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2012 outdoor living trends can easily update your patio or deck

2012 outdoor living trends can easily update your patio or deckMore homeowners want their outdoor space to truly be an extension of their house and are taking steps to create an inviting area to relax, play and host guests. If you want to update your deck or patio for warm weather entertaining, you don’t have to spend a lot of time or money. You can easily refresh the items you already have and add new stylish elements by keeping some top trends and design ideas in mind.

Mix functional furniture: 
The line between indoor and outdoor design is blurring. You can coordinate the style of adjacent indoor and outdoor rooms, since you and your guests will likely spend time in both. No matter if you have a large outdoor deck or a simple small patio, many affordable, stylish outdoor furniture options are available at your local home improvement retail stores. Set up furniture with flow in mind, grouping pieces together to encourage comfort, conversation and a view of nature.

Add colorful accessories:
Incorporating rugs, outdoor pillows, candles and other accessories in vivid colors or fun patterns can really make your outdoor space come alive. Pick three to four colors for your scheme and stick with those colors throughout your design choices. Some of the season’s top hues include rich reds, vivid blues, soothing neutrals and garden-inspired greens. Metal accents are popular as well, so look for decor with gold or silver detailing for a design that’s modern with a tropical flare.

Incorporate a fire pit: 
An outdoor bonfire likely evokes pleasant memories of the past, so incorporate a fire pit into your patio space so your whole family can enjoy time together roasting marshmallows, telling stories and gazing at the stars. Today’s modern fire pits are both stylish and useful, adding a cozy ambiance while warding off the chill on cooler nights. Plus when the seasons do change and fall brings with it lower temperatures, you can still enjoy the beautiful outdoor space you’ve created because you’ll be comfortably warm. Remember to look for options that have a removable screen, so you can open when needed for cooking and then close to keep the fire safely contained.

Create privacy: 
Just because you’re outdoors doesn’t mean that you don’t want a bit of privacy from neighbors or passersby. The good news is it’s easy to create boundaries to your space by using a pergola or outdoor curtains. These options tie in nicely with other outdoor design trends and can give just the right amount of privacy, creating your own outdoor “room” in which to enjoy the long, sunny days.

Light the night: 
Lighting can really make your outdoor space come alive once the sun goes down. Add depth and intrigue by “lightscaping” from different sources. Consider putting up string lights that provide a magical setting that is sure to dazzle guests long after darkness falls. Add an intimate wall lantern next to the patio door or eco-friendly LED garden and path lights to add a soft illumination to outdoor space.

Grow an herb garden: 
There’s nothing that adds the flavors of summer to food like fresh herbs. One of today’s top trends is to have a container garden so you always have your favorite herbs on hand to freshly pick. Popular herbs that are easy to grow include basil, chives, cilantro, dill, fennel and mint. When planting, use containers that complement your outdoor design. Vintage styles that feature aged patinas are very popular this year.

We specialize in decks & patios!  Please contact us for a free in home consultation so we can help you create your own outdoor oasis!

Bathroom remodeling ideas that add style and space

Bathroom remodeling ideas that add style and spaceNow, more than ever, homeowners are adding to the value and comfort of their homes by renovating bathrooms into private retreats with luxurious touches that rival those of an upscale spa or resort.

When considering an update for your bathroom, whether you choose to do an extensive remodel or a smaller project, most kitchen and bath designers agree on these tips:

* Consider the size of the bathroom. If you have a small room, look for ways to make it feel more expansive. A sleek, stylish glass shower enclosure helps your bathroom appear more spacious, and in most instances, a frameless shower enclosure will provide the cleanest, most open look. If you decide to go with a framed shower enclosure, you’ll have two choices: frameless sliding doors or framed doors. For framed doors, be sure the finish of the metal framing and handles matches your bathroom fixtures.

* Think outside the box. Taking a creative approach to bathroom necessities can help you make the most of your space. For instance, the majority of shower enclosures are square or rectangular, but today’s designers encourage you to think about other shapes. Don’t be afraid to consider a circular or oval-shaped enclosure, a triangle or even a standard shape with an artfully bowed glass door, which can redefine the space and make your bathroom more versatile.

* Don’t skimp on the glass. All glass used for shower enclosures is safety glass, which means it is tempered to make it stronger and more shatterproof. That doesn’t mean all shower glass is alike, though. Most shower doors and enclosures are fabricated from conventional clear glass – which typically has a light, almost imperceptible green cast – or some variation of frosted glass.

* Brighten things up. Repainting your bathroom with light colors can make it feel more spacious. If your bathroom has windows or skylights, use window treatments and accents that maximize the amount of light that comes through to give the room a more airy feel.

* Find the best use for your space. Move bathroom cleaning items to a hall closet if you are stretched for storage space in your bathroom, especially if you have freestanding storage units that are taking up valuable floor space. If you need more storage space, consider adding built-in compartments if possible between your wall studs to maximize usuable space.

It’s been shown time and time again that remodeling a bathroom can add to a home’s value. Whether you want to sell or just enjoy your home more, it’s one of the most practical and dramatic ways to make your home more appealing.

For more bathroom remodeling idea’s, please click here.

Easy Kitchen Paint Color Designs You Can Copy

What’s the Kitchen’s Look?

The addition of the Eddie Bauer line has given Valspar’s collection a new dimension. Now, you can choose ready-made kitchen paint color schemes that look like a mountain cabin, a bungalow, a farmhouse, and more.

Here, the relentlessly sunny look of Eddie Bauer’s Daffodil is punctuated–and kept in check–with the darker Pine Needle kitchen island.

Restrained Farmhouse Yellow Kitchen
Valspar/Eddie Bauer Kitchen Paint Color Idea: Farmhouse Yellow Copyright Valspar

Kitchen Paint Tips and Tricks

Don’t stress about kitchen paint colors. Cabinetry covers at least 50% of most kitchen wall-space, leaving the other 50% to be used for backsplashes, trim, and other non-paint areas. That leaves a smaller area than you might think that needs paint.  Click here to continue reading…

By , About.com Guide

Interior design trends

Easy seasonal changes refresh and revive your home:

spring home designsSpring’s new growth and warm sunshine provide inspiration for renewal in our lives. It’s a time to pack away the sweaters and boots for lighter layers and brimmed hats. Homeowners should embrace this same mindset – one where you pack away the heavy textures and colors of winter in favor of breezy fabrics and fun decor that inspire a fresh feeling in your house.

Break out of the winter gloom by making some simple changes to your home with bright, fresh decor. Here are the top trends in interior decorating that capture the optimistic feeling of springtime, without having to spend a lot of time or money.

1. Color your world happy
To uplift your mood and give your home a new personality, color should be the first thing you address. Paint is an easy and affordable way to dramatically change a living space. Spring’s hot color palette includes rich hues of blue and turquoise, vibrant pink and orange tones, and soft greens and neutrals. Visit your local Lowe’s for inspiration from the paint color studio that allows do-it-yourselfers to identify the “hot” paint colors of the season and even pick up samples of each hue to try at home.

Feeling adventurous? Dabble in some vibrant shades inspired by the flora and fauna in your region. Love the bright red of blooming tulips? How about the rich blue of the sky at the noon hour? Try picking one thing and paint it that bold color – a single wall, a door, or even a piece of furniture. Watch as the entire room suddenly comes to life.

2. Mix in light and fresh decor
Making small changes to your home’s decor is a great way to refresh the interior, and you don’t have to spend a ton of money. Window treatments are a great place to start – replace dense fabrics with airy options that beg to blow in the warm breeze.

Next, store away existing rugs and replace with ones that feature bright colors or botanical designs. Dark accent pillows can be replaced with fluffy, colorful options that add life to dated couches and chairs. Seasonal decor changes are simple and can be swapped out year after year.

3. Bring the feeling of “green” indoors
The buds and blooms of spring are a big reason it’s such an inspirational season, and houseplants are a great tool for awakening that sense of nature and bringing the outdoors inside. Houseplants make any room look more luxurious, and they are natural air cleaners, awakening the senses of spring’s fresh air. Good, low-maintenance indoor houseplants include the peace lily, spider plant and snake plant.

Interior decor can also reflect the natural feeling that indoor plants provide. Coordinate pieces that feature nature’s elements, such as a leaf motif on a lamp shade or a beach scene on a piece of wall art. These elements, while subtle, will work together to provide a seamless update to any drab decor.

4. Cut the clutter
Of course any home refresh is not complete without some cleaning. Don’t let spring cleaning overwhelm you – start small and go through any clutter, sorting into piles to use, store, give away and throw away. A good dusting goes a long way too, so be sure to hit all the surfaces with a damp cloth. Shine up mirrors, which will reflect that beautiful spring sunshine to brighten and enlarge the feeling of the room.

To stay on top of your organization and home management, create a MyLowe’s profile at www.lowes.com/mylowes. While there, you can create a virtual version of your home for easy project planning. You can add items you need or save ideas that inspire you to your profile for easy reference, making it simple to keep track of your to-do list. Millions of people are currently using the program to make home project management simple.

Changing your home to reflect the seasons is easy with a few basic steps and a little creativity. Remember to embrace the feeling of spring, and the inspiration will come naturally.

Get your pool ready for safe family fun

kids-playing-in-the-poolAs the weather starts to warm, you can’t help but stare at your backyard pool, anxious to begin a new season of memories with friends and family. No matter the season, pool safety should always be top of mind where children are concerned. With safety barriers – or layers of protection – in place between the home and the pool, you can experience the pleasures of backyard swimming pools and feel confident that children, grandchildren and visitors will be safeguarded from pool accidents.

It’s impossible to watch your children every second of every day. There are times when a parent or caregiver is distracted by answering the phone or door, household tasks or checking email. Unfortunately, accidents tend to happen very quickly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in children ages 1 to 14. The CDC reports that in most cases, the children involved were out of their parents’ sight for less than five minutes.

The good news: Drowning can be prevented. Barriers help buy those few minutes needed to see where children are after you’ve momentarily lost sight of them.

Numerous studies have shown that an isolation fence separating the home from the pool can prevent 50 to 90 percent of all toddler drownings. Only an isolation fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate in proper working order will prevent children from getting into the water without your knowledge.

Liability can become an issue if a visitor is injured. Homeowners can improve the safety and security of their pools or spas with isolation fencing with self-closing, self-latching gate hardware like that used by D&D Technologies (www.ddtechglobal.com).   These types of gate hardware can be found at most home improvement stores or contact your fencing contractor.  In most towns, it’s the law to have self-closing, self-latching pool gates.

Magnetically triggered latches like D&D’s self-latching MagnaLatch have been shown to offer safe, reliable operation, latching even when locked in the open position. Pool gates must also be self-closing, and D&D’s TruClose hinges feature a tension adjustable enclosed spring so gates need no hazardous external spring.

Rust-free gate hardware by D&D Technologies is available under the Stanley or National Hardware brand through select Lowe’s stores or online at www.lowes.com and other hardware retailers.

If you have a pool, you have a responsibility to safeguard it. There is no substitute for vigilant supervision. But there are additional steps you can and should take to keep everyone safe – including these.

* Never prop a gate open for convenience or during pool parties. It’s simply not worth the risk.

* Always ensure that doors from the home are locked, alarmed, or fitted with child-safety latching devices.

* Ensure that pet doors are secured or open into an area that is isolated from the pool.

* If the house forms one side of the barrier, doors leading into the pool area should be protected with alarms that produce a loud sound when the door is unexpectedly opened.

* Power safety covers that meet American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards can be very effective if closed whenever the pool is not in use. Manually operated covers tend to be left open; closing them frequently requires two adults.

* Ensure children in the home learn how to swim, and that adults know CPR. CPR can make the difference between full recovery and brain damage or death. If anyone else will be supervising kids in the pool, make sure they learn it, too. Impress upon babysitters that they must follow your safety rules.

* When children are in the pool, designate a “water watcher” to maintain uninterrupted supervision of children in the pool at all times.

* When not in use, keep toys and other objects out of the pool area, and don’t use chlorine dispensers that look like animals or toys that will attract children.

With layers of protection between your home and your pool, you can give your family years of safer relaxation and enjoyment, and build some great family memories. For drowning prevention tips, visit www.ndpa.org or poolsafely.org.

A Jewel Tone Color Palette That Will Make Your Home Appear More Cozy

A Jewel Tone Color Palette That Will Make Your Home Appear More CozyRecently we’ve been inspired by the rich colors of jewel tones and how they can easily change the look and feel in the home. So far, we’ve explored how ruby red can infuse a room with passion, how shades of sapphire and amethyst can make a space feel calm, and how amber can provide a lively touch. This week, it’s about bringing all these rich colors together. What set us off? This photo of stylish heels.

When it comes to decorating, it’s important to remember that jewel tones are vivid, so they work best with other bold colors. For example, amber glassware will look more vibrant on top of a dark green tablecloth as opposed to a pale pink one, and a ruby red chandelier would look extra glamorous in a navy blue setting. If that seems like too many colors in one place, use jewel tones with neutral shades like gray and black.

Also, because of their richness jewel tones can have a cozying effect in a room.  Click to continue reading…

Stylelist Home,

How to Pimp Out Your Grown-Up Toolbox

How to Pimp Out Your Grown-Up Toolbox

 

Don’t you think it’s about time you learned the difference between a flathead and a phillips?  Did we mention how much easier it is to hang a picture when you’ve got a level?

Level:

What to look for: A small torpedo level can handle most household projects (like hanging a picture or mounting a shelf); look for a magnetized model that’s easy to read. Got visions of more serious jobs, like laying a new floor? Opt for a 2- to 4-foot one.

Why you’ll (learn) to love it: You’ll spend less time eyeballing and more listening to your partner making jokes about being “well hung.” Do you need any better reasons?

Get more tips for your toolbox at thenest.com.

This is a good article to get you started on updating your current toolbox.  No home owner should be without a fully equipped tool box with a few high quality tools!

Bathroom Remodel Pictures

Sexy Bathroom Remodel Pictures: The Mandate Was Simple…

Sexy Bathroom Remodel Pictures: The Mandate Was Simple...
Copyright Jason Ball

” My request to industry home remodeling pros: “Got a sexy bathroom remodel picture you want to share with the world?” Their answer: “You want sexy? I’ve got sexy.”

There is nothing worse than a bathroom remodel that looks like it could be found in a gas station–a condition far more prevalent than you might think. Bathroom remodels are meant to be lush and luxe. So, for your perusal, we offer bathroom remodel pictures meant to be ogled over. Portland, OR interior designer Jason Ball kicks things off…”  Click here to see more of these amazing bathroom remodel pictures!

By , About.com Guide

Creativity blooms in this season’s floral decor

Daring creativity blooms in this season's floral decorA little black dress, a great pair of jeans and a leather jacket – some styles never go out of fashion. Some elements of home decor share that same sense of timelessness, and none more so than a simple floral theme.

“Flowers are always fashionable, stylish and on-trend,” says Dani Nichols, a trend-watcher for home decor website MuralsYourWay.com. “Whether you’re looking for just the right touch of elegance and life for patterned upholstery or modern floral murals to make an accent wall pop, flowers are always appropriate.”

Nichols points to hot trends in floral decor this spring and summer:

Floral walls 

“Flowers have always inspired paint makers to create colors that pay homage to both the boldness and the delicacy of floral inspirations,” Nichols says. This year, paint manufacturers are offering a diverse palette of floral-inspired colors, from dusty roses and iris blues, buttercup yellow and daisy white, to frothy lilac and popping peony.

Floral wallpaper and floral murals are also great ways to incorporate flowers into a room’s decor. A subtle pattern of small, delicate flowers can create a gentle, peaceful feeling in a room. Or, go bold with an accent mural that depicts a single, showy bloom. You can find a plethora of floral options online at websites like MuralsYourWay.com.

Sustainability 

One of the most enjoyable ways to decorate with florals – cut flowers – is also one of the most fleeting. Few beautiful things are as short-lived as cut flowers. This season, look for cut flower designs to trend toward sustainability, as everyone looks for ways to get more enjoyment from their flowers for longer.

While adding the packet of plant food will help keep a florist’s bouquet alive as long as possible, there’s more everyone can do to make their displays more eco-friendly. Look for more florists to use biodegradable packing products, compost their leftovers and choose seasonal blooms that don’t require long-distance shipping.

Daring pairings 

When you think of floral design, you probably envision bright, rich hues paired with background neutrals. This year, however, florals are going daring, mixing in metallic accents, and deep, saturated purples and blues that almost appear black. A touch of silver or gold matched with pure white creates an upscale, classic effect. A dash of bronze or copper married with vibrant yellows or blues is an unexpected and delightful decorating twist.

And while bright or light colors are as intrinsic to floral decor as the background greenery, dark blooms impart an almost mystical aura, whether the hue is natural or dyed. You’ll see these daring pairings pop up everywhere from throw pillows to centerpieces, this year.

Nichols also predicts designers will continue to experiment with combinations of floral patterns. “Long gone is the conventional wisdom that if you had one bold floral pattern in a room, you couldn’t do more,” she says. “It’s perfectly alright to experiment with one floral pattern on the drapes and a complementary – or even competing – one on accent pillows.”

“Few decorating themes afford the timelessness and flexibility of florals,” Nichols adds.

Adding or upgrading a deck can transform your backyard into an oasis

Adding or upgrading a deck can transform your backyard into an oasisA home is a place of comfort and relaxation. Many homeowners are now taking to the outdoors and making this space an extension of the dream home they’ve always wanted.

One way to transform a house into a dream home is by utilizing the outdoor space with the addition of a new deck or improvements to an existing deck. A deck creates the perfect backyard oasis to escape the stresses of a busy lifestyle, to enjoy the outdoors, grill out, have a party or simply relax. With a deck, a couple can celebrate with friends, children can play outside and parents can retire in comfort.

Many alternative decking choices are available for homeowners seeking high-quality materials with low-maintenance features. Choosing to go with alternative decking materials helps homeowners save money and have more time to spend outdoors enjoying time together. While composite products will need occasional cleaning, they don’t need the sanding, staining, sealing or painting that wood decks require.

There are many choices for deck designs, materials and colors that can make choosing a dream deck a little overwhelming. But deck design tools like those found at TimberTech can help ease the deck design process without having to leave the house.

For example, TimberTech’s product selector can help homeowners determine which alternative decking material works best for their lifestyle. Families with children, pets or even special needs equipment like wheelchairs will be interested in the products offered by TimberTech that can easily withstand high traffic volumes without showing scratches or wear. These products will maintain their good looks and durability in the years to come with minimum cleaning and maintenance.

Online design tools help homeowners envision the perfect colors that match the house and find environmentally friendly decking and railing products. Some homeowners are interested in a clean appearance by using hidden fasteners or railing systems with no exposed hardware, while others pursue a more economical approach to picking the perfect decking. Railing systems provide additional safety and style while lighting options help homeowners illuminate their space for extended time on the deck once the sun has set.

The beauty of composite decking – in addition to the multitude of color and material options – is that it’s fully customizable to whatever style or look is wanted for the deck. Homeowners can opt for a deck and railing design all in one color to perfectly blend in with the house, or can go the contrasting route to make the deck a unique design feature to beautify the backyard.

Decks can be both practical and stylish, which is why many homeowners looking to enhance the look and the value of their home and increase their living space consider replanking an existing wooden deck or adding a new deck. Composite decking products provide many different style options and allow homeowners to enjoy their deck without annual sanding, staining, sealing or painting. To get started on planning a new deck or upgrading your current deck, visit www.timbertech.com.

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