Designing the Perfect Home Office to Work From Home In Style

Working from home is an aspiration for many of us, but to do so effectively takes work. A disorganized space at home can be just as troublesome as a hectic office. The most disciplined telecommuters will tell you that you need a structured routine and organization to rise and grind and get into work mode.

Having a designated workspace is quite possibly the most important piece to the work-from-home pie. Even if you live in a small space, you need to find a balance between home and office. People who work from home often have a difficult time separating work hours from their non-work hours because it’s so easy to keep at it late into the night. But maintaining a balance and shutting down the computer is important for overall wellbeing. What are some other must-haves for a successful home office? Here are the top five:

 

  1. Natural Light – Study upon study tells us that natural light is needed to boost productivity and mood. Make sure to set your desk up as close to a window as you can. If being near a window isn’t an option, a natural light lamp is the next best thing. It helps balance your body clock and leaves you feeling rested and refreshed.
  2. To-Do List or Planner – Start each day off by making a to-do list outlining what you need to get done before the end of the workday. Make sure to set a realistic time frame in which all of that should be completed, so you can check each one off the list and feel immense accomplishment once you’ve completed them all.
  3. Storage – If you have a big enough space, put in a large bookshelf where you can organize everything (think storage boxes). It reduces clutter and looks stylish. Using your walls and cabinetry is the most efficient use of space.
  4. Calendar – Many people tend to rely on digital calendars these days because of their convenience. When all of your devices sync together and pop up with reminders, you never have to worry about missing an appointment. However, many people find that it helps to keep a paper calendar handy too so you can easily view your whole month at a glance.
  5. Space for Inspiration – It doesn’t matter what field you work in, having a source of inspiration in your workspace is essential. Whether it’s a photo of your family, your dream car, or that vacation you’ve been dying to take, having that inspiration right in front of you provides a constant reminder of why you do what you do.
Posted on November 8, 2018 at 3:30 pm
John Taylor | Category: Living | Tagged , , ,

Trick or Treat! Five Frighteningly Decorated Halloween Homes

Who doesn’t love a good scare every now and then? One of the best parts about fall is the chance to celebrate Halloween. While some folks are in it for the costumes and bags of candy, the eerie spirit of the season also sparks some imaginative home decorations. From the creatively crafted to the downright fright-inducing, there’s no shortage of spooktacular stylings out there. Choosing our favorites was difficult, but these homes really sent a tingle down our spine.

The Graveyard

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Photo Credit: OregonLive.com

Did something just move over there? Everything is a piece of the show at this remarkable home, which has featured a spooky pop-up cemetery every Halloween for the past 20 years. From its faux-church to the tombstones and skeletons, these homeowners have perfectly executed their very own haunted house.

 

Them Bones

Photo Credit: AngelaCoomey on Instagram

There’s nothing quite as creepy as a bit of uncertainty. If looked at a certain way, this extensive façade could almost pass for a heavy dosage of leafy décor. Instead, you can get just close enough to discover the boney truth. We’re just glad we didn’t come across this home at night!

 

The Monster House

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Photo Credit: IdealHome.Co.UK

A well-crafted monster-themed home is hard to beat. This particular property belongs to artist Christine McConnell, whose passion for things that go bump in the night led her to turn her home into an annual source of her neighbors’ nightmares. This year, she’s shifted from the many-eyed terror to a more fiery style. Scary enough for us, Christine!

 

Into the Clown’s Mouth

Photo Credit: @darthdoe on Instagram

We’re not sure if the rest of the house lives up to the terrifying standard its entrance sets, but we sure aren’t about to walk into that mouth and find out. The fact that it’s a clown makes it all the more unsettling. Walking down a row of similar houses only to notice that horrifying site from the corner of your eye is a terrifying thought.

Have a fun and frightastic Halloween!

Posted on November 7, 2018 at 3:30 pm
John Taylor | Category: Living | Tagged ,

9 Options to Remove, Hide or Play Down a Popcorn Ceiling

Don’t love your popcorn ceiling? You’re not the only one stuck with some unwanted stucco overhead. There are many options for moving on from it, but not all of them are equally effective — or equally easy. To help you decide how to address your popcorn problem, here are some top ways to remove, cover or distract from stucco ceilings.

 

Related: How to Decorate Your Ceiling

 

Popcorn Ceiling 1: The Kitchen Source, original photo on Houzz

 

From the 1950s to the 1980s, so-called popcorn ceilings (with their prickly stucco texture resembling the popular movie theater snack) were a major architectural staple in America and many other nations.

Eventually the asbestos commonly used in the application was found to be toxic, and demand severely dropped.

However, a textured ceiling does have its advantages. It reduces echoes and hides ceiling plane imperfections, which is why it’s still used (in asbestos-free formulations) today, as shown in the bathroom here.

Despite its practical uses, popcorn ceilings, for many people, are considered an unfashionable eyesore, especially with contemporary demand for “clean lines.” Also, popcorn ceilings can gather dust and be difficult to clean or repaint, which means they don’t always age beautifully.

But don’t worry. You’ve got plenty of options.

 

Popcorn Ceiling 2: Designs by Gia Interior Design, original photo on Houzz

 

Ceiling Scraping

The good news is a sprayed-on stucco coating can be scraped off to reveal the original ceiling surface, a process usually known simply as “ceiling scraping” or “stucco removal.” A specialist typically does this because (here’s the bad news) the process can be somewhat costly at around $1 to $2 per square foot. It’s a messy, labor-intensive process, hence the high cost.

Also, in some cases, the results may not achieve the crispness of a ceiling that had not been stuccoed in the first place, especially if the stucco has been painted over, which greatly complicates the removal process.

Even in the best cases the exposed ceiling will typically require at least some smoothing and patching to create a more even and crisp final product, which makes this an extensive and relatively challenging undertaking for DIYers.

While ceiling stucco no longer uses asbestos in modern applications, homes built before 1980 (or even in the early ’80s while old stucco products were still stocked) may include asbestos. If there is any doubt, a professional asbestos test should be conducted before any resurfacing, which could release heavily toxic dust.

 

Ceiling Replacement

One of the simplest alternatives to scraping is removing and replacing the ceiling drywall. Alternately, you can have the ceiling layered over with new drywall. The drop in the ceiling plane will often be minimal, and this method can encase asbestos rather than releasing it into the air, delaying the issue, if not resolving it.

Redrywalling a ceiling will cost closer to $4 to $6 per square foot, but the results will be more predictable.

 

Popcorn Ceiling 3: Diament Builders, original photo on Houzz

 

Covering Stucco

Speaking of layering, there are many other materials besides drywall that can be installed over a popcorn ceiling, many of which add extra personality to a room.

 

Related: Keep Your Cottage Cool

 

Beadboard. Classic beadboard makes a charming ceiling treatment, and not just in a rustic cottage. Painted white, the subtle texture of beadboard paneling works well in traditional spaces or modern ones, adding a layer of depth in an unconventional place.

 

Popcorn Ceiling 4: Spinnaker Development, original photo on Houzz

 

Panels of beadboard often cost less than 50 cents per square foot, making this a very affordable option, especially for handy DIYers.

For a contemporary twist, try finishing the ceiling in a gloss paint, as shown here. This slow-drying finish will take more labor to complete, but the results have incredible depth and elegance.

 

Warm wood. If you’re not into painted beadboard, try multitonal wood for a rich, inviting treatment that’s great for a den or sitting area. Contrast it with white molding and crossbeams, or let the wood speak for itself. This approach works well with rustic decor, as a gentle touch in a modernist space or somewhere in between.

 

Popcorn Ceiling 5: Bravehart Design Build, original photo on Houzz

 

Pressed tin. Whether you use true pressed tin tiles or a fiber substitute, this classic ceiling look recalls speak-easy style and makes a great cover-up for a kitchen ceiling. You can paint it white or pale gray to keep the look breezy, or an inky dark hue (like charcoal or navy) for moody atmosphere. Or choose a metallic finish for extra sheen and drama.

Many companies now provide faux pressed tin and other panel systems specifically designed to cover stuccoed or damaged ceilings. They typically cost $1 to $5 per square foot.

To have a professional install these materials for you, expect to pay several hundred dollars extra.

 

Popcorn Ceiling 6: The Morson Collection, original photo on Houzz

 

Other Options

Lighting. Sometimes the best way to deal with ceiling stucco is to de-emphasize it, and smart lighting choices can go a long way toward that.

Notice how the lighting hitting this stucco wall emphasizes the texture. Great when the effect is desired. To avoid highlighting unwanted ceiling stucco, choose lights that aim downward, rather than upward or outward, so light is cast on beautiful surfaces below and not on your ceiling itself.

Try pot lights, or semi-flush-mounts (or pendants) with an opaque shade to aim light downward rather than multiple directions.

 

Paint. Ultimately, the best way to deal with a popcorn ceiling may simply be to learn to live with it. Think about it: How many people do you know who live with popcorn ceilings? I bet you can’t specifically remember who has it or doesn’t, because unless a ceiling is highlighted, we don’t typically spend much time looking at it.

Try painting the walls and the ceiling the same color to blur the lines between them, and then create drama at ground level to draw the eye down. You’ll soon forget about your stucco altogether.

 

By Yanic Simard, Houzz

Posted on August 10, 2018 at 3:30 pm
John Taylor | Category: Living | Tagged , , ,

Energize Your Home This Winter With Bright Hues

Bright hues are eye catching, confident and cheering — so if winter’s got you feeling less than energized, why not tap into the power of bright colors to lift your spirits and your decor? Read on for 10 reasons to give bright, zesty hues a try in your home this winter.

 

Bright Hues 1Bronwyn Poole by Touch Interiors, original photo on Houzz

 

1. Bright hues help with the whole rising and shining thing. Zingy brights are like caffeine for your space. If you’ve been dragging on these dark winter mornings, perhaps a colorful bedroom makeover would help things along. Artwork, pillows and a throw can be easily swapped out now, and again when you feel like a change.

 

Bright Hues 2Bronwyn Poole by Touch Interiors, original photo on Houzz

 

2. Bright hues are playful. Lighten the mood at home with fun, colorful pieces, like the oversize geometric artwork and bright blue vintage rug shown in this space. Colors this bold are packed with personality and perfect in spaces where you host parties or play with your kids.

 

3. Bright hues are a winter palette cleanser. Been feeling oversaturated by red, green and woodsy decor? Acid brights can act as a refreshing palette cleanser. Clear away the holiday decor and start fresh with a clean, crisp pairing of white and brights.

 

Bright Hues 3Emma Blomfield, original photo on Houzz

 

4. Bright hues are mood boosters. Bright, bold colors are undeniably cheerful. Even if you typically shy away from bright hues, consider making an exception in the winter. The infusion of color can be a great pick-me-up!

 

5. Bright hues are gutsy. Claim your space and make a statement with a big decorating move, like bold wallpaper or a bright, graphic rug. Bright hues exude confidence — perfect when you are looking to make a fresh start in your life.

 

Bright Hues 4Tobi Fairley Interior Design, original photo on Houzz

 

6. Bright hues offer contrast to the gray outdoors. Dismal weather got you down? Cheer up your foyer with sunshine yellow. Spaces with large windows can also become a bit of a downer when the skies are cloudy — refresh a living room or kitchen with sunshiny hues to counteract the gloom.

 

7. Bright hues bring a dash of romance. From the shiny red of London buses to the bright turquoiseof a zippy Italian scooter, the colors of a place are often one of the most memorable parts of traveling. Bring back a bit of the romance of your favorite destinations with a collection of colorful travel photos on the wall. Or pick up colors from your most cherished places in smaller doses — like bright buttons on a dapper gray armchair.

 

Bright Hues 550 Degrees North Architects, original photo on Houzz

 

8. Bright hues can help you feel more productive. Give your home workspace a jolt to keep yourself sharp and focused. Try a brightly hued desk chair or filing cabinet, or arrange your bookshelves in rainbow order. Even a vase of bright blooms and a new pen cup on the desk can do the trick!

Related: Outfit Your Workspace With Stylish Office Furniture

 

Bright Hues 6Reiko Feng Shui Design, original photo on Houzz

 

9. Bright hues wake up winter white. If your winter decorating scheme tends towards pure wintry whites and subtle glints of metallic hues, consider punching things up with a bright accent or two. In the space shown here, a cluster of pillows and a glamorous chandelier dripping in turquoise beads transforms a plain landing into a jaw-dropping one.

 

10. Bright hues give you a taste of spring when you need it most. Why wait for the first daffodils, when you can have a wonderfully bright yellow door right now? Stop trudging through winter waiting for spring, and treat yourself to springy colors today.

 

By Laura Gaskill, Houzz

Posted on July 27, 2018 at 3:30 pm
John Taylor | Category: Living | Tagged , ,

How An Accent Wall Can Bring Everything Together

 

What is it about an accent wall that makes people refer to it as a “wonder wall”?

An accent wall is an emphasized wall in a room that has been designed to attract attention from adjacent walls. The simplest (and cheapest) option to go about an accent wall is by means of paint, though some may opt for wallpaper or tile. Homes with accent walls add a surprise element to a room and define an area of space that deserves attention.

Choosing the right wall

Experts say that the first wall you see upon entering a room is typically the accent wall. In many cases, the wall will have a fireplace or a built-in bookshelf, or something that suggests it is the focal point of the room. In this case, you want to accent that wall by emphasizing the central point with a background color.

Choosing the right color

Color accent walls can add depth and dimension to a room, and make a room seem bigger, warmer, or brighter. If a room is large, consider using warm colors to make the room appear more welcoming, or if the space is smaller, a lighter color can make a room look more spacious. You can visually enlarge or shrink a room by choosing the right color for your room.

Light reflections

Remember to think about how lighting affects the color of a wall. The color you choose may change depending on light sources that reflect on walls. For example, incandescent lights will have a different influence in comparison to natural lighting against walls. Different light sources can affect color choices, so don’t forget to experiment with lighting against colored walls.

Tinting the ceiling

Typically, wonder-walls function independently of the ceiling, as they usually remain white. However, by adding a few drops of the wall color paint to a can of ceiling paint, you are able to slightly tint a ceiling. This subtle color scheme can make for a perfect ceiling finish to compliment an accent wall.

How to do it yourself

Painting an accent wall is an easy home improvement or do-it-yourself project. All that is needed is a short list of low-cost products, including:

 

    • Painter’s tape

 

    • Paint (with primer)

 

    • Tarp

 

    • Roller and brush

 

    • Putty and scraper

 

    • Sandpaper

 

The directions are simple: tape off the desired wall, spread tarp across the floor, fill any holes or cracks on the wall, sand and smooth out the surface, then paint the accent wall using zigzag strokes.

Painting an accent wall is a great DIY project for anyone to tackle over a weekend or even a few hours. What is your take on the one-wall wonder? Is an accent wall an overstatement, an understatement, or a room well-balanced?

Posted on May 22, 2018 at 3:30 pm
John Taylor | Category: Housing Trends | Tagged , ,

Home Decor Through The Decades

As we celebrate our 45th anniversary here at Windermere, we’re feeling a bit nostalgic. The fundamentals of helping our clients buy and sell homes haven’t changed much over the past 45 years, but the way we decorate our homes sure has. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and explore interior design trends from the past four decades—the good (farmhouse sinks), the bad (macramé owls), and the ill-advised (carpeted bathrooms!).

1970s

Inspired by the hippie movement, interior design in the 1970s centered around bringing the outdoors inside. Wood paneling could be found in bedrooms and basements alike, and wood accents adorned appliances in the kitchen.

Earth tones dominated throughout the house. If your refrigerator wasn’t avocado or burnt sienna and your shag carpet wasn’t harvest gold, you were not keeping up with the times.

1980s

In the 1980s, we wanted to make homes as cozy as possible, which for a lot of folks meant chintz, Laura Ashley–inspired florals, and tons of pastels.

The “country” look gained huge popularity during this decade as well. Even high-rise city apartments were filled with objects that seemed more at home on a ranch in Texas, including bleached cow skulls and weathered-wood dining tables and chairs.

1990s

Perhaps as a reaction to the excess of the decade before, the 1990s saw a rise in Japanese-inspired minimalism. Sparsely furnished rooms with rock gardens, clean lines, and simple colors were all the rage.

On the opposite end of that spectrum was the shabby chic craze. Distressed furniture, soft colors, and oversized textiles combined to create this look.

Texturized walls were also a big hit. Wall paper and paint brushes were out, and sponges became the way to get the chicest look for your home.

2000s

It’s hard to believe, but we’re nearly a decade out from the early aughts. And that perspective makes it easier to spot trends that felt of-the-moment only a few years ago but are waning in popularity today. One example is Tuscan-style kitchens. It seemed every new home—especially homes on the upper end of the market—included a kitchen with stone tiles, granite countertops, hanging vines, and beige and tan tones.

Another popular item from the early 2000s that is now facing a bit of a backlash is mason jars. Once a staple of homes looking to incorporate a rustic feel, mason jars are now so common in decorating both homes and restaurants that they no longer feel special or nostalgic.

Today

Trends are always evolving, but if you’re looking for some cutting-edge interior design ideas for 2018, here are a couple to consider.

Embrace super saturated colors, especially warmer tones like yellow and red. These bold hues no longer need to be saved for accent pieces like pillows or lamps. Larger pieces of furniture and entire walls make a bigger splash.

Incorporate geometric patterns. There’s really no wrong way to get on board with this trend. Whether your couch features large circles, you add patterned backsplash in your kitchen, or you cover your ceiling with octagonal wallpaper, geometric shapes will help your home feel fresh.

Posted on May 7, 2018 at 3:30 pm
John Taylor | Category: Housing Trends | Tagged , , , ,