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4 Fall Storage Tips for an Organized Home

Just about everyone could use more storage space, especially when you are trying to achieve a clean, organized home.

With boxes packed to the top with holiday decorations, toys, books, clothing, sporting equipment and more, most people pine for extra closets, cabinets and space, anywhere they can find it. Fortunately, there are some often overlooked storage opportunities in the garage, garden and throughout the home—you just need to know where and how to look for them.

Before you Begin

Before you begin to incorporate any storage solution in your home there are two things you should do.

Put together a space plan for the area available.  Make a drawing or diagram of the space you are using for storage, to map out dimensions and locations of shelving, and ideally what items will go where.

Make a list of all the items you wish to store.  Make a list of all the items you don't use on a daily basis, or that you know you only need access to a few times a year.  Group these items by size, shape and amount so you can plan for the storage space and containers you will need.

Overhead Storage

Overhead storage is often overlooked because the preference is to keep everything at eye level or just within reach, for convenience. But, there are many items that only need to be accessed few times a year.  Think seasonal sports equipment, decorations, party favors or extra linens for occassional visitors.  So why do you want them taking up valuable space the rest of the time?   

To store these items, look to your basement or garage, where you can add overhead storage.  Many garages already feature storage options like built-in shelving and cabinets around the perimeter, few take advantage of the empty space above the vehicles.  Many home improvement stores carry ceiling-mounted storage units that come ready for installation. 

 

Whether it is your basement or your garage, adding storage space can be a weekend DIY project, and installing several 2x4's and plywood.  Be sure to put a space plan together to make adequate use of the space available and also plan what you will be storing.

Or you can add storage that is a little more refined, with readily available plastic bins in all sizes, and shelving to accomodate them.   This method allows for better organization and labeling if you are so inclined, and it keeps everything neater since nothing can fall out or off the shelves.

 

Add a Garden Shed

If your lawn mower, weed whacker and variety of gardening tools are threatening to take over your garage or patio, it might be time to build a nice shed in an unused part of the yard. A garden shed can not only help keep your equipment nicely organized, clean and rust-free, it can also provide you with a nice work space to tinker on projects or pot and maintain your plants.

 

An outdoor shed doesn't have to be elaborate, there are many companies that offer pre-fab outdoor sheds to save you time and money. All you need to do is the land and prep work before it arrives.

Convertible Furniture

Multi-use, convertible and mobile furniture units are a great way to add more storage space to your home.  Just imagine a mobile furniture cart that stores all the extra appliances you don't use on a regular basis, but that you can easily roll out of a closet or pantry, when you need it.

 

 

Storage ottomans are a great way to add space to your living room and hide away toys, books, and other items when not in use.

 

Install a Murphy Bed

A Murphy bed, which is also known as a wall bed, is a terrific way to create more space in a small guest room or regular bedroom. These versatile beds can be flipped up along the side or bottom, and stored vertically inside a closet or cabinet. To help keep everything secure, the mattress is usually attached to the bed frame, and the bed rests on a wire mesh rather than the typical bulky box spring. 

 
Once you implement some of these simple storage solutions in your home, you'll be able to enjoy the extra space and organizational freedom all year long!

Do you have any simple organizational tips to share?

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Tips for Planning a Successful Old Home Restoration

Sixty-seven percent of homeowners plan to do a home renovation project in the second half of 2014, according to the latest Realtor.com home improvement survey. Kitchens and bathrooms are the most popular improvement projects, followed by backyards, patios and exteriors. Twenty-two percent of respondents said their renovation budget was between $2,001 and $5,000. Unfortunately, you'll burn through this money pretty quickly if you make a major mistake, which is all too easy to do when you're renovating an older home. Knowing what to do and what to avoid can be the difference between a successful old home restoration project and a time-consuming, expensive disaster.

Plan Ahead

Restoration contractor Aaron Lubeck wrote on FineHomebuilding.com that planning is the step where many projects go awry. One common mistake is skimping on architectural planning in haste to pursue cosmetic renovations or fix structural emergencies. Assuming contractors are aware of your long-term plans when you haven't provided directions is another common mistake, which can lead to problems such as an appliance getting placed in an attic or basement space you intend to use for something else. Avoid such issues by investing in good architectural planning. Lubeck also stresses the value of documenting the changes you make for the benefit of future use and renovations.

Flip With Financial Caution

Flipping an older property can take more planning and work than doing cosmetic changes to the average fixer-upper. Keep an eye out for structural issues that may need to be addressed, such as foundation cracks and sagging roofs, and adjust your purchase price, renovation budget and project time estimates accordingly. Be prepared to spend more money and invest more time than you would on a newer home renovation, and don't expect to be able to flip the property in just a few months.

Fortunately, financial help is available for old home restoration projects. Possible resources include grants, local foundations, restoration societies and low-interest loans. Don't forget to check if your project is eligible for Historic Tax Credits, which you can begin researching by visiting the website of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Repair vs. Replacement

You may be tempted to replace old windows, but original window designs can be one of the most valuable features of a historic home, and as home restoration expert Scott Sidler explains, most common problems with old windows can be repaired. The pieces of historic windows can be repaired or replaced piecemeal, in contrast to new windows that usually require full replacement or factory repair. Weather stripping and periodic paint coats can be easily added. Similarly, think twice before replacing other historic features such as hand-built doors, hand-blown glass and customized mantels.

Antique vs. Restoration Quality Flooring

If you are remodeling or adding on to an an older home, you may be faced with the need to repair or install new wood flooring.  Many people may assume - incorrectly - that when dealing with an older home they must use antique flooring.  The fact is that antique flooring is not authentic when you are restoring or remodeling an older home.  Antique flooring will have significant color variation, nail holes, cracks, and other antique character from it's previous life.  If you are trying to restore, or match an existing floor it is very unlikely that it has these characteristics, and once installed, it will look quite different.

A better solution than antique flooring, is restoration qaulity flooring, which will be much more similiar to what would have been used originally in the home.  The most common species are Long Leaf Heart Pine flooring and Eastern White Pine flooring, like the floor you see below.  This floor was crafted in 13-20" wide boards, just like the original pine floors, and installed in a 200 year old Pennsylvania farmhouse.  The designer, and owner of the home, said she was amazed at how authentic this floor looked, even though it wasn't antique.  This was due to the extremely wide board, antique cut nails and the warm stain color that gave the floor an aged patina right away.

Pine Flooring and Rustic Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

In addition to providing an equally so, if not more authentic look for your home, newly sawn flooring styles are also half the price of their antique counterparts.   So you also save a significant amount of money.

Efficiency and Safety Updates

Energy efficiency and safety are a couple areas where old homes may sometimes need to be upgraded. Arrange for a professional blower-door test as the first step toward identifying leaks. For asbestos, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends always having a qualified professional handle inspections and repairs, instead of trying to fix it yourself. For both asbestos and lead, the best solution is often encapsulation rather than removal.

Have you remodeled an old home recently, do you have any suggestions?

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4 Space Planning Tips to Create a Grand Entrance for any Size Entryway

The entryway into your home should be welcoming and introduce your visitors to the design and atmosphere of your home.

And even though there are countless interior design styles to choose from today, there are some basic principles that you can follow for any décor to create the perfect grand entrance.

1. Size Doesn’t Matter

Small, medium and large - entryways come in all sizes, and it is important to put together the proper space plan and interior design, no matter what size yours might be. If you have a small entryway, and you can’t adjust the dimensions you can still create a grand entrance for your guests and family.

To start you want to give the illusion of space, where there is none. You can do this by making your wall seem taller. Two ways to do this, is by keeping your ceiling’s light, or installing horizontally striped wallpaper. Both will help create the illusion that the room is taller.

Mirrors can work wonders, especially in small entryways. In large entryways, they tend to be more aesthetic then functional. If you have a small, or narrow galley entryway install 1 large mirror on one or both of your longest walls. This will give the illusion of a larger space, especially if one of them reflects into a larger space, such as an adjacent kitchen or living room.

If you have a large entryway you want to make sure people don’t get lost in your space. You can do this by adding furniture pieces so the room doesn’t appear so wide open. Or define your spaces with plants, or accent rugs.

Install your wood flooring in the direction you want people to travel, and always use wide planks wood flooring over 6-8" wide. No matter what size entryway you have, the wider boards will match a narrow or small entryway seem larger or match the scale of a large entryway.

Dark Wood flooring and Hardwood Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors
Traditional Spaces by Stoddard Carpet & Flooring Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

Lighting is an important consideration for your entryway.

You want the space to be safe for travel, to set the right mood. If your space is small or you are lacking light, add a transom window above your doors or install doors with inset glass, or an adjacent vertical window. You can also add skylights to the ceiling. Or there are companies, like Skyfactory, that create faux skylights if adding one is not in the plans. Install accent lighting versus having bright, stadium style lighting, to calm the room.

According to Real Simple magazine, hanging lights should be 6’ 8” from the floor, for the best aesthetic and function. The lighting design seen here also creates an interesting pattern of light to break up the modern open space.

Hardwood flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors
Contemporary Entry by Vancouver Interior Designers & Decorators Claudia Leccacorvi

2. Colors

When choosing a color for your entryway the size of your room can have a big impact on your selection. According to the blog retrorenovation.com color selections can make a room seem larger or smaller.

For small spaces opt for cooler colors, like blue, purple and green. If you have a large entryway and you want to make the space feel a bit more cozy, opt for warm colors like yellow, orange and red. Neutral colors like shades of white, brown and Gray are versatile backdrops for any size entryway, but may not impact the illusion of space.

According the theory of Color Psychology, the colors you choose will also excite or calm the senses. This can have a big impact on your guests when they arrive at your home. Red, for example can make people feel excited (and hungry). Blue can be calming but make people feel cool. Yellow can make the room more cheerful while Green helps one relax.

The colors you choose for your room may also impact your furniture selection.  For example, for small entryways, House Beautiful recommends matching the color of your furniture with the wall color, this makes the funirture dissapear into the room making the room seem larger.

3. Direct Traffic

The entrway is just a stopping point into the rest of your home.  You want people to feel welcome but also move on once they enter.  Whether you have a small or large entryway, you can use your design elements to direct traffic where your want your family and guests to go.

If you are using hardwood flooring, and your entry is your room is narrower than it is wider, install the flooring so the lengths of the planks run with the direction of the hall. If you have a very narrow entryway make you sure you use boards at least 6-8” wide so your floor doesn’t look like a series of toothpicks. If your entry is larger, and square, then the direction of the planks will depend on where you want to direct traffic, from the entryway.

If you are installing oversized tile the direction you install it will depend on the dimensions of the room. It doesn't matter which direction you install square tiles. You may also want to install your tile in a pattern with the same flooring you will use elsewhere in the home. This creates a very interesting design aesthetic, and better integrates your entryway with the design of the rest of the home.

Reclaimed Wood Flooring and Oak Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors
Craftsman Entry by Stoddard Carpet & Flooring Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

4. Keep it Organized

Keeping your entryway organized can be challenging no matter size room you have. In large rooms you have the space to be organized but you may not have an effective plan. In small spaces, you want to be organized, but don’t have the room.

Here are a few ways tips that will allow for better organization:

Also consider your furniture placement. If you have a large space, don’t limit furniture to perimeter walls. You can allow pieces to float in the room to collect wallets, keys or just to add a vase of flowers. This allows for closets, armoires, coat racks or other organization pieces around the perimeter. If you have a small space, you’ll do just the opposite, and keep most of your organizational pieces around the perimeter.

Lastly, in order to be organized, you need to keep things neat. Consider putting a small waste paper basket in the room to collect garbage, or set up a mail station so you can sift through it and sort out recycling right away.  This small step can help you keep the rest of your home clutter free too.

Do you have any design ideas to share for an entryway?

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5 Eclectic Home Decor Trends for Your Space

Your home decor should be a direct reflection of you. Whether you are bold or reserved, a minimalist or a collector—your personality and preferences should pepper your home from the floor to the ceiling. The key to unlock a stylish and inviting space while maintaining your individuality is to create a balance. You're in luck—the top design trends for 2014 embrace a balanced mix of traditionally simple and modern, eclectic elements.

Metal Mania

We’ve seen warm metal accents creeping into design trends through the years—this year metal elements are all the rage, especially brass. Bold brass bed frames, dressers and tables can be used as striking focal pieces. In an article from the Houston Chronicle, Cathy Lam, owner of custom design store Lam Bespoke, said brass is an easy metal to incorporate with any high-glam style.

“Some people are standoffish to gold, but brass is warmer,” Lam notes. “Aged brass has a patina that's more inviting and less gaudy and it plays well with other metals.”

Freshome recommends using brass in bathrooms with a bold tub or sink, or in the kitchen for an industrial yet elegant look.

Modern Kitchen by Brooklyn Architects & Building Designers WORKSTEAD

 

Reclaimed Wood

Distressed styles for furniture have been popular for a while, but using real, reclaimed wood in your decor is not only a stylish option, but a sustainable one. Reclaimed wood. also known as antique flooring, adds character and warmth to your home as well as a sense of vintage style. If you long for real wood floors want to lessen your environmental impact, reclaimed wood is a smart alternative.

Incorporating wood in the home is a popular way to give a natural feel to your design, from butcher blocks to upcycled furniture to unique lamps and decorative accents, according to Philadelphia Magazine.

Reclaimed wood flooring and antique flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors.

 

Mixing Textiles

If you have a distinct monochromatic theme in your home, different materials and textures around the house act as subtle breaks in the fluidity. A colorful throw or exotic patterned rug can be the perfect accent to solid, simple furniture. For neutral rooms, add long, luxurious window dressings in a deep purple or navy for an elegant, rich touch. The best part about incorporating different textile elements in your home is that they can easily be switched out to reflect seasons or color preferences.

Industrial Kitchen by Stoddard Carpet & Flooring Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

 

Color Trends

This year’s color trends are all about the balance of subtle and flashy. Pantone’s color of the year is Radiant Orchid and is accompanied by other bright jewel tones like Cayenne and Dazzling Blue as some of the most popular decorating colors. But other trendy colors include soothing neutral colors like Sand, Hemlock, Paloma Grey and Placid Blue. These muted tones mixed with the glamorous brighter hues create a garden of color that looks natural and unique—like a blend of tropical jungle and desert terrain.

Pantone Color Trends 2014 on Carlisle Wide Plank Floors Blog

 

Mixing Outdoor With Indoor

Outdoor furniture and fabrics are being integrated in indoor decor to include the best parts of being outside. Natural fibers, materials and plants can make your indoor space look like an outdoor oasis. Freshome features real outdoor-indoor home design trends, such as awe-inspiring outdoor elements that bring the tranquil outdoors inside. Many designers are opening up spaces with large windows and doors—great for natural light and a peaceful garden view.

Antique Flooring and Dark Wood Floors from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

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Design Boards: Arts & Crafts Bungalow Living Room

The Arts & Crafts movement of the 19th century sparked a new form of architecture that spread across the country.

Up until the 19th century, homes had an embellished, Victorian feel.  But designers and homeowners alike wanted to create a more casual home environment, so the Arts & Crafts style was born.  It combines handicraft, with a simpler architectural design, and more natural materials.  Today, we'll look at one room that reflects the Arts & Crafts style and review some design tips to help you achieve that look for yourself.

Color Selection

Arts & Crafts architecture embraces the natural beauty of color and texture in the overall home design.

Notice how a majority of the room is designed with natural earth tones from dark chocolate brown and saddle, with a neutral wall color.  

 

This kind of palette, allows you to add a pop of color in your decorative accents pieces.

Ceilings and trim are painted white – a slight step away from the use of natural wood – but it helps brighten up the room and offset the dark wood floor.

Lighting Selection

This Arts & Crafts rooms combines a variety of lighting styles – both manmade and natural.

Old fashioned wrought iron lights hangs above the dining room table and along the walls in the form of candle stick holders.

Modern Wall Sconces by Chicago Lighting Lightology
 
But as you transition into the rest of the room you notice a modern touch with brushed steel lighting at the sofa and armchairs.
 
Contemporary Floor Lamps

 

The room embraces the natural light that flows into the room from the skylights and oversized windows. Light, white curtains complement the trim and help bring in the natural night.

Naturals Materials

Natural materials like wood, leather, and metals are some of the most popular materials for an Arts & Crafts décor.

The couch, and ottoman both feature dark chocolate and saddle colors tones. The furniture adds a slightly eclectic touch with the colorful pillows and microfiber sofa cushions.

Contemporary Ottomans And Cubes
 
 
Traditional Sofas by Pembroke Pines Furniture & Accessories ivgStores

 

You see the continuation of wrought iron detailing on the fireplace cover, glass top living room table and the curtain rods.

Traditional Coffee Tables by San Francisco Furniture & Accessories Fratantoni Lifestyles
 
Wood floors are one of the most natural products you can choose for an Arts & Crafts style home.  This room features wide plank hickory distressed wood flooring.  The floor was crafted in random widths and a subtle hand distressing has been added to accentuate that handicraft approach.  The warm carmel brown tones are a perfect backdrop to the color scheme in the room.  
 
Craftsman Living Room by Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

Artwork & Accessories

 
With an emphasis on handicraft, it is no surprise that hand crafted accessories like glass blown lamps, vases and pitchers adorn this space.
 
Add to that artwork and a variety of frame styles for photography and you have a tasteful collection of accessories.
 
This is the fun part of interior decorating, adding in all the little pieces that will help personalize your space.  These items can also be updated from month to month to adjust with the seasons.
 

Do you like the Arts & Crafts style home? What is your favorite part of decorating?

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