How I Live

Here is all our advice for 'How I Live':

Households with Children

Households with children see a lot of action!

If you have children take into consideration where they spend their time and the kinds of activities they like to do.

Look for quality products that are durable and easy to maintain.

Suggestions for Your Children’s Activity Rooms

Carpets

Select a carpet that:

  • Has stain and soil resistance
  • Tightly twisted yarns
  • Density of a min. of 35 - 40 oz.

Consider these styles:

  • Low profile/cut and uncut
  • Frieze
  • Textured
  • Looped berbers
  • Cut pile berbers

Hardwood

Adds warmth and beauty to any room. Add an area rug for a soft place for kids to lay and play.

Consider a hardwood floor that has

  • A beveled edge to catch dirt and dust
  • More naturally occurring grain such as Oak, Pecan, Cherry, Hickory, etc. that will minimize the appearance of dirt and scratches.
  • A satin or semi-gloss finish to help reduce the appearance of scratches or dents

Ceramic Tile

Tile is great for flooring in the family room, especially in warmer climates.

Consider larger sized tiles, 16 x 16, 18 x18, etc. to minimize grout joints

Throw in an area rug for kids play, added warmth and sound insulation.

Suggestions for making your kitchen kid friendly

Hardwood

  • Add warmth and beauty to any room
  • Add an area rug for a soft place for kids to play
  • Consider a hardwood floor that has:
    • A beveled edge to catch dirt and dust.
    • More naturally occurring grain such as Oak, Pecan, Cherry, Hickory etc. that will minimize the appearance of dirt and scratches.
    • A satin or semi-gloss finish to help reduce the appearance of scratches or dents.
    • Distressed or hand scraped hardwood floors will also help minimize the appearance of everyday wear and tear.

Ceramic Tile

  • Tile looks great in the kitchen.
  • Tile is especially nice in warmer climates because it is cool underfoot.
  • Consider larger sized tiles 16 x 16, 18 x18, 24 x 24 etc. to minimize grout joints.
  • Look for a ceramic tile that:
    • Has Good slip resistance
    • Is non-porous
    • Has a matte or semi-gloss finish to reduce the appearance of scratches, marks or dirt
    • Textured
    • Has color variation vs. a solid color
    • Tiles that emulate the look of natural stone
    • Select a darker shade of grout to minimize stain and dirt. But be aware that a darker grout will produce a grid or checkerboard appearance on your floor or countertop.
    • Throw in an area rug for kids play, added warmth and sound insulation.

Natural Stone

Natural stone floors are very elegant and classic.

Marble, Limestone, Granite and Slate create beautiful floors, countertops, and surrounds.

They are made in nature and no two pieces are ever the same.

Sheet Vinyl

  • Vinyl can be a great selection for the kitchen floor if a well-constructed product is selected.
  • The vinyl you select for your kitchen requires a different level of durability than the vinyl you would select for your bathroom.
  • Kitchens are typically an area of high traffic and heavy use.
  • When selecting sheet vinyl for the kitchen, thicker is not always better. Select a sheet vinyl with a dense inner core that will resist rips, tears, gouges and indentations. The wearlayer also plays an important role. A quality wearlayer such as urethane will provide protection against staining, scuffing and scratching.
  • Be sure to check the warranties and specific performance characteristics
  • Wonderful colors, patterns and designs available to enhance any decor
  • Some of the most popular designs are those that emulate nature
    • Natural stone looks
    • Unique textures and embossing
  • Softer underfoot and warmer than ceramic tile.
  • A less expensive option to hardwood or ceramic

Countertops Options

Solid surface and engineered stone

Solid surface and engineered stone are popular. The key to their popularity is due mostly to their ease of maintenance and durability. Color and style offerings are constantly being revamped to meet the needs of consumers. There are many products that fall into this category. Here are just a few to look for:

  • DuPont Corian
  • Cambria - Quartz
  • Silestone - Quartz
  • DuPont Zodiaq - Quartz

Ceramic Tile

  • Select ceramic tile in larger sizes such as 6x6, 8x8, 8 x10 and 12 x12, 14 x 14 with tight grout joints.
  • Ceramic tile with a matte finish will help diminish the appearance of water spots or scratches.
  • Darker shade of grout.
  • Seal grout.

Other Options for the kitchen

Desk/Homework station

  • Add a desk or computer station where kids can do homework or play on the computer.
  • Make sure to have a solid surface or engineered stone countertop to make writing easier.

Kitchen snack center

  • Designate a small area that doesn’t interrupt kitchen traffic that has a microwave, small under-counter refrigerator or a Sub-Zero refrigerator drawer for your kid’s snacks.

Making Your Dog Feel at Home

If your dog spends some time indoors, then select a hard surface flooring product such as ceramic tile, laminate or a top quality sheet vinyl

Hardwood floors are also an option, but be aware long nails will scratch your floor.

It is also a good idea to have a hard surface flooring area in front of exterior doors in case of wet or muddy paws.

Main level laundry rooms are great rooms for your dog’s water and food.

You may want to have special bins or storage space for food, toys, shampoo, brushes etc.

The laundry room, if large enough, can also serve as a grooming area equipped with a utility sink for bathing smaller dogs.

Also, consider the color of your dog’s hair. If your dog has light hair i.e. yellow lab, choose lighter colored carpet, fabrics and upholstery to minimize the hair’s appearance.

For carpet, select a product that has stain and soil protection in case of doggie accidents.

Making Your Cat Feel at Home

Select a carpet that does not have loops. Although looped or berber carpets wear well, they can snag easily if your cat has claws.

Be sure that the carpet you select has stain and soil protection.

Textured, Frieze, and Cut Pile berbers are some of the carpet styles that will help minimize footprints or in this case paw prints.

Consider the color and length of your cat's hair when selecting colors for your flooring, upholstery, and fabrics.

For example, a deep navy blue carpet in the living room would not be a wise choice for the household with a white longhaired cat.

Mudrooms, laundry rooms, basements or a spare bathroom are all good options for the kitty litter box.

Be sure that whatever room you choose has hard surface flooring for easy cleanups.

Flooring to consider, ceramic tile, sheet vinyl, or laminate.

Making Your Pets Feel at Home

Pets can be a wonderful addition to any home.

Having a designated space for you pet is important.

Remember, that hard surface products like ceramic tile, sheet vinyl, laminate are best for areas where your pet may enter the house, sleep or eat.

These surfaces allow for quick and easy cleanups!

Designing for an Extended Family Member

Keep in mind any extended family members that live with you when doing a remodel or add-on. Consider what room this person occupies and what bathroom they use.

If this family member is older, are there certain products that would make their life a little easier and more comfortable?

For example:

  • Consider carpeting as a safe and warm flooring option.
  • If you prefer a hard surface, consider a durable, matte, textured ceramic tile. Add a throw rug for warmth but make sure that the rug is rubber backed so it won't move underfoot.
  • Vinyl can also be a good flooring option because it is warmer and softer than ceramic tile. However, be aware that vinyl can be slippery when wet and rubber-backed mats are not recommended because they can discolor the floor.
  • Solid surface or engineered stone work well for countertops in the bathrooms for ease of maintenance.
  • If you haven’t already, install a shower seat, grab bar or hand-held shower heads for safe and easy bathing.
  • Install a heat light to keep the bathroom cozy when getting out of the shower or tub

Creating a Formal Atmosphere

Natural stone

Always makes a statement.

Mix marble, granite and limestone in a design in the foyer; use granite on kitchen countertops, fireplace surrounds.

Marble is always at home in a master bathroom on floors, counters and surrounds.

Hardwood

Hardwood floors work well in formal and casual environments depending on the stain, finish and sometimes species of wood.

Some popular choices for formal homes include: Brazilian cherry, Birdseye maple, Bamboo, Pecan.

Some hardwood products have the ability to be installed in patterns such as herringbone, chevron or diagonal.

Hardwood floors with a darker stain are typically a good choice for the formal interior.

Ceramic Tile

Larger sized tiles for floors, walls and surrounds with a high gloss finish create a formal atmosphere.

For a more customized look add liners or decos on backsplashes and surrounds.

Use ceramic tiles that emulate the look of natural stone.

Install floor tile on the diagonal with a border around the perimeter of the room or special feature such as a kitchen island or a beautiful table in the foyer.

Carpet

Saxony or Plush: great for formal living rooms, master bedrooms or throughout the house for an overall formal appearance.

These carpets are also available in higher ounce weights called Velvets.

Although they show footprints these styles are very luxurious and are perfect for any formal environment.

Patterned or cut and uncut carpets. (Geometric, botanicals, etc.)

Thick cable carpets

Wool carpets

Creating a Casual Atmosphere

Carpet

The following carpet styles will compliment the casual environment:

  • Frieze ("Free-zay")
  • Cut pile berber
  • Looped berber
  • Textured
  • Patterned or cut and uncut
  • Natural products like sea grass, sisal and coir are good choices as area rugs or wall to wall. Although these particular products can be rough under bare feet, they have a unique and natural look.

Natural Stone

Can compliment the casual environment very easily.

Stone such as slate, limestone, soapstone, honed marble or granite (for a matte look) are beautiful choices.

Use stone on flooring, countertops and surrounds.

Ceramic Tile

Textured and matte tiles are casual in appearance. Combine semi gloss or glossy tile with matte tile for a more interesting look.

For example: Use a 12 x12 textured and matte tile for the bathroom floor and a 6x6 glossy tile on the shower/tub surround.

All sizes and shapes will work well in the casual home. From 2x2 up to 18 x18, ceramic tile is very versatile.

Hardwood

If you're looking for a relaxed, warm and inviting feel then Oak, maple, pine, and hickory are perfect. Opt for satin or matte finishes rather than a high gloss.

For the environmentally conscience, "Green" products like recycled wood planks from old barns, homes and buildings are rich with character and make a statement that you can feel good about.

Laminate

Laminate floors and countertops have come a long way. Laminate floors now offer a variety of design options from woodgrain patterns to natural stone look to solid colors.

These materials are easy to maintain, and great for kids.

Use in the family room, living room, dining room, kitchen, playroom, etc.

Creating a Combination of Formal & Casual Atmospheres

More often than not, homes today boast a combination of formal and casual environments to meet the diverse lifestyles of the occupants.

To achieve this look consider:

  • A different carpet that is formal in style such as a Saxony or velvet for the living room and dining room.
  • A different carpet that is casual in style such as a berber or a hard working freeze for the family room or other active areas.
  • Making a lasting first impression with your foyer by dressing it up with gorgeous natural stone or inviting hardwood. Extend your flooring down the hall or into the adjoining rooms to visually open up your floor plan.
  • A mixture of products for the kitchen countertops. For instance, a granite slab, solid surface or engineered stone on the island with a complimentary tile on the main countertops. The backsplash is another area that can be dressed up or down with stone, ceramic tile and accent decos.
  • Kitchen cabinetry can be formal in rich Cherry or casual in a shaker door style in maple or hickory. Distressed finishes also add casual character. Try a different cabinet style or color for the island to mix formal with casual.
  • Create a formal master bath with a double sided fireplace, cabinetry such as Cherry or maple, jetted tub, double head shower and marble surrounds and/or flooring. Include special decos, listellos or other patterns on the shower walls, behind the tub and on the vanity backsplash.
  • Kid’s bathrooms can be more casual with ceramic tile floors. Use a solid surface or engineered stone on the counters for easy maintenance. Color and pattern can be introduced through fun backsplash decos.

Options for Entertaining in Your Home

If you like to entertain frequently, consider hard surfaces for high traffic areas.

For example, select a large ceramic tile or natural stone for a foyer and extend the tile down the hall and into the kitchen and nook.

The tile will visually expand the spaces and stand up to heavy foot traffic.

Carpet

Select a different carpet for the living room and dining room that is more formal.

For example, to compliment the taupe frieze carpet in the family room, choose a low profile, cut and uncut (patterned) carpet in a complimentary color.

  • Consider having two wall ovens or a warming drawer.
  • Islands are great for serving buffets, appetizers and drinks.
  • Add an additional sink on an island for food prep.
  • Stainless steel appliances.
  • Install a wine cooler or wine rack.
  • Consider having a small butlers pantry with a dish washer for storing table linens and serving pieces
  • Use granite 12 x12s or slab on the counters
  • Put dimmers on lights to create ambiance
  • Coat room or large coat closet

Powder bathrooms

If you entertain then your powder room is one area to do something special.

  • Hard surface flooring is the way to go in bathrooms.
  • Consider doing a pattern on the floor such as installing your ceramic tile, natural stone or hardwood on the diagonal or add decos.
  • Countertops and backsplashes are other attention grabbers so be creative and use different colors and products then what you have throughout the rest of your home. For a more elegant or modern look use granite, marble or other natural stones. For a more casual setting consider tile.

Decorating with Warm Colors

  • Generally speaking, the color wheel can be divided in half representing warm colors and cool colors.
  • Colors near the dividing line can go either direction depending upon the proportions of cool and warm tints such as green. Green can contain more yellow which makes it warm but if more blue is added then green falls to the cool side.
  • Warm Colors = All hues that contain Red are considered warm colors
    • Red, orange, yellow, burgundy, amber, terra cotta, brown, etc.
    • Warm colors advance
      • Use warm colors to make a room feel:
        • Intimate
        • Cozy
        • Welcoming
        • Comforting
        • Stimulating
        • Happy

Decorating with Cool Colors

  • Generally speaking, the color wheel can be divided in half representing warm colors and cool colors.
  • Colors near the dividing line can go either direction depending upon the proportions of cool and warm tints such as green. Green can contain more yellow which makes it warm but if more blue is added then green is considered cool.
  • Cool Colors: are colors that are based on blue
    • Blue, green, turquoise, blue-violet
    • Black, gray and white can also be considered cool
    • Cool colors recede
      • Use cool colors to make a room feel:
        • Spacious
        • Restful
        • Soothing

Creating a Neutral Color Scheme

Neutral Schemes consist of colors such as white, cream, beige, brown, gray and black.

There is a natural look and feel to these schemes and they are perfect for your home if resale value is a consideration.

Neutral schemes also are the perfect compliment for an interesting or colorful collection of furniture,artwork or accessories.

Creating a Harmonious Color Scheme

Harmonious schemes are derived from colors that are adjacent on the color wheel.

For example, red and purple or blue and green.

These schemes are easy to live with and are perfect for any room.

Contrasting Color Scheme

Contrasting schemes use shades from opposite segments on the color wheel. Contrasting bold primary and secondary colors - red and green, yellow and violet, or blue and orange - will create a very dramatic look. Contrasting colors can also be created using pastel shades, also found as opposites on the color wheel.

Planning for Your Home Office

  • Hardwood: Consider the rich and warm look of a hardwood floor for your office. Enhance the feel by adding a beautiful area rug.
  • Carpet: Select a carpet that is different in style and color, but that complements the carpet that runs throughout the rest of your home. Choose a carpet that is low profile to withstand traffic and chair castors.
  • Select natural stone or ceramic tile in larger sizes for your floor and add warmth with an area rug.
  • Plastic mats can be added under chairs to protect floors.
  • Inset an area of hardwood, tile, stone or laminate in your carpet for your desk and chair.
  • Consider custom built-in cabinetry to increase storage for office or computer equipment, files, binders etc.
  • Coffee/wet bar: – for the countertop select ceramic tile with a decorative deco on the backsplash, luxurious natural stone that will make a statement or solid surface or engineered stone products for their beauty and ease of maintenance. Add a sink and under-counter refrigerator.
  • Natural light: take advantage of any natural light from windows but be sure to position your desk so that there will not be a glare on your computer screen. Have more than enough artificial and natural light sources to create a functional and inviting environment.
  • Don’t forget the windows! Select window coverings that allow you to control the amount of light exposure and that will complement your office decor.

Planning for Your Home Gym or Hobby (Arts or Craft) Room

  • Home gyms are a great addition to any household. Keeping in shape is important and that much easier when the equipment is just down the hall. For a home gym consider:
    • Low profile or commercial carpeting, hardwood or laminate floors.
    • Built in cabinetry to house a sound system or TV.
    • A small snack bar - ceramic tile, solid surface or engineered stone work well for snack bar countertops.
    • Under counter refrigerator with bottled water and juice
  • Hobby (Craft/art studio) consider:
    • Adding special task lighting and natural light.
    • Ventilation.
    • Hard surface flooring (Laminate, hardwood, ceramic tile, vinyl) for easy maintenance.
    • Plenty of work space - solid products work best like a laminate or Corian, Avonite, etc.
    • Extra storage in closets for supplies.
    • Add a small bathroom or sink area for easy clean-up.
      • Again, solid surface or engineered stone will work well for this type of bathroom

Furnishing Your New Space

Take inventory of your existing furniture and determine which pieces will stay in the remodeled room or rooms.

Or, if you are adding on to your home, will you rearrange existing furniture? buy completely new pieces for the new rooms?

Or a combination of existing furniture and new pieces?

Then draw a scaled floor plan of each room on a piece of graph paper.

Draw in where your furniture will be placed.

Now decide if new furniture is needed, what those pieces are and where they most likely will go.

By going through this process you will have a better idea of how the rooms will be used, the lighting requirements for the rooms and color scheme options.

Products that are Easy to Maintain

Different products have different maintenance requirements and now is a good time to think about how often you or someone else will clean.

By determining how much time you want to devote to the maintenance of your remodeled spaces as well as your entire home, you will be able to select products that will compliment your lifestyle and needs.

The following products are typically easier to maintain:

Solid surface and engineered stone materials: for countertops are great because there is no grout.

Carpet

  • Select a quality constructed carpet with stain and soil protection.
  • Regular vacuuming and spot cleaning is all that is needed.
    However, most warranties require that you have your carpet professionally cleaned every 12-24 months. By doing so, your carpet in turn will be easier to maintain.
  • Consider these styles:
    • Textured
    • Frieze
    • Berbers (looped and cut pile)
    • Cut and uncut / patterned

Ceramic Tile

  • Larger sizes to minimize the number of grout joints.
  • With a pattern or different colors to help minimize the appearance of dirt.

Sheet Vinyl

  • Select a quality constructed sheet vinyl with a protective coating or wear layer.
  • With a pattern or different colors to help minimize the appearance of dirt.

Maximizing the Resale Value of Your Home

Remember one word: NEUTRAL.

If you think that it is likely that you will sell your home in less than 5 years, select your interior finishes wisely.

Remember, when your house is on the market and potential buyers are touring your home, they must be able to visualize themselves and their belongings in your home.

A neutral environment provides that opportunity.

Stay Neutral

  • Neutral does not have to be boring. Colors such as taupe, beige, sand, cream, white, gray and even black are all considered neutral.
  • Use these colors in a combination or choose one color and decorate in a monochromatic scheme. Different textures, patterns and accessories can provide interest without locking you into a particular color or scheme.
  • Select a neutral color scheme and offer color through accessories such as pillows, artwork, area rugs, etc.

Select products that are durable and timeless:

  • Hardwood floors
  • Quality constructed carpet and carpet cushion.
  • Natural stone marble, granite, limestone, slate etc.

Kitchens and bathrooms, particularly master bathrooms, are great areas to upgrade and hold their value.

Ideas for upgrading the kitchen:

  • Cabinetry
    • Maple, cherry
  • Countertops
    • Granite 12x12s or slab
    • Larger size ceramic tile
  • Flooring
    • Hardwood, ceramic tile or stone

Ideas for upgrading the master bath:

  • Natural stone countertops.
  • Cabinetry special finishes or glazes, different wood species and style than the rest of the house.
  • Flooring textured and matte or semi gloss ceramic tile or natural stone.
  • Accent liners, decos or listellos in the shower and tub surrounds and countertop backsplash
  • Stylized plumbing fixtures.

Customize Your Home

Now is your chance to decorate your home with the products and colors that you like.

Be creative!

The possibilities are endless and we can help you with new ideas that will personalize your home while meeting your lifestyle, design and budget needs.