserve Corps. Its mission is to help less fortunate children throughout the country experience the joy of Christmas, and to play an active role in the development of one of our nation’s most valuable resources: our children. The program seeks to unite all members of local communities in a common cause during the holiday season through their annual toy collection and distribution campaign, and to contribute to better communities in the future.

Thank you for considering donating! We hope to see you soon!

Which is the best smart home assistant?

Categories: Blog | Posted: September 30, 2017

If your name is Alexa and you’re an actual person, you’re probably getting asked a lot more questions these days. ”Alexa, what time is it?” “Alexa, when is the next full moon?” “Alexa, how far is it to the nearest coffee shop?”

And you can thank Amazon for this annoyance.

Amazon launched the Echo in 2015 in the U.S. This cylindrical speaker connects to a voice-activated, computer-generated, smart home assistant named Alexa. Alexa is capable of answering questions (when properly phrased), playing music, acting as a timer or alarm clock, requesting an Uber ride, checking your calendar, making lists, reading audiobooks aloud, and reciting the news and weather updates. Of course, Alexa can also place your Amazon orders, too.

Yes, Alexa is smart, but is she the best smart home assistant for you?

Google Home emerged soon after Echo, and at a lower price point, while offering the same type of assistance. The Echo Dot, a hockey-puck-sized version of the larger Echo, gives you a very affordable entry into the smart home assistant experience.

If you want the most accurate “intelligence”, Google Home appears to have a slight edge. Digital agency Stone Temple quizzed both devices. Google Home was able to answer 3,383 questions, while Alexa was only able to answer 1,030. Of those responses, Google Home was correct 89.5% of the time, and Alexa achieved 86.9% accuracy. Alexa relies primarily on Wikipedia for information, while Google reaches a wider range of third-party sources, like Google Maps for checking traffic conditions.

Google Home can also remember your last question. So, if you ask, “Who won the last Super Bowl?” and followed up with “What was the score?”, you’d get both answers. With Alexa, your second question would have to be, “What was the score of the last Super Bowl?”

Amazon Echo, however, currently has the edge on managing your smart home devices, like your thermostat, lighting, security, home entertainment, and appliances, but Google Home is gaining ground. Compare the Alexa-enabled smart home devices with Google Home’s list of supported devices and partners.

Google Home will also connect your videos, photos, and television, via Chromecast. You can even tell it to skip ahead 30 seconds on a video, and show photos of a selected person, location or time period. Alexa isn’t quite as savvy.

Both Google Home and Echo offer hands-free calling. Tell them to call a contact from your list or ask your smart home assistant to find a phone number.

Apple is finally responding to the demand for the smart home assistant. The Apple HomePod is scheduled to launch before the end of the year. It promises to have superior audio, but like all Apple products, will also emerge in limited quantities and at a higher price than Google Home and Amazon Echo.

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