This year’s biggest outdoor living trends are all about enjoying your backyard alfresco — but with the comfort and ease you expect from your indoor spaces. Today’s outdoor spaces are transforming into an extension of the home.
Here are some great, green energy-efficient ideas to upgrade your home and save you serious money on utility bills. See the full Medium article here.
7 Steps to Plan a Successful Remodel
There’s no better time than now to start that home renovation you’ve been dreaming about! Learn how by reading the full Medium article here.
Hot Bathroom Trends
Do you dream of a new bathroom? If a bathroom addition or remodel is in your future, keep these ideas top of mind.
(BPT) - Adding or remodeling a bathroom is a popular home improvement project in 2020. Whether it's a simple powder room, a useful three-quarter or a grand master bath, it's worthwhile to research the top trends so you can create a space that is functional while also increasing your home's overall value.
Sensational showers: When it comes to bathing options, showers are the focus. For instance, four in five homeowners upgrade the shower during a master bathroom renovation (83%) and over half increase the shower size (54%), found the most recent U.S. Houzz Bathrooms Trends Study. Some homeowners are eliminating the tub altogether, adding multiple showerheads and steam features for maximum relaxation.
Unique locations: A homeowner's bathroom location desires are no longer limited to the property's existing plumbing and drainage systems. Saniflo technologies use above-floor plumbing with features such as a macerating toilet and drain pumps that can be hidden in closets or behind walls. This means previously impossible spaces — such as in garages, pool houses and attics — can now be transformed into stunning bathrooms. The Saniaccess3 is a smart choice for full baths, and the Saniaccess2 is ideal for powder rooms.
Freestanding tubs: For those homeowners who still enjoy a good soak, say goodbye to jetted tubs with apron surrounds. Freestanding tubs are the ultimate in luxurious bathing, providing a focal point that draws the eye in any bathroom while also creating an airy feeling in the space. If a homeowner wants to install a freestanding tub where no drainage currently exists, a Saniflo system is an affordable way to complete the project in less time. Learn more at www.saniflo.com.
Color and styles: After avoiding white color palettes for some time, white on white is back in 2020, offering a clean look with sleek appeal. Mixed materials are often used to add visual interest, such as a tasteful blend of wood and metallics in the vanity or hardware choices. Contemporary styles with clean lines and open spaces are key characteristics of the modern bathroom. When a splash of color is called for, blues dominate the cool tones and salmons often infuse warm hues.
Vanities and tops: Vanities vary in size and shape depending on space. Designs tend to be modern or transitional, with elements of interest such as sliding doors that mimic the barn-door trend. Floating vanities are favored, adding an upscale feel that opens the space. Vanity tops are made from a host of materials: as granite loses steam, quartz, marble and concrete are increasing in popularity. Finally, when space allows in a master bath, double sinks are a must.
Flooring: Ceramic and porcelain tile is often the choice for the modern homeowner who can customize tile with any design they want. Large tiles are less desired, with smaller mosaic options a common choice for personalization. For those who feel tile is too hard or cold, engineered vinyl is a leading choice. It can be made to mimic the look of wood surprisingly well, but can handle the moist environment that typically comes from a bathroom.
Smart technologies: Technological enhancements have entered virtually all aspects of life, and the bathroom is no exception. This is more than just streaming music to water-resistant speakers. In 2020, more homeowners desire digital shower controls allowing temperature adjustment and flow of the water through voice commands. For those with the funds, smart toilets open and close by sensor and are self cleaning. Another growing tech trend is chromatherapy — the use of color to enhance and inspire mood — with technologies used to illuminate tubs and shower spaces.
Every year brings with it trends in home design. For 2020, the bathroom is a standout space with customizable features that simplify and beautify life. If a bathroom addition or remodel is in your future, keep these ideas top of mind.
A laundry room may be one of the spaces that you use the most, but cramped quarters and clutter can hinder your productivity. Eliminate the excuses and get your laundry room under control with these tips to add function to your washing routine.
How to Create a More Functional Laundry Room
(Family Features) A laundry room may be one of the spaces that you use the most, but cramped quarters and clutter can hinder your productivity. Eliminate the excuses and get your laundry room under control with these tips to add function to your washing routine.
Use space wisely. Your laundry room may not have a big footprint, but you probably have more usable space than you realize. Install shelves or storage units on the walls and consider the ceiling as a spot to hang a floating drying rack. Don't overlook the back of the door, where you can mount a storage system or use an over-the-door alternative.
Maximize storage. Many laundry rooms suffer from a lack of storage, which hinders space to fold and manage laundry while making the room less pleasant overall. A durable, attractive organization system like Dimensions by ClosetMaid can add instant organization and style to your laundry room. The system provides numerous design options, convenient accessories and configurations of cabinets and drawers, accommodating virtually any space.
Resist wrinkles. Prevent unsightly wrinkles by hanging garments straight out of the dryer. A hanging rod is easy to install and lets you take advantage of vertical space in smaller rooms. Be sure to also stock up on hangers of various styles so you always have an ample supply ready when the buzzer sounds that another load is ready for your attention.
Promote ventilation. Another common issue in laundry rooms is limited ventilation, which can promote mold, affect air quality and hinder air drying for special garments. A clever way to enhance ventilation while increasing your storage space is ventilated shelving that helps keep air flow moving. For example, ClosetMaid's Premium Wood Kits feature sturdy slatted shelves to stash your laundry essentials and can include accessories like hanging rods.
Create a folding station. One of the biggest laundry pitfalls is folding and putting away clean clothes. A clear, clean space in the laundry room can help nudge you toward completing the task more efficiently. If you have front-loading machines, it may be as simple as adding a counter or sturdy shelf above them. If you use top-loaders, you may need to get more creative. If there's room, a laundry sorter with a flat top is a good solution. Or if floor space is at a premium, you might consider a shelf that mounts to the wall and folds down when you need it.
Get inspired with more ideas to make your laundry room work for you at ClosetMaid.com.
Photos courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
Starting a Home Remodeling Project
Outside of the home itself, remodeling is typically one of the largest investments you can make as a homeowner. Consider these tips to help you make an informed decision when hiring a remodeling contractor.
Starting a Home Remodeling Project
7 tips for choosing a qualified contractor
(Family Features) Outside of the home itself, remodeling is typically one of the largest investments you can make as a homeowner. While some projects can be tempting to tackle yourself, many larger-scale projects may require hiring a qualified professional.
Because remodeling your home is a big undertaking, it’s important to take steps to ensure the professional you hire to perform the work is qualified to complete it to the highest standards of quality and integrity.
Consider these tips from the experts at the National Association of the Remodeling Industry to help you make an informed decision when hiring a remodeling contractor.
Follow Your Design Aesthetic
Ask for Licenses and Insurance
Search for Violations or Complaints
Compare Apples to Apples
Find more tips for selecting a contractor at remodelingdoneright.com.SOURCE:
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
Consumers today are more mindful about the environmental impact of everything they do, from driving and traveling to energy usage in their homes. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps homeowners can take to save energy and help the environment.
(BPT) - Consumers today are more mindful about the environmental impact of everything they do, from driving and traveling to energy usage in their homes. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps homeowners can take to save energy and help the environment.
1. Boost your insulation
You may already know what areas of your home are poorly insulated, simply by how you feel when it’s cold or hot outside. You can have a professional home energy audit conducted to help pinpoint areas that need improvement. Many energy companies provide an audit free of charge.
Start with the attic: If your attic is insufficiently insulated, you could be losing a lot of heat over the winter, which means your home is wasting energy — and money. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that boosting attic insulation can save 10-50 percent on heating costs.
2. Upgrade your heating and cooling system
Heating and cooling your home uses the most energy, so investing in Energy Star certified HVAC products can make a big difference when it comes to cutting energy costs and your home's impact on the environment.
For a new HVAC system in a variety of styles to fit any décor that can be easily installed by a contractor, you might consider wall-mounted duct-free systems from a trusted brand like LG. They offer a variety of ultra-quiet "Art Cool" options (the sleek Mirror, stylish Premier and unique Gallery, which looks like a picture frame and allows you to display your own artwork). These systems are smart-enabled, allowing homeowners to adjust the temperature from their LG ThinQ app for Android and iOS users, or with simple commands via Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
The most eco-conscious consumers will want to look for "Energy Star Most Efficient" HVAC solutions. For example, the Art Cool Mirror earned the 2019 designation and also features advanced "Reliable to Extreme Degrees" LGRED, heating technology that delivers 100 percent heating capacity down to 5 degrees Fahrenheit and continuous heating down to -13 degrees Fahrenheit. This will keep you warm and comfortable all winter long with remarkable energy efficiency.
3. Replace doors and windows
You may be losing a lot of heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer through your doors and windows, especially if they're older. The latest energy-efficient models of windows and doors not only reduce leaks around the frames, but they're made from materials that enhance insulation.
Doors: According to EnergyStar.gov, energy-efficient doors not only fit better and have improved weather stripping to reduce air leakage, but also use improved core materials for superior insulation. Where glass is used, they reduce heat flow via double- or triple-paned insulating glass.
Windows: Energy Star qualified windows use superior framing materials, including multiple panes of glass, with air- or gas-filled space between for additional insulation. They're made from Low-E (low emissivity) glass, with special coatings to reflect infrared light. Warm edge spacers keep the glass panes the correct distance apart reducing heat transfer through the window.
4. Go solar
While most people are aware that solar power harnesses the sun’s energy to create electricity, many don't know how easy and cost-effective it is to go solar.
The newest technology behind solar energy has made it increasingly accessible and appealing for homeowners. For example, new energy solutions such as LG’s "NeON R ACe" are high-efficiency solar panels that incorporate a built-in micro-inverter (that converts DC electricity to AC) instead of a separate traditional inverter. Recessed into the frame of the solar module, the micro-inverter simplifies the installation process and allows more flexibility to create a solar array that looks attractive on your roof. When going solar, it’s important to seek out a brand you trust, one like LG that offers solar panels covered by a 25-year limited product, part and performance warranty.
Choosing just one area to upgrade will save energy, reducing your home's carbon footprint. You'll also feel more comfortable throughout the year, as you better regulate the temperature of your home.
Here are some basic tasks you need to do now to prepare for wintry weather and to ensure your family stays healthy and safe inside.
(BPT) - No matter where you live, there are bound to be weather challenges this winter. Your home may suffer damage, minor or major, from the onslaught of colder weather, along with wind, heavy rain, ice storms or even major snow systems. This can affect not only the integrity and value of your home, but may lead to costly repairs down the road. That's why it's smart to prep now, to prevent bigger problems in the future. It's also a good idea to make sure that your home is prepped for spending more time indoors.
Here are basic tasks to prepare for wintry weather, and to ensure your family stays healthy and safe inside.
1. Perform a safety check
Are your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in good working order? Make monthly testing of these safety features a regular part of your seasonal household chores. For battery-operated units keep up-to-date with battery changes as per manufacturer instructions. Also be aware and take action if you hear any low battery alarms. Also, do you have a home fire extinguisher in your kitchen?
2. Ensure clean indoor air
Make sure your home’s heating and air conditioning units are in good condition, and schedule regular tune-ups to avoid unpleasant surprises. Change your furnace filter frequently, so your air quality stays clean indoors, where you’re likely to spend more time as temps get cooler. Also, consider setting up a schedule with a professional to have your ductwork cleaned on a regular basis.
3. Keep the outside out
Check weatherstripping around exterior doors, replacing where necessary, then seal and caulk exterior wood, since wood trim can rot around windows and outside doors. Walk around the outside of your home with spray foam gap sealer and caulk to plug gaps, cracks and holes in siding and around windows. Find and seal air leaks where you may be losing valuable heat and letting in the cold. Many energy companies offer an energy audit to discover where you may be losing both heat and money — and advise you on ways to improve your insulation. Making sure your gutters are cleaned out and in good condition helps protect your home's exterior from exposure to moisture due to rain, ice or snow melt.
4. Install back-up power
Power outages occur for many reasons, usually outside your control. In major storms, outages can last for days or even weeks when a large area is affected. To protect your home and family, an automatic standby generator gives you peace of mind — even when you’re not at home.
Look for a unit that comes in a durable aluminum enclosure with options that can withstand up to 181 mph winds and can be installed as close as 18 inches from your home (important for areas with tight lot lines and strict building codes), such as select models of KOHLER standby home generators. They will automatically start and restore your power in seconds, whether you’re home or away.
Units can be monitored remotely from your smartphone or laptop. The unit is permanently installed near your home, and provides high-quality power that can run your sump pump, furnace or air conditioner, and major appliances — plus delicate electronics. KOHLER generators feature commercial-grade engines built to withstand extreme workloads over many years, and they come with a five-year warranty. This is not a do-it-yourself job; you will need to work with a professionally licensed and insured generator installer.
5. Trim your trees
Now is a great time to get your trees trimmed, while it’s easier to access branches without all the extra foliage. Trimming dead branches helps prevent problems that can occur due to wind or ice storms, when a falling branch could endanger a power line, car or home. Like all professional contractors, work with tree service companies that have proper credentials and insurance.
6. Check your roof
Whether you inspect your roof yourself or hire a professional, it's a good idea to take care of repairs before winter wind, hail, snow and ice do their worst. Look for blistering, curling, buckling — or missing — shingles. Moss or lichen growing can indicate decay underneath. Any visible sagging of your roof, rust or cracks around flashing or vent pipes should also be repaired promptly to avoid later problems like leaks.
Don't let the calamities of winter take you and your family by surprise. Doing prep work and maintenance on your home now, with a focus on safety, will ensure that you're ready for anything that may come your way — even if it's just hunkering down in your home for the season.
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