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Houzz Call: How Did Your Dad Shape Your Idea of Home?

When I was a kid, my dad was always in the yard. He spent almost every weekend mowing, weeding, edging, pulling, cutting and trimming. This was in a suburb of Houston hot, humid and swarming with insects. The St. Augustine grass lawn was like a battlefield. My dad versus fire ants, mosquitoes, chiggers, and copperhead and cottonmouth snakes. At any given time, he wielded a chainsaw, a mower, a blower, an edger, a Weed Eater, a branch trimmer or a rusty machete, just like the one in the Friday the 13th movies. And I loved it.

Mom kept the house running day to day — cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, shopping, packing lunches, shuffling my siblings and me to school and various sports. The exterior and yard were my dad’s domain, and that was where my mother shooed us to on the weekends so she could have some peace while she got the house in order and watched her soap operas.

Over time my dad taught me to use his various — and dangerous — tools, slowly passing some of the lawn duties down to my brother and me. But not all of them. He enjoyed working in the yard too much to relinquish all the responsibilities.

One summer in my early teens, I tried starting a neighborhood lawn-mowing business to earn money and impress my father the way my brother had successfully done the previous summer. I wasn’t very good at it, though. And my dad often had to accompany me to make sure the job was done right and the customer was satisfied. But he never complained. I think he was just happy to be working in a yard, in the sunshine, gritty soil up to his elbows, a machine in his hands, a welcome departure from his office job as an accountant.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I was getting a crash course from my dad and mom on what it takes to care for a home. It’s one of the most joyful things in life, but also one that requires constant patience, maintenance, upkeep, time and money. Even after you go through the long process of buying or building a home, and hiring pros to perform renovations or additions, there’s always going to be something that needs your love and attention. And that hard work can be an immense source of pleasure.

I don’t have a yard, but I do have a balcony where I spend a lot of Saturdays with my kids planting and repotting plants and trimming dead branches, hands deep in potting soil, away from the computer. And we spend most Sundays cooking, cleaning and doing laundry, those precious skills I learned from my mother.
Sometimes I wonder if these moments are burning an image of me into my kids’ memories, similar to the one I have of my father toiling away to get the yard in shape. Or maybe their conception of me will be completely different.

It’s a pointless exercise, of course. They’ll remember what they remember. But I take a lot of comfort in just being able to have them around to observe, ask their infinite questions and get their hands dirty, just like I was able to do with my dad. No doubt they are absorbing some knowledge about the importance, privilege and joy of maintaining a home.

Today, my dad is in his early 70s. He has a landscaper who comes by once a week to do the regular yard maintenance. And that’s good. He certainly earned it. But he’s always working on little projects — painting rooms, washing windows. I recently shared the Houzz photo shown here of a potting station with my mother, who excitedly showed it to my father. Now he is determined to create something similar for her in the backyard of their Southern California home.

My dad wants me to drive down this summer to help with some of the work. The kids too. That way they can be a part of the action. Who knows, maybe it’s the kind of “dad work” they’ll be thinking about, and emulating, decades from now.

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This content was originally published here.

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8 Ways to Remodel Your Indoor Kitchen to Get an Outdoor Vibe

My ideal outdoor kitchen would be outfitted with a sink, top-of-the-line grill, exterior-grade appliances and plenty of counter space for cooking and entertaining. Alas, I’ve yet to realize this dream amenity since there’s always some obstacle — budget, bugs, climate, space limitations — standing in my way.

Fortunately there are many ways to create an outdoor feeling in an indoor kitchen.

1. Location, location, location. The best way to bring an outdoor vibe to an indoor kitchen is to maximize the amount of natural light pouring in throughout the day. If you are building from scratch or have a healthy remodeling budget to tap into, think about positioning your kitchen to receive maximum daylight.

South-facing kitchens receive the most sun, whereas kitchens oriented to the north receive the least amount of sunlight. Of course, the downside to a south-facing kitchen is the additional solar heat gain, so if you live in a hot climate, you may wish to orient the kitchen to the east to capture the soft morning light.

2. Add oversized glass doors. Relocating the kitchen is not in the budget for most of us, but there are other design moves you can make that allow sunlight to flow in without hitting your pocketbook quite as hard. You could create an indoor-outdoor flow in the kitchen by literally breaking the barrier between the two with large glass doors. If you are fortunate to live in a bug-free climate, you can keep the doors wide open and really amplify the connection to the outdoors.

3. Be generous with the windows. Given a choice between windows and wall cabinets, I will always root for windows. Yes, you lose some storage space, but what you gain in natural light — and if you’re lucky, views — is worth the loss of a few cabinets, in my opinion. Make up for lost storage space by installing tall pantry cabinets on an interior wall, where you can’t have windows.

4. Go big with skylights. If large glass doors and windows aren’t an option, perhaps you can install a series of skylights or light tubes. This is a great way to compensate for the lack of natural light common to north-facing and interior-sited kitchens. Just keep in mind that skylights turn into black boxes at night, so be sure to work in enough light fixtures to keep the space properly lighted at night.

5. Bring exterior elements inside. Another trick for faking an outdoor kitchen is to bring materials traditionally associated with the outside in, such as the charming brick pavers used for the kitchen floor here. The inclusion of ample natural wood materials also contributes to the outdoorsy feeling of this space.

6. Get colorful. One of the easiest and most affordable ways to bring a bit of the outdoors in is through the use of color. Think soothing, soft sky blues, verdant greens and sunny yellows for a little dose of the colors we associate with being outside.
7. Grow your greens. Another element that immediately calls to mind exterior spaces is live plants. If you don’t have the space outside for a garden, perhaps you can bring one inside. This window-mounted herb garden is a fantastic, space-saving way to grow and use herbs right in the kitchen where you need them. Vases with fresh-cut flowers or pots of your favorite houseplants are other ways to add a touch of nature to an indoor kitchen.
8. Keep it airy and open. If you are going for an outdoor vibe in your kitchen, try keeping the space as open, clean and uncluttered as possible. With ample light and an open feel, you can fake it like it’s the great outdoors.

Your turn: How have you created an outdoor vibe in your indoor kitchen?

I may have an unhealthy obsession with outdoor kitchens. When I want to relax, I’ll pore over ideas and images of stunning outdoor spaces dedicated to cooking, eating and entertaining. Same goes when I can’t sleep. Instead of counting sheep, I create mental floor plans of outdoor kitchens for my house and for the homes of family and friends.

This content was originally published here.

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Health

The Many Health Benefits of Massage

Massage (also known as “hands-on therapy”) is a word you may never have heard of, but it shouldn’t be. Without it, there is little hope of staying healthy and feeling your best over the long term. Massage is a great way to relieve stress, improve circulation, soothe pain, ease the symptoms of a cold, and more. It has been proven to improve muscle flexibility, relieve fatigue and chronic pain, and ease anxiety.

I started using massage therapy after a running injury sidelined me for several months. I started to see a sports massage therapist and they worked wonders for me.

What are the Health Benefits of Massage?

Massage is a great way to help manage aches and pains, promote general well-being, and improve sleep. But how does massage help with health issues? Here’s a quick overview of just some of the ways massage can help:

  • Massage is a highly effective form of relaxation. When you are tense or fatigued, it is always better to find a way to relieve that feeling, and massage is an excellent way to do this.
  • Improves mood. The benefits of massage are as numerous as they are abundant, but one of the most important comes with the side effect of improved mood. So, if you’re feeling down, give yourself a massage to see how it can lift your spirits.
  • Hand and arm massage have many health benefits. A regular massage will help with stress, relieve muscle tension, promote circulation of blood, and increases oxygen flow to the bloodstream.
  • Regular massage also improves the flexibility of muscles, reduces muscle tension, and helps with muscle recovery. A regular massage also promotes overall well-being and energizes the body.
  • Reduces stress. A massage is a great way to relax after a stressful day at work, but it can also be used to help relieve stress. In fact, studies suggest that a massage can help reduce stress, which can help improve one’s overall health.
  • Massage is a healthy method to ease the body. Aside from our body being injury-prone, massage therapy help with other ailments as well. One of these ailments is back pain, which can be caused by a number of conditions, including spinal injury, arthritis, and muscle strain.
  • Improves our posture. We are often asked what are some of the health benefits of massage? The answer is simple: better posture. Recent research found that massage can help in improving your posture. It states that massage can help in improving your posture by increasing your internal and external hip rotations. It affects internal hip rotations because it increases the amount of time your hip joint spends in a healthy hip range. This means you will have more coordinated movements and will stand taller. It also affects external hip rotations because it helps you bend at the knees without stress and maintain an upright posture.
  • Massage is a great way to relieve muscle tension and stress, both physical and emotional. It is especially useful for chronic pain and stress-related conditions as a means of increasing relaxation and stress elimination. It promotes healthy sleep patterns, enhances immunity, addresses both mental and physical health issues, and lowers blood pressure.
  • Massage is effective for ADHD. Besides its many other health benefits, massage can also be used as a therapy for individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Studies have shown that massage can help treat ADHD and improve the overall quality of life for people suffering from the condition.

A routine massage can do a lot to improve your health, but there’s a lot more to massage than just relaxation. Many of the benefits of massage can be gained without partaking in the actual massage. For example, regular massage can help relieve anxiety, increase energy, relieve muscle tension, and promote relaxation. The list of benefits is endless, but the key is to use massage as an opportunity to improve your health.

You can find stand alone massage parlors in every city, as well as specialized massages for sports injuries, work injuries and more. There are also medical spas that offer a range of health treatments, such as massage.

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Health

Why Hypnosis is a Safe and Natural Treatment

It is important for people to be able to trust their well-being to a doctor. Still, in modern society, the medical profession is not always the best choice for treating psychological disorders. Do you need a doctor to treat your depression? You may well be surprised to learn that hypnosis is effective in treating it.

Some examples:

These are just a few examples of how hypnosis can help in a natural way.

Revisiting the Past

Hypnosis is a form of therapy that uses a trance-like state of consciousness to bring about deep relaxation and a range of benefits, including the ability to overcome negative thoughts and behaviors, enhance creativity, and improve one’s self-confidence. This form of therapy has been used as a treatment for mental disorders since the early 20th century, but it was not until the 1950s that it began to gain mainstream use, particularly in the United States. In recent years, hypnosis has become an increasingly popular alternative therapy, and it is available in a variety of settings, such as doctor’s offices, restaurants, and fitness centers.

The ‘90s were a time of tremendous change in the way we think about life. During this period, the idea of using hypnosis to modify behavior in a way that was consistent with society’s mores took hold. While some people still believe that hypnosis is a “woo woo” technique, there is no question that the use of hypnosis for the treatment of everyday life problems has been proven to be safe and beneficial.

Knowing More About Hypnosis

Hypnosis is a trance-like state in which you are put into a highly relaxed state and guided through a series of suggestions. At the end of the session, you are returned to a normal conscious state. In this state, you will recall many of the things you discussed during the session that you may have forgotten. It is the only medical treatment that has been researched extensively and found to produce almost the same results in a wide range of patients. Its benefits are well documented by research, particularly in the treatment of pain, phobias, addiction, and stress.

Everyone has heard about hypnosis when discussing the practice of giving people suggestions to make them feel relaxed. However, hypnosis is just one of the many common mental and behavioral processes used by doctors, psychologists, and other health professionals to relieve pain, treat disorders, treat phobias, and improve health.

Hypnosis as a Safe and Natural Treatment

Everyone has witnessed, or heard about, or perhaps even taken part in a hypnosis session. You’ve heard of the ones where you are put to sleep while your mind is put to work. These are called “sleep hypnosis.” It is well known that this type of hypnosis can be very useful in the treatment of anxiety and depression. It has also been used to treat pain, insomnia, and even addiction.

Hypnosis is a safe and natural treatment for many physical and emotional problems. This is a safe, non-invasive therapy that has been used for thousands of years and is the foundation of many modern-day healing techniques. It’s also a powerful tool for helping you relax and cope with stress, insomnia and can even help you overcome addictions.

But unlike most other practices that operate on the belief that hypnosis is just a placebo or that it is only useful in certain instances, hypnosis is a proven treatment with no known adverse side effects and no risk of physical harm. Hypnosis is a natural state of mind that is present in everyone at all times. It is an active process that happens automatically without our awareness. Even babies are hypnotized, but it is not under their control: they are not aware of what is happening.

Conclusion

A lot of people have hypnosis, but not everyone knows what it is. It isn’t something you can find in the Yellow Pages or something you can get on the TV. The truth is, people have hypnosis every day. You may not be aware of it, but it’s the way you pay bills, focus when you are working, or relax when you need to.

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Health

Why Learning to Play Music is Great for Kids

Some people see learning a musical instrument as a chore for a kid to endure—a strenuous, busy activity that will do nothing but make their kids’ lives more cluttered with obligations and more time spent away from family. But there’s a growing body of research showing that children who pick up an instrument improve in cognitive, academic, and social areas.

I remember purchasing my first ESP guitar in Canada when I was a teen. I had no clue how to play it, but boy did it look good!  Over time, and with a lot of practice I became a decent guitar player.

Music is Simply Amazing!

Music has been an integral part of our culture for thousands of years. From the earliest times, our culture has consisted of music, whether it was singing, chanting, dancing, or playing an instrument. The ancient Greeks, Romans, and Babylonians referred to music as “the Muses,” which is why we call those things “MUSIC” today.

Why should kids learn to play music? Here are few the amazing reasons why:

  • Music is for everyone. It’s the one universal language that can and does connect people from all social, economic, and cultural backgrounds. Learning about music is the best way to learn about the world, to discover your passion, and to find a way to express yourself and share your ideas and feelings with others.
  • Music is a powerful tool for learning and can help you develop a sense of self-confidence, independence, creativity, and focus. With the right teacher and equipment, you can also learn to read music and play a musical instrument, which will further promote academic, social, and emotional growth.
  • Music can improve not only our moods but also our health. Now it’s time to share with the world the awesome benefits music can have for kids. Parents and teachers all over the world will agree that music is important for children and that it’s probably the best way to stimulate their brains.
  • Playing music is a great way to exercise, work with others and learn about the world. There are many benefits for both kids and adults. Playing music has been proven to be great for both learning and for helping with ADHD and other learning disorders.
  • Playing music is a great way to exercise, work with others and learn about the world. There are many benefits for both kids and adults. Playing music has been proven to be great for both learning and for helping with ADHD and other learning disorders.
  • Music makes us happier. Is it possible that playing music can help children with a variety of issues, not only making them better musicians but also happier people? Many of us think that playing music is a great way to teach kids to play instruments, and there’s no doubt about how great music can be for kids. We think music can help children with a variety of issues, not only making them better musicians but also happier people.

There are a lot of reasons why you should learn how to play an instrument, but many parents get caught up in the idea that kids need to learn to play music so they can play in a band or at a gig. While these things can be fun for kids who are talented musicians, it’s not necessary. Kids can still learn about music and its history without playing an instrument.

Conclusion

Music is an essential part of childhood. From the first time your child discovers the magic of sound to learning to play an instrument, to performing in front of a crowd of people, music is part of the fabric of life. In fact, it seems that the more children enjoy, learn, and practice music, the more likely they are to maintain a healthy weight and better overall development. The research is clear: music is good for kids.

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To-Dos: Your July Home Checklist

Things to Check Off Your List in an Hour or Less

1. Clean porch lights. If you have glass light fixtures that are easily removed, bring them inside and wash in a dishpan of warm water with gentle soap. If the fixtures must stay in place, turn the power off and carefully wipe the exteriors with a damp microfiber cloth; dry with a soft cloth. When finished, change lightbulbs as needed.

2. Unfurl a flag for the Fourth. Get in the Independence Day spirit by putting up an American flag on your porch in time to celebrate the Fourth of July. Don’t have room for a full-size flag? Try lining your walkway with mini flags, or hang a pleated fan above the door instead. Whether you hang your flag vertically (as shown here) or horizontally, be sure you keep the union (the part with the stars) in the upper left corner.

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3. Check safety devices. Carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors should be tested monthly; replace batteries as needed, and replace the entire device if it is more than 10 years old. Interconnected smoke detectors (when one alarm goes off, they all sound) are the safest because it is more likely that everyone in the house will hear the alarm. Also, take a moment to check the expiration date on any fire extinguishers in the house and replace them if needed.
4. Care for furry friends. Summer poses some unique challenges for our pets, but with a little extra care, you can ensure your furry friends are healthy all season long. If you will be traveling this summer without your pet, be sure to plan ahead to set up care. Most pets are more comfortable in their own homes, so consider using a professional pet sitter rather than a kennel, which can be stressful. To keep pets safe in the heat, you should provide access to shade and ample fresh water and never leave pets in a car unattended.
Tackle These Tasks Over a Weekend

5. Clean windows inside and out. Keep that summer sunshine streaming in by giving windows a quick rinse with glass cleaner or a vinegar solution, then squeegee them dry or wipe with a clean microfiber cloth. If you want to avoid using a ladder outside, reach exterior windows with a window-washing hose attachment or telescoping window washer, or hire a window-washing service to get the job done.

6. Check window screens for holes. It’s summer, and the mosquitoes are out in full force. If you’ve been getting bitten inside the house, check your window screens and screen doors for small holes and tears. Use a screen patching kit to repair any damage, and keep those pesky bugs outdoors where they belong.

7. Refresh summer whites. Fresh, clean and crisp, nothing says summer quite like white linens. Keep your white textiles looking their best by laundering slipcovers, cushion covers and curtains, or sending them out for dry cleaning if they’re not machine washable. Keep white upholstery and Roman blinds looking fresh by vacuuming them regularly using your vacuum’s upholstery attachment.
8. Conserve water. Cut down on unnecessary water use by watering your lawn and garden during the cooler, early morning hours. If you water when the sun is high, much of the water will simply evaporate instead of sinking into the soil where the roots can access it — and it can even scorch tender leaves. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends using a WaterSense-labeled timer for your sprinkler system, which acts like a thermostat for your lawn and can reduce water use by up to 15 percent per year. Inside the house, keep an eye out for leaky faucets and have them repaired promptly.

9. Keep the landscape fire-safe. If you live in an area with dry summers (such as California), it’s important to remove weeds, fallen leaves, needles and other items that could become fuel in a fire, particularly from the area immediately surrounding your home.

Maintenance and Extras to Budget for This Month

10. Check fences and repair or replace as needed. Inspect fencing and gates around your property. If you find damaged areas (for example, broken boards, sagging areas and soft or rotted wood) schedule repairs or replacement as needed.

11. Upgrade pool safety measures. If you have a pool in your backyard, it is essential to keep it securely fenced with a self-closing, self-latching gate at least 4 feet high, to prevent children from jumping or falling in. Place a safety cover on your pool when not in use, and never allow anyone to swim in your pool alone. The American Red Cross also recommends installing a pool alarm that will go off when anyone enters the pool. And if you have children, it’s important to make sure they all learn to swim well, whether or not you have a pool of your own.

13. Keep your home safe when you’re away. Before you leave on a trip, take some time to put safety precautions in place. Let your neighbors know when you will be away and ask a friend to check on your house from time to time. Motion-sensing exterior lighting, timed interior lighting and well-trimmed hedges can make your home a less appealing target for break-ins. If you will be away for a longer period of time, have your mail held for you at the post office and hire a lawn service to keep your yard from getting overgrown while you are away.

Fireworks, swimming and clambakes. With summer in full swing, the month of July can seem to zip by. Make the most of your month with these to-dos.

This content was originally published here.

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5 Premium Kitchen Features One Designer Recommends

1. Pro-Style Range

A pro-style range is a designer kitchen’s crown jewel. The commercial, chef-style quality of these ranges makes them a natural focal point. Exposed gas burners coupled with hefty knobs and a substantial range hood set a pro-style range apart from a standard one. Optional features such as a grill or griddle allow for greater versatility and ease of use when cooking.

These high-end appliances often come in a wide range of colors. This bright orange Bertazzoni range and the blue backsplash work brilliantly as a complementary-color pairing that enhances the midcentury modern style. It’s also worth noting that this is a 30-inch range, proving you don’t need an oversize appliance to create a big impact.

In addition to color, you’ll have a wide range of styles to consider. From contemporary to Victorian, there’s an option that can help you define the character of your kitchen.

2. Statement Light Fixtures

Statement light fixtures read like sculpture in a room. While they provide an additional source of task lighting, they also serve to elevate the aesthetic of your kitchen by providing a bit of drama.

The kitchen island is often the best place for decorative fixtures such as pendants. The laws of good design favor odd numbers. For example, an 8-foot island can hold three small to medium-size pendants. While this is the rule of thumb, it shouldn’t stop you from playing with scale. For example, consider two large pendants over an 8-foot island.

Minnesota designer Bria Hammel added two large brass pendants over the island of this contemporary kitchen. The metallic finish contrasts with the matte black cabinetry and complements the warm wood tones of the ceiling beams and extended island eating area.

3. Charging Station Drawer

Today’s kitchen design must address the realities of modern living. A charging station drawer is a detail that will safeguard your electronics in an area of the home where accidents such as spills are prone to happen.

You can outfit your charging drawers with electrical or USB outlets or a combination of both. If you’re converting an existing drawer into a charging station, consult with an electrician to determine the best spot.

4. Pot Filler

Pot fillers combine functionality with decadence. These fancy faucets are installed above a range or cooktop and are used to fill large pots with water, saving you one trip of heavy lifting. In many ways, they’re a telltale sign of a thoughtfully designed kitchen. Consider them an elegant touch that also makes life a little easier.

Pot filler faucets come in many finishes and styles. This industrial-style version combines a matte black knob with a traditional chrome finish on the arms.

If you’re considering a pot filler for your kitchen, keep in mind that water lines must run from the nearest existing water line to the wall behind your stovetop. Depending on your layout, this could be the water line connected to the back of your fridge, dishwasher or sink. For that reason, this option can be more costly than it looks. R
unning a water line through your wall to the location of your new pot filler will likely require some demolition, so prepare to repaint walls or redo your tile backsplash.

A pot filler faucet should be mounted about 20 to 24 inches above the stove burners. The exact location will depend on the wall space you have and the style of pot filler you choose.

If you have concerns about the faucet being a potential source of water damage, look for models with dual shutoff valves. The two valves reduce the risk of water leaking from the faucet.

Of all the rooms in your home, it’s your kitchen that demands the most planning — and often the better part of your budget. Drafting a priority list can be a bit of a head-scratcher. From lighting to appliances, there’s a wide range of elements to carefully consider. As a designer, I try to make the process a little easier for clients. And if there’s still some budget to play with after the must-haves are out of the way, we start discussing the nice-to-have premium features. Everyone has their luxury dream features, but these are the five details I like to recommend.

This content was originally published here.

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News

20 Ways to Personalize a New House

1. Paint the Front Door

It’s far less commitment than painting the exterior and has more bang for the buck. While you’re choosing a paint color, consider whether you want to update the hardware as well — shiny new hardware can give your home a fresh look, and you can change the locks at the same time (always a good idea when you buy a house), so it’s a win-win.

2. Buy Fresh Flowers

A bouquet of freshly cut flowers, whether from the grocery store or your backyard, can instantly make any room feel friendlier. Make a single arrangement go further by pulling out a few single blooms to display in bud vases around the house.

3. Hang Personal Photos

Getting a few favorite photos up on the wall is one of the quickest and easiest ways to make a new place feel like home, so don’t put it off. If you’re concerned about putting holes in the walls before you know for sure where everything will go, pick up some removable picture-hanging strips to use instead of nails.

4. Change the Kitchen Faucet

If the faucet in your kitchen has seen better days, consider swapping it out for a sleek new one. This one simple change can make a big impact on how your kitchen feels overall, yet costs relatively little. Just be sure to coordinate it with the existing hardware — or swap the hardware at the same time for a bigger change.

5. Paint a Wall or Two

Picking colors for your whole house can be a daunting prospect. Save yourself some trouble and just commit to painting an accent wall or two now. Getting color on the walls will make your place feel more like you and can help determine the rest of your home’s palette.

6. Wallpaper the Powder Room

Up for a bigger project? A fun statement wallpaper can really put your stamp on the powder room or bath. A less-used space like this is a great place to experiment with bold patterns and color. Just be aware that if you wallpaper a full bath (with a shower or tub), rather than just a powder room, you should choose a product that can withstand the humidity and avoid wallpapering in the “splash zone.”

7. Roll Out a Fluffy Rug

Even if you generally prefer bare floors, having at least one space with a sink-your-toes-in squishy rug makes a house feel ultracomfortable. If you’re concerned about keeping a shag or deep-pile rug clean, put it in a room away from entrances and heavy foot traffic — a bedroom or den is ideal.

8. Clean From Top to Bottom

Tap into the power of scent by using great-smelling natural products to thoroughly scrub your new home. It may sound a bit strange, but when your home begins to smell familiar, it’ll feel more like home — so you may as well do what you can to speed that process along!

9. Put Up Wall Hooks

Having hooks right where you need them can make all the difference when it comes to staying organized and keeping your home tidy. Pay attention to where you and your family members tend to drop things, then add a row of hooks there — the entry hall, bathroom and bedrooms are good candidates for wall hooks.

10. Switch Out a Light Fixture

Swapping a stylish light you love for a boring or outdated one can make a room feel new. And if there’s a space that could use an overhead fixture where none exists, pay an electrician to install one — why live with an inconvenience when you can fix it? The expense is worth it if it’ll make your daily life easier and more pleasant for years to come.

11. Give Stairs a Special Treatment

Paint them a crisp white, then add shades of a single color to the treads; or add numbers, words or wallpaper to the risers. If you have a carpeted staircase, update it with a fresh runner.

12. Make a Place For Your Keys

Save time on your way out the door by designating a spot for keys and other important items. Install a row of small hooks, or use a tray or dish; just make it convenient and use it consistently.

13. Upgrade Window Treatments

Whether you go for tailored Roman blinds or textured bamboo, simple roller shades or a layered look with curtains, having a window treatment you love (and that works) is a decorating detail that can make a space feel more polished. When selecting window treatments, choose the same liner fabric on all windows for a consistent look from the street.

14. Hang a Large-Scale Piece of Art

One great piece of artwork can create a focal point and enliven an entire room. It doesn’t need to be a priceless item, as long as it speaks to you. Seek out galleries that feature up-and-coming artists, or attend student shows at a local art school, to find reasonably priced works.

15. Tuck Plants Into Unexpected Spaces

Plants add personality and color, freshen the air — and they look great in any room. Large houseplants and potted trees are wonderful, but also try placing little pots of cactuses, succulents or ferns among the bottles on a bar cart, on the bathroom sink or on open shelving in the kitchen.

16. Create a Special Spot For Little Ones

Give young children a secret hideaway or comfy area to curl up with a favorite storybook. Just about anywhere can become a cozy nook — just add a few squashy pillows, a snuggly throw and a basket of books.

17. Customize the Storage

Having the right sort of storage, in the right place, is key: Get that right, and daily life suddenly becomes much easier. Take the time to plan out where you need shelving or cabinetry, and outfit your closets with storage systems to make the most of your space (this is especially important in small spaces).

18. Upgrade Bathroom Details

Can’t take on a full bathroom remodel? That doesn’t mean you can’t freshen up the bath with a few smaller swaps. Change the faucets, cabinet hardware, towel bars and light fixture, and replace an old medicine cabinet with a mirror.

19. Offer Cozy Comforts

A throw to snuggle under, a tea tray ready for last-minute guests, candles, fresh flowers and plenty of lamps — these little things are often what make a house feel like a comfortable, welcoming home.

20. Add a Fun Outdoor Feature

Think fire pit, hammock, porch swing, alfresco dining table or barbecue area — something that will entice family and friends to venture out. When sprucing up your outdoor room, remember to provide enough shade for sunny days and to maximize privacy, if that’s a concern.

This content was originally published here.

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News

5 Premium Kitchen Details One Designer Recommends

1. Pro-Style Range

A pro-style range is a designer kitchen’s crown jewel. The commercial, chef-style quality of these ranges makes them a natural focal point. Exposed gas burners coupled with hefty knobs and a substantial range hood set a pro-style range apart from a standard one. Optional features such as a grill or griddle allow for greater versatility and ease of use when cooking.

These high-end appliances often come in a wide range of colors. This bright orange Bertazzoni range and the blue backsplash work brilliantly as a complementary-color pairing that enhances the midcentury modern style. It’s also worth noting that this is a 30-inch range, proving you don’t need an oversize appliance to create a big impact.

In addition to color, you’ll have a wide range of styles to consider. From contemporary to Victorian, there’s an option that can help you define the character of your kitchen.

2. Statement Light Fixtures

Statement light fixtures read like sculpture in a room. While they provide an additional source of task lighting, they also serve to elevate the aesthetic of your kitchen by providing a bit of drama.

The kitchen island is often the best place for decorative fixtures such as pendants. The laws of good design favor odd numbers. For example, an 8-foot island can hold three small to medium-size pendants. While this is the rule of thumb, it shouldn’t stop you from playing with scale. For example, consider two large pendants over an 8-foot island.

Minnesota designer Bria Hammel added two large brass pendants over the island of this contemporary kitchen. The metallic finish contrasts with the matte black cabinetry and complements the warm wood tones of the ceiling beams and extended island eating area.

3. Pot Filler

Pot fillers combine functionality with decadence. These fancy faucets are installed above a range or cooktop and are used to fill large pots with water, saving you one trip of heavy lifting. In many ways, they’re a telltale sign of a thoughtfully designed kitchen. Consider them an elegant touch that also makes life a little easier.

Pot filler faucets come in many finishes and styles. This industrial-style version combines a matte black knob with a traditional chrome finish on the arms.

If you’re considering a pot filler for your kitchen, keep in mind that water lines must run from the nearest existing water line to the wall behind your stovetop. Depending on your layout, this could be the water line connected to the back of your fridge, dishwasher or sink. For that reason, this option can be more costly than it looks. R
unning a water line through your wall to the location of your new pot filler will likely require some demolition, so prepare to repaint walls or redo your tile backsplash.

A pot filler faucet should be mounted about 20 to 24 inches above the stove burners. The exact location will depend on the wall space you have and the style of pot filler you choose.

If you have concerns about the faucet being a potential source of water damage, look for models with dual shutoff valves. The two valves reduce the risk of water leaking from the faucet.

4. Charging Station Drawer

Today’s kitchen design must address the realities of modern living. A charging station drawer is a detail that will safeguard your electronics in an area of the home where accidents such as spills are prone to happen.

You can outfit your charging drawers with electrical or USB outlets or a combination of both. If you’re converting an existing drawer into a charging station, consult with an electrician to determine the best spot.

Of all the rooms in your home, it’s your kitchen that demands the most planning — and often the better part of your budget. Drafting a priority list can be a bit of a head-scratcher. From lighting to appliances, there’s a wide range of elements to carefully consider. As a designer, I try to make the process a little easier for clients. And if there’s still some budget to play with after the must-haves are out of the way, we start discussing the nice-to-have premium features. Everyone has their luxury dream features, but these are the 5 details I like to recommend.

This content was originally published here.

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