Home Improvement Trends for 2013

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Not sure if it’s time to remodel? Are you moving to an existing home or building a new one? Want to know what’s going on as far as current trends and expressions? Do you know what the current trends in home improvement are? Not to worry. We’ve taken a look at the top trends and compiled them in an easy-to-follow list.

Home shows across the country are showcasing the following designs and remodel styles; chances are you should be taking a look at them too. Whether you’re part of a young family, looking to strike out on your own or a motorcycle attorney nearing retirement, one of the following trends might be right for you.

Green Homes

In case you haven’t noticed, green homes are the hot theme for 2013. From adding solar panels to investing in smart appliances, remodeling that focuses on positive return on investments and helping homes run more efficiently are at the top as far as remodel trends are concerned.

If you’re unsure of where to start, look at your kitchen. You could drastically reduce your environmental footprint and electric bill by making a few simple changes, such as swapping out old appliances for energy-efficient models or adding climate control. Talk to a local remodeler or builder to get started.

Retirement Remodels

Instead of moving into smaller homes and retirement communities, many seniors are focusing on redoing the homes they already own and live in. Because home prices have changed drastically for those who have lived in a home long-term, a retirement remodel is usually the most effective route to take.

Many seniors are focusing on making their first floor fully accessible by adding bathrooms and master bedrooms, entryway ramps and handlebars where needed. As a result, retirement remodels are on the rise like never before.

Bathroom Makeovers

Bathroom makeovers have been a top trend for the past few years, and 2013 is no different. The main trend for 2013 is serenity and tranquility.

Bathrooms are becoming spa-like havens with lavish accessories including radiant-heat floors, towel warming racks, walk-in showers, Jacuzzi tubs and bamboo furniture. Chandeliers above the bathtub have also seen a comeback in popularity.

Want to add a little luxury to a smaller space without breaking the bank? Look into a bathroom remodel.

Charitable Demolitions

For those who decide to tackle large projects, or even building a new home where an old home used to stand, charitable demolitions are becoming popular. Materials salvaged during demolitions can be donated to charitable organizations (think Habitat for Humanity and others). Not only does this leave those involved feeling good, it helps families across the country and offers great tax incentives that make the process even more worthwhile.

Regardless of what your home needs or what you want, it doesn’t hurt to take a look at the top trends for 2013 when looking at your options. Ready to get started? Contact a local builder or remodeler, or visit a local home show today to learn about your options.
Want to add a little luxury to a smaller space without breaking the bank? Look into a bathroom remodel.
Charitable Demolitions
For those who decide to tackle large projects, or even building a new home where an old home used to stand, charitable demolitions are becoming popular. Materials salvaged during demolitions can be donated to charitable organizations (think Habitat for Humanity and others). Not only does this leave those involved feeling good, it helps families across the country and offers great tax incentives that make the process even more worthwhile.
Regardless of what your home needs or what you want, it doesn’t hurt to take a look at the top trends for 2013 when looking at your options. Ready to get started? Contact a local builder or remodeler, or visit a local home show today to learn about your options.

Fall Vacations

So it’s August, and you never got that chance to use up the PTO that you’ve been saving all year. Well sorry to break it to you, but it’s probably too late to get out of the office to plan that perfect summer vacation, so why not plan the perfect fall vacation instead! Here are some of the best places to take that vacation.

Vermont

There’s not a specific spot in Vermont that is better than another. The entire state is filled with amazing sights and festivals that can fit into anyone’s schedule and budget. The best time in the fall to visit is early in the season, somewhere between late September through October. Check out the cities of Manchester, Stowe, Woodstock and Montpelier for guided Fall tours and lodges to stay in. Don’t miss the maple production when it’s in its peak!

Upstate New York

Right next to Vermont is Upstate New York. Check out this vacation spot if you’re looking for wine tastings and pumpkin festivals. If you are near, Ithaca, New York features an apple festival that draws everyone into the town. The Adirondacks have also been ranked nationally for great places to go in the Fall.

California

You didn’t think that all the best spots where in Northeastern part of the country, did you? Travel here for some more wine tastings mixed with a few music festivals. The foliage is also top notch on the western coast!

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lancaster is home to a large Amish population, but that doesn’t stop anyone from having a good time. Apple cider and beautiful rolling mountains of crisp air fill the atmosphere in the southern part of Pennsylvania.

Must Haves for a Yard Redesign

So the summer is halfway over (I know – Here are some tissues that you can dry your eyes with) but there are so many things that you can do to maximize the attractiveness of your garden. Take some of these tips to try out the newest designs and must haves for a garden.

Spilled Milk

Nothing says welcome to my garden like a glass of spilled milk. So why not simulate that with some flowers. Things you will need are a big metal milk can and some white flowers. Dig up the dirt and plant the flowers in a wavy pattern, and put the milk can at the beginning of the row. Voila, spilled milk


 

Black and Decker Le750 Edge Hog In

Are those pesky weeds and small forests totally cramping your style? There is no better way to get rid of them than using the Black and Decker Le750 Edge Hog In. This tool allows you to get up close and personal with anything from trees to sidewalks and helps to eliminate the overgrown areas. This ranges from about $150 – $175 in stores.

Pressure Washer

I have never seen so many uses for a water sprayer than I have seen for a single pressure washer. Just the other day I completely stripped my house of the stain and then cleaned the driveway using this handy tool. The driveway is now clear of debris and my house is ready for a new coat of stain! Costello Builders say that pressure washing is a great way to make an old house look new.

Old Bicycle

A happy garden is one that includes an old bicycle. The bicycle adds a rustic touch, and also adds another place for the homeowner to put more flowers. Attach a basket to the bike and you’ve got a beautiful object in your yard. Who knows, maybe the gnomes will take it for a spin when you go to sleep.

*This can also be done similarly with a wheelbarrow.

Race Track

Do you have small children roaming around the house while you do everything in your power to try to get them outside? Well your question has been answered on how to do that – build a race track!

Start with a patch of dirt and be prepared to tear up your lawn a little bit (you can make changes to this standard setup so you don’t ruin your specific lawn.) Use some grey dirt or even some rocks to lay out the track, buy some toy cars to work into the scene. It should end up looking something like this:

 

Tips Before Buying A Home

Buying a home can be an exhausting process, but one that is also very rewarding. First-time home owners are often surprised at how long and grueling the process can be searching for and purchasing a new home.

There are many different things to keep in mind throughout the home buying process. When you’re looking at a new home, it’s crucial to ask a lot of questions and look at structural areas of the home.

Too many potential home buyers focus on surface and presentation. They look at things like cabinetry, flooring and even paint color. While these are all important features of a home, they are easy to see and often become over valued during the research and buying process.

It’s important to ask about the guts of the house: things like wiring, plumbing, heating, water pressure, etc.

These are all items that are far more expensive to fix than cabinetry or paint color.

Since most home buyers don’t have a lot of construction knowledge, it’s crucial to get a trustworthy and knowledgeable home inspector to look at the home before you start the closing process. A home inspector will help independently identify issues with the home that you need to know before purchasing the home.

Imagine finding your dream home, purchasing it and then finding out a few months later that you needed to install well pumps or HVAC system? This can be extra frustrating for first time home buyers who are maxing out their financial resources on a downpayment and other home improvements.

Be sure to be vigalente and ask as many questions as you can when you are viewing homes. Make sure to read several guides online and look at all aspects of the home.

 

World’s Most Visited Cities

Have you ever dreamed about traveling the world? A lot of people have the same dream in life. That is why Good Morning America put out a segment that analyzed travel data and pulled together a list of the top 20 most visited cities in the world. We are going to look at the top 5 in the article, but feel free to check out GMA for a larger list.

Many of us are sitting at our desks thinking about what the number one city might be. Let’s start from #5 and work our way down!

5. New York City

It’s no surprise this beautiful city has made the top five. Some people even thought it would make #1 with its world renowned theatre and tourist attractions like the Empire State Building and New Years Eve Bash! Sadly, this is the fifth most visited city in the world, but also the most visited city in the United States of America.

In 2012, the Big Apple hosted 11.52 million international visitors! That outstanding number is a lot in addition to the city that already has a population of over 8 million!

4. Singapore

The first of two Asian cities on our list, Singapore hosted 11.75 million international tourists last year. Known for its culture, shopping and entertainment, Singapore is a blend of varying cultures. Many visitors take a ride down the Singapore River to gain the best look of the city and all its wonders.

3. Paris

Parlez-vous François? If not, that’s fine! That hasn’t stopped 13.92 million tourists from visiting the city of love. Aided by some of the most famous museums in the world, Paris has something for everyone, history and cuisine included!

2. London

Britain is the parent to the second European city on the list. London, the host of the 2012 Olympics, drew in many visitors from all over the world with this Olympic hosting. The total international visitors for the year? London saw 15.95 million people comes through its gates! That’s almost double the population of the city!

1. Bangkok

The capitol of Thailand is this years most visited city! This is the first year that an Asian city has come in at the #1 spot. The city posted an 18 percent growth rate in the past two years. The numbers of travelers are aided by the increasing connectivity of this city to the rest of the world.

Are the any cities here that are on your bucket list? Let us know in the comments below!

 

The Perfect BBQ

For all those people who are constantly looking to throw a party, here’s the tip of the year! You don’t need an excuse to throw a party, just do it! Maybe it’s the “End of Spring” party, or the “Kids Are Done With School” party. Anyway, when you’re ready to have a blast, follow these tips for a great BBQ

Pick a Theme

People love themes! Eva Ingvarson, a trend expert from Evite says, “Select a theme and carry it through from decorations to food preparations.” It’s a great way to keep your guests entertained and social through the whole even.

Bring the Entertainment

Of course all the people you’re going to be inviting are friends, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to entertain themselves. Set up some backyard games, get some speakers to throw a dance party, or maybe challenge someone to horseshoes!

More than Burgers

Burgers at a BBQ are great, but liven it up a bit with some seafood and vegetables!

Be Safe

Guests are there to have a good time. They shouldn’t have to worry about getting sick from the food.  Take precautions to make sure this doesn’t happen. It’s always easier to prevent the sickness than to treat it.

Don’t Be Cheap

When you’re entertaining is not the time to be cheap in quality. Maybe talk to the local butcher to get some fresh cut meat to make this BBQ the best you’ve ever had!

 

Give these tips a try and let us know how they work in the comments below.

 

Spring Cleaning Tips

Is there anything that announces “spring has sprung” more than the scent of chemical-filled, highly abrasive household cleaners? Well, perhaps crocus popping up through the ground or the sight of robins hopping on your lawn. Or forsythia blooming. Or that first heavenly whiff of fresh warm air.

Okay, so springtime doesn’t exactly spell Windex, bleach and paper towels. Nevertheless, the arrival of the darling buds of May means a few weekends shaking the cobwebs out of your home.

Tackling these chores may take a while the first time you do them, but if you make them a part of a twice-annual cleaning regimen, future efforts won’t nearly be as difficult. Here’s what not to forget during your spring cleaning mission.

The Windows

Months of rain, snow, sunlight and dust have accumulated on your windows. And while cleaning them is undoubtedly a major pain in the neck, you won’t believe how much better your home will look afterward. If you’re not planning to hire a professional, you can make the job easier by skipping the Windex and paper towels, which often leave streaks (especially in cold weather).

A squeegee or a newspaper and white vinegar or rubbing alcohol works incredibly well. Don’t forget the screens; remove them and spray with a garden hose. Use your vacuum to clean up dust around the sill. It’s also a good time to check for drafts and add weather stripping to make your home more energy efficient.

Lighting and Ceiling Fans

Nothing spells gross like filthy light and ceiling fan fixtures. Remove glass tops and rinse with soapy water. Dust lampshades with a lightly dampened cloth from top to bottom. Use a Swiffer or other dust remover to eliminate icky dust chunks from ceiling fans, and wipe down thoroughly with a damp cloth. Make sure the lights are off as you work; you don’t want to wind up with a nasty burn.

Draperies

Your drapes probably don’t need to be dry-cleaned, so simply remove them from their rods and toss them in the dryer on a non-heated fluff setting. This will remove accumulated dust at no cost to you. Be sure to remove them as soon as they’re done tumbling; otherwise, you’ll wind up with a wrinkly mess. And that means ironing. Yuck.

Closets and Cabinets

No spring cleaning would be complete without a thorough closet and cabinet clean. It’s a great time to rid your home of unmatched plastic containers, clothes that don’t fit and more. Think of it as a re-edit of your closet. If you’re thrifty, list quality items for sale on eBay. You can use the funds to buy the best ceramic cookware you can find or an amazing new handbag!

Doorways and Banisters

Finally, wipe down doorways, light switches, banisters and anywhere else that may show fingerprint smudges. It’s also a great time to touch up with paint. Don’t waste money buying a new gallon; instead, buy a sample and label it with the room. Before you know it, your home will be in showroom condition.

How-To Table

Now if you saw our blog post about creating a Adirondack Chair for your home a few days ago, here’s a suggestion for creating the perfect table to go with it. This picnic table is perfect for a lunch outside, dinner with the family, or holding the s’mores ingredients at the local campfire. Check out the video below from RealOutdoorLiving:

Now my favorite part of the creation is when the table is all finished. This is where the creativity flows and you can do whatever you want. Painting the table always makes for a colorful experience. Grab the kids and some old clothes and get to it!

How-To Adirondack Chair

With summer fast approaching, you’re probably freaking out because you don’t have any chairs for your big 4th of July party! Well if you start now, you can create some Adirondack Chairs using this simple, quick design. From Lowe’s Weekend Projects, here is a clip of the how-to:

If you are interested in some Step-by-Step instructions, you can go to http://lowescreativeideas.com/idea-library/projects/Adirondack-Inspired_Chairs.aspx

Don’t be afraid to add your own twist and colors to the chair, making it personal to your home. Maybe a good idea would be to customize the chair for the area you live in, or even make one for each family member in the household. Have fun!

Tourist Trap Worth The Risk

I know from personal experience that the best adventures come when you get off the beaten track. That doesn’t mean that every “tourist trap” is a no go. Yes, they may be overcrowded and underwhelming, but some of them definitely are worth it. Here’s a list of a few:

1. Palace of Versailles, France – Sure, it may have been a hunting lodge when it was created, but this got the royal treatment when Louis XIV moved it. With many gardens and fountains, this is a must see. Just ask the other six million who visit every year.

2. Colosseum, Rome – It’s on all of our bucket lists, so why not just check it off. Some parts (like the gladiator tunnels) have been renovated, so now is a great time to go.

3. Grand Canyon, Arizona – As a natural sight to see, this is best seen on foot, hiking through the National Park.

4. Grand Bazaar, Istanbul – Got a few dollars to spend, why not spend them at the Grand Bazaar in Turkey! It spans 61 streets and has more than 3,000 merchants. Good luck!

5. Great Wall, China – Ever wonder how long this wall is? Try nearly 5,500 miles. Nearly nine million people travel here to see the wall each year and you would not regret being one of them.