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Design And Decor

 

What To Consider When Choosing A Garage For Your New Home

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As you make plans to build your new home, you will spend countless hours planning every little detail. From the color of the walls to the position of the counters in your kitchen, each aspect is painstakingly chosen to ensure that the finished product — your home — is exactly what you want. Yet many people who are building a new home will focus so much on the living space that they forget about one important feature: the garage. Here are some considerations to make when you are planning the garage for your new home design.

1. Choose the Right Size

Today’s new home plans offer a variety of garage sizes. The larger the garage, the more costly the home will be to build, but you need to carefully weigh your options here. Building a garage that is too small will limit your use and enjoyment in the future.

Before deciding on the size, determine the use of your garage. Many homeowners use their garages primarily for storage, while others use it as an extension of the home, providing a place to hang out and enjoy some recreational time. The use will help dictate the overall size.

If the space will serve as a conventional garage — where you park your vehicles at night — plan for how many vehicles you will need to store in the garage, and be sure to think about any lawn mowers or snow blowers in this count. Make sure the garage is wide enough to park the vehicles and gives you space to walk all the way around them. Then, provide yourself room for storage. Shelves, for example, require 2 feet of depth and another 2 feet of room in front for access. These details will help you plan a garage that is large enough.

Sometimes, a three-car garage is ideal for a two-car family, because it provides the added space for storage without the need to cram too tightly. Weigh your options, vehicles and storage needs, and ensure that the space is large enough to meet them.

2. Choose the Right Door

The garage door is an important part of your overall garage design. Not only should it match the style of your home, but it should also provide excellent function for your garage. Many homeowners will choose a door with windows to allow natural light in, but be careful: Windows can also show potential thieves what you are housing inside your garage, tempting them to try to get inside. If you choose windows, opt for opaque windows that will allow light in without making the contents of your garage visible.

As you shop for a door, account for insulation as well. Since your garage will be part of your home, heating your garage will not be difficult, but a poorly insulated door will cause much of that energy to be wasted. Think about investing in a door with factory-foamed insulation to ensure you are not losing much of your heating and cooling energy out of the garage door. These thicker doors are filled with foamed-in-place urethane to provide a high insulation level, helping your garage stay comfortable when you are working on projects.

3. Add Built-In Organization

Instead of adding organization and storage to your garage after your home is finished, contemplate adding it to the design from the beginning of your home. Create spaces inside your garage to store items you only need seasonally, like your holiday decor. Hang hooks and baskets from pegboards on the wall to store gardening supplies, fertilizers and outdoor chemicals. Consider leaving a space and wiring properly so you can add an extra refrigerator or freezer in the garage. Does your new home plan have a fireplace? Craft a space in your garage to store wood. Does your family have bikes and other outdoor toys? Build overhead hanging racks or wall hooks to store these on. Built-in cabinets and shelves add function and aesthetics to the space, and these are easier to add during the initial building process than after the garage is finished.

Today’s garage is multifunctional. It serves as storage, a place to park the car, and even a place for additional living space. As you plan your home’s design, make sure you plan for the design of the garage as well — so it will become a functional space and an asset to your newly built home.

Author Bio
With more than 20 years of experience in the residential stock house plan industry, Chuck Tripp is currently the Sales & Marketing Director of Donald A. Gardner Architects, Inc., a residential house plans company that has been developing floor plans since 1978.

Best Summer Landscaping Tips

Keeping your landscape healthy, green and attractive throughout the hottest part of summer is easy, provided you know all the right tricks. Want to know the best ways to keep your gardens growing and flowers blooming despite the summer heat? The following tips will show you how to help your landscape thrive all summer:

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1. Know When to Prune

With some trees and shrubs, you can wait until fall or winter to prune. In fact, the University of Minnesota recommends that you prune many trees during the last stages of winter while the trees are still dormant. The exceptions are sap-heavy trees like maples, butternuts and birch trees.

In the summer, however, you’ll need to focus your attention on the ornamentals that bloom early in the spring. Azaleas, lilacs, forsythia and anything else that blooms early needs plenty of time to recuperate before winter so that you have a good flush of blooms during the following spring. For these plants, start pruning after the blooms fade but don’t prune any later than the end of July. As a bonus, because early blooming plants devote more energy to producing new branches once they’ve been pruned, you’ll be rewarded with a flush of fresh greenery to enjoy over the summer.

2. Mow to the Right Height

In the spring, grass can take a little more abuse, simply because the extra moisture in the ground helps it recover after a harsh mowing. As the weather heats and the soil dries, you’ll need to be a little more particular about mowing. Make sure that you never remove more than one-third of your lawn’s height, even if that means you need to raise the mower deck. This will prevent stress to your lawn, which in turn keeps your lawn green and healthy rather than brown and parched.

3. Deadhead Your Flowers

Deadheading seems like a no-brainer — it gets rid of all the ugly, lifeless blooms. However, there’s an even more important reason to keep up with the deadheading. Flowers, whether annual or perennial, put a lot of energy into seed production. Let some flowers go to seed, and you’ll have far fewer blooms for the rest of the summer, whereas if you pluck the spent flowers, the plant will release chemical signals to increase bloom production.

4. Top Your Mulch

If you’re like most people, you do your mulching in the spring. Between rains, wind, transplanting and weeding, however, some of that mulch can disappear in a matter of weeks. Keep in mind that mulch is doubly important in the summer — not only does it give your gardens a neat, weed-free look, but according to Cornell University, mulched soils can retain twice as much water as bare soil. In addition, the soil will stay eight to 13 degrees cooler, which is good for your plants’ root systems. With that thought in mind, buy a few bags of mulch and top your beds wherever necessary.

5. Tend to Your Cool-Season Vegetables

Come July, certain crops in your vegetable garden — cool weather crops like peas, cabbage and broccoli — should be finished for the season. With those plants out of your vegetable garden, you can do three things with the extra space:

  • Mulch the empty beds to keep the weeds down and help prepare the soil for the next year.
  • Replant cool season vegetables for a fall crop.
  • Plant cover crops to help enrich and soften the soil.

If you try cover crops, look for late season crops like radishes, wheat and rye. Plant them thickly, and these crops will choke weeds even as they improve your vegetable beds.

6. Pick the Right Time to Water

Should you water daily, weekly or not at all? The answer to that question depends on the amount of rain your region has received and the water requirements of the plants within your landscape.

However, if you do need to water, then always water as early as you can in the morning. The logic behind this is two-fold: Watering early gives the moisture more time to soak into the soil before the heat of the day evaporates it, but at the same time, leaves will have enough time to dry, which makes it harder for diseases and fungal infections to take hold.

With these tips, you can easily keep your summertime landscape healthy and lush without a lot of fuss. As the weather gets hotter, relax and enjoy all the hard work that led to your gorgeous landscape.

Author Bio

Rick Ryan is the owner and president of All Valley Landscaping. With more than 21 years of experience in landscape renovations Rick is a certified expert in the construction industry, including: landscape renovations, yard renovations and exterior home, tree trimming and removal services and sprinkler repair and installations.

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Five Essential Elements of a Great Home Theater Room

An opulent home theater room isn’t just the ultimate way to enjoy your favorite films; it is also a trophy item that adds thousands of dollars to the value of the home. Although you undoubtedly want to build the best home theater possible, quality is costly and your expenses can quickly spiral out of control. When planning your home theater budget, consider these five essential elements without which no home theater would be complete.

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Screen

Although it goes without saying that every home theater requires a screen, it might not be obvious to you that the type of screen you select will impact the viewing experience significantly. For example, many large LCD screens exhibit poor color saturation for viewers seated too far to one side. On the other hand, projection screens — while relatively inexpensive — work poorly in rooms with too much ambient light.

You’ll also need to consider the size of the screen. Although a 42-inch screen might seem large in your living room, it wouldn’t suffice for most home theaters. If your home theater room is already built, you can experiment with various screen sizes before making a purchase. Have two volunteers hold a tape measure diagonally where you plan to position the screen and imagine yourself viewing films on a display of that size. If you are still unsure, buy the largest screen you can afford. Few people have ever complained about a screen that was too large.

Sound System and Acoustics

Positional audio is one of the most magical elements of the theater viewing experience. Whether it is the left-to-right “whoosh” of a starship at warp speed or floorboards creaking beneath the feet of a zombie that seems to be perched just behind you, nothing puts you in the middle of the action like a great sound system. The 7.1 audio standard — three front speakers, four rear speakers and a subwoofer — is arguably the most popular among home theater owners. Remember that you’ll also need a receiver capable of processing surround-encoded audio and sending it to the correct speakers; you won’t hear positional audio if you connect your speakers to a stereo receiver.

Likewise, pay careful attention to the acoustics of your home theater; this may be even more important than speaker selection. Carpeted floors and walls are common in home theaters because they deaden the sound and prevent echoes. If your home theater is comprised primarily of smooth wood or tile, you can minimize errant echoes by hanging sound baffles from the wall and ceiling. Without proper acoustics, you won’t be able to hear the fine audio details in your films and may even have trouble discerning dialogue; don’t skip this step. If your home theater setup includes a computer or projector with a fan, make sure that it is completely isolated from the viewing area.

Seating

Comfort is the primary factor to consider when selecting the seating for your home theater. A chair or couch that fails to provide proper back support and cushioning for the buttocks and legs will cause discomfort and disrupt blood circulation to the lower extremities, forcing viewers to fidget or stand frequently. The material used to upholster the seating is also critical; you wouldn’t expect your guests to sit perfectly still while watching films. Select a material that doesn’t make loud noises when a viewer changes positions and make sure that errant spills and popcorn kernels are easy to wipe away.

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When shopping for seating, you’ve likely noticed a large price discrepancy between “affordable” and “premium” furniture. Generally, chairs at the low end of the price spectrum have particle board frames and plastic fasteners while more expensive seating uses solid wood and metal. In short order, a chair of poor quality will begin to sag and squeak as the frame loosens and the cushioning loses resiliency.

Wireless Controls

Modern data storage technology makes it possible for even budget computer hard drives to store hundreds of high-definition films. More than ever, people are adding computers to their home theaters to avoid disc swapping and to enjoy games and streaming media. This presents a problem, though; if you isolate a noisy computer and storage array from the viewing area in your home theater, you’ll need to control the computer wirelessly. Bluetooth keyboards only function properly within a few feet and an infrared keyboard only works with a clear line of sight to a receiver. As an alternative, use software that utilizes a smartphone or tablet to control your computer over a wireless network.

Bear in mind that it is possible to go too far with wireless home theater systems. Thanks to modern technologies such as 802.11n and Bluetooth, it is possible to transmit audio and video streams over the air, eliminating costly and messy cables. However, this convenience comes at a cost as these streams are compressed before transmission. If you choose to go completely wireless with your home theater, audio and video fidelity will suffer slightly.

Refreshments

You probably have fond memories of your favorite box of candy or the unmistakable smell of movie theater popcorn. Before you add refreshments to your home theater, though, consider the type of environment you want to create. If you want an intimate home theater focused solely on film viewing, a simple refrigerator and cabinet filled with snacks and bottled beverages will suffice. On the other hand, some people prefer home theaters that function as all-around entertainment areas including such elements as a bar and pool table. In this case, you may want to add popcorn and soda machines.

When selecting refreshment options for your home theater, remember that popcorn has a persistent smell easily absorbed by carpets and cushions and nearly impossible to remove. If you don’t want your home theater to smell like popcorn, don’t purchase a popcorn machine. In addition, make sure that alcoholic beverages can be securely locked away if children are allowed unsupervised access.

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3 Brilliant Ways to Upgrade Your Backyard

Your backyard is an extension of your home, so why not treat is as such? Renovating your backyard will not only increase your home value, it will expand your living space and your enjoyment of your home. Here are three stellar upgrades that can transform your backyard from boring to breathtaking.

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  1. Install a rain garden. Do you have problems with rainwater runoff, or want to camouflage an unattractive downspout area on your house? Are you concerned about the quality of lakes and streams in your area? Or, are you simply looking for a low-maintenance way to beautify your yard? A rain garden is an excellent solution to all three.

A rain garden is an area of your yard where rainwater is directed and allowed to sink naturally into the ground. It is a perfect alternative to a retention pond because it doesn’t breed mosquitos. Rain gardens also help the environment by reducing flooding, erosion, and surface water pollution, and by helping maintain the water table. Because of this, some cities now offer rebates to help cover the cost of installing a rain garden.

Most rain gardens use native plants that require little or no care. With careful plant selection they can be a beautiful addition to the landscape. This makes them an ideal backyard upgrade for busy people. As a bonus, rain gardens are a haven for butterflies and birds. Consider adding a garden bench to your rain garden so you can enjoy their antics!

  1. Add an outdoor entertainment area. Do you wish you had more space for entertaining? Expanding your living space into your backyard can be quite cost-effective compared to building an addition to your home. Outdoor spaces also lend themselves to parties and gatherings, especially if you include a fire ring or grill.

Your outdoor entertainment area can be as simple as an open patio with some attractive patio furniture and a nice grill. It can also be as elaborate as your budget and imagination allow. How about a pool, outdoor kitchen and bar, an outdoor fireplace, lighting to illuminate pathways and steps, a sandbox or child-sized table for the kids, or even a built-in flat-screen TV? The possibilities abound, and a good landscape professional can help you bring your ideas to life.

  1. Grow a potager garden. Leave it to the French to find a way to enjoy great food while still looking fabulous. “Potager” is French for edible, and a potager garden is an ornamental kitchen garden that provides a feast for the eyes as well as fresh, succulent produce for the table. Originating during the French Renaissance, these gardens combine vegetables and small fruits with flowers and herbs, and are carefully designed for beauty and aesthetics.

When designing your potager garden, think of it as a place to relax and enjoy life as well as grow food. Including arbors, winding paths, and outdoor furniture such as benches or a patio table and chairs will add to its inviting quality. How about a bird bath, sundial or gazing ball? Add a small fruit tree or two and train vining plants up trellises to add levels to your garden design. Don’t forget to plant lots of flowers and fragrant herbs in between your veggies!

Next time you look out at your boring backyard, don’t just sigh and turn away. Whether you are looking for a low-maintenance facelift for your yard, a place to entertain family and guests, or a beautiful source of fresh food for your table, imagine how your home life would change with an improved backyard — and then start planning how you will transform yours!

 

About the author:

Jessica Kyriakos is Brand Manager for Webcoat, Inc. in McAlester, OK. She has 15 years of experience in the site furnishing industry, which brought her to her current role at the company. Webcoat provides durable, economical and comfortable amenity designs to furnish your outdoor space.

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5 Ways to Improve Storage and Organization in Your Home

It is extremely easy to get caught up in a cycle of disorganization. Most homes do not have adequate closet space, so storage is a major challenge. However, a few tips will help a home get more organized and become less messy.

1. Turn Toy Room Nightmares into a Dream Space
A child’s playroom is probably the messiest space in the house. Usually small toy pieces are everywhere. It is possible to create an organized place for a child to play. To maximize space, it is wise to net stuffed animals from the ceiling. This keeps them out of the way but within reach. Most parents opt for a toy box, but this rarely works. A child digs to the bottom and leaves behind a big mess. Instead, it is smart to invest in clear bins. Since a child can see the contents, there will be no need to disrupt everything at one time. Each container can be labeled as well. If a child is too young to read, the labels can be made of pictures.

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2. Clothes for All Seasons
Most people have clothing that does not fit into the closet. There are numerous ways to organize a bedroom closet to make the most of every inch of space. Hanging organizers will work well for shoes and accessories, but an even better solution is a complete closet system. This includes drawers, cubby storage, and hanging bars that ensure everything has a dedicated place. It is important to avoid too many shelves. Even though they seem helpful, they take up precious space. Also, having them placed too high can make it difficult to remove and neatly stack items.

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To keep things organized, it is important to group items according to color and style. For example, dress pants should be kept separate from jeans, and polo shirts should be in a different place than long sleeve dress shirts. Shoes should be neatly stacked in rows on the bottom of the closet.

Each season requires different types of clothes. It makes no sense to keep sweaters in the closet during the summer. Since space is limited, it becomes necessary to find an alternative place to keep them until winter. A great idea is to purchase tupperware containers that can slide under the bed. This is also a great place to keep comforters and sheets as well.

3. Entry Door Storage Solutions
When a person enters the home, he or she is likely to take off his or her shoes and jacket. It is important to have a place to hang and keep these items out of the way. With a large family, it is common to see piles of shoes all over the house. To hide the clutter and keep things neat, it is wise to create a space with built in hooks and cubbies. These pieces of furniture come pre-made, but it is also possible to build a custom piece that fits specific measurements. It is simple to gather a few cabinets, beadboard, and a shelf to assemble a simple place to sit, take off shoes, place them neatly, and hang coats, purses, and backpacks.

4. Organize the Kitchen
Kitchens are heavily used, so it is essential to keep things neatly tucked away for mealtime. To keep the pantry in order, it is essential to create a space that conveniently displays contents. Shelves, baskets, and drawers will keep things looking tidy and easy to find. Instead of organizing containers according to size, it is better to group them according to contents. For example, cans of soup and vegetables should be placed apart from snack foods.

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Besides storing food, the kitchen is filled with all sorts of pots, pans and other cooking devices. Since cupboards are usually filled with dishes and cups, it is important to find furniture that is functional and creates more storage. One of the smartest pieces of furniture for the kitchen is a mobile island. Not only can it be used for extra counter space to prepare food, it usually contains drawers and cabinets that can store extra items out of sight. Since it is not permanent, it can be moved anywhere. It is a great place to keep small appliances from cluttering the counter tops. Some larger kitchens have ornate hutches that add beauty to the room and also create a place for loose items. It is possible to find a piece that is made from wood for a traditional look or metal for a more modern feel.

5. Garage Junk
It seems that people store everything but cars in a garage. To clean up the space and make it more useful, there are certain tips to follow. A garage usually houses garden equipment, tools, and other junk that has no place in the house. Determining a functional garage layout is key to organization. Installing built-in cabinets and modular storage is a smart idea. These can house sporting equipment, gardening supplies, and holiday decorations. Cabinets should be sized appropriately and include mounted pegboards. This will make best use of the space and allow items to hang from the walls. Some people enjoy shelving units that are sturdy enough to store bulk items like pet foods and large containers of cleaning supplies. Adding a workbench against the wall will create a space for projects. Having a dedicated area will increase the odds of completing tasks before moving onto something else.

Home organization does not need to be complicated. The above ideas are just a few ways to declutter the area and effectively store things neatly. It creates a pleasant space that has increased function and helps a person become more productive.

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5 Ways to Modernize Your Pool Area

Are you ready to stop dreaming about creating a personal oasis in your outdoor space and make it happen? These 5 spectacular add-ons and build-ins are virtually guaranteed to turn even the drabbest backyard into a resort-quality retreat:

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1. Swim-Up Bar with a Sunken Patio

With this design option, there’s no reason for anyone to feel left out of the party just because they can’t bear to get out of the pool. A strategically placed bar allows everyone to enjoy a cool, refreshing drink and a little conversation poolside by integrating underwater seating on one side and a sunken patio on the other. Don’t forget an extra-large market umbrella for shade; it will keep your guests and bartender just as cool as that clear, blue water while it adds to the festive atmosphere.

This sleek, contemporary design option is a smart way to use a rolling landscape to your advantage, but it’s also possible to create a dual-purpose bar on even the most level space with a little excavation and sturdy retaining walls. To stay safe, use break-resistant drinkware.

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2. Grottos and Shaded Caves

On the hottest summer days, even the coolest pool water isn’t a match for the unrelenting heat of the sun. Update your pool with a natural-looking grotto complete with a cascading waterfall for a relaxing retreat that will calm your mind while it provides welcome relief from the high temperatures.

Grottos vary from small, cave-like recesses that can shade one or two people from the sun to full caverns with multiple entrances, dramatic lighting and convenient ledges. These areas can provide complete privacy and an exotic atmosphere in addition to protection from the sun.

The most attractive grottos have a natural, seamless appearance that blends in perfectly with the surrounding environment. If your pool area doesn’t incorporate natural or natural-looking stone, you can create this design feature using poured concrete with rock facing paired with complementary boulders and greenery.

3. A Multi-Functional Outdoor Living Space

With today’s modern amenities, there’s absolutely no reason to ever take the party inside. Weather-proof outdoor furniture and carpeting is every bit as attractive and comfortable as anything designed for indoor use, and you can complete your poolside entertainment area with a retractable high-definition TV so that no one has to make a choice between catching the big game or spending time with friends and family around the pool. Position the screen just right and you won’t even have to get out of the pool to view the action.

On cool days or nights, take the chill off with a poolside fireplace or build a fully integrated seating area with a fire pit that extends out into the pool for cozy chats or some quiet contemplation. Even if it’s too cold to swim, this type of add-on allows you to take full advantage of your new outdoor living space.

4. Protective Domes and Enclosures

The clear ceilings and screened walls used in modern pool enclosures protect swimmers from insects and rain without taking away from the natural beauty of a thoughtfully landscaped pool area so that you can fully enjoy your pool even when the weather isn’t picture perfect. Pool enclosure designs range from permanent screened-in structures to fully retractable glass that can turn your outdoor pool into an indoor recreational area at the flip of a switch.

In addition to increasing the time you can use your pool, domes and enclosures protect finishes and prevent leaves and other debris from falling or blowing into the pool to keep your water cleaner and cut down on the time it takes to complete routine maintenance.

5. Waterpark-Quality Slides

Bars, fire pits and grottos are great for the adults, but let’s not forget the young and the young at heart. Nothing’s more fun than sliding into the pool, especially when you consider the many features that are now available. Today’s options deliver waterpark-quality experiences to backyard pools with attractive slides that appear to be carved out of the landscape.

Some of the most sought-after features include free-flowing water inside the slide to reduce friction, waterfalls that drench the slider and curves and drops to add excitement. With carefully-planned lighting, thoughtful placement and a sophisticated design, a waterslide will tempt the biggest thrill seekers in your group while adding to the visual appeal of your modern pool area.

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How to Choose the Best Leather Furniture for Your Living Room

With its durability and classic look, leather furniture is quite popular for living room seating. Yet deciding that you want a leather seating option in your living room is just the first step. As you begin shopping, you will find a large number of options are available for those investing in leather. Here are some tips to help you choose the right leather furniture for your living room.

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Choose By Leather Type

Not all leathers are created equal, and understanding the different types will help you make the best possible decision. Here are some common types of leather:

  • Pigmented: Pigmented leather works great for growing families, as it has a shiny outer coat that resists stains. This is a lower-grade leather that has been dyed to cover color imperfections and may come in a range of modern hues.
  • Full-grain: The highest quality of leather, this type is not processed at all. It is a tough, durable leather for furniture. The high cost comes from the challenge of getting uniform color without treating the leather.
  • Aniline: Full-grain, dyed leather that is one of the softest and most supple options. This leather can fade if kept in direct sunlight.
  • Split-grain: This is the “genuine leather” you typically see in stores. It comes from the lower half of the hides, so it is less durable and somewhat softer than the full-grain option.

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To determine the type of leather you need, you must first determine where you will be using the furniture an what the conditions in your living room will be like.

Choose the Right Style

Leather is a material that lasts for decades, and as such, you want to choose a style that is fairly timeless. Also, choose a piece designed to hold up well over years of use. Nothing would be worse than investing in a piece of leather furniture, only to have the frame fall apart before the leather does.

Next, decide whether you want a large piece or an accent piece. A full leather couch can make a bold statement in your living room and provide ample seating for all your needs. On the other hand, a leather accent chair can add some warmth and a classic look to a neglected corner in your home. You can even find comfortable recliners, sectional sofas and ottomans in leather.

Choose the Right Color

When most people think of leather, they think of shades of brown and black, but leather can come in a variety of classic and trendy colors. Choose a color that matches your tastes, but remember to keep timelessness in mind. That lime green leather chair may be all the rage today, but in 20 years it might look dated. A trendy color combined with a classic design can be a pleasing compromise. Of course, for an ultra-modern look, you can choose both a contemporary frame and  a contemporary color.

Caring for the Leather

Once you have invested in a piece of leather furniture, keeping it well cared for is crucial. Properly cleaning and conditioning your leather is going to keep it beautiful and soft for many years to come. Start with a non-toxic cleaning product, then add a natural conditioning product to put moisture back into the leather. This will help your new piece of living room furniture become an heirloom in your home.

About the author:

Jim McGowen is the founder of Leather Honey, which manufactures Leather Honey Leather Conditioner, the #1 selling leather care product on Amazon.com. The company’s new product, Leather Honey Leather Cleaner, is designed to gently clean the leather before conditioning, and in between conditioner applications.

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7 Must Haves in Your Master Bedroom

Your master bedroom should be your oasis. Designed properly, it can be your place to retreat after the workday is over, the house chores are done and the kids are in bed. You want this room, above all your others, to be peaceful and serene, a place you look forward to spending time in at the end of the day and one that promotes a good night’s sleep.

Attractive and serene master bedrooms are also great selling features when it comes time to put your home on the market. Prospective buyers will be drawn to your home (over others in the neighborhood) if they can imagine themselves relaxing in your bedroom retreat.

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Seven must-haves for your master bedroom

To create this inviting, peaceful ambiance in your master bedroom, you’ll want to be sure to add a few of the following must-haves:

1. Walk-in closets and a dressing area. Few people ever have enough closet space. Creating a luxury walk-in closet and dressing area makes it easy to find your clothes, shoes and accessories and helps to take some of the stress out of getting ready for work in the morning. You can add extras such as a full-length mirror, jewelry trays and shoe racks if space permits.

2. A balcony or patio. A small balcony or patio off your master bedroom with French doors leading outside can help you relax after a long day, or give you a peaceful moment away from the family where you can sip your coffee in the morning. There’s something soothing about listening to the birds wake up and watching the sun creep above the horizon.

3. A sitting area. Today’s master bedrooms aren’t just about sleeping. A separate sitting area gives you a place to relax when it’s too cold or too dark to sit out on your balcony. Such an area needs one or two over-stuffed comfortable chairs, a good lamp and a side table to hold your book, reading glasses and coffee mug.

4. Three points of light. The conventional design theory is that every room should have at least three sources of light. This adds to the warmth and structure of the room and creates a welcoming mood. Three sources of light are especially important in a master bedroom because the room plays multiple roles. Soft bedside lighting helps to create a peaceful mood for evenings. More powerful overhead lights are useful for dressing in the morning, and directed lighting, such as a lamp or recessed bullet lights, are necessary for reading or other projects.

5. Window treatments that block the light. Luxury window treatments not only add to the elegance of your master bedroom, but they can help to block out the sunlight, allowing you to get a more restful night’s sleep. This is especially useful if your bedroom has windows that face east. One good way to achieve this is to hang layers of window treatments, such as sheers to block direct sunlight during the day and heavier draperies with a sun blocker backing that can be drawn at night.

6. Luxury bedding. Luxury bedding can make going to bed a treat. High quality linens in a single color or coordinating hues create a feeling of comfort and envelop you with luxury. A high-end mattress is also a good investment, according to many design professionals.

7. Plush rugs or carpeting. No one wants to get out of bed in the morning and step on a cold hardwood floor, no matter how lovely it is. Instead, opt for plush carpet you can sink your toes into in the bedroom, even if you choose hardwood in the rest of your home. If you can’t live without the look of maple, cherry or pine planks in your bedroom, cover up all but the edges with an area rug with a deep pile.

Creating a master bedroom that you’ll look forward to spending time in doesn’t have to be involved or expensive. Certainly, things like adding a balcony or a walk-in closet are best decided when you build your home. However, there are myriad smaller things you can do, such as adding more light and splurging on luxury bedding, that will transform your ho-hum bedroom into a luxury oasis.

This article is brought to you buy Curtis Homes, a semi-custom home builder of Southern Maryland Communities. For over 50 years Curtis has been providing premium homes and townhomes with the customer at the forefront.

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Great Patio Cover Design Options – Pergola, Closed Roof, Gazebo, Canopy, Screened In

An attractive patio cover serves to define your outdoor living space and will increase the value and appeal of your home. A patio cover’s primary purpose is to provide shade from the sun’s scorching rays and shelter from light rainfall. The structure will also preserve the beauty of outdoor furniture, barbecue grills and other belongings as it protects them from weather damage.

Patio covers come in a variety of styles, from simple and streamlined overhead slabs that rest on support posts to elaborately constructed fixtures that evoke images of an ornate Greek or Tuscan villa. When contemplating the choices, it is important to choose a patio cover that will compliment the overall design style of the house’s exterior so that the two flow together naturally. Begin by pondering these five popular patio cover design options.

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1. Pergola
Pergolas are freestanding structures that can be custom built to situate over patios, driveways, walkways and decks. Their appeal as a patio cover comes from the characterizing network of crossbeams overhead that allow limited amounts of sunlight to stream through. Vertical support posts enable climbing plants to intertwine and grow up the posts and across the overhead beams. This creates a natural canopy of beauty as such climbers as variegated ivy, roses, morning glories, wisteria and other attractive blooms and foliage adorn the framework. Pergolas may be constructed of wood, vinyl, fiberglass or metal and come in an array of structural designs. An open corner of the pergola can be partially enclosed with a lattice wall for additional shade and a privacy shield. The look of a pergola provides a timeless, European-inspired focal point.

2. Closed Roof
This patio cover design is typically an attached structure that is built onto the house. The roof is constructed from wood beams and may be covered with shingles to match those of the house’s roof. Support posts may be constructed of wood, vinyl or a combination of wood and masonry. The effect is a sturdy structure with rustic appeal, offering full protection from sunlight and precipitation. The inner beams of the roof are exposed, providing anchors for installing overhead lighted ceiling fans once electrical power has been incorporated into the structure. Colorful blooms in baskets, whimsical birdhouses or melodic wind chimes hung from outer perimeter beams add decorative personal touch.

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3. Gazebo
Many homeowners opt for a gazebo to cover a portion of a large patio or deck. Covering the outdoor dining area, for example, allows for eating in the shade without shrouding the entire patio area from sunshine. Gazebos are pavilion-like structures that can be round, square or octagonal in perimeter shape and are crowned with a pointed roof. Gazebos feature half walls with vertical posts in between these walls and the roof. Some gazebos offer built-in bench seating along the inner edges and ornate railing for embellishment. The ornamental look is a statement of cottage charm.

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4. Canopy
Similar to the tent structures seen at outdoor events, a canopy provides shade and shelter by way of a large sheet of fabric that is draped over a simple frame structure and secured decoratively at each corner post. The fabric is woven with durable, weather-resistant material and comes in a variety of color choices, from elegant neutral cream or taupe to bold hues to match the painted trim of the home. The fabric may be easily swapped out when a new replacement becomes necessary or a change of color is desired. This economical option provides a look that is light and airy. Due to the limitation of solid structure, hanging items or installing light fixtures is not an option.

5. Screened In Patios
As an increasing number of homeowners embrace the concept of outdoor living and entertaining, covering the patio with a complete, screened-in enclosure is becoming more favorable. Like the aforementioned closed roof design, this option is an attached construction that is built onto the house. The roof is a closed outer design that may be covered in shingles and from which a lighted ceiling fan may be hung from the exposed inner rafters. Half walls surround the perimeter of the patio and screens are attached to the vertical posts between the wall and the roof. This full enclosure not only offers protection from the elements, it also serves as a barrier against unwelcome insects and blowing leaves and keeps toddlers and pets corralled while playing in the fresh air. This design offers the ultimate protection for outdoor furniture, cushions and area rugs, allowing for more luxurious seating and decorative options for your outdoor room.

Once you have made your patio cover selection and furnished this new additional living space, you will be rewarded with a fresh air retreat where your family can revel in an extended season of outdoor enjoyment.

Get free patio cover estimates by filling out the form on the upper right hand side of this page.

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3 Modern Tile Ideas Trending for Today’s Homeowners – Porcelain Wood, Painted Glass and Faux Stone

To change the look and feel of a home without spending huge money on renovations, homeowners are turning to tiles. From country to modern to chic, every type of design aesthetic can be updated with new tiles.

Porcelain Wood Tiles
Porcelain tiles that emulate wood grain are the newest trends available to homeowners (also known as “faux wood”). It has been building for a few years with tiles being introduced as a modern update to wood floors. Now, wood tiles come in different shapes and sizes. From walls to floors to ceilings, porcelain wood tiles are being used all over the home. Mixed wood tiles are the newest trends in wood. Light tiles that appear distressed and aged are popular. It can transform a kitchen or bath into a coastal-cottage inspired home design. It’s the new and improved shabby chic look.

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With the popularity of reclaimed wood, homeowners want that aged patina in their homes, but it can be difficult to find the perfect piece without scouring the countryside personally. Wood tile gives homeowners choices that they wouldn’t be able to find naturally. Colors of porcelain wood tiles range from faded-blue, weathered-gray and light brown to white, rust or tan. Weathered, peeling and distressed wood has hazards like paint chips, lead from old paint or splinters. With wood tile, homeowners get all the good attributes of weathered wood with none of the bad.

Painted Glass
Instead of glass mosaic tiles, homeowners now get a more ethereal tile choice for the bathroom or as a tile for the back splash in the kitchen. The back of the glass tile is painted with the color of choice. This gives the tile a shiny patina that fits in with polished kitchens. High-gloss counter tops and shiny appliances are a growing trend that allows the addition of these stunning pieces of glass. These glass tiles fit in with modern kitchen designs quite beautifully.

In the bathroom, these glass tiles can add to the feel of a seaside retreat. Popular color choices like blue, green or sand can make the homeowner feel like they are in a cottage by the sea. It gives an added dimension that can’t be matched with traditional tiles.

Faux Stone
Homeowners that might want the look of stone flooring without the disadvantages are turning to a ceramic alternative. Faux stone has the timeless appearance of traditional slate, travertine or sandstone flooring with none of the hassles.

Natural stone needs to be sealed against damage repeated through the life of the floor, and still after sealing, it is not completely resistant to chemicals or stains. Something as simple as lemon juice can stain a natural stone floor. Each natural stone tile might be a different color than the next. There’s no real uniformity to the color scheme of the tiles. For some homeowners, that can present a design problem.

Faux stone tiles are easier to install. They are stain-resistant without the constant sealing that natural stone requires. They cost less to buy and to install than natural stone. They are becoming a natural choice for homeowners who don’t want the fuss or expense of natural stone floors, walls or counter tops. Faux stone tiles can be used to create a floor or a wall with uniform color and design.

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Paint Color Psychology – How Certain Home Colors Affect People

People have their own color likes and dislikes depending on their individual character and growth phase. There is a cycle of changing colors that affect our body and mind through different periods of life. These are reflected in our changing color preferences.

Decorating with color can be a little daunting, as the colors say a lot about your character. Picking the right colors for your home is just as important as picking colors for your clothes and it is key to set the kind of atmosphere you need for your home.

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How Shades of Blue and Green Affect Your Home Atmosphere
A soft blue would be a good choice for a living room or library, considering its soothing properties. Lighter blues will surely stimulate the atmosphere of your home and help you think clearly, while softer blues can have a soothing effect to help you focus. Blue is known to have sedative effects and is considered as an intellectual color.
Green sits right in the middle of the spectrum and hits your eye in a manner that needs no adjustment. Thus it immediately gives the atmosphere a sense of balance and calm. Green has a similar effect on your home atmosphere as blue as it also has a calming effect.

When building or remodeling a house many home builders often use different specters of colors to make specific effects in different room. Colors will change your home atmosphere through your perception. As you can see, the biggest factor in creating atmosphere in your home is you and your feelings, so decorate your home with colors that make you feel comfortable and at peace.

How Yellows and Reds Change Your Home Atmosphere
The best benefit of having red color in your home is that it can give your home an atmosphere energy, warmth and strength. Each color has its own wavelength and red has the longest of all wavelengths. Red is the strongest color because it has the longest wavelength.

Although red is often a symbol of risk, in China, red is color for joy, and in many people use it in wedding ceremonies as a symbol of purity.

Yellow is the color with second largest wavelength and is considered as the most stimulating color. Yellow will give an atmosphere of a friendly feeling and helps to set a mood of innovation.

Since yellow is a brilliant color and is a color that can amplify the light, decorating your house with yellow color, will give it a happy and awake atmosphere.

How Can Colors Affect the Moods of People of Various Age Groups?

Elderly People and Colors
Older persons may fit well with soft pastels. Peaches, apricots, warn tans, terracotta and pink can also be used to awaken their mood and mind. Softer shades of red and orange are warming and can help with circulation and energy levels.

Teens
Black, if used, needs to be mixed with other colors, as it is not beneficial for emotional development. Teens sometimes go through an identity crisis and often use black to hide this because they feel it’s cool.
Citrus greens and bold blues also provide some peace and release of pressure. Red is good for this age group – it expresses sexual vigor and extreme energy.

Older Children
Different shades of blue-greens work as study / learning colors. They create stimulation energy when combined with yellow-creams and minor amounts of orange-yellow.

It is good practice to avoid geometric patterns on the walls or curtains, as they are usually distracting.

Very Young Children
Bright, intense colors like dark red, yellow and orange have shown signs of disrupting sleeping patterns and have also been known to bring young children to crying more easily. Strong, bright colors have the effect of shocking child’s internal steadiness and can make the child anxious and restless.

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5 Decorative Ideas For a Budget-friendly Bathroom Makeover

Updating the bathroom is one of the most popular home improvements for homeowners to undertake. After all, a bathroom makeover does have quite a bit of impact on a home’s value. However, even though the remodeling cost vs. value report for 2013 list bathroom remodels as one of the projects yielding the best returns on investment in 2013, renovating a bathroom can often be very expensive. Thankfully, it is not impossible to make it look like you spent $25,000 remodeling your bathroom when you really only spent a fraction of the cost.

Use Extended Light Fixtures

Old light fixtures can date a bathroom as well, and any improvement on the lighting in your bathroom will make a huge difference. If you have a medicine cabinet, you may want to install wall light fixtures with a long neck that place the lights above and in front of the mirror. If you have a large ornate mirror, you will want to side light it.

Consider sprucing up your vanity

Like with the light fixtures, vanities can end up looking dated as the years go by. While you can find a stylish bathroom vanity at practically any home improvement store; refurbishing your old vanity instead can save you a little extra money and still get rid of the dated look. Most vanities can easily be repainted and things like tilting the mirror or changing the fixtures or can have an enormous impact on the look and feel of your space without going over budget.

Don’t forget about your countertop

Not too long ago, things like granite countertops were pretty expensive perks to consider for the average home makeover project. Thankfully, you can now obtain granite tops for under $400 at most home improvement stores; some even come with an unattached, under-mount sink. In addition, less expensive varieties such as laminate still make the most sense when trying to remain within budget. This is especially true now that laminate countertops can now mimic the look of granite.

Add a splash of art

You may want to consider giving your bathroom and new touch of elegance and visual appeal with a splash of art for the bath. Just like it does in any other room of a home, art can complete the style and look of your bathroom makeover. With art in the bathroom, the general rule is it should be behind glass in order to avoid getting splashed but remember, humidity is an issue so you may want to ask the framer about hanging original art in a humid environment before doing so.

Bathroom tile can also be a potent design weapon when you want to create a unique look. Like with most mosaics, the almost limitless compilations of tile styles can inspire you to create a totally unique bathroom tile pattern that enhances the room’s ambiance through color, texture and pattern.

Plan for adequate storage

Finally, one of the things I find true of every home makeover is that storage is a problem in pretty much every room. With that being said, make sure you take time to visit stores like the Pottery Barn, the Container Store and Ikea for a huge selection of aesthetic and design friendly storage solutions.

About the author

Alex is a writer, husband, father and aspiring urban fantasy novelist. When he isn’t writing for HomeDaddys or completing chores from his “honey- do” list, he’s most likely spending quality time with his wife and kids or working on his novel.

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Awesome Kitchen Decor Ideas as We Transition in to Summer

It’s almost summer and for many homeowners this is the best time to spruce up their home decor for a more summery look. This need for sprucing up may be especially urgent if the rooms have been looking a bit drab and outmoded of late. One room that can really use a spring and summer makeover is the kitchen. Here are some ideas to help a kitchen welcome the warm weather.

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Area Rugs
These rugs can be quite beautiful and don’t merely have to be functional. They can be made out of colorful rags, like traditional Swedish rag rugs or be striped in different bright colors. They not only provide color and interest but protect the floor.

Kitchen Table and Island Centerpieces
Flowers aren’t the only things that make beautiful centerpieces. Fruit and vegetables can also make wonderful pieces that may be placed on your island or kitchen table. A nice display would be a group of Transvaal daisies in an urn-shaped, milk glass vase, a tiny, green porcelain vase that holds just one yellow rose, a straight-sided vase full of white, red, yellow and orange ranunculus and a white, porcelain footed bowl full of fresh, ripe peaches.

A single, shallow bowl of red or green apples or walnuts is also good. Not only are these centerpieces good to look at, they’re also good to eat. The same is true, of course, for the peaches. As the comestibles disappear, they can always be replenished.

Another centerpiece idea is a large clear glass vase filled with pink peonies anchored in place by seashells artfully arranged in the bottom of the vase then covered with water. Some of the seashells can be scattered around the vase on the table as accents.

A grouping of candles is also lovely, especially votives that aren’t in danger of being knocked over. These too, can be paired with flowers. A sleek, white, porcelain tea service along the lines of Luigi Colani would also be a topic of conversation.

Replace the Dishpan and the Dishdrain
Now’s the time for the dishpan and the dishdraining rack to be replaced, because they’ve both seen better days. They are both cheap, easy to find and come in any color that can match the rest of the kitchen. Homemakers may think that guests don’t notice what’s in and around the sink, but they do.

Window Dressings
Now is the time to change the window dressings. With the warm weather and abundant sunlight, some people will get rid of curtains or blinds altogether and allow the window to go undressed to allow in the most light. Other people might change their old cafe curtains for new ones made of sheer, light-colored fabric like cambric, which also lets light into the room.

Wall Ideas
First of all, the wall should be thoroughly cleaned because, let’s face it, they’re grungy after all these years. Then, they should be painted a light, summery color. Shades of white are excellent, as are bright yellows, pale greens and pale blues. The homeowner might go for a combination of all of these colors, though care needs to be taken to make sure that they don’t clash. But a kitchen that’s in shades of white like off-white, cream, pearl, ivory or brilliant white does give an impression of airiness. It also makes the room look bigger than it is.

New Drawer Pulls
This is just about the most inexpensive way to give a summery feel to a kitchen. The amount of draw pulls to choose from is bewildering. They can be basic black knobs, either round, square or oval, to contrast with white cabinets. They can be made out of clear or colored cut glass or carved out of stone. They can be bar shaped cabinet pulls made out of polished, oil-rubbed or hammered metals like brass, bronze, steel or iron. They can be simple or very ornate.

Lighting
If the kitchen has fluorescent hoops, they need to go. There are now fluorescents that come in compact form. The hoops that once hung above the kitchen table or the kitchen island can now be replaced by a multi-armed chandelier with little fabric shades or a triplet of pendant lights with ribbed glass shades and shiny chrome accents.

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5 Tips for Decorating Your First Home

Moving into a new home offers a rare opportunity to start from scratch and create an interior design just as you like it. This is especially true if you are moving into your first home with newly purchased items.
While getting settled, you might need to come up with some creative solutions to get your home fully furnished within your budget. Here are 5 great ideas.

  • Take stock of what you have and what you want to keep. – Before you move, decide which items move with you and which are donated or given away.  Moving is a time-consuming and strenuous task, and you want to cut to a minimum the number of items you need to move.
  • Give it time. – Purchase new pieces of furniture gradually as you notice the need for them. Have patience throughout the decorating process and take the time to get a feel for what your home is lacking rather than buying on a whim.
  • Don’t turn down second-hand items immediately. – If family or friends offer you furniture and home decor items, consider the possibilities before you turn down the offer. Go through your furniture inventory and determine if a hand-me-down might be acceptable. Also, consider antique stores, flea markets, and other places that sell used furniture. Often, you will be surprised with the quality of the second-hand items you find and the charm they bring to your interior design.
  • Shop around. – Realize that shopping for furniture to fill your new home is a one-time opportunity and a great joy. Be aware that the opportunity to decorate a new home doesn’t happen very often. Research locations for purchasing furniture, and visit them all before deciding on an important purchase. Become familiar with the furniture stores, antique shops, flea markets, and other vendors in your area that might offer the perfect items for your new home.
  • You don’t have to match – Be cautious about buying complete rooms of furniture at one time. When you purchase a new bed, the salesperson may push you to take the night stand, dresser, chest, and mirror with it. Yet matching sets of any type of furniture may give a room a bland, boring look. Aim for some originality and creativity when decorating your new home.

Think about these 5 tips when decorating your first home and enjoy a process that results in the home you were dreaming of all along.

About the author:

David Larkin is CEO/President of DAL Builders, which is a general contractor in Chicago serving residential and commercial property owners since 1994.  Connect with DAL Builders on Facebook.

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Squeeze Some Sunny Spring Cheer Into Your Kitchen

Lemons are just the spring touch that your kitchen is craving after a long, chilly winter. If properly placed, they can add modern zest, a fresh, clean look and sunny cheer. A creamy, crisp lemon color is paired well with the modern and sophisticated tone of black, and toile is a delightful way to introduce it. Black and white toile will add French country sophistication to your kitchen, and it is easy to access. Typically found in fabric, wall paper and even linens, this is a fun, fresh way to usher in a bit of boldness with a traditional and timeless pattern to instantly update and enhance your kitchen space. Black and white toile is a lemon’s long, lost love. They just belong together like meringue atop lemon custard. Whether you are in for a full kitchen overhaul or looking to simply update, the buttery, golden yellow of lemons blended with black and white toile will squeeze some irresistibility into your kitchen space.

Sunny Side Up

A subtle splash of color is essential to lay the foundation for your French Country kitchen redesign. There are so many yummy and refreshing lemon tones available. Avoid a stark, primary yellow and instead introduce milder tones for the softness that this look requires. Great places to apply paint are the walls to start, then the backsplash, and even possibly the ceiling. If you’re shy about committing to a new color on every wall, choose an accent wall to paint then perhaps the window casings, door frames or trim as well. Be certain to reserve some paint for unfinished wood bar stools or to coordinate the back panel of your dining room hutch.

If you decide to leave the ceiling white consider painting a lemon yellow star around the base of your light fixture in place of a traditional ceiling medallion.

Create Crowning Cabinets

Never overlook the cabinetry, your kitchen’s “furniture,” as it should become part of the action too. Not sure about committing to completely sand and paint the cabinets? There are other fun ways to update and add distinction. Try applying wall paper to the inset portion of cabinet doors. This is a perfect place to introduce a black and white toile patterned paper. Measure, trim and apply the paper once all of your cabinet doors have been removed. Glue a roping or black trim to the edges of each panel to finish the look. Also, try removing the center panel of a few key cabinets (perhaps those above the stove or sink) and stapling in chicken wire. This will become a favorite place to display a few plates or a jar of faux lemons.

Love the look of custom soffit lighting? Create it by laying white stringed mini lights down flat on the top of your cabinets. They should be well hidden behind the upper cabinet molding. When lit they will provide ambient lighting that your guests will think was professionally installed.

Outfit and Accessorize

Accessories are an essential when creating cohesion throughout your space. Consider items that are not traditionally found in the kitchen. An antique step ladder painted black and distressed a bit will become a fun, funky place to hang hand towels or pots and pans. Also, window shutters are a great place to pin recipes.

The counters are best kept free from clutter, so choose a few key accessories that will bring the theme home. Fill glass apothecary jars with lemon drops or white meringue cookies for all to see. Embellish the outside of the jar with black grosgrain ribbon and monogramed labels. Display your yellow dish soap liquid in a glass olive oil bottle embellished to match your apothecary jars.

Have fun outfitting your table with yellows or black toile linens that will help give life to the look. Remember napkin rings, plates and cups should all coordinate with your new look too. Use table runners laid across a rectangular table instead of place mats for a new and interesting look. Also, if there is any black and white toile wall paper left over from the cabinet project, be sure to cover light switch plates by wrapping them like a gift and securing the back with tape.

From concept to completion, this is a sunny and stylish spring kitchen that would appeal to the palette of even the most style conscious epicurean. Whatever life gives you– make lemonade!

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Mow Like the Pros: Make Your Lawn Look Like a Ballpark

Baseball field groundskeepers flawlessly mow lawns in green grids of geometric perfection. The yards of these stadiums are the envy of homeowners everywhere. How do we amateurs mow like these consummate pros? It takes some skill to be sure, but it’s not as difficult as you may think. Here’s how to wield mowers as a landscaping paintbrush.

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Lawn Care

Before you start etching 180 degree patterns into your lawn, the grass must be in tip-top condition. Every square inch must flow with verdant, vigorous blades of grass colored chlorophyll green. With a dense, healthy turf, your lawn can be transformed into something suitable for the major league stadiums. The density of grass also assists in fending off crabgrass and other intrusive weeds. Whichever mower you choose to cut your grass, keep the blades razor-sharp, at the correct height and mow frequently. Fertilize throughout the year and leave grass trimmings on your lawn for mulch. Should your lawn need a facelift, you can purchase bags of grass seed blends that MLB ballparks use on their fields.

Upon Reflection

How do baseball stadiums achieve that striped look? There are many who believe the stripes are painted on, or that groundskeepers use various grass types at differing heights. The truth is simply a matter of light reflection. Think about running your finger across certain materials or vacuuming the carpet that same striped effect occurs. When the fabric, or blades of grass in this case, bend in opposing directions, light is reflected and creates dark and light stripes.

All in the Bend

To achieve the grassy perfection of Wrigley Field or Fenway Park, you’ll have to do more than mow in opposite directions. You’ll need those blades of grass to bend at 45 degree angles. This is going to take a heavy weight in the form of a roller attachment otherwise known as a striper. With a little creativity, you can make your own rollers. Also, the proper bend isn’t possible when grass is scalped or cut too short. Follow the one-third rule by never slicing off any more than a third of grass blades in a single mowing session.

The Traditional Stripe

First, you’ll want to mow your lawn’s perimeter. The perimeter is the space where you’ll turn the mower in the opposite direction after each straight line sweep. If possible, make the turns on sidewalks or the driveway. Gingerly mow down your first stripe by maintaining a line of sight, suggests YardCare.com, and proceed in alternate line direction. Mow the perimeter a second time.

Checkerboard

The checkerboard design is much the same as the traditional stripe. Go over the perimeter twice, with or without the striper. Mow the exact same way as the traditional stripe. On your second pass, create a criss-cross pattern. For example, if your first pass is mowed in the north and south directions, you’ll go over your lawn in an east and west direction the second time.

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Three Great Backyard Hardscaping Design Ideas

Hardscaping can expand your home’s living space and provide a solid foundation for outdoor design. You can go for a huge mosaic-tiled brick patio or add rock walkways leading to secret gardens. Imagine how best to use your private backyard space with a mix of nature and hardscaping for an attractive, relaxing retreat for you and your family.

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Wood and Water
You can strategically mix wood and water for a soothing display to balance each element’s design effect on the space. If you have a large yard, think about changing it radically with an equally large patio. You could fill this space alone with furniture for entertaining.

However, you also can mix it up a bit by adding a fountain, reflecting pool or pond. For certain locales, an infinity pool might even be the way to go to make the most of a dramatic landscape or scenic vista overlooking a valley. Water elements, mixed with hardscaping, can instantly transform your backyard.

The important thing is to not limit the setting with just one design element. A mix of plants and water along with hardscaping can create a versatile and eye-pleasing space. Imagine an Asian-inspired outdoor theme using lattice fencing to create outdoor rooms. Use a large, colorful table umbrella in a bold print for shade and add a fountain for soothing sounds to block out neighboring street noise. Statues and gazing balls tucked in corners can add visual interest to the setting. You also can add mirrors decorated with ivy or other climbing vine to seemingly enlarge existing space.

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Garden Walkways
Indulging your green thumb in the backyard does not mean you have to sacrifice order and definition. Walkways can help define specific areas of the yard. With careful planning, you can enhance your existing gardens with a professional touch by outlining paths, enabling you to build gardens within the available spaces on either side. You can go with rock, brick or manmade materials to create your paths.

New materials allow you to construct pathways that glow in the dark at night, lighting the way to a beautiful rose garden or your favorite moon garden filling the air with rich fragrance. For certain areas, even a simple wooden boardwalk with a bridge might be a perfect way to join large spaces, particularly if you are lucky enough to have a creek on your property. There may be an attractive way to start these paths from a central location in your yard, such as a patio, and add solar lights to add subtle touches of shimmer along the way.

Patio and Outdoor Kitchen
You can combine all the best elements of hardscaping by blending your patio theme with the surrounding elements that support an outdoor grill and table set. Think about a California spa theme, with white bleached wood with matching overhead horizontal boards spaced to cast dramatic afternoon shadows of shade amid a clear sky setting. The cooking space could be encased in a marble-topped steel cabinet for easy cleanup. Add built-in seating with fun, bright-colored pillows, and you will have an appealing space for spending lots of time enjoying the fresh air.

The outdoor seats could serve a dual purpose with seating that lifts up to reveal storage. In fall or before any inclement weather, you could store the pillows inside and away from the elements. Built-in planters can complete the theme so that you can switch out seasonal plants to further brighten the area. Depending on where you live, you could try tulips in the spring, fragrant calla or oriental lilies in the summer and colorful mums in the fall displayed in clean, white wooden box planters. All the built-in layers with this design can add character and personality while remaining easy to clean for a streamlined, low-fuss appearance.

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The Top Items To Add to Make an Excellent Man Cave

Every man desires a room in the house to call their own. They dream of a place where they can unwind, where they can watch some television or a movie. They dream of a place where they can feel like master and commander. That place would be the Man Cave.

This list comprises twelve must-have items in any good Man Cave. These are things that won’t require any reconstruction or rebuilding of the room. These are simply items you can bring in and start enjoying immediately in your new testosterone-fueled clubhouse. Viva la Man!

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1) A Really Big Television

This is a must have right off the bat. Men love technology and usually it’s the bigger the better, so what better item to procure right away than a huge hulking flat-screen television. Whether watching the game or an 80’s action movie, a good HDTV will make you feel like you’re right in the middle of the action. A new 3D television would be even better, but not completely necessary.

2) A Surround-Sound System

This goes with the television like peanut butter goes with jelly. If you’re going to be immersed in your movie or game, you don’t want tiny, muffled sound to go with it. You want a full on audio experience coupled with your killer visuals. You don’t have to purchase the best surround-sound system there is to get a good experience. A simple setup will do nicely and will go a long way in your manly room.

3) A Fully Stocked Bar

Watching the game makes you thirsty for a cold one. Since you’re watching from the comfort of your Man Cave and not at the actual game, the only other way to get a beer is to go to the kitchen. Not if you set up a full bar complete with kegorator so that a nice cold brew is only a few feet away. Stock it with quality products so that you can play bartender when your friends come over.

4) A Vending Machine

Nothing adds to the coolness factor of a good Man Cave like some retro technology, and a vending machine is just a no-brainer to add in if you already went the full bar route. Stock it packed with salty chips, pretzels or beer nuts to go with those beers and make a little coin off of your friends in the process. It’s a win-win situation for all.

5) Neon Signs

Again, going with the whole bar theme, these just make good sense and guys love them. Grab some neon beer signs or check online for retro ones like gas signs and other cool manly types. The lighting will be reminiscent of an evening at your local favorite watering hole. They look cool shining their neon glow when all the other room’s lights are turned out too. Sometimes these can be expensive so really do some price shopping when grabbing a few of these, but just a couple will go a long way in increasing your Man Cave’s coolness factor.

6) Good Furniture

Men like chairs and couches that are comfortable, but not ones that look at home on “The Golden Girls.” Look for pieces that are more than just functional. Look for conversation starters. These go great in a Man Cave. Try to find funky type furniture made from other manly things, such as couches made from the rear ends of vintage cars, or other pieces of American male culture. Barber chairs work nicely as they are all chrome and usually have colors comparable to those of classic cars. There is no better way to enjoy a game or to watch your friends play billiards than to kick back in a sleek chromed out barbers’ chair.

7) Gaming Tables

Speaking of watching your friends play billiards, every decent Man Cave needs a good pool table. Man Caves are great for hanging out and watching games on television, but sometimes you need some really friendly competition. Throw in some vintage pinball machines or old arcade games to collect even more change from your friends, as well as to give your Man Cave that aged bar/pool hall feel. If you have the room, consider adding in a card table for those evenings spent sitting around playing poker.

8) A Good Humidor

Here’s the deal. Guys like smoking cigars when playing poker. Maybe all the smoke hides their poker face. However, you need some quality cigars to offer your friends as you play hand after hand of cards, and you need to keep those cigars fresh and ready to go. A good humidor allows you to do so and to let your friends know that you’re an expert on quality cigars.

9) A Vintage Jukebox

A great Man Cave needs some awesome tunes playing at all times. A vintage jukebox is a beautiful, manly piece of nostalgia that will make your place really stand out. You don’t need to spend a lot to own a good jukebox. Some name-brand jukeboxes can be purchased for around $500 and up. You can go with a really retro one where you can see the actual record being played and that has that classic look to or one of the newer ones that you can plug your mp3 player into.

Classic Jukebox MP3

10) Sports Memorabilia

Nothing screams Man Cave like sports memorabilia and collections of sports-related items such as ball cards, autographed balls, posters and assorted figurines and kick-knacks adorning shelves upon your wall. These are items which most male children instinctively keep up in their bedrooms, but as those children become adults, they aren’t allowed to do so anymore by their significant others. The Man Cave is the perfect solution to this because you can display your items proudly along with your favorite childhood banners and stickers. You can hang your favorite signed jersey above that comfy sports team recliner in the corner.

11) A Trophy Display

This is the place to display all those victories in your life that no one else seems to care about. Whether it’s from years of high school football or from your killer performance as a member of the local bowling league, you can display these monuments to your success right next to the rack of antlers you got from that hunting trip where you shot that ten-point buck. Some good advice to remember though is if you have a trophy wife, don’t place her photograph here. You will save yourself much heartache and perhaps a trip to the hospital.

12) Some Cool Posters

Posters are a necessity. As a kid, you covered your walls in them, but as with the sports stuff, your wife will not let you have them up in your bedroom. Decorate your Man Cave with as many movies related, or sports posters as you can. Don’t be tacky with it, pick out some good ones. You don’t want your Man Cave to look like the walls of some trashy wannabe restaurant, but you don’t want naked walls either. Just remember that you aren’t a kid anymore and that this is your Man Cave. Go nuts, but go nuts tastefully. Think along the lines of a retro Star Wars poster or a giant poster of John Riggins breaking through the middle in the Super Bowl, etc.

Last and definitely not least, perhaps the coolest item ever to be added to a man cave:

13) A Urinal

Enough said…

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Three Unique Deck Design Ideas – Wraparound, Tiered and Island

Building a unique and functional deck gives you the opportunity to neatly link together your home and the surrounding landscape. While many homeowners prefer the standard wooden deck that has been built for decades, utilizing unusual and unexpected design elements can really enhance the appearance and functionality of your outdoor space. It may be helpful to employ and collaborate with an architect or professional landscape team, but also consider these three unique deck designs in your home project.

The Wraparound Deck
The traditional outdoor deck sits on a slab behind the house, generally just off a sliding glass door leading into the backyard. Rather than follow this typical deck arrangement, consider building a raised wraparound deck.

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Begin the construction behind the house, as usual, but raise the deck off the ground to fit under the upper windows of the home. The backyard deck area will still be functional for social gatherings and barbecues. Next, extend the deck around the sides of the home, wrapping the structure around the corners until the deck meets the front door. Here is where the deck will end. Try building a pergola around the front door to visually link the two arms of the deck and complete the home’s transformation.

This structure will work especially well on a two-story or raised ranch home, but other houses may fit the template as well. The wraparound deck can be painted or stained in a variety of colors to complement an existing home’s exterior. With careful construction, this budget-friendly home improvement project can completely transform the outer appearance of a house while creating additional living space around the home.

The Tiered Deck
Ideal for small spaces or small backyards, the tiered deck design can make the most out of less area. Strive for thoughtful design by beginning with a plan to create multiple areas on your new deck. For example, a tiered deck can be divided easily into separate spaces for eating, conversing, and generally relaxing.

Begin with a low layer for an arrangement of comfortable lawn furniture. This can be an area for friendly conversation and relaxation. Add a second flooring layer on top of this one, approximately eight inches higher and staggered to one side, and you have created another location for a small outdoor table. Attach a final layer on the very top, and you can have your own private space for a hot tub or other relaxing feature. Each layer does not have to cover a lot of area, but the effect creates an interesting and unusual outdoor living space.

This layered design can completely transform a sloped backyard. Build your deck in layers as it scales up your backyard, creating a new locale in each step. Add a creative touch to each tier by making the edges curved rather than traditionally boxy. The curved lines will add visual interest while maximizing the available space.

The Island Deck
Consider the island deck, a backyard structure completely unattached to your home. Unlike the traditional idea of a backyard deck, the island is typically created as an entertainment oasis in your outdoor space. These decks frequently include a special feature, such as a hot tub, small pool, or umbrella lawn table.

When constructing your island deck, think of it as an independent outdoor space far from the comforts of your home. In this instance, consider creating built-in benches and hidden storage to contain all your deck necessities. Construct moveable floorboards that can be lifted to reveal under-deck storage. You can store hot tub equipment, extra snack bowls, or outdoor lighting in these convenient panels.

This type of deck is most effective in larger backyards that have the open area available to host an independent island. Keep this in mind as you consider your own backyard. If you have a small to moderately sized yard, it may be in your best interest to fully utilize your green space and construct a more attached piece.

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How to Give Your Bathroom a Modern Antique Look

Remodeling a bathroom can be rewarding, even with only minor renovations and on a budget. Combining the clean lines of modern décor with period-style or antique-look fixtures and accessories transforms a tired, outdated bathroom into a room with a distinctive look.

Evaluate what is already there and in good shape. If the basic plumbing and flooring of the bathroom are sound, a re-do can be accomplished without major construction. Painting the walls, replacing bathroom hardware like taps and sinks, changing the shower curtain and towels to reflect the new style and adding well-chosen cabinets or vanities will result in a new look with minor effort. Lighting, mirrors and wall hangings can complement the new look.

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First, decide whether you want an eclectic look that combines design motifs and styles from several periods or if you prefer to go with a single decorative style. When you decide on a style, be it Art Deco or Victorian, select hardware fittings for the bathtub, shower, sink and cutoffs that complement the style. New taps give a new look to old fixtures, so you may not need to replace the sink or tub. Manufacturers feature lines of hardware that embody classic design styles but are modern. Do-it-yourself hardware stores have a large selection of styles and finishes in materials like stainless steel, brass, ceramic, bronze and copper.

To accent an Art Deco theme, look for hardware with simple, clean lines or geometric shapes. For a Victorian look, choose cross-handle faucets with ceramic buttons labeled hot and cold. Match the taps with a shepherd’s crook spout for an elegant touch. For a more authentic antique look, replace single-handle faucets with two-handled models. Make sure that the sink has the correct hole openings for the new fittings.

Match towel racks, soap holders and other accessory hardware with the plumbing fittings to enhance the style, but don’t feel that you must use all new accessories. Flea markets often have accessories that lend a charming accent to new décor. Wall-mounted ceramic soap dishes give a vintage look to any décor.

If your bath has an under sink vanity, refinish it to reflect the new style. Updating hardware and repainting may transform a tired-looking vanity into a chic addition to the new scheme. For an Art Deco look, add chrome trim to the outside. For a Victorian look, try distressed paint in off-white with an accent color for trim.

If you choose to replace the vanity, consider refurbishing an old wooden dresser or small cabinet. A wooden cabinet can be converted to a vanity by adding a marble top and wash basin, running piping through the back and refinishing the wood. Another choice is to replace the sink vanity with a legged sink console.

If your bath has a tub, it need not be replaced. An old tub can be refinished with good results. For a built-in tub, replace the shower curtain with one that that complements the period look you want. For a clean, modern touch, add frameless, clear tempered glass panels or a glass swinging door across the tub opening.

Lighting plays an integral role in an interior design scheme. Make sure that the light fixtures complement the new style. Glass and mirrored fixtures blend well with almost any period décor and lend a modern, clean look as well. Wall sconces, ceiling lights and accent lights can be placed appropriately to enhance the mood of the room.

Are the floors of tile, hardwood or some other material? If the bath is carpeted, will the dominant color go with your new decorative scheme? Can carpets be replaced or updated? If the carpet covers another type of flooring like tile or hardwood, you may want to remove the carpet and use the original material. If the original flooring is in bad shape and should be covered, replacing the carpet may be preferred.

Of particular importance when remodeling is attention to scale. For a modern look, a small bathroom should not be overwhelmed with heavy or large furniture or too many knick-knacks. A large mirror mounted over the sink reflects light and gives the illusion of space. Light-colored walls also make a room look bigger. For larger bathrooms, furniture should be on a scale with the size of the room. Too many items may look crowded, but well-chosen pieces like an antique vanity and a stand-alone tub will give an authentic touch while keeping modern lines of simplicity and uncluttered space.

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Five Modern Backyard Patio Design Ideas and Pictures

Does your backyard need a face lift? If so, a modern patio may be the way to go. While there’s something to be said for traditional styles, a contemporary patio can breathe new life into any backyard. The clean, sleek designs of these patios make them work well with many different landscaping styles. In most cases, a minimal amount of maintenance is needed to keep modern backyard patios looking great. As an added bonus, modern patio design usually has a strong emphasis on sustainability and eco-friendliness, so you can enhance your backyard while doing your part to help the environment. If you need inspiration, check out the following five modern backyard patio design ideas.

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1. Get Creative with Flagstone Pavers

Flagstone pavers are popular options for modern backyard patios. Their irregular lines and eye-catching textures can have a very positive impact on the appearance of any outdoor space. For a thoroughly modern look, choose oversize flagstone pavers in a variety of muted colors. Due to the irregular shaping of these pavers, it’s not possible to create neat, orderly patterns. That’s part of the charm, actually, so play around with them until you achieve the look that’s right for you.

A great way to spice up a flagstone paver patio is by adding a border. If you’re going to go through the trouble of building a patio made out of flagstone pavers, why not put in a little extra work and add a border too? You can take your pick from many different stones and pavers for your border, but make sure that they stand out dramatically on your patio. Don’t just choose stones or pavers that have contrasting colors; look for contrasting textures too. River rocks are wonderful options in this situation. Arrange them so that your border has a bumpy surface. The end result is sure to be fantastic.

2. Try Oversized Concrete Pavers

There’s no law that says you have to cover every last inch of your patio with pavers and other materials. Why not let nature do its thing too? A great way to add a dose of green to your patio is by arranging oversize rectangular or square concrete tiles in creative ways. Instead of filling the spaces between the pavers with concrete or gravel, you could just allow grass to grow. If you’d rather not deal with cutting the grass and sweeping the patio, try planting Scotch moss between the pavers instead. Just keep in mind that it takes a long time for moss to fill in all the spaces.

The great thing about using oversize square or rectangular concrete pavers is that you can arrange them in so many different ways. You could even try mixing and matching different shapes and sizes. There are many colors, textures and styles available too, so the possibilities here are truly endless. Just make sure to plan ahead for things like tables, chairs and other furniture so that table and chair legs have sturdy places to rest.

Oversized Patio Pavers

3. Freshen Up an Existing Patio with Deck Tiles

If your patio has seen better days but you can’t afford to build a new one from scratch, you might want to consider deck tiles instead. Deck tiles are also excellent options for renters because they can be removed quickly and easily. Unlike so many modern patio ideas, deck tiles simply snap into place. No thin set or glue is required. There’s a dizzying array of options, so coming up with a customized, modern look is a snap. They work just as well on compact patios as they do on large ones, which is also convenient.

The most popular deck tiles are squares of wood planks. A variety of woods is available, but tropical hardwoods like eucalyptus and ipe tend to be the most popular. You can also choose from many finishes, which allows you to mix and match colors for a richly textured look that somewhat resembles parquet. Wood deck tiles are lovely, but stone and ceramic styles are worth your consideration too. Because deck tiles aren’t permanent, they give you a lot of flexibility. If you grow tired of them, just remove them and replace them with something else. The one caveat here is that these tiles must be installed on a stable, steady surface.

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4. Enhance Your Yard and Help the Environment with Permeable Pavers

Like many homeowners, you may be looking for ways to help save the environment. It’s easy to waste a lot of water to keep a yard looking great, but you can minimize your impact with the right patio materials. Permeable pavers are a prime example. These popular pavers allow water to seep through to the ground instead of forcing it to run off elsewhere. This helps to recharge the groundwater below, which has enormous benefits for the environment.

Permeable pavers also help to filter pollutants to help keep them out of the ground. If you think you have to trade style for sustainability, think again. Thanks to the growing popularity of these pavers, there are more options than ever.

5. Spice Things Up with Brazilian Ipe Wood Decking

When most people think of patios, pavers made of stone, concrete and brick usually spring to mind. Pavers can definitely be used to achieve a chic, modern look, but why limit yourself? Wood decking is a viable option for modern patios too, and ipe is one of the best options of all. Ipe is a durable, sturdy Brazilian hardwood that naturally stands up well to a variety of forces. In addition to being strong, ipe is absolutely gorgeous.

If you’re going to use ipe decking for your modern backyard patio, select long, narrow planks. Arrange them so they are all running in the same direction. This design manages to look sleek and contemporary while also having a nice dose of eye-catching texture. Unlike many types of wood that are used for decks and patios, ipe doesn’t need to be sanded and refinished constantly. However, it is on the pricier end of the scale, so keep that in mind.

Why bother putting in a new patio if you’re not excited about it? By considering a few of today’s best ideas for modern backyard patios, you’re sure to find something that truly inspires you. In addition to sprucing up your yard and creating a lovely place to spend time outside, the right patio will have a sustainable design that lets you do your part to help the environment. If you have a backyard, you can do whatever you’d like to it. Broaden your horizons by choosing a stylish, eco-friendly patio design.

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Three Unique Kitchen Cabinet Looks for a Contemporary Kitchen

Whether you are designing the kitchen for your new home or remodeling an outdated kitchen to accomplish a more contemporary look, you will want cabinets that not only bring the whole space together, but give your kitchen a unique style all its own. Some of the more modern materials used in making contemporary cabinets include glass, exotic woods, and stainless steel. While there are dozens of contemporary design schemes to choose from, here are three unique kitchen cabinet looks you may be interested in when considering your contemporary kitchen design.

Black, White and a Splash of Color

Black and white has always been at the forefront of the classic kitchen design, but now it is coming into its own as a wonderful combination color palette for contemporary kitchen cabinets. Try installing glossy white kitchen cabinets and pairing them with black marble or granite countertops. Once you have the basic cabinetry down, you can choose one or two colorful accessories, such as fire-red pendant lighting above the black and white island/bar seating area or a vivid color tile for the kitchen backsplash. The cabinets in this design should be sleek and tall with little or no adornment on the doors to give the area a clean, industrial look. This design is perfect for smaller kitchens because the slim, light design can make the space appear larger.

Smooth as Glass

The open cabinet design is used when you have an eclectic mix of beautiful dinner and glassware you intend to showcase, but the openness of the design doesn’t quite fit within a contemporary kitchen where everything must appear in order. To be able to display your wares without giving your kitchen a farmhouse look, you might want to consider using glass inserts in your cabinets. Glass can be used many ways. It can be etched, fluted, or frosted to obscure the contents behind.

Dark wood such as mahogany turns any kitchen into a contemporary masterpiece. The glass inserts fit nicely into this type of cabinet. Stainless steel cabinets, by themselves, can appear too stark for some modern kitchens, but if you use glass inserts, such as the fluted type, it can transform your kitchen into a most inviting modern space.

Contemporary Glass Kitchen Cabinets

The New Green

One of the best ways you can do your part to save the environment is to consider using green materials in your contemporary kitchen cabinet design. Thinking outside the box will enable you to create a unique-looking kitchen starting with the cabinets. Renewable materials such as bamboo/plywood and lyptus, taken from a hybrid of the eucalyptus tree, are not only as sturdy as traditional hardwoods, but they are extremely beautiful woods that fit perfectly within the contemporary design scheme. In addition to their unique appeal, cabinets fashioned from green materials also offer additional health benefits by emitting less chemicals into your environment than those made from traditional cabinet materials.

Whichever contemporary cabinet design you choose, be sure that it fits within your overall modern design scheme. A qualified interior design expert can help you decide which materials and colors to choose to accomplish a unique look that you and your family can enjoy for many years to come

 

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Kitchen Countertop Material Choices, Alternatives to Granite

The kitchen is the heart of your home and its appearance impacts the atmosphere of the other rooms around it. A kitchen that’s old and looks out-of-date can benefit from simple maintenance and renovation. One way in which to improve your kitchen’s look and functionality is with new kitchen countertop installation or replacement. With a variety of countertop materials to choose from other than granite, you can select one that complements the rest of your kitchen or changes its look altogether. Here are a few popular kitchen countertop ideas that might work for you.

Butcher Block
If you enjoy cooking, a butcher block counter can add to the convenience in your kitchen. A food prep area will always be ready for you with this style of countertop. Butcher block or wood countertops add a rustic touch to your kitchen. They’re easy to clean and care for, requiring period resealing to prevent water damage and stain penetration.

Natural Stone
Natural stone such as granite or soapstone creates classic appeal when used as your kitchen countertop surface. Soapstone is dark gray in color and found in both modern and historic homes. Naturally stain resistant, soapstone is often used for sinks too. The natural color variations found in granite make it a material that complements most any kitchen color scheme. Rated as the second hardest surface after diamonds, granite is a durable countertop surface that’s highly valued by home buyers.

Corian
Corian is a type of solid surface countertop. It’s made to the specifications of your kitchen and typically installed in one large piece. This seamless countertop material resists stains, which makes for easier cleaning. You can have a solid surface countertop made in most any color or pattern you desire. Scratches can easily be sanded out of the surface of Corian to keep it looking like-new.

Laminate
Laminate countertops are plastic-coated and cut to fit the measurements of your kitchen. This durable countertop can be made with a variety of colors and textures to complement your existing kitchen decor. Laminates are less expensive than many other types of countertops, making them an affordable option for home renovators on a budget. With laminates it’s important to be careful since it can be difficult to fix chips or cracks.

Ceramic Tile
Another inexpensive countertop choice is ceramic tile. This easily cleaned and maintained surface comes in a variety of textures, designs and colors. The ceramic tile you choose can become the focal point of your renovated kitchen or you can use it as a subtle complement to the current decor. Ceramic tile holds up well to use and when cared for properly can last for many years. This type of countertop surface goes well with most every decor.

The countertop you choose for your kitchen will be with you for many years to come. Consider your needs to help you choose the type of counter material that bests suits you in both appearance and function. Any of these popular kitchen countertop styles are certain to add to the beauty and value of your home.

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