6 Home Improvements That Add a Luxurious Feel to Your Living Spaces

Real estate observers reported the resurgence of luxury living in the past few years. In some emerging markets, luxury homes have become so popular that property developers can’t keep up with the demand.

You don’t have to be a purveyor of luxury to understand the appeal: living in a high-quality home that caters to your taste and specific requirements is indeed ideal.

While a custom-built luxury home sounds dreamy, you can also experience luxury living in your existing property with a few, well-chosen upgrades. This solution is perfect if you love your current location but are looking to update the look, feel and function of your living spaces.

Don’t worry — a home makeover need not be an unreasonably costly, drawn-out affair. With smart planning, strategic changes and tailored solutions from leading home builders, you can give your existing interiors a touch of luxury according to your vision and budget.

The following are some home enhancements you can apply to immediately give your home a luxe feel:

1. Go for Classic Hues

There’s nothing like neutrals to give home interiors a classy, roomy and zen feel. Establish a neutral color base for your flooring, furnishings and fixtures. Neutrals will give you a huge canvas to make bold color splashes for your focal points. You can integrate bold colors and textures by using accessories such as curtains, cushions, vases, clocks, photo frames, etc., which have both utilitarian and aesthetic appeal.

2. Get Rid of Aging Fixtures

Whether it’s an old lampshade that’s been gathering dust, or a bunch of chipped ornate door knobs, get them replaced. If you really love your vintage pieces, take them to a specialist for cleaning, polishing and repairs. Small fixes like these can affect the overall look of your place, and you can always begin with the little things.

3. Coordinate as You Accessorize

Whether it’s your kitchen or bathroom, or any other part of your home, coordinating hardware finishes works extra to create a polished and luxurious appeal to your home interiors. For your kitchen, you may want to consider investing in stainless steel upgrades that will give your cooking area a classic, clean and coordinated appearance.

4. Attract Attention Vertically

In making your place look luxurious, you can start from the top by employing decorative ceiling medallions that will add “oomph” to your ceiling light fixture. Lightweight polyurethane ceiling medallions come in various sizes and can be done in your choice of color. They work exceedingly well to create a professional architectural touch, and as interesting focal points up in the ceiling. To maintain this look longer at less the cost, use LED lights to power your lighting fixtures.

5. Let Tiles do the Work

Coming in a range of colors, designs, sizes, shapes and materials, tiles are versatile tools and are your home makeover best friends. To add spice to your kitchen’s style, consider various options for tile colors and textures. Subway tiles spell bright and modern. Upcycled bricks or reclaimed wood showcase rustic chic and are eco-friendly. You can go fancy using glass tiles, artsy with Moroccan mosaic tiles, or full-on luxe with marble or gunmetal tiles.

6. Dandy up Your Walkway

You need not keep all your home enhancements indoors. Update the look of your home facade by laying a color of fresh paint on your mailbox. Get rid of weeds and plant pretty flowers around it. Get those trees and bushes neatly trimmed, and rid your garden of any overgrowth. You may also want to upgrade to a well-designed driveway made of long-lasting and low maintenance material.

Luxury is a State of Mind

Keep in mind that whatever time, energy, effort and cash you invest in home improvements will go a long way in making your house aesthetically pleasing, and even quite similar to splendid luxury homes. At the same time, you are also increasing its resale value, whether or not you are looking to sell it any time soon.

AUTHOR BIO

Robert Allam is the Finance and Sales Manager for Trendsetter Homes. Through his journey from being a Sales Consultant then Office Manager, to assuming his current role, Robert has seen the company grow and has guided many clients through the process of developing their dream of a unique luxury home.

Should Millennials Get A Mortgage or Stay Renting?

Owning a home is a dream for most millennials. Unfortunately, the state of the economy today doesn’t often allow for this dream to be fulfilled. The job market remains weak, and student debt is increasing exponentially. These factors put home ownership on the backburner for most millennials. Even as they find better-paying jobs, earn supplemental income through easy side hustle and money making apps, millennials are encountering an unfortunate reality: the housing market today has the fewest number of homes available for sale on record!

A healthy housing market has approximately a six month supply of homes. As it stands though, the supply of homes would be exhausted in merrily 3.5 months. According to an article in the Washington Post, entry-level housing (which entails the homes millennials can most afford) has been particularly scarce. The D.C. region has less than a 90-day supply of condos costing between $400,000 and $600,000. In the Dallas area, barely a one-month supply of those homes are for sale.

There are many factors that contribute to this shortage of homes. Primarily, most housing experts blame low inventory on builders themselves. Builders drastically scaled back after the recession, and the housing momentum hasn’t picked up enough since then. The slow rise in housing starters isn’t enough, and construction still remains far below healthy levels. According to Robert Dietz, chief economist of the National Association of Homebuilders, “The challenge is really adding inventory at the entry-level space.” Given the rising costs associated with land development, wages and land, it becomes difficult for builders to add affordable inventory at a cost that would meet first-time buyers’ or millennials’ expectations.

Do Millennials Want To Buy A Home?

The sad part is that millennials still aspire to buy a home, and definitely expect to own a home one day. Among people ages 25 to 34 who rent, 93 percent say they are likely to buy a home someday, according to The Demand Institute.

Even though the ideal of home ownership is great, a lack of planning or premature decisionmaking can make it an absolute nightmare. In reality, the cost of home owning doesn’t simply stop at a mortgage. Insurance, utility bills, fixing household problems and property taxes are just the tip of the iceberg. Even with the aid of property tax loans and tax deductible payments, the costs do add up.

Millennials are quick to get lured in by the appeal of getting closer to owning an asset every month. However, an article in The Guardian warns millennials of getting sucked in without adequate thought. Often millennials will stretch themselves financially to pay off mortgage loans in the hopes that their income will significantly rise. Unfortunately, this rarely happens in a decent enough timeframe, leaving their personal finances in a state of mayhem. In fact, relative to earlier generations, today’s cohort of young people is making less money, considering their education; they are more indebted with student loans and are likely to be underemployed and finding alternative methods to flip money.

Should Millennials Rent Or Get a Mortgage?

Considering one’s stability is probably the most important factor to consider when deciding whether to buy or rent, especially at a time then are less than sufficient houses out on the market. According to The Guardian, “That means how stable their job is (and how likely they are to get promotions and raises over the coming years), how stable their relationship or marriage is (is there a risk that they might have to sell the house at a bad time in the market because of a divorce or split?), and how stable their career path is (might they move cities or states to work for a different company or attend graduate school?)” If there is even a little doubt while answering these questions, and the slightest possibility they may not be staying in that house for five or more years, then buying is a poor decision. In fact, divorce and loss of income are two of the top five causes of financial distress that lead to foreclosure.

So what does this mean for the average millennial? Well, for one, millennials should definitely NOT entirely give up their dreams of buying a home. Rather, it means they should wait to buy, when the housing market picks up again and there are more options that are suitable to first-time buyers. This would allow for more flexibility, better suiting the millennial money lifestyle.

About the Author

Brian Meiggs is the founder of My Millennial Guide, a website aimed to help people take control of their financial lives. When not helping others reach their financial and career goals, Brian can be found at the gym, traveling, crossing items off his bucket list, or exploring Washington, DC!

The Best Way to Prep Your AC Unit for the Winter Months

Guest post by Retired HVAC Tech Bob Wells

Winter is fast approaching. Cold, sleety weather is already in the forecast, but the seasonal switch to heat is more than a thermostat adjustment. To keep your AC in good shape, let’s take a look at the best way to prepare your AC unit for the winter months.

What to Do Before the Snow and Ice Hit

AC units are designed to withstand tough weather, but there are steps you can take to protect your AC unit.

You may be concerned about the snow, ice, and extreme temperatures of winter damaging your AC. The reality is that Fall poses the greatest threat to AC units. The biggest risk to the functioning of an outdoor unit are twigs, leaves, dirt, and other debris. These get inside the unit, blocking it up and allowing moisture to gather.

Here are the most important steps to take to protect your unit:

  • Clear the area around the unit as much as you can. Move any leaves that may have drifted around, and dispose of any twigs that might have gotten lodged in the unit.
  • Turn the unit off. If you leave the unit running, chances are it won’t turn on at all during the winter. But if there happens to be a rogue warm day, it may kick itself back on. It will fill the pipes with water before the next deep freeze. Because of the risk of frozen pipes, it’s best to just shut the unit off entirely.
  • Clean out the inside of the unit. Like the outside, check for any debris that might be blocking it or gathering moisture inside. You could even hose down the inside to clean it as well.
  • Install pipe covers. If you’re worried about your AC unit pipes freezing, you can install foam insulation pipe covers on the unit. Keep in mind the unit is designed to withstand most extreme temperatures.

When Should You Use An Air Conditioner Cover

If you’re concerned about winter weather, covering an outdoor unit can actually do more harm than good.

Most people want to use an AC cover to keep moisture out. The reality is that AC covers don’t keep moisture out. They actually keep moisture inside the unit. This can lead to mildew and mold growing on the unit which can damage the coils and block proper airflow.

AC covers also create a space for rats, mice and other rodents to make their winter home. Rodent infestations in AC units can lead to chewed wires, leaky Freon, and a nasty mess. None of those things is pleasant or good for the longevity of your AC.

When extreme conditions arise, you may want that cover around to make life a bit easier. If there is a blizzard or an ice storm in the forecast, you may want to cover your unit up. If you can get it covered before the storm, you can help prevent more moisture from getting into the unit.

Snow inside the unit can lead to damaging freeze-thaw around the coils. This is especially the danger after heavy, windy snow storms. When the storm is over you should uncover it again as soon as possible. Do your best to clear the surrounding area of snowdrifts as well.

What About Window Units?

If you have a window unit, the best solution for winterization is to take the unit out and store it someplace safe. With these units, it’s best to give them a bit of maintenance before you store them. Drain the dehumidifier reservoir. The reservoir should be easily accessed at the bottom of the unit. You should also clean out or replace any filters the unit uses so it’s ready for next summer.

If for any reason you’re unable to remove your unit, there are a few steps you can take. First you should clean the coils as best as you can. This may mean popping off the front and back panels, so be careful. Once the unit is cleaned and cleared of any debris that may have accumulated you can put a cover around the unit. There are many commercial covers available, many with added insulation.

Conclusion

Prepping your AC for the winter is as simple as that. Keep it clean and clear and it should be good to go. A cover may be useful for the most extreme of conditions, but the unit should take care of itself with a bit of help.

About the Author

This is a guest post by Bob Wells, a retired HVAC tech who now dedicates himself to sharing knowledge on his website HVAC Training 101. Bob worked over 30 years in the field, 23 of which he ran his own contracting business. He’s dedicated to keeping up with the latest developments in the field and helping others learn the trade better and advance their own careers.

Is Your Home FALLing Apart? Why Fall May Be the Best Season to Renovate.

If you’re starting to fall out of in love with your home, fall may be the best season to fall back in. While the best time to plan your home renovation is when you and your family are ready, there may be slight advantages/disadvantages to renovating your home during certain times of the year. Here’s why you should consider starting your next kitchen, bathroom, or entire home renovation this fall.

1. Your Home Will Be Ready for the Holidays.

Starting your home renovation in September gives your contractor enough time to have your home ready for friends and family to gather at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Of course after your new renovation, you’ll need to prepare to have your home volunteered to host the next Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner!

2. Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold.

Fall temperatures typically minimize the risk of encountering extreme external factors that could potentially delay your project timeline. Typically, fall is warm enough to avoid tracking cold air into your home yet cool enough for remodelers to perform their work at maximum efficiency.

3. Create a Win, Win Situation for You and Your Builder.

Renovating in the fall is beneficial for homeowners and contractors. By hiring your contractor slightly off season, you ensure that you receive excellent service and flexible schedule, often at a lower prices due to factors such as weather and reduced material costs.

While fall is an ideal time for interior renovations, it might not be the best timing to install that new underground pool and deck you’ve been dreaming of. While the work is certainly possible, who wants to wait months before setting foot in their new swimming pool? At the end of the day, each season has its positives and negatives, and the decision ultimately depends on the individual homeowner.

Thinking of renovating your home this fall? Call Turnberry Construction Group (610) 775-7575 to schedule a free estimate with President Kevin Kozo or to chat about your ideas for your next home project.

Go Green: Boost Your Property Value and Gain Tenants

Guest Blog Post by Kris Lindahl, RE/MAX REALTOR

Going green can increase the value of your commercial property over the long term. It can also help you attract tenants who will view you as a savvy landlord and appreciate your commitment and forethought. Depending on the lease term and other benefits you currently offer, you might be able to increase the rent, add extra months or years onto the lease term and interest higher quality tenants. In some cases, by offering access to green benefits, you can negotiate tenant payments for additional leasehold improvements as well.

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, there are two primary reasons for building green: Client demand and market demand. If you own a building with limited green features, adding cost-effective green features can lead to financial rewards. A published global survey notes that 65 percent of construction firms planned new green projects between 2013 and 2015, but that a whopping 50 percent also had green renovations waiting to start.

Improvements With Value

Among the priority targets for green renovation are energy-efficient heating, more effective and air conditioning and ventilation, and water-saving plumbing fixtures. Modern technologies can be installed to monitor and improve daylighting and air quality that are important to building “health” and also improve employee productivity and job satisfaction. More mundane improvements always include stylish, efficient windows and interior lighting, and the addition of quality amenities that might incorporate open spaces, interior atriums, kitchen facilities and cell phone lounges, break rooms and networking or presentation spaces that feel more homelike than commercial.

Green goes hand in hand with smart technology and automation, and it’s difficult to consider one without the other, according to modern designers, architects and space planners. Anything that adds to environmental quality and lower operating costs is an advantage for the building owner. While energy savings were the initial target of the LEED Certification program, today the focus has shifted a bit to include all the “high-performing” building attributes that factor into leasing decisions and occupancy choices.

It’s a new world of concern for a building owner, and from a purely economic perspective, the area of “social responsibility” can have dramatic financial impact. The percentage of consumers willing to pay more for products and services from companies with demonstrated commitment to positive social and economic impact continues to grow, according to a global Nielson report. The real estate industry demonstrates its concern with environmental factors primarily through compliance with green building principles. Owners who embrace LEED Certification and take the initiative to improve lease space in accord with modern standards will enjoy higher acceptance among forward-thinking companies.

Green Building: Looking at the Numbers

Current data bears this out:

  • Lease up rates for green buildings are typically 20% higher than for comparable non-green space;
  • ROI boosts average 19.2% for existing building renovations and 9.9% for new construction.

That’s impressive, but additional scholarly studies prove that the indirect benefits of going green are at least as impressive:

  • There is an increase of at least 16% in worker productivity in companies that can be considered green firms;
  • Mental acuity and memory tests are higher among workers who have a view compared with those who have no view;
  • Improved lighting reduces headaches; better air quality reduces days lost to employee illness;
  • Health care costs associated with allergies, respiratory disease and non-specified complaints have been reduced from between nine to 50% among employees in buildings retrofitted with features that improve the environment.

LEED Certified buildings typically command higher prices; but even without the official certification, building owners can expect higher rates following installation of green features. Vacancy rates are similarly lower for buildings with green features.

A 2012 World Green Buildings Study confirmed the trend:

  • Operating costs decreased by 13.6% for new construction and 8.5% for existing building projects.
  • Building value increased by 10.9% for new construction and 6.8% for existing building projects.
  • Increased asset valuation: New green building projects 5%; Green building retrofits 4%.

With an estimated $960 billion expected to be invested globally, for both new construction and retrofits, prior to 2023, why would you want to be left behind? Investigate the many cost-effective ways to boost the value of your commercial property and assure that you will have happy, productive tenants willing to pay a premium for your space.

Big Home Renovations and Additions that Make a World of Difference When Selling

Guest Post by Gary Ashton, The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage

If you want to attract more buyers and better offers for the home you’re selling, there are a number of great ways you can do that. Curb appeal is important, of course, as is pricing your home the right way. But another option is to update your home with renovations, additions, and projects that will add value to your home.

Making necessary repairs and adding updates that appeal to buyers can make a world of difference when it comes to selling your home quickly and for a price that you’re happy with. The right renovations in the right place can even earn a higher selling price for the house when it’s put on the market.

Remodel and Improve the Kitchen

The kitchen has been described as the heart of the home, and that’s true for many people. Even if you don’t use the kitchen regularly or don’t have people over to gather and eat a meal there, the buyers might. It’s time to take a look at your kitchen with a critical eye, and then get some work done in that space. Refinishing or replacing the cabinets and changing the countertops are great ways to make the kitchen look up-to-date, as is adding a fresh coat of paint and new flooring. While you’re redoing things, don’t forget about those outdated appliances, too.

How Old is the Bathroom?

Kitchens and bathrooms are the best places to remodel, and they’re also the best places to get a good return for your investment dollar. While you’ve got a company working on your kitchen, ask them about that bathroom with the gold fixtures and 1960’s pink tile. It might not have bothered you at all, but if it’s outdated, updating it offers a high ROI when pricing the home and makes staging the bathroom an easier process. Most buyers are looking for a home that’s move-in ready, and if you don’t have one, they may move on to another seller who does. You want a good, fair price for your home, which is easier to get after the right updates.

Is Your Home Just Too Small?

While most people would panic at the idea of adding onto their home before selling, in some cases it can be beneficial — and even necessary. If you have an old home, for example, in a neighborhood where many of the homes are newer, your home may be smaller than most of the others around you. An addition to the home that includes another bedroom or bathroom could make a significant difference in how your home compares to others that are for sale, and that could mean a faster sale and a much better price for your house.

Finishing Out the Basement or Attic Space

 

If you aren’t comfortable adding onto your home, another way you can get more space and a higher price for your house is to finish out existing, unused space, such as your basement or attic. Extra bedrooms and bathrooms are the best use of these types of spaces, because those are the kinds of things that really add value to your home. Additionally, extra bedrooms don’t cost a lot to create since there aren’t plumbing issues to consider. Bathrooms are more expensive, but they may also add more value and selling power to your home, as well.

Don’t Forget the Updates!

There are some whole-house updates you may want to consider when you’re looking to make a big difference in selling your home. These include things like new flooring or redoing the house with interior and exterior paint. New siding can also help, and you may want to think about insulation, a roof, or windows. Overall, a well-insulated home with double-pane windows is going to sell better than an un-insulated or poorly insulated home with single-pane windows, all other things being equal. The price will be different, and the days the home is for sale may also vary greatly.

There are no guarantees that big updates and renovations will always pay off for every homeowner, but statistics show that homes that are updated and move-in ready do sell faster and for more money overall than their less desirable counterparts. For most homeowners, updating and renovating a house before selling it is worth the time and money, as the return on investment can be a good one if the projects are handled correctly.

Gary Ashton, Realtor
The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage
210 12th Ave. South, Suite 201
Nashville, TN, 37203

4 Ways to Keep the Vitality in Your Team

“Stay focused on the positive instead of dwelling on the negative.”

While building or renovating a home is no doubt an exciting process for contractors and home owners, there are times when the building process can be downright stressful for both. For contractors who do everything they can to perfect all steps of the home building process and work with the highest quality craftsmen, it can be extremely frustrating when things happen beyond their control.

Here are four ways to keep the vitality in your team calm and strong during those stressful moments.

  1. Live the Experience through the Eyes of Your Clients

As a professional in your industry, of course you are going to feel stressed, maybe even embarrassed, when something beyond your immediate control goes wrong. However, this is a critical time to “keep your cool” and maintain your perspective on the outcome of the project. Stay focused on the positive instead of dwelling on the negative.

Imagine how your client feels when they are the ones relying on a professional and investing what may be their life’s savings in you to perform quality work on their home, which we know is more than just a place to live. In your client’s eyes, their new home or renovation of their existing home is likely to be the biggest excitement and stress factor in their life at the moment.

Contractors, on the other hand, build and renovate homes over and over again, and while unanticipated issues are stressful, they are relatively small in the grand scheme of the project. We need to be conscious of how it feels to be a homeowner and keep our clients calm and focused on the big picture.

  1. Hold Weekly Meetings with Your Team

Stay organized and hold weekly meetings with your team. Give constructive feedback, advice, and share experiences to help each other grow. Help each other understand the individual needs of each client and their project. At Turnberry Construction Group, we also hold scheduled weekly meetings on-site with our clients to ensure their satisfaction with the work being done and remind them of their budget and timeline throughout the project.

Communication with your team and clients is key to preventing the unexpected in the first place, alleviating stress, and keeping everyone focused on the outcome of the project.

  1. Maintain Responsibility for Your Job Responsibility

A successful team is like a puzzle; each team member is responsible for their portion of the project, which is often connected to another team member’s responsibility. If even just one piece of the puzzle is chipped or lost, there will be a gap in the final outcome. When you take a step back at the end of the project, you should have a completed puzzle where everything fits in just right. For a team to be successful, each team member needs to gain individual success by understanding and fulfilling their job responsibility.

  1. Rely on Your Co-workers and Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Remember the cliché phrase teachers say – that there are no dumb questions? While there may certainly be exceptions to this phrase, clearing up uncertainty before you attempt to do your portion of the job saves labor and time, and time is money in the construction industry for contractors and their clients. Rely on your coworkers. Trust that they will successfully complete their portion of the project, but don’t be afraid to double check each portion to ensure their success and yours.

No matter how hard you try to perfect the construction process, from your own team to subcontractors and clients, something unanticipated can always happen. Focus on the solution and the outcome of the project rather than dwelling on one bad day. Happy clients and a happy team will boost your own happiness!

Turnberry Construction Group, formerly Turnberry Custom Homes, is located in Reading, PA. We specialize in residential and commercial new construction, renovations/additions and project management.

The Benefits of Bringing the Outdoors In

“Home is not a place, it is a feeling”

According to a survey by the national Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans spend 93% of our entire life indoors while only 7% of our time is spent in the great outdoors. And, with the exception of work, we spend most of our indoor time in the special place we call HOME. Here are four beneficial ways to incorporate more outdoor life into the 93% of time we spend indoors.

1. Purify the Air with House Plants

House plants don’t just sit still and look pretty. Several studies, including NASA’s clean air study, found that plants purify the air by removing toxins, increase productivity in the workplace and boost your mood. Research in the Journal of Alternative Complement Medicine showed that exposure to pictures of nature, including images of plants, significantly reduced stress of patients in a hospital waiting room.

Choosing an indoor plant for your home needs to be done with careful consideration and research. While some exotic plants may be beautiful to look at, they could place loved ones, including children and family pets, in danger. The safest bet is to keep all house plants out of touch if possible. Some popular kid and pet friendly plants include the Christmas Cactus, spider plant, Boston fern and African violets.

2. Use Windows & Skylights to Let the Sun Shine through Your Home

Indoors does not mean you have to shut out the sun. Having spacious windows and skylights will welcome plenty of natural sunlight into your home. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that daily light exposure in the workplace is significantly correlated with a person’s sleep, activity and overall quality of life. People who work in an environment without windows or any exposure to daylight have poorer sleep quality, more physical health issues and less vitality.

According to a skylight company Freelite, having skylights in your home reduces energy consumption, mildew and mold, and deficiencies in vitamins D and B1. In addition to increasing efficiency and health benefits, skylights are a worthwhile investment that increase your home’s visual interior appeal and resale value.

3. Cozy up by the Fireplace

Throughout human history, the use of fire has been very important to us, from cooking to protecting and hunting. The good news is that you don’t have to go outside anymore to sit close to a warm fire. An indoor fireplace can supply you and your family with an additional heat source and psychological benefits. Research has shown that there are stress-alleviating health benefits associated with sitting and gazing at a fireplace.

To reap the benefits of an indoor fireplace, you may not even need a real fireplace! If you have cable, Netflix, or internet access to YouTube, you may be in luck. Research from the University of Alabama suggests that merely watching a video of a fireplace, especially supplemented with a crackling sound, makes you feel more relaxed and reduces your blood pressure.

4. Keep the Kids Happy & Healthy with Natural Elements

A classroom study in Austria found that classrooms with natural wood elements can keep the kids healthier, calmer and less stressed than traditional classrooms. Another study reported that using wood in your home’s interior provides a positive atmosphere and reduces the risk of allergies.

To bring these benefits into your own home, try incorporating natural wood elements into your decorating style. Styles such as mid-century modern highlight natural wood elements with touches of color, but you can bring natural wood into your own home by investing in wooden storage options, wood beams and wood furniture.

Collectively, research has shown that bringing outdoor elements into your home provides numerous physical and psychological benefits. Having a functional indoor environment with outdoor style will promote the well-being of your family.

About the Authors

Leah Williams is an intern for Turnberry Custom Homes and a senior at Albright College majoring in English, communications and Spanish.

Toe Aung is a psychobiology major in his senior year at Albright College and is pursuing his PhD in Anthropology at Penn State University.

Things to Consider When Building an ADA Compliant Home

At Turnberry Custom Homes, we believe that your home should be a comforting place that suites your family’s ever-changing needs.

ADA compliant homes should be user-friendly and easily accessible, to accommodate the current and future needs of your family. A few features of ADA compliant homes include open floor plans, wider hallways and entryways, and varying height countertops.

At Turnberry Custom Homes, one of our current projects features an ADA compliant in-law suite. When building an ADA accessible home, there are many design features to consider that could be overlooked. Turnberry Custom Homes offers architectural and design experience to make your home a safe and comfortable place to suite your family’s ever-changing needs.

In addition to an open-floor plan, here are some design aspects to consider in each room of your home.

Easily-Accessible Bathroom
  • Hand Rails: Should be placed
    throughout the bathroom, including in water
    closets (toilet areas) and the shower.
  • Toilet: Should be higher and more elongated than a standard toilet, with plenty of room on both sides.
  • Vanity Height: Floating vanity structures allow easier accessibility to sinks.
  • Zero Threshold Shower: Allows wheelchairs to enter without any curbs.
User-friendly Kitchen
  • Varying Countertop Height: Countertops should be low enough to use as a work space.
  • Island Space: There should be enough room to navigate around the island.
  • Sinks & Cooktops: Should be reachable and have enough leg room to safely reach the faucet and cook-top controls.
Stairways
  • Exterior Ramps: Should be used instead of stairs.
  • Residential Elevators: An option to consider if the budget allows.
  • Stair Lift: Chairs connect to the stairway, so going up and down the stairs is safe and comfortable.
Additional Aspects to Consider
An exercise/stretch bar
  • Hallways and Doorways: Should be 3-feet wide throughout your home.
  • Pocket Doors: Easier option than pulling or pushing a closet, bedroom, or bathroom door open or shut.
  • Intercom Systems: Safety feature that allows immediate assistance throughout the home.
  • Light Switches: Should be low enough to easily reach.

Turnberry Custom Homes, located in Reading, PA specializes in new construction, renovations/additions, and commercial fit-outs. We serve Montgomery, Berks, Chester, and surrounding counties.

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4 Ways to Boost Curb Appeal before Spring

While you might feel like it’s the middle winter and you aren’t even thinking about your landscaping, February is actually a great time to plan and implement ideas to boost your home’s curb appeal before spring starts. Here’s four ways to boost your home’s curb appeal this winter.

1. Paint the Front Door and Shutters

Painting your front door is a great way to give your home instant curb appeal. However, beware of painting siding and trim in February, as temperatures that are too low or too high can prevent paint from binding properly, causing it to crack or peel. An ideal temperature to paint your exterior will depend on the type and brand of paint you use, as certain paints can be used in temperatures as low as 35° F. As a general rule of thumb, it is best to paint between 50°-80° F.

While you should avoid painting outside in February, you can certainly paint your front door and shutters inside your home or garage. You may even be able to paint your front door inside your home without removing it from the hinges, but if you need to remove it, be sure to have a storm door or temporary replacement to prevent too much cold air from entering into your home.

2. Update House Numbers, Exterior Lighting Fixtures, Mailbox, etc.

Today you will find countless design options for updating exterior home fixtures. Take a cold winter day and do some online browsing to explore different ideas for your house numbers, exterior lighting fixtures, and mailbox. Check out sites like Houzz and Pinterest for ideas on using different textures, LED lighting, and other DIY projects to make your home address stand out. If your exterior lighting and mailbox are as old as your house, chances are, it’s time to update these fixtures as well. To save costs, perhaps all your lighting fixtures and mailbox need are some TLC and a fresh coat of paint.

3. Prepare Your Landscaping

February is a great time to do some pre-spring cleaning for your yard. Prune trees and plant bare-root plants such as roses, clean out flower beds, remove broken and unwanted branches, and spray your lawn to prevent unwanted pests and weeds. In addition, start planning out your garden area, deck, patio, walkways, and pool/spa.

4. Contact a Landscape Contractor

Contrary to popular belief, winter is an ideal time to contact a contractor about your next project for your home, whether it be a lawn makeover or even an interior renovation. Careful planning and consideration needs to be done before taking any significant project inside or outside your home. Acquiring the necessary permits for larger-scale projects or creating and approving project drawings will take time before you can begin your project. Most homeowners will wait until the spring or summer months to contact a professional, when contractors are in their busiest season. For the best, most individualized service, plan ahead and make the call sooner rather than later.

Turnberry Custom Homes located in Reading, PA specializes in new construction, renovations/ additions, commercial fit-outs, and project management. We serve Berks, Montgomery, Chester, and surrounding counties.