Designing a Home? Consider These Modern Ideas!

4590231737_bd5faeb997_zDesigning a new home is a lot of work. Knowing what elements to include and what to leave on the drawing board is hard. In order to help you out we found this article that we hope will help you design your new home!

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From the article:

In a recent survey, many builders said that spray foam insulation has a greater impact on energy efficiency than other energy upgrades, and indicated they were willing to pay more for this alternative.

The survey by the Home Innovation Research Lab, however, indicated a trend away from its use with builders stating that they are using fiberglass as the most cost-effective, easy-to-install insulation material for most homes.

Home designs that promote increased energy efficiency can be incorporated into renovations of any size. In addition to replacing older windows and adding insulation, many homeowners may decide to upgrade their heating or cooling systems.

High-efficiency heating and air-conditioning systems can pay for themselves, said architect William J. Martin, a spokesman for the New Jersey Society of Architects.

“The additional cost of a well-designed system is usually recovered within five to 10 years,” he added.

Single-level living
While some older homeowners may retire to Florida for several months, others may be inclined to reinvent existing space or add a room to their primary residence to facilitate lifestyle changes.

“Architects have reported increased interest in first-floor master bedrooms for older residents who want to remain in their homes,” said Martin. “Single-level living situations are part of a plan for aging in place.”

Having an extra room on the first floor is not just for seniors. Space can be maximized when rooms serve more than one purpose, switching, for example, from an office during the day to a playroom at night.

Building a home? Then checkout this article about mistakes to avoid when building that could be of interest to you.

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Have a Clogged Dryer Vent? It Could Cause a Fire in Your Home!

As a homeowner it’s important to do everything possible to protect our home from disaster. In order to help you out we found this article about how a clogged dryer vent can cause a house fire. We hope it helps you protect your home and your family!

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From the article:

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 15,000 fires are sparked every year by clothes dryers. Lint and other debris can build up in your dryer vent, reducing air flow to the dryer, backing up dryer exhaust gases, creating a fire hazard.

“Clothes dryers are an appliance that make our lives easier but we often take them for granted. We shouldn’t,” said Angie’s List founder, Angie Hicks. “We need to maintain them and most importantly have their vents cleaned.”

Glen Mayfield, a dryer vent technician, said the first sign that you might have a clog is when your dryer stops drying your clothes in one cycle. “The dryer is designed to exhaust the heat and the moisture while it’s drying. If that heat and moisture cannot get out of the dryer, then the dryer just sits there and keeps working itself but it can’t accomplish the drying. that means the dryer works harder and heat builds up and that is what can lead to a dryer vent fire.” Mayfield said it’s a bigger problem in new homes, where the dryer is placed in the center of the home rather than up against an outside wall. “As a result, the vent can run quite a long distance. We see 15, 20, 25 foot vents all the time. The longer the vent, the harder it is for the dryer to get the lint out. Those homes with longer vents are more susceptible to fire.”

Here are some of the signs that it’s time to clean your vent:

  • Clothing does not dry completely after a normal drying cycle.
  • Drying time for clothing takes longer than 35 to 40 minutes in duration.
  • A musty odor is noticed in the clothing following the drying cycle.
  • Clothing seems unusually hot to the touch after a complete drying cycle.
  • The dryer vent hood flap does not properly open as it is designed to do during the operation of the dryer.
  • Debris is noticed within the outside dryer vent opening.
  • Excessive heat is noticed within the room in which the dryer is being operated.
  • Large amounts of lint accumulate in the lint trap for the dryer during operation.
  • A visible sign of lint and debris is noticed around the lint filter for the dryer.
  • Excessive odor is noticed from dryer sheets that are used during the drying cycle.

Hicks recommends you leave dryer vent cleaning to the professionals. “They have the proper tools and additionally they know whether your dryer vent meets code and they can fix it if it doesn’t.”

Looking for more information on dryer fires? Then checkout this article about dryer fires that could be of interest to you.

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Have a Home Office? Learn How to Design it Here!

Having a home office is a necessity for some people. Having it designed in the most efficient way is important. In order to help you out we found this article that will help you design the ideal home office. We hope it helps!

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From the article:

Jo Heinz is president of Dallas interior architecture and design firm Staffelbach. asked Heinz for advice on designing a home office for maximum efficiency. Here’s what she had to say:

How does designing an effective home office differ from designing a commercial office? And what considerations do you need to keep in mind even before you get started?
Working from home is exciting because it offers an opportunity for real comfort and efficiency, but if the office is too casual, or isn’t effectively separated from the home environment, peak productivity may be lost.

While comfort is essential in any office, an office that is too casual may seriously impede the ability to get things done. You have to find a way to separate yourself from the rest of the goings-on in the home and to convey a sense of “off limits” to all other normal and natural home sounds and interruptions.

A distinction has to be made regarding the physical boundaries of this working space. The most effective way to do that is with the design of the space itself.

Ask yourself these questions before you begin:

  • What will you be doing in the space?
  • What type of work needs to be done?
  • Will external clients be visiting the space?
  • Will colleagues visit for collaborative work?
  • What type of materials will be referenced and/or stored?
  • What type of equipment is required?
  • When will I be doing the bulk of my work?
  • Will I be making conference calls?
  • Will I be video conferencing?

The answers to these questions will begin to develop the program for your home office.

Looking for more home office ideas? Then checkout this article about home office ideas that could be of interest to you.

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Do You Know What Devalues Your Home? Find Out Here!

As a homeowner it’s important to do everything you can to increase the value of your home. The last thing that you want to do is devalue your home. In order to determine the top ten ways that a home devalues we found this article for you. We hope it helps!

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From the article:

A lot of things factor into how much your home is worth, such as the location, the square footage, the school district and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Although several of those parameters aren’t easily changed, some are under a homeowner’s control.

As an astute homeowner, your job is to consider both what you can do to improve your home’s value, as well as what you may (inadvertently or otherwise) be doing to decrease it. Completing renovations and repairs might pay off to varying extents. In other cases, you may just have to put up with some of the things you don’t love about your home, but letting a house slip into disrepair is a surefire way to decrease its value. Whatever path you choose, it’s crucial to be aware of how you’re affecting your home’s bottom line and to understand what can be done to raise it back up.

One of the main things to remember while trying to boost your house’s value is that people have a wide variety of tastes. Those tastes may vary greatly both geographically and demographically. A house with the flexibility to suit a big slice of the population pie will be more in demand than one highly customized to any one particular lifestyle. The more people who find a house attractive when it hits the market, the better off you’ll be.

School District Details
If the schools in your area aren’t healthy and flourishing, that could be driving down the value of your home. It’s very common for homebuyers to want to move to places with top-notch schools. People with children will usually be especially cognizant of the quality of the schools in the areas they’re targeting their search. Other buyers, aware of the impact schools can have on property value, may make it a consideration as well.

There’s not an awful lot you can do to improve a school’s reputation, but studies have found that schools with involved parents often perform better. And good schools — along with concerned parents — often coincide with wealthier neighborhoods, so it’s a complicated playing field.

An Abused Bathroom
The bathroom is another room where you may want to pay some attention, but again, be sure to tread carefully. While you want to make sure you enjoy the fruits of your labor — especially if you aren’t planning on moving anytime soon — you want to ensure that lots of other people will like it, too.

Bathroom renovations and additions can help increase your home’s value, but going overboard with items like gaudy faucets, garish wallpaper and ill-chosen paint can be an easy trap to fall into. Sticking to mainstream and tasteful features will serve you better. If you do plan on moving, but not for several years, understand when that time rolls around, you might want to check out the current bathroom styles to see if yours is still in style or if it needs an updated look. If wallpaper was the route you took, you should probably expect it to take away some of the value from your home, unless you already intend on taking it down yourself and repainting in preparation for the market.

New flooring can also be a good move, especially if there’s been any damage, but carpet should generally be avoided, as should vinyl flooring. (This is true for the kitchen as well.) And while linoleum is making a comeback, it’s best to avoid it; many people still cringe when they think of it and the glue that holds it down. Some good options would be hardwood floors or various types of tile.

Last but not least, don’t forget to give some thought to the toilet. People can be pretty picky about toilets. As in the kitchen, they aren’t looking for reminders of past owners.

Looking for ways to increase the value of your home? Then checkout this article about increase value of home that could be of interest to you.

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Want to Live in a House Forever? Learn These Design Secrets!

Moving can be such a big hassle. Building a home can be a big hassle. If you want to live in a house forever it’s important to design a home that can adjust through all life phases. In order to help you out we found this article with seven different design secrets. We hope it helps!

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From the article:

The words dream house may conjure up fantasy amenities and custom trims. But smart homeowners also imagine a home they can live in forever — with a young family, through busy midlife, and with many of the common physical limitations that getting older can bring, from arthritis to needing a wheelchair.

Universal design (UD) is the design of products and environments that are usable by most people, regardless of their level of ability or disability, and at little or no extra cost. From entryways to kitchens and bathrooms to bedrooms, they often increase the value of a home. UD brings together the principles of accessible design (meeting standards for handicapped access, using “adaptable” design, meaning “normal”-looking design that can be revised later for disabled use), ergonomic design (allowing people and things to interact most effectively and safely), and green design (environmentally friendly spaces). UD is sometimes also called “lifespan design.”

These seven principles, set out by the Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University, a national resource and technical assistance center, help inform useful design for all ages and stages of life:

1. Design that’s equally appealing to all users
What it means

Wherever possible, universal design creates spaces that can be used by everyone equally and that are appealing to all. UD doesn’t stigmatize any one group of users — like those obvious wheelchair ramps tacked onto the fronts of older homes, for example.

What it looks like

  • At least one three-foot-wide, gently sloping, no-step entry — meaning no porch step or tall threshold — allows someone with a stroller, wheelchair, or walker to easily enter, without screaming “handicap entrance” to the mobile.
  • A lever-handled front door (as opposed to a round knob) can be a relief for sore or weak hands or anyone carrying packages, a baby, or a cane.
  • Mirrors placed where they can be seen from sitting and standing positions, such as a full-length or tilting mirror, mean you don’t have to crane to see yourself.
  • Having no changes in floor levels throughout the main level of the house increases safety and accessibility and helps eliminate tripping. That means a just-walking toddler or an older adult who shuffles or has balance trouble can maneuver around as smoothly as someone using an assistive device, like crutches or a walker. And healthy people are less likely to trip and spill what they’re carrying.

Interested in finding out more about universal design? Then checkout this article about universal design that could be of interest to you.

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Looking to Promote Family Unity? Home Design Can Help!

Having a family that functions as a unit is important. It’s important to do everything we can to in order to bring our family together. In order to help you out we found this article that discusses how the design of your home can actually promote family unity. We hope it helps you and your family!

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From the article:

Gina Tentzeras and her husband, Chris, sit beside each other on the couch, facing twin TV sets on the credenza, their young son between them playing a puzzle game on his iPad. They???ve outfitted this family space in their Fort Lauderdale, Florida, home for a togetherness they enjoy passionately: video games.

???It???s very much a bonding thing for us,??? she said.

They both have demanding jobs, but for one hour at least three times a week, she describes it as ???a high priority.??? She already envisions Demetri joining them, describing how their toddler plays the games on his iPad ???with a shocking amount of skill and efficiency for a 3-year-old.???

Most of the way across the continent in Bountiful, Utah, Tonya and Jeff Olsen enjoy family time in the 1960 rambler they renovated with such closeness in mind. He???s watching TV while she reads a few feet away. Zach, 15, and Aiden, 13, are there, as well, playing on their phones.

Families are congregating where members can hang out as a group even if they???re not pursuing the same activities. This casual turn in family life is reflected by the latest trend in home design: an airy, open floor plan with the kitchen, dining and living spaces flowing into each other.

While homebuilders and decorators report more families forego a formal dining room, that choice is not coming at the expense of togetherness.

The National Association of Home Builders survey last year found most prospective homebuyers considered table space to eat together in the kitchen ???must have??? (36 percent) or ???desirable??? (49 percent), said Stephen Melman, head of the association???s economic and housing policy group. ???So 85 percent were saying they do want to eat together in a way.???

Melman believes the open-air designs of today may be even more family-friendly than older designs, creating ???a lighter home where everybody is together and not separated off to individual rooms.???

???I think families tend to want to be together, certainly at home after a long day of work or school,??? agreed Matthew Mead, nationally recognized home stylist, writer, photographer, lifestyle expert and magazine publisher.

Looking for some family game night ideas? Then checkout this article about family game night ideas that could be of interest to you.

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Thinking About Building? Avoid These Design Flaws in Normal Homes!

When building a home there are so many things to keep in mind. How you’re going to use each space, how big the rooms need to be, and possibly even resell potential. In order to help you out we found this article that explains ten design flaws that are in normal homes. We hope it helps you design the home of your dreams!

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From the article:

Good design doesn’t have to be froufrou. It can be simple and useful in its beauty, making use of natural elements. Often it’s a matter of looking to things that are important to you apart from conventional ideas and to what the idea of home means to you and your family.

Poor planning and small budgets can lead to design mistakes, but often flaws become apparent as newer and better ways of home planning and construction come into favor.
We’ve chosen 10 common design flaws to highlight in this article, listed in no particular order. If you find some of these problems in your home, take heart. You’re not alone, and there are ways to resolve the situation. Carpenters and handymen have been around for thousands of years, and many do-it-yourself experts learned about home improvement while coming up with workable solutions for design flaws and getting hooked on the problem solving itself.

Too Much Storage
Walk-in closets may bolster images of success and comfort, but having all of that stuff around can take away from creating a haven in your home. Too little or too much storage clutters lives. If you have too much storage space, you might fill it with more clutter, but if you don’t have enough, you may not have room for a growing family.
Mark P. Sexton of Krueck + Sexton Architects in Chicago, Ill., says that he and many design professionals think that the biggest design flaw in the average home is closets [source: Sexton]. “The American walk-in closet is an incredible waste of space. It is the biggest waste of space, but people like it,” he says, “I’m all for storage, but it should be flexible. It is more efficient, beautiful and flexible-to-use cabinets, where the walking space is used for circulating rather than segregating closet contents.”
As Sexton summarizes, “Great design, you get more with less.”

Poor Choice for Multi-Use
Having an office, sewing, craft, reading or multi-purpose room may seem like a great idea. But if it becomes a dim dumping ground of boxes and bags with a closed door, it’s a project in need of completion that likely will inspire dread.

You probably won’t use a family game room if your family doesn’t play games, and you won’t want to spend time in a recreation room that looks like a museum. Keep it real about what works for you and what you already do, instead of what you could see yourself doing in a space.

At the same time, if there’s something you really want to do but aren’t doing currently, a change of pace may help it happen. But a reality check is still a good idea. A “workout room” filled with boxes still packed from the previous move, for example, may be a good indicator of how you’ll use space in a new home, despite your best intentions.

Water Mismanagement
In communities without running water, it’s just good planning to dig the waste hole some distance from the home and cooking area. Why, then, do some Western homes have bathrooms next to the dining room and the kitchen? The answer is plumbing placement. Having a shared hot-water source between the kitchen and bath, as well as a means to have piping curve downward to eliminate wafting upward fumes, makes for an unusual proximity for eating, and well, eliminating. The bathroom itself can have its own problems, since the places you wash your body are right next to the toilet.

Choosing historic home living often means accepting that your dinner guests may be uncomfortable using your one and only bathroom until after the other guests have cleared from the table outside of the bathroom door.

Placement, arrangement and number of bathrooms are considerations for growing families, and accessibility can also be a factor for aging families. In a split-level home in particular, up- and downstairs mobility is important, as is getting children and parents off to school and work on time each morning.

Looking to design your home? Then checkout this article about designing home tips that could be of interest to you.

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