Inexpensive Ways to Dress Up Your Landscape

As homeowners, it’s essential for your outdoor space to look just as good as the interior. So if you’ve been investing some work into your garden we know that know landscape is complete without accessories. After you’ve watered the flowers, treated the soil and repainted the fence it’s time to add the finishing touches.

 

Your garden may be beautiful and full of life. It’s clear that it needs something else. From outdoor furniture to water fixtures there are numerous trendy accessories you can use to add some style to your landscape.

 

Landscape Lighting

Perhaps one of the best ways you can create a stunning landscape is to implement a lighting scheme. You can strategically string Christmas lights or you can invest in more inventive lighting solutions. When shopping for landscape lighting you’ll have to first determine what type of illumination you are seeking. Do you desire soft, romantic lighting or do you need lighting for security reasons?

 

Garden Border

No garden is complete without a well-designed border to protect your hard work. Yes, by installing a simple border you can instantly add appeal to the area. A well-crafted garden border with a nice design will attract the eye.

 

Planters

Elegant planters are a must-have accessory for your garden. They will add some life to your dull garden.  Be sure to choose planters that complement both the overall design of your home.  The great thing about planters is that you don’t have to just place them in your garden. You can set them up around the pool, by the windows and along the fence.  You can even plant more exotic foliage in your planters so that when they grow out it creates a unique look in your landscape.

 

Ornaments

Ornaments, sculptures and other types of accents are a form of garden art that adds interest all year round to the landscape. Whether you’re interested in using faeries, gnomes or animal ornaments, do so sparingly.  Overdecorating with ornaments will make your landscape look cluttered and tacky. Therefore, select a few quality pieces to adorn your landscape with. 

Clean Your Garden Tools

If you are like us, the beginning of spring marks the enjoyable start of planting and gardening. Gardening can help relieve any stress brought on by intense spring cleaning, but we must not neglect cleaning our gardening tools. Begin your season off right with fresh, sparkling tools by following these easy tips: 

 

  • Muddy Tools: Remove all dirt and mud from your gardening tools by hosing them off with a high-powered garden hose. If excess dirt remains, you can use a putty knife to scrape off extra dirt. 
  • Rusty Tools: Tools seem to get rust over the years, but we can fight back against rust by scrubbing them with steel wool. 
  • Sticky Tools: Place a small amount of mayonnaise on a white cloth to remove sap and goo from your tools.
  • Exposed Tools: Sometimes, plants get sick with fungal or bacterial diseases. It is important that you do not transfer this disease to any other plant. Clean your tools with a bleach-free disinfectant wipe to ensure sanitation.  

 

Soaking Bucket: After you have removed any dirt, rust or goo from your tools, place them in a bucket with hot water and dish soap. Let the tools sit for about ten minutes before removing them from the soaking bucket. Take out the tools then rinse them off with warm water. You will need to dry your tools with an old rag to prevent future rust. 

 

Cleaning Bin: Instead of waiting to clean your tools, you can create a quick cleaning bin by combining a medium size bag of sand with one cup of vegetable oil. After you use your tools, place them in the sand bucket and let them sit overnight. The sand bucket will help any mud or dirt come loose from your tools and make any future cleaning easier on you.

 

Now you never have to neglect any of your gardening tools again with these easy tips. Do you have any tool cleaning tricks up your sleeve? We would love to hear about how you keep your garden tools and supplies clean in the comment section below.

Painted Cabinets Make Kitchen Light and Bright

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When you’re designing your new Fulton Kitchen, it’s worth considering painted cabinets. They add a light and inviting look to your food preparation space, and keep everything feeling light and bright. With lighter countertops and under-cabinet lighting like this kitchen in the Caravan model in Central Vermont at Cooley Station, the entire room is designed to create a supportive mood that makes it easy to spend time in this kitchen.

There are still a few darker elements for contrast, like the oven and microwave and the comfortable stools at the pull-up eating area on the island. Accessories also add nice pops of color. But the overall mood is light and easy on the eyes.kitchen-1w

Notice how the accent wall, shown at the back of this photo going into the dining area, provides another contrasting element. At the same time the white dining chairs connects this space with the kitchen.

This is a smart connection between the two spaces, linking them both while still providing a source of much-appreciated contrast. The darker wall also supports a cozy ambiance which is appreciated in a dining space. Notice also the colorful tablescape where the accessories link it to the island. These choices make a home look more like a designed space rather than creating a more scattered feeling. kitchen-6w

Don’t be afraid to mix dark and painted wood. You can see how well it works with this dining table and chair set. The shabby-chic effect on the painted chairs keeps them from seeming too matchy-matchy with the cabinets while still creating a link. While the painted chairs bring the painted kitchen cabinet feel into the space, the dark stained wood echoes other pieces used in the rest of the home. This type of mixing allows you to add just a few new pieces without having to discard the bulk of your furniture if you choose to go in a different style or color direction with your new home.

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Take a look at another way this kitchen provides contrast without going dark. The addition of one glass-fronted cabinet in the corner adds a welcome and interesting break in the line of top cabinets. Both the height difference and the contrast of the glass add a welcome change in the design. And limiting the glass front to only one cabinet is also a smart budget strategy, because window doors are more expensive. They also require you to maintain tidier cabinets, which can be a nuisance.

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In another opportunity to add an interesting contrast, the island is a soft grey/taupe rather than white. This color works well with the chosen countertops and the flooring, yet it helps the island feel like something special. Choosing a different cabinet color for your island is daring, yet as you can see it can work well.

One reason this color choice works is because the same taupe is echoed in the kitchen’s backsplash. If you notice, the mid-range tone is a close match for the island cabinet color. When you can find ways to make those kinds of connections, you will end up with a kitchen that feels integrated and well thought out.kitchen-3wIt’s interesting to realize that there are actually three fairly strong patterns present in this kitchen: the flooring, the countertops and the backsplash. You can see all three in the photo above. This could easily feel like too much if the contrast within or among the patterns was stronger. Imagine these same patterns in vivid reds and oranges! But because they are all gentle and light in color, the number of patterns isn’t overwhelming. In fact, you almost need these patterns to keep the kitchen interesting. In a way, the patterns take the place of a stronger light/dark contrast you would see in some other kitchens.

Here’s the final interesting design decision with this light bright kitchen. The rest of the open floorplan was designed to focus your eyes in that direction. The diagonal flooring draws the eye toward the kitchen, and the brightness of the space contrasts with the mid-range colors of the dining and family room to draw you toward the light just like a sunflower turning to face the sun. kitchen-7w

The rest of the home is warm and welcoming, with other white elements that mimic the light kitchen such as the sofas in the family room as you can see above. But linking it all, the heart of this home, is the light and bright kitchen, made for a family to live in, eat in, and spend time together in, and above all, enjoy. And that’s the best use you can make of a kitchen, isn’t it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Organizational Mistakes

Organizing your home can be a hefty task, but it becomes even more difficult if you are unconsciously adding more work for yourself. Homeowners tend to create more work for themselves by doing these ten common organization mistakes:

  • Putting away items you use every day 

Counter space is there for you to display items you use regularly. Do not be afraid to leave kitchen appliances or personal toothbrushes out on your countertops. Utilize the space provided to leave out items that you use frequently. Placing the items in cabinets will create more hassle and take up valuable cabinet space. 

  • Letting food go to waste

Sometimes, homeowners can buy way more groceries than they need and end up letting food go to waste. Create a steady grocery list that you consistently stick with to discourage over shopping.

  • Misplacing mail & bills

Bills are a time sensitive item that emphasizes the importance of organization. Have a specific place to go through your mail.

  • Stuffing drawers with miscellaneous items

Do not allow your household to create a “junk drawer.” Create a place for everything and if there is not a place for something, consider its function and if it is necessary. 

  • Not providing a space for coats and shoes

Designate an area near the entrance/exit of your home for coats and shoes. If there is no space provided, people tend to leave their items lying around the home. 

  • Organizing for looks rather than function

A color coordinated closet is really impressive, but not extremely functional. Move the current season’s clothing to the front of the closet and the past season’s clothing to the back of the closet.

  • Having too many decorations

Decorating a home is one the best parts as a homeowner, but over decorating can look clutter. You have a limited amount of wall and counter space so make sure not to overpack your items. 

  • Not tackling laundry right away

Wear it then wash it: an important rule to live by. Try not to let laundry build up in your laundry room. It will cause you more work in the end. Plus, is not it nice to be able to wear whatever you want whenever you want because it is always clean. 

  • Making impulsive buys

We all do this. It is natural, but it can hurt your wallet. If you want to buy something, wait two days. If you are still thinking about the item, then you can buy it. Odds are that you will forget about the item because it does not serve a necessary purpose. 

  • Skipping “cleaning day” 

Starting cleaning day is the worst, but remember that ending it is the best! Do not be discouraged from cleaning your home weekly, because skipping one day can lead to skipping another.

 

Avoiding these ten common mistakes will lead to a more organized and efficient home. Let us know if you have any additional tips and tricks you would like to share in the comment section below.

Special Guest Bathroom Design

guest-bath-vanity-webThe guest bathroom generally gets the least amount of attention in a home. It’s the smallest room in your house, and your focus when you’re planning your new home is on your kitchen first, and then on your master bathroom and other areas where your family will be spending a lot of time. It makes sense to place the guest bath at the end of your list of priorities.

But if you think about it, chances are almost every visitor to your home will see your guest bathroom at some point. So it has a direct affect on how they view your home. And this is actually the most cost-effective room to create design drama, because the space is so small. A minimum investment can provide the maximum design impact. Let’s take a look at some of the guest bathroom designs in recent Fulton Home models to get some ideas of approaches you might want to take to give your guest bath some extra style.

First Impressions:basha-legacy-powder-room-3-web

Think about what your guest bathroom will look like from the hallway. Even if your visitors don’t actually use the bathroom, they will probably walk past and glance in. That first impression will have an effect on the entire hallway.

In this photo to the right, the eye is automatically drawn to the copper artwork on the far wall. Other features such as the tile and the mini-chandelier come into focus later. Altogether this is a luxurious and well-integrated guest bathroom.

This first bathroom involves a serious investment in options to create a feeling of luxury. This was appropriate as it was part of the Legacy series of homes, which was a luxury line. But you don’t need to invest as much in options as was spent in this model to create drama.

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Take a look at the guest bathroom to the left. The vanity is nice-looking but fairly straightforward with a sink embedded in the countertop. The tub and surround are a solid surface which is less expensive than tile. But the tile chosen for the flooring and the coordinated tile inset added to the solid surface in the tub surround makes this bathroom pop.

In this case creativity and thoughtful style take the place of expensive options to make this bathroom stand out. Add an interesting coordinating shower curtain and some towels to emphasize the contrast and you have a guest bathroom that shows your personality without a big investment.

Lighting:basha-legacy-powder-room-2

Because of its small size, smaller light fixtures can have a big punch in a guest bathroom. And if you want to take a chance with a different look, a guest bath is a great space for experimenting. The simple wall sconce on the right adds a touch of charm in a guest bathroom. After all, this is not a space where you need bright lights, and a gentle glow is flattering when people look in the mirror.

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The photo on the left shows another fun way to use lighting in a guest bathroom. By adding a light under the vanity, the room doesn’t have a blinding glare when a guest hits the switch, and the look is unusual and interesting. In this case the sink is also translucent – notice the photo at the top of this blog – so the light also makes the sink glow. This choice gives you the opportunity to add some drama to your guest bathroom while not taking up any additional space.

Tile Trim:basha-legacy-powder-room-1

Whether you choose a simple row of tile to outline your vanity or expand your tile choices to cover an entire wall, tile has a special place in many bathrooms. In the photo to the right you can get a closer look at the Legacy bathroom we visited above. In this case a full wall of tile is complemented with a rich row of glass tile trimmed with a darker border just above the vanity, serving as a backsplash. It provides the feeling of wainscoting and pulls every element in this room together. The border also adds some welcome contrast.vanity-cropped-web

You don’t need to use this much tile to have a design impact in a guest bathroom. Take a look at the vanity on the left. The countertop uses a simple tile pattern to create a charming rustic feel. Then a six-inch backsplash of narrow rectangular tile picks up the tones of the vanity’s wood finish to create an integrated design element that makes this guest bath memorable. The oil-rubbed bronze hardware with its rustic flavor makes so much sense with this look.

Finishing Touches:bath-2-web

Don’t stop with the design elements. Once you move in, take the time to find the right art and accessories to complete the look in your guest bathroom. In the photo above, the design of the bathroom is enhanced by the choice of shower curtain, towels, art and accessories.

Notice that although the design itself is neutral, it left the homeowner open to introduce color into the room. By bringing in orange-red and the grey-blue, the neutral elements actually connect with the color palette. While you don’t need to be afraid to pull color into your design choices, if you would rather keep your permanent options neutral, think about what colors you will want to bring in with more temporary elements later. You may want to bring some of those colors with you to your design appointment.

Above all with a guest bathroom, have fun! It’s the smallest room in your home so it’s OK to take a few chances. And those extras aren’t going to break the bank with the minimum square footage involved. So as you wander through the Fulton Design Center, if you spot a special sink, faucet, tile design or light fixture you can’t resist, why not consider the guest bath for its home?

 

Bringing Autumn Home

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It’s challenging facing Autumn in Arizona if you’re originally from another part of the country. For many of us who originated in states with four seasons, this time of year always promised chillier weather, crisp evenings and the start of fall leaves turning.

But if you’re new to Arizona and used to digging out your sweaters and crockpots to make chili and your mom’s chicken soup, it may seem strange to face the fact that here in the middle of September we’re all still wearing shorts every day. But for those of us who have been here a while, we have developed some habits to make it feel at least a little bit like fall. Here are a few suggestions:

Showcase fall colors: Use table runners, placemats, or add some pillows and throws on your sofa to pull some of the colors of autumn into your home. Yes, you’ll still see bright greens outside, but you can add gold, rust and brown to your interiors.

Bring your autumn accessories out: Pick up a few small pumpkins, gourds, pine cones or whatever takes your fancy. If you want you can even go to a hobby shop for some branches with silk autumn leaves. Then have at it on coffee and side tables. Make your home look like you’ve been wandering outside and brought some gleanings in from the woods.

Fix some cocoa: OK, it may still be too warm for that chili recipe, but a mug of hot cocoa with a few marshmallows might be a nice preview of the treats you’ll enjoy in the cooler days to come. After all, our evenings really are starting to cool down. And eventually we will get to see some leaves turn and drop… in December!

Throw a Mind-Blowing Boy’s Birthday Party

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It’s pretty easy to put together a party for toddlers. Get some cake and ice cream, play a few games and have them run around the yard. Then have the parents come and get them while their sugar high is still going strong enough that they haven’t all crashed into each other yet and turned into a soggy mess of birthday goo.

But as children get older, particularly boys, it gets harder to keep them entertained. Taking them to a water-park or movie can get expensive, plus it’s easy to lose control if you have too many boys along. Here are a few ideas for a fun party that’s also easy on your budget.

Take a hike: Plan to explore one of the many safe hiking options available near Phoenix. Choose one with limited height exposure or distance. Plan a picnic lunch. If you’re in a National Park you may be able to take advantage of a park program with a ranger to explain some of the wildlife or other insights of interest to the age group. If it’s not snake or scorpion season, a night hike followed by ghost stories around a campfire might be a fun variation.

Have a Lego party: Create a series of Lego contests using Legos you provide. Include Lego giveaways as prizes. This only works if you son and his friends are Lego fans.

Create an all-night movie marathon: Choose a great series that they will all like like Star Wars or X-Men. Pick up a variety of popcorn and movie snacks. Plan on pizza at about 11 p.m. and sleeping bags out at midnight. Chances are they won’t make it all the way through but that’s OK. It’s the possibility and the permission that makes it exciting.

For some other great ideas and venues for birthday parties around Phoenix, Raising Arizona’s Kids has a list of opportunities. We’d love to hear about your ideas.

Santa Fe Community is Opening this Weekend!

Opening just this weekend, September 24-25, 2016, the Santa Fe series of homes may be just right for you and your family! They have floorplans which range from 2937 to over 4700 square feet with standard front-loaded garages. These large traditional homes host a variety of room options to suit many different lifestyles.

Located at our Cooley Station location, the homes will be close to shopping, dining and entertainment. And they are all Fulton Homes, the builder of choice. The three fully-decorated models that will be available for you to tour this weekend are Champion, Dividend and Challenger. Some of the features of the homes are listed below:

  • Home sizes range from 2936 to over 4700 square feet.
  • All floorplans are situated on traditional single-family lots.
  • Homes include paver driveways and traditional front-loaded garages.
  • Up to 7 bedrooms and 6 baths are available.
  • Fulton Homes exclusive Fulton Features program gives you great standard features, including granite countertops, 36″ maple cabinets, faux wood blinds, ceiling fans and much more – at no additional cost!
  • Fiber-connected ultra high speed Internet is available for all Seaboard at Cooley Station homes.
  • 100% HOA maintained front yards helps owners enjoy a low-maintenance lifestyle.

The neighborhood features are extensive, and include: a large community pool, basketball courts, tot-lot, pickleball courts, and parks with ramadas, barbecues and other great community amenities. There is also an extensive network of walking trails and tree-lined streets.

Santa Fe is only a five-mile drive from the fabulous San Tan Mall, an outdoor mall that features Dillards, Macy’s, and many other top retail stores, as well as plenty of dining and a huge Harkins Theater complex. It’s a mile away from the ASU Polytechnic campus and minutes from the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

Does Santa Fe sound like the neighborhood for you? Find out by visiting our models. You can start by learning more about our community and seeing all the floor plans at our website: http://www.fultonhomes.com/our-communities/cooley-station/santa-fe. We look forward to seeing you soon!

The Fun of the Fulton Design Center

fulton-design-centerWhen you’re choosing your home builder, the model homes are only a starting point. It’s important to see what a builder provides to allow you to make your home your own. A rich selection of options makes the difference between a stock home and a home that feels fully customized. With the Fulton Design Center, you have 13,000 square feet of choices.

Take the time to review the kitchen vignettes. They give you a wide selection of styles and moods, providing a good conceptual overview of what different kitchens will look like when finished. Not sure what you want in a bathroom? Just wander through the bath section to get ideas.

The most recently updated area is the smart home section, where you can learn about the latest in security systems, whole-house sound and home theater choices. The Fulton Design Center is regularly updated so you have a chance to see and select the latest in home options.

A range of kitchen appliances are on display, giving you the opportunity to explore which type of refrigerator or oven you would prefer. Be sure to check out the awesome Bertolini Gas ranges – they quickly become the focal point in any chef’s kitchen!

We all dream of creating the perfect home. Thanks to the Fulton Design Center, that dream can really happen. Visit during one of the browse nights and see for yourself. The Design Center is open the first and third Thursdays of every month from 5 to 8 p.m.

First Impressions

design center 8It’s easy to get so focused on what’s inside your new Fulton Home that you forget what people see first – your front door. That’s what makes your home’s first impression. Fortunately, you have so much to choose from when it comes to a front door with Fulton Homes.

When you visit the Fulton Design Center, don’t forget to stop by the front door display. No matter what style you prefer, you will find the right door for you. Start with the door itself. Take the look and style of your home into consideration. If you have chosen a traditional exterior, a contemporary door such as the one to the left in the photo above won’t be a fit. On the other hand the romance of the door to the right with its hobnail finish might be just the right choice.

Once you know the door you want, take the time to choose the hardware that will work for you. As you can see from the two doors shown above, selecting the right combination of hardware and door makes a perfect final product.

Your front door also sends a message about your taste and style even before anyone walks into your home for the first time. It’s exciting to invite family and friends to see your  new home, and part of the fun starts before the front door opens, when they walk up and see your first selection – and the statement it makes about you and your home.

The two doors shown above are just a small sample of your choices. Please come take your time checking out all of your options for creating just the right first impression with your new Fulton Home.