Energy Saving Tips for the Winter

3:01 am

As the winter months approach, it is important to get your home ready for the colder days ahead. You will want your house to be comfortable while saving energy. This will help keep your monthly utility bills low. Use the following tips to get your home winter ready in the most efficient ways possible.

winter-house-energy-tips

Taking Care of Drafty Windows

Older windows allow hot air to escape as well as let the cold air inside. You can fight drafty windows by covering them with plastic. Use a clear, heavy duty plastic sheet attached to a frame that you can affix over the entire window. Or you can apply plastic sheeting directly to the window. As long as it is tightly sealed, it will reduce drafts.

The best option would be to install new, energy efficient windows during your NJ home remodeling projects. Modern double, or even triple pane, windows provide an effective barrier between the interior of your home and the frigid air outside.

Whether your windows are new or not, there are certain types of window treatments that will keep your home warmer. Look for insulated drapes that can be closed during the night. There are also many varieties of window shades that will add an additional layer of protection to the glass.

 

Adjust the Thermostat

Set your thermostat as low as you can while still feeling comfortable during the day. During the night when you are sleeping, you can turn the thermostat down by 10° to 15°F. Adjusting it to a lower temperature for eight hours a day can save you roughly 10% per year on your heating bill. Talk to your home remodeling contractor about installing a programmable or smart thermostat that will make it easier to turn down the temperature each evening.

 

Seal all Leaks

Look for leaks that air can escape through while winterizing your home. Places such as around plumbing pipes, recessed lighting, and chimneys often have small gaps that you can seal off in order to keep your home better insulated. Check around doors and windows as well. Use caulk or weather stripping to fill in any cracks that might allow the cold air to come in. Don’t forget about any unfinished spaces behind closets and cupboards. You will want to have these areas insulated and finished off properly.

 

Heating System Maintenance

Schedule a routine maintenance visit from your heating and cooling system expert. They can inspect your heating unit to make sure it is functioning properly. You may also need to replace furnace filters monthly throughout the colder seasons. If you use a pellet or wood burning heater, clean out the flue vent regularly, and make sure the appliance is thoroughly cleaned periodically to ensure efficiency.

 

Reducing Heat Loss When Using a Fireplace

If you are not using the fireplace, make sure the damper is closed. Leaving it open is the same as having a window open. When the fireplace is in use, open any dampers found in the bottom of the firebox or open a nearby window by about one inch. Close any doors opening into this area, and drop the thermostat to between 50° and 55°. Some people don’t actually use the fireplace for heat but love the look of it. In these circumstances, you can have the chimney flue plugged and sealed to prevent heat loss.

 

Lower Water Heating Costs

You can turn your water heater down to the warm setting. This is usually 120°F. It will cost less to keep the water warm, and it will prevent scalding from water that is too hot. If this setting isn’t warm enough to meet your family’s needs, slowly turn it up a little at a time until you find a setting that is ideal. Another great energy efficient option is to install an on demand water heater. This unit will only heat the water you use as you need it. You won’t be paying to keep a full tank of water hot 24 hours a day.

 

Allow the Sunshine In

While heavy drapes and window blinds are excellent when it comes to keeping the cold air out, you don’t want to miss out on the free heat that the sun provides. Get in the habit of opening all window coverings on any of your south facing windows each morning. The sun that shines in will add heat naturally to your home. Close them again before the sun sets to trap the free heat inside.

 

Reverse the Ceiling Fans

Those beautiful ceiling fans that you had installed will keep rooms cool in the summer months, but they can also help warm your home’s interior during the winter time. Simply reverse the spin of the blades. When the fan runs in a clockwise direction, it will push the warm air back down into the room. This will also keep pockets of cool air from settling in the corners of a room.

Hawthorne Kitchen Cabinets

3:01 am

Hawthorne Kitchen Cabinets

When it comes to a kitchen remodeling project, you need a professional kitchen designer from a design & build company to help you make all of the important decisions. Their job is to guide you, the homeowner, through the entire process so that the end result is a beautiful, livable space that meets your functional, aesthetic, and economical goals. They will make sure all of your selections will coordinate perfectly into the kitchen style and design you have requested.

nj-kitchen-cabinets

The Conceptual Design

Your kitchen renovation begins with a conceptual design. A Trade Mark Design & Build Representative will first come to your home for a complimentary field visit. During this visit you can discuss the project. Describe exactly what you expect from the remodel and let the designer know your personal preferences as well as what styles you find the most appealing. Your designer will let you know what it will require to achieve your dream kitchen.

After this visit, drawings will be created based on your requirements as well as a proposed budget. Both the design plans and the estimated budget will be discussed with you and any necessary adjustments will be made to ensure that the finished project meets with your approval. A good design and build company professional will work with you until everyone is in agreement on the plans before any actual work begins.

Hands on Material Selection

A professional designer will work with you to choose your NJ kitchen cabinets, countertops, plumbing fixtures, tile, and other important elements of your remodeling project. These decisions can feel overwhelming to a homeowner. Walking into a retail space, shopping online, or looking through samples can leave you more confused than when you first started. For example, the cabinets are your kitchen’s furniture. A renovation expert from a design & build company will help you find ones that reflect your personal style while meeting all of your needs. They will guide you through he entire process.

Cabinets are basically a box with drawers and shelves for storing items you need, but if they don’t suit your new kitchen or function properly for your individual needs, you won’t be happy. You have two options when it comes to cabinetry. A NJ kitchen cabinet designer can custom make the cupboards and drawers so that they fit your space perfectly or you can choose stock cabinetry and work around these existing pieces in order to achieve you goals. Your renovation designer will help you decide which option will best suit your style and the budget for your remodel.

Design Revisions

The last step in your renovation project before the actual work begins will be to make any necessary revisions that will incorporate all of your selections into one beautiful design. As the homeowner, you can rest assured that the selections you have made will all coordinate beautifully as well as function properly.

Your design and build company representative will make sure this happens by coordinating key elements so that the overall design has a nice flow. The fixtures, faucets, lighting, cabinet hardware, and any metal finish appliances need to not only look great on their own, but they need to compliment each other.

You won’t get this attention to detail with a general contractor. General contractors basically say ”I need X, Y, and Z by such and such date.” This is a horrible way to work, and the end result is never cohesive. Unfortunately, the cost is pretty much the same.

If you are looking for a hassle-free kitchen renovation, a design & build company is your best option. Their design team will walk you through each step of the designing stage. They will help you make important decisions, and they will ensure that your finished kitchen is both functional and beautiful with Hawthorne kitchen cabinets, countertops, and fixtures that work together in a cohesive fashion.

Home Inspection Red Flags

3:01 am

Home Inspection Red Flags

A home inspection report is an assessment of a house. It includes a long list of everything that is wrong with the home. The inspection is done before the sale of the property is finalized. This gives potential buyers the opportunity to re-negotiate the price if there are issues that will need to be repaired. Not all of the problems an inspector finds are a big deal, but some of the issues may be significant. The following information will help you determine what you should be the most aware of when reading a home inspection and which items you shouldn’t worry about.
wood-destroying-insect-damage

The Summary

The first part of the home inspection report that you want to look over is the primary recommendations. This is also called the summary. This portion covers health and safety concerns. For example, it may state that there is a problem with mold. If you think it may be a harmful level, you can get it further checked out by a mold remediation specialist.

This section may also discuss electrical issues that could be a potential for hazard. Even a leaky roof being listed in this portion of the report can be cause for concern. Leaky roofs can create water damage that can affect the wood-framed structure of a house.

Costly Issues

The home inspection report can also list big-ticket issues. This includes electrical, structural, and mechanical problems. These are the types of problems that will be expensive to repair, and they may be cause for re-negotiating the price of a house. They are not problems that can be easily fixed during a NJ home remodeling project without costing you extra time and money.

Electrical issues worth worrying about would be old wiring that is dangerous, faulty wiring, ungrounded receptacles, or outdated knob and tube wiring from the 1950s or before. Structural issues range from older roofs that need to be replaced to cracks in the foundation that can be a sign of structural damage. Finally, mechanical problems are issues related to waste plumbing lines that do not drain properly or low water pressure.

Issues That Vary in Price

Some of the problems revealed during a home inspection can vary in price when it comes to fixing them. For example, termites are common in older houses. How much it will cost to take care of the issue depends on whether there is an active infestation or simply damage left behind from past infestations. This is something you may want to have the seller fix before finalizing the sale.

Mold is never good to find listed on your home inspection report, but it can be removed. The question is for how much. Surface mold is easily taken care of while mold found in the attic due to poor ventilation could require an entirely new roof in order to ensure the mold is removed.

Less Obvious Issues

No home will have a perfect inspection report unless it is newly constructed. Older homes often have issues that will be noted in the report. Some of these are simply a matter of age while others are red flags.

Look at any cracks found in a house as a red flag. As a home settles over time, cracks will appear. Although the cracks themselves seem harmless, they can be a sign of bigger issues. As homes settle, problems such as loose pipes can arise. Original pipes and plumbing may also rust with age. Cracks may even create further problems by allowing pests a way to enter the home.

Soil piled up against the house is another red flag. This soil can keep the water from draining away from the structure properly. This water can damage the foundation creating devastating damage.

Items You Shouldn’t Worry About

Although every issue deserves a certain amount of attention, there are things that will show up on the home inspection report that won’t affect the sale. Top of this list is appliances. The report may list appliances such as the dishwasher, stove, refrigerator, washer, or drier as not functioning correctly. These are items that you can have replaced during a NJ kitchen remodeling project or replaced with your existing appliances.

You can also overlook certain exterior issues. If the siding or paint is listed as being in poor condition, you shouldn’t worry. These are mainly cosmetic problems and shouldn’t change the sale of the house in any major way, but you will want to repair them on your own once the property is yours. This can be discussed with a home remodeling contractor.

Although the results of a home inspection report can be disappointing, it does allow you the opportunity to negotiate the cost of the house with the seller. A new offer could offset the price of repairs. You can also discuss whether or not the seller should pay for a portion of the repairs before finalizing the deal. Don’t become stressed over your home inspection report. Look at it as a helpful tool when considering the purchase of a new home.

What Makes A Great Home Remodeling Estimate?

9:34 pm

What makes a great home remodeling estimate?

Article written by Clear Estimates as a guest blogger.

Estimates are the backbone of any remodeling job. It’s the first interaction had with a customer, and it’s the framework for financial commitment between both parties. NJ Home Remodeling Estimates should always be upfront, inviting and completely transparent regarding the work involved. Some estimates may take weeks to complete after multiple back and forths, while others can be drawn up in a few minutes. Estimates are important to both parties as a contractor needs to price correctly, and a customer needs to understand what’s within their budget. Estimates are also a great way to outline scopes of work, understanding what is and is not included.

The First Interaction

An estimate is typically the first interaction between customer and contractor. It’s important to completely understand the customer’s wants and needs and to draft an estimate accordingly. It sounds simple, I know, and there are likely many revisions to occur. Different qualities of items, stone vs plastic, import vs local, engineered vs handcrafted. All can lead to quite a bit of back and forth. This is a crucial phase for the estimator to get right. Your customer has faith in you to work with them in finding the right material for their budget. More importantly, though, they have faith in you to bring their vision to light! It’s about finding that sweet spot between quality and price, ensuring that the scope of work meets the customer’s needs.

Transparency and scope of work

Does the estimate cover the entire scope of work? This is an important aspect between contractor and customer. Be sure that both parties are on the same page, as you don’t want any disputes later on over expected work. An estimate with great transparency is how you can accomplish this. Be sure that your estimate has a complete itemized breakdown, outlining the scope of work in its entirety. Be sure to also include any kind of legal language necessary. You want to make sure that both parties are aware of the ramifications if the contract is broken or not completed. Since there are no such things as “general legal language” for something like this, be sure to consult with a local attorney that specializes in contracts.

In the image below, you’ll see that the contractor has completely outlined the scope of work. Each item carries a sentence of text previewing what the task is and how much of it is being done. A categorized breakdown is typical, in the order that the scope of work should be performed.

NJ Home Remodeling Estimate

Home Owner & Contractor Personalization

Make sure your estimate has a personal touch. Not only for the contractor, but also for the homeowner. This is your opportunity to stand out from the competition. How are you different, what sets you apart? Be sure that your estimate has a company logo and even a few pictures related to the customer’s home or materials that might be used. Take it to another level and include past reviews, links to your Houzz and Home Advisor profiles. The more you can show your previous work, the more trust a potential customer might have in you and the work you do.

Home Remodeling Contractors Professionalism

How is your estimate drafted? If it’s transparent and personal but drafted on a piece of paper, you’re going to lose some legitimacy. A great estimate is computer generated and formatted consistently throughout. This gives the customer an easy to read and easy to understand professional format.

Estimate Presentation For Home Remodeling

After you’ve done all that work to make sure the estimate is transparent, personal and professional, how do deliver it to your customer? If you’re drafting back and forth, email may be the best option. It allows for flexibility and for both parties to make revisions in the quickest fashion. In the final stages, though, you may consider an in-person meeting. This is a great time to discuss the estimate, making sure both parties understand the estimate and scope of work (transparency), discuss job timeline and most importantly, solidify the relationship between both parties. Be sure that the final version of the estimate includes room for a signature, and outlines the total cost agreed upon. If a payment schedule is in place, be sure that is included as well.

Home Remodeling Cost Estimate

About Clear Estimates

Clear Estimates is an easy-to-use program that allows you to quickly determine a project’s cost in a variety of fashions, manage and customize a part library, maintain a customer and project database, produce several types of reports and proposals, process change orders, integrate with Quickbooks Pro (c), and update price information in the part library through an automated price updating service. Price updating services provided by RemodelMAX cost books quarterly for 400 regions in the U.S.

Most Popular NJ Home Remodeling Projects

3:01 am

Most Popular Home Remodeling Projects

living room with built in cabinets and fire place

There are several possible home remodeling projects that you can do to improve your house. These projects will make your home more enjoyable to live in as well as increase the value of your house. Some are large and quite involved, but many are smaller and more affordable. In fact, smaller remodeling projects are gaining in popularity. Homeowners no longer look at their NJ home remodeling as an all or nothing adventure. Rather than completely gutting the house and starting over, many people are choosing to renovate over time by tackling one room at a time. The following are the most popular home remodeling projects that today’s homeowners are considering.

Bathroom Renovation

Bathrooms have surpasses the kitchen when it comes to the most popular home remodeling project. This is a perfect example of homeowners choosing to do the smaller renovations. When you remodel your bathroom, you can expect a return on your investment of up to 102%. Before tackling the cosmetic aspects, talk to your home remodeling contractor about the plumbing. This should be updated before moving forward. Next, you can focus on the lighting. Attractive and functional lighting fixtures can be placed on either side of the mirror or overhead as task lighting. Recessed lighting works nicely for general illumination. Be sure to include new cabinetry in your design that offers plenty of storage, and add double sinks, a walk-in shower, or an oversized tub for a touch of luxury.

Kitchen Remodeling

The kitchen is the heart of the home so it only makes sense that it is such a popular room to remodel. Any improvements done to this area are sure to increase the value of your home. Splurge on eye-catching backsplash materials such as stainless steel tiles, metal tiles, or mosaics. Flooring should be durable as well as attractive. Hardwood planks are a top choice among many homeowners. Invest in high-quality cooking equipment too. You will enjoy using it, and it will certainly give you a good return on your investment. Customized cabinetry can look elegant while providing necessary storage, and additions such as an island, large windows, and modern range hoods will take your remodel to the next level.

A Custom Wine Cellar

Finished basements always add value to a home, especially if they are turned into a useful and beautiful space. Wine cellars are so popular that they are actually becoming an expectation in many markets. The largest portion of your wine cellar investment should be devoted to temperature control. You need a reliable way to maintain the temperature as well as control humidity. Treating the room with weather stripping, vapor barriers, and insulation will help. When designing a wine cellar you need to include storage for bottles, glasses, and other necessities along with seating. Seating can be anything from a table and chairs to a full bar. Redwood and western cedar are often used in the design for its beautiful appearance and durability.

A Master Suite Addition

Creating a master suite within your home will certainly make the house more appealing to future buyers, and it will give you a peaceful area to relax in at the end of a busy day. Building a master suite can be expensive. You can easily reach a six-figure price tag if it is necessary to build on to the existing structure and add a master bath. You will save money if existing rooms can simply be converted into a master suite. In return for your investment, you can expect to get half of your final costs back when you sell. When designing the bedroom, keep comfort and simplicity in mind. Walk-in closets are a popular feature to add along with ceiling fans and large windows that provide beautiful views.

The Family Room

A family room is another great option when finishing a basement. An open and inviting space is ideal for gathering together with friends and family. It makes your home more livable, and you can expect to recoup more than half of your expenses with the increase in value it creates. Use floor to ceiling storage with cabinetry on the bottom for storing movies, games, and other frequently used items and higher shelves for electronics. Incorporate a wall mounted TV into this design, and consider a sectional and ottomans for plenty of seating when entertaining friends and family. Carpeting will warm up the space, and a gas or electric fireplaces is functional and beautiful.

A Deck

Popular home remodeling projects are not restricted to the inside of the house. Adding a deck to the exterior of your home will add value, give you a wonderful place to enjoy the outdoors, and increase your living space. Homeowners can recoup 80% of their investment when they sell the house. Wood decks will give you the greatest return while costing less than many plastic composite materials. On the other hand, composites require less maintenance. Pine is extremely cost effective while cedar and redwoods are well worth their cost as they are naturally resistant to insect damage and rot.

Cookware and Today’s Appliances

3:01 am

When a homeowner is considering a kitchen renovation, they seldom consider the type of appliances and cookware to buy as a top priority. In all of the excitement, you are more likely to focus on the flooring, wall colors, countertops, and other cosmetic aspects of the remodel, but if a fully functioning kitchen is what you are after, take a moment to discuss your stove top options with your NJ Kitchen Cabinet Designer.

cppper pots and pans

Gas Versus Electric Stoves in Kitchen Remodels

If you will be replacing your existing stove as part of your NJ Kitchen Remodeling Design, you will need to look into the difference between a gas and an electric range. Both have advantages as well as disadvantages. There is no clear answer to the question of which one is best. That answer will depend on what you are familiar with, what style of hook up is available in your home, and what kind of cooking you plan to do.

Gas Stoves for your NJ Kitchen Design

gas stove

The biggest advantage to choosing a gas stove is the cooking. Once you turn a burner on, you have instant heat with a flame you can see. The flame it creates allows your food to cook quicker and more evenly. This is due to the way the flames spread across the bottom of the pans and wrap up around the sides. If you truly enjoy cooking, these small differences will be a huge plus.

On advantage to a gas stove that homeowners commonly overlook is that a gas range is less expensive to operate. If your kitchen is already set up for gas, you will also be saving money by not having to switch over to electric. Best of all, your energy costs will be lower.

The biggest drawback to a gas stove is the initial cost of the appliance itself. Gas stoves are usually more expensive than electric, and they cost more to hook up if the kitchen isn’t already set up for gas. The other problem is that it does use gas. While the burner is in use, it releases a steady flow of gas. A burner that is on but left unlit is dangerous.

Electric Stoves are feature rich

electric stove

Many of the electric stoves being sold today will have a glass top which looks sleek and stylish. These glass tops wipe clean easily. You don’t have to worry about removing burner rings for cleaning or wiping up spills that have hardened on to a gas nozzle.

Electric stoves are inexpensive to purchase or install and are simple to operate. This makes them an excellent choice for those that see cooking as a necessity rather than a hobby. Electric stoves also provide you with a very stable work surface. This is another advantage for beginning or amateur cooks. Plus, they have storage space underneath that is not found on gas ranges.

On the other hand, electric stoves cook food more slowly than gas. Bakers find them difficult for the simple fact that sugar spilled onto a hot electric stove surface is almost impossible to clean. Glass surfaces can become stained as well, which will distract from its beauty.

Keep in mind that if you live in an area with frequent power outages, you won’t be able to cook while the power is out. Electric stoves use a great amount of power. A generator may not provide enough energy to use it. Your monthly energy cost may be higher too.

Multi-tasking Cookware

Most home cooks find that you can use pretty much the same cookware on both types of stoves. Copper conducts heat beautifully which makes it a favorite for pots and pans. Cast iron is equally admired for its ability to retain heat. This is a big plus if you decide to go with an electric range, but what most homeowners are looking for these days is a modern set of cookware that is versatile enough to use for cooking, serving, and storing.

Companies such as Pyrex and Temptations offer sets that include mixing/serving bowls, lasagna pans, square nine by nine inch pans, and loaf pans that you can use in many ways. Food can be cooked in them, and they are designed to look elegant enough that you can place them on your table or buffet for serving. After you have finished the meal, coordinating covers can be snapped into place so that left overs can be placed in the freezer or refrigerator. You can re-heat these same foods in this cookware as well.

Another favorite among home cooks are the sets of pots and pans that can be placed in the oven. Manufacturers such as Lodge, Calphalon, and Cuisinart offer everything from sauce pans to Dutch ovens that you can use to cook with on top of the stove and then transfer into the oven for browning, baking, or keeping warm.

Finding the right type of stove and cookware will allow you to enjoy your newly remodeled kitchen to its fullest potential. Your new space will be both beautiful and functional so that you are getting the best of both worlds.

NJ Home Remodeling Holiday Gift Guide

3:01 am

Wouldn’t it be nice to give your spouse or partner a present this holiday season that would make them happy all throughout the year? Giving a loved one the gift of a home renovation is definitely a gift that will keep on giving. It will please them each time they enter that area of their house while possibly providing them with additional storage and organization. Best of all, it can increase the value of your home. Each time they enjoy their newly remodeled space they will lovingly remember the thoughtful gift you gave them.

give the holiday gift of a home remodel

Which Area to Renovate?

If your partner or spouse is constantly complaining about one room, in particular, your decision as to which room to renovate will be easy. In fact, if you listen to exactly what they dislike, you will even know what direction to take your NJ home remodeling project in. On the other hand, you might want to simply surprise them with something completely different. We have a wife that is purchasing a wine room for her husband for Christmas. That is certainly one lucky guy.

If you are still indecisive, begin with the idea of a kitchen remodel. The kitchen is the heart of the home, and updating it will increase the value. You can update the appliances, add special, features like an attractive range hood, and design an island that will meet your individual needs. The island can be anything from a little extra counter space with bar stools on one side for additional seating to a command center complete with a built-in microwave, small refrigerator, and farmhouse sink.

The bathroom is another popular room to remodel, and anyone would be excited to be the recipient of that gift. You could put in a new walk-in shower, a large tub, and double sinks for luxury and convenience. If space allows, you could even include features like a dressing area or walk-in closet into the design. Whether going large or small with the remodel, be sure to include beautiful new cabinetry that will give you and your loved one extra storage while enhancing the overall look of the room.

Along with the kitchen and bathroom, you could consider giving the gift of renovating one of the forgotten areas of your home. Basements can be finished in order to provide you with extra bedrooms and bathrooms, a home office, or a family recreational room. Consider places like the laundry room too. This is usually the last place to get any attention. Homeowners see it as functional, but it can also become a bright and welcoming room that everyone will enjoy using.

The holidays are a busy time of year when you are entertaining many of your closest friends and family. As you host dinners and parties, you may realize just how little space you have. Think of how delighted your spouse or partner would be if you present them with a dining room renovation. Talk to your home remodeling contractor about possibilities such as opening it up into the kitchen and living area in order to create a great room that is ideal for entertaining.

How to Present the Gift of a NJ Home Remodeling Project

Although a home remodel is a wonderful gift idea, it can be hard to give as a present. You can’t exactly surprise someone with a newly renovated room while they are living in the house, and it certainly isn’t the type of gift you can wrap and place under the tree. Fortunately, there are ways you can still have the thrill of opening a present and surprising them. All it takes is a little creativity.

If you are planning on remodeling the bathroom as your loved one’s gift, buy them a new set of luxurious bath towels. Wrap them up with a note tucked inside that announces the renovation. The same can be done form a kitchen by giving a new set of dishes or cookware in the same manner. You will have the fun of seeing the expression on their face, and they will have an actual gift to open on Christmas Day.

No matter what area of the house you, decide to remodel or how you plan to present the idea, a home renovation project can be the perfect gift for your spouse or partner. It will, be a gift that keeps, on giving by offering you and your loved one an updated, organized room that you will both treasure for many years to come.

Basement Remodel – Increase your living space without an addition

3:01 am

Many homeowners believe they have to put an addition on to the house to gain space, but in reality, they are literally sittting on top of a wealth of extra room. That dark and dingy basement that you avoid at all cost can be transformed into the extra room you have been dreaming about. When beginning a NJ home remodeling project, consider utilizing this wasted space.

basement living room

A Family Room

Basements are ideal as family rooms because they are in such a quiet area of the house. Along with being a peaceful place to rest and enjoy time with others, you want this space to be cheerful. Brighten the basement by adding an egress window to bring in natural light. Choose whites, ivories, light grays, or pastels for the walls and take advantage of reflective surfaces such as oversized mirrors. Furnish the space in the same way you would any living room with comfortable sofas and recliners, ottomans, and entertainment features like a big screen TV for watching movies and gaming.

The Media Room

A media room is simply a term used to describe an all purpose room that is most often used as a home theater. What could be a more perfect place to watch your favorite films than the basement where it is naturally darker and quieter. Use a drop ceiling to soften the echo effect, and add soft lighting that won’t distract from the oversized TV screen. Keep it simple by using a sectional for seating, or go for the full theater effect by adding stair stepped floors with reclining chairs and sofas placed on each level just like you find at the local cinema.

A Home Bar

A home bar is a wonderful room for entertaining friends. When it is placed in the basement, it allows you to enjoy yourself without your guests disturbing the rest of the family. Have your contractor bring in a bar with stools for seating on one side and shelves, a mini fridge, and wine storage on the other. Place a flat screen TV over head, and ad a pool table for extra fun. Rather then choosing a traditional drop ceiling, leave the pipes and beams exposed. Paint them in a solid color for an industrial look that still has style.

The Wine Room

A wine room is a more sophisticated space than a home bar, and the basement can easily be transformed into a place where you can store and enjoy your favorite beverages. Finish the basement with rich wood doors and trim as well as plenty of shelves designed with special cubbies for the bottles. Be sure to include a refrigerator for those lighter summer wines that are best served chilled. Instead of a bar that gives the room the feeling of a local pub, place leather upholstered chairs around a table in matching wood tones.

A Play Room

If you want a place where your kids can be kids without making a mess out of the entire house, finish the basement and turn it into a play room. Paint the walls and ceiling in bright, fun colors with whimsical murals thrown in for an unexpected focal point. Be sure to create plenty of storage for both small and large toys. Use specially designed padded tiles for the floor so that the little ones have a soft surface to play on. Child size tables and chairs, bean bags, and large pillows are all the seating you’ll need.

The Guest Bedroom

A nicely finished basement is the ideal place for a guest bedroom. Whether you have friends staying for the occasional weekend or long term family members moving in, they can enjoy the privacy a basement provides. Decorate the bedroom in soft, relaxing hues. Use a variety of lighting. This includes overhead lights for brightness, lamps for task lighting, and accent lights to create the perfect ambience. Don’t forget to include a full bath in the design. Having their own bathroom, complete with a shower and tub, will keep both your guests and your family happy.

The Laundry

You may already be doing your laundry in the basement, but finishing the space properly will make this mundane task more enjoyable. Concrete floors painted to resemble stone or marble flooring is both attractive and practical for a laundry room. Paint the walls in a cheerful color, and add home decor items that make it feel more like an actual living space than a utility room. With the the plumbing already in place, this would be the ideal location for an extra bathroom as well.

Once you have completed the transformation of your basement, you will find that not only have you increased the living space in your home, but you have increased its value as well. Best of all, you and your home remodeling contractor will have achieved all this without ever having to put a costly addition on to the house.

Great Wines For The Fall

3:01 am

The fall season brings about cooler temperatures along with a beautiful display of colors in the foliage. It is also the time of year when we trade our shorts and tees for a cozy sweater and our favorite jeans. Just like the way the scenery changes and you switch out your wardrobe, you need to be selecting a new variety of wines that will pair perfectly with all of the delicious fall harvest foods you will be enjoying.

fall wine list

Which Wine to Choose

Those slightly chilled, crisp white wines were perfect for sipping next to the pool on a hot day, but they seem to lose their appeal as the temperature drops. Although you are in search of something heartier, you may not be ready yet for the full-bodied red wines that you enjoy next to the fireplace on a snowy evening. What you need for the fall season are wines that bridge the gap between summer and winter’s classic choices. This would be any of the full-bodied whites or the light to medium reds that pair so well with fall’s harvest of amazing foods.

Pinot Noir

A glass of Pinot Noir is the perfect way to welcome in the fall season. It is a natural choice with its earthy aromas that bring to mind wet leaves and its faint floral smells of the fading summer. This wine’s warm clove, vanilla, and nutmeg spices are well suited to the harvest bounty while the cranberry and tart cherry notes usher in winter.

Merlot

If you love the rich pies, mochas, and cozy atmosphere of this time of year, you will enjoy Merlot. Characteristics like plum, black cherry, and raspberry flavors paired with a hint of vanilla, cedar, and coffee make this wine the ideal complement to all of those wonderful fall treats you will be filling your kitchen with.

Oaked Chardonnay

Oaked Chardonnay was made for crisp fall days with flavors that include ripe pears, baked apples, toffee, caramel, and vanilla. Aged in oak barrels, this wine has a richer, nuttier characteristic than the typical Chardonnay. You can’t get a flavor closer to the fall experience than this.

Cabernet Franc

Sipping a glass of Cabernet Franc gives you a true sense of the season in the same way getting out your favorite leather jacket does when the days get colder. This old friend’s notes of savory dried oregano, red pepper, and leather are balanced by a juicy raspberry sauce and plum, and just like your Oaked Chardonnay, it has been aged in an oak barrel for a superb richness.

Syrah

This wine is like being able to bottle up the feeling of a warm fire. A full-bodied red wine, Syrah is filled with the flavor of rich black and red fruits that are combined with hints of black pepper and smoke. The result is a wine that includes aromas that will leave you in anticipation of the first snow fall.

Where to Store Your Fall Wines

The Wine Cellar NJ residents most enjoy are ones that blends in nicely with the architecture and décor they already have established within their home. There are several different options you can choose from when incorporating wine storage into your own house. Begin by deciding whether you would like a full sized wine cellar or simply a space within the kitchen that can hold a few seasonal bottles of your favorite varieties.

The Wine Cellar

If you have a finished basement, you have the ideal place for a wine cellar. Wine cellars are most often created out of cabinets and wine racks constructed from rich woods that give the space a warm and inviting feel. If there is room, incorporate an actual bar with seating on one side and shelves on the other to hold everything you need to make the perfect mixed drink, serve lovely wines, or simply enjoy a beer with friends.

Floor to ceiling shelves with wine cubbies for bottles serves double duty as storage and visual appeal. Don’t forget to include racks for hanging the wine glasses from. The wine cellar is one area of your home where you don’t want to hide your clutter. Bottles, glasses, and other essentials are an important element to the over-all beauty of this space.

Wine Storage in the Kitchen

If you are limited when it comes to space, you can still have a beautiful storage area for your seasonal wines. Many homeowners now include wine storage into their NJ kitchen design. Use a set of cupboards to be designated for this project. Overhead cabinets work best. This is especially true for the cupboards above the range. Replace solid doors with clear glass so the beauty of the glasses and bottles can be seen. You can also incorporate this type of wine storage into an island where it won’t take up any additional space, but it will still add to the elegance of the kitchen.

Have a wine question?

Give us a call at 973-636-0100

Boho Interior Design – What is boho design?

7:31 am

What is Boho Decorating?

boho interior decorating

Boho, or Bohemian, decorating is a way of filling your home with an eclectic mix of culture, life, and interesting objects from around the world. The style embraces relaxed and carefree elements. You will find that all Boho rooms will have a similar look and feel, but there are no two that look alike.

Boho is loved by those that enjoy an unconventional life. This includes people such as actors, travelers, and writers. You will find that Boho design combines colors objects, and patterns that reflect this type of lifestyle. The décor consists of a mix of items from a variety of places and cultures with no set theme in place. If you want your home to be a true reflection of exactly who you are, Boho will be your perfect design style.

Boho Colors

The first rule of Bohemian design is that there are no rules. Commonly used colors include Earth tones such as deep browns, grays, and greens, but it is not unusual to see bright jewel tones and metallic mixed in. Accessories often bring a pop of fiery orange, saturated purple, or electric blue into the room. This combination of colors all layered in together fits in perfectly with the true thought behind Boho design and will enhance your NJ kitchen remodeling project.

Give yourself the freedom to mix patterns and textures. Don’t shy away from styles that you normally wouldn’t use together in one room. Boho is certainly not a conventional way of decorating. Use textures and patterns from around the globe. This will add a sense of exoticism and fun to the space. Hang area rugs and tapestries on the walls, and layer throws on the furniture.

Bohemian Materials

Boho embraces the philosophy of more is better. Forget about the modern, minimalist, sleek designs used in most decorating. When capturing a Bohemian feel, don’t be afraid to mix and match materials freely. Burlap, sisal, and other natural materials can be combined with chenille and silks. Regardless of which materials you use, they should appear to be worn. Look for pieces that fall somewhere between shiny new and damaged.

Crochet, fringe, and macramé often find their way into Boho design. Use these elements around area rugs, throw pillows, and curtains. All of these materials combined together will create a cozy, worldwide inspired area. Canopies over the living spaces and beds are another signature look of this design style.

Boho Furniture

You won’t find Bohemian furniture in your local home stores. Boho rooms are filled with pieces that you collect over time. As you complete your NJ home remodeling projects, search for second-hand and vintage items in thrift stores and antique malls. Choose furniture that looks like it could tell a story. These items will be right at home in your Boho design.

You can also use plush sofas and chairs that are saturated in color to make you and your guests feel the vibe of Boho instantly. Over stuffed floor pillows and throw rugs can be considered extra seating as well as butterfly chairs, chaise lounges, and daybeds. Avoid straight back chairs or pieces that are streamlined. Boho should make people feel welcomed and as though you want them to stay awhile. The more comfortable it is, the better.

Boho Lighting

Your goal is understated, ambient lighting in a Boho room. It adds to the relaxed and comfortable vibe. Avoid overhead fixtures. Instead, look for candles, lanterns, and floor or table lamps for soft illumination. Search global markets for a variety of shapes and sizes to further enhance the mix and match design element.

Worldly Accessories

Since the whole idea of Boho design is to embrace the world, use hanging plants to give your home a natural feeling. This works especially well in your NJ kitchen remodeling project. They will improve the air quality while adding vibrancy to the space. The more plants you incorporate, the more Bohemian it will look. If you don’t have much luck with plants, consider using succulents. They come in a variety of colors and require very little care beyond occasional watering.

Complete your Boho style by adding in your family heirlooms, photos, handmade items, and souvenirs form your travels. Your accessories need to tell your family’s story. Showcase what you love whether that is a collection of vintage maps, bottles or mismatched dishes. Always remember that Boho design is based on an eclectic feel. You can even throw in a glamorous chandelier or chic gold framed mirror into the mix. The only rule with Bohemian decorating is that the finished room tells a story about you.

Need help with your Boho Design?

Give us a call at 973-636-0100