Friday, March 28, 2014

You and Your Family are Growing. Time to Remodel!

lighting, shelves, paint and organization can transform almost any closet into a usable home or hobby office!
People all over have their own reasons to why they need more space in the home.  From children to artistic expression, each home has their personal needs.

This can be an overwhelming topic for people as it can feel overwhelming.  You know you're house is getting too small or isn't fitting your needs, but you're not sure where to start or what to change.

So much of it depends are where your passions lie and where you want to them to go.  If your passion lies in fitness but you are ready to have a new baby, you could want to add 2 rooms or even one room that serves multiple purposes.  Are your wheels turning yet?




Let's talk remodeling.  Here are some things to think about as you and your family continue to grow.


HOME OFFICE
Whether you have an established home business or are just starting out, investing in a home office not only allows you more flexibility with your schedule and family but can also save you money in the end from not having to rent a space. (Plus, as a bonus, it's a tax deduction!)  Dream as big or small as you wish.  Your office should feel inspirational and energizing and be the size that suits you.





FITNESS STUDIO
Many people are at that point where they are ready to take their personal health into their own hands by adding a regular fitness program to their day.   Whether you need a small space to house a multi-functional machine, or a bigger room with mirrors meant for yoga or dance - this is an easy to add space that will add quality and vibrancy to your life.






NEW BABY
It's a common theme we hear at Unique Home and we love helping your family through this exciting transition.  At this point, it's good to ask yourself (and spouse) what you think you really want.  Is this your last baby or first of many?  How can you make this a good and lasting investment?  Are you wanting your child's room to include a play space that could later be a homework and art station?   These are all great things to brainstorm when considering adding a room for a child.



DINING ROOM
If you are a great party host or again, your family is growing, then it may serve you to add some space to your dining room.  Is that a space where people hang out the most and enjoy their time together? Is your family home regularly for dinner?  Then this may be a great option.



BATHROOM
We all hate waiting for the bathroom and they are typically an easy fix.  You have the freedom to expand the bathroom, adding dual sinks or even the option of adding a suite or half bath somewhere else in the home.  This all depends on your personal needs and budget.  But it is one change that can make the rest of your day a whole lot easier!



CLOSET OFFICE
I saved this one for last, because it's one of my favorites.  If you have closet space you don't need to use, turn it into a small computer space.  OR create a computer space with a functional closet around you.   A closet can be built into a room with space saving door options and shelving to go with it, leaving your home feeling put to good use and in order.  On the other side, converting a closet to a simple office is easy when you remove the doors and get creative with lighting and storage.



At Unique Home, we are ready and waiting to turn your home into your retreat.  Please get in touch with us to see how we can best serve you today!





by:  Navae Fiona

Friday, March 21, 2014

10 Simple Organizational Tips for the Busy Life

Sit down in the morning with your cup of tea or coffee and look around your home.   Write of list of things you want to do in your day.  Get organized and get started on your tasks, ideas and projects for your home and life.

When considering a kitchen remodel or room addition, being organized will pay off big!!

 
Most people enjoy being organized.  I myself, feel that I am quite organized but can still become overwhelmed or too relaxed about my personal organizational rules.  So, no matter who you are, the fact is, we can all improve.  

If you are already an organizational super star, then I'm sure you love seeing what other people do, because it only enhances your own experience and practices. 

Since I love bringing joy to your life in any way possible, I'm going to give you a list of ways to keep organized so you can not only enjoy the home you worked so hard to create, but also your life.  So basically, there's something here for everyone. 

So sit back and read through these ideas with relaxed eyes.  There's no right or wrong method, just the ones that work well for you.   

Here you go!

  1. Start with an easy and workable to-do list. Many people fall head over heels for the latest apps and gadgets.  But I have found that so many people do much better with a simple sticky note or day planner list. It doesn't mean you're lazy or unintelligent.  All these different tools can leave you spending much more time trying to organize or consolidate your list, leaving many of your items undone.
  2. Keep it in 3's.   I remember seeing a Tony Robbins talk about being overwhelmed with too many things to do.   But many times though our list has 10 things on it, it's likely they can be grouped into 3 (or 4) groups.  Home, family & work.  That's the first step. Once your list is organized into categories, you may find that you can narrow it down even further to your top 3 priorities and then another list of 3 secondary things to do.   At the end of the day - you'll likely get 6 things done!  But at the very least, you'll get the most important things done first - leaving you feel accomplished and at peace with your performance. 
  3. Keep a capture pad.   Paper, phone, moleskin, iPad...  whatever. little things you remember, ideas & responsibilities should all go to one place.  You can reference this list at the end of the day an organize them accordingly. 
  4. On that note - Organize your capture pad.  I know you have a lot going on, because you are a busy, smart and creative individual. That capture pad is able to keep you from forgetting the important tasks and ideas that pop into your head.  At the end of the day place tasks on to your categorized to-do list and ideas either into your work planner or artistic/idea outlet space.  ...which brings me to another point-
  5. Keep it separated.   I highly highly highly recommend having a different binders for each major part of your life.  Keep a shelf for them to live on and label their spines with titles like, home, family, work & creative. Those folders can have tab separators within your family folder, you can have a section for your partner and each child.  In the home folder, you can have sections for utilities, repairs and even cars.   Get the idea?  Additionally, you can even take it further and keep a plastic pocket in each to hold receipts and invoices for an easier tax season at the end of the year.
  6. Always do one thing at a time. 
  7.  Start now.
  8.  It's ok to say no. 
  9.  ALWAYS create space and time in your home and day to  pause and love on yourself.  Not to sound silly at all, but  when life gets crazy, it's easy to be hard on ourselves and forget  how incredible we're doing. Organizing life on so many levels is  hard and tiring.  Sit and quietly get connected.  Know you are  loved and be proud of what you are accomplishing. 
  10. Remember, YOU are in control.  Only you can take these steps. Life is yours for the taking and living.  


Remember, whatever we at Unique Home can do to make your home more beautiful and relaxing is why we do what we do.  So let us know!



by:  Navae Fiona

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

5 Easy Ways to Make Your Dark Home Brighter!

In warm climates, trees are the relief we are desperate for as we embrace the comfort of their shade.  But it's also not long before we begin to see them as the enemy.  It's not uncommon for us to find, purchase a home and fall right in love with it.  It's beautiful. Maybe it's the very classic antique character or perhaps it's the modern architecture.   You draw the papers, go through the tiresome process and poof!  You are the proud home owner. 

But wait.  


Hold on....   it's DARK in there!  Those beautiful trees (or even unique form) have unknowingly created quite a cave.  But you love it, so now what?

Don't you worry.  This has all happened before.  

That's why I want to leave you with 5 easy ways to make your dark home brighter - and hopefully even keep the trees! 


1. More Windows!

Adding large and plenty of windows allows more possibility for the light to enter in.  This is especially helpful if you are dealing with low ceilings or deep eaves.  Consider walls near fire places or even in the kitchen, replacing a  section of your cabinets with an extra or larger window instead.  Another place to add window is in a stairway or landing.  This is great because the light is able to reach in and bring a bright warmth from top to bottom.  Bonus here?  Add some brighter colored painting to the stairwell and landing as well.  When the light comes in, it will bounce of the bright accent colors and leave the area looking more cheerful as well. 


2.  Tubular Day lighting or Skylights

Basically the miniature version of skylights, tubular day lighting devices (TDD's) are a fantastic option for places that need more light but want to remain private- like bathrooms or walk in closets. Larger skylights are great to brighten up dark kitchens, attic spaces, bedrooms and the upper halls and landings.  These are a great option but also bring in a lot more heat.  So I would suggest placing them in the cooler areas of the house and also the West or Northwest facing areas; as it's more enjoyable to have the welcome of morning sun enter in rather the heat of the evening sun.  


3.  Glass Doors

This is a great option for both front and back entries.   It allows more light and looks very classy and welcoming.  However, some may feel concerned about their privacy.  If that's the case, there are many options, such as reeded or etched glass, for maintaining privacy while allowing light in. Another idea would be to place some white or sheer curtains along the door to pull shut in times when you'd rather not be seen as well.   


4. Nice Doors for the Inside Too 

Interior doors are helpful to us as they not only separate one area (visually) from another, but they also provide soundproofing, which has proven to be very beneficial in today's open floor plans. So why not replace those heavy solid doors with some lovely french doors?  French doors can separate a long hall from a family room quite easily while also providing a way for rooms to share more light and avoid shutting other rooms off, leaving the space looking open and beautiful.  I have to say, they look quite nice as well!


5.  Color & Mirrors


I understand that some of those modern fixes may be too much for the bank.   So here is my most budget friendly point.  Add color and mirrors.  If this is all you can do, do it well!   Many may say that adding brighter color to a dark room is your best bet.  However, this tends to back fire and the color looks muted and muddy. Sometimes your best option is to embrace the dark room and fill it with rich color.  This allows you to enhance it's naturally cozy nature instead of hitting the - um - wall, repeatedly out of frustration.  Go for rich deep blues or charcoal even and instead, accent with whites and light wood.  Bring in natural metals like copper and silver on vases and fixtures to keep the feeling balanced.   And lastly?  Just add mirrors.  From one large mirror, to a cluster of various mirrors, this is helpful in most areas to add the illusion of more space and even to allow light to bounce off.   


See?  You have options.  You no longer have to resign yourself to the cave your realized your dream home to be.   Now, don't tackle this alone.  Please, call us at Unique Home and let us know how we can help you make these changes easily and in a way that fits your budget.

Happy living to you!




by:  Navae Fiona

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Can't Remodel? Turn Your Apartment Into a Home With These Unique Ideas!

Homeowners shouldn't be the only one to get to remodel.  I know there are renters out there who would love to remodel but feel limited by contractual restrictions.  While it's true that you can't knock down a wall or add a room, but you still have options to give your home a facelift and turn it into a place you feel rested and safe in.

Part of the beauty of renting a smaller space, is that it gives you a chance to put money aside if you do in fact, want to buy a home.  This is also a great time to develop the vision for your next home and put the ideas in action.  Through trial and error, by the time your are ready to buy or build your home, you have have much more clarity about how you want it to look and feel.

The foundation begins at knowing what kind of a person you are and what you prefer?  Perhaps you are a minimalist and like your decor to be black, white and chrome.  This is particularly good for people who like things highly clean and organized.  Maybe you like a more international feel? This allows you to think outside the box and play more with color and a combination of medium to darker woods.   What about the traditional antique farmhouse feel?  These people tend to like distressed furniture, handmade quilts and a combination of ocean blues, canary yellows and rich burghundy accents.   Only you can know what your 'type' is and once you determine that, you'll be able to move on to personalizing your space!

I would say, start with the room or space that stands out most in your mind; that first space that makes you feel heavy and frustrated.  Is it the darkness that frustrates you?  Is it the clutter?  Does it feel too small?   Does it feel welcoming?

Let's talk about the entryway.  Whether it's a doorway into the living room, or an all out entry way, it's the first place you and your guests will walk through and should set the feeling for the rest of the home.  What space do you see first?  It's always good to have a focal point that grabs attention and it should feel clean and inspirational.  For some, that will be a plant, or a vase of flowers or a painting.  It's important to make sure that your focal point is not a television screen, disorganized book shelf or other cluttered space.  This leaves a person feeling more heavy and mentally exhausted, even subconsciously.   Also, make sure you have a place for shoes and coats nearby - and I don't mean the couch or the floor!  You can easily find cheap shoe racks and coat hooks that suit your style and this will leave you feeling like even the 'things' have a place to belong.

Walls.  Bare walls in an apartment can drive a person mad.  It has an institutional feeling.  This can be remedied easily for the minimalist and art collector alike.  If you are allowed to paint, choose your color wisely and paint it light.  Consider your climate and home style.  If you are in a building where it rains, you'll want to stay away from grays and dark, rich tones.  They can make nice accent colors but in the end will make the space feel smaller and dark.   Pale mustards, muted greens and ocean blues make fabulous brightening colors that make you feel light and welcomed.
The other things walls need are things ON them.  I've noticed this in all homes - it feels good when there is art, decor and shelving on the walls.  It brings your attention upward and creates balance.  We tend to be afraid to put holes in the walls so everything stays near the floor.  This is my NUMBER ONE tip:  Enjoy your home NOW.  Fix the holes when you move or find alternatives.  Just get something up there!

Light.  Rentals feel so much better when there's ample light.  Floor lamp, hanging lamps, candels and even stringing lights in strategic places can feel so much more warm and cozy.  Make sure your lights come in pairs as well, for more balance and options.  These can be best positioned on opposite sides of the room.  In bathrooms, small wall mounted lights on either sides of the mirror bring a more relaxing feeling to the space and will also be less harsh to your morning reflection!

Kitchens.  This is honestly the hardest place, because you often can't change the cabinets or appliances.  So, at this point, it's all about distraction.  Get some good containers for your coffee, sugar, tea and stove top utensils.  Hang plants or place them on the counter or window sill.   Make it yours and just do what you can.  Just keep the clutter out.  Get the dishes done so at the very least, it's clean.   A dirty kitchen can really create resentment for your living space, so do what you can!

Your home is meant to be a place to rest and release the stresses from life.  It's ok if you aren't a homeowner yet.  Every life is different.  But please enjoy it in the meantime.

If you get to that point where you think you're ready to buy or build a home, please let us at Unique Home know what your vision is and we will happily get it started with you!



by:  Navae Fiona

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lighting Changes That Make A BIG Difference in Your Home!

If I'm right, you're probably already busy with the normal demands of life; from new babies to new jobs and may not want to forge ahead into any daunting bigger projects!  

But, you know all those 'little' things you keep noticing around the house that you'd love to change (if you had the time)? 

 I would love to take a second to shed some 'light' on little changes that can make a BIG difference in your home!  


Here are some tips for each room of the house.


For the Kitchen:

A simple lighting plan for a modest kitchen might consist of a central, ceiling-mounted lights with an ambient feel, under cabinet fixtures providing task lighting for the counters, gentle lighting above the sink and a pendant providing task or ambient lighting over the island. This traditional lighting plan is great for many kitchens and can be easily improved by adding a dimming control to all lights and choosing energy efficient bulbs.


If you're in for something a little 'bigger', a new lighting plan for a medium-sized kitchen might call for cove lighting along two opposite walls to give that warm ambient lighting that bounces light off the ceiling, instead of recessed down lights or ceiling-mounted central fixtures, both of which mostly send light facing straight down. Valance lighting above the sink and under cabinet lighting would provide the task lighting.

For the Living Room:

The idea of light layering is particularly important in the living and family rooms.  These areas are the places where people tend to gather for longer stretches of time and connect with activities, such as conversation, entertainment, games and computer times. In these rooms, where people spend a lot of time, it's good to get away from recessed down lights and instead use lights that bounce off the ceiling for ambient illumination. When light bounces of the ceiling, it creates a sense of brightness and avoids the shadows or downward direction of recessed lights.

To accomplish ambient lighting that bounces off the ceiling of a living room, you can easily integrate cove or valance lighting into the room's architecture.  Another option, is to wash the walls with light, which can be accomplished with soft or valance lighting, recessed or track lighting that is directed toward the walls, or even with plug-in floor lamps with translucent upward facing globes.


Bathrooms: 

With and emphasis on beautification and personal grooming requiring viewing yourself daily in front of a mirror, the bathroom requires careful consideration of lighting placement. So many bathrooms feature a central ceiling-mounted fixture that casts shadows on the person standing in front of the mirror.  So, one of the best and most logical improvements you can make is to light both sides of the mirror. In smaller baths, where you may need to choose between a wall-mounted fixture on the side of the mirror or an overhead fixture, lighting designers say to always go with the wall-mounted placement. You just want to avoid lights that cast shadows.

Small lighting changes can make a big difference in any room (hallway, closet etc. ) and I hope you are filled with hope and inspiration to give your home the warm glow it's meant to have.  In your busy life, you deserve to come home to a welcoming ambiance that makes both you and others feel relaxed and comfortable. 

For more ideas or help deciding what to do first or next in your home, contact us at Unique Home and see how we can make your home, your castle. 




by:  Navae Fiona

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Earth Day is Coming! Here Are Some Ways To Make YOUR HOME More Earth Friendly!

Earth day is coming in May.  I know that's a little bit away, but it got me thinking about the preparation involved in conscious living.   I'm excited to inspire action in you today, because now you have TIME.  If I were to wait and announce Earth Day's arrival, you may smile and get on board, but you are also likely to let the inspiring moment pass, as though that was your only chance to make a change.    

We are living on an earth that was gifted to us and created with love.  The best way we can show our gratitude for this is to tend to it well.  Additionally, it will leave a more beautiful and better home for future generations to enjoy!  So why not get inspired early?  Let's start thinking NOW how we can better our home for our own health and environment.  Then, when earth day rolls around, you can be proud that it's already on your list and you are already taking those steps toward earth care and stewardship! 

Here are some accessible and easy ways to make your home more earth friendly!


"Low VOC paints and adhesives. Homeowners are increasingly searching for paints and adhesives that come in recyclable containers and don’t emit such strong, toxic fumes and cause less environmental damage and create better indoor air quality. Same with indoor paint removers.

High efficiency windows. Window panes that are specially coated to keep in heat during colder months and to keep cooler air inside during warmer months. Sometimes, homeowners are choosing to move windows entirely to different locations to encourage natural lighting and natural breezes in conjunction with ceiling fans.

Replacing aging HVAC systems with newer models that can be customized with an owner’s preference.

Smart thermostats that can suggest or automatically set up a temperature based on a home owner's living habits.

Optimizing natural light. Homeowners want to take advantage of natural lighting as much as possible, by installing large windows and skylights to make better use of sunlight and reduce their reliance on electricity.

Salvaged materials. Refinishing old cabinets or re purposing old materials to convert them into new pieces of furniture or decorative accessories.

Flooring. Using natural or recycled materials in flooring or hardwood flooring that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Energy-efficient appliances. Refrigerators manufactured before 1993 use twice as much energy as the latest models that are labeled with the “Energy Star.” Later models also offer the more modern stainless steel and oiled bronze finishes, in addition to configurations other than side-by-side freezer and refrigerator units.

Counter tops and back splashes. Using environmentally friendly materials, such as bamboo, recycled glass or others that that the Green guard seal."  - see Earth Friendly Home Renovation Tips



If you're really feeling ready to do your part, you can add a mindset of "reduce, reuse, recycle" in your daily life!  Reuse those marinara jars in place of Tupperware.   Reduce your landfill contribution by creating recycling bins in your home for papers, plastics and cans!  It's an easy addition that makes a BIG difference.  

Life is meant for living and we want you to experience the best of it.  We would love to help you build the home of your dreams and make the earth a better place all at the same time!  

Let us know how we can better YOUR life!


By Navae Fiona

Monday, March 3, 2014

Sophisticated Bathroom Remodeling Ideas for Both Him and Her

Are you looking to fancy up your bathroom space without having to knock down walls or tackle major plumbing projects? Don’t worry! A bathroom makeover is easy to do! Check out some sophisticated  and creative ideas that will  give your bathroom a beautiful updated look without breaking the bank.



JUST ADD COLOR!
The easiest  and fastest way to give your bathroom a whole new look is to paint it a different color. The best idea is to start by picking up a few different swatches, bring them home with you and check them out under the lighting conditions in your bathroom. This way you’ll be able to see exactly how the color will turn out in your home. Keep in mind that darker colors do absorb more light, which can make small rooms look even smaller. If you have a small bathroom already, consider using a brighter or lighter color to open up the space.
Also good to remember, is that paint isn’t just for the walls! If your bathroom cabinets look a little shabby, why not give them a fresh coat of paint too? Neutral cabinetry looks great against bright walls, while bold colored cabinets work best with neutral toned walls.

TILE ME LOVELY!

Did you know that the Romans were first to use mosaic tile as flooring and decoration for their homes and bathrooms? This means we have them to thank for the beautifully colored mosaics that we see today.



OH VANITY

Modern bathroom vanities are far more versatile than ever before and they continue being reinvented. Unique Home strives to offer you the best in home remodeling so we keep up to date with the current trends while looking for the most innovative design ideas.  

One simple thing is to replace the old medicine cabinet with a mirror customized to meet your decor.  Maybe it will simply be an updated cabinet, but an update nonetheless. Changing cabinets and mirrors to match your new style may seem like a minuscule change, but it will really make the room look finished. These small items are also cheap! You want to feel like the mirror reflects not only your fabulous face, but also the entire mood of the bath.


A WORTHY VESSEL
We've been noticing lately that bathroom vessel sinks are becoming quite the focal point of Pinterest inspiration boards and blogs on interior design.  So it's only fitting that we share this hot information with YOU.
Vessel sinks not only come in a variety of makes and models but are also constructed of high quality and durable materials such as cast iron, glass and natural stone such as marble, for the more modern and elegant feel. There are even sinks made of stainless steel and bronze. These can be mounted on a variety of different bathroom counter tops, ranging from wood planks, granite, tile, concrete and even glass mosaic.

I'm sure that's enough to get you thinking!  Have you created your own Pinterest account? It's free to sign up and a great place to collect your inspiration into albums.  Follow us and we would love to see what ideas you have in store.  For more inspiration, contact us and we will happily help you create the home you deserve!


By:  Navae Fiona