Inspirational Ideas for Patio Privacy

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Photo courtesy of Stock.xchng

If you have an patio that’s under-utilized because it lacks privacy or comfort, you can turn it into a secluded outdoor retreat with plants and creative enclosures. To shelter your patio from the sun, you can never go wrong with a pergola, especially when it includes one or more solid walls. You can also use draperies made from durable outdoor fabric to add privacy to a pergola or gazebo. To create the feeling of an English garden, install lattice walls and hedges.

If you already have an enclosed patio but it lacks charm, add potted vines and flowers as shown in the photo above. For more patio privacy ideas, visit the Better Homes and Gardens website.

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Survey Reports How Americans Feel about Home Ownership

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Caldwell Banker Real Estate recently worked with psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig to find how Americans view home ownership. A survey of 2100 adults was conducted and these were some of the findings:

– 75% of Americans believe that the financial value of a home has been overemphasized instead of the emotional value.

– Home ownership makes people feel rooted, gives meaning to life and makes people feel more secure.

– A home connects it owner to a community and helps them fell part of something bigger than themselves.

– The home you grow up in can take on a personality of its own and seem like another member of your family.

– Investing in a home is also an investment in future memories.

– 95% of American hope that their children will someday own a home.

In general, the majority of Americans still feel that owning a home is a fundamental part of the American Dream. Find out more from Dr. Ludwig about the psychology of home ownership in this YouTube video and visit the Caldwell Banker website.

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Picking the Best Colors for you House

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

The paint colors you choose for your home’s exterior can make a big difference in your home’s impact from the street. If you pick a boring color, your house will look boring. Select a color that’s too bold and your house will stick out like a sore thumb. The colors you choose should emphasize your home’s best features and match your home’s architectural style. If you live in a historic home, do some research and use historically accurate colors. Your home should also blend in rather than clash with the other homes on your street. In general, lighter colors will make your home look larger and darker colors will add drama.

For additional ideas about your home’s exterior, see this earlier post on curb appeal.

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Solar House Powered by Kinect

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

The CHIP House (for “Compact Hyper-Insulated Prototype) was built with the goal of creating a zero-energy home. It exceeded this goal thanks to solar panels that generate three times more energy than it uses. The first thing you notice about the CHIP House is it’s wraparound insulation that preserves the interior temperature of this 750-square foot abode.

The house uses an Xbox Kinect system to allow residents to control lights and appliances by just pointing on them. The Kinect is also used to turn off lights when residents leave a room.

The CHIP house was created by students from Caltech and SCI-Arc. Read more about the house on Gizmag.

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Perfect Porch Style

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

Whether you have an outdoor porch, enclosed porch or sunroom, with a few thoughtful touches it can become one of your favorite spaces. Casual furnishings such as wicker chairs and tables or some Adirondack style chairs can help create the perfect atmosphere for relaxing. You don’t have to spend a fortune on new porch furniture – show your personal style by combining pieces from flea markets and big-box retailers. Revive older furniture with a coat of bright paint.

Decide on a design theme, such as beachy or the cottage style shown above, and then carry it throughout the porch with pillows, lamps and accessories. Add an indoor-outdoor rug to anchor the furniture and provide a bright touch of color.

If you have an enclosed porch, make it a year-round retreat by adding a stove or fireplace. Bring the outdoors inside with plenty of potted plants.

Visit the Better Homes and Gardens website for more porch decorating photos and ideas.

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The VW Bus: A Home on the Road

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Owners of VW buses (also known as campervans) will tell you that it can be a home-away-from-home on wheels.  I traveled all over the United States, Canada and Mexico in VW buses back in the 1960s and 1970s, so I know from experience that most of them don’t have air conditioning and none of them are as fast or comfortable as today’s SUVs and RVs.  However, what they lack in road worthiness they make up for in charm.

When outfitting a VW bus for camping, curtains and a good bed are the first order of business, followed by a small stove, ice chest and storage cabinets.  Over the decades since the VW bus was first introduced, owners have outfitted them with a wide variety of custom furnishings, like the newly refurbished VW campervan shown above. 

You can see a variety of vintage stock and custom VW interiors in this YouTube video.

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5 Go-With-Anything Wall Colors

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

There is a current trend for lighter woods in furniture and floors.  This means that there is also a corresponding trend for lighter colors on walls.  According to Sunset Magazine, these are 5 paint colors that will go with the lighter wood trend in furnishings:

1. Gold and Apricots

2. Pale Blues

3. Grays

4. Mauves and Lavenders

5. Tans

Because these colors are light or neutral, they can be coordinated with a wide variety of furnishings and accessories.  For more tips on picking colors for walls, see our earlier post on choosing the perfect paint color for any room.

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Dwell Magazine: At Home in the Modern World

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

If you’re interested in modern architecture and design for the home, you may find just what you’re looking for within the covers of Dwell Magazine.  The publication features real people in real homes and provides information about products, home renovations, design events and interesting people in the field of modern home design.  Dwell also covers modern architecture projects in public spaces.

You can get a good feel for the magazine by visiting the Dwell magazine website.  There you’ll find articles and photos as well as videos on modern home design.

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Choosing a Paint Color That’s Perfect for Any Room

Saturday, February 04th, 2012

Nothing freshens a room like a fresh coat of paint on the walls.  While you probably know which colors you like, you can’t always tell if your favorite color will look good on the walls in your home. 

Here are a few tips for choosing a paint color for a room:

  • Consider how much natural light the room gets.  Bring home sample color chips from the paint store and see how the color looks in the room at various times of the day.
  • Buy a sample-size of paint and try out some colors on the walls of different areas of the room. If  you’d rather not test paint directly on the wall, paint a piece of foam board and move it around the room.
  • To choose colors for trim and accents, use a color wheel to select complementary or similar colors.  Complementary colors, which are located on the opposite side of the color wheel, will create the most vibrant look while similar colors are more natural.

  • Paint samples are a great way to test paint colors before you invest in several gallons of paint.  Once you’ve decided on a color, see our tips on how to paint a room for your next steps.

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    House Made of Salvaged Cars

    Sunday, January 29th, 2012

    The owners of a home in Berkeley, California have made a commitment to green technology and repurposed materials.  The upper walls of the home are made from over 100 salvaged car roofs that have been cut into long tiles and fitted in place. 

    Other unique features of the home, which was designed by Wanaselja Architecture include poplar bark shingles on the ground floor that were made from scraps from North Carolina furniture makers. Wood furnishing inside the home are made from locally salvaged wood.

    Read more about this eco-friendly home on Gizmag.

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