Now that the days are a little longer, the sun a little warmer, and blossoms are starting to pop, you may suddenly have the urge to do some spring cleaning. Spring cleaning is a time-honored tradition; an opportunity to sweep the cobwebs from your home, clear out the dust that accumulated during the winter, and let the sunshine in.
For many people spring cleaning may seem tedious but it doesn’t have to be! Crank some tunes, get some room decor inspiration from Pinterest, and get out the garbage bags because it’s time to get cleaning.
- Make a list of what needs to be cleaned in each room.
Lists can help you stay organized — especially if you have a huge project on your plate. Walk through each room and write down what needs to get done. Writing a list will ensure you have all the cleaning materials you’ll need before getting started.
- Make your playlist.
Listening to music while cleaning can make things go by faster. Of course, you don’t have to make a playlist; you could always just turn the radio on to your favorite station.
- Get three bins and label them: trash, recycle and donate.
As you go through each room, make sure to declutter. Recycle old magazines and papers from the previous year. Put items you no longer use or need, like that book you bought 10 years ago but never read, in the donate box. Itemize your donate pile when finished because you may be able to deduct those donations on your taxes.
- Work on one room at a time.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you want to clean your entire home all at once. Refer to your list in step 1 and check each one off as you go. Tracking your progress will keep you working in an organized fashion and keep you going when you start to get tired.
- Set an amount of time to work on each room.
It’s easy to get distracted, looking at items you’ve forgotten or old photographs, and before you know it you’ve spent the entire day cleaning just one single room. Set a timer so you don’t fall into this trap and to give yourself small breaks throughout the process.
- Get some help.
Don’t do all the cleaning yourself! Recruit your kids, significant other or roommates to help out. Anyone who contributes to the mess should also help clean it.
- Start from the top and work your way down.
Use the law of gravity and clean from the top of the ceiling to the floor. Knock all the dusty cobwebs from the corner, wash the curtains, clean the windows, dust/vacuum the furniture, and finally vacuum the floor.
- Consider using natural cleaners.
Many chemical-based cleaners emit hazardous fumes. Some cleaners when mixed together can even emit toxic fumes that can seriously hurt you. Vinegar is a great substitute to use as a general household cleaning solution, and it is not nearly as expensive as packaged cleaning solutions.
- Be patient.
Take your time and let grimy surfaces, like the ones in your bathroom and kitchen, soak in your cleaning solution. Work on something else on your list while your cleaner does the hard work.
- Reward yourself at the end.
Having something to look forward to at the end of a long day of cleaning sure makes things go a lot faster. Plus, you worked hard and deserve it. Treat yourself.
In honor of Earth Day, I thought I would have a little tribute to the color green. While a pale, almost neutral green is common in design, it takes guts and color savvy to really sock a punch to a room with green. These are a few great examples where the designer is a green maven.
This room has such a fun vintage feel without the burden of all of grandma's clutter. Keeping all of the other major pieces a stark white really showcases the green color.
I LOVE this room; my eye was immediately drawn to the Egg Chair in that gorgeous shade of green!
I think I'm drawn to this room because it looks like it was inspired by the Farnsworth house. The green accent mimics what is going on outside the structure.
The designer of this bathroom understands color and balance. The green is allowed to shine against the white while a little punch of orange provides great contrast.
Speaking of orange and green – being fearless with color can be intimidating but rewarding and well worth it when done properly. The balance of the orange and green is so refreshing and exciting.
Also, chocolate brown looks fantastic with green.
This calm traditional room probably would have seemed like the same old, same old without that brilliant hit of green provided by the duvet and throw pillow.
Here the green tiles add a bit of whimsy to an otherwise very modern kitchen.
And finally, who says wreaths are only for Christmas? A living wreath planted on a moss ring provides lovely greeting at your front door.
Grand porches get more press, but you can pack just as much style into a small space. Whether you have a city stoop, an apartment building landing, exposed exterior stairs or a small porch, these 10 ideas will help you make the most of your home’s entrance.
1. Add a quirky planter. Done with that umbrella stand? Tuck a plant pot in there for an instant transformation. Or take a funky vintage find, like an elephant-shaped stool, and use it as a plant stand beside the front door. It’s sure to make guests (and you) smile.
2. Paint your door a bright color. A cheerfully bright, mood-boosting hue is a great way to light up a small or dark entryway. Try yellow, lime green or aqua.
3. Paint pots to match your door. This is quite possibly the easiest way to make your front entrance feel put together: Cluster flowerpots in the same hue as your front door on the stoop. Stick with odd numbers and vary the sizes of the pots for a more casual look. For a formal entrance, choose two giant, identical pots to flank the door.
4. Roll out a big rug. Why stick with itty-bitty doormats when you can offer guests a big, cheerful outdoor rug instead? A larger rug on a small stoop will help the area seem more spacious — a tiny doormat tends to break up the space. A big rug on the porch also does wonders for hiding imperfect floors!
5. Position trellises to frame the entrance. Positioned at each end of the porch or front steps, trellises provide welcome privacy and shade to the entrance. If the area gets good sunlight (and the climate allows), why not plant something fragrant, like jasmine, so you can enjoy a delicious scent each time you return home?
6. Style some beachy finds. Driftwood, shells, glass lanterns, striped beach blankets and woven seats create a laid-back vibe on this front porch. If you have only a tiny amount of room, try arranging a single chunk of driftwood, a big shell and a glass lantern beside the door.
7. Plant a window box. When you hardly have a stoop, let alone a full porch, it can be difficult to find ways to personalize your space. Try hanging a window box from the front window and installing a handsome lantern beside the door.
8. Invest in topiary. A pair of topiary trees or neatly trimmed potted shrubs flanking the front door makes for an elegant entrance. You can’t miss with classic blue and white ceramic pots, moss-covered concrete or black urns, or square wooden planter boxes. If your stoop gets zero sun, consider investing in high-quality fake topiary — it’s really hard to tell the difference, and you can’t kill it!
9. Draw the eye up with hanging baskets. Big hanging pots of ferns look bountiful and lush, and can handle the shade under an eave. Be sure to choose pots that are on the large side, and hang them about two-thirds of the way up from the porch floor — small pots hung too high look awkward.
10. Swap plain numbers for an address plaque. A custom address plaque imparts more sophistication than plain house numbers. If you like, personalize it further by making up a name for your house.
Whether you're an owner or a renter, odds are that you have a complicated relationship with your home. As with any relationship, there are ups and downs, good times and bad, things you love and things you hate. But despite it all, you stick with it — hopefully because you love it.
And also as with any relationship, your love for your home progresses as time goes on. But there's always that honeymoon stage, the time when you're totally infatuated. We asked what one thing made you fall in love with your home — the thing that tipped you over the edge and made you decide it was the place for you.
Here is a list of items that make my clients swoon, over and over again.
Sometimes functional items are designed so beautifully that they blur the line between architecture and art. The fireplace surrounds in this collection are sculptural, stunningly beautiful and, arguably, works of art.
There are many reasons for using transoms. Here's the rundown on this fun-to-say architectural term. Transoms gained popularity after being used in spaces where an intricate shape or style door met another transverse architectural element. Pretty and purposeful, transoms are often used as ornamentation. They can also be functional; adding more sunlight to a room and (with the right hardware) they can swivel forward or backward for good air flow from the outdoors.
A Kitchen you’re proud to show off to friends and family
What makes the perfect kitchen? The answer is as varied as cooks are. Style is easier to recognize with your eyes than with words: You know it when you see it, and the one that inspires you most can often surprise you. From ultra-modern minimalist design to rustic woodwork and everything in between… your only limits are in your imagination and your wallet!
Historical charm relevant to the home but renovated with greener products
Although interior and exterior appeal is essential, history is what earned some homes a spot in people’s hearts. Bainbridge Island is full of beautiful vintage homes that are purchased and renovated yearly. In keeping with adaptive reuse of landmark buildings, subtle renovations can preserve the remarkable craftsmanship and details of bygone eras – while using newer, green products that enhance the style of the home while providing the amenities that modern living requires.
Indoor/outdoor living space
Some homeowners are all about being able to maximize long summer days with an indoor/outdoor living space that can also be used on slightly less warmer Spring and Fall Days. An outdoor living room complete with a covered area and amenities like a fireplace and cooking area expands your home into new world of dining and living al fresco.
High Ceilings/unique ceilings
Space and high ceilings make all the difference for some people. The open airy feeling lends to a feeling of sophistication while also making even a smaller home feel much larger. Add a unique ceiling with box beams, exposed rafters or timber framing and suddenly your ceiling has become a large part of your home’s architectural style.
Amazing View – Water or Territorial
Many people fall in love with the beautiful surroundings and views before actually falling in love with their homes. Whether it is large territorial view, a wooded sanctuary or open water view – a view that speaks to your heart can make any house a home.
Examples of artful staircases can be found as far back as 1500 BC in ancient palaces in China – but open interior staircases on an ambitious spatial scale cannot really be found before Michelangelo’s at the Laurentian Library, Florence Italy (1524–71). For many people, a grand staircase can turn a functional part of a home into a focal piece of art that makes them fall in love with a home immediately.
Interior details like round doorways, wood work, bookshelves and other charming details
Wood is becoming more and more expensive, and the level of craftsmanship in older homes is much higher than what you typically find in a new construction. This may include floors, trim, molding, fireplace mantels, bookcases, china cabinets, staircases and more. Embellishments on cabinetry can make a lovely room feel even more special. Leather, metal and even glass can be used to step a look up a notch.
Custom or Elaborate Doors
And finally… If a home is a place of meaning, doorways are the most meaningful parts. An opening connects one space with another, while a door sets the stage for the human interaction. Opening a door and crossing the threshold moves us from one realm to the next — from outside to inside, from public to private, from bedroom to bathroom, from big space to small space, from cold to warm.
The modern home is always evolving. And to get an idea of what it’s evolving to, look no further than what’s happening within its walls today. Exciting new materials, strategies and concepts will be coming to more homes in 2016.
1. Two-tone kitchen cabinets. Keep upper cabinets white or neutral for a clean, timeless feel; then go crazy with the lower cabinets by playing with various wood tones and deeper colors to take your kitchen in two different style directions.
2. Outdoor fabric used indoors. Outdoor fabrics are becoming increasingly hard to distinguish from traditional indoor fabrics, and many designers are bringing them inside – where their durability makes them perfect for high-traffic dining room and living room furniture, as shown here.
3. Colored stainless steel appliances. Black stainless steel is making a buzz in the design world. Shown here is LG’s new Black Stainless collection. Not into the darkness? Head to the light with Whirlpool’s Sunset Bronze finish.
4. Extra-large-format tile. Large-format tiles (such as 12 by 24 inches) have been making an appearance in kitchens and bathrooms for some time now, but stay on the lookout for extra-large-format ones. Just how extra? Try 31 by 71 inches, like the ceramic Ann Sacks tiles shown here on a fireplace surround project by Pangaea. That’s almost 3 by 6 feet!
5. Bidets. The separate bidet unit in bathrooms never really took off in America. But since manufacturers began creating combination bidet and toilet units, like the Toto version shown here, they’ve been catching on. In fact, 5 percent of renovated master bathrooms now include bidets.
6. Deep kitchen drawers. Data shows that ease of storage is the top kitchen priority during a remodel. And while deep drawers have been creeping up to replace lower kitchen cabinets for a while now, they’re only getting better — and more affordable. Dividers and inserts let you organize any shape or size of dish, pan or utensil under the sun, and there are even clever options for deep corners and drawers under range tops and kitchen sinks.
7. Formal dining rooms. Not everyone takes the leap to turn the dining room into an office or media room. For homeowners who entertain frequently, a designated space for gathering for special meals isn’t negotiable, and they’re pouring attention into these rooms.
8. Niche appliances. Looking for a little added luxury in the kitchen? Steam ovens (shown here) promise to cook food more thoroughly and healthily than microwaves; warming drawers give cooks a little wiggle room to deliver hot meals to family and guests; induction cooktops save space and are safer for homes with young kids; and kimchi refrigerators offer fans of the popular Korean condiment a chance to make their own at home.
9. Heated entryway floors. Sure, heated floors are popular in bathrooms, but if you live in a cold region, consider putting them in your entryway to help melt snow and dry boots.
10. Workhorse islands. Kitchen islands provide additional workspace, but they’ve taken on so much more than that. With deep storage, prep sinks, room for seating and more, workhorse islands are becoming the central feature in modern kitchens.
11. Statement mirrors in bathrooms. So long, medicine cabinets – hello, statement mirrors. Think large wood-framed beauties, backlit modern marvels and ornate vintage gems that boost style in a bathroom.
12. Barely-there kitchens. As kitchen layouts become more open, spatial identifiers like walls of cabinetry and full-size appliances fade away, leaving behind airy, fluid spaces that serve multiple functions while looking barely there.
13. Living rooms that ditch the tech for family. With so much screen time throughout the day and night, homeowners are looking for a calm respite where they can read a book, chat with friends and family or just sit quietly. Thus, the rise of living rooms devoid of digital distraction.
14. Kitchens that embrace openness and raw materials. The inherent simplicity in open shelves and raw materials plays a big part in the barely there kitchen we mentioned earlier. Embrace these, and the rest will follow.
15. Surprising backsplash and countertop pairings. You could play it safe with white subway tile and granite countertops, but sometimes safe is so boring. Instead, consider a different combination, such as a brick backsplash with concrete countertops (as shown here) or yellow ceramic tile with butcher block.
16. Fully decorated living rooms that don’t go overboard. How do you know when you haven’t decorated enough, or decorated too much? Designers pay attention to scale, light, function and more to strike the right balance.
17. Special kitchen features. Sometimes a kitchen needs that one special element that takes it from a useful space to a vital one. Here, a dining table on casters allows various seating arrangements for casual family meals and large parties with friends.
18. Sunrooms. A sunroom is a top dream space for many homeowners. Even those who don’t have the luxury of having or adding one are finding ways to carve out a special sun-drenched corner in their homes.
19. Punched-up white kitchens. White kitchen walls and cabinets — and even countertops in many cases — is a trend that will continue for years to come. To avoid a too-sterile look, however, many designers and homeowners are learning to punch up an all-white space with smart, colorful details through tile, floor-to-ceiling bookcases, raw materials and more.
20. Bold powder room wall coverings. Dramatic wall coverings in powder rooms are nothing new, but the options for dazzling prints, textures and custom graphics are ever increasing. Here, Black Quilted Lacquer wallpaper by Phillip Jeffries steals the show.
21. Mixing modern materials in the kitchen. Looking for something livelier than white cabinets and granite countertops in your kitchen? Consider mixing several modern materials, finishes and colors. Here, butcher block countertops get broken up with soapstone near the stove and Carrara marble on a nearby baking station. These mix with olive-green cabinets and stainless steel appliances for an eclectic, sophisticated look.
22. Attention-seeking bedrooms. A can of paint will certainly transform the look and feel of a bedroom, but to take the sanctuary to the next level, you’re going to need bolder ideas. Here, a rustic wood wall and ceiling feature warms up the otherwise contemporary room.
23. Bathrooms that feel more like living spaces. Graphic wallpaper, ornate chandeliers and furniture-like pieces turn sterile spaces into ones that feel a lot more like home.
24. Fireplaces and fire features. New advances mean you can have the ambience without the smell, pollution or hassle of traditional wood-burning fireplaces. Plus, fireplaces are making a comeback as living room focal points in lieu of the dark void of a TV screen.
25. Farmhouse entryways. Stripping away the need for fancy flourishes or decor for decor’s sake, farmhouse style gets at the root of function. That’s why the style makes sense for mudrooms, where simplicity in storage and durability in materials are paramount.
Set a festive mood with fresh fall plants while preserving and protecting your landscape and water features.
November is the final month to prepare the garden for winter. It’s rather like tucking children into bed at night: They have played all day, and now they’re tired. There’s the bath-time ritual, followed by a quiet story before they snuggle under the quilt for several blissful hours of rest — for both of you.
The garden has been playing hard and growing for more than eight months. Now it’s time to get it clean and tidy before its winter rest. Just a few hours spent in the garden this month will ensure that you both reach spring with renewed vigor and enthusiasm.
Protect your water features. Some of us are procrastinators, and some of us are just plain forgetful. This photograph shows what happens to fountains during a hard freeze in either case.
To avoid creating such dramatic ice sculptures, remember to drain small fountains and either store them in the garage for the winter or cover them to prevent water entering and freezing. Small submersible pumps are also best removed and stored indoors until spring.
Larger ponds and waterfalls may have a sufficient volume of water cascading through them that the entire body of water will not freeze, and the pump is either too deep to be affected or is in a protected enclosure aboveground. If you're in doubt, contact your local pond supply company for advice.
This is also the time to winterize your irrigation system. We use a simple drip watering system for all our containers as well as for our vegetable garden. The hoses can be left in place, but we disconnect the battery-operated timers and bring them inside for the winter.
Landscape irrigation companies usually offer a winter service to drain the lines if necessary — contact them today.
Add a few inches of compost. If you apply compost to the garden now, the rains will help its nutrients leach into the soil, and the worms will till it while I’m nice and cozy indoors. Some gardeners prefer to mulch in spring. If your garden soil is in poor shape, experts recommend adding compost in both fall and spring for three years and then once a year after that.
Check your drainage. In early fall, when the weather is still nice, walk slowly around the house and inspect the ground where it meets the foundation. Soil should not be touching siding and should slope away from the house, dropping at least 6 vertical inches over the first 10 feet.
Fall Planting. Spring is overrated for planting perennials, shrubs and trees. Starting plants in autumn has advantages for both garden and gardener. Not only is cooler weather easier on new plants and tired bones, but planting in a spent garden with rain on the horizon also has advantages – less watering being one of them. Go for some Classic Chrysanthemums, Decorative Flowering Cabbage and Kale, Hardy Geraniums and Seedums to fill in empty spots in the garden and keep it looking fresh and happy until Spring finally arrives.
Choosing the roof style and which materials to use can be a daunting process. The roofing material you choose can truly enhance the beauty of your home. The type of material, style, color and cost are all major factors in making the best selection. Additionally eco-friendly alternatives, such as those with a high Energy Star rating and materials that can be recycled, are options that you may want to consider when making your decision.
Tried and True Classic Roofing Materials
Get an Old-World Look with Clay Roof Tiles
Authentic clay tile is the historical roof material of choice, dating back to ancient times, and it comes in various soft and rich, earthy colors. It’s a look that pigmented concrete cannot faithfully replicate. Rather than fading with time, clay tiles patinate, blossoming splendidly, and for some architectural styles, clay roofs are the ideal option if you can swing the cost.
Slate Makes for Fireproof Roofs That Last
This high-end material is expensive but long lasting. In fact, slate has been a preferred roofing choice of homeowners for hundreds of years. Any material that stands the test of time like this is one that should be on your radar. Genuine slate is a metamorphic stone most often found in quarries in northeast North America, the United Kingdom and Brazil. As a roofing material, no other product can match its durability, high-end appearance and fireproof qualities. Slate quarried for roofing is a dense, sound rock that's exceptionally tough and substantial.
Asphalt – Affordable and Easy to Install
Let’s just get this out of the way: Asphalt shingles are not exciting. Your friends will not drop their jaws in awe over this material, and if your home were a Broadway production, asphalt shingles would not be the star of the show. But that’s OK. Asphalt shingles do not seek the limelight. They do their job quietly, protecting more homes across the United States than any other type of roof material. Asphalt shingles (alternatively called composition shingles) are a manufactured product consisting of a fiberglass base mat coated in composition asphalt material to provide waterproofing and additional strength. Historically, the base layer was often made of organic material, but over time fiberglass has become the preferred choice for the base.
The Advantages of a Metal Roof
If you are interested in making your house more energy efficient, adding a beautiful and striking major design element, and never having to replace your roof again? Consider a metal roof. While the cost of a metal roof is significantly higher than a shingled roof, it will likely last a lifetime and it is practically maintenance-free. The practical advantages of a metal roof are that it makes your home safer in harsh weather and can significantly cut down on your energy bills. Aesthetically, a metal roof is versatile in design to complement many architectural styles, from a century old farmhouse to a contemporary home.
Concrete tile roofs are the master of disguise
From an architectural standpoint, concrete tile can play many parts. Molded styles are made to mimic natural clay, slate and shake roofs. Concrete roof tiles are as well, which helps make this material one of the most universally popular roof selections around the world. Concrete roof tiles consist of cement, sand, water and pigment. They are mass-produced at regional facilities, where materials are mixed and extruded before being coated, cured and prepared for shipment. Concrete roof tiles are widely used. They have a long life span and are available in various colors and molded shapes — and cost less than clay, shake or slate.
The Natural Beauty of Wooden Roof Shingles and Shakes
Natural Wood is not the popular roof material choice it once was, thanks to the proliferation of asphalt, composition, and concrete roof tiles. But for some there is simply no substitute. Wood can be faked but never perfectly replicated. Like the inhabitants it keeps dry, wood roofs age with the passage of time, turning a silvery gray under the sun. If you live in North America, this is likely the roof material of your childhood home (or at least your parents’), and is the ideal choice for many traditional home styles.
Since a roof must withstand the worst of nature’s onslaughts, only the heartiest of species will suffice. Western red cedar is the most commonly utilized wood for shingles and shakes in North America. California redwood and cypress are also readily available, while pine shingles are offered in some regions. These wood types all have a superior resistance to decay plus other characteristics related to ease of installation and appearance, making them superior wood material options for roofs.
Alternative Roof Materials to Buck the Mainstream
A Green / "Living" Roof
A natural green living roof can become a true landscape, and though arguably more expensive and requiring more maintenance than other alternatives, these rooftop habitats offer fantastic advantages. The lush, natural curb appeal, superb insulation and stormwater management benefits are difficult to match. This is also a roof material type that actually reduces greenhouse gasses. It’s a living habitat on your roof, attracting birds, bees, butterflies and more.
This old-world option has drawbacks, such as flammability and lack of mold resistance, but these common criticisms are possibly overstated. Thatch installers say this ancient roof material, when installed correctly, can last 50 years or more, and is more fire-resistant than folks give it credit for. The natural look is undeniably authentic, and the material is renewable and cheap. Thatch roofs are not common in the U.S. for residences, but are more frequently used on ancillary structures, especially in tropical climates.
The truth is, many of the materials covered in this series on roof options can be used to create a “cool” roof, one that reflects or otherwise mitigates heat. Metal roofs, membrane systems, white tile roofs (like the one shown here) and even living roofs can all be described as cool roofs. There are also added coatings available to improve the reflective characteristics of most roof materials. Cool roofs offer superior reflective qualities due to material characteristics or color, reflecting heat from the home structure and thus decreasing heat gain in the home. This lessens the extent of air conditioning required and is undeniably a benefit in hot climates.
A copper roof is a statement, and it’s one you’ll pay a premium for. Metal roofs themselves are relatively expensive, and copper is the premium roof metal. But there is something grand about copper on a roof, and it’s bright sheen, seen on the rooftop above, will turn a blue-green hue in time. While a copper roof provides excellent longevity, durability and reflective qualities, it is an extremely expensive option that does not have much demonstrative benefit (except appearance) compared to standard metal roofs.