Archive for Home Design

Design Trends for 2014 and Beyond

Posted in Around Your Home, Housing News, I Wish I'd Thought About That, Lifestyle, New Homes with tags , , , , on February 26, 2014 by Pat Hansen

The National Association of Home Builders recently announced the winners of the Best in American Living Awards – a prestigious award program that spotlights design excellence for the entire residential building industry.

Award recipients represent the forefront of innovative design in America, and are lauded as the most creative and inventive builders, remodelers, architects, developers, land planners and interior designers in the nation.

Based on submissions from this year’s crop of winners, some of the newest trends in design that home buyers will see over the next several years include:

Light Colored CabinetryWhite on White – Cabinets, flooring, backsplashes, counters, fixtures and appliances are beginning to lighten up. Layering white on top of white is a new approach in many kitchens and bathrooms that is giving way to a fresh and light feeling. To achieve clean lines and a modern feel, designers and builders are selecting European cabinetry, adding shiny surfaces via appliance, backsplash and countertop choices, and incorporating glass walls.

Bold Exterior Colors – Bold colors are making their way to the exterior of homes. Whether it’s through paint, a mix of cladding materials, doors, windows, porches, shutters or trim, an extra layer of drama is being adding to the design of elevations, further enhancing curb appeal.

Interior Courtyards – Interior courtyards are popular in all housing types right now. The primary difference is scale. Within single-family homes, courtyards provide private and safe outdoor living areas and are being shifted to side yards.

New Light FixtureSpecialty Lighting – Specialty fixtures are “lighting it up” this year. Regardless of whether it involves a custom or a stock fixture, designers are finding ways to showcase them as pieces of art rather than just a functional element. Lighting is being paired with wood ceiling details to further enhance the room’s design and create a feeling of warmth.

Historic Style with Modern Flair – New or remodeled homes, whether they are Craftsman, Prairie, Mid-Century Modern or another historic architectural style, are adding modern flair to their traditional designs through color, finish, fixture and lighting selection, while continuing to be influenced by the past through the use of reclaimed building materials and classic proportions and detailing.

Outdoor KitchenBlurring the Lines Between Inside and Out – Lines continue to be blurred between the inside and outside of homes. No longer limited to areas with warmer climates, this is being seen all across the country. More homes now feature moveable glass walls, gourmet outdoor kitchens and interior courtyard pools, adding more everyday living space.

This article is courtesy of the National Association of Home Builders.

Big Design Ideas for Small Homes

Posted in Around Your Home, Construction, Energy Efficiency, I Wish I'd Thought About That with tags , , , , , on January 29, 2014 by Pat Hansen

There are any number of reasons families might want to make better use of the space they have in their current or new home. As a family grows, their lifestyle changes, and space for storing toys or doing homework is at a premium. Multigenerational living, where elderly parents, grown children or other relatives all live under the same roof has become common. Or it may just be cosmetic, and the best way to keep clutter at a minimum.

Home builders and remodelers are responding to the demand by maximizing the utility of living spaces without sacrificing visual appeal. With creative storage and built-in features, dining rooms can become a home office or game room in minutes, living rooms can be used for family meals, and foyers can store much more than coats and umbrellas.

In new home construction, smaller-scale, walkable communities have become popular. To accommodate the size constraints of a skinny lot, homes are being designed with features like stacked garages where two cars can be housed trunk to hood instead of side by side. Using flexible walls, attractive flooring material and a roofless interior garage space, the area can easily be converted to a patio for entertaining.

Improved energy efficiency of windows and doors means homes now feature more indoor-outdoor connectivity. Moveable walls and outdoor spaces tucked within the home’s floor plan provide for better flexible use of the space, as well as improved privacy in densely populated areas.

The often-unused space under a stairwell can be engineered to accommodate filing cabinets or drawers, or even to create a sanctuary for the family pet complete with a bed and gates to close it off. Drawers built into stair risers are a great place to store small items such as gloves and hats or art supplies.

The trend extends to home furnishings as well. Murphy beds, where a piece of furniture conceals a bed that can be set up for sleeping in few minutes, have been around for many years. Modern murphy beds are hidden not only in armoires or bookcases, but new designs feature beds that lower from the ceiling electronically at the touch of a button, or fold out from inside a desk or counter.

Other creative, multi-purpose furniture designs include dining tables that convert to a billiard table, bookcases that contain fold-down chairs for when you’re entertaining more than the usual number of friends and family, and cocktail tables with trays that pull out for eating in front of the television.

This article is courtesy of the National Association of Home Builders.

Make Your Home Feel Good with Color Psychology

Posted in Around Your Home, I Wish I'd Thought About That, Lifestyle, Worth Repeating with tags , , , , , on January 22, 2014 by Pat Hansen

SunroomHome décor is often viewed as a matter of aesthetics or what looks attractive.

Proponents of color psychology believe that the colors you use to decorate your home can have a profound effect on the emotional well-being of you and your family.

If you like the idea of using color to create an emotionally healthy home, color consultants say you should first consider the primary function of each room. Although it can’t be proven scientifically, color consultants say some hues work better than others at encouraging certain activities.

Gathering Room (Fairfield New Home), Clarkston, Michigan | Robert R. Jones HomesLiving Room and foyer paint colors: Warm tones like reds, yellows and earth tones like brown and beige work well in both the living room and foyer, because they are thought to stimulate conversation.

Kitchen paint colors: Color consultants say that if you have fond memories of spending time in the kitchen when you were a kid, it might make sense to create same color scheme in your grown-up kitchen.

Kitchen, Nook, Great Room (Lot 389 | Manors of Deerwood)If there is no particular paint scheme you remember fondly, reds and yellows can be great colors in the kitchen as well as in the living room and foyer. If you are watching your weight, however, you might want to keep red out of the kitchen. The restaurant industry has long recognized the appetite-stimulating power of red décor.

Dining RoomDining room paint colors: Because it is stimulating, red décor can be great for a formal dining room. In addition to encouraging conversation, it whets the appetites of your guests.

Bedroom paint colors: BedroomThe bedroom is where you go to relax. Cool colors like blues, greens and lavenders can be great choices here because they have a calming effect. The darker the hue, the more pronounced the effect is believed to be. Reds tend to increase blood pressure and heart rate; blue does just the opposite.

Bathroom paint colors: Whites and warm colors Bathroomhave always been popular choices for bathrooms, in large part because they connote cleanliness and purity. Today, the master bathroom is also used as a private retreat for relaxation and rejuvenation. Many people feel comfortable with blues, greens and turquoises because these colors give a sense of being clean, fresh and calm.

Home office paint colors: Productivity is the Home Officename of the game here. The faster you complete work-related tasks, the more time you’ll have to spend enjoying family and friends. Color consultants agree that green can be a great choice here. Green is the color of concentration; it’s one of the best colors to be surrounded by for long periods.

If you are thinking about selling your home, you may want to consider making your home more appealing to buyers by repainting the living room, dining room, kitchen, master bedroom and bath with a warm, neutral color. Staging consultants will usually recommend this, especially, if you currently have white walls.

I Wish I Had Thought About That – Master Baths

Posted in Around Your Home, Home Maintenance, Homeownership, I Wish I'd Thought About That, Worth Repeating with tags , , , , , , on August 7, 2013 by Pat Hansen

Building a new home or remodeling is an opportunity to consider some new concepts or products for your new Master Bath.  Creating a wish-list will help you identify the must-have items and help eliminate those last minute, budget-busting extras.

Here are some of the ideas you may want to consider:


  • Larger showers with frameless enclosures
  • Coated, clear glass enclosures for easy cleaning
  • Dual shower heads; wall-mounted, hand-held shower heads with sensor temperature controls
  • Shower fixtures in oil rubbed bronze, Tuscan bronze, black, brushed nickel and more
  • Pulsating water jets that provide spinal and foot massage
  • Warm, neutral tile tones with colorful glass tile accents 
  • Recessed shelves for shampoo, etc. tall enough for Costco-size containers
  • Built-in benches


  • Tubs separated from showers
  • Smaller soaking, jetted and non-jetted tubs
  • Sunken Roman tubs
  • Eco – friendly stone and wood bathtubs
  • Artificial stone bathtubs available in various shapes


  • Pump powered, pressure-assisted quiet, dual-flush system
  • Comfort height versus regular height toilets
  • Water efficient models
  • Heated seats


  • Vessel sinks in glass, porcelain or metal
  • Geometric and free shaped modern sinks
  • Hand painted sinks integrated into vintage furniture  vanities
  • Stainless steel sinks


  • “His” and “Hers” separate vanities; his with additional height.
  • Separate vanity locationsFramed-Mirror
  • Storage garages for hair styling equipment
  • Coffee bar cabinets with refrigerator
  • Side storage cabinets above countertop
  • Armoire cabinet for linen storage


  • Antique framed mirrors above furniture vanity
  • Contemporary, stainless steel custom frames
  • Wall-to-wall, countertop to ceiling or crown molding
  • Steam-resistant glass


  • Glass tile in ocean colors
  • Metallic accent pieces for ceramic tile
  • Combination of glass and porcelain tiles creating borders or accents

Today’s homeowner is looking to make the master bath more comfortable, stylish and personal. For homeowners who aren’t confident in their design capabilities, it is best to consult a professional. It is better to get expert advice ahead of time, instead of after a project has gone wrong.

Consider the Lighting When Choosing Paint Colors

Posted in Around Your Home, Home Maintenance, I Wish I'd Thought About That, Renovation with tags , , , on May 15, 2013 by Pat Hansen

In a recent article by Darylene Dennon, on LinkedIn’s “Official NAHB Professional Women in Building Network” group page, she points out that color selection is a challenge because you are choosing a color off a two-inch sample in the paint store. Sunroom (SW6102, Portabello) Robert R. Jones Homes (New Home Bloomfield Hills, Michigan)She suggests buying the color you are considering in a pint or quart can, then applying it in an area large enough to get the feel of the color. She also suggests taking a few days before making the final decision and observing the sample in all lights over a couple of days – overcast, in the sunshine, morning and at dusk, as colors appear to change hues in different lighting.

She points out that morning light is warm as it relates to the sunrise. At noon, our sunlight is cool, becoming warm again in late afternoon with the setting of the sun. Lastly, it is cool in the evening. This means you will have a warming of the walls in the morning and late afternoon with more warm yellow tones and the cooler grey-blue cast at noon and at night.

This would include interior light coming in from the windows, lamps, overhead lighting, etc. Each bulb casts different color tones, from cool blue to warm yellow which can change the color of your walls throughout the day. This is important to understand when staging a home for preview. “Natural” light bulbs are the best choice for staging. Pastels disappear in brighter, sunny rooms vs. darker shades.

Nook & Great Room (SW6127, Ivoire) Robert R. Jones Homes (New Home Clarkston, Michigan)Paint color selection is probably one of the most difficult aspects that most people who choose to build a new home, encounter, when choosing paint colors for the home. It is also a daunting task for those who want to stay in their present home, but want to refresh their home with new paint colors.

Sherwin-Williams offers a 90-minute consultation service with a paint color consultant, who for a small fee, will help the buyers of a new or old home, choose their paint colors. The color consultants will meet with the buyers at their new home after the drywall is installed, and will suggest the colors for every room. This service helps relieve the angst that many new home buyers struggle with.

Make Your Home Cozier This Winter

Posted in Around Your Home, I Wish I'd Thought About That, Sell your Home with tags , , on February 6, 2013 by Pat Hansen

Winter is as good a time as any to redecorate your home, and the right visual elements will have your interiors looking chic, warm, inviting and cozy, even in the coldest months.

Keep colors simple: Paint is perhaps the best starting point for redecorating your home and you should begin with a neutral color like white, beige or very light blue or green. Keeping the colors simple gives you a lot of freedom to play with the rest of the elements.Family Room (Galleria New Home), Clarkston, Michigan | Robert R. Jones Homes

Area rugs: Area rugs offer a very simple way to add dramatic changes to any room. Be sure to choose these in warm colors or a combination of warm colors to add to the coziness.

Use more candles: Accessories add the final, but all important touches to your interiors for winter. Candles, for example, are particularly dramatic pieces in winter because they suggest light and warmth – two things that Mother Nature doesn’t provide this time of the year.

Bring in some warmth: Decorating in winter is all about giving extra comfort and warmth to your interiors, especially when it is cold and harsh outside. Stock up on items like plush throws, thick quilts and large pillows. Place them on your sofas and couches.

Make nature welcome in your interior decoration: You can bring in plants with brightly colored flowers and mild fragrances inside your home. It will add color in your home while helping it smell sweet all the time. Other natural elements like pine cones and dried branches can be used to create interesting displays on a side table or the fireplace mantel. Pebbles and stones can be arranged artistically to increase the charm of your living space.Stairway (Galleria New Home), Clarkston, Michigan | Robert R. Jones Homes

Use traditional furniture for glamour: Add warmth to your interiors by breaking the straight lines of contemporary furniture with some more traditional pieces. The curves of the traditional pieces add a “glam” factor to a space when used as a focal point.

Use furniture with raw unfinished looks: Use pieces which reflect the outside on the inside. By using accessories and furniture with raw and unfinished looks, we bring a bit of the nature from the outside, into our homes.

These are some ways in which you can turn a cold, bleak winter into one filled with warmth and joy. Keeping it simple, yet elegant, will add to the charm of your home and make it a haven of comfort and relaxation.

Our Last Bloomfield Lot >>> SOLD

Posted in Housing News, Local News, The Drawing Board with tags , , , on June 21, 2012 by Pat Hansen

UPDATE: This beautiful lot in Bloomfield Twp. has been sold. However, we do have lots available in Clarkston, Michigan. For more information, please click here.

Robert R. Jones Homes has one home site remaining in the desirable “Devonshire Downs” area in Bloomfield Twp. It is located at 2540 Wendover Rd (Lot 24) and is in the Bloomfield Hills School District.

We have designed a very unique plan for the site that incorporates “Multi-Generational” living. “Multi-Generational” designs provide comfortable and separate living areas for more than one generation. Whether it is living space for aging parents, young adults moving back home after college or live-in help, the need for well-designed additional living space is emerging.

The 0.60 ac home site allows us to be flexible with square footage necessary to provide for the needs of “Multi-Generational” families. The plan features a separate, private entry to the “one-bedroom apartment” area above the attached 2-1/2 car garage and a covered veranda leading to an additional 5-car garage.  A “Must See” to be sure.

The appealing, classic front elevation, an all-brick, low maintenance exterior, accented with bays and limestone surrounds, is detailed to perfection.  The Basement will have daylight windows and has the potential for creating a small walkout area through the use of retaining walls.

The floor plan features:

  • First floor Master Suite #1 with 2 generous walk-in closets and large master bath
  • Large Library or Home Office adjacent to Master Suite
  • Great Room with studio ceiling
  • Large Formal Dining Room
  • Large Kitchen with cathedral ceiling
  • First floor Utility Room
  • Separate entrance and staircase leading to the “Apartment”
  • Second Floor Master Suite #2 with dual closets and large bath
  • 2 additional secondary bedrooms; each with its own bath and walk-in closet

We are available to meet with you at the home site to review the plans and discuss your needs. Modifications to the plans are possible if made before the Building Agreement is executed. All Robert R. Jones Homes plans are copyrighted.

Please feel free to call Pat Hansen at (248) 895-1115 for a consultation.

Transforming New into Timeless

Posted in I Wish I'd Thought About That, Lifestyle, The Drawing Board with tags , , , , on May 4, 2012 by Pat Hansen

As a builder and remodeler, we at Robert R. Jones Homes often hear the comment that buyers want a new home for energy efficiency, low maintenance, state of the art gourmet kitchens, opulent Master Baths and large closets, but really prefer the charm and character in older homes.  They often state they want a new home that is “Timeless”. In further discussion, what they are often saying is they want a home that reflects a certain period in American or European history, often stated as “Old World” It’s what they feel comfortable with and will enjoy living in.

We typically start with a floor plan that suits their family’s lifestyle. Since form follows function, it is equally important to consider the interior of the home and what is important to their daily living. Here are some considerations:

  • Size and square footage
  • 2-story ceilings in selected areas
  • 9-10 ft ceilings in selected areas
  • 1 or 2 staircases
  • Type of main staircase; circular or dual
  • Great Room vs Living Room/ Family Room
  • First or 2nd floor Master Suite
  • Number of Bedrooms
  • Number of Bathrooms incl. 1/2 baths
  • Formal Dining Room
  • Size of Kitchen and Informal Eating Area
  • Butler’s Pantry
  • Walk-in Pantry
  • Pocket Office/ Bill Paying Area
  • Library/Office
  • Laundry
  • Number of fireplaces

Before going further, look closely at your list and convert your “list of rooms” into a list of functions.  Instead of Living Room, Family Room or Library, think in terms of TV watching, reading, doing homework, working on the computer, managing your home-based business and so forth.  Then scrutinize your list with an eye toward combining as many functions as you can.  For example, can you combine the functions of formal and informal dining?  Do you really need a separate space for each?

Combining multiple functions into a single space, saves space and allows you to allocate just the right amount of space for each function.  Instead of several smaller rooms, each with a bit of wasted space, you can have a single larger space.  The dollars saved by eliminating wasted space can be targeted at providing a higher level of finish, the kind of finish that helps create the charm and character that we to achieve.

The photo above illustrates this concept in practice.  The functions of food preparation (Kitchen), informal eating (snack bar), formal or holiday dining and reading are combined into a single large space.  Each function borrows space, both functionally and visually, from the adjacent function.  Dollars saved by eliminating unnecessary square footage have been directed at upgrading the finish on the fireplace, light fixtures and adding crown moldings to the room.  Another benefit is that the fireplace can be enjoyed by those busy with food preparation.

Often when it comes to the exterior elevation or appearance of the front of the home, our buyers have some idea of what they want and often have photos of what they like. Here are examples of exterior features we ask them to take into consideration:

  • Roof style
  • Siding if any
  • Brick/Stone; stone accents
  • Window styles; bays
  • Entry door(s)
  • Porch
  • Columns; size and details
  • Chimney style and caps
  • Garage size and style; side or courtyard entry; Porte Cochere
  • Balustrades or other decorative stone details
  • Courtyard entry to main entrance

Initially we do a sketch to give them for their approval. When they are satisfied with the sketch, we present them with a large, color rendering as a keepsake. This makes it easy for them to envision what their home will look like.

We at Robert R. Jones Homes have the in-house capability and expertise to design your “Timeless” new home, thus saving our buyers time and the expense of hiring an architect.  With our 30 years experience in the building and remodeling industry, we have been privileged to build more than one home for our buyers.

Create a Niche … Add Style to Your Home

Posted in Around Your Home, I Wish I'd Thought About That with tags , , , on April 18, 2012 by Pat Hansen

Whether you are building or remodeling your home let your home stand out from the rest by creating an interesting niche. What is a niche?  A niche is a recessed area in a wall of your home. Niches add personality to a space. They were commonly designed in living and dining rooms in homes built in the 1920’s. They were more functional then, since they were used to store books, or in the case of the dining room, they were recessed areas for storing and displaying china and crystal.

Today, they are commonly seen in almost every room of a home.  Whether they are in the living room, kitchen or bedroom, a niche makes as good place to store books and decorative items without having to buy a separate shelving unit.

Niches create a great first impression in the foyer; a “Wow” factor to be sure. They can easily fit into a stud space, and when highlighted by mirrors and recessed lighting, a niche is the perfect spot for displaying your favorite art objects or artifacts.

Even a bathroom niche can be used to show off a small collection. Most people use bathroom niches purely for their function, serving the same purpose as a medicine cabinet, but it’s so much more appealing to have a small collection of perfume bottles or soap dispensers  there.

In addition to mirrors and bold color, a complimentary wallpaper or mosaic glass tile can also be used to line a niche to help it stand out. Consider adding metal mosaic tile for a modern and sparkly backdrop to your art or objects.

Niches are used in almost any décor, be it contemporary or traditional. Contemporary niches are usually clean boxes cut into the walls, whereas traditional niches often have casings and molding to blend with the décor of the rest of the home. Wall niches offer a great opportunity to add a little extra style to your home without spending a lot of money.

Create Your Own Outdoor Living Area

Posted in Around Your Home, I Wish I'd Thought About That, Lifestyle with tags , , , , on April 11, 2012 by Pat Hansen

Driven by the need for peaceful a respite to balance stressful lives, many of us are carving out more time to create comfortable spaces for enjoying outdoor settings with family and friends. The outdoor space is no longer just a place for grilling.

Before you begin, ask yourself how you and your family currently use the space, and how you would like to use the space. The answers will help you determine what you need to take away or add to the current outdoor space.

The Focal Point should be similar to creating an inviting indoor living space. The focal point may already exist in the home’s architecture, in the landscaping, or in a backyard structure such as a gazebo or pergola . . . or you can add your own focal point.

A Fire Pit Table is one of the most popular and easy additions to a backyard living space. The fire pit table can be low to the ground, with a wide perimeter where guests or family members can place cups or glasses.  The fire pit table adds instant warmth to any backyard.  Make sure you check with your locale building department to make sure they are permitted in your community.

A Water Element creates a soothing and pleasant addition to the backyard outdoor living space.  It could be a small waterfall as part of the landscaping, or an artificial pond for real fish. Small, stand-alone water fountains or bird baths offer inexpensive ways to add a water element to the space.

Outdoor Seating is unlimited. Comfortable chairs and sofas are available in stain and mildew resistant fabrics. If you have older chaise lounges, you can spruce them up by buying colorful, weather resistant, padded cushions to give them a new look.  Benches, with storage for cushions, can easily be constructed around the perimeter of the patio for extra seating.

Lighting is a key element for outdoor use. Soft lighting creates an ambience in addition to functionality. Investing in solar lighting to highlight plantings and accessories such as garden statuary, adds to the ambience. Festive string lights add a touch of whimsy to outdoor spaces and can be found in many styles.

Scout yard sales, resale shops and antique stores to find unusual containers for plantings and colorful annuals. If you have an enclosed patio, hanging plants on the fence or wall will also add interest to the outdoor area.

Remember that beauty is ultimately in the eye of the beholder; surround yourself with furnishings and outdoor elements that make for a pleasing and functional gathering place and you will have created the perfect outdoor retreat.

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