By Alexa Fiander | Zillow Blog
Last week, Zillow Digs’ Home Design Trend Report for 2014 revealed that black countertops, open shelves or glass-front cabinets, and darker paint tones will be popular with homeowners next year. This one-of-a-kind report depends on actual homeowners to identify trends and includes a survey of the Zillow Digs Board of Designers, a group of design experts from across the country.
To learn a few tips for incorporating black countertops into a home remodel, we asked Zillow Digs Board of Designers member and celebrity design consultant Adam Hunter of Los Angeles how homeowners can pull off this bold and sophisticated look.
Tip 1: Try a different finish
Photo credit: Brigid Wethington Interior Design
Hunter recommends experimenting with black stone that is “honed or has a leather finish for a wood grain effect.” Because full stone slabs can be expensive, homeowners can get a similar look with absolute granite that is just as beautiful. For a more daring look that will take you all the way back to the glamorous ‘20s, try black granite with white flecks.
Tip 2: Use the same materials in the laundry room
Photo Credit: DetailsADesignFirm
“Black counters are very conducive to laundry rooms,” Hunter says. So whether you’re on a budget and have extra materials, or looking to redo your whole house, try transitioning your black counters to the laundry room for a sophisticated and clean look that will create a cohesive theme throughout the home.
Tip 3: Accessorize to soften the look
Photo credit: Pelz Architecture
Hunter advises homeowners to be “careful with your accessories” and vary materials. Mix white pottery or ceramic fixtures with stainless steel, and use furniture pieces such as bar stools to soften the space for a more comfortable look. “Use fabric that incorporates stripes with a little black to tie everything together,” Hunter adds. This will bring “lightness and a little more color” to your space.
Tip 4: Experiment with grays and neutrals
Photo credit: Brian D. Patterson
“I believe a space that you should be clean in, should feel clean,” Hunter says. Try incorporating “dove grays or neutrals” for a beautiful soft look that will lighten the kitchen. Painted cabinets are also a great way to add warmth to the space. “For a big risk, you can always try black on black,” but Hunter warns that it’s not a look for everyone.
By Anne Miller | Realtor.com
You’ve got the basics — cardboard boxes, newspaper, the phone number of a pizza place so you can feed the friends helping you move all your worldly goods. But do you have enough socks for the stemware?
As with any major home project, there’s always someone out there with more experience and a host of clever ideas. Moving is no different. We’ve rounded up a list of some of our favorite quirky-but-useful tips to make trading one roof for another go a little bit smoother.
1. Footwear, Meet Stemware
About those socks and glasses . . . If you can double up and use some of your belongings to protect others, you cut down on space and moving supplies. Socks slipped around the wine glasses can help pad the delicate stems.
2. Plates on Plates
Instead of painstakingly wrapping each dinner dish in newsprint or bubble wrap, or purchasing those pre-packaged dishpacks, buy one cheap bag of Styrofoam plates. Alternate stacking the real plates with the disposables and — voila! — instant padding. Genius, right?
3. Make Like a Ghost
Worn sheets can be used as an extra layer of protection around your mattress, or any piece of furniture. You may not want to use that extra-fancy satin set, but old, cheap stand-bys can take a stain or risk a tear better than a mattress or sofa upholstery. Bonus: Like the socks, using sheets as packing material frees up more box space.
4. Pack in Color
Sure, you can painstakingly label every box. Or, just slap on some color. Buy color dots or several hues of duct tape, designate a specific color for each room, and stick the appropriate dot or tape on each box. The best part, we think, is the idea of making a legend that can keep track of all of your colors. That way, you won’t mistake the red for the den instead of the kitchen, and unpacking becomes a snap.
5. Use Your Wheels
Have wheelie bags? Use them for heavy things like books, especially if it’s a relatively smaller suitcase and not an Army-size duffel. You won’t be able to get away without ever having to lift the bag, such as in and out of a vehicle, but at least you’ll have a little extra help.
6. Bag Your Clothes
This tip may not work for every move, since some moving companies won’t touch any goods not packed in boxes. However, if such restrictions don’t pertain to you, break out the garbage bags. Pull one bag up around a cluster of your hanging clothes, and tie the open end by the hangers. One blogger bragged that she packed her entire closet in 15 minutes this way.
7. Take Pictures
The serving dishes fit in the dozen breakfront shelves like puzzle pieces now, but such a tight fit may be hard to replicate after everything has been removed to boxes. Pictures can act as an unpacking guide. Photos also protect your goods for insurance purposes — you’ll have proof should anything break or chip in transit.
8. Don’t Just Ditch the Fish
Some people might flush their goldfish, but some tanks are worth serious money and heart. Tanks contain their own ecosystems, including bacteria. Put the fish in a separate container, but keep some of the water the fish are accustomed to so you retain the original bacteria colony when you establish their new home in your new home.
9. Leave the Garage Empty
In the new digs, resist the temptation to pile boxes into the garage, or attic, or back closet, with a promise to get to them later. “Later” can last months. If a boxful of stuff is so unnecessary that a year could pass without needing the contents, maybe that’s a tip to ditch the contents before the move. Otherwise, you risk forgetting where you put important things, or end up parking the car outside all winter.
10. Unpack the TV Last
The desire to relax is strong. The coffee table pushed up against the sofa looks so inviting, but those boxes aren’t going to unpack themselves. Resist the urge to derail your momentum. Otherwise, those boxes will just stand over your head. Unpack the TV last, sink deeply into that comfy couch, and revel in the knowledge of a well-done moving job any pro would envy.
By Neal J. Leitereg | Realtor.com
Looking to get away this winter season? This modern retreat on Founders Ridge at Martis Camp in California’s High Sierra strikes us as an ideal place take in some fresh mountain air and unwind in front of a roaring fire.
Nestled among mature pines and rock outcroppings, the slanted-roof contemporary in Truckee, Calif., is a far cry from some of the massive mountain getaways found around the California-Nevada border. However, it’s hard not to like the coziness of this two-bedroom, two-bathroom home, which complements its summit setting perfectly with a mix of timbered hues, pitched beams and modern conveniences.
Inside, the sleek modern dwelling soaks up its rustic landscape though towering windows, while vaulted ceilings brighten wood-paneled spaces with a wealth of natural light. Enjoying panoramic views of the Carson Range, the modern mountain retreat currently lists for $2.65 million.
Katie Tyler of Tahoe Mountain Resorts Real Estate is the listing agent.
By Luann Brandsen | Zillow Blog
Embellishing your yard with holiday lights is a cheery idea if you follow a few simple guidelines and precautions:
Create a master plan
Look at your house from the street or take a photograph to make an overall plan. First, consider adding lights along eaves, pillars, posts, windows and doors to highlight architectural features. Next, look at bushes, trees, window boxes and planters. Finally, check out lighting for paths as well as stand-alone figures.
“Everyone gravitates toward the roofline and they forget to balance it with something below,” says Mike Marlow of Holiday Bright Lights, a national chain that provides professional holiday lighting for homes and business. “It’s like interior design. You might have something on your room’s walls, but you need something on the shelves and the end tables too.”
Consider the backyard
Why should the front yard have all the fun? “We’re seeing people decorate behind the house,” Mike adds. “It makes sense because they see the backyard more than the front.”
Try to get a realistic measure of how many lights you’ll use. One way to determine lighting for trees is to multiply the height by the width and then double that figure to get the square footage.
Check to make sure your lights and cords are in good repair and rated for outdoor use. Read manufacturer recommendations to determine the number of lights you can safely string together. Never connect different types of lights on the same circuit or outlet.
Outdoor lights should be plugged into circuits protected by ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). To avoid running cords everywhere, try power stakes — portable devices that bring power where you need it.
Trade in your hammer and nails for plastic clips that safely secure lighting to walls.
Work with a partner or hang a bucket with an S hook to your ladder to hold supplies. When possible, use an extension pole to keep your feet on the ground. Finally, don’t decorate trees that touch power lines.
In short, avoid the technique employed by Chevy Chase in this classic clip from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”
Whether moving by choice or because your company requires you to do so, temporary housing is often necessary to bridge the gap between arrival in a new community and finding a permanent residence. This interval can extend from a few days to several months, so any short-term move needs to be planned accordingly.
For individuals and families seeking temporary housing, there are three main options: regular hotels, extended stay hotels, and rental homes/apartments.
- Regular Hotels: Regular hotels are good options when you need temporary housing for just a few days. They offer full-service amenities such as restaurants and daily housekeeping. Although convenient for shorter stays, the costs associated with those amenities can take their toll on your relocation budget.
- Extended Stay Hotels: Extended stay hotels should be considered when you require a longer timeframe for your stay. Extended stay lodging provides a more home-like environment by offering full kitchens and on-site laundry facilities. There are no leases to sign, no utilities to establish, and studios come fully furnished.
- Rental Homes and Apartments: Depending on family size and budget, rental homes and apartments are viable options for those who need to stay a month or longer and don’t mind signing a lease or arranging for utilities, telephone and cable TV service.
Whether researching temporary housing on your own, working with a reputable real estate company, or considering the advice of a relocation service, you’ll need to answer several questions:
- What type of temporary housing best suits your needs? Are you single and only require a studio, or do you have a family and require multiple bedrooms?
- What price are you willing to pay?
- What would be a suitable location? If children are coming along, should a school be located nearby?
- What amenities will be required? Would you like a pool? An exercise room?
- Do you need services such as daycare or housekeeping?
- Is the company paying for your move and, if so, what are the relocation benefits and covered costs?
Tight housing markets, such as in New York City and San Francisco, can present an especially difficult challenge when you are looking for temporary housing. In large metropolitan areas where your options are limited and prices are at a premium, extended stay hotels are a real value. However, if your situation requires that you look for a rental property, it may be prudent to seek out newer properties whose owners, sitting on mortgages and in need of cash flow, might be willing to negotiate a short-term lease. Negotiating is part of the game and it never hurts to throw out a price before you rush to the dotted line.
Also, expand your options by considering different neighborhoods, increasing the likelihood of finding a suitable property at a price you can afford. Covering your bases with research, advice and other people’s opinions can only help to ensure that your first experience will be a good one.
By Anna Abbruzzo and Alain Courchesne, Guest Contributors | Realtor Mag Blog
A new philosophy is taking hold in interior design, and it puts the onus on style without clutter. The recession has finally dwindled and people are yearning for all of the sumptuousness, texture, and good looks that they can get.
This exciting new movement is being called “maximalism.”
So many of us were attracted toward the bare, simplistic movement often referred to as “minimalism” in the last several years. But this new idea of maximalism looks to break that mold and go after the bright, bold, detailed accents that are connected to this new ideal.
During the recession everyone took it down a notch and gravitated toward repurposing. Many people were downsizing and reusing and recycling. People made do with as little as possible.
But are the days of repurposing and reclaiming items fading away and being replaced by maximalism?
The new maximalism means that the recession is almost over, and people are spending again. It’s the place where “more is more” and less is most definitely a bore.
As more designers and the public move toward this notion of maximalism, I’m quick to point out that this does not necessarily mean accumulating things. In fact, it’s quite the opposite!
Maximalism as it pertains to interior design is about having elegance and sophistication in materials but striking a delicate balance between style and keeping disorder at bay. This requires a lot of editing.
What’s important here is maximalism, yes, but not the clutter and not over decorating — it’s all about curating spaces.
It’s important that we not be afraid of bringing luxe and detail back into our lives. It’s not necessarily the opulence of the 1930s and 1940s, but opulence with restraint that truly reflects what our lives are like today. Luxe is not intimidating.
Maximalism is a term that is used to emphasize work-intensive practices and concentrate on the process of creation itself. The term was coined by historian Robert Pincus-Witten to describe a group of artists associated with the challenging start of Neo-expressionism in the late 1970s. Charlotte Rivers describes how “maximalism celebrates richness and excess in graphic design,” characterized by decoration, sensuality, luxury and fantasy.
Heeding this new maximalist movement and integrating it into interior design projects is of particular importance to real estate developers. The fact that consumers are well on their way to seeking out this emerging trend proves the actual weight of this new model of interior design.
When developers are putting up a property they have to be ahead of the curve by eight or even 10 years because it all boils down to this: You have to be able to forecast beyond the trend and forget about “trendy” because by the time it is built, it is not going to be vogue anymore.
Maximalism likely will be the new wave and full future of interior design trends.
I see even more lavishness in the future of interior design, which often follows off of the heels of fashion runways. Since the recession started in 2007 we have been starved, but not anymore – real estate purchasers want a full package. They want to see color, light, detail, pattern, and they want to have fun.
Real estate developers need to realize this and adopt it over the upcoming year with a strategic focus on being ahead of the design curve. Luxe is coming and people want it. It just can’t be ignored.
About the authors: Anna Abbruzzo and Alain Courchesne are the Principal Designers of the award-winning interior design firm Igloodgn, with headquarters in Canada. The design duo successfully works with real estate developers to scale projects to the next level for both residential and commercial properties. Igloodgn’s previous clients have included the major burger restaurant Mister Steer; opulent housing development unit Roccabella Towers; exclusive men’s retailer Dom Rebel Threads; and the elegant Spa Calme. For more information, visit Igloodgn at http://igloodesign.ca/.