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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Making Your Home Look More Expensive

Who wouldn't want to make your home look more high-end?  Whether you are planning to put your home on the market, or you are just ready to upgrade for your own pleasure, here are some tips that will help. Most are very affordable; some just require a little elbow grease. On a very few, you may want to call in a professional, depending on your comfort level with power tools.
~Frame those builder-original bathroom mirrors. There are kits to do this, or find instructions on Pinterest.
~Change out all the doorknobs into one consistent finish. If you are like many people, you have simply gone to the big box store and bought a new doorknob whenever you needed one without any concern about consistency, so that by now you have gotten a motley crew of different shapes and finishes. Simply changing them out to one style and finish will make your home look more pulled together.
~While you're in framing mode, go ahead and build a frame around your flat screen TV over the mantel. You can do this with painted molding, or get creative with pallet wood.
~And speaking of mantels- does yours need to be replaced? There are a lot of great looks out there now- a natural stone slab, a big plank, or even just bigger, can really change the look of the fireplace.
~If you don't have a TV over your fireplace, be sure you do have art in some form- and big enough to matter. Remember that your mantel is a focal point, and be sure it makes a statement!
~The art in your other spaces should be large enough as well. If you don't have a large piece you like, consider making a gallery style wall, displaying several pieces. And this can include pieces other than framed art, by the way. Consider interesting mirrors, small shelves topped by objects, decorative items that can be hung, beautiful plates, or sconces.
~Other things that can be used in gallery groupings of art are a framed piece of beautiful stationery or a great card, or a gorgeous piece of fabric.  A great idea for a baby girl's room is a shadowbox of a confirmation dress, along with the veil and gloves, and a small nosegay of sweetheart roses.
~And put some nice art and a good rug in the bathroom, for goodness sake!
~Add a small lamp any little place for ambience- in the bathroom, in the kitchen, on a small table in the hall. I especially love lamps in the dining room, with the chandelier on a rheostat and turned low.
~Does your chandelier need updating? This is one of the easiest and most cost-effective changes possible. Get a nice big one, and hang approximately 30 inches above the table.
~Keep your sights upward. Could your ceilings use a fresh coat of paint? Maybe a very very light blue. More vibrant ceiling colors are also gaining popularity recently-
~You can paint ceiling fans too! That burnished brass look is so dated! Use Rustoleum or something similar to paint the body of the fan, and either paint or replace the blades.
~Are your other ceiling fixtures outdated? Check out the wonderful drum shades that fit over those fixtures- just remove the domed glass.
~Hang your drapes higher and wider. New ones can be very reasonable, if you do a little searching, or sew a wide band at the bottom to lengthen them. And new rods can be as easy as painted PVC.
~Trim out your windows if they are not trimmed already. Buy molding at the hardware store and cut the corners to match. This is very similar to the work you'll do on framing your mirrors, so coordinate the timing and save yourself some time!
~You can also trim out flat builder grade interior doors. Use Liquid Nails, as most of those are hollow-core. In some cases, a full-length mirror (framed) would be a nice addition to a flat door.
~Still have light oak balusters and handrails on your stairs? CAREFULLY stain (lightly sand first) them a darker hue!
~Intake grilles for your AC system can be upgraded with a pretty piece of decorative metal grille, available at your hardware store.  And by now you've been there enough for them to do you a favor and cut it to the right size!
~And the old vent covers can be painted. Use Rustoleum and spray them, or if you painted your ceiling, brush them the same color and then smooth with a small roller.
~Consider painting the back of your bookshelves an accent color, or lining with a great fabric.
~Look for single accent items in marble. Use alone or as part of a vignette.
~Switch plates can be improved by embellishing them with a small store-bought picture frame, painted to match, or decorated. Craft stores and garage sales can be great sources for these.
~Outlet plates can also be spray painted to be less conspicuous, or covered with wallpaper to match your room.
~Easiest one EVER: bring home a few potted plants. Put in decorative pots, and use singly or group them.
~Pare down what you have on those bookshelves. Consider them an opportunity to highlight your prized possessions rather than storage.

We Won!

Enhance Floors & More was recently awarded the Angie's List 2015 Super Service Award.  This is an award based on superior service.  Only 5% of all contractors receive this award.  Every day we strive to provide expert assistance and top quality installations to our clients.  It is so nice to know it is being noticed!

The Desk In Your Kitchen
Many homes built in the 80s and 90s have a built-in desk in the kitchen.  What was once an area used to conduct business has now become a place to store books, bills and anything else that doesn't really belong in the kitchen.  If you have a desk in your kitchen, how many times have you really used this space? 

Over the years, technology has greatly changed the way that we organize and store all of our information. Consider using your kitchen desk space as a mini coffee bar or a technology/charging station, or totally remove it and repurpose the space.  Chances are your kitchen desk only takes up needed space in your kitchen that could be used for better purposes.

Design Tip 
Create a new favorite spot on your deck or patio by adding a suspended chair or seat.  Choices include traditional porch swings, hammock style chairs, and wicker "pod" chairs.  Add colorful seat cushions and pillows and a close-by table for your frosty cold drink, and enjoy your outdoor happy place!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Buyer's or Seller's Market?

Are You Buying?  Selling?
If you are thinking about purchasing or selling your home, it is always good to know if it is a Buyer's or a Seller's Market.  Everything we are hearing is that Cobb County is definitely a Seller's Market.  We thought we'd share this newsletter from our friend Sean Trombetti, a local Mortgage Broker.
"From what I'm seeing and hearing, be ready to offer full price if you are looking at homes this Spring and Summer. As I sit hear writing this article, I can say that maybe half of the pre-qualification letters that I am writing for my clients involve transactions where it's under a "highest and best offer" situation. Homes are
moving quickly and in my opinion, if you don't want to lose out on a home perfect for you and your family, be prepared to offer full price assuming the home is priced correctly and in good condition. Sellers are rejecting offers that don't come to their full or close to their full asking price and with school starting earlier this year in some counties, it has created a sense of urgency in the marketplace.

Another area where sellers seem to be reluctant is in handling repair amendments requested by the buyer's agent during due diligence. If the repair is minor and doesn't affect the home's integrity, then most sellers are refusing to address it. So all this leads me to say that currently it is a seller's market."
We are seeing and hearing that if a home is priced correctly based on location, condition, and the updates needed, the house will sell quickly.  Enhance Floors & More can help you update your home so that you can sell for full price.  Or if you found a great deal on a home that needs some TLC, we can assist you in getting it move-in ready. 

Design Tip
Sometimes people opt out of window treatments because they want the maximum amount of light to come through or they don't want to block a view. These are good ideas in theory but it's actually a huge mistake. Window treatments, whether it's curtains, drapes, blinds, shutters, or something else altogether, are necessary decorative elements that help a space look finished. They act as frames for the windows and they provide wonderful decorating opportunities. They can really help set the tone of a room and they should never be left out. Keep in mind there are tons of wonderful options for treatments that allow in light, and when open don't block views, so don't be afraid to include them on each and every window.

Enhance Floors & More is an authorized Hunter Douglas dealer and can help you select the right window treatment for your décor, lifestyle, and budget.  Our selection of window treatments includes blinds, shutters, and many different types of shades available in a wide variety of fabrics and woods.  Hunter Douglas window fashions have a lifetime warranty and are regarded as the highest quality in the industry.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Learning From Mistakes

Real Advice from Real People
The popular home improvement website Houzz recently asked its'
readers for design advice on things you should never, ever do during a remodel. Their suggestions are quite revealing, and worth considering. These are our favorites:

"Never paint a bedroom before buying the bedding."

"Never paint test swatches directly on your walls. The color and or change in finish will telegraph through the finished paint job unless you spend extra time and money to sand and prime. Paint big swatches on poster board so you can move them around to different areas and in different lighting."
"Never have a red, orange or harsh yellow bedroom. No matter how much you like it, those colors are too energizing/irritating to foster rest."

"Don't let yourself get talked into something if it's not right for you or the way you and your family live and function."

"Never buy furniture or appliances until you have measured all the doors the item will have to pass through."

"Never put the kitchen sink in a corner."

I recently learned the hard way to never, never buy furniture unless you can first take home a cushion or fabric sample. I ended up with a pink couch and side chair when I thought I was buying cream. Now if I can't get a sample to see how the color will really look in my own home, I go somewhere else."
"Never install very dark wood or laminate floors. They will only look good for about five minutes after you clean them. And you have to clean every square inch or the undone areas will be very noticeable. Trust me. I made this mistake. We kept the floors for about a year and then had them replaced."

"Never attempt to buy an area rug before you are sure you have the proper measurements."

"Never buy artwork or accessories just to fill a space. Buy what you love and find a space for it."

"Never have white floors. Trust me, I've done it more than once. I'm a slow learner."

"Never ever sign a contract/agreement without reading it. Read the whole agreement - each and every clause. Understand what you are reading/signing. If you don't, ask someone. Make sure everything you were promised verbally appears in writing."

"Never ever let someone start a job in your home or for you without a written contract. Smiles and handshakes are for the easily duped."

"Never hire relatives to help you renovate. When something doesn't go your way or if you don't like their ideas, it can be a disaster. Hire someone who can guarantee their work."

"Never take the lowest bid to save money. Go with your gut. It always knows what is right for you."
 "Don't do cheap. If you can't afford it, wait. You will end up saving money because when you invest in high-quality goods, you won't have to replace it."

"When you buy a house, especially a resale, don't change every single thing you don't like before you live in it a little while. You find some things are a certain way for a good reason and you are glad you didn't 'fix' it."

"Never ever do something because it is a trend. Do it because you love it."
"Never don't do something you like because it is a trend."

"Never design by committee. Your friends, relatives, neighbors etc. aren't paying for it. You are. Get what you love. Also, a designer isn't a personal shopper. If you are looking for the cheapest/best price/bargain, hire a personal shopper or surf the web yourself."

"Never renovate aspirationally. If your family isn't crowded around the kitchen table now playing games, they won't suddenly do it (more than once) in a new game room. If you don't have company now in your 'humble home,' odds are you won't suddenly have friends who want to visit your fancier one. You will be just as much of a slob in a nice space as in your current one. Renovations change little that is wrong with us or our relationships."

"Never tell your teenager he or she can decorate his or her own room unless you are prepared to live with black paint, plastic skulls and a coffin-shaped bed."

"Never, ever, ever buy your wife brand-new kitchen appliances for Christmas. 'They are not gifts! They are machines for doing work.' So I am told."

"One poster's 'never' is another poster's 'always.' Never assume what's right for you, your taste, your budget, your situation, is right for everyone."

Friday, April 8, 2016

Design Tip
Colors taken from spring bouquets can create perfect interior color palettes. For example, the different purple tones seen in hydrangeas work well with the buttery tones of the daffodil. Remember, purples and yellows always pair nicely since they're complementary hues on the color wheel.  Decorate using inspiration from your favorite spring flowers and enjoy the look all year!
Thinking About Remodeling?
Are you considering a big remodeling project?  We all want to update and improve our home, but where do we start?  How do we get from talking about it to the finished project?  Here are a few tips:

First- What is your goal? Have you lived in your home a few years and just lived with things that either really weren't your style or just didn't work for your lifestyle and needs, so now is the time to right some wrongs? Make the place your own: colors, textures, new appliances, floor coverings and walls, because your comfort and that of your family has value.

OR- are you planning to sell in the next couple of years and need to spruce up and make it appealing to potential buyers? If so, keep it neutral and budget friendly.  In either case, don't overspend for the neighborhood and respect your home's style.

Make a wish list, and organize it by priority.  The probability is that not everything will make it into your final plan, either because it just won't work within the framework that exists, or for financial reasons. So know ahead which are the most important, and which are not.

Which rooms are you going to remodel? Sounds like a simple question, but remember that the Master Bath adjoins the Master Bedroom, and the Living Room frequently is connected to the Dining Room. So take into account how remodeling one room will affect the next. Also consider what is on either side of a wall. The washing machine backing up to the baby's bedroom wall or your husband's at-home office is not such a good idea.

Know what your style is: contemporary, traditional, minimalist, light and airy, or cozy and plush?  There are lots of websites where you can get an idea of what you like, and what you don't like. Colors? Warm and comfy, or cool and subdued?  How will the room be used? Family friendly, or "guests only?" TV addicts, or quiet readers? Will you need lots of storage?

What floor do you envisage in your new room? Window treatments? Lighting?  And if it's a kitchen, gas or electric, granite or quartz? So much to think about!

Have a budget, make it realistic, and stick to it. Include all the details.  An experienced professional can help here by making sure nothing is overlooked and suggesting more budget friendly alternatives when needed.

Work with a company that comes recommended by people you trust. A reputable contractor will be able to explain why there are expenses for things that can't be seen, but are necessary nonetheless. Everything will cost more than you expect, so be prepared for sticker shock.  Research and understand your options.  And sometimes the cheapest route may turn out to be the most expensive, for example, when you have to pay to redo a mistake.

Some other considerations and things you need to think about before you begin the process:

~~expect dust! Remodeling involves demolition and generates a lot of dust, and it gets on everything. Be sure that all non-work rooms are sealed off thoroughly.

~~don't allow the project to begin until all the materials are here and ready. One late component can delay a project for weeks.

~~include as part of your budget an allowance for eating out if you are remodeling the kitchen. It will be unavailable for a while, and eating out every meal can add up.

~~always build in some extra money for the unexpected!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Design Trends To Consider

Many home décor magazines and blogs publish a list in December of trends to look for in 2016.  Now that we are a few months in to the new year, it's easy to see the predictions that are coming true.  As you begin your decorating projects, look for:
Quality craftsmanship over price. "Made in the USA" and "Buy the Highest Quality You Can Afford" are not passing fads in design. In 2015 there were several highly publicized (and still ongoing) instances of some overseas manufacturers using dangerous materials that can leech into the air, causing significant health risks.  

Also, always factor in the long-term cost of ownership.  For example, disposable furniture ends up with a much higher price tag over 20 years than one may think:  a $600 couch that only lasts a couple of years actually costs more than a $2500 model that still looks great a decade later.

Fabric wall art.  Adding texture and fabric to your space is no longer limited to upholstery & pillows. Frame a unique antique piece or find a to-die-for print and explore interesting ways to display them on you walls. 

Greys---pushing past its neutral cousins: taupe, beige, and cream---grey is everywhere:  in paint, flooring, furniture, even cabinets.  Grey is equally at home as the understated neutral backdrop in a period restoration, or the blank slate in a modern space to contrast warm hues and pops of color. 

Graphic tiles---make a big statement and hearken back to the midcentury, when tiles embraced color and pattern. Try to find something you feel you can live with for a long time, as tiles are quite durable. Think of it as art. It's an investment that will grace your walls for years to come.  Use accent tiles or decorative borders to add pizazz if an allover bold field tile is a little too much for your taste.
Sectional sofas. This trend is here to stay. Today, people are designing their spaces to be used. The formal living room is mostly a thing of the past in many homes, and creating spaces where you can hang out with friends and family in a comfortable manner as opposed to a formal one seems to be the way to go.

Reclaimed materials---turning old, worn materials into things of beauty.  Barnwood, distressed flooring, and vintage lace (curtains, tablecloths) is being seen in every room of the house.
Black window frames. What better way to bring attention to one of the most important things in your house than with a dark, bold frame? The natural light coming into your house is essential. If there's a view that goes along with that natural light, accentuate it with a bold black window frame.

Statement light fixtures. Think of light fixtures as art. You can have the most simple space, but if you put an amazing light fixture in it, you automatically boost the room's atmosphere and presence.
Stairs as a focal point. Stairs take you up or down from one floor to another. But when stairs are transformed into a design focal point, beyond merely a mode of transportation, then you lift your renovation to the next level.
Open and airy.This has to be the No. 1 request these days. Today's families tend to be incredibly busy, and multitasking is the norm. Having clear views of what's going on in your home from anywhere in the house makes sense.
No formal dining room. Just as the formal living room is a thing of the past for many, the formal dining room is also going the way of the dinosaurs. People are starting to realize that pleasures are not experiences that should occur occasionally, but rather should be part of everyday life.
Minimal design. Creating a space that's free of clutter and ornate decor means a space that's easier to focus in, easier to clean and easier to move through.
Asymmetry.Unifying mismatched elements and creating a sense of movement, asymmetric design allows you to work with pieces you adore while creating a visual hierarchy to showcase important elements.

Geometric elements---back in a big way, and not just in the kitchen backsplash. In 2016 fluid geometry paired with textures will wow us in everything from furniture to accessories. 

Natural & layered bedding.  Layering improves both design and function. Seeking out natural materials helps regulate body temperature, protects the environment, plus you'll sleep more soundly.

Warm colored wood finishes.  Think less red and more brown.  Cool mid-century woods have been a staple for a long time but as the trend fades, honey wood finishes are in. Mix warm woods to make cool colors stand out or create continuity with a single tone. 

Innovation.  Control your home from your pocket, 24/7. There are new apps on the market every day that have the power to change the way you design, live, and work. Even window coverings have gone high tech:  ask us to show you Hunter Douglas PowerView Motorization.

Jewel tones.  Bold, rich, deep colors are in, for every room of the house. From rich upholstery, to bold paint colors and finishes---it's OK to be luxurious!

Unique hardware.  Reconsider your hardware choices:  vintage, bold, even mix and match.

Curves.  The incorporation of more organic shapes and curving structures have been redefining modern architecture for decades. Now is the time to ease away from the strict definitions of the 'modern' aesthetic and bring some softness into your spaces with curved furniture, art, lighting, and hardware.

Space savvy solutions.  The age of the sprawling suburban McMansions is coming to an end. As more and more people move into urban areas, and/or opt for smaller footprints, everyone is looking for space saving innovation. Expect new and creative ways to maximize space and utility in layout and furniture design. 

Florals---not your grandmother's florals. This year we are seeing the re-emergence of classic and bold floral pattern as a backdrop for more modern, eclectic designs. Expect pops of floral throughout the home, from dramatic wall murals to understated bedroom upholstery. 

Mixed metals.  Mixing metal finishes was once a major design faux pas- but no longer. Pair warm and cool finishes, use contrasting accents, play with texture and sheen.

Finally, no one re-decorates every few years.  For this reason, aim for a timeless design aesthetic in your major pieces and purchases, and use inexpensive accessories for the passing trends.  

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Before You Update Your Kitchen or Bath

Are you thinking about a kitchen or bathroom remodel?  Then you do not want to miss our Kitchen and Bath Expo on Tuesday, February 23, from 4 til 7 PM.

Meet with the experts and learn what's in style in tile, all about cabinets, and the newest trends in appliances.  We will have a plumbing expert here to answer all of your questions and our favorite Realtor on hand to discuss your kitchen or bathroom update from the home buyer's perspective.

Wine and appetizers will be served plus you will receive a free gift for attending.  Plan on joining us and learn everything you need to know before you begin the process of renovating your kitchen or bathroom.

Window Treatments 101
Are your window treatments - curtains, valances, blinds - old and dated or damaged and worn out?   Or are you concerned about child (and pet) safety and want all the dangling cords gone?  If so, it's time to learn more about window treatments.

Window treatments can be a major investment, but smart choices will solve many of your problems and concerns, and even save you money.  You may want to keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, protect your hardwood floors from sun damage, or have more privacy from your nosy neighbor. Enhance Floors & More is an authorized Hunter Douglas dealer and can help you select the right window treatment for your décor, lifestyle, and budget.  Our selection of window treatments includes blinds, shutters, and many different types of shades available in a wide variety of fabrics and woods.  Hunter Douglas window fashions have a lifetime warranty and are regarded as the highest quality in the industry.

Let's start by learning about the different types of window treatments available.  We are including a pricing guide as well:  $ is the most affordable and $$$ is typically the biggest investment. 

Roman shades---$$
Roman shades consist of one continuous piece of fabric, featuring horizontal folds down the length of the shade. These folds lay flat against the window when down but fold up nicely when raised, combining the soft look of fabric drapery with the functionality of a shade.

Shutters are a classic window treatment choice, adding architectural design directly to your windows. Shutters are a great value when you consider they actually add value to your home.
The elegant design of shutters looks attractive from both the inside and the outside.

Solar shade window treatments---$
Solar shades are also known as "window sunglasses" for their opaque design that allows you to preserve your outside view while also providing considerable light control. Available in openness factors ranging from 3- to 14-percent, you will want to choose a higher openness to let in more light and preserve your view.

Wood blinds---$
Wood blinds are a classic choice for windows and outlast trends or styles. Made of real wood, using various grains and stains, wood blinds remain durable through the years. The warm look of wood blinds pairs well with other wood furniture, flooring and trim.

Faux wood blinds---$
Faux wood blinds have the same look as real wood, but are more affordable window treatments because they're made out of PVC, vinyl or composite wood material. Faux wood blinds are also moisture resistant, making them a great choice for kitchens and bathrooms where real wood would otherwise warp and crack.

Cellular shades---$$

Cellular shades are the best insulators of all energy-efficient window treatments. They get their name and insulating properties from their fabric honeycomb cells that trap air between the window and the room. This results in heat gain in the winter and heat loss in the summer.

Woven wood shades---$$ 
Woven wood shades are made out of a variety of materials, including grasses, reeds and bamboo. These textured shades instantly add a casual, natural feel to your space. You may add liners to increase privacy or include fabric trim to further customize the woven wood shade to your room.

Panel track blinds---$$
Panel track blinds are made out of a series of fabric panels that slide back and forth to give you optimal light control and privacy.
These blinds are a modern alternative to vertical blinds for covering large windows or sliding glass doors.

Roller shades---$
Roller shades are one of the most affordable options when it comes to covering your windows. These shades roll up neatly onto a tube, making them appear minimal and discreet when raised. With blackout and light-filtering options, you can choose the amount of light control that you wish for any given room.

 Sheer shades---$$$

Sheer shades are an elegant window covering. These popular window treatments feature two sheer fabric facings over soft fabric vanes.
When vanes are open, diffused light is let inside, and your view to the outside is preserved.  When closed, however, room-darkening styles of sheer shades will completely block out light.

Pleated shades---$
Pleated shades are made from a single piece of fabric with pleats that collapse and stack neatly as you raise the shade. This slat-like effect gives your home a casual, semi-sheer look that allows a considerable amount of light to filter through the window.

Drapery adds style and elegance to your home while also providing functional light control and privacy. Panels hang vertically from hardware at the top to your desired window treatment length.

Available in many different styles, fabrics, colors and patterns, you can easily coordinate drapery to layer with any existing window treatments or simply use panels only.

Other Considerations
When looking at the different types of window treatments, remember that child-safe features include a variety of options for all categories. From cordless and motorized operating systems, retractable lift cords, cord tensioners and wand controls, Hunter Douglas offers a wide array of lifting system options for enhanced child and pet safety.

Have odd shaped windows?  Not a problem.  Hunter Douglas has many different options to cover your specialty shaped window. Depending on the shape and type of window covering you choose there are even some that open and close.

Before you make a choice about which window treatment to use, consider what you will be doing in each given room. Whether you are sleeping, playing or cooking, you can customize your window fashion to match your style and provide all of the functions you need.

Enhance Floors & More offers One Year Interest Free Financing on all installed window treatment purchases over $1000.  You can enjoy your new window fashions now and spread out the payments over 12 months, another smart home improvement choice!

Make an appointment to come in and meet with Robin, our Certified Hunter Douglas Specialist, and improve and update your home with beautiful new window coverings.

Design Tip

Thinking about a kitchen update?  One of your first decisions is color.  If your kitchen is particularly tiny, then light, cool colors can make it look larger and brighter, while dark, warm colors can make an oversized kitchen more inviting.