Celebrate Labor Day Outside

Queen-Creek-Station-playgroundwebTemperatures are starting to drop in Arizona and we’re having a nice mostly-cloudy weekend. So how about celebrating the end of summer with an outdoor event? Invite some of your favorite neighbors and picnic in your backyard or take advantage of some of your Fulton Community amenities.

Start with a potluck dinner. Divide the meal into categories: salads, drinks, dessert. You can provide the main dish, whether you stick with the traditional hot dogs and hamburgers or add something special such as barbequed ribs or marinated chicken, working together you can have a great meal. Let the kids play in the adjoining playground with the adults taking turns refereeing the event. Or you could hire one or two of the teens in your neighborhood to watch the play so that the adults can relax and enjoy the evening.

One of the best parts of buying a Fulton Home is the opportunity to join a community of friendly people who appreciate the quiet enjoyment of a neighborhood that’s really planned for the way you want to live. You could bring a number of board or card games for kids and adults to play as the evening wears on. Think about a few dollar-store fun prizes to make the games extra special for the children.

And when the evening is over and it’s time for everyone to pack up and go home, the trip takes only a few minutes because you live just blocks away. Summer is almost over. The pleasures of Arizona fall weather are coming upon us, and you can start enjoying it with a Labor Day event with some of your favorite neighbors. What a nice way to enjoy your three-day weekend.

The Right Shower for You

the_right_shower_for_youwebWhen you combine tiles, panels, listelles and features such as nooks to hold shampoo and soap, your shower can be customized to just the right combination of style and function to suit you. All three of these showers are light neutrals, yet each one has its own personality and flair.

The one on the left uses a diagonal layout for the tile backing with dark squares adding contrast and interest. In addition, the arrow shape coming up from the floor keeps the look from being predictable. The dark vanity connects the rest of the bathroom with the shower, creating a strong integrated look.

The middle shower is generous in size, and that space is emphasized by the dramatic stripes created by an intriguing mosaic. Contrast comes from the random pattern of dark and light squares throughout the mosaic stripes. Your eye shifts from the smooth neutral provided by the plain-colored tile to the pop of personality in the mosaics. The two balance each other out.

The final photo shows a tub-shower combo. Notice that the niche for soap and shampoo is lower, so a bather doesn’t have to stand up to reach their beauty products. In this case one stripe of glass tile adds a pop, which is supported by the shift of the standard tile from a square set on a diagonal to a rectangle set upright. This trick subtly defines a cozy bathing area while taking a more expansive feel in the higher shower range.

Which shower would you pick? Or maybe your ideal shower would be completely different! You can see these and other shower ideas at Oasis at Queen Creek, or visit the Fulton Design Center.

Industrial and Traditional Styling Combine for Sophisticated Den

From the Atherton model in Penninsula at Queen Creek

From the Atherton model in Penninsula at Queen Creek

You may have noticed a decorating trend capturing an industrial feel in furniture and accessories. These items draw some inspiration from the Steampunk style, based on an alternate world where Victorian elements combine with steam-based technology to make an interesting setting for fictional universes.

If you want to add that industrial feel to your home’s décor, you may be concerned that the look will lead to a cold space rather than one that is warm and inviting. However, you can incorporate industrial elements into a room without losing the warm feeling. This den is a good example.

The strong grey tones in the color scheme are consistent with industrial-style design. But notice the cream, gold and yellow fabric at play on the chair upholstery. Those colors are echoed subtly in various accessories, such as the gold clock face and several yellow books. These splashes of warmer tones go a long way toward making this space welcoming.

Industrial accessories such as the oversized watch face clock and the tool boxes say industrial, but the globe on the desk, the plants and other containers keep this residential space grounded in more traditional elements.

den 2The bookshelves show one of the best ways of combining industrial with traditional styles. The metal framing is classic industrial, but the wood shelves with crown molding along the top capture a much more traditional feel.

Finally, color-blocking on both the walls and the drapes add contrast and interest, while fitting with both an industrial and a traditional style.

Overall, the space makes the best use of two design styles, combining them to end up with a room that is sophisticated yet totally welcoming.

Create a Sophisticated Dining Room

From the Atherton Model at Penninsula in the Oasis at Queen Creek community

From the Atherton Model at Penninsula in the Oasis at Queen Creek community

Grey has become a popular tone in decorating, and it is the strongest color influence in this dining room.  Yet this space feels warm and inviting. It’s the warm tones that balance the grey and make this dining room a place to linger. Let’s take a look at the elements that make this room so special.

Generous sizes: Start with a large table made with a thick top in a wood finish that combines grey with warmer hues. Add high-backed chairs with cushions and padded backs in a taupe/cream that uses both cool and warm tones. Finish with oversized art and substantial candlesticks on the table. All of these pieces give the room a weight and drama that combine to make the décor work.

Dark and light tones: Although most of this room uses neutrals, there is a nice distribution of light and dark tones to provide contrast and add interest. The curtains are the darkest permanent element in the room, but their pattern echoes the lightest tone. That light feeling is picked up in the chair upholstery and the candles. It’s too easy for a room filled with neutrals to end up boring, but these contrasts keep that from happening here.

A single pop of color: The blue napkins add a simple pop of color, drawing the eye to the table and adding just the right spark to the tablescape. Because the rest of the room is done in neutrals, you could easily switch out that blue for any bold color. How about yellow, red or coral? Or you could choose to go with black for extra drama. No matter your choice, this sophisticated dining room is ready for any dinner party.

Make the Most of your Laundry Room Storage

From the Rancho Mirage model in Oasis at Queen Creek.

From the Rancho Mirage model in Oasis at Queen Creek.

It’s easy to let your laundry room become a catch-all for those things you can’t figure out where to put. Holiday decorations, extra hangers, cleaning supplies and other odds and ends find their way into your laundry room cupboards and before you know it they’re full. Instead of this kind of unintentional use, how about turning your laundry room into a resource for specific types of storage? Here are a few suggestions.

Entertainment Central: Vases and other elements for table centerpieces and buffet decorations could find a convenient place in one or more laundry room cabinets. Add a frog, some pebbles or marbles for helping to stabilize flower arrangements and you’re ready for flower arranging or creating an interesting base for a buffet arrangement. You might add some of your favorite serving pieces and table linens for one-stop-shopping before a party.

Clothes Management: Pins, scissors and your sewing kit can be kept in the laundry room when you need to sew a button on tighter or stitch up a hem that’s coming loose. Stain removers, wrinkle release spray and even fusible sewing tape for any quick fixes can really come in handy when that jacket and skirt that you really wanted to wear needs mending.

Roadtrip Supplies: Cool bags, paper plates, disposable silverware, condiments in little packets, favorite road games and activities can be organized in one place ready to grab when you decide to take a weekend trip. Don’t forget a map or two for the kids to use to follow along where you’re going – reducing although not eliminating the cries of “are we there yet!”

Gift Wrap Center: Wrapping paper, ribbon, tape, scissors and a nice collection of gift cards help you be ready for those last-minute gift needs. Instead of searching through the house for everything you need, keep a special set of supplies in one cabinet just for gifts.

These are four quick ideas for ways to make the most of the storage in your laundry room. What other ideas can you come up with to make your laundry room useful for more than laundry?

Let Lighting Create Style

Kitchen from the Rancho Mirage model in the Oasis at Queen Creek Community

Kitchen from the Rancho Mirage model in the Oasis at Queen Creek Community

Because of its position just above eye level, pendant lighting tends to capture the eye. This is even more true when they are lit. So be sure to pay close attention to your options when selecting pendants. Here are some factors to consider when making your decision.

Style: Are you a staunch design traditionalist? If you want to create a traditional feel, be sure to stick with standard shapes and only choose light colors such as white or amber. On the other hand, if you like the old-style farmhouse look, consider the old-fashioned schoolhouse lighting. And if you want to be more cutting-edge, take a look at these light fixtures from Kichler. While they are effective task lights over the island, they also cause guests to take notice with their daring design.

Finish: What metal have you chosen for your kitchen faucets and pulls? You may want to stay consistent with your lighting, particularly when going for a traditional look. If your style is more eclectic, you can mix it up a bit.

Coordinating pieces: Do you want to link your pendants with other lighting fixtures in your home? If so, be sure to take a look at all the coordinating lights in the package. On the other hand, as long as you don’t go too far, different choices can work well together. Be sure to take the time to see how your lighting coordinates from room to room.

Light level: Will these pendant lights be primarily decorative or will they need to double as task lighting? Make sure the size of your pendants and the level they hang at meet your specific lighting needs for your island. After all, style may be important but light comes first!

For more ideas of what’s available in pendant lighting for your Fulton Home kitchen, take a look at the options offered at the Fulton Design Center and visit our models at Oasis at Queen Creek. You’ll see these lights and many other intriguing choices for your island.

Introducing Slate – GE’s New Appliance Finish

Rancho-Mirage-kitchen-webFor the last decade and more, stainless steel has been the preferred finish for kitchen appliances. Other choices have appeared, but none with the staying power of stainless.

At the same time there are disadvantages to stainless. It’s a magnet for fingerprints, which requires daily wiping if there are children in your home. The bright shiny surface looks good against dark wood cabinetry but isn’t quite as effective with painted or light cabinets.

Now GE Appliances has introduced Slate. This darker look combines a charcoal tone with a matte finish that hides fingerprints and smudges. It also works exceptionally well with a kitchen that has grey colors. This cooler tone has grown in appeal lately.

Slate doesn’t demand the attention that stainless does. If you want your open-concept home to include a kitchen that incorporates itself into the rest of the space, Slate is more low-key.

Most important of all, so far this new appliance finish seems to have staying power. Introduced in 2012, the response has been so positive that GE continues to expand its Slate line. With its sophisticated look and feel – including just enough bling with glossy handles – Slate creates a feeling of cutting-edge style.

Thanks to its cool tones, Slate can also be used in a mix-and-match approach with stainless if you want. For a close-up look at GE’s new appliance finish in this kitchen, we invite you to check it out in our Oasis at Queen Creek community, where we showcase this and many other kitchen ideas designed with you in mind.

Design Your Dream Master Bath

bath_montage_blogHave you ever thought about what you really want in your master bathroom? How about natural light while still maintaining privacy? This bathroom accomplishes that with the trio of square windows near the ceiling over the shower.

Would you like a bathroom that doesn’t feel cramped? The nice amount of square footage and open entrance gives you plenty of space. Using flooring on the diagonal adds to the sense of abundant room.

What about a roomy shower? Take a look at this option with room to move around and a subtle built-in niche that’s perfect for shampoo and body wash.

How about a mirror over the vanity that doesn’t look institutional? Take a look at how framing the mirror in the photo above adds an appealing finishing touch to the vanity area.

Would you like a spot to sit in the morning to apply make-up, or just to relax for a minute while chatting with your spouse before breakfast? This bath has just the place for a comfy chair by the mirror.

And what about style? Have you thought about the colors and finishes you would like in your master bath? What about the soft gold and rust tones of this space? Or maybe you’d rather have gentle green colors. With all of the Fulton Design Center options, it’s your choice.

While we’re at it, let’s add plenty of vanity storage, a double vanity/sink so you don’t have to share, and plenty of good and attractive lighting.

Is this your dream master bath? Want a closer look? Then how about visiting Oasis at Queen Creek Station to see it for yourself?

Imagine Never Stopping at a Gas Station Again

energy_center_carWhat do you think of pulling into your own garage and adding fuel to your car right there? How about being able to drive in the carpool lane even if you’re alone? Add in the savings – paying the equivalent of $2.09 a gallon for fuel, no matter the price at the pump, and there are plenty of incentives to put a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) system in your garage.

Fulton Homes is the first builder in the country to provide the opportunity to add a CNG system to your home with the new homes in the Queen Creek Station community. This fuel choice is cleaner, noticeably less expensive, and allows you to eliminate that gas station stop, saving time and money.

Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of CNG for you.

Save money: In addition to the lower fuel costs, you receive a reduced rate for your car registration and license fees. You also eliminate the 18% excise tax included in all gasoline purchases.

Save time: No stops at gas stations; refuel at your convenience at home. Also, enjoy shorter commutes because your CNG vehicle has 24-hour access to the HOV lanes across the state.

Save the environment: Natural gas is abundant and much cleaner than gasoline, reducing our dependence on oil and reducing carbon dioxide by 20-30%.

You can buy cars designed to run on Compressed Natural Gas, or have a car converted to handle this new fuel choice. For more information on this exciting new option from Fulton Homes, visit our Energy Center in the Peninsula model park at Queen Creek station.

Keep Kitchen Light and Bright

la quinta kitchen webWhat are you looking for in a kitchen? There are so many choices. If you want a light and bright kitchen, this one from the La Quinta model at Oasis at Queen Creek provides a great example. Let’s take a look at what makes this kitchen design work.

Painted cabinets: The look of stained wood is lovely, but nothing says clean and fresh quite like a white painted cabinet. The crisp color also creates a remembrance of kitchens gone by.

Light countertops: This light granite choice fits well with the cabinetry and the veining provides a gentle contrast. The edge treatment feels substantial and works with the crown molding at the top of the cabinets.

Light backsplash mosaic: By including white and primarily light tones in the backsplash, the bright impression is carried forward. Notice that there are a handful of dark tiles in the design. This contrast makes the backsplash more interesting.

Stainless steel and brushed nickel metal choices: By staying with the cool and crisp feel of stainless appliances and brushed nickel faucet and pulls it’s possible to provide contrast without going too far. Black appliances or oil-rubbed bronze metals would be too strong a conflict with the other choices in this kitchen.

Warm but light flooring: While this porcelain tile plank flooring is light, it also adds warmth with its wood-look. The tone works well with the kitchen, providing just enough dark elements to anchor this flooring in the room.

You can make a careful balance of choices to create a light, bright and inviting kitchen like this one. To see it in person, visit our models at Oasis at Queen Creek.