Some of our Favorite Home Design Trends for 2018

Home Design Trends That Will Rock Your House Out in 2018

But, the true trick here is figuring out which trends are on the rise, and which ones are about to flop. We’ve done our research, and here are four of our favorite home design trends from the experts and their predictions for 2018:

Curved Couches & Sofas

Want your sofa or couch to feel extremely current? Then, the 70s style curved versions are the way to go. Say goodbye to traditional, boring L-shaped sectionals and straight couch and loveseat duos. Curved sofas and couches have a unique way of dividing up a room. And, they look stylishly amazing from any and every angle. These furniture pieces are perfect for rectangular-shaped rooms, as well as for hugging your fireplace.

 

Lampshades That Scream For Attention

Guess what? It’s time to toss those boring white lampshades and shed some color on your light. For 2018, expect to see lampshade trends that include patterned, wicker and pleated pieces. When shopping for lampshades, go for fun, sophistication or whatever your personality desires.

Monochrome Décor

In this day and age, minimalists are using that mind-frame to decorate their home with simplicity. Yen lovers believe this creates areas filled with peace. To create a more monochrome space in your home, try the tone-on-tone method. You’ll see a lot of home spaces decorated with one family of colors in 2018.

Statement Floors

Statement floors have quickly become a serious home décor rave. And, they will still be hot trends next year. From chevron floors to herringbone floors, homeowners are now making bolder statements in floor design. You’ll see statement floors in quirky designs, as well as unique epoxy coating designs. These focal designs make your home space unique and extremely trendy.

Stay tuned into the blog as we uncover more of our favorite home design/decor trends throughout the year!

 

Taxes and the Homestead Exemption

Taxes and the Homestead Exemption

In recent news, taxes and real estate is hot topic. One of the easiest ways a homeowner can lower his or her property tax bill is to file a homestead exemption. A homestead is generally the house and land used as the owner’s principal residence on Jan. 1 of the tax year.

Homestead exemptions reduce the appraised value of your home and, as a result, lower your property taxes. To apply for an exemption on your residence homestead, contact the Appraisal District for your county.

Available homestead exemptions include:

▪ School taxes: All homeowners may receive a $25,000 homestead exemption for school taxes.
▪ County taxes: If a county collects a special tax for farm-to-market roads or flood control, a homeowner may receive a $3,000 homestead exemption for this tax.
▪ Age and disability exemptions: Individuals 65 or older or disabled as defined by law may qualify for a $10,000 homestead exemption for school taxes, in addition to the $25,000 exemption available to all homeowners. Also, any taxing unit may offer a local optional exemption of at least $3,000 for taxpayers age 65 or older and/or disabled. Older or disabled homeowners do not need to own their homes on Jan. 1 to qualify for the $10,000 homestead exemption. They qualify as soon as they turn age 65 or become disabled.
▪ Taxing units may offer a local option exemption based on a percentage of a home’s appraised value. Any taxing unit can exempt up to 20 percent of the value of each qualified homestead. No matter what percentage of value the taxing unit adopts, the dollar value of the exemption must be at least $5,000.
▪ There are also exemptions for the following Partial exemption for disabled veterans, 100 Percent Residence Homestead Exemption for Disabled Veterans, Surviving Spouses of Members of the U.S. Armed Services Killed in Action and Surviving Spouses of First Responders Killed in the Line of Duty.

One more very important note…..beware of homestead exemption scams!

There is NO fee for making the application for a homestead exemption. However, certain companies offer to “process” your application for a fee by sending you a letter in the mail. These letters usually will start appearing in your mailbox around the first few weeks in January. THROW THEM AWAY! They often look like an official government document and state that the fee must be paid for the homeowner to get the exemption. AGAIN, THROW THEM AWAY!

Once again, filing for a homestead exemption is FREE. You just fill out a simple application and mail it in to your appraisal district. File the completed application and all required documents with the county appraisal district for the county in which you live.

For more information, or if you have questions about your Homestead Exemption, contact The Indigo Skye Group!

Baby it’s Cold Outside So Throw a Cozy Winter Brunch!

HOW TO THROW A COZY WINTER BRUNCH INSTEAD OF LEAVING YOUR NICE, WARM HOME

Stay indoors and follow these expert tips from a NYC chef-and-interior design duo.

 

Going outside in the winter is really hard. What shoes to wear? How cold is it? What if your space heater misses you?

Instead of braving the elements, circumvent these issues by throwing a winter brunch and making everyone come to you.

Here are interior designer Becky Shea and chef and former Homepolish editor Matt Powell‘s top tricks and tips to recreate the lavish winter spread they put on at a SoHo loft earlier this season.

1 PAY ATTENTION TO SEASONAL HARVEST

“Winter calls for root vegetables and ingredients like allspice, cloves and cinnamon that warm us from the inside out and help lull us into hibernation,” Shea says.

 

2 EMBRACE YOUR DARK SIDE

It isn’t sunny outside, which means a theme of pastels, Gerber daisies, and rainbows isn’t going to work.

Take a page out of Shea’s dream journal, and go for something bold and cosmic, dark and moody. And really commit to it — from food to flatware.

“By keeping all the elements in the same tone, we were able to create cohesion with the tableware, flowers, interior space, and food,” Shea says.

For flowers, Shea chose Garden Roses, Eucalyptus, Ronia Black berries on twigs. The black-rimmed Soie Tressée plates are from L’objet ($50-$130, L’objet), paired with navy plaid napkins from Crate & Barrel ($4.87, Crate & Barrel). The dining table is a custom-order American Walnut live edge table with steel integration from Becky Shea Design.

 

3 PREP WITH FRIENDS AHEAD OF TIME

Who said you have to do all the work? “Prepping with friends and loved ones ahead of the actual RSVP time makes the experience so much more fun and cuts the time in half,” Shea says.

Inviting your right-hands over turns party prep into an actual party, but do also make sure to plan the menu a week or two in advance, in case you have to change plans when your grocer runs out of nutmeg.

To still get that “wow moment,” your tabletop should be set, appetizers ready, and main courses roasting as other guests arrive.

To help you recreate this spread, Shea says the Hasselback Butternut Squash can be roasted up to 4 hours in advance, wrapped in tin foil, and then reheated right before serving.

 

Shea and Powell called the pears their “hero dessert,” as the fruits had quite the role to fill.

“We strive to hit all five senses in our experiential designs for tablescapes,” Shea said. “[T]hese pears played the perfect part of stimulating your smell, sight, touch (texture), and most importantly, taste senses.”

The pair topped off the brunch with some classic Frank Sinatra tunes to fit in with the warm, classic vibes.

 

5 REMEMBER EVERYBODY LOVES A GOODY BAG

“We love to surprise guests with a little take-away gift as a thank you for spending time with us and as a token of our relationship,” says Shea.

For this brunch, Powell and Shea baked rosemary shortbread wreaths the night before and wrapped them in canvas bags with ribbon to give guests “something to enjoy later in the night when they return home or the next day as a reminder of the fun event.”

 

 

Photos by Sean Litchfield – Article source: ElleDecor.com

The Impact Staging Your Home Has on Sales Price [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights:

  • The National Association of Realtors surveyed their members & released the findings of their Annual Profile of Home Staging.
  • 50% of staged homes saw a 1-10% increase in dollar value offers from buyers.
  • 77% of buyer’s agents said staging made it easier for buyers to visualize the home as their own.
  • The top rooms to stage in order to attract more buyers are the living room, master bedroom, kitchen, and dining room.

Will the new tax laws take mortgage deductions out of your pocket??

Wondering if the new tax laws will take deductions out of your pocket? Here are a few ways the bill will affect homeowners and the housing market:

MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTION

Prior to this tax reform bill, homeowners could deduct the interest on their mortgage debt, up to $1 million. The new law caps the interest deduction on mortgage debt to $750,000 for new mortgages. Current homeowners are not impacted by this change.

Additionally, homeowners are no longer allowed to deduct the interest they pay on home equity debt. VERY IMPORTANT: the home equity line of credit (HELOC) deduction is NOT grandfathered. So, individuals with a HELOC will lose the deduction.

PROPERTY TAXES

The new tax bill also curbs how much homeowners can deduct for paying property taxes. The previous tax law allowed taxpayers to deduct state and local income or sales tax and also property taxes.

Property, state and local income taxes face a combined $10,000 deduction limit.

CAPITAL GAINS ON HOME SALES

One tax break that remains in place is a rule that lets homeowners shield some of the profits they make selling their home from capital gains taxes.

For individuals, the break applies up to $250,000 in profits on the sale of a principle residence; for married couples, it is up to $500,000.

 

For more information on how the new tax bill might effect your homeowner deductions contact your CPA or tax professional.

Moving into a new home calls for a great housewarming party! 

 

Moving into a new home calls for a great housewarming party! And if you’re looking for a creative way to celebrate, it may help to hear about some house celebration traditions from around the world—because there are plenty of them.

It turns out, people from all corners of the globe love marking the act of moving into new digs. Many of these housewarming rituals are purported to bring good luck to the home—and even if you aren’t the superstitious sort, they can serve as inspiration for a theme for your own fete. So check ’em out!

1. Light candles on your first night

Origin: Europe

Ever wonder why it’s called a housewarming? Fire is a classic symbol of strength and purity, which is why many European traditions involve lighting a candle or a fire on your first night in a home. Doing so is said to ward off evil spirits by casting away darkness. This was back before modern conveniences such as electricity made doing that much easier, but you have to admit, there’s something special about the glow of real flames to mark this special occasion.

2. Hang a chimney hook

Origin: France

In French-speaking countries, a housewarming party is called a pendaison de crémaillère, which means “hanging of the chimney hook.” It’s a medieval expression dating to the 1600s, when houses were built by everyone in the village. Upon completion of the house, everyone who participated was invited in for dinner, which was prepared in a large pot hung on a hook in the chimney. The hook could adjust the height of the pot, which controls the cooking temperature, and was usually the last item to be installed in a new home. Today, of course, this just means you should make sure to feed anyone who shows up at your housewarming party.

3. Bring bread and salt

Origin: Russia

Bread and salt represent two cherished symbols of hospitality, so much so that many believe they should be the first two items brought into a new home: A gift of bread is meant to ensure that the home’s inhabitants will never go hungry, and salt will provide a life full of flavor. This tradition may have originated in Russia, but has been adopted in many countries—and it’s even migrated into outer space! Astronauts have ceremoniously brought bread and salt on board both Mir and the International Space Station to celebrate their new “home” up in zero gravity.

4. Ring a bell

Origin: Tibet

Want to rid your home of dying chi (aka bad energy)? According to feng shui, the Chinese philosophy of harmonizing your environment,  ringing a bell will help clear a room of negative vibes. If you’re still feeling some bad juju, try opening windows, turning on fans, and letting in sunlight—all are part of the tradition as well.

5. Put out a pineapple

Origin: Europe

In 1493 during his second sea voyage, Christopher Columbus was said to be the first European to come face-to-face with a pineapple. And, according to the World Encyclopedia of Food, other imperial travelers found that natives who hung the fruit in front of their dwellings’ entrances seemed especially welcoming to strangers. The concept eventually travelled to Colonial homeowners, who began showcasing pineapple-shaped decorations in common areas. Once a symbol of extravagance—at one time, a single pineapple could be sold for the equivalent of $8,000 today—it now represents hospitality, and is considered a universal housewarming symbol.

6. Tie a holy thread

Origin: Thailand

To welcome good luck, according to Thai tradition, invite an odd number of Buddhist monks to your home (an even number is thought to be unlucky) for a Khuan Ban Mai blessing ceremony. This basically means the monks will tie a sai seen (a holy thread or string) around your wrist, and the wrists of your family members, which is a way to usher good luck into your life.

7. Burn sage

Origin: Native America

Also clearing out negative energy, this tradition involves burning dried sage in every room you wish to cleanse. Specifically, directing the smoke into the four corners of the room is thought to add protection from evil spirits. And it smells nice, too.

8. Boil milk and rice

Origin: India

This one can get a little bit messy. In Indian culture, it’s common to bless a new home by boiling milk and rice until the mixture overflows the pot. Doing so is said to symbolize the prosperity of a long life. And if you reallydon’t mind a mess, another Indian housewarming tradition involves bringing a cow into the new home and placing a holy garland around its neck. While it might seem strange to treat your home like a barn, cows are considered sacred in this culture, so it makes sense.

9. Paint your porch ‘haint’ blue

Origin: Southern U.S.

“Haint” is another word for “haunt” in Gullah tradition, which began in Africa and spread to regions of South Carolina and Georgia. The legend says that haint spirits can’t travel through or over water, so painting part of your entryway blue is a deterrent. Southern homes are also commonly accented with blue around the doors, windows, and shutters. The paint also once had a practical purpose: Originally, it was mixed with lime, which helped keep mosquitoes away.

 

 

Article source: Matt Christensen for Realtor.com. 

House Plants that are Safe for Your Pets

 

When it comes to plants and pets, both can bring a lot of love and light into your life. Unfortunately, the two don’t always mix so well. In fact, some plants can be downright deadly for pets. The good news is that many plants aren’t, and if you choose your plants wisely, the two can co-exist beautifully, says Justin Hancock of Costa Farms in Miami.

Here are expert picks on the best plants for pet owners.

Peperomia

Peperomia

This family of easy-growing houseplants has been popular for generations because it’s so forgiving, which is perfect for busy pet owners, Hancock says.

“Forget to water them now and again? No worries. Don’t want to fertilize? No problem. And they don’t contain natural compounds that are toxic to animals, so you don’t need to worry if Fido nibbles on a leaf or two.”

Bromeliads

bromeliads

With their exotic spikes of brightly colored blooms, Guzmania bromeliads look festive. These nonpoisonous plants are easy to grow and stay relatively sturdy, so they’re unlikely to suffer a lot of damage if they get knocked down by playful pups.

Echeveria

Echeveria

This trendy succulent doesn’t need a lot of water. Nonpoisonous and spineless, they won’t harm the furry members of your household.

Ponytail palm

Ponytail palm

This “plant of steel” is practically indestructible, so it’s a great choice if you need an easy-care plant that’s compatible with your pets. Its thick trunk and grassy leaves give it a festive look that’s perfect for any room in the home.

Catnip

Not only is catnip nontoxic, your cat is also going to love it. It can be planted inside or out and is known for its bright green leaves. The only downside is that your feline may love it too much, so you might need to replant it now and then.

Money tree

Money tree, aka pachira aquatica

Money tree, aka pachira aquaticaSadly enough, money does not actually grow on these plants. But here’s the good news: They’re safe for pets and recommended for people with allergies and asthma.

Moth orchid

Moth orchid

These nontoxic flowers look fancy, but they’re actually low-maintenance. They come in an amazing array of colors and can add an elegant touch to any space without putting Yolanda the Yorkie in any danger.

A note of caution

Hancock says it’s important to note that just because these plants are nontoxic for pets, it doesn’t mean your pet still can’t have a negative reaction to them.

“Pets can have allergies to plants, just like people can have food allergies, so a nonpoisonous plant could possibly (it’s rare, of course) make a pet sick,” Hancock says. “Likewise, it’s also possible for pets to have bad interactions with fertilizers or other products used on plants.”

So if your green thumb is itching, these nontoxic plants are good place to start. Just remember to watch your furry friends around any new plants, for the sake of your pets and your plants.