Tis the season for outdoor entertaining!

Beautiful Outdoor Kitchen Ideas for Summer


Summer is almost here! It’s time for cookouts, BBQ’s and outdoor entertaining.  But outdoor parties can become tedious with all that running back and forth, inside and out with serving dishes and food.

The solution: Outdoor kitchens. They allow us to navigate backyard entertaining without all the fuss, avoiding the running back and forth from indoor stove to outdoor guests.  Here are some must-have outdoor kitchen ideas to help you create your very own outdoor cooking oasis:

Go modern

Outdoor kitchens can match your modern home. In other words, the outdoor kitchen doesn’t have to be ‘kitchy’ and filled with cute Kiss the Cook aprons, rather it can be sleek and modern to match your style.

modern outdoor kitchen patio

Outdoor kitchen storage

Just like our indoor kitchens, our outdoor kitchens require ample cupboard space. When designing your outdoor space, make sure to include plenty of cabinets and storage solutions. Stainless steel cabinets are ideal for outdoor kitchens.

Are you ready for cube living?

‘Cubitat’ Fits Living Essentials into a 10-foot Cube

Urban CapitalThe $60,000 units would include a basic bedroom — complete with a pullout bed — a bathroom, kitchen and laundry.

A Toronto developer is thinking inside the box and has designed prefabricated cubes that contain everything you need in a home — except the space to put it in.

Cubitat, a collaboration between developer Urban Capital of Toronto and the design firm Nichetto Studio, based in Sweden and Italy, is another entry into the “micro living” niche market where less square footage means more efficient living. Each cube is 10 feet high, 10 feet wide and 10 feet deep, and is meant to be a home you place within a home.

Each wall contains one of four fundamentals for living:

  • Complete kitchen.
  • Storage and laundry area.
  • Bedroom with pullout bed.
  • Entry to a bathroom placed within the cube.

The “plug-and-play” cube spares nothing. The kitchen has a fridge, freezer, a range with an oven, and a sink. The bathroom features a shower stall, toilet, sink and storage. And the bed pulls out from a wall unit with its headboard facing a TV so you can watch telly in bed. Everything is wired and plumbed, so buyers only need to hook up the cube to existing utilities and drains.

Cubitat, which is still only a prototype, was introduced to the world in January during the 2015 Interior Design Show in Toronto. Developers are still gauging interest — and there has been a lot. But there still are a few details to iron out, like how to hoist or squeeze the cube into existing spaces and which permits would be needed to transport such a wide and high load. The developers may have to find a way to deliver the unit in snap-together pieces, rather than as one cube.

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

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.

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.

Good news at tax time for short sellers…

Short sale tax break signed into law

President Obama makes it official

white house and dollar

Homeowners who had short sales in 2014 can now breathe a giant sigh of relief, as the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama.

Under the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act, any mortgage forgiveness achieved in a short sale is not counted as income for homeowners whom banks allowed to sell their homes for less than the amount of their mortgage.

The Act was due to expire in 2014, but was extended by recent votes in Congress.

The Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act passed by a wide margin in the House of Representatives three weeks ago and passed 76-16 in the Senate two weeks ago.

But the Act wasn’t made official until President Obama signed it into law, which he did last week.

The extension only applies to short sales conducted in 2014. Any further extension of the short sale tax break would need to be taken into consideration by the newly elected members of Congress when the Congress begins its 2015 session in January.

According to a recent estimate from RealtyTrac, the average short sale has an estimated mortgage forgiveness of $88,456.

And according to a further data provided by RealtyTrac, there have been more than 121,700 short sales through October of this year, with a total mortgage debt forgiveness of nearly $10.8 billion.

Read more…

Elegance is always in style…

10 Ways to Make Your Home Look Elegant on a Budget

Freshome.com | link

modern open living space


Having a high-end looking home can be difficult, especially if you have a tight decorating budget. Fortunately, there are ways – even on a budget – that you can get the high-end look you dream of.

Interior designers have shared a few secrets over the years that have given homeowners some insight on how they can make their home look elegant without breaking the bank. From adding pillows and a fresh coat of paint to window treatments and hardwood floors, these are simple solutions you need to know about.

Here, you will discover 10 of the simplest and least expensive ways to make your home look elegant. Take the time to keep reading – you just might be surprised at these simple tricks to fooling your guests into thinking you live a high-end life.