Backsplash Thoughts

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How many times have you wandered into someone’s kitchen or bath, or have been watching the DIY and Home shows on TV, and thought, “Wow, I wish I had a backsplash like that!”  As designers, we are always on the hunt for the best and most innovative backsplash ideas, designs, and options.

Our latest Front Porch Friday Video Series DIY Backsplash talked about different aspects of a do it yourself backsplash, but we also wanted to make sure you knew a couple things before you got started. Whether you DIY it or have the professionals do the installing, making a final selection can be overwhelming. The professionals at a reputable local tile distributor can help you. Designing and selecting the right tile is what they do!

What to think about:

What should you think about when planning to install a backsplash? There are several things to consider when making the leap into backsplashes. Your home’s personality will most certainly be reflected through your choices. 

The main goal is to showcase the cabinets, countertops, theme, and flooring in your kitchen or bath. It can serve as a focal point and a place to be as creative as you want. Use it to draw attention or just to unify the space.

If you’re not installing upper cabinets, then the backsplash choice becomes a much bigger design decision. Cost, function, and form need to be determined when choosing materials. 

Style:
Backsplash materials are available in all kinds of styles, finishes, and materials, so take time to research all options and choose what it is that you’re trying to accomplish in the space. Are you making a statement,  adding some color or texture, making it the focal point, or using it to complement the other features in the room? 

Learn what you’ll need to do to keep it looking its best. Does it need to be sealed every year, is it hard to clean, will it scratch or discolor?  

Color:
The color may be somewhat determined by your countertop color. Go bold for some drama. Add pops of color without committing to color everywhere. Choose a neutral color if your countertops are full of color. Whatever you choose, it needs to complement the countertops, flooring, and paint used in the room. 

Size and Shape:
If you are using tile, don’t just think normal rectangular pieces of tile as your only option. Tiles come in sheets with a built-in pattern or they can be octagonal, hexagon, square, and more. They range in size from very large all the way down to about an inch square. They come in individual pieces or sheets. What size and shape you choose will be determined by the size and space you want to fill. 

Decorative and Primary Tile:
If you are going to use several types of tile, do some research before purchasing. The primary tiles should be thicker than the decorative tiles so that you don’t have to build up all of the tiles, just the decorative ones. 

Options:
The options are endless! Spend time in stores just looking around. Visit some model homes and ask what was used. Search online and read about some of the options that we’ve listed for you. Remember-it doesn’t have to be tile. There are many other materials and styles that you could use! 

Subway tile
Tiles made from 100% bamboo
Recycled glass or plate glass
Glass pebbles or sea glass
Stainless steel sheets
Metallic tiles
Natural Stone
Ceramic
Porcelain
Bead Board
Soapstone
Resin Panels
Laminates

One point to keep in mind is the grout. Don’t use a cheap grout, or you’ll be replacing it within a few years. The grout is the cohesive piece in this design, so invest in the good stuff. 

Things to Try:

Set some samples up on the wall after the countertops and cabinets have been installed, or at least are set up in the kitchen. What might have looked amazing in the store might not work with your lighting and other design choices when everything is actually installed in the kitchen or bath. 

If you’re going with a solid color and the same shape tile for the area, play around with the pattern. Try a herringbone pattern, a diagonal, a staggered look, or the standard stack style. 

Do you have an area above the range or sink that is larger than the rest of the areas to be tiled or covered? Use a different tile or pattern to create more visual interest. In a shower, use a different tile running vertically or horizontally.

You might want to install a backsplash yourself like we discussed on the video or have professionals complete the install. Whatever you do, adding a backsplash will create a stunning look. Let our designers help you create the perfect spaces in your next new build or remodel.  

What Our Clients Have to Say...the Shepards

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At RDS, we believe that designing a home is one of the most satisfying parts of our work. We love building relationships with our clients, and working with them to bring their dreams to reality. We want you to get an idea of what our clients think of their experience working with us. As you will read, we can design a home for you to build anywhere!

Name: Kirk and Nadine Shepard

How was your experience with RDS – Residential Designed Solutions?
Our experience with RDS was superb! Working with Jim Wright and his crew was an easy and pleasurable process in designing our homes. After working with Jim on our home in Ohio, we were fortunate to have him design our next home in Connecticut (which was due to a business transfer). His calm and professional manner made this step to homebuilding a joy. Jim was so very helpful in providing suggestions and listening to our needs, which made our finished homes exactly what we had imagined.

What space(s) did you have redesigned or did you have a new home designed?
We have had two new homes and a renovation for a family cottage designed with RDS.

What is the favorite aspect of your new home design?
We loved the general floor plan of our homes; they were functional for a family of six (4 sons!) and were spacious enough to give everyone their own area when needed. Both homes have a warm, comfortable feel about them.

If you could change one thing, what would you change?
After living in the first home in Ohio designed by Jim, we went back to him to see if he could design the same home in Connecticut for us on the property we had purchased. Being the ultimate professional in his craft, at our first meeting, Jim asked us this question. “After living in our home for 2 ½ years, what changes would you want to make?” There were two small changes; he really designed it right the first time!

What was your overall experience like?
Kirk and I have been very satisfied. We have recommended RDS to others and have told them they would not be disappointed.

What advice would you offer to someone who is designing a home or redesigning a space in the home? 
1. Know that there would be many decisions to be made during the design process; it would help to get your ideas and requests down on paper. Start looking at home design magazines, internet sites, drive through some neighborhoods, even visit some open houses to get ideas of your likes and wants for your own home. 

2. Get an architect or residential designer that is reputable (do your homework before signing any contracts) and that you feel you have established a good rapport within the initial meetings. This will make the difference in a wonderfully pleasant home building experience, or a complete nightmare. 

Who else did you reach out to for designing your home?
We were fortunate to have a neighbor who was a home builder who we admired and trusted, Mr. Ed Lynch, Lynch Builders. Ed recommended Jim Wright, Residential Designed Solutions, as the one to work with. After meeting with Jim, we never needed to contact anyone else.

Would you do it again?
Yes, most definitely!

We’re thrilled that Kirk and Nadine have such confidence in us and have been happy with their homes. Let our designers help you make your dreams a reality. We’d be honored to work with you!

 

 

Front Porch Friday Video Series - Spruce Up the Front of Your Home

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Welcome to our Front Porch Friday Video Series. Our designers have been busy creating videos covering many important home topics. Our goal is to inform you when making home decisions and help you with future ideas and plans. This video is all about sprucing up the front of your home and adding some curb appeal. Click below to see what’s been going on at RDS!

Front Porch Friday Video - Spruce up the front of your home

So join us on the Front Porch! We can’t wait to share our knowledge with you. Do you have any topics you want us to delve into? Send an email to info@rdshomedesign.com and we’ll see what we can do. 

Spruce Up the Front of Your Home!

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Summer is almost here and with that comes the fact that we are spending more time outdoors. Neighbors are out walking the neighborhood, kids are playing, and you might be having more parties at your home. But what does the front of your home look like? Is the curb appeal all that you want it to be or could it use some help?

At RDS, our latest Front Porch Video - Curb Appeal Tips dealt with just this topic. We’ve got sprucing up on the brain, so we wanted to share more tips to help you get the front of your home looking its best! And the best part? It doesn’t have to break the bank to accomplish it!

Front Porch:

Your front porch is the first thing most people notice. Is it welcoming or will it scare people away? A well designed and interesting front porch not only provides great curb appeal, but it’s inviting! So what can you do?

  • Fill colorful containers with summer flowers and place in groups on your porch.
  • If your porch is large enough, put a couple of chairs out so you can sit and chat with neighbors. 

Painted Brick:

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Many homes have brick exteriors. It’s timeless and a staple when building. But does it need a facelift? Many people love the look of brick, but not the bold reddish hues. One change you can make is to paint it. Painting it will update the look and freshen up the front of your home. Choose a color that will coordinate with any adjacent siding. Two popular options include choosing the same color as the siding or a shade or two darker or lighter. 

Window Pediments (or Headpieces):

Window pediments give your home proper dressing on the outside, much like window treatments do on the inside. Window pediments come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so choosing a style that works with your home’s architectural style is important. Choose to reinforce the style of your home or bring out more of your home’s character. If window pediments aren’t your thing, or you want to do more, add shutters if they will work on your home. 

More Sprucing Tips:

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Garage Door: Look at your garage door. Does it need a thorough cleaning? Is it time for a new paint color? Maybe the hardware needs to be updated or replaced. Or is it time to replace the door with a new wooden door, a door with windows, or a whole glass door? You can change the whole look of your home with a new garage door. 

Window Boxes: Window boxes are simple, yet effective ways to add pops of color and depth to the front of your home. There are a variety of styles, materials, and colors available, allowing you the option to customize the look you want to achieve. 

What’s Around Your Front Door: Sometimes it’s the smallest details that can make the difference. Replacing the hardware on the front door, the house numbers or the mailbox are easy changes to make, yet add flair to the front of your home. 

Light it Up! You’ve made many improvements and now it’s time to show it off! Exterior lighting can provide you not only with safety at night but a little flair and drama. Uplighting in front of your home can light up trees, landscape, and exterior details. Change out existing lighting for new and trendier lighting. Don’t forget to light up your garage door. 

Give your home a whole new look with a little dressing up the front elevation of your home. You can choose to do a little or make it a bigger project. Whatever you do, it’s going to help the curb appeal of your home. Our designers would be thrilled to help you do even more and redesign the front of your existing home or design a new home for you. Contact us to get your project started!

 

Front Porch Friday Video Series - DIY or Pro

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Welcome to our Front Porch Friday Video Series. Our designers have been busy creating videos covering many important home topics. Our goal is to inform you when making home decisions and help you with future ideas and plans. This video is all about choosing to Do It Yourself or call a Pro. Click below to see what’s been going on at RDS!

Front Porch Friday - DIY or Pro

So join us on the Front Porch! We can’t wait to share our knowledge with you. Do you have any topics you want us to delve into? Send an email to info@rdshomedesign.com and we’ll see what we can do. 

DIY or Pro...What to Do?

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You’ve watched the DIY channel; you’ve wandered through the home improvement stores, and watched your neighbor doing everything around their home. But are you DIY savvy or do you need to use a pro when tackling projects in and around your home? Of course, here at RDS, we’re all about using a pro when you’re building a home or remodeling an existing home.  But there are many projects you might be able to do on your own. Knowing how you answer the following questions may help you decide.

Our latest Front Porch Friday dealt with this topic – DIY or Pro. But let’s delve into this in a little more detail. 

Ask Yourself the Following Questions; How You Answer Will Help You Decide

What is worth your time and energy?

What is worth it to you? If it’s a huge project, is the time away from your family worth it? Will your full-time job impact the timeline of the project? Is your family willing to live in chaos for a while? Any project, whether it’s a DIY or handled by the pros will cause a disruption to you and your family, but will a DIY cause more or less disruption? What is your stamina like? We all want to believe we can do it all, but can we? Or do we even want to? It might be better for you do the demo or prep work or finish work, and have a pro do the other parts. 

Is the reward worth the risk?

Saving money is always important, but it may not be worth it for you to do it yourself and save a few bucks. Depending on what your project is, having someone complete this project may be a better use of your money. In addition to financial reasons, you need to know your limits. Anything that carries with it the potential for causing damage to your home or yourself, or others should be handled by the pros. Plumbing and electrical are two biggies to be wary of doing yourself if you don’t have prior knowledge or experience. Ready to knock down a wall? Do you know if it’s load bearing or how to even find out? We’ve all seen DIY projects gone wrong!  If you have the skills needed for the project, or can learn a new skill quickly, then go for it! There’s nothing like being able to say that you did it yourself - if it isn’t too risky for YOU!

Do you know what you’re doing?

If you’re a seasoned DIYer, then you get what it takes to complete a project.  For the rest of us, we need to understand and be aware of all of the steps that will be needed to complete the project. We need to have all of the necessary tools available to us, whether we own them or rent them. Research is paramount for success, as well as knowing who to call if things go wrong. Hidden surprises are the worst and will not only slow your project down but might prevent you from completing it. However,  the more DIY you do, the better you will be with future projects. 

Be honest – will you finish what you start?

This is an easy one to understand. Look around - do you have other unfinished projects? Don’t start any new ones until you finish other ones you have started. In addition, if you tend to be a weekend warrior, how long will this DIY take? If it’s a huge project, do you have the time?  Start small if this is your first project and stay on your schedule! 

How long will the project take and can my family live with it?

A kitchen remodel, finishing a basement, or adding a room will take a great deal of time and energy, especially if you’re doing it yourself. How will your family cope with the project? If the DIY is a big time-involved project, you might want to call the pros. Painting, building furniture, replacing doors, changing light fixtures, or adding a deck or outdoor space might be better places to start as a DIY. 

Do you understand what permits and licenses might be needed?

Depending on your project, you might need a permit or license. Some communities require a permit to install a hot water tank or HVAC system. Some require permits for fences, patios or decks, or room additions. Pros understand permits and licenses since that is critical to their success. Every community has different rules and restrictions, so if this is more than you want to handle, then using a pro has its benefits.  But if you love working with permits and licenses, you’ve done it before, or you just want to learn how to do this, then go for it. Don’t listen to your neighbor’s advice about needing a permit – always call the city to check.

If you’re thinking of designing a home or just redesigning an existing home, call us. We are your seasoned professionals and while we won’t knock down walls for you, we’ll help you figure out which ones you can have knocked down! 

Front Porch Friday Video Series - Closet Organization

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Welcome to our Front Porch Friday Video Series. Our designers have been busy creating videos covering many important home topics. Our goal is to inform you when making home decisions and help you with future ideas and plans. This video is all about how to organize your closets! Click below to see what’s been going on at RDS!

Front Porch Friday Video - Closet Organization

So join us on the Front Porch! We can’t wait to share our knowledge with you. Do you have any topics you want us to delve into? Send an email to info@rdshomedesign.com and we’ll see what we can do. 

Closet Organization – Tips and Tricks

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Be honest – when you look in your closet, is it as organized as you’d like it to be? Or could it use some help? Our latest Front Porch Friday video, Closet Organization, is full of tips and tricks. We want to help you get organized. We can even design a new closet for you when we design your new bedroom! 

An organized closet can lessen your stress when getting dressed and ready for your day! Recapture time as you easily find just the right outfit for that important meeting or date night. Organizing, whether it’s the kitchen cabinets or your bedroom closet is very personal, so you have to do what works for you. 

What to Do:

Evaluate the Space:

  • You can’t evaluate the space unless you look at it critically with everything in it. Take a photo if you need to so you can compare before and after!
     
  • Picture your closet with four zones; overhead, eye level, mid level, and floor level. Are you getting the most out of all of these areas?
     
  • Where do you need more space? Do you hang most of your clothing? Or is most of it folded? Do you have lots of shoes?
     
  • Take everything out of the closet and do a second evaluation. Do you have dead space where shelves could be added? Is the closet deep enough to hang something from the back of the door? Is it large enough for a built-in or freestanding dresser? 
     
  • If you’re lucky enough to have a walk-in closet, can it be customized to give you even more space?
     
  • Sort your clothing into keep, donate, and pitch. Be realistic and honest with yourself. Will you ever wear that dress or shirt again?
     
  • If you can’t decide on certain clothing items and whether you need them, hang all of your clothes with the hangers facing in the “wrong” direction. Every time you wear something, hang it back with the hanger in the “right” direction. At the end of the season, see what hangers haven’t been turned. Maybe now you’ll see what you can really get rid of. 

Organizers:

There are a huge variety of organizers available for closets. What you choose will depend on your needs. 

  • Hangers come in different sizes and materials. Slim, wide, wooden, non-slip and plastic hangers are all designed to help you make the most of your closet. Plastic hangers come in many colors and styles. These are perfect for t-shirts, casual shirts, and jeans. Non-slip hangers work well for silky material and are designed to keep any clothing from slipping. Wooden hangers that are curved are best for sweaters and jackets. Hangers with clips make hanging pants and skirts easy and wrinkle-free. Slim hangers allow you more space for clothes, especially if you have a smaller closet. 
     
  • Using hooks, shoe organizers, baskets, shelves, dressers, different sized plastic bins, and towel bars provide you with a plethora of options for organizing. All you need is a closet and some ingenuity to make it work for you. 

Reorganizing:

You’ve got the organizers; you’ve sorted your clothing, shoes, and accessories. Now how can you best reorganize?

  • Hooks are perfect for hanging bulky items like purses, handbags, bulky sweatshirts, or fleece jackets.
     
  • Shoe organizers are not only good for shoes but also other items like sweaters or sweatshirts, keeping them from stretching out. Plus, it’s easy to see them since they are separated.
     
  • In dresser drawers, use drawer organizers to separate belts, ties, socks, underwear, and bras.
     
  • Roll t-shirts and stand them on end in dresser drawers, baskets, or plastic see-through bins. It takes up less space and you can easily find the one you want. Plus, they don’t wrinkle as much.
     
  • A basket filled with socks or underwear is easy to pull out from a shelf. 
     
  • Organize by color, function, style, and use. Keep dressy clothes in one area, exercise and casual clothing front and center, and work clothes where you can easily mix and match. 
     
  • Towel bars can be hung on a wall. Tie scarves to them or hang up high-heeled shoes. They’re easy to see and doesn’t take up valuable rod or floor space. 
     
  • Raising the closet bar higher allows you to hang a second bar or add shelving or a dresser underneath it.
     
  • Shelf dividers allow you to stack sweaters up higher since they will be held in place.
     
  • Shelf brackets can have a whole new use! Flip over a shelf bracket and sort items by type and hang with curtain clips.

The sky’s the limit with your closets! Even a small closet can be better organized. Be creative, use the ideas we’ve suggested, and if you’re ready, contact us to help you design a home (and closets) for you!

 

 

Front Porch Friday Video Series - How to Prepare for Your First Design Appointment

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Welcome to our Front Porch Friday Video Series. Our designers have been busy creating videos covering many important home topics. Our goal is to inform you when making home decisions and help you with future ideas and plans. This video is all about getting ready for your first design appointment. Click below to see what’s been going on at RDS!

Front Porch Friday Video Series - How to Prepare for Your First Design Appointment

So join us on the Front Porch! We can’t wait to share our knowledge with you. Do you have any topics you want us to delve into? Send an email to info@rdshomedesign.com and we’ll see what we can do. 

How to Prepare For Your First Design Appointment

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You’ve decided you’re ready to build a new home or maybe you’re ready to redesign a room or rooms in your existing home. Our designers here at RDS are very skilled when designing rooms and new homes, but there are some things we would love for you to do before meeting with us for your first design appointment. 

Start With Measuring:

When you meet with us and say, “I want a large Master Suite, or Bathroom, or Great Room”, we’re going to ask you what large means to you. So start by measuring your existing room(s) to see what we have to work with, and how much you might want to add or change (if possible). If you’re starting with a new home, go outside where you have space and measure out what you’re thinking, or go into that room you love in your friend’s house and measure the room. Having an idea of the size of your current rooms, or what your dream sized room or home might be will help us understand your vision.

We Love Photos:

“Every picture has a story to tell” and while we love seeing photos of your children, we really want to see photos of the rooms you want to change and photos of rooms you’ve fallen in love with for a new home or redesigned space. When you meet with us the first time, having photos of the rooms in your home that you want to redesign, gives us a first look. In the same vein, having those inspiration photos from Houzz, Pinterest, your favorite sites, and actual photos, helps us to understand your vision. The more photos the better, they give us more insight into your dreams, making it easier for us to make them your reality. 

Our First Meeting:

If you’re planning a new build, we’ll meet with you at the office so we can get to know your needs and wants, answer and ask questions, and check out those inspirational photos. If you are remodeling, we typically first meet at your home, giving us a first-hand look at the space and your vision for transforming it.  

Our designers can’t wait to meet with you, see your photos (including the ones of your kids!), and get the process started to redesign your existing rooms or help you create your new home.

Check out our Front Porch Friday Video - How to Prepare for Your First Design Appointment