Bringing in some stone work for Spring…

A quick visual scan of most kitchens and bathrooms will revel a variety of material cues. Elements such as stainless steel appliances, crystal glassware, copper pots, hardwood floors and brushed nickel faucets all blend to create the overall look of a space. Bringing tile, stone and mixed material surfacing into a room helps tie it all together to create the ultimate in eclectic decor.

Mixed mosaic collections

Check out some of the new mosaic collections. Manufacturers have responded to the blend trend by playing the role of master mixer. A wide variety of mesh-mounted mosaics combine the glamour of glass, stone, metal and even cut crystal.

Source: Zillow Digs

Unify with color

The goal in interior design is to create interest and harmony. No one material should compete with another for attention. Use color to unify design elements.

Source: Zillow Digs

Door knobs just got a little more chic…

Stylish and Unconventional: Ethereal Sensation Door Knob Collection by Haute Déco

artistic door knobs

Building on the concept behind the iconic Signature collection, Haute Déco studio has recently launched the new Sensation Door Knob Collection. Bronze elements encapsulated in crystal resin take on an ethereal quality when seen through the prism of the resin wrap. The hypnotizing door knobs are fairly easy to integrate in a variety of contemporary interiors. Their mysterious look will add a touch of originality to an interior and trigger the attention of anyone passing through .

artistic knobs

Although the concept is the same, Sensation has a totally different vibe to Signature: the domineering factor here is the pattern sculpted into the bronze element, with the translucent resin acting as a “magnifier”; it’s as if the resin adds a fluid quality to the pattern, forming a contour filled by reflections of the embedded metal. With sphere-shaped designs, the prism effect operated by the crystal ball transforms the original bronze pattern beyond recognition, adding further to the mystery.

Which heat is best for your home?

log home winter retreat

For a few months throughout the year, more or less depending on your geographical location, heating your home is essential.

It is possible that the type of heating source for your home has already been decided. However, if your home needs a new heating source, or you are building a new home, you have a lot to think about.

There are several different ways to provide heat to your home, with central heating, oil heating, and wood heating being the top three choices of most homeowners. There are, however some different factors that you need to think about before making a decision as to which type of heating is best for your home.

Of these factors, cost is, perhaps, the most important. This includes both the cost of the system, as well as monthly or yearly costs to keep the system going. From there, you need to think about the affect your decision has on the environment, safety factors, ease of use, and how well the system performs to heat your home.

Taking the time to think about all these factors can really help you make the decision as to which type of heating system is best for your home. Keep reading to discover the advantages and disadvantages of central heat, oil heat, and wood heat before you make an investment into a new heating system.

Boomerang buyers are back!

First wave of ‘boomerang buyers’ become eligible for mortgages

RealtyTrac: Here’s where the action may heat up


The first wave of 7.3 million homeowners who lost their home to foreclosure or short sale during the foreclosure crisis are now past the seven-year window they conservatively need to repair their credit and qualify to buy a home, according to a new report from RealtyTrac.

More waves of these potential boomerang buyers will be moving past that seven-year window over the next eight years corresponding to the eight years of above-normal foreclosure activity from 2007 to 2014.

“The housing crisis certainly hit home the fact that homeownership is not for everyone, but those burned during the crisis should not immediately throw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to their second chance at homeownership,” said Chris Pollinger, senior vice president of sales at First Team Real Estate, covering the Southern California market which has more than 260,000 potential boomerang buyers.

Read more…

We think you’re ready for a Realtor…

The growth of online real estate listings means consumers are equipped with information very early in the home buying process. A generation ago, to get listing information and access to historical data, home buyers needed to connect with a real estate agent much sooner — sometimes even prematurely. But today’s home buyers can do a lot of the legwork themselves, conducting research online and using home search and research applications independently, in addition to attending open houses.

But this access to information doesn’t mean home shoppers can entirely go it alone. Buying a home is a major transaction, and all the data in the world can’t replace a knowledgeable and experienced local real estate agent.

Here are some signs that you are ready to engage with a buyer’s agent:

You think you’ve found the home of your dreams, and you don’t know what to do next.

If you’ve been looking at homes for some time, you likely have a good feel for what you get for the money. You’ve gone to some open houses and have a few homes or searches saved online. Home shopping has become a hobby. But once you find the home of your dreams, it becomes a part-time job.

Independent shoppers get comfortable with the market until their dream home hits them like a ton of bricks. The house is the motivator to take things up a notch. Reaching out to an agent will take you out of the dreaming phase and move you in the direction of actually buying a home.

You’ve found a home that appears too good to be true, but you can’t figure out what the problem is.

Suppose you stumble upon a house that seems like a great deal. It’s priced accurately for the neighborhood, but has been sitting on the market for weeks, if not months. You may have reached out to the listing agent to see the home in person or asked some questions of the agent at the open house. But that agent represents the seller, so you are not sure what the story is.

In this case, you don’t know what you don’t know. That uncertainty, coupled with your curiosity about the home, is the best reason to pair up with a good local agent. They may know the house, its market history or, via their network, have access to information about the home.

The house may have some major structural issues. Or the agent might point out that it is on a less desirable road or in a tough school district. These are the types of things that new, uneducated buyer wouldn’t know on their own.

Read more…

Windows, windows & more windows in this gem!

Californian-Style Home Playing With Color and Transparency: The Flagship Project

Freshome | link

architecture modern house

The Flagship Project is a generously-sized residence developed by Dupuis Design in San Clemente, California, USA. The very modern Californian-style home plays with transparency, as it features customized bay windows that offer views of the ocean, the islands and the magnificent Californian sunset. Its interior is curved and rounded, contrasting with the quite geometrical exterior. The decoration and furnishings are simple, blending white, anthracite grey and black, with a touch of light-colored wood.

It may be time for a mortgage overhaul…

Are mortgage lenders ready for a total makeover?

The time has come to transform how business gets done

matrix house

Until now, we’ve discussed change at a minor level. While greater responsiveness and a more seamless process are important steps to undertaking a transformative experience, they are just the beginning. If the industry truly experienced a real makeover, what could the future of mortgage lending look like 10 years from now?

To consider such a scenario, imagine what your daily life could look like. With the technological advancements taking place, what if electricity could be delivered wirelessly? What if computers became disposable, to be recycled like aluminum cans?  What if internet access was free, much like broadcast TV was years ago?

Whether any of these ideas become a reality remains to be seen. However, change of this magnitude would require mortgage lenders to transform how they view change — from a process that is reactionary to one that embraces what is possible. What if the industry could open up to consider the possibilities, and not the boundaries, of change?

Author David Levithan in his book The Realm of Possibility states: “Here’s what I know about the realm of possibility — it’s always expanding, it is never what you think it is . . . Most of the limits are of our own world’s devising. And yet, every day we each do so many things that were once impossible to us.”

What are the things considered impossible today that housing finance will take for granted 40-50 years from now? The sheer volume of information that is available and accessible is changing rapidly. As a result, the expectations mortgage borrowers have is being influenced by experiences in other parts of their lives. What if the function of mortgage origination or servicing, as we know them today, looked completely different? What would it look like?

Is it possible that borrowers would no longer send lenders their financial information? Let’s imagine that all the information resided in the cloud and borrowers granted permission to mortgage companies to examine the data to make an offer. As borrowers demand greater transparency and control of the process, it’s conceivable this is the direction we are headed toward. One firm is already building a model to make this possibility into a reality.

Read more…

How highways will affect your home…

How Future Commuting Patterns Affect Architecture


The world we live in is a busy place, and all signs point to it just getting busier. These days, it seems that everybody is on the run and on the list of priorities; careers seem to take a top position. As superior technology leads us into a revolution of seamless communication worldwide, human beings have never been more connected. Everything has become instantaneous and people expect their commute to run as seamless and expedient as the rest of their technology-driven lives.

For architects, this poses a number of big questions. How does one go about designing well for a mass of people always on the move? Architects inherently look towards structures that are built to last, but these days, people function in a world that moves and changes quickly. While these paradox situations can be tricky, they are far from impossible to combine—it just takes a little soul-searching and a lot of patience.

One of the biggest questions that has come up for architects in the modern world is how the question of commuting affects their work and designs. Movement changes everything, including the basic layout of cities and countries. As commuting continues to become a more common situation for the average household, it’s important that architects look at how this affects what they set out to do within their designs.

train station

Ready to be the king of your closet?

5 Closet Upgrades That Make You Feel Like Royalty

LA Closet DesignA spacious and well-organized closet can make getting dressed a luxurious experience and help you look your best.

You may not have Kate Middleton’s wardrobe, but with these five closet upgrades you can create a luxury closet fit for royalty:

1. Cozy seating
A fur chair offers a gentle landing spot where you can slip on your heels. Jonathan Adler’s chic Maxime Fur Chair suits a variety of décor.

LA Closet Design

2. Deluxe drawer inserts
Felt-lined, specialized drawer inserts protect and display your jewelry, ties, glasses or lingerie. Rev-a-Shelf’s velvet-lined drawers put the perfect accessory for your outfit at your fingertips.

3. A 3-Way Mirror
Before she walked down the aisle at her sister’s wedding, Pippa Middleton probably checked in a three-way mirror to see how she looked to those sitting in the back of the church. You can check the rear-view, too, by installing a three-way mirror in your closet. If space and budget are issues, Bed Bath & Beyond sells a $129 over-the-door, three-way mirror in black or white.

4. Crystal Chandelier
The glittering light of a chandelier or crystal wall sconce will warm your closet and prevent you from putting on one black sock and one navy blue sock. Pescaso’s mini-chandeliers, available through Costco, lend a romantic elegance to your closet.

Gas prices & housing – what’s the connection?

Here’s how oil’s drop could impact housing construction

Moody’s: Moderate benefits for builders, homebuyers

house construction

Industries for which fuel is a direct and significant cost will see a positive effect from lower oil prices, as will consumer-dependent businesses more generally, since lower gasoline prices mean consumers will have more cash to spend on other items, a client note from Moody’s says. But oil and gas exploration and production companies, and the companies that supply them, will be hurt by lower crude prices.

“U.S. building materials companies that produce aggregates, ready-mixed concrete and cement will benefit moderately from lower oil prices in 2015.” Moody’s analysts write. “Costs associated with transporting materials will decline with diesel costs, but these companies will also benefit from broader economic gains from higher consumer consumption and healthier state and national budgets.”

Read more…