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Friday, June 26, 2015

Maximizing Your Curb Appeal | Key Residential

What impression will people have when they first see your home? Is your house memorable to someone just passing by, or is it just another house on the street? Your home's curb appeal is the first real impression that someone will have of your home and often times it can be a long lasting impression. Check out these ideas on how to maximize your home's curb appeal and leave a good first impression for guests or those merely passing by.

The tall and narrow trees help to highlight this homes Tudor architecture and high arching
roof line.


Ensure that the exterior of your home is in good condition. A fresh coat of paint can work wonders in freshening up your home's exterior. If anything is broken or falling apart then replace it as quickly as possible. Once your home exterior is in top condition you can focus on showing it off. Other features contributing to your curb appeal should work to compliment but not overshadow your house. And if you house has any interesting architectural features then you should make sure that they are prominently highlighted in your home's front facade.


Grass is a good starting point when planning the landscaping of your front yard. Pick a type of grass that will do well in your climate zone to reduce the amount of care required. Synthetic grass is a good alternative if you want something that will stay green all year round with little care. If you live in an area that often suffers from drought and don't want to care for a full yard of grass then you could opt for more varied plant life. A mixture of flowers, trees, and bushes can add a unique look to your front yard.
This home uses a variety of plant life for the front yard landscaping. From flowers, to bushes, to trees, to even pumpkins, this home proves that
landscaping for a front yard can be so much more than just grass.

A wide path to the front door and retaining walls compliment the softer landscaping touches
of this front yard.


When it comes to hardscaping, you will at the very least want a pathway leading to the front door so that guests have a clear area to walk. Beyond that you have virtual free reign of what hardscaping to include. If you've chosen some interesting landscaping features then you may want to include extra paths so that people have a safe place to walk to enjoy the view. Small barriers or short fences are useful to separate grass areas from other plant life. Of if plants aren't your thing you could devote some space to a rock garden.

This solid glass front door allows the front entry of the home to
become a part of the curb appeal.


As the barrier between your home and the outside world, don't be afraid to add some interest to your front door or entry area to really make it stand out. If your home is built with relatively neutral colors then a bold hue for your front door can add a unique statement. A solid wood door can make a statement if you're hesitant about using non-neutral colors. If if you're feeling adventurous then consider a full glass door that will allow you to also draw in the visible part of your entry into your curb appeal.


You add decorative accessories inside your home, such as artwork and photos, so why not add a few outside to the front of your house as well? A stylish birdbath can help attract more nature and surround your yard with the pleasant sound of running water. If you're in the patriotic mood then add a US flag by your front door. Or fly the flag of your favorite sports team. A unique and relatively easy way to add some decoration would be in your house numbers. Opt for something other than the standard fare to set your house apart.
A US flag and dual rocking chairs help to create a home-y facade for this home.

The appearance of this home differs greatly during the day and at
night, but regardless of the time of day it still looks great.


Lighting is easily overlooked after adding a light at the front door and any other entries into the home (which should be the first priority when lighting the exterior of your home), but the right lighting can make a large impact on your home's appearance. Homes can look completely different at night than they do during the day. The lack of natural lighting allows you to add accent lights to highlight certain features that may not stand out quite as much in the daytime. The combination of light and shadows allows you to create a unique front facade.

See more from these projects and others on our Houzz page.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Master Bath Remodel: Aging in Place Without Sacrificing Style | Key Residential

When you first look at this completed master bath remodel what words come to mind? Perhaps luxurious, spacious, spa-like, or stylish? Would it cross your mind that the bathroom was designed as a room that would be readably usable years in the future as the user's needs change over time?

Designing rooms to be functional both now and years in the future as needs evolve, or universal design, has become exceedingly popular as more people are planning to stay i their current homes for many years to come. If you are planning a remodel you may want to consider including items that will make your life easier both now and in the future, even if you don't think you need them yet. And including universal design elements does not mean you have to sacrifice style and current functionality, as this master bath remodel shows. Check out some of the useful and fun features included in this remodel to get some ideas for your own home.


One important feature of the bath is its openness, especially when compared to its pre-renovated state. No square footage was added during the remodel. Rather, through smart planning and minimalist features, the room was able to take advantage of the space it occupied while also meeting an important requirement that the user may have need of in the future: wheelchair accessibility. For a room to be considered wheelchair accessible it needs to have five foot diameters between all fixtures. But as you can see, the openness by no means detracts from the appearance and usability of the bathroom today.


The bathtub features jets with remote control access, a feature almost anyone would probably enjoy. The tub also has a handheld sprayer to make it even easier to use. Who wouldn't want to take a relaxing bath in this tub after a long and stressful day?


A curbless entry allows for easy access into and out of the shower, a convenience that most could enjoy no mater what their age, but will be especially important if the user is ever wheelchair bound. You may notice that a common universal design feature for bathrooms is missing in the shower: grab bars. While no grab bars are currently present in this area, blocking was added during the framing process to allow for their future addition.


It is impossible to see one of the toilet room's best features in a picture: a toilet seat cover that raises automatically when the doors to the room are opened. As with the shower, blocking was added to this area as well to allow for grab bars to be more easily installed in the future.


The vanities were designed to be easily adjusted for multiple options as the client's needs change over time. They currently feature partially recessed sinks with marble countertops held up by metal legs. Their minimalist and open design keeps with the general design aesthetic of the rest of the room.


The closet features beautiful custom built in cabinets. The doorway into the closet is wider than the standard door frame to allow for future wheelchair access, but the wider frame by no means detracts from the high end finished look of the bathroom.


It's an easy feature to miss, but an additional drain was added to the center of the room. The drain, combined with the fully tiled floors and walls, allows for significantly easier cleaning.

See more from this project and others on our Houzz page.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Designing a Stylish and Hard Working Home Office | Key Residential

When it comes to design, the home office can be an often overlooked room. But don't undervalue the importance of design for this room, especially when you consider just how much the room is used. It's the room where you take care of a lot of your household business. Perhaps you also get to use it to work from home. It is also probably home to a lot of your books and a computer or two. And if you have school age children it can be used as a quiet place for studying and homework. Here are a few things to think about when designing your home office to ensure that is is a well functioning and stylish room that works just as hard as you do.

This curved desk works perfectly for this office. There is plenty of space
for two monitors without having to sacrifice all of the desk. Drawers also
provide some much needed out or sight storage.


What is the most important piece of furniture in a home office? If the desk is not your first answer then it should at least be high up on your list. The desk is a hard working piece of furniture that can serve multiple purposes in an office. The most obvious is as a place where you get work done, whether that is working from home, household business, or homework. There is a good chance it is home to your family computer, or at least the place where a laptop or tablet is often set up. It could also be serving some storage functions as well. Make sure to pick a desk that will serve your needs, whether it is a small desk with no drawers, an L or U shaped desk with plenty of work space for multiple people, or something in between.

This office includes two arm chairs plus an ottoman for extra seating.
Who wouldn't want to curl up with a good book on one of these chairs?


A desk cannot be complete without a desk chair. Don't overlook comfort in favor of fashion when it comes to a desk chair. If you're designing for a more professional aesthetic then it shouldn't be too hard to find a chair that both matches your aesthetic and is comfortable (think office style chair with plush leather). If that is not your design aesthetic then there are still plenty of stylish ergonomic designs. But don't commit to something just because it looks good. Comfort should play an important factor in your choice. And don't forget about additional seating that you may need for the room. If you have several school age children then you will probably need multiple chairs for them. A plush, upholstered chair or even a full couch or loveseat would be the perfect addition if you are an avid reader and want a quiet and comfortable place to curl up with a good book.

This office combines bookcase storage and closet storage
by having a hidden closet behind one of the bookcases.


The home office is a prime location for various types of storage. You will more than likely want a bookcase or two to house your book collection. Plus, bookshelves an also be a good place to display photos, house plants, souvenirs, or other smaller design pieces. A good filing cabinet would also come in handy, and there are many options to choose from that don't look like the bulky metal cabinets found in business offices. Unless you are going for an industrial look, in which case metal cabinets may be exactly what you want. You may also want to consider some type of storage like cabinets or a closet where things can be kept out of sight. they will also make cleanup easier if you're in a hurry before guests arrive. The home office would also be a good location to put a safe for more important or sensitive items.

This office takes advantage of the large windows and the natural light they
will let in.But there is also a desk lamp for additional light if it is needed.


You will probably want multiple sources of light for your office. Overhead lighting, desk lamps, floor lamps, and track lighting are all good to consider. Figure out what you plan to use your office for and add lighting that will allow you to accomplish your tasks. And while you probably want to minimize distractions as much as possible in a home office to increase your productivity, don't use that as an excuse to shut the room off completely from the world. Natural light could help increase your productivity and having a view of nature will give you something fun and refreshing to look at when you need a quick break or have hit a mental road block. Poor lighting can make it harder to concentrate as you have to work harder to see what it is you are doing, so don't skimp in this area. 

See more from these projects and others on our Houzz page.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Six Steps to Creating Your Perfect Living Room | Key Residential

The living room is a place that can see a lot of use in your home. From being the place to relax after work, to watching your favorite TV show, to the area for guests to gather when you're entertaining, the living room has to work hard. How you design the room could easily make or break its effectiveness. Here are six steps to keep in mind when designing your living room.


When someone first enters your living room what do you want them to see? Perhaps it is a fireplace, or the view outside, or a nice piece of artwork. One of the first things you need to do when designing your living room is to figure out what the focal point is going to be so that all of your other design decisions work to enhance your selection. If you have a great view outside and low windows then you don't want tall furniture obstruction that view. If you have a colorful piece of artwork then you may want to consider using neutral colors throughout the rest of the room save for a few small color accents so that the artwork can really pop.


When centering your living room, you don't have to use the actual center of the room. In fact, depending on the size and shape of your living room it may be inadvisable to use the actual center of the room. This should be the point where you want to center people around. Typically the center point is where you will want to place a coffee table and then center seating around it. If you have a large living room then it may be beneficial to have multiple centers in the room. If you do this, try to design one area as the main center and any others that you include as smaller offshoots.


There is no rule for what the correct furniture is for your living room. Ultimately, your furniture should suit your family and your needs. If you have a large family or entertain often then you probably want a fair amount of seating. Also bear in mind how much space you have for furniture. You don't want to overfull the room with too much and leave yourself with no room to move around in. If there's not enough room for all the seating that you want then think about using some multifunctional furniture. When there aren't that many people in the room that ottoman can be used as a coffee table but when you're entertaining it can easily be converted into extra seating.


Almost as important as seating are flat surfaces. You need places for people to set drinks and other things down. They're also a great place for a few design pieces to add some character to the room. Just don't go too overboard on adding in decor pieces. A coffee table in front of your main couch is a good place to start. After that add in a few side tables, which will be especially important if you're an avid reader so that you can add in a lamp close to where you plan to read.


Consider the multitude of things that this room can be used for, it shouldn't be too surprising that you will need quite a few different light sources to keep up. The lighting you would need for reading would be far different from the lighting that you would need to watch TV. For the most effective lighting you'll want a combination that would include things like natural light, ceiling lights, table lamps, sconces, and floor lamps. If you're big on entertaining then you may also want to consider putting your light switches on a dimmer so that you can easily adjust to the most flattering light for your guests.


One of the prevailing design themes right
now is that less is more, but that doesn't mean you should skimp out on adding in at least a few pieces to give your room some character. Throw pillows are a good addition and can be more easily swapped out if you find your design tastes have changed.A piece of two of interesting artwork for the walls can be a good conversation starter when you're entertaining. Or you could create your own gallery wall with family photos. Coffee table trays can be very handy as not only a place to arrange stylish knick knacks but also when you're cleaning up in preparation for guests. Just put everything you need to get out of the room on the tray and then move it to another room for temporary storage.

See more from these projects and others on our Houzz page.