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    February 23rd, 2018Decor BloggerDesign Tips & Tricks, Featured

    (Decor Amor) – As homeowners look for ways to refresh their spaces, Scandinavian style has become ever more prominent and popular among designers and interior decor experts. The clean, modern, minimalist aesthetic shows up in interiors and exteriors, from streamlined furniture to low-maintenance landscaping. Here’s how to achieve a Nordic look in your own home:

    “Slow design” and minimalist decor

    Perhaps the most common association with Scandinavian style is minimalist decor. Less is more when it comes to decorating, and the concept of “slow design” focuses on fewer, higher quality pieces collected over time.

    Melding indoors and out

    Scandinavian style incorporates materials that meld indoors with outdoors — natural woods, slat walls, leather accents and greenery. “Cottage culture” architecture style draws on these influences and makes interiors feel like cozy cabins in the woods.

    Functional furniture: Storage and good looks

    Another key aspect of the Nordic style is hardworking, functional furnishings. A piece can be beautiful and also have utility — like eye-catching shoe racks and shelving, or built-in bed storage that creates a unique frame.

    Cool, natural tones and light woods in flooring

    Scandinavian style incorporates natural tones of whites, grays and light browns. Pale wood and whitewashed floors create a clean, spacious look. That look can be achieved with oak and maple styles, as well as wood-look tiles and laminates with wood graining. Retailers like Lumber Liquidators, who regularly publish seasonal trends reports, have an array of cool-toned flooring options to choose from, such as Dream Home X2O Misty Morning Oak, a water-resistant laminate with a soft seashell tone and realistic oak graining.

    If homeowners want to be on trend with Scandinavian style in their home, the key is updating with clean, modern and light-toned accents. Functional furniture will help you organize your space and efficiently use the room. Finish off the room with sunny wood grain flooring and your Nordic look is complete.

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    February 21st, 2018Decor BloggerDesign Tips & Tricks, Featured

    (Decor Amor) – House hunting can feel like an adventurous new chapter in your life. If you’re lucky enough to find the property that checks off all the “must have” boxes — appearance, size, price, location — it’s easy to fall in love.

    Not so fast. Before making an offer on any property, it’s smart to take a deeper look at the overall structure and its systems, just to make sure warning signs of major and costly problems are not hiding in plain sight. If the house holds more issues than your budget (and drive to renovate) can handle, it might be best to walk away.

    Of course, once the offer is accepted, it’s always a smart idea to hire a third-party home inspector to take an in-depth look at the property. In the meantime, one last pass-through with this checklist in hand can give you peace of mind about taking the next step.

    Exterior: Walk around all four sides of the house, scanning it from ground to rooftop. Note the condition of the doors and window frames, and look for cracked or peeling paint or signs of loose siding. Higher up, eye the chimney, making sure it appears straight and is in good condition, while the gutters and drainpipes should be in place and functional.

    Roof: Ideally, the roof would be 10 years old or less, so scan the roof for the classic warning signs of aging and neglect. Things like curled and missing shingles, dark stains, moss growth and signs of sagging can signal serious issues. (A home inspector can confirm if full replacement is needed, or if a few simple repairs would stabilize things for another decade or so.)

    Yard: Take note of the landscaping. Is there a slope angled away from the house, or is there a potential for a flooded basement after a major rainfall? Mature trees provide lots of shade, but watch for overhanging branches, as these can break off in a storm and do major damage to the roof. Finally, take note of the condition of the driveway and sidewalks.

    Foundation: The sight of a few hairline cracks in the cement is no cause for panic. Do look for telltale signs of serious issues, such as widening cracks, water stains and bulges. It doesn’t hurt to bring a level to make sure the walls are straight.

    Plumbing: In addition to checking basement and under-sink pipes for signs of leaks, scan the ceilings for water stains. Open all the faucets to check the water pressure as well as the time it takes for hot water to reach the tap.

    HVAC system: Know the age of the heating and cooling systems, and check these for tags and other signs of routine maintenance. If the system is older than a decade, that can spell costly repairs and a replacement in a brief time frame. When it comes to older systems, energy efficiency is another consideration, according to Tom Tasker, product manager with Coleman Echelon Variable Capacity residential systems.

    “Newer HVAC systems are remarkably more efficient when compared to those from even a decade ago, which means they keep your house comfortable for as little as half the cost,” says Tasker.

    For example, Coleman’s Echelon products are rated up to 20 SEER, which stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. Compare these to the 10 SEER systems of 25 years ago, and that can give you an idea of what to expect in potential energy costs, he says.

    Appliances: Note the age and condition of things like the refrigerator, oven and range, washer and dryer, and hot water heater. As with the HVAC, older appliances tend to consume more energy and you’ll face a shorter timeline for needed repairs and replacements.

    Buying a house is a big decision, but knowing what you’re buying can go a long way in assuring you that you’ve found the right place!

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    February 8th, 2018Decor BloggerDesign Tips & Tricks, Featured

    (Decor Amor) – While everyone would love a complete kitchen makeover, you can still freshen and update the look of this room by taking on smaller projects.

    The perfect place to start is the kitchen sink. Most people don’t realize it, but a well-chosen sink has the potential to create the perfect focal point, and transforms the look and feel of one of the most important rooms in your house.

    Reasons to replace

    Swapping out an old kitchen sink with a new one allows you to:

    Update your kitchen’s style — The style of sink should underscore the overall design theme of the kitchen. If you’re opting for a farm-house aesthetic, look for key design details, such as an apron front and a deep, roomy bowl, such as the ones found in the Ludington line from Sterling.

    Add function and beauty — When you replace your sink, it’s also natural to replace the faucet, allowing you to choose one that better meets your needs and preferences, such as a pull-down unit or a vintage design.

    Improve your work space — Perhaps the existing sink is too shallow to comfortably allow for filling large cook pots. Or, overmount installation makes it difficult to keep the sink and surrounding countertop as clean as you would like. Replacing an underperforming sink with a new one allows you to increase sink depth and create an easier environment for cleaning.

    Top kitchen sink trends

    Some sink styles are timeless, like stainless steel and shiny chrome faucets. Still, trends constantly emerge in sink design and in how homeowners find new ways to make things like healthy meal prep easier and more convenient. If you’re considering replacing your kitchen sink, here are some trends to keep in mind:

    Two sinks for safer food handling — Houzz reports a growing number of builders are including two kitchen sinks in new homes. This design improves workflow and food handling safety. One sink can be used to prepare meats, while the second is still a safe place to wash and prep produce.

    Stainless steel still shines — Stainless is the most popular sink material, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). In terms of durability, it’s difficult to beat stainless steel, making it a practical and long-lasting update for any kitchen. What’s more, the finish blends well with virtually any kitchen design theme, whether it’s contemporary, farmhouse or traditional. Options like Sterling’s Ludington series offer deep basins, undermount installation, and SilentShield sound-absorbing technology. Visit www.sterlingplumbing.com to learn more.

    Integrated accessories — Of course, accessories can make an already great sink even better, and the NKBA reports demand is growing for sinks with integrated accessories. In addition to built-in garbage disposals, homeowners want sinks with soap dispensers, water filters and hot water dispensers, the organization says.

    Stunning display — Sinks with apron-front designs calls attention to the sink and showcases the beauty of the stainless steel. Undermount sinks work with solid surface countertops such as granite, marble or quartz, and attach to the underside of the countertop, allowing the countertops to shine.

    Every kitchen needs at least one sink; after all, it’s a critical point in the work triangle. Upgrading a kitchen sink can be a simple, cost-effective and visually appealing way to transform the entire room.

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