Organizing your New Home – Recruiting Others

12057397_SYou may have included your family when visiting your Fulton Home during construction, and they may have helped pack and unpack their own rooms, but now that you’ve moved into your new home, how about recruiting them to help you organize it?

You know that they contribute to the disorganization, so your spouse and children can be a terrific resource when figuring out how to create organizational systems that will last.

Start with one space in your home, such as the front or garage entryway. Do these spaces end up as catchalls for shoes, books, purses, keys and other things? If you chose the Fulton Drop Center built-in for your home, bring your family together to assign spaces, drawers and shelves to some of this clutter. You may even want to label some of it.

Could a drawer be assigned to each child to hold homework as well as notes to or from the teacher, and your spouse’s car keys? Would a bench with slots for shoes under it in the hallway help?

The kitchen is another space that begs for group organization. Setting up a breakfast center with various cereals, an area for making lunches with bags and containers, and placing a selection of afternoon snacks in a specific spot might help contain potential messes. Add in a few rules such as everyone bringing their dishes to the sink, rinsing them off and putting them in the dishwasher and you are on your way to a kitchen that keeps itself under control with only minor reminders from you.

Once you move on to coordinating homework, laundry and any other regular organizational challenges, you’re on your way to a more organized home. One final suggestion: provide regular prizes or little treats as a reward for maintaining the organizational system – for you as well as your family.

Fulton Homes Design Online – Lighting Up Your Life

LED Under Cabinet 5 Light PkgAre you drawn to traditional lights with softly-curved glass shades like the ones in the photo? Maybe you want pendant lights over your island, and in oil-rubbed bronze. But wait, this light fixture was just made for the pool table you’re planning for the family room!

This room shows a generous amount of lighting, which is particularly appreciated in the kitchen. Notice the can lights in the ceiling, set to shine light against your cabinet doors, making them sparkle, as well as providing general task lighting for snooping in the fridge for a snack or checking your oven to see if a casserole is finished.

For closer work this kitchen features the Maxim LED CounterMax with five LED lights set under the counter. With its sleek profile and direct pre-wiring, the LED fixtures emit a crisp white light which illuminates without shadows. Long-lasting LED bulbs keep cabinets cool and safe and the bulb life is rated at 50,000 hours. LED lighting is also the most energy efficient choice.

contour lighting collection by MaximWhat about the rest of the house? Light fixtures throughout will stay consistent in design because Fulton provides a full package of lights in your selected style. Would you prefer a contemporary look? How about this piece from the Contour Collection by Maxim on the left?

larissa inverted pendantOr you might like this Larissa Inverted three-light Pendant by Kichler shown on the right.

Craving a full size dramatic chandelier? Take a look at this choice, also part of the Larissa Collection. This fixture is ideal to take advantage of a vaulted ceiling over a dramatic entrance or in a formal dining space.larissa lighting package

Let’s move back to the kitchen for a minute. Would you like some pendant lights over your island? They are getting more and more popular. Take a look at the choices below. On the left, you have the mini-pendant that goes with the Larissa Collection we saw above. The one on the right is a contemporary choice, the Elk Lighting Vesta Pendant in Tobacco. It comes in red, blue and white also.

elk lighting vista pendant in tobaccolarissa collection mini pendantThese photos show just a few of the choices available. Maybe it’s time to visit Fulton Homes Design Online to start narrowing down your choices – not an easy feat. But remember, your Fulton Design Center Designer is ready to help you make the right decisions for your home.



The Decorating Power of Red

8161349_SRed is daring. Red is romantic. Red is sexy. That’s one reason why it’s the color of Valentine’s Day. A splash of red makes an outfit come alive. Whether you love red or not, the color is almost impossible to ignore.

In honor of the holiday, how about looking at red in decorating? Here are three variations on using red in your home, depending on just how daring you feel.

Hard-core red: This photo shows a room where red is the dominant color. This rich dark shade of red takes over the space. Red can be a great color for dining rooms because it raises the energy level in a room and draws people together, encouraging conversation. Your dinner parties could be livelier with red walls.

The secret to this type of luminous and rich red color on your walls is multiple coats of paint. Stop at one or two and you will end up with a red that looks washed out and flat. Plan on at least three coats, and consider five. It’s a lot more work, but getting a result like this makes the effort worthwhile. Also, notice that the rest of the room’s decor is fairly neutral. Once you commit to red, really watch out for any other color choices. Red like this is generally enough color for one space.

2409263_SA splash of red: By choosing red leather for this dining room’s chairs, the homeowner adds style and a spark to the space. Once again, neutrals keep the red to the forefront without having the color overwhelm the room. You may notice that the brown flowers in the rug look almost rust against the red. This actually works because of the extremely neutral effect of the rest of the room. The red chairs ensure that the table is the focal point of the room. Remember that your eye will always be drawn to any red in your home.

8961688_SJust a touch of red: If you’re not ready to jump into the world of red full-blast, how about dipping a toe in? This light fixture provides a dramatic impact in the room and saves it from a boring neutral look. If a permanent fixture seems too extreme, how about adding in a couple of throw pillows or a vase? You could even test out your red comfort zone with a bouquet of red flowers. But you might want to wait until later in the month – those red blooms are quite expensive at the moment!


Lighting Connects Great Room Spaces

When you’re working with a great room, you want to balance the need to separate the functional areas with choices that integrate the spaces. Consistency in design helps make that integration possible.

In this great room, from the La Quinta model at the Oasis at Freeman Farms community, one unifying feature comes from the lighting. Let’s consider the light fixtures in this space.

First, take a look at the chandelier over the dining table. It has an appealing warm finish, with bell-shaped glass shades in an amber tone. Now notice the ceiling fan. The metal finish and the amber tone match the dining chandelier, although the type of fixture is completely different.

The pendants over the kitchen island have a more streamlined shape. This works well as they are in line-of-sight from the kitchen to the rest of the room. However, the glass mirrors the same amber tone that’s been part of the other light fixtures.

Finally, take a look at the sconces above the fireplace. The finish, the shape of the glass shades, and the color of the glass are the same as the chandelier.

Design consistencies such as these make a space feel connected throughout. Other elements such as the similar tiles on the kitchen island and the fireplace surround, the same flooring, and the paint choice integrates every aspect of this space.

A great-room design depends on choosing lighting, flooring, tile and colors that work for every functional area. In this room, everything flows together to create a warm and inviting space.

Triangular Kitchen Island has Multiple Uses

While most kitchen islands are rectangular, sometimes another shape provides additional functionality. Take a look at this island in the La Quinta model at Oasis at Freeman Farms. The modified triangle shape has several functional advantages.

Kitchen triangle: The classic shape for the most functional kitchen space is a working triangle, with oven, stove, refrigerator and sink in easy reach of each other. The trimmed edge of this island on the kitchen side creates an actual open triangle for cooking. The extra space makes this tidy kitchen feel more spacious, especially if two or more cooks are working together.

Eating space: The cropped edge on the great room side of the island provides room to spread for three and can hold up to five people comfortably, as you can see in the photo above. This space works well for quick breakfasts with someone playing short-order-cook at the stove or for homework with a parent’s help while they fix dinner. Remove the chairs and the island creates a perfect stage for party appetizers.

Cleaning with a view: After dinner at the dining table, dishes can be brought to the island and placed in the dishwasher while the cleaning crew chats with the rest of the family or guests. With the sink/dishwasher area set up in the island, post-meal clean up clean-up doesn’t isolate the tidying team.

Well-lit: The pendant lights provide additional spot lighting for any tasks completed on the island, while adding a contemporary element of style to the space. Between the lights and the island itself, the kitchen area is clearly defined without being separated from the rest of the home’s living area.

Thoughtful design makes this great-room kitchen functional and fun, with an island shape made for functionality, whether as part of a simple family dinner or entertaining a group of friends.

Casual Dining Room

A casual dining room is not about table shape or size or whether chairs are padded or not. It’s the style of table and chairs, lighting and accessories that define a dining room as casual or more formal.

Take a look at the two dining rooms to the left. Both circular tables seat six comfortably. The dining chairs are padded and both have a chandelier hanging overhead. Let’s compare the two rooms to define casual dining spaces.

Table style: The formal table has a wood top and legs, with a top that needs to be protected from heat and water. The casual table allows both warm foods and wet glasses on it without damage. Notice that the chairs are also wipe-off in the casual room.

Lighting: Both of these rooms have plenty of natural light. The formal dining room has its chandelier hanging lower, making for a more intimate dining experience. The sconces on the back wall provide additional lighting if needed when you use the buffet. The style is also dressy, with a graceful and involved shape and candle-shaped light bulbs. Take a look at the casual chandelier. It is set higher to brighten the entire room rather than just the table and the little shades create a more casual feeling. Its lines are also much simpler.

Accessories: The large mirror, floor-to-ceiling curtains and the items on the windowsill all add to the formality and style of the dining room. In the casual room, accessories are much more limited. This may be because of the position of the room as part of the traffic pattern of the home, and a casual dining space may be used in many ways such as a place to pay bills or do homework. This makes it inconvenient to deal with too many accessories.

When deciding whether to have a formal or casual dining space, make plans based on the type and amount of use it will have, and then decorate it to suit your functional requirements. And remember, with a few candles and fresh flowers, you can make even the most casual dining room something special.

Classic Dining Room

Well, most of us do not have a dining room that will support a dinner party with 14 guests the way this one does, but the things that make this room work can be used in a dining room serving eight or even four people. Let’s look at the consistent features that every classic dining room should contain.

Space: Make sure every guest has two to two-and-a-half feet of linear space at the table. This oval table provides an additional advantage – it gives the people at either end extra leg space. Also plan on at least two feet of area rug beyond the edges of the table so that people don’t end up bumping off the edge every time they push their chairs back. Did you notice the padded chairs? Just like our contemporary dining room in Monday’s blog, the comfort of your guests is important if you want people to linger to chat after meals during your dinner parties.

Lighting: A chandelier’s height should be about 30 inches above the dining table’s surface, but you may hang it higher to make sure it lights the whole table. With a table this long, two chandeliers would also work, but the wall sconces and mirrors will help keep the room well-lit. Notice the medallion on the ceiling. This makes the light hold a stronger place in the room and works well with the rich display of crown molding on the edges. A medallion is a simple, inexpensive and effective way to emphasize your chandelier or any light fixture.

Tablescape: The crystal in the center of this table echoes the items in the cabinets along the wall as well as the mirrors and windows, keeping everything integrated. Be sure to keep anything in the center area of your table low enough for people to talk across.

Your dining room may not have the size and majesty of this one, but following the same rules for good dining allow you to make dinner parties at your home just as enjoyable.

Contemporary Dining Room

Contemporary doesn’t mean cold, as this image shows. The colors, furnishings and accessories all combine to create an inviting space for dinner parties and family meals. Let’s take a look at what makes this room work so well.

Color: The dark brown tones, combined with cream and grey, transition well with the stainless steel appliances from the kitchen while creating a warm space for eating. These colors are neutral enough to allow the homeowners to set the table to suit their mood or the season.

Furnishings: The box-like table says contemporary very well, and the wall-mounted buffet and shelf support the clean lines while staying low maintenance. Large rectangular tiles also suit the modern feel. Notice the chairs, however. Although contemporary in style, the padded seats and backs make for comfortable seating, encouraging people to linger after meals for conversation. When choosing dining room chairs, always factor in comfort before style.

Accessories: The choices made are all modern and some are almost sculptural. The bell artwork makes best connecting piece with the bells echoing stainless tones and the background connecting with the dining room tones.

Altogether, this dining room features the best in contemporary design while still remaining warm and welcoming.

Design Inspiration – Chandelier

This chandelier provides a great inspiration point for a formal dining room. This last blog on using different inspirations when decorating focuses on creating a mood.

First, notice that the chandelier below is not an exact match with the one in the dining room. The photo shows an antique chandelier that was quite beyond the budget of the couple whose room is shown below.

Instead of trying to reproduce the specific chandelier, the goal was to reproduce the feeling the piece invokes. This photo combines drama, sparkle and old-style elegance, and the dining room below captures the same feelings.

Let’s look at the style of this dining room. The classic chairs and table immediately recreate that old-world look. Notice how shiny the table top is, allowing the crystals to reflect on its surface.

The colors chosen for the room are in the champagne family, echoing the rich shades established by the bowl of crystals at the bottom of the light in the photo.

Extra touches such as the curtains pillowing on the floor and the faded but lovely Oriental rug echo the old-fashioned luxury represented by the original chandelier photo.

Although the chandelier in the room is different from the photo, it has the same circle of candles, additional crystals at the bottom, and the same basic shape. The large gilded mirror and the small ornamental shelves also fit the mood and message this dining room demonstrates.

Perhaps you prefer a dining room that is more simple or contemporary. But no matter what style you want, a light fixture provides a perfect starting point for your design plan.

Brighten up a Room with Splashes of Color

We’re lucky here in Arizona to get so much sunshine. Grey days are the exception here. But it’s easy to let our homes go grey or beige inside because of the fear of committing to colors. If you have neutral walls, sofas, flooring and chairs, you can still add bold color to your home. Here are some ideas for brightening up any room.

Rugs: No matter what your flooring choice, a rug can add color, warmth and focus. Look for color that you love that will work with your furnishings. Since rugs are not permanently attached to your home, take the opportunity to be more daring with colors.

Art: A large painting or print in vivid tones can light up a wall. You can find options at one of the art shows around town, or in a shop that sells posters and prints. If you love good photography, visit the National Geographic website and you can select a photo to enlarge among their rich collection that is ready to purchase. Or maybe you’re a good photographer yourself. Warehouse stores will enlarge any print you have and even create a version on canvas for very reasonable prices.

Throw Pillows: This simple update can connect other color splashes in your home with your furniture. They’re also easy to change out if you get tired of them. If you’re still nervous about color, buying a bright throw pillow is a great non-threatening start.

Accessories: A red glass vase or blue pottery bowl can add a colorful element to any room. Consider textiles such as a table runner or placemats in your dining room. Pick things you like but watch your tendency to go with more neutrals. Neutral accessories in a neutral room will disappear into your space.

So take a chance with color. Start with one piece, then two, and before you know it your home may be colorful as well as inviting!