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DreamMaker Remodeling Tips

How to Choose a Professional to Remodel Your Home

The seasons are changing, and so are many people’s minds when it comes to the “look” of their homes. Many homeowners are currently reevaluating their homes to see if there is room for improvement. And, to help you along the way, DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen has tips and advice on what you should know before you hire someone to do the job.

With cooler weather and the holidays right around the corner, you might be looking for ways to improve your home for your lifestyle – whether that be making more space in your kitchen and adding additional cabinets, or remodeling the bathroom for that spa-like feel to take warm baths on those colder nights. But, it’s important for you to do your homework before signing along the dotted line of a contractor’s agreement. 

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry reminds homeowners to beware of unscrupulous people posing as professionals. Be especially aware of those who con people to pay both the contractor and subcontractor – when they should only be paying the contractor. 

To avoid such exploitation, read the following “Do” and “Don’t” list for tips to consider when looking for an experienced professional to do remodeling work in your home. 

In addition, check with the Consumer Affairs Office and/or the Better Business Bureau to ensure the absence of any adverse files on record for the contractor. 

People who do not do thorough research prior to hiring a contractor may, unfortunately, find themselves in bad situations. That is why it is so important to be educated before you have work done in your home. The home is your place of refuge, your sanctuary, and that means you have to make sure those who handle it, handle it with care. 

When Hiring a Professional…

Do:

  • Do compile a list of candidates. Ask your neighbors if they have any references and do your research online to put together a list of professionals. Put them all together in a list and when you start making inquiring phone calls, ask questions about their licensing/insurance, experience, references, contracting requirements, and company procedures and pricing. 
  • Do ask for a portfolio of work. You won’t know one’s quality of work until you see it with your own eyes. Ask the candidate if you can see photographs of some past work he or she has done, similar to the requests you are asking for in your home. Better yet, take it a step further and see if there are any references in the neighborhood who are willing to invite you into their home to see the work for yourself.

 

Don’t:

  • Don’t move forward with a project without references. If you speak with a professional who does not have references or refuses to give you references that is usually not a good sign. Any experienced professional should be able to provide you with a list of people for whom they have done work in recent months. If not, testimonials should be shared. You want to be sure you choose someone who has had a good reputation. 
  • Don’t make verbal agreements. Once you’ve chosen someone you feel comfortable with, you will need to work with them to set a budget for your project. This will allow them to collaborate with you to develop plans and specifications. Don’t move forward with any work on your home until you’ve signed a written contract that you understand and have agreed with, and that has the contractor’s name, address, and phone and license numbers, if applicable. It should also include detailed information about the work being done. 

Remodeling Tips to Make your Kitchen Party Central

That nip in the air means the holidays are approaching, bringing the happy chaos of a house filled with friends and family. You can bet they will all end up in the kitchen – which makes this the perfect time to start rethinking that space. With proper planning and today’s technology, a kitchen can be remodeled to accommodate even the most ambitious entertaining. 

Open It Up

If you live in an older home, you may be dealing with the kitchen of the June Cleaver generation – a U or G-shaped space sequestered from the rest of the house. Today the kitchen is the hub of the home and has to serve multiple purposes. If you entertain a lot, you need flexible-use spaces within your kitchen that can accommodate various people, whether young kids or friends or visiting relatives. 

Islands are usually recommended for kitchens at least 12 feet wide. Consider an open galley kitchen with an island and a bank of cabinets against the back wall, or an L-shape with peninsula or island. Such open layouts allow the cook(s) to chat with kids doing homework or guests gathered around the island, which serves as a makeshift desk, buffet, wet bar and dining area. 

Make the Island Multitask

Islands are requested in most new kitchens now, and for good reason. Not only do you eat most of your meals there, it also serves as a traffic cop, keeping people close at hand but out of the way of the food preparation area. A lot of kitchen projects these days involve ripping out the wall between the kitchen and dining room and replacing it with an island, so that the kitchen can be expanded into one larger space. This allows better access and traffic flow for entertaining. 

Adding a sink to the island is a great idea. You spend 80% of your time in the kitchen at the sink, so you should put it where you want the most interaction. For entertaining and dealing with family, an island sink is the best use of that space. 

Choose Spill-Resistant Counters

Granite is still the first choice for counter and island tops, but engineered stone or quartz countertops are gaining fast. There is more variety available now, and more consistency. Since the quartz products are ground-up stone suspended in resin, you get what you see in the showroom. Granite, on the other hand, is a solid chunk of natural stone, so coloration and texture can vary. Choose granite slabs at the fabricator so you can see exactly what you’re getting. 

If you do a lot of entertaining, it’s important to note that quartz repels stains better than granite and requires less maintenance. Granite needs to be sealed a couple of times a year, while quartz counters come pre-treated and don’t require upkeep. Granite is also more porous. Spill a glass of red wine on anything but black granite and it will get into those tiny pits and stain. Red wine will not penetrate quartz materials. 

Consider Ceramic

A hardwood floor with four coats of water-based acrylic finish will wear well and it is fairly easy to buff and refinish. But for frequent entertaining, ceramic tile is the preferred choice. Hardwood will scratch and discolor with a lot of spills. Ceramic tile can be costly, but it’s nonporous, so it resists stains and wears like iron if installed properly. This means laying tiles directly onto subflooring. Installing over older vinyl can leave a void beneath, causing the ceramic to crack with the first dropped jar. 

Add Storage

One of the merits of creating flexible spaces is that you don’t have to keep everything in one spot. If you have multiple people cooking, you may need more than one workstation. The way we buy groceries has also changed. People use home delivery services more now and shop in bulk at mega stores like Costco and Wal-Mart, which tends to demand the older-style pantry storage in an adjacent or secondary area. Installing a butler’s pantry is a good way to store items ordinary cabinets can’t accommodate – and comes in mighty handy when you’re stocking up for company. Another great storage option is the appliance garage. They’re great for hiding bulky appliances like blenders and mixers – big things you need to access easily. 

Bring in Backup

For homeowners who do serious entertaining, consider installing extra-large, professional ranges or ranges designed for specialty cooking with woks or grills. Also think about adding a second sink to use as a serving bar or quick rinse for wine glasses and, possibly, a second dishwasher and mini-refrigerator combinations. We see a lot of under-counter wine cooler/refrigerator combinations. While ice machines come standard in most refrigerators now, you might want an under-counter ice maker placed where it’s more convenient. Full-height wine coolers are particularly popular, and are handy for cooling pots and serving drinks at large dinner parties. Another great idea is to add a warming drawer if you plan to bring in caterers or have multiple types of food, some warm and some cool. A warming drawer can also be used to warm towels. 

Turn Up the Party Lights

A well-planned lighting arrangement allows for function as well as ambience. Consider putting your lighting on dimmers so it can be adjusted for brightly-lit work areas and a quiet, intimate meal at the same time. Recessed overhead lights provide an even wash over the entire room, while under-cabinet lights illuminate food prep and cleanup, and decorative pendants cast a romantic glow over the island.

The Floors Less Traveled

You have heard of alternative energy sources, but have you heard of alternative flooring ideas? Choosing alternative flooring is a great way to customize your home in a way that is not necessarily mainstream. Maybe you have just bought a house and are wanting to make it your own or just wanting to update your current abode. Here are some fun ways to add a fresh sense of personality.

Concrete

Contrary to fact, concrete flooring actually comes in many forms to suit a plethora of tastes and personalities. It does not have to remain cold and minimalist. It is up to you on how you want it to look. Think of the concrete as a canvas.

If you have pets, children or maybe grandchildren, it can handle the wear and tear of any household because it can handle the wear and tear of an auto factory or warehouse. To personalize your flooring, you can paint it, give it a coat of resin, acid stain it or even make it look like marble! OH! We can’t forget to mention that you can also install it in a way to make it heated!

Rubber

This material comes in a plethora of shades, styles and textures. We are sure you will be able to find one that will fit your room. In fact, tiles of rubber come in stone hues as well! Rubber is a smart solution because it is easily cleaned and is extremely durable while being easy on the joints, which helps reduce fatigue from standing.

If you use a textured style, it reduces the possibility of slipping if anything is spilled on the floor. Places to use this in your home are an entry, mudroom, laundry room or even the kitchen. We would recommend you do not go for the least expensive rubber only because the cheapest is not made with the quality for your home.

Bamboo

You have felt how soft bamboo clothing and sheets are, but meet its stronger relative, bamboo flooring. Using bamboo creates a Zen-like feel to a home, but it is typically more moisture-resistant and hard-wearing than wood.

Bamboo is a great option to consider if you are into sustainability because it is sustainably grown. The flooring itself comes in a variety of styles. They come in high-contrast grains and can be stained according to your style. In fact, you can even recreate the look of zebrawood for the fraction of the cost and without cutting down the rare tree.

Parquet

Oh how the cycle of interior design is coming full circle. It is amazing how many people are trying to get rid of this beautifully patterned flooring while others are installing it at the same time. This type of flooring creates a high-fashion look with a much lower price tag while adding lots of character. To create a more modern look, install an oversized pattern. You probably won’t believe it, but the warm honey or orange-tinted stained wood is back, especially if it is paired with rich earthen tones like chocolate, ruddy tan, espresso or whites.

Cork

This is an option that is seldom used, but when seeing how it looks is really cool and chic, not to mention that it is fully sustainable! Cork is very springy so, comfort is key here and it makes it dent and ding resistant.

You will have to give it a finish to make it water-resistant. It brings a lot of character into the rooms it is placed in because of its unique visual texture. Cork is a wonderful choice in sleek modern spaces or contemporary ones. It gives off a friendly vibe. It would not hurt if you actually installed it throughout the entire space for continuity. 

Painted 

Painted flooring is not reserved for your weekend cottage or beach house. In fact, you should try it in your own home! By painting a floor, even over your hardwoods, it can create a ton of different moods depending on the color that you choose. The options are endless.

Add a little pop with a patterned painted floor. It is amazing what a little bit of painter’s tape and some patience can do. For a contemporary look, pair neutrals colors with furniture that can range from antiques to trendy pieces. If you want to incorporate the cottage/beach house feel, go for a semi-neutral like a pale blue that will work with other neutrals without clashing.

Function Over Form: Kitchen Edition

After the era of the show kitchen, it seems functionality won over. In a recent poll conducted by Sub-Zero and Wolf, suppliers of premium refrigeration, wine preservation and cooking equipment, three out of four kitchen design professionals completed more projects for function over form. They focus more on creating a design that fits into the clients’ living and cooking styles rather than designing a “show kitchen.”

The group selected to participate in this poll was comprised of 53 regional and eight global winners of Sub-Zero and Wolf’s 11th annual Kitchen Design Contest, all of whom were polled on trends in kitchen design, products and consumer purchasing priorities.

Now, let’s break down the findings.

Seven out of 10 designers say open floor plans are still in demand. What does this mean? An open floor plan is any floor plan which makes use of large, open spaces and minimizes the use of small enclosed rooms. The best example of this plan is the “great room” which combines the kitchen, dining room and living room into one shared space. It is best to use this in homes with less square footage. There are many pros that come along with this layout such as: more social time, keeping your eye on the kids, increase views and natural light and better for entertaining all around.

Seventy-two percent of designers agree the formal dining room is a thing of the past. When retained, formal dining spaces are becoming part of a different room divided by barn doors or drapery, which allow homeowners to close up the space but keep it open if they choose. This trend; however, seems to focus in on the homes that are 2,500 square feet or lower. Instead, they are making them multi-functional. Homeowners are not willing to give up fully on the formal dining room, but rather find a way to convert it into a library or home office during its off season.

White is still the most popular color in the kitchen, but design professionals are seeing a rise in the new neutrals and accent colors, with gray, blue and black as the most popular colors. Having a white kitchen allows for versatility with other design elements such as: accent colors, tiles, and appliances while providing a welcoming feel and the illusion that you have a larger kitchen. Now the new colors on the horizon create a sense of calm in the kitchen and are just as easy on the eyes. Even though they do not help create an illusion that the kitchen is bigger, they bring crisp feel to the design front.

Design professionals named convection steam ovens and induction cooktops as the hottest appliances. Integrated appliances are also in demand. The convection steam ovens cook food faster and more evenly than conventional ovens. On top of that, the food retains more nutrients because you are steaming the product. The only downside is that you cannot brown foods the way convection ovens do. Induction cooktops are powered through magnetic induction rather than thermal induction so, no fire or electrical heating element here. This allows for rapid increases in temperature. Integrated appliances are appliances that have been built into the cabinetry and do not take away from the room’s aesthetics.

Wood is the number one material of choice, followed by quartz and stainless steel. Whether these materials are used in appliances, flooring, countertops or anything else you can think of, all of the materials are wonderful selections. It is easy to see how they have risen to be the top materials used. All are durable, easy to clean and create clean lines while bringing a sense of nature into the home through a simple change.

82 percent of design pros say the kitchen island is a must have, while 72 percent point to recycling centers. Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too? You shouldn’t have to choose. The kitchen island is fundamental necessity in any kitchen because it allows for easy entertaining and food preparation while creating more space for appliances and cabinetry. It is understandable why this percentage is so high. A recycling center is an easy way to remember to recycle. Usually hidden by cabinets, three bins reside; one each for paper, plastic and waste. If you want to go super green, add a green bin for items that will go in the compost pile. You will be surprised with how little waste will actually be headed to the landfill.

More than half the design professionals surveyed agree the outdoor kitchen is becoming more popular.  Outdoor kitchens are the new must-have. When the weather is nice, there is no better way to soak up some rays in the early evening than enjoying dinner in the great outdoors, even if it is in the middle of a concrete jungle. It is an easy way to turn your backyard into a little oasis. You can deck this out with a grill, bar, mini-fridge and so much more. You basically could take your entire kitchen outside.

Children are becoming more interested in cooking and the cooking process, but designers need to figure out how to best incorporate this new demographic. How can we get the kids in the kitchen? Do we create lower snack drawers for them to reach in and grab healthy snacks out of a refrigerated drawer? Do we have a section of the counter that is lowered for them to use as they learn the fundamentals of cooking? There are so many different options to be used and tested to make the kitchen a kid-friendly environment.

Aging Americans are looking for a cleaner design with fewer ledges and grooves. This makes complete sense. Fewer ledges and grooves allow for safer mobility. By creating a space that grows with you, you can stay in the same place for longer without the fear of getting hurt in your own home, allowing you to thrive on a day-to-day basis in the comfort of your own home with a few design changes.

There is a transition to “organic design” in which salvaged woods and recycled materials are being incorporated into the home, not solely in terms of materials but also in living things like plants. Have you seen the tables that have built-in succulent planters? They seem to be all rage at the moment. What about the salvaged woods, upcycled furniture and sustainable materials that are now being used? Here is your moment to shine bright and bring the outdoors in.

While there is a growing interest in the modern aesthetics, the most popular and widely categorized style of kitchen design is transitional. Transitional styling is a combination of traditional sophistication and contemporary simplicity. It combines luxury with minimalism to create a home that radiates tranquility. Transitional style is all about finding that balance between something classic and something a little more humble – it’s the best of both worlds. Colors are inviting and neutral and patterns are discreet in order to create a true place of peacefulness. Instead of using eye-catching colors, textures are relied upon to create visual interest. Transitional style uses a mixture of matte and polished finishes as well as leather furniture, wooden frames and other tactile materials and features.  Clean lines mixed with a pinch of luxury and ornate styling create a soothing and serene transitional home.  

 

 

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In with the Old, Out with the New

In this day and age, building materials, labor and just about everything seems to be raising in cost. Building a new home is nice, but the price seems to be doubling daily to do so. Why not just look at the beauty and character already established and embrace the past? Your style taste can always update the interior, so here are a few reasons to buy or keep a Mid-century home.

1. Sloped roofs add drama and are practical.

Pitched roofs are the roofs that range from a slight to drastic slope. They naturally do not accumulate snow because it slides off. They require smaller structural members and do not retain water at all, keeping the house watertight! From a design viewpoint, the roofline can be built to accentuate the topography pf the area, whether it be pointing skyward or perfectly nestled into the trees.

2. Architecture can be a natural climate control.

Yes, you heard correctly. Architecture can be a natural climate control. Hello, lower utility bills! In the 1950s, it was normal to not have an air conditioner and retaining heat in the winter was key. These houses were structured to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter with very little help. Windows are usually placed on the southern walls with overhangs that create shadows like a brim on a hat. This allows the windows to remain cool in the summer and guide warmth into the home during the winter months. It is also normal for the homes to have doors on opposing walls to create air flow through rooms or the house has whole house fans that help create air flow! This also will lower your carbon footprint, if you live a green lifestyle.

3. Straightforward layouts create interest and understanding.

The layout of these homes is divided into “zones.” Due to this type of layout, it is easy to see and understand the architect’s thought process in building. It essentially guides you in decorating and makes it easy to pick out where everything was meant to be placed. Large open spaces are a norm in this style of home which allows for large spaces to entertain and create continuity. If you have a wall of windows, make sure to use the wall as a focal point.

4. Simple materials provide more creative flexibility.

This is so true. In the 1950s, builders used mainly aluminum and wood siding. Building materials have come a long way since then. Opt for cement board, plastic or PVC. All of these are durable and have a painted finish that is easy to maintain. Most likely, you will be giving the siding a fresh coat of paint to go with your sense of style. Make sure the materials beneath it are just as durable for an easy upkeep. 

5. Minimal frills can accentuate details you might want to otherwise hide.

The staircase, usually in the main entryway, is not an easy thing to hide; especially, when they are free-standing. The craftsman made the staircase as a way to show off their craftsmanship and the latest trends in new materials for the time. Embrace this structural piece of art, and you will learn to love it.

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May To-Do List

April showers bring May flowers, along with rain, mud and a few other responsibilities that need to be taken care of as you prepare for summer. Here are some ideas to best prepare for the warmer (in our case the hottest) months of the year to better enjoy your summer!

Touch Up Interior Paint: After a year’s worth of wear and tear on your walls, pull out the left-over paint from your walls and find those little nicks that seem to have magically appeared on your walls via a chair hitting it. Makes sure to also look at those baseboards and the front door as well!

Restain/Repaint Porch: In many parts of the country, the weather is beginning to warm up and flowers are starting to peek through as the snow melts away. That means that it is time to get your porch repainted or stained. You know you will be using this area frequently in the upcoming months so why not give it a little touch up? On a side note, by resealing the wood with paint or stain, it will elongate the life of your porch or deck.

Check Safety Devices: Take a few minutes and check your security system, CO2 and smoke detectors. Replace the batteries if it has been a while. It is reported that every 10 years, you should replace your smoke and CO2 detectors just as a safety precaution.

Clean Nooks and Crannies: Oh, this is a major struggle. Remember that horrible smelling candle you shoved to the very back of a gift closet? Or what about the thoughtfully-picked-out,-but-doesn’t-fit-you-properly outfit you shoved in the back corner of your closet? Well, it is time to drag that out and make the choice to keep it or give it away. Take some time to go through and clean the areas that you shove things and you will feel so much better.

Outdoor Kitchen: If you are lucky enough to have an outdoor kitchen, then you know you will be using it a lot in the upcoming months! Clean off that layer of dust that has accumulated and fluff up the cushions. If you are wanting to do a little shopping for your outdoor kitchen, go ahead and look into fun outdoor tableware that matches your seat cushions.

Outdoor Fire Hazard: If you have a few fallen limbs around the yard or maybe the bushes are a little high next to the fire pit, it may be time to trim the foliage and pick up any debris that has accumulated over the winter/spring. In the words of Smokey the Bear, “Only you can prevent wildfires.” (Even if they are in your own backyard.)

Check Irrigation System: As summer comes into view, it is best to take a look at your sprinkler system to make sure it is up to par and works as efficiently as possible. You do not want to start watering your lawn only to realize one of the sprinkler heads is missing because your lawn mower got to it first. Go ahead and look at it to make sure it is ready for the heat!

Increase Curb Appeal: Summer is right around the corner, and it is time to plant all those beautiful flowers you bought and pick up all those dead leaves that fell late in the winter. Just take a few minutes to spruce up your yard and the front of your home! Maybe even touch up the paint or stain on your front door or shutters.

Clean Out Shed/Garage: Choose which one you will clean out; if you happen to have both, why not try and tackle both? The weather is starting to get nice, so open up the doors, drag everything out and start going through stuff. Make a throw and a giveaway pile and try to make the giveaway pile the larger of the two. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure so take the extra step of dropping your stuff off at Goodwill or if it is large furniture, Catholic Charities or another local charity will come and take it away for free.

Enjoy your Home: Take some time for yourself and with friends and family to enjoy what you have done. Invite them over to have dinner out on the patio before it becomes too warm or lock in with a nice movie night. Just take a little time to breathe and soak everything in.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making the Most of Your Single-Wall Kitchen

Single-walled kitchens come into play in small homes or apartments and open-plan kitchens. Here are a few tips in making the most of your single-walled kitchen.

Embrace a Sociable Layout: The Single-Wall Kitchen is the epitome of a social layout. There are no added walls, which opens up the space for entertaining. Although a single-wall kitchen allows one person to cook at a time, it still allows others to access it. Make sure to keep this in mind when choosing furniture for the kitchen and accommodating your lifestyle!

Make it Efficient: Space is limited in this type of kitchen so planning out every detail is imperative. In a single-walled kitchen, usually, the fridge is on the far end of the kitchen run. The sink is located next to the fridge with counter space on either side. Beneath the counter, is the dishwasher and more storage space. On the far side of this, the oven and cooktop are located with ample counter space for safe food preparation with more storage beneath. Maybe you want to include tall cabinets to bookend the kitchen. Just makes sure that your layout makes sense to you because you are the one that will be using it daily.

Use a Standard Run of Cabinets: Just like in any other kitchen, you will want to include overhead cabinetry. This will create more space to store anything and everything that you need in your kitchen. Do not worry if this run of cabinets goes the entire length of the wall. This is normal. Be aware that if you wish to include a vent-a-hood, this is where it will be placed.

Mixed Shelving: You may not want a run of cabinets to span the entire length of the wall because design-wise you find it going against your aesthetic taste. Have no fear! There are other alternatives to breaking up this span of cabinets. Consider mixing in some open shelving or have shelving on the wall to the right or the left of the kitchen, making it décor with a purpose.

Bridged Upper Cabinets: Talk about adding storage space and utilizing every little inch of the kitchen. Bridged upper cabinets usually have tall cabinets on either side and cabinets that are placed on top of your other cabinets. If you want, make the upper cabinets stick out a little bit farther than the other run of cabinets to create a layered, sunken effect that adds depth to your kitchen. The cabinets come in an assortment of materials and colors, which makes it easy to find a run of bridge cabinets that will fit with the other cabinets you have.

Make sure to store items that are less used and get a cute foldaway footstool to access the items in those cabinets.

Max Out Storage: With a limited amount of cabinet space available, getting creative with other storage options is a must! Consider making your pantry larger to accommodate more items and maybe even a few countertop appliances. Add an island into the layout of your kitchen and place cabinets underneath. Get creative with your storage because the sky is the limit…or maybe the ceiling in this case.

Choose Appliances Wisely: Selecting appliances for a single-walled kitchen should not be a chore and you should not have to compromise. Lucky for you, appliance companies are designing their appliances for small, compact spaces. There is a plethora of compact dishwashers, compact ovens, microwave ovens and warming drawers. If you are going to have an open-plan arrangement, make sure that your appliances run quietly to reduce objections from those who are watching TV or reading in the spaces that connect to the kitchen area.

Add an Island: An island is a good way to add more storage space, increase your counter space and create more seating if needed. If you plan one well, it will accent the kitchen.

Trending: 2016 Version

Rolling into 2016 and you want to stay on top of the latest trends? Here you will find simple ideas and ways to keep your house looking sharp no matter what your budget is. Make sure to look at our Pinterest Look books to see these ideas in full swing to help you think of fun ways to incorporate these trends!

1. The “Glamily” Room:

What is a Glamily room you ask? Well it is the newest hybrid of the family room: Glamorous yet still a family room. There is no reason why such a popular room in your house should be drab.

Yes, your dog will be running around, your husband will be watching football with a cold one and your kids will be eating Doritos while they watch their favorite movies with their friends, but have no fear. Glamour should not be lost and neither will your sanity.

Pair up fabrics that are durable, but still beautiful with unique pieces of furniture and amazing silhouettes to still retain beauty in such a fun, popular room.

2. Monthly Club:

Monthly clubs seem to be all the rage right now. Whether it is samples, wines, or beauty products, it makes getting the mail a little bit more fun because it will not only be bills and advertisements.

The monthly clubs are not just restricted to the above. Recently, there have been clubs created for bouquets, artisan goods from around the world and surprises for your pets!

3. Boutique Showrooms:

Boutique showrooms are wonderful hidden gems within the design world. These local startups are a treasure trove of original one-of-a-kind pieces ranging from furniture to textiles.

Take the time to go and peruse these places even if you are just trying to gain some inspiration as you move forward. You may just see something that you can do yourself for the fraction of the cost or something that you cannot live without.

4. Bed Linens with Pizzazz:

Open up your hope chest and pull put your favorite quilt that was made by your grandmother because they are fully in and white bed sheets are out!

Mix and match fun patterns to make your room more interesting and unique. The sky is the limit on this one.

5. Pretty Pendants:

You have seen these lights hanging in all the trendy new restaurants and residences. They are the trendy, new chandelier for 2016. These fixtures come in all sorts of shapes, colors and sizes. You will find one that suits your taste and will seamlessly fit into your existing décor without breaking the bank.

Make sure to hit up places like World Market, Hobby Lobby and Pinterest to help in your quest to find the perfect pendant.

6. Perky Pedestals:

Add some height into your house by adding a pedestal into the décor. These are perfect for adorning even your tiniest of corners.

They come in a variety of styles and materials and are perfect to house your favorite house plant, vase, sculpture or cat. Keep your eyes open for a unique piece that will add to your pre-existing aesthetic.

7. Return of the Desk:

2016 is kicking everyone off of their "home office" bed and onto a desk.

These new desks are no longer the large bulky oak desks that seem to weigh a million pounds, but more of a piece of high-gloss art. So, run to Ikea and find the perfect desk for you and dress it up with fun lamps and colorful textiles and pillows for your chair. The more unique your new home office is the better.

Remember that this is your space to be productive so, try and tailor your decoration to this idea.

8. Traditional Tableware:

Yes, you read that right, Traditional tableware. Pull out your grandmother’s china, gravy boats, footed bowls and silver from the crates in the garage and shine them up and dust them off.

Create beautiful tablescapes by intermixing the old with the new. The pieces that are found in the traditional tablescape are beautiful and have intriguing patterns that will liven up any meal while bringing back memories of your childhood.

9. Mixed Metals:

Mix and match metals like no other. As long as it has a metal sheen, mix them. Metal sconces, metal wall art, metallic fabrics, use them all. Bringing in and combing multiple types of metals, textures and natural elements in any home will create a sophisticated look that seems effortlessly put together.

Keep your eyes peeled for that show stopping piece that will not break the bank!

10. Fabric Wall Art:

Forget wallpaper, we now have wall fabric and Robert Allen is paper-backing nearly all of its textiles for a flat fee. There is definitely at least one fabric that will catch your eye and when added to a room will easily turn into a conversation starter.

You are not limited to using unique fabrics on walls. Simply re-cover your favorite seats and ottomans for an update that is as simple as pulling out a few staples from a piece of wood. Your house can be changed significantly for a low price.

11. A Delft Touch:

 Have you heard of Delft? Delft pottery is from 17th-century Holland and uses dark blues and whites to create images of charming country life. These pieces can be found online and in antique stores across the nation.

Buy one or two pieces to spruce up your room or find look alikes to get more for your buck. Keep in mind that if you do buy real Delft pottery that it is extremely collectable.

12. Better Sleep:

Sleep is a natural part of any life-cycle and boy, has the technology come far for this art form.

Have you heard about the new mattresses that help cool your body as you sleep? How about the headrest that incorporates airflow technology with a memory foam pillow? Or the pillow that is specially made for the sleepers who move around all night in their dreamland?

If you are in the market for some new bedding, make sure to see what has come out recently to help you sleep better at night and to wake fully rested in the morning.

13. Guatemalan Fabrics:

Aztec patterns are out and Guatemalan hand-made fabrics are in. These brightly colored weavings all are the rage and nothing is better than getting handcrafted pieces of art to decorate your house with.

They will add a bohemian feel to any room. Find them in pillows, throws, wall hangings or even coasters.

14. Consignment Now:

Trying to find a unique piece that no one has? Go the consignment or thrift shop route. Not only can you buy from some of these places, but you can also sell pieces there. If you happen to have a piece that you no longer want, call up your local consignment store and see if they can help you find a new home for your old furniture so you can clear space for new!

Always remember that upcycling is in. If you find a piece at a garage sale or thrift store and it needs a new paint coat or you want to switch out the drawer pulls, look no further than your local home improvement store!

Transitional Style is Top Trend for 2016 Kitchen Remodels

transitional-kitchen-remodel

The National Kitchen & Bath Association announced at its annual conference last week that transitional kitchens are currently the top kitchen design. Trends that the NKBA expects to see in kitchens in 2016 include:

  • Transitional style

  • Gray, white and off-white cabinets

  • Pull-outs, tilt-outs and tilt-ins for storage space

  • Wood flooring

  • Quartz and granite countertops

  • Outdoor kitchens

  • Built-in coffee stations and wet bars

  • Pocket doors

  • Special pet spaces

  • Docking and charging stations

Along with the three most popular kitchen styles -- transitional, traditional and contemporary -- industrial and farmhouse kitchens are becoming favorable. The kitchen designs hold a different charm, but have all proved to be functional.

The NKBA discovered neutral colors are still preferred in kitchens, but using two or more colors has increased since 2015. This includes using multiple colored cabinets or choosing a separate material for the countertop rather than matching the surrounding counter space. By following this trend, people are adding multiple textures and colors that attract attention in the kitchen.

Outdoor kitchens continue to be a growing trend, specifically in the Southeast United States. The outdoor entertainment areas have caught on with those seeking to integrate nature and cooking together.

Not only are homeowners spoiling themselves with their kitchens, but pets are benefitting as well. Special storage space for pet food and toys, feeding stations or under-counter crate areas are often preferred in the pet lovers’ home.

As trends change over time, we are seeing one thing in particular: homeowners are being met with more options to make their kitchens efficient and attractive at the same time. We look forward to seeing the kitchen designs of 2016.

Learn more about Transitional Kitchen styles

Bringing Downton Abbey Home

Bringing Downton Abbey Home

Downton Abbey started its sixth season recently, and its American viewers are decorating “Downton” style more than ever. Downton Abbey, Season 5” by Masterpiece™

The popular BBC television show, Downton Abbey, recently began its sixth season. It first aired in 2010 and after the phenomenon swept across the Atlantic Ocean, Americans soon began to decorate their homes in “Downton fashion.” In this period drama, the audience becomes a voyeur into the life of the Crawley family during the early 1900s.

The setting is a large Jacobethan country home that sits on a 5,000-acre estate. Filmed at Highclere Castle in Hampshire, England, the furnishings reflect a period of grandeur full of sweeping staircases, rich pigment paints, grand dining rooms, ornate furnishings and heritage paintings.

Rather than breaking the bank to achieve the Edwardian style of the aristocracy, here are a few ways to bring Downton (a.k.a. Highclere Castle) home.

Brocade, Jacquard & Damask:

Rugs, ceiling medallions and brocade, and damask wallpaper and fabric patterns relect the "Downton Abbey" style.

Rugs, ceiling medallions and brocade, and damask wallpaper and fabric patterns relect the “Downton Abbey” style.

The brocade, jacquard and damask patterns can be found on wallpapers and fabrics. When using these ornate fabrics, you can make curtains, reupholster furniture or just apply them to home décor accessories such as: table lamps or wall art. They come in numerous patterns, mainly flowers, fruit and other designs, and many different colors. There should be one that works with your color scheme or style.

Molding and Ceiling Medallions:

Don’t leave out your ceilings! A lot can be done to them for a low price. Molding comes in many different styles. They range from simple molding with corner curves to deep, boxy, angular ceilings with rosettes and other carved motifs. To get this same look for a budget, use embossed wallpaper on ceilings installed within an inset formed by a small molding applied to the ceiling 12- 18” from the perimeter walls. Paint the textured wallpaper in a semi-gloss or gloss paint, giving it the effect of formed plaster. Add ceiling medallions to your chandeliers and other surface mount fixtures to create a beautiful effect to an otherwise plain ceiling. By adding creative and artistic patterns to your ceilings, it creates depth and acts as a “rug” for the ceiling. We will get to floor rugs in a bit.

Petite Chandeliers:

Chandeliers come in many different shapes and sizes and will add a grand aesthetic with very little effort. A small one is economical when it comes to creating an Edwardian style within a budget. These miniature chandeliers are perfect for entry ways, on tables and in bathrooms; adding a little sparkle wherever they are placed. They can be found for a decent price in thrift stores, antique malls and other home improvement stores. If your budget allows, go for the big chandeliers. They are breathtaking.

Gold (or any other metallic) Acrylic Paint:

This stuff works miracles when dealing with a budget. Go for an antiqued gold rather than a bright gold because most of the furnishings in Downton are antiques and gilded with gold. Add this to wall sconces, lamp bases, ornate frames and just about anything else to add a little luxury into the décor for pennies on the dollar.

Richly Pigmented Paint:

Choosing colors from the color scheme of Downton is now easier than ever because Kelly Moore has created a line of paint that specifically resembles the colors of Highclere Castle. They range from jewel tones to pastels. If you choose not to buy from that line, choose a paint with a rich pigmented color. Pigment rich color’s characteristics are highly concentrated, bright and rich.

Tassels:

Tassels are an easy way to give a sense of luxury to a room. Use them to wrap up your new brocade, jacquard or damask curtains and hold them back to allow light into your home. They can also be added to pillows, blankets and lamps. Tassels come in a range of sizes and colors that can easily be incorporated into your Edwardian facelift.

Antiques:

When searching for antiques to fit the “Downton” style, go for either French or English ones. Look for paintings that show hunting scenes or a pair of ornately carved, mirrored sconces. Keep an eye out for large mirrors in gilded or dark-stained frames. There are many different pieces that are unique to the Edwardian time period and can be found in antique malls across the nation and world. Who knows what great deals you may stumble upon with a little searching.

Oriental & Persian Rugs:

Oriental and Persian Rugs add wonderful texture and color to any room. They come in a plethora of colors and patterns with patterns of flora and fauna. The rugs come in a multitude of sizes ranging from pillow to very large. The price range varies, and there are lots of places that offer them for a discount. Pick up a runner or average-shaped rugs and place them in a hall or in the living room. The options are limitless.

If you really get in a bind or need creative inspiration, the creators of Downton Abbey just launched their home furnishing line. The prices are reasonable and are perfect to incorporate into your rooms.

Then when you settle in to watch the latest season of Downton Abbey, you can do so in Downton luxury.

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