Maintain Your Homes’ Style – in Style

Home remodels offer an opportunity to change the look and feel of your home. This can be great if you live in an older home with outdated fixtures and other hardware. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t take the time to match their remodel to their house and end up with a look that’s a bit less than optimal. The remodel won’t necessarily look bad, but it may be unsatisfactory because it doesn’t quite match the architecture and style of the house itself.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to redo everything in its original style when remodeling your home. That would all be rather boring, wouldn’t it? You simply need to make sure that you fully take your home into account when designing your remodel. This is easier than you might think, once you know what to plan for.

What Style Is Your Home?

Before you can plan out a remodel based on the style of your home, you need to figure out exactly what that style is. There are a lot of possibilities out there, ranging from Victorian and Colonial designs to Craftsman homes, Ranch homes and other more modern styles. You may already know which architecture style your house was built in, either from existing architecture knowledge or discussions with your Realtor before buying the property. If you aren’t sure, though, there are a number of resources that can help you find out. You can research home styles online, talk to fans of different architectural styles or even look at the original listing for your home if you have a copy. Regardless of how you find out, learning about your home’s architectural style is the first step to accenting it with your remodel.

Learning Your Style

Once you know your home’s style, take the time to learn a bit about it. Learn the key points of the architecture, distinguishing features and everything else that makes it stand out from similar home designs. If there are fixtures, doors, windows or other home features that are commonly associated with your home style, you should learn what those are as well. This may seem like a lot of work, but the details about your home style that you learn now will go a long way toward helping you design a remodel plan that really accentuates the best things about your home.

Adapting Your Style

Once you have a good idea of what works with your home’s architectural style, it’s time to start planning your remodel to work with that idea. You can look for fixtures that are similar to more traditional offerings but that better match your personal taste, or for example select a traditional door but opt to paint it in a color that will go better with your new siding choices. Your goal should be to find a balance between more traditional offerings for your home style and your personal decorating preferences. That way, the choices you make will fit in beautifully with the overall design of your home and its existing accents.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean everything has to match perfectly, either. There is a lot of room for you to express yourself through choices that might otherwise clash with your home style, using that disparity to draw attention either to your choice or to the design of the home itself. There are many options available to you, and because you know what’s expected for homes like yours you are free to go with the traditional or to shake things up as you see fit.

Perfecting Your Style

If you want to find a style that’s a perfect match for your home but aren’t quite sure what works best, it may be time to call in a pro. Whether you need a contractor to bring it all together or a designer or decorator to make sure everything works with your architecture, we can connect you with the right pro for the job. Give us a call!

The Arizona North Chapter of ASID runs a promotion each year where you can get an hour or two hour package of interior design help at a discount. All funds raised go toward student programs and education. Visit azn.asid.org for more information.

Choosing a “Seller-Friendly” Contractor

Although there are many terrific contractors out there, there are always a few bad apples. When preparing your home for sale, you need a contractor that gets your job done on time, on budget and without creating a big mess.

To help make sure that happens, ask prospective contractors these questions:
• “Will I be issued a receipt detailing the work done?” This is handy to have as you might want to show it to buyers.
• “Do you thoroughly clean up the work area each day?” This is especially important if your home will be shown to buyers during this period.
• “Is the project schedule realistic? Is there a chance the work might take longer than expected?” Delays can negatively impact the sale of your home. It’s better to get a realistic timeline from the contractor, rather than an ambitious one.
• “Under what circumstances will the final price be higher than quoted?”

Of course, you also need to check references and do other due diligence to ensure the contractor is a “good apple”.

Looking for a contractor recommendation or an interior designer to guide you through the renovation process. Call today.

Décor Color Choices Can Be Psychological

Although choosing a room’s color is highly personal, it’s worth noting that studies have linked specific color tones to psychological behaviors. In fact, many doctors, scientists and design experts believe that certain colors can actually influence your mood or motivation.

The following list provides a general interpretation of commonly held views about how we perceive color. It may help you decide on the colors you’ll use in your next interior painting or decorating project. While some suggested connections may seem obvious, others might surprise you.

Yellow: concentration, attentiveness, optimism.
Orange: abundance, expressiveness, passion.
Red: emotion, creativity, appetite.
Purple: status, opulence, indulgence.
Blue: trust, confidence, productivity.
Green: tranquility, comfort, nourishment.
Brown: honesty, sincerity, simplicity.
Black: contemplation, dedication, commitment.

Of course, subtle differences in hues and shades can evoke different emotional responses. As a result, complementary colors can sometimes seem to conflict with the expected psychological response to your primary selection. So, despite all the available scientific information, you should consider your instincts as well.

Creating Quiet in a (Sometimes) Noisy Home

Does your spouse like to practice the drums in the evening? Does your teenager like to play video games, with the volume turned up high? Are there other sources of noise you’d like to minimize?
There are many ways to soundproof areas of your home to reduce noise. Here are some ideas:

Furniture placement. Surprisingly, where you place furniture can dramatically reduce incoming noise. For example, a bookshelf that covers one third of a wall can muffle sound from an adjoining room by 25%.
Noise harmonization techniques. Soft music, air fans, and other sources of rhythmic noises can actually reduce the unpleasantness of incoming sounds.
Area rugs. Adding an area rug, even on top of existing carpeting, can significantly reduce noise coming from the floor below.
Acoustic tiles and panels. These are special ceiling tiles and wall coverings that are designed to diffuse and reduce sound infiltration. There are some products on the market that are remarkably easy to install.

Pack Your Memories Away

Items that remind us of special people, events, milestones and interests are an important part of what makes a house a home. Pictures on the fireplace mantle, for example, showcase family and friends that are important to us. You might also have trophies, certificates, greeting cards, and other mementos on display in key places.

Of course, all of those things add warmth and meaning to your home. However, if you’re preparing your home for sale, it’s a good idea to pack those memories away – at least until you’ve sold your property and moved to your new home. Why? Those pleasant mementos that mean so much to you may actually turn off potential buyers.

You see, when buyers view your property, they want to be able to clearly picture themselves and their families living there. That’s difficult to do if they see reminders of your family everywhere they look!

So, to help sell your home quickly, make it look great, but not personalized. Think of the showroom displays you see set up in furniture stores. Those displays are most appealing when they enable you to easily picture yourself, with that furniture, in your home. You probably wouldn’t feel that way if it looked like the furniture belonged to someone else.

Of course, buyers will know you currently live in your home. But, helping them imagine themselves living there will help you sell your property faster – and possibly for a better price.

Need more tips on preparing your home for sale? Call today!

Doorways to Better Living Spaces

When people renovate or remodel a room, they almost always overlook the door. However, changing the style of an interior door, or adding a new one, can dramatically change the look of a living space – often for the better.

Although the most common type of door is the traditional solid 6-panel door, there are many other choices available. Want to add light and a greater sense of space to a room? Consider a door with glass panels. Do you have an interior door that gets in the way when opened? Change it to a bi-fold door, which cuts the distance of the swing in half.

There are also specialty doors that are designed to block noise, and sliding doors that tuck neatly into the wall when opened.
Interior doors are typically much less expensive than their exterior counterparts. So, making the decision to upgrade or add a door to a room is an affordable design option.

Visit a door showroom and explore the possibilities.

Photos courtesy Unsplash

Affordable Staging Ideas

Remember the last time you walked through a furniture showroom? You probably noticed that the sofa, chairs, tables and other furnishings were arranged – or staged – to make them look more appealing. You might have seen an attractive lamp on a sofa end table, or an appetizing bowl of fruit on a dining room buffet.

When preparing your home for sale, you should do much the same thing. Stage each room to make it look its best. Studies prove this will help sell your home faster and for a better price.
In fact, there are professional stagers who provide consulting and installation for home staging. As your real estate agent, I can also provide you with practical ideas to get your home prepared for sale.

Here are some simple, affordable staging tips:

• Make each room look as spacious as possible. This may mean putting some items, and even some furniture, into storage.

• Remove unnecessary items from countertops, tables and shelves.

• Keep decorative objects on shelves, tables and even sofas, in odd number groupings. According to Barb Schwartz, the originator of staging, this combination works best. So, put three pillows on a sofa, not two or four.

• Make an older-looking piece of furniture look quaint and stylish by adding a throw cover.

• Add life and good looks to just about any living space by adding flowers or a flowering plant.

• Have the table set with your best china. It makes the buyer want to move in and sit down for dinner!

• Consider replacing the sink, faucets and toilet to make an older bathroom look much better. It’s relatively quick and inexpensive.

Professional stagers look at your home through the eyes of the buyer. Do the same and you’ll be able to see what changes need to be made.

What Can Smart Switches and Light Plugs Do For Your Home?

“Siri, how much water did I drink today?”

“Alexa, what’s on TV tonight?”

“Google, turn off the lights!”

You know the drill. We’re all starting to talk to ourselves under the guise of speaking to our smart speakers and voice assistants. There’s nothing at all wrong with this, but it’s a future no one could have conceived even a decade ago. Smart speakers were cool for creating grocery lists, but that’s just a fraction of what they’re capable of now.

Your computer friends can control your lights and outlets from anywhere now. How cool is that?

The Power of Smart Switches and Plugs

Smart switches and plugs are among the most underrated components of a smart home. In fact, they’re a cheap way to get into the smart home world if your home wasn’t built with this type of equipment in mind.

They’re simple to install and essentially disappear after a few days. After all, they’re just boring plugs and switches, right?

Well… that’s one way to look at it. But, then again, how long do you go in a day without interacting with an outlet or a switch? Are you using either right now?

Behold the Handy, Hidden Household Helpers

If you really think about it, you use outlets and switches all the time for a wide range of reasons. Smart switches and smart plugs are no different, they’re a frequent touch item in your home. But they’re so much more than power regulators. Smart switches and plugs can do things for your household like:

  • Making mornings tolerable. Most people have heard of the coffee pot that’s powered using a smart outlet. You fill it up at night, then your programmed smart outlet switches on in the morning and starts the coffee cycle. It’s a popular trope, but it’s also a real thing… so you have that to look forward to.
  • Proving peace of mind. Whether you’re across town or across the state, it’s not a great idea to advertise that you’re not home at night. Your smart switches and plugs can be programmed to flip on and off at different times to make it appear that you’re just hanging around the house.
  • Conserving resources. Believe it or not, a lot of homeowners find that they save a lot of energy with smart plugs. The better units have use reporting built in, all you have to do is check your app to see which ones are using up the most juice. Create a schedule for those plugs, then check your usage again in a few months. Adjust the whole thing as necessary.
  • Creating a safer indoor environment. Are you the kind of person who doesn’t like to walk into a dark house, even when it’s yours? Then smart switches and outlets should definitely be on your shopping list. You can turn all the lights in the house on when you pull into your subdivision or driveway, making it clear that you’re home, in case any ghouls (or burglars) happen to be lurking.
  • Assisting people with handicaps. You may not need the help now, but even a debilitating sports injury can be enough to make you want to scream when you forget to turn a light on or off and are already across the room. For people who are permanently disabled, that’s an every day event. Today with the help of Siri, Alexa and Google Home Assistant, all anyone needs to do is shout, “Siri, turn off the kitchen lights!” and it’s a done deal.

Those little almost-invisible switches and outlets are pretty busy, looks like. They’re also an inexpensive way to jumpstart your smart home transformation. For example, if you wanted a way to turn your bedroom’s ceiling fan light off at night, you would save a bundle to install a smart switch versus using smart light bulbs and the switch won’t burn out any time soon, so bonus!

Ready to Make a Move Toward a Smarter Home?

Even if you have an older home, you can start transforming it into a smart home with switches and outlets. Every home and family will have different needs that a smart home can service, but due to the dizzying array of equipment out there, it can help to speak to a home pro about your plans. Not sure where to find one? Start in your own backyard with HomeKeepr. Your real estate agent can recommend a smart home consultant or installer to help you pick the right bits and pieces to build the perfect, smartest home on the block.

5 Things to Consider for a Picture Wall

One of the best parts of owning your own home is that you can do pretty much whatever you want when it comes to hanging things on the wall. No landlord will charge you $5 per hole you poke through the sheetrock. It’s kind of nice. You can let your creative side have a heyday with a hammer and a bunch of nails.

For a lot of families, putting a family picture wall together is a high priority in their new homes. It can be a fun project that can be the very first of many happy memories in the new place.

Planning Your Picture Wall

If you hop on Pinterest and search for “family picture wall,” you’re going to find an overwhelming number of ways to put one of these together. There’s no one way to do a family picture wall, since every family is different. There are lots of things to consider while you’re planning your wall, though.

Don’t just start hanging pictures willy-nilly. Do some real prep work to ensure that your wall turns out as special as what you have envisioned rather than yet another #PinterestFail. These tips should help:

Pick a theme. You need something concrete to get you started in the planning stage. Choosing a theme can be a good place to start, since it’ll inform your image choices as you go through your Google Drive. A theme could be anything from “vacation photos” to “photos with the color blue in them.” The best photo walls have some kind of unifying theme, choose one before you get started.

Use technology to simulate your photo wall. Art.com’s iOS app gives you the capability to not just imagine what an image or set of images will look like on your wall, it actually can virtually add those photos to the wall using augmented reality. The same technology that powers Pokemon Go can help you get great results with your family picture wall.

Choosy kids choose cool frames. The frames you choose are just as important as the images. If you’re looking for something pretty unusual, scour flea markets and antique shops for old frames with unique designs. If you can’t find anything that tickles your fancy, your home improvement store’s trimwork aisle will have some really fancy trim that you can use to build your own frames!

Incorporate more than photos. Sure, it’s called a “family picture wall,” but who says you have to stop there? Memorabilia from favorite spots, items that reflect interests and hobbies, even accolades like medals have a place on a wall like this. Just make sure that you’re using sturdy materials and secure shelves tightly to the wall to avoid long term issues.

Sometimes, fewer is better. Family picture walls can get pretty overwhelming fast. Instead of hanging every photo you’ve ever taken of your kids, pick the two best from now and the two best from their early childhood. Capture those moments that really meant something and remember that sometimes less is way more. Besides, you’ll want to save some of those embarrassing pictures for leverage later.

When It’s Time to Start Decorating…

Some people love the process and others love the results when it comes to redecorating their homes. If you’re more of a looker than a doer, you’re in luck. I can help you meet interior designers who will put together a killer family photo wall that you’ll love to look at every day. Just ask for an introduction and you’ll be on your way to a wall full of memories in no time!

 INTERIOR DECORATING