Archive for Home Improvement

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.

The Multigenerational Household Trend

Posted in Housing News, Lifestyle, New Homes, Renovation, The Drawing Board with tags , , , on January 8, 2014 by Pat Hansen

Family households consisting of three or more generations, or “multigenerational households,” have become increasingly popular in the 21st century. According to the most recent Census, approximately 4.4 million American homes had three generations or more living under one roof in 2010, a 15 percent increase from two years earlier. This is 5.6 percent of the total of 76.4 million U.S. households with more than one person.

There are many reasons for this trend. The recession caused many adult children to return home after college, either because they weren’t able to get jobs that would cover rent, or they wanted to save up to buy homes of their own. According to Pew Institute research, the share of the U.S. population aged 18 to 31 living in their parent’s home increased to 36 percent or a record 21.6 million young adults in 2012.

Multigenerational Home Plan
For many ethnic and immigrant groups
, multiple generations of a family living together is a common cultural custom.

Multigenerational households also form so that grandparents can help take care of their grandchildren, and as they age, their children can care for them. This type of arrangement can ease financial burdens as well, with several generations contributing to the mortgage payment and not having to incur the expenses of childcare, retirement housing or professional care-giving environments.

Home builders and remodelers are building and renovating homes to meet the needs of multigenerational households. These designs allow many generations of the same family to live together under one roof yet have private areas as well as combined living space.

Features of multigenerational home plans can include in-law suites within the main home with separate areas for independent living. These often have kitchenettes and en suite bathrooms, and sometimes private entrances from the street. They frequently include “universal design” products, which focus on maximum usability by people of all ages and abilities. Examples include walk-in showers, smooth flooring transitions, and cabinets with pull-out drawers.

Building professionals who have earned the National Association of Home Builders’ Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation have received training on how to build or renovate a home so that the occupants can live in the home safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of their age or ability level. They have been taught the strategies and techniques for designing and building aesthetically pleasing, barrier-free living environments. While most CAPS professionals are remodelers, an increasing number are general contractors, designers, architects, and health care professionals.

To find a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist in your area, go to

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

Playing it Safe While Using a Ladder

Posted in Around Your Home, Home Safety, Worth Repeating with tags , , , on October 2, 2013 by Pat Hansen

With the advent of fall, comes the need to do fall chores. Gutter cleaning, window washing, removing tree branches and limbs on the roof, can all be hazardous without following some simple safety rules for using a ladder:

  • If you feel tired or dizzy, or are prone to losing your balance, stay off the ladder.
  • Do not use ladders in high winds or storms.Ladder safety
  • Wear clean slip-resistant shoes. Shoes with leather soles are not appropriate for ladder use since they are not considered sufficiently slip-resistant.
  • Before using a ladder, inspect it to confirm it is in good working condition.
  • Ladders with loose or missing parts should be rejected.
  • The ladder you select must be the right size for the job.
  • The Duty Rating of the ladder (maximum weight it can carry) must be greater than the total weight of the climber, tools, supplies and other objects placed upon the ladder.
  • The length of the ladder must be sufficient so that the climber does not have to stand on the top rung or step.
  • When the ladder is set-up for use, it must be placed on firm, level ground and without any type of slippery condition present at either the base or top support points.
  • Only one person at a time should be permitted on a ladder—unless the ladder is specifically designed for more than one climber, i.e. a trestle ladder.
  • Ladders must not be placed in front of closed doors that can open toward the ladder. The door should be locked or blocked open.
  • Never jump or slide down from a ladder or climb more than one rung/step at a time.
  • Face the ladder when climbing up and down; keep your body centered between both side rails.
  • Don’t get too ambitious and over extend your reach. Make sure you keep your weight evenly distributed.

Holiday decorating is just around the corner and many families often use ladders to spread holiday cheer to the highest places, such as roofs and rooftops, trying to get those decorations just right. Unfortunately, as helpful as they are, people often underestimate the dangers associated with ladders – more than 163,000 people make emergency room visits every year due to ladder accidents.

Preparing Your Home for Sale

Posted in Around Your Home, I Wish I'd Thought About That, Worth Repeating with tags , , , on August 14, 2013 by Pat Hansen

The time has come to make a change.  Your kids are out of the house, or perhaps you are a young family in need of more space.  You think the market has stabilized and you want to sell your house.

  1. Prepare yourself to sell your home. Do your best to see the house no longer as your home, but as a product to be marketed.Inspection Report This takes work, especially if you have lived in the home for a long time and have many memories there.
  2. Consider a professional whole house inspection.  An inspection will most likely uncover any major defects before they become an issue with a potential buyer. It also signals to buyers that you are a responsible seller.
  3. Prepare the house.  Stand back and look at your home as objectively as possible. Would you buy this home? Ask friends and neighbors to do the same, asking them to be totally honest. Overlooking flaws could cost you money.
  4. EntryDo what is necessary to make your home stand out from the competition. Make certain that your home is fresher, cleaner and better maintained. Correct any problems discovered during the inspection, otherwise they could be a potential negotiating tactic.
  5. Make sure your home has positive “Curb Appeal”. It doesn’t cost much to spruce up the landscaping and add colorful plantings. The entry door should be attractive and welcoming.
  6. Personal-ItemsRemove most of the “imprint” that you have made on the home. Having a few family pictures around is fine, but if your home is a “shrine” to your family, you should take some steps to de-personalize it. Buyers must be able to envision themselves in the home.
  7. Visit “Open Houses” in the neighborhood. This gives you the opportunity to discuss with Real Estate agents what the comparable prices are. An agent may offer you a free CMA or Comparable Market Analysis in order to get your listing. Knowing what your home is worth is one of the first steps in beginning to market the property.

The majority of home sellers take on the task with an ally; a Real Estate Agent. They feel that it is better to entrust the sale of their home to a professional, rather than attempting to learn about selling a home in a trial and error method.

How do you choose an Agent who will be effective? The following questions should be asked of any prospective Real Estate Agent in order to assess their capabilities and philosophies:

  • Are you a full-time Agent? Choose a full-time Agent
  • How long have you been in the Real Estate business? 10 years in the business is a minimum
  • Are you an MLS (Multiple Listing Service) Member? MLS listings exposes your home to more buyers
  • How familiar are you with the area where our home is located? Local knowledge of the market gets your home priced correctly, which will help sell it quicker.
  • How many homes did you sell in this area last year? Is the agent successful in a difficult market?
  • Can you supply 3 names and addresses of recent clients for whom you sold a home that we can contact for reference purposes? You know the answer to this one!
  • How did you arrive at the suggested listing price for our home? The agent’s experience should be apparent through the answer.
  • What is your specific marketing plan for our home? Does the plan make sense to you?
  • How do you plan on keeping us informed of the sale progress of our home? When you check references from past sellers be sure to ask this question:  Did the agent communicate as promised?

Check your local newspapers and homes magazines. An agent with a number of advertisements most likely has a fairly extensive marketing experience. Be certain, though, that the Agent does not have too many listings to effectively service the sale of your home.

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.

Enjoy Summer on a New Front Porch

Posted in Around Your Home, I Wish I'd Thought About That, Lifestyle, Sell your Home with tags , , on June 5, 2013 by Pat Hansen

Outdoor living spaces are one of the most popular design trends of the past few years in both new home construction and remodeling, and it’s a trend that looks like it’s going to be around for many years to come. Judges for the 2012 Best in American Living Awards, an annual National Association of Home Builders competition, noted outdoor spaces as an essential design trend that has expanded to homes nationwide and is at the top of many home buyer and renters’ must-have lists.

Front Porch (Sonja Lovas |

Photo credit: Sonja Lovas |

Whether you’re remodeling to make your home better-suited to your family’s current lifestyle or to spruce it up to be more attractive to potential buyers, adding a front porch can be a great option.

Here are some considerations you should think about when planning your new front porch, whether you plan to construct it yourself or hire an experienced contractor:


The porch is an accessory, so it shouldn’t overwhelm the main structure of the house. It should, however, be large enough to look like part of your home instead of an afterthought.

Think about what you want to use your porch for. If you envision dining al fresco with your family during the warm weather months, you’ll want a porch that’s at least eight to 10 feet deep to accommodate a good-sized table and chairs. Six feet or so should be sufficient if you just want to place a loveseat or a couple of chairs outside.


If your home has the flexibility, what side of your home your porch is on can also be an important factor. A south-facing porch will take advantage of the sun’s heat, but could also get uncomfortable during the summer in hot climates. If the idea of cocktails at sunset is appealing, place your porch facing west. Early risers may want maximum light to read the paper and sip coffee with eastern exposure.

Don’t forget about accessing the porch from the home, and what design impact that may have on the interior rooms. For example, you may want to install French or sliding glass doors from the living room or kitchen to create an entrance to the porch.

Front Porch (jade |

Photo credit: jade |


In order to ensure aesthetic continuity, try to use the same materials to build your porch as are used in the home – especially the exterior surfaces. This includes coordinating millwork and other design motifs so that your new porch integrates smoothly with the rest of your home.Also take into account other factors that could affect your enjoyment of your new porch. Consider installing screens if you live in an insect-friendly area, or glass windows so you can extend the days of the year you can use the porch in cooler climates. If you plan to use the porch during the night hours, make sure you install either sufficient lighting or outlets for lamps. A ceiling fan is a good idea to make the space more comfortable in warm temperatures.

Before you know it, you and your family can begin to relax and enjoy the summer season from the comfort of your new porch—or have an attractive feature to offer to would-be buyers.

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

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.

Novi Home and Garden Show

Posted in Landscape, Lifestyle, Local News with tags , , on April 3, 2013 by Pat Hansen

The upcoming Novi Home and Garden Show, April 5-7, 2013, at the Suburban Collection Showplace is a Home Builders Association Event, and an enjoyable, mood-lifting way to experience the sights and aura of spring. Sitting Area, Water FeatureThe Show has a remarkable following with an excellent list of quality exhibitors. Everything you need for your home and garden can be found under one roof.

  • The “Fountains & Flowers” sponsored by Huntington Bank features over 25,000 square feet of landscaped gardens featuring fountains, flowers, ponds and waterfalls. There are 26 landscape exhibitors.
  • The Green Thumb Theatre provides a variety of fun and informative 45-minute seminars on gardening and landscaping, including a demonstration of the key design principles used by professional designers to create stunning container arrangements.
  • Pergola, Sitting AreaThere is also a seminar on gardening myths and landscaping blunders filled with valuable tips on how to avoid some of the most common and costly mistakes. The seminars are scheduled hourly, on both Saturday and Sunday: from Noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and Noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
  • There will be amazing exhibits including an indoor fine arts fair hosted by The Image and Arts Council of Troy (I/ACT), which is a non-profit, Detroit-area artists organization that promotes art, culture and urban design in the metro Detroit area. There will be painting, pottery, artwork and much more available for purchase. Artists will be demonstrating their craft as well as selling their creations. “Buy local” – the artists are all from the Detroit Metro area.
  • The Home & Garden Marketplace will display many vendors including: crafters, local businesses and food merchants.
  • CJ Forge Blacksmithing will be on hand to provide live demonstrations in custom ironwork and blacksmithing techniques.
  • A great selection of perennials, from the best area greenhouses, will be available for sale.
  • Don’t forget the “In-Booth Giveaways” – several of the vendors are offering drawings, gift cards and incentives.

Novi Home and Garden Show
Suburban Collection Showplace
4600 Grand River Ave., Novi, MI 48374

Show Hours:
Friday, April 5th: 2-9 p.m.
Saturday, April 6th: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Sunday, April 7th: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Admission & Discounts:
Adult admission (ages 13 and up) is $8.00
Senior Admission is $7.00
Children 12 and under get in free
→ Pick up a $1 off coupon at any Oakland County Tim Hortons location. To receive $2 off advance tickets, stop by your local metro Detroit Home Depot store.
Parking is available for a fee

Wood Floors and Humidity in Your Home

Posted in Around Your Home, I Wish I'd Thought About That, Renovation with tags , , on February 14, 2013 by Pat Hansen

Anyone who is thinking about putting hardwood flooring into their home should have a basic understanding of how humidity affects wood flooring. Often the problems that can arise when wood floors come in contact with water or water vapor can be prevented if the flooring contractor properly educates the homeowners. Unfortunately this information isn’t always communicated to the homeowners leaving them feeling frustrated or even feeling like they have been given inferior products or poor craftsmanship.

Kitchen | New Home in Clarkston, Michigan | Robert R. Jones HomesFirst of all, wood can easily absorb moisture from the air or atmosphere. When wood absorbs moisture it will also change in size. Before your new flooring is installed, your floor will come in generally around 6% to 9% moisture content. It will need to become accustomed to a new climate when it is delivered to your home. Experienced flooring contractors will measure the moisture content prior to installing it and will also make sure that your home will have stable conditions; i.e.: constant humidity and temperature, before installing the floor. If the floor is 9% moisture content and is installed into an environment that is 20% relative humidity, the floor will begin to shrink in size and you’ll see gaps between the rows.

HumidifierOn the other hand, if the floor is 6% and is installed into an environment that is 50% relative humidity, it will begin to grow in size which will in turn make the floor “cup” or begin to show a washboard appearance. This is a common, unsightly occurrence that many home owners experience with little understanding of what’s going on. This can be caused by homeowners not maintaining stable interior moisture conditions in their home.

Wood flooring has a comfort zone which is generally considered to be between 30% and 50% relative humidity and between 68 and 72 degrees. Homeowners need to understand that this is why you cannot go on vacation and turn off the heat or air conditioning and assume your wood floor will not be affected.

Engineered products made from multiple layers of hardwood with a hardwood veneer will be more stable than solid wood flooring in most conditions. Narrower widths are less affected than wider widths and some species are naturally more stable than others. A 6” wide solid hickory floor will be more likely to move in a higher moisture environment than a 3-1/4” wide engineered red oak floor.

Make sure when getting prices for your floor work that you ask the contractor if he will measure and document the moisture content of the flooring and sub-flooring and the interior relative humidity prior to installation. If he says it’s not important, then beware that he might not be taking all proper precautions to ensure your wood flooring installation will perform up to expectations.

Keeping your home within the proper humidity levels will lower the cost of heating your home in the winter and your physician will tell you that it is much healthier to breathe air with recommended humidity levels than extremely dry or extremely wet conditions.

Pre-Finished vs. Site-Finished Hardwood Flooring

Posted in Around Your Home, Renovation with tags , , on December 6, 2012 by Pat Hansen

As builders of luxury homes, we usually find that our buyers prefer to have site-finished flooring installed in their homes. But when someone is considering remodeling, they will often ask about the pros and cons of both pre-finished and site-finished flooring.

Wood flooringPre-finished hardwood flooring definitely has its advantages such as:

  • Ease of installation. Installers usually only need a day, depending on the floor area size, to complete the job with no sanding and no finishes used onsite.
  • Because the pre-finished floor already has been coated, usually multiple times at the factory and therefore does not have to be sanded and finished onsite, it is more convenient to install.
  • Since the multiple coats of finish are applied at the factory, pre-finished wood flooring has a very durable wear layer and the finish itself is under warranty by the manufacturer. Pre-finished flooring is accomplished with 3-9 coats plus an ultra-violet cured urethane finish.
  • No drying or curing time is required. Floors are ready to walk on immediately after installation.
  • No toxic fumes or strong odors are produced during installation, nor is dust from sanding.
  • No need to relocate family and pets during the finishing step.

Even with these strong advantages, pre-finished flooring has it disadvantages such as:

  • Pre-finished floors can be dirt traps and very hard to clean between the cracks since the cracks are not sealed at the job site.
  • When refinishing pre-finished flooring, it is necessary to remove a lot more wood to get a level floor, so in effect, you are losing more wood and more life of the floor in the very first refinish than with a solid ¾” hardwood floor.
  • Although pre-finished floors are convenient in that they install without sanding and finishing, most have a beveled edge on the wood strips which some people find unattractive. A custom, sanded, hardwood floor has a table-top appearance and is perfectly flat looking.
  • A pre-finished floor will maintain height irregularities of the substrate. In short, a bump in the subfloor means a bump in the pre-finished floor unless the subfloor is fixed first. Site-finished flooring is sanded flat, so it is more forgiving of slight irregularities or slight height variations.
  • If your pre-finished floor gets damaged, it means ripping out a whole section of flooring and completely replacing it to correct it. Whereas, site-finished hardwood flooring can, and in most cases, be easily fixed with a quick sanding and finish.
  • When installing hardwood flooring, it is necessary to top nail the boards along the perimeter, near walls or cabinets, to start the floor.  In site-finished flooring, these small nail holes are filled, then sanded and finished and are usually not very visible. In pre-finished flooring, these small nail holes are filled, but not sanded, so they may be a bit more visible.
  • Over time, and possibly over homeowner changes, many people don’t know or forget the actual manufacturer of their pre-finished flooring product, which makes it much more difficult to get an exact match if board replacements are necessary at some point, or if they want to add additional flooring to other rooms of the home and want an exact match. Additionally, some of the flooring may be discontinued in time, eliminating the availability of ordering more if it becomes necessary to match.

In the end, only you, the homeowner, can make the decision about which flooring is right for you.

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