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Wednesday, November 2, 2016
The works of master artists have inspired home decor for centuries, and technological advances have made it easier than ever to incorporate their genius into your own home. It's no longer necessary to visit the Louvre in Paris to view the Mona Lisa or to travel to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City to savor van Gogh's Starry Night.
You can easily incorporate great artwork into your home decor.
Reproductions are the most obvious - and accessible - way to enjoy great masterpieces in your home. Fortunately, you have a variety of options when looking for a quality reproduction. From simple paper prints purchased at your local home decor store to actual paintings digitally reproduced with the aid of a computer program, you can find reproductions for virtually every price point.
You can use your reproduction to enhance your home decor in a number of ways. A small print tucked into a discrete spot on the wall can add a pleasant, surprising pop of color in a room. Or, a larger reproduction can be a focal point for a room's decor, and even provide color inspiration for the rest of the room, from walls to upholstery and accessories.
Another versatile option that can be bold and striking is a wall mural. When you think of inspiring murals, does Michelangelo's famous work from the Sistine Chapel come to mind? With easy-to-install wallpaper murals, you can recreate the world's most-recognizable ceiling in your own home.
A mural can fit into the decor in virtually every room of your home. Imagine the whimsical delight of Katsushika Hokusai's The Great Wave of Kanagawa as an accent in your master bath. Or, van Gogh's Cafe Terrace at Night can impart a distinctive Old World flavor to the decor in your breakfast nook. You can even incorporate a masterpiece mural in your outdoor design. Website MuralsYourWay.com offers wallpaper murals in SmartStick, a peel-and-stick material that can be used indoors or out and adheres to most smooth wall surfaces (including glass) and is easily removable and repositionable. No paste is needed and you can use the mural over and over again.
Your foray into great art doesn't have to be limited to paintings, however. While reproductions of renowned sculptures are easy to come by, and an obvious choice, you can also find a variety of accessories and even furniture that draw their inspiration from famous works of art.
Looking for something thought-provoking and edgy for your home decor? Consider items - from wall clocks to furniture - inspired by the work of Salvador Dali. Is modern and abstract more to your taste? Fabrics that draw on the colors and design of Picasso's works may fit your vision.
Great art speaks to the soul, and whatever genre you prefer - impressionist, Renaissance, modern or abstract - you can find a place for it in your home. Thanks to modern technology, it's easier than ever to enjoy great art and incorporate it into your decor.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
1. Cabinetry - When it comes time to selecting the design of your cabinetry lean toward clean, crisp and streamlined furniture. To create a lighter and sleek bathroom environment consider cantilevered cabinetry secured to the wall creating a minimal look to the vanity piece.Create some drama with strip lighting added to the bottom side of the cabinet which will cast a warm glow to the floor below. Provide additional built in wall-to-wall storage elsewhere in the bathroom to compensate for the reduced storage in the vanity area. Deep dark rich woods evoke a sense of warmth to the clean lines of contemporary design.
2. Fixtures - Crisp clean and sleek white fixtures speak to the contemporary/modern design. If space allows introduce one of the hottest trends - a free-standing bathtub. They are available in all shapes and sizes, and nothing creates a more dramatic focal point in the bathroom than an exquisite free-standing tub. Simply position it in front of a spectacular picture window with a breathtaking view as the backdrop.
3. Surfaces and Materials - Utilize solid surfaces for countertops, whether quartz, limestone, granite, concrete or glass to give it a clean contemporary look. Keep the edges simple and square for easy maintenance and sophisticated style. Always introduce an interesting backsplash material in contrast to the counter top color and material. Whatever the surface I like to apply it on all walls from floor to ceiling. It creates instant architecture and adds great detail and drama to the space. Glass tile, mosaic, stone or ceramic details are just a few of the highly decorative backsplash products out on the market today that create a sense of modern style. Keep geometry in mind when selecting the material for your contemporary backsplash. Consider tile shapes that are rectangular, oversized, or small mosaics to create detail in the pattern of the application. If the tile is oversized and rectilinear install it in a brick pattern. If it's shape is longer and thinner then stacking the tile creates a very interesting modern vibe. Stay away from the common square tile in any size.
4. Luxurious Shower - Create a steam shower with multiple rain heads, and body sprays. If your budget allows, add chromatherapy and aromatherapy to your master bath wish list as well. These fittings represent the epitome of modern luxury design. Don't forget a built in bench and access panel to hide the steam system. Design a full seamless glass enclosure from floor to ceiling and finish the interior with complimentary mosaics or stone tile to set it apart from the rest of the space. This glass enclosure creates a more visually open space within the overall space.
5. Accessories - Remember to keep clutter and display to a minimum. - Accessorize with towels in a bright color for punch or stainless steel and woods. Keep everything to a minimum and clutter free. Select chrome, nickel or silver toned drawer/door pulls, towel bars, towel hooks and paper holders for sparkle. Frame vanity mirrors in woods or silver tones in similar finishes to the other accessories adorning your modern bath.
Draw the bath and enjoy the modern luxuries of your new space.
by: Lori Gilder
Here are a few of the leading trends that the DIY homeowner can use to cost-effectively create an outdoor space that "wows:"
Rent rather than buy
- Upgrading or adding a deck or patio can feel overwhelming unless you have the right equipment to do the job. Renting what you need saves money, plus helps you maximize your time so you can enjoy your new outdoor space sooner. From power washers and saws for cleaning and cutting, to utility loaders and tampers for digging and compacting base materials, you'll find everything you need at your local American Rental Association member rental store. Visit www.RentalHQ.com for locations near you. Not sure what you need? The pros at the shop are specially trained and can help you choose the best time-saving tools for your project.
Use pavers for patios
- Whether you're looking to refresh your current patio space or are starting from scratch, patios are great ground-level entertainment spaces. More homeowners are opting for pavers to level and define the space, which adds elegant detail, rather than a bland concrete slab. Find pavers in varying shapes, sizes and colors at your local home improvement store. Remember, by digging and installing a base layer, your pavers are less likely to shift over time. Dig down and compact base material with a rented plate compactor or a tamper before laying the pavers in the desired pattern.
Define your deck
- If you're adding a new deck, composite decking material is the way to go. While it costs a bit more than lumber, it lasts longer and is virtually maintenance-free, which will save you time and money in the long run. It's just as easy to work with as wood and can be cut and assembled in a similar manner. If you simply want to refresh an existing wood deck, rent a power washer to quickly clean off dirt, grime and paint chips. Replace gray and tan paint with deep brown hues, which adds a subtle upscale appearance. Modern exterior paint lasts years and some options even fill cracks in wood, so look for a brand that best suits your needs.
Go native with greenery
- Adding plants to your outdoor space helps the area feel cohesive with nature. Not sure what to add? Whether for pots, containers or the surrounding landscaping, consider native lawn and plant materials. Not only will they look great and add color and depth to your outdoor space, but they are typically lower maintenance and many require less water. Explore options at your local garden center or state extension service's website.
Create an outdoor kitchen
- Homeowners want to enjoy more time outside and that means cooking and dining al fresco. While a basic barbecue grill will do, outdoor kitchens are in high demand. Building your own outdoor kitchen space is simple. Install countertops surrounding your grill and consider incorporating features like a small fridge, gas burners for side items, smokers or built-in storage spaces for spices and cooking tools. Stainless steel continues to be the go-to material for outdoor kitchen features, blending modern style with the organic look of Mother Nature.
Light the night
- The right lighting can take a good outdoor space and make it great. Solar lighting is trending for outdoor spaces, and this eco-friendly option is also affordable. Light pathways with solar landscape lighting - eliminating the need for electrical cords. Jazz up deck posts with post caps that provide a gentle glow. Finally, a string or two of white garden lights adds a twinkle to the beautiful ambiance of a summer evening.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
It's better by far to avoid making a big mistake when renovating a kitchen. Here are six totally wrong moves that you should never make when improving the most-used room in your home:
1. Give up cabinets.
Maybe you long for a window over the kitchen sink. Perhaps replacing or upgrading all the cabinets in the kitchen will take too big a bite out of your budget. Or maybe you intend to become a minimalist and need storage space for only two plates, two mugs and two wine glasses. Whatever you think your "reason" is for reducing the number of cabinets in your kitchen - don't do it. Cabinet storage space is a top priority in any kitchen; it can help keep clutter off your countertops, and improve the room's appeal to potential buyers. Never give up cabinet space unless you have a ridiculous number of cabinets, in which case, see move No. 2 ....
2. Cover every inch of wall with cabinets.
The only thing worse than not enough cabinets is having too many. We've all seen kitchens where the cabinets visually overwhelm the space. Sometimes they're too large for the scale of the room. Other times there are just too many of them. Keep in mind the need for visual balance, and turn to online calculators to help you understand how much cabinetry is appropriate for your kitchen.
3. Cheap out on appliances.
New appliances can be a large part of your kitchen renovation budget, and the temptation to cut costs by buying cheaper quality products can be compelling. Yet kitchen appliances are among the most-used in any home. When you consider how often you'll use them, how much wear and tear they'll endure, and how great their impact is on the usability of the room, it makes sense to invest in the best appliances you can afford. What's more, if you choose cheaper models - or worse yet, keep old, inefficient appliances - you may miss out on the energy savings that new appliances can deliver.
4. Give up even a single ray of sunlight or breath of fresh air.
More than one kitchen renovator has chosen to solve the problem of too little cabinet space by covering up a window. Not a smart move, especially when you consider the value of natural light and fresh air in a kitchen. If you have no wall space to spare for windows, adding Energy Star-qualified no-leak fresh-air skylights, like those from Velux America, can solve the problem.
Modern skylights are as dependable as high quality vertical windows and they admit much more natural light. Solar powered fresh air skylights passively vent humidity and cooking fumes from the kitchen while bringing in light. Pair them with solar-powered designer blinds, and your skylights become not just more energy efficient, but more functional, since both are operated by a programmable remote control. As an added plus, solar powered skylights, blinds and installation costs are eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit for energy-efficient home improvements.
5. Pick materials that are too fragile for life in the kitchen.
Just as you never pick a partner or a vehicle based on their looks alone, choosing kitchen materials based on beauty is doomed to disappoint. For example, recycled glass countertops can chip, scratch or crack more easily than other options, and may not stand up to rigorous use. Limestone has a lovely, luminous look but is vulnerable to stains. Before you choose a material for its looks, find out its durability and weigh that against your tolerance for cleaning and repairs, as well as how brutal you're likely to be on the surfaces in your kitchen. And in that vein ....
6. Let looks trump practicality.
Choosing an overall design or materials that look great and are fashionable, but that aren't practical for your lifestyle, is a recipe for regrets. Whether it's buying a refrigerator that's too big for the scale of the room, or opting for a countertop color that's too unusual to be universally appealing, conceding practicality to appearance will make the kitchen harder to work in and harder to sell down the road.
A well-executed kitchen renovation can boost home value and improve your enjoyment of the kitchen, which is the heart of the home. With planning and care, it's possible to avoid the kind of renovation mistakes that no one wants to live with.
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Kitchens are a reflection of personal style. Just as you add new pieces to your wardrobe when the seasons change, kitchen updates keep spaces fresh and current. The following three tips, inspired by fall/winter interior design trends from design duo Blazys Gerard, offer splurge versus save ideas to bring a unique flair to your kitchen and entertaining space.
1. Go glam
Splurge: Streamline your layout to evoke a sleek and sophisticated vibe. Integrating built-in appliances, such as a Jenn-Air(®) 30" single wall oven in Floating White Glass, adds polish and maximizes under-counter space. For entertainers, an open-concept living space with an over-sized island creates a central hub at parties. The addition of an under-counter beverage center is always a hit with guests and wine lovers alike. For texture and elegant contrast, select a high-gloss stone countertop and dark-stained floors.
Save: Back splashes are a blank canvas and offer the opportunity to create a big impact. Whether you embellish the space with mosaic tile, glass, or even stylish marble, a show stopping backsplash creates a feature wall that is as beautiful as it is functional. Another option is to install a statement light fixture, whether architectural or ornate, to shine new light onto the space.
2: Turn up the heat
Splurge: Take inspiration from a modern gastropub and incorporate a fireplace into your kitchen. While this is a significant design commitment, a fireplace is a modern addition to the kitchen and unites living spaces, particularly in open concept homes. Richly stained cabinets exude further warmth and provide a restaurant-at-home feel. Keep the lines of the cabinets and countertops slick and you'll have a contemporary, eclectic space.
Save: If you live in a condo where the addition of a fireplace isn't an option, bring in warmth through accessories. Cookbooks, cozy throw pillows, and banquette seating will soften the space and create a relaxed atmosphere. A vintage settee in place of two chairs at the table is another way to add a touch of luxury and comfort.
3. Add rustic charm
Splurge: Create a chic space with rustic touches: butcher-block countertops, a reclaimed wood dining table, and wide wood plank floors. Clean cabinetry with built-in stainless steel appliances provide the ultimate base and maintain the focus on your overall design.
Save: Adore the look of a built-in fridge but not ready to splurge? Jenn-Air(®) offers cabinet depth refrigerators that appear built-in and are mounted flush with the cabinets; custom overlay panels can even be added to further blend with surrounding cabinetry. Bring in additional rustic elements through thoughtful accessories: a reclaimed wood plank is a beautiful table runner, especially when stained to compliment your kitchen, and a vintage milk jug doubles as a statement vase.
As a final tip (and the quickest and most simple of all), stop by your local farmer's market or flower shop-fresh blooms add visual interest and bring instant life to any space.
So whether you choose to do a major renovation or some quick revitalizing, keep these design trends in mind as you update your kitchen this fall to bring new energy, warmth, and style to your home.
The Benefits of Refinancing
Beyond potentially saving you thousands of dollars, refinancing your mortgage can also help you consolidate debt and pay off other bills. Your life has probably changed from the time you first got your home loan. Perhaps you got a better paying job or you have a new baby on the way. You may have new expenses that never existed before, or you may be making more money than when you started. In many cases, refinancing your home loan could save you hundreds, or even thousands of dollars - money which could be well spent in other areas of your life. Ideally, your mortgage should not be costing you above one third of your total gross income. If you're dealing with a high interest rate, you've been hit with an adjustable rate that has skyrocketed, or you've experienced a drop in income for whatever reason - it's a good idea to consider refinancing and locking in a better rate.
Working with a Trusted Lender
Working with a trusted lender is one of the best decisions you can make when you decide to refinance. Trusted lenders, like Aurora Bank (Equal Housing Lender, member FDIC) for example, understand a multitude of product options and can explain those options to you as well as the costs that are involved in the refinancing process.
Know Your Options
There's no shortage of lending companies vying for your business. But it pays to do your own research as well. Take advantage of online mortgage calculators and run different scenarios based on your income, property tax, and extra payments you can afford to make. See exactly how much home you can afford and create a spectrum of possibilities for refinancing. Then, speak with a home loan consultant who can help you with your financing needs.You may be pleasantly surprised at just how much money you'll save by refinancing at today's low rates. Overall, honest, exceptional service and a dedication to customer satisfaction are what make the best mortgage refinancing lenders stand out.