Animal Print is Back (Or so they say…)

Most are scared of animal print because of its tacky overuse, but lately the prints have seen a revival with a modern twist. Designers have been making the prints in poppy colors and flattening the textures. The combination of the two alternations have made animal prints a great modern statement piece.

Since the lines have been simplified and the colors updated, the pattern is no longer limited to traditional or formal spaces. It can be used in any room.

However, it’s not a print to go overboard with. Start with small steps or additions like an area rug, throw pillows, or other accent pieces.

When you do experiment with the pattern in its traditional earthy tone form, try adding poppy colors elsewhere like a sky blue or a summery green. This will set off the earthy tones and give your animal print an unexpected edge.

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Natural Gas Fireplace

The chilly weather is coming up, so what better time to install a bit of warmth in your outdoor living than right now? An outdoor fireplace is just the thing to warm up your backyard.

While many people are concerned about the dangers of a wood fire and are fearful of adding an outdoor fireplace, there are other options. One of our favorite alternatives is a natural gas fireplace. You can simply turn it on and off without having to worry about the maintenance or the dangers.

When picking out your fireplace we recommend that you consider what you want from the piece. If you want something highly customized to your backyard, try the DIY or hiring a contractor approach. But be warned, the DIY approach can be tricky with a natural gas fireplace if you aren’t well-versed in DIY techniques. Trying to figure out how to safely channel natural gas isn’t a task for those new at DIY.

If you don’t mind something that is a bit less difficult or expensive, try the pre-fabricated approach. There are plenty of choices that will match your backyard well. Plus you won’t have to worry about putting everything together.

After picking out the method, the next task is picking out the location. This requires awareness of safety; pick a spot that is clear of overhanging tree branches, bushes or dry grasses. It’s best if you add gravel around the fireplace.

Once you set this up, all you have to do next is enjoy a spot of warmth in the chilly Texas nights.

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Three-Quarter Bath

Three-quarter bathrooms is the perfect compromise between a tiny half-bath and a huge full-bath. A three-quarter bath includes a toilet, sink, and shower, but never a full bathtub.

The set up is perfect for a small room addition, bump out, or completing a guest bedroom. When designing your three-quarter bathroom, it’s best to keep the following in mind:

-Choose a subtle texture. The texture adds interests, but the subtly keeps the texture from overpowering the small room.

-Install a long counter with a long sink. The lines lengthen the space and make it look bigger. Add open shelves under the sink for storage and an increased feeling of openness.

-Make sure your show is glass and edgeless. The light then can bounce off the mirror, giving an illusion of airiness.

-Splurge on upscale finishes. You’ll get a lot of bang for your buck when using nice materials in a small space. Plus your guests will appreciate the luxurious surroundings.

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Blues for the Fall

New seasons bring new colors for your home. This fall season brings a palette filled with blues, particularly denim and darker tones.

The color itself is perfect for any room as blues bring calmness, serenity, and security. Many studies actually show that people are more productive in blue rooms. Plus, the color is a favorite of many.

When decorating with blue, matching is unnecessary. The more layers, the better when it comes to this color. The layers give interest and depth. This is especially to remember when decorating as the color is so varied: from nautical to sophisticated, the color can be used in any design theme.

For this season, we recommend layering with grays. The combination of blues and grays give a sophisticated edge to a rustic look.

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Cozy Up With a Book

Winter is coming, so now’s the time to cozy up with a book! Here are our top tips to creating the perfect reading room.

-Keep down the clutter. Open spaces let your imagination soar!

-Keep the shelves going up. Vertical lines expand the spaces and gives the room a library feel.

-Keep phones and TVs out! This is a reading and writing room. There is no room for distractions.

-Splurge on a comfortable chair or couch. This is essential for getting into the reading groove.

-Get a mini writing desk filled with writing utensils and paper.

-Plan big, big windows for light, cheeriness, and fresh inspiration.

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The Kitchen for Entertainment

When it comes to remodeling your kitchen, spaciousness isn’t the number one component. What matters is the speciality features that are woven into the space that keeps the flow of people moving and contained.

The layout of your kitchen is the most important component as the island directs the traffic. T-shaped islands provide a prep area for cooking, while providing counter space for guests to congregate around without being in the way.

Another feature to consider is a custom drink station and minibar away from the kitchen space. This allows guests to make their own drinks and keep the drink-making mess away from the cooking.

If having a separate minibar requires too much space, a beverage refrigerator at the end of the counter should have the same positive effects of spreading out the traffic.

When designing your kitchen layout, always keep in mind the type of entertaining you do: think about the number of people and level of formality. These two questions will determine what features are needed.

Crown Moldings, Casings, & Baseboards

Crown moldings, casings, and baseboards may have been tossed away as a thing of the past, but the newest designs are bringing them back. Adding these details to a room makes the space less boxy, while highlighting or altering the shape. Plain or awkwardly shaped rooms can be accentuated through well-chosen molding. If you’re at a loss as to what you should use, here’s a few tips to guide you!

Baseboards provide a visual foundation for your room. The most intricate designs are usually reserved for the formal rooms downstairs. However, with the new design norm of mixing and matching, the choice is up to you. Designers suggest going with baseboards as tall as 8-10 inches for a truly dramatic look.

Casings serve as a frame around doorless openings between rooms. Practically, they protect the edges from scratches, but most use castings as an opportunity to add elegance. The castings also smooth the transitions between rooms without interrupting the flow. When choosing a design, be sure to go bold. Flat moldings can often look cheap.

Crown moldings serve as the perfect finishing touches for a well-styled room. The molding is an architectural addition that draws the eye upward, a trait particularly helpful for small rooms.

The style you chose for your crown molding determines how it will shape your room. Simple beaded moldings or bump out moldings are best for low-ceiling rooms, while angled crowns help regulate odd shaped rooms.

Whichever you choose, just remember that the goal of moldings is to add that final design flourish onto your space.

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Light the Kitchen

Lighting is the most important part of a kitchen remodeling project. Without the proper lighting, all the hard work will be under appreciated. We recommend that you layer your lighting in order to achieve the best look possible. Typically there are four layers that you can use in your kitchen.

The first layer is the task lightening. This brings illumination to your pantry, cabinets, and countertops. Task lightening is the essential practical lightening.

The second layer is accent lights, which brings depth to your kitchen. Place these lights in recessed areas to liven the kitchen up. Usually these are on adjustable fixtures.

The third layer is everyone’s favorite, the decorative lights. These lights are more fun and fashionable than practical. If a fixture at the store catches your eye, go ahead and add it for fun!

The final and fourth layer of lighting is ambient lighting. Ambient lights fill the whole room and acts as your general lighting. Soft lighting is best of ambient lights.

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Spicing Up the Ceiling

Bring an exciting accent wall into your room by treating the ceiling as a fifth wall. Using this space is surprising and brings a bit of personality to your home. Here are some of the top ways to decorate the ceiling.

-Wallpaper the ceiling with a cheerful pattern that brightens the room. If you want something softer, try stencils. Hand painting your ceiling gives you the option to make it as soft or dramatic as needed.

-Add structural beams that either match the ceiling or stand out. Many use logs as the beams for a rustic feel.

-Coffer your ceiling. The patterned structure attenuates sound and visually breaks up large ceilings. The molding can be stained to match your kitchen cabinets or left to blend in with the neutral ceiling color. Use crown molding, baseboards, and finger jointed trim boards to design your own coffered ceiling. This technique is especially helpful when you are trying to hid wires or pipes in a basement.

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Labor Day Remodeling Projects

Labor Day is almost here, which means you’ll have an extra day to rest, catch up on projects, or visit with friends. Either way, it’s the perfect weekend for a day remodeling project. Impress friends and family with your handyman techniques when they come over for Labor Day celebrations.

Here are fun, easy projects to do:

-Add a little color to your deck by sanding down the wood and painting a rug. The colorful paint against the wood brings attention to your deck and festivities.

-Build lattices around your porch and outdoor dinning set. This adds intimacy to outdoor living. Since you don’t have time to let the ivy grow, hang pot plants on the rails.

-Place stand alone shelves atop each other to create impressive looking built-in look-a-likes. Just don’t forget to sand off the finish before you paint the shelves!

-Add an accent wall. Pick a wall in a main entryway, bedroom, or kitchen to make stand out by covering it with wood, stone, or another material.

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