Creative Hardwood Flooring

17322840The recovering U.S. housing market has led to increased demand for certain luxury items, including hardwood flooring. Exciting trends are influencing the marketplace and for today’s consumers, there are more hardwood flooring options than ever before.

“Savvy consumers want variety and flexibility in their flooring choices,” says Linda Jovanovich of the American Hardwood Information Center. “With American hardwood species running the gamut of color and because hardwood is a product that can adapt to many different decorating styles and decors, hardwood provides a degree of diversity, as well as long-term value, that cannot be matched by other flooring materials.”

From the trend-watchers at independent market research firm, Market Insights Torcivia, and the National Wood Flooring Association, look at what’s trending now.

A touch of the creative

* Using multiple wood species is very popular, typically using one species in the main field of the room, then introducing other contrasting species incorporated as a border or other subtle design elements in the room.

* Mixed media incorporates hardwood with other flooring options like stone, tile, carpet or even metal. This approach often helps to define different seating or functional areas within a large, open space.

* Installing wood floors, in a non-linear format, is increasingly popular as well. Custom parquet patterns can achieve this look but even traditional linear floors can accomplish the same goal by installing the linear pattern on a curve.

* Consumer preferences are gravitating toward darker species, like walnut, over the more traditional, medium-colored white and red oak. In many cases, however, existing oak floors are being refinished and stained to achieve this look without replacing the floor.

* Buyers are moving away from the traditional 2 1/4 inches strip floor to wider plank flooring, 3 inches and wider. Random width planks are also popular. This creates a very casual look, while utilizing more of the raw materials during the manufacturing process.

* Distressed flooring – hand-scraping the boards will achieve an antiqued look while, at the same time, hiding small imperfections that can appear in flooring over time, like small scratches or dents.-This distressed effect can also be achieved in the factory.

Stains and finishes

The National Wood Flooring Association also reports that flooring manufacturers are introducing new lines geared to satisfy the emerging trends toward gray stains and finishes – ranging from very subtle to very dark – and metallic finishes.

Metallic finishes incorporate softly shimmering metallic accents by embedding the metallic materials into the hardwood. The result is a pronounced grain that shimmers softly in contrast to the rest of the wood. It is difficult to predict if this trend will catch on long-term but it has become increasingly popular, particularly on the West Coast.

Get inspired

As the U.S. economy continues to recover, more and more consumers will enhance their living spaces with flooring, cabinetry and other luxury items made from American Hardwoods, the ultimate in value, versatility and style. Browse the photo gallery of the American Hardwood Information Center at www.HardwoodInfo.com for inspiration.

Picture 009George Cline is President of HomePro Inspections which he founded in 1991. George is a  NYS licensed professional engineer, a NYS Certified Radon Measurement Provider, and a NYS approved Technical Instructor for continuing education. In addition to full home and commercial property inspections, George consults with home and building owners on specific concerns such as wet basements, structural issues, roofing problems, heating and cooling systems, ice damming and attic ventilation problems. He has trained several home inspectors in the field and is a certified member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Give George and his Team a call to schedule your Rochester Home Inspection at 585-670-6323 or schedule your inspection online at http://www.rochesterhomepro.com/blog/schedule-now/

Create A Traditional Kitchen Full Of Personality And Style

19529758The kitchen is the heart of the home … the place where memories are made while cooking, eating and sharing stories around the table. Since so much time is spent in this room, it’s important to have a kitchen that fits your personality. There are many styles to choose; but traditional remains one of the most popular because of its timeless, classic look. If you’re updating your kitchen, here are some tips to create a space that reflects your personal style.

Color matters. The right paint colors are integral to achieving the traditional look. Select paint colors that are warm and inviting like cream, taupe and gold. Light colors are popular in the kitchen because they provide a feeling of cleanliness and make the space feel larger. Infuse your room with a few stylish touches by incorporating accents in darker or richer shades, especially in the furniture, wood trim or flooring. —

Quality fixtures. When designing your new kitchen, don’t overlook the faucets. They get used many times during the day – needing to withstand heavy usage and tie into the overall design of the kitchen. Growing in popularity are motion-activated faucets, like Moen’s easy-to-use MotionSense technology. The Brantford pulldown faucet adds timeless appeal as the spout enhances the curvature of the faucet body and handle, giving any kitchen a beautiful look with the ultimate convenience of hands-free technology.

For an even more elaborate style, the new Weymouth collection offers an enduring, Victorian design with functional details, such as its high-arc spout. Signature styling elements include a decorative top finial and a refined shepherd’s spout. The detailed design of both faucets will provide extra luxury and serve as the perfect focal point at the sink.

Storage with flair. Replacing cabinets is usually the most expensive part of a kitchen remodel, so take your time and choose carefully. First, think about the color and the type of wood. White painted cabinets with intricate details and raised-panel doors are a popular choice for traditionally styled kitchens. Adding eye-catching details also goes a long way. Be sure to finish the top of the cabinets with decorative molding or swap wood-fronts with glass panels. And, since it’s all about the details, choose decorative knobs and pulls, as well as a towel bar or towel ring that match both the style and finish of your faucet to add fashion and function.

Luxury countertops. Granite and butcher block are great choices for countertops. According to the National Association of Home Builders, granite is the most desirable, must-have kitchen feature. This is likely because it’s scratch- and chip-resistant, not to mention this material is a classic design choice that withstands the test of time.

Butcher block not only adds a warm look to your kitchen, it’s also functional as it provides an ideal area for chopping food. Plus, these countertops are easy to clean – just use soap and water. For added appeal, use two types of materials, one on the main countertop area and another on the kitchen island.

Decorative lighting. Since the kitchen is the place you chop and dice, not to mention socialize with loved ones, you need both ambient and task lighting. For ambient lighting, consider a chandelier. Hang it over the kitchen island or the dining space to add a sophisticated touch. Task lighting should be brighter: use pendants and recessed lights over workplaces like countertops, the sink and stove.

With these few key tips, you’ll soon have the elegant, traditional kitchen you’ve always desired. For more information about Moen products, visit moen.com or call 800-BUY-MOEN (800-289-6636).

Picture 009George Cline is President of HomePro Inspections which he founded in 1991. George is a  NYS licensed professional engineer, a NYS Certified Radon Measurement Provider, and a NYS approved Technical Instructor for continuing education. In addition to full home and commercial property inspections, George consults with home and building owners on specific concerns such as wet basements, structural issues, roofing problems, heating and cooling systems, ice damming and attic ventilation problems. He has trained several home inspectors in the field and is a certified member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Give George and his Team a call to schedule your Rochester Home Inspection at 585-670-6323 or schedule your inspection online at http://www.rochesterhomepro.com/blog/schedule-now/

Choose Quality Over Quantity To Create The Bathroom Of Your Dreams

18943244While your dream bath may be a sprawling space, the reality is that the typical bathroom is 100 square feet or less. According to recent home builder statistics, the average home size has seen a 6 percent decline in recent years. That doesn’t mean you need to give up on your dream bath. A large bathroom footprint isn’t always the answer to a better bath. Focusing on quality products can create a luxurious look, even in a small space.

Free up floor and counter space

You may not be able to create more space but there are many ways to create the illusion of more space. Adding a pedestal sink or a furniture-style vanity with legs gives an increased line of sight, making the space appear larger. Similarly, clutter takes up valuable space. One way to free up extra room on the countertop is with a single-handle or wall-mount faucet. Doors can also make a room feel constrained. Rather than a traditional swing or hinged door, opt for pocket doors; which frees up approximately 10 square feet of floor space.

Focus on fabulous fixtures

We all need storage in the bath, but don’t limit yourself to the horizontal surfaces. Make the most of your vertical space by adding bath accessories, as well.

“When updating the bathroom, many homeowners take inspiration from upscale hotels,” says Tim Bitterman, director of marketing and new product development, Moen Accessories. “Moen offers a variety of unique ‘hotel-style’ accessories to add functionality and enhance the style of your bath.”

Adding a hotel shelf, which combines a towel bar with a shelf, offers an excellent storage spot for towels. A wall-mount hair dryer holder, a pivoting wall-mount makeup mirror, a curved shower rod and robe hooks are all excellent hotel-inspired accessory options.

Dominate with dual-function

Dual-function products are perfect for smaller baths because they offer added benefits without taking up more space. Update your toilet paper holder, towel bar and in-shower shelves with newer versions that integrate a grab bar. Moen Home Care offers stylish grab bar designs featuring a paper holder, a towel bar and two shelf designs; all in a variety of finishes to help you update these bathroom basics while adding storage, safety and style.

Swap soaking for a sensational shower

Sixty-three percent of Americans shower at least once a day. Since we tend to shower more than soak, creating one sensational showering space and possibly eliminating the tub, is a wise use of surface area. For an easy upgrade, swap your showerhead with a new, high-quality model. Or, for a more luxurious remodel, install a vertical spa complete with components like body sprays and a hand shower on a single wall.

And, no matter how large or small your shower, there’s always room to add seating, which increases safety and ease while shaving and washing. The fold-down teak seat from Moen Home Care is a great option since it features a unique wall-mount design that folds down for a comfortable and secure shower seat to avoid slips and falls. When not in use, it folds up to a thin, compact profile.

It’s all smoke (and light) and mirrors

There are more benefits to mirrors in a bathroom other than a place to check your hair and make-up. They can actually make a room appear twice as large as the actual size. In addition to your vanity mirror, consider hanging a full-length mirror on a door. Similarly, bringing in more light will open up the space and make your bathroom come to life. A skylight is a unique addition, since it utilizes the often unused ceiling space. Lighting fixtures are also an ideal way to brighten the space, but don’t settle for boring basics. Try more stylish options, like sconces, which can add a more designer, upscale feel.

Remember to shop for quality over quantity when updating your bath and soon you’ll enjoy the serenity of a stylish and organized space. For more information, visit moen.com or call 800-BUY-MOEN (800-289-6636).

Picture 009George Cline is President of HomePro Inspections which he founded in 1991. George is a  NYS licensed professional engineer, a NYS Certified Radon Measurement Provider, and a NYS approved Technical Instructor for continuing education. In addition to full home and commercial property inspections, George consults with home and building owners on specific concerns such as wet basements, structural issues, roofing problems, heating and cooling systems, ice damming and attic ventilation problems. He has trained several home inspectors in the field and is a certified member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Give George and his Team a call to schedule your Rochester Home Inspection at 585-670-6323 or schedule your inspection online at http://www.rochesterhomepro.com/blog/schedule-now/

Easy-To-Update Items To Make Your New Home Yours

18842701This year more than 5.4 million homes were sold by the end of August, according to the National Association of Realtors. Are you one of these millions of new homeowners? If so, you’ve most likely felt the urge to settle in immediately. However, before making any major renovations, it’s a good idea to live in a new home a while to see how the space is meeting your needs. Here are a few swift swaps that will have a big impact in making that new house feel like home sweet home.

Personalize with paint
It may be the most obvious update but painting is an easy solution to change the look of a room in an instant. Whether you paint an entire room,-create a bold accent wall or incorporate glossy white trim, paint is an affordable fix for any home.

You can easily and quickly bring your design ideas to life with Shape Tape from FrogTape. Available in three on-trend patterns: Wave, Chevron and Scallop, Shape Tape makes it simple to achieve unique, repetitive decorative painting styles. Each roll of tape features a pre-cut repeating pattern, so all you need to do is simply unroll, apply and get painting to create your desired look. From delicate, narrow waves throughout a bathroom or nursery, to bold, wide chevron patterns in the living area or bedroom, this tape can be used in any room of the house.

Fabulous frames
When moving into a new space, the things you love should take center stage. Once your home reflects who you are, the rest will slowly fall into place. Photo frames are the ideal choice to add a decorative and personalized touch to any room. Bring this common decor pick into the modern age by creating a personal gallery and displaying frames of varying shapes and sizes. To do this, plan the layout of the frames before hanging, either with paper on the wall or by arranging them on the floor. Or, you can simply purchase pre-arranged frame galleries at home decor retailers.

Faucet focus
Kitchen and bath makeovers tend to have the biggest impact on a home and its resale value. However, new homeowners who are strapped for cash may not have a large budget for a full-scale bathroom remodel. Fortunately, there are several basic swaps that can quickly change the look and feel of a bath.

The easiest way to remodel your bathroom is to replace its hardest-working fixture – the faucet. This is a project new homeowners can tackle themselves at a reasonable price. Moen offers a wide variety of faucet options like the new single-handle Boardwalk bathroom faucet, to add a fresh, elegant look to the sink. Available at Lowe’s, Boardwalk fits almost any decor and comes in Moen’s Spot Resist Brushed Nickel finish, which resists fingerprints and water spots, so the faucet will stay looking clean as you show it off to family and friends. For a polished look, swap out old hardware with affordable, coordinated accessories including robe hooks, towel rings and towel bars.

Energy-saving essentials
Wasting energy means wasting money. When you go from a renter to a home owner, it’s important to recognize and fix energy-draining areas before bills pile up. Caulking around windows and spaces between the floor and baseboards in attics and sun rooms will help prevent drafts. Consider purchasing a draft stopper for the bottoms of doors so wind or heat doesn’t slip through. Additionally, service your furnace annually, so it produces more heat while using less energy.

Let there be light
Lighting is a great way to add warmth to a sparse space. If you’re looking to create an intimate atmosphere, place several table lamps throughout the room. -You can also amp up energy savings by switching to LED bulbs – these bulbs don’t cause heat buildup and last up to 10 times as long as compact fluorescents and 20 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

It’s very easy for decorating to become overwhelming for new homeowners. By starting with these few swift home decor swaps, your new home will be a comfortable and welcoming environment in no time.

Picture 009George Cline is President of HomePro Inspections which he founded in 1991. George is a  NYS licensed professional engineer, a NYS Certified Radon Measurement Provider, and a NYS approved Technical Instructor for continuing education. In addition to full home and commercial property inspections, George consults with home and building owners on specific concerns such as wet basements, structural issues, roofing problems, heating and cooling systems, ice damming and attic ventilation problems. He has trained several home inspectors in the field and is a certified member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Give George and his Team a call to schedule your Rochester Home Inspection at 585-670-6323 or schedule your inspection online at http://www.rochesterhomepro.com/blog/schedule-now/

Garage Space Isn’t Just For Cars Anymore

1854839The word garage, when looked up in the dictionary, has a simple meaning: a building or indoor area for parking or storing motor vehicles. By and large, this definition sums up exactly what comes to mind for most folks when they hear the word. But for some folks, garages are so much more than a space to park the family minivan and store the cumbersome and unattractive trash and recycling bins. Instead, they are functioning spaces of the home that, in the eye of the homeowner, serve just as much purpose as a kitchen or a bathroom and deserve just as much attention to detail.

More and more, people are using garages as space to actually live in. It isn’t just extra room anymore. Since the 1950s, most garages in North America are of the “attached” variety, meaning that they are part of the actual main home and not a separate building on the property. From music studios to man caves, art spaces to playrooms, garages are quickly becoming more integral parts of the family home. They are heated and cooled. They are equipped with cable and Internet capabilities. They are accessorized with attractive lighting and flooring choices.

While wall cabinetry units may still house things like a yard rake and a collection of tennis racquets and lacrosse sticks, they are also being chosen to integrate in such a fashion that the garage is truly seen as another room in the home, no matter what the intended end use of the square footage.

The gateway to the garage, of course, is the garage door. Garage doors, even though they impact the exterior look of the home, have not always been given as much careful consideration, as a design element, as the rest of the house. But now, more than ever, garage doors are getting special treatment in the design arena – both from the exterior and interior perspectives. A consumer using garage space as an art studio may choose a door with more window panels, as to increase and enhance the natural light that comes into the space. The parents of a budding rock band musician who uses the space as a performing and recording area might need to take into account the ability of the door to reduce the noise carrying to other parts of the house. Garage spaces can even be beautifully appointed to serve as living rooms, sunrooms, and a variety of other entertaining spaces that integrate seamlessly with the design and decor of the rest of the home.

A ground-breaking addition to the garage world is the new Trento Collection, distributed by Amarr, a company that has been a leader in the garage door industry with decades of innovation and design. Available in an almost unlimited number of looks, doors in the Trento Collection can be customized to fit the architecture of any home. Unlike traditional garage doors that operate via a series of springs, rails and tracks along the ceiling, Trento Collection garage doors showcase revolutionary technology and Italian design, featuring a patented overlap design that allows the door to open by folding neatly in half without any ceiling hardware to clutter the overhead space in the garage. This allows for a Trento door to take up far less space and appear significantly sleeker on the inside and outside than the traditional garage door.

So give your garage another look. It is a fine space for doing the things that traditionally make us think of garages, of course, but take a look at your garage space with a fresh eye. The space can be so much more. Entertaining space, work space, a space for a personal hobby that you’ve always wanted in your home but could never figure out how to have. The possibilities are endless.

Picture 009George Cline is President of HomePro Inspections which he founded in 1991. George is a  NYS licensed professional engineer, a NYS Certified Radon Measurement Provider, and a NYS approved Technical Instructor for continuing education. In addition to full home and commercial property inspections, George consults with home and building owners on specific concerns such as wet basements, structural issues, roofing problems, heating and cooling systems, ice damming and attic ventilation problems. He has trained several home inspectors in the field and is a certified member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Give George and his Team a call to schedule your Rochester Home Inspection at 585-670-6323 or schedule your inspection online at http://www.rochesterhomepro.com/blog/schedule-now/

The Best Kind Of Home Improvements: High-Impact, Low-Maintenance

17069368Yes, everyone knows making home improvements is a worthy investment in your greatest material asset. Sure you want every improvement job done well with top-notch end results. But when all is said and done, do you really want to have to put a lot of effort and money into maintaining those improvements? For most people – whether they’ll admit it or not – the answer is “no.”

The best home improvements are the ones that not only enhance your home’s value and livability, but also require little work from you afterward to keep them looking great and functioning well. If you’re looking for high-impact, low-maintenance home improvements, consider these popular projects:

No-leak skylights

When it comes to an improvement that brightens your home, enhances its indoor air quality and boosts energy-efficiency, skylights deliver. Unfortunately, early skylights had a reputation for being leaky – a problem that simply doesn’t occur with modern, no leak, energy-efficient skylights like those made by Velux America. Pre-engineered flashing kits (the metal shield that surrounds any opening in a wall or roof) work with all types of roofs, from shingles to metal, to ensure a properly installed skylight won’t leak.

Need further low-maintenance points to make the case for adding a skylight? Not only do modern skylights keep water out, they’re energy efficient as well. Energy Star-qualified, no leak solar-powered fresh air skylights, like those from Velux, deliver fresh air through cost-effective passive ventilation. Adding remote-controlled, solar-powered blinds allows you to easily open or close a fresh air skylight and shade it when the sun hits that part of the roof, boosting the skylight’s energy efficiency by 39 percent. Keep the shade open during cold weather to admit warmth and reduce heating costs. A 30 percent federal tax credit on both products and installation costs makes a skylight project even more appealing. Visit www.veluxusa.com for a tax calculator to show your savings for a new installation or replacement skylights and a skylight planner app to show exactly how skylights and blinds will look in any area of your home.

Lighting upgrade

Older light fixtures not only look dated, they often use outdated, inefficient bulbs and are lacking in the energy-efficient emphasis that comes with newer fixtures. Upgrading lighting throughout your home is a great way to ensure you won’t have to think about it again any time soon.

If a total lighting redesign is out of the question, you can still make your existing light fixtures lower maintenance simply by swapping out old, inefficient incandescent light bulbs with newer, electricity-sipping versions. Options like CFLs and LEDs provide all the light of incandescents while using a fraction of the energy. Energy.gov says Energy Star-rated LEDs use at least 75 percent less power than incandescent bulbs, and last 25 times longer. Imagine the time, hassle and money you’ll save not having to replace bulbs constantly – especially in lights that get a lot of use, like porch lights, or that are hard to reach, like the chandelier in your two-story entryway.

Vinyl siding

Wood, fiber cement, stucco, brick – there are nearly as many types of exterior siding as there are colors to paint it. When it comes to low- or no-maintenance siding, vinyl remains the gold standard. In fact, more new homes are built using vinyl siding than any other type of siding product, according to the Vinyl Siding Institute.

While early versions of vinyl siding introduced in the 1950s earned criticism for being less lovely than wood, even those less sophisticated versions had staying power; it’s possible to find homes in use today sporting vinyl siding that was added to the house in the 1970s or even earlier.

Vinyl siding never needs to be painted, and when properly installed provides exceptional shielding from the elements. New technology has made modern vinyl siding look better and last longer without fading issues associated with older versions of vinyl. It requires basic cleaning, and overall maintenance demands are much less than other types of siding. Visit www.vinylsiding.org to learn more.

Picture 009George Cline is President of HomePro Inspections which he founded in 1991. George is a  NYS licensed professional engineer, a NYS Certified Radon Measurement Provider, and a NYS approved Technical Instructor for continuing education. In addition to full home and commercial property inspections, George consults with home and building owners on specific concerns such as wet basements, structural issues, roofing problems, heating and cooling systems, ice damming and attic ventilation problems. He has trained several home inspectors in the field and is a certified member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Give George and his Team a call to schedule your Rochester Home Inspection at 585-670-6323 or schedule your inspection online at http://www.rochesterhomepro.com/blog/schedule-now/