Monthly Archives: June 2016

Choosing the Best Hardwood Color

Today, wood flooring is available in so many colors that there probably exists a product to match just about any wild designer idea. While being creative and pushing the boundaries of traditional design are always welcome, it’s still important to keep to certain guidelines in order to avoid making some costly and embarrassing flooring fashion mistakes. Here are some simple but powerful tips to keep mind when deciding on a wood floor color for your renovations project.

Tips for Choosing the Right Color for Your Hardwood Floor

 

  • Room size, ceiling height, color and texture of walls and furniture should be your primary considerations when choosing a wood floor color. The colors must complement each other in order for an overall final design to be successful.
  • Avoid using dark colored floors in small rooms with dark walls, as it will make the room look gloomy and dense.
  • While darker shades usually translate into a more formal look, they also bring out the warmth in other elements of décor.
  • If the room has a low ceiling, go with light colored walls and light flooring color.
  • If ability to conceal scratches, small dents and dust is a must, go for natural colored hardwood floors in matte finishes.
  • Remember that color of your floor should not match (or be identical to) the color of your furniture or walls. Go with colors that contrast and complement each other.
  • When choosing the color for your wood floor, take full advantage of flooring samples. While photos of interiors and virtual decorator software may give you a general idea of what the end result might be, nothing will inform your decision better than seeing the floor color on-site, in natural light.
  • If you prefer a classic look, go with natural unstained wood or traditional shades of brown, such as chestnut (gunstock) or walnut stains.
  • Dark and black tones are a popular choice for chic and modern interiors, artists’ studios or urban condos.
  • Bold and deep colors, such as various shades of red (think natural Jatoba or Santos Mahogany, or oak and ash stained in similar colors), add character to offices, public interiors and other spaces, where large open space makes flooring a central element of décor.

 

Learning to think of flooring as an indispensable element of décor is absolutely necessary in order to pick the best possible wood floor color. While personal preference is very important, it should not always be a deciding factor, and limitations of room size, style and existing colors should be given proper consideration.

If you are looking into getting new hardwood floors then stop by or call Home Select today! Servicing the Danville, Alamo, San Ramon, Walnut Creek, Blackhawk and Diablo area.

How to Organize your Home

1. Get to know active vs. passive zones. Active zones are the spots in your home that you pass or touch daily (usually multiple times a day), and include the entryway, top drawers and eye-level shelves and cabinets.

Passive zones are the less frequently used spaces in your home, including the guest room, garage or basement, very high and very low shelves, and nooks deep within closets.

A common organizing mistake is to clutter your prime active zones with items you don’t frequently need. For example: Don’t keep your spare lightbulbs in the top drawer in the kitchen when you only need to grab one every few months!

2. Make open storage beautiful. Every home can use a combination of open and closed (i.e., hidden) storage. But what you choose to store on your open shelving should be visually pleasing. In the living room, this is a good place for books (arranged by color if you’re feeling artsy) and pretty objects, not beaten-up board games and stacks of video games. Likewise in the kitchen, open shelving is the place to put your matching sets of clear drinking glasses or favorite teacups, not the plastic food storage containers.

3. Keep things findable. Out of sight, out of mind is an especially apt expression when it comes to organizing. Clear containers are ideal when you want to be able to see the contents at a glance, and open baskets can corral loose items while still letting you look inside.

If you use containers that aren’t transparent, be sure to label them clearly — or take it a step further and label each with a photo of the objects inside. (Instant cameras are ideal for this.)

4. Make it easy to put away. This is most important when it comes to kid stuff, but we can all benefit from this rule.

When you need to go get something, you’ll get it out — it doesn’t really matter where it is — but when it’s time to clean up, we all get a little lazy.

To increase the likelihood of stuff being put back in its place, use easy-to-access bins, baskets and hampers, simple filing systems, and wall hooks for frequently used items.

5. Group by task. I think of this as the first-aid kit phenomenon: When you need a Band-Aid, you may also need some antibiotic ointment, maybe some tweezers to remove a splinter, and a gauze pad; in a first-aid kit, everything you need to complete the task of caring for your injury is conveniently located in one place.

When you’re organizing your stuff, remember this and group everything you need to complete a task in the same place.

For example, you could make one box for medications, another for spare office supplies, one for holiday cookie cutters and sprinkles, and so on. Labeled shoebox-size boxes (like the ones shown here) work well for grouping small items together.

6. Create a way station for items in transit. We all have a certain amount of stuff that’s constantly in transit: library books waiting to be returned, our bag and keys, the dog’s leash, the casserole dish a friend left after your last party.

Instead of allowing these random items to pile up, create a dedicated space that can handle them and keep them neat.

If you have room by the main entrance to your home, this is the most logical spot — a few baskets on a shelf and some wall hooks should do the trick.

7. Subdivide and conquer. Wide-open drawers are an invitation to clutter. Anytime you have a drawer where you’ll be storing small items, use a drawer organizer. Use them for cutlery in the kitchen, office supplies in your desk, small and useful household items in your junk drawer, and daily essentials (sunglasses, keys) in a drawer near the entry.

8. Go vertical. What happens when you go for something at the bottom of a pile? That’s right, it topples.

Avoid this organizing nightmare and go vertical instead. Use shelf risers to increase cabinet capacity, store sheet pans and trays in a vertical holder, and use wall-mounted holders to store brooms and mops so they won’t tip over.

9. Choose the right container for the job. It can be heartbreaking to find that some of your most precious items — old family photographs, Grandma’s wedding gown — have been ruined thanks to improper storage.

Take preventative measures by choosing the right storage container for the job. Photographs and paper memorabilia should be stored in acid-free containers or albums, and textiles should be kept in breathable storage boxes or bags designed for that purpose.

10. Store heavy items down low. You should never have to balance on a stepladder while trying to lift something heavy.

Keep heavy items at or below waist height, including boxes, kitchen equipment (those dutch ovens and stand mixers weigh a ton!) and anything else that takes some real effort to lift.

And if you live in earthquake country, this is doubly important: You don’t want heavy items falling out of high cupboards and landing on someone’s head.

How to Choose the Best Paint Color!

Start Small

If you’re not sure where to begin with color, experiment in a powder room or bathroom, a small hall or area between rooms, or an accent wall. If you’re doing your own painting, pick an area that’s quick to do so you can see your results sooner, and be happy with it or change it. Look at the process as an adventure.

To get started, select a favorite color drawn from artwork, a rug, dishes and an accessory or furniture piece as a main color or accent.

Think About Your Mood

When selecting a color, consider the mood of a room. In a bedroom do you want the feeling to be restful and soothing or dramatic and intimate? Soft, cool colors and neutrals usually create a quieter feeling while stronger colors are for drama.

Do you want a dining area to feel sociable and stimulating or appear formal and quiet? Warmer, contrasting and somewhat brighter colors add to a sociable atmosphere; deeper blue-greens and neutrals will give a more formal ambiance.

Do you want kid’s rooms to create an active and exciting energy or an orderly and restful feeling? Be careful not to overstimulate your children with intensely bright hues. You may not know it, but some brighter colors can lead to unrest and irritability.

Pay Attention to Lighting

The reason why paint stores have light boxes for you to test paint chips:

  • Natural daylight shows the truest color;
  • Incandescent lighting brings out warm tones and yellows;
  • Fluorescent lighting casts a sharp blue tone.
So, a strong color might be too bright and overpowering when used on all walls or next to a large window, but it might be effective when used as an accent wall with indirect light.

Learn the Color Terms

It helps to understand the terminology used to describe color.

  • Hue is what we call a color. Red is the hue; blue is the hue.
  • The value of the hue is how light or dark it is.
  • Saturation refers to how dominant the hue is. As we go from red to pink, the red hue becomes less dominant.
  • Intensity is the brilliance of the color. The pure colors such as red are more intense than the combined colors such as yellow-green. A stronger intense color usually has a more dominant hue.
If you want a more active space, consider introducing stronger, more intense color. Even if you want a light-colored room, choose colors that are slightly more saturated than off-white or light pastel. Very light color can feel bright and stark when it appears on all surfaces in a room. However, two or more medium-light, closely related pastel colors can create a luminous effect when used in the same room.

Test Your Color Choice

Boost your confidence by testing colors on poster board or large areas of a wall. Don’t be afraid to go beyond your comfort zone: Consider strong, vivid colors or soft, deep neutrals like chocolate brown or olive green as main or accent colors. Or add drama with a stronger color on the ceiling. Tinted ceilings can dramatically change the whole look of a room.

Add Depth With Decorative Finishes

Transform flat, dull walls into interesting and personal spaces with subtle or dramatic visual texture and broken color. Burnished mineral/metal finishes and layered colored glazes add depth. Some examples of softly reflective metals are mica, copper, pewter, bronze and, of course, antiqued silver and gold.

Walk Into Another Room

Consider walls as planes of color, and see how they interact when viewing one next to the other in adjacent rooms. Approach it like a composition: You’re in one room, but you’re going to see a piece of another room through it. So as you’re choosing colors, consider how they will flow from room to room to create your picture.

Follow the Color Wheel

A small color wheel is a great reference tool for modifying and intensifying two or more colors. For example, red and green, which are complementary (opposite) colors, are most intense when used together. You may be surprised at how many combinations function beautifully together, and you may even become attracted to entirely new color palettes. The color wheel also illustrates the visual temperature of a color. Draw a line from the yellow-green mark on the color wheel all the way down to the red-violet; you’ll see that all the colors on the left are warm and the colors on the right are cool.

Play Up Monochromatic Schemes

Think one color is boring? Create bold or subtle variations within one color group with contrasting paint finishes. For example, use closely related colors, or try a single color in different finishes, for walls and trim in one space.

For an accent color, select a warmer (more toward reds) or cooler (more toward blues) color to complement your main color group. For a quieter ambience, make sure your colors are not extremely bright. White or an off-white tint can be a striking accent when used as trim with a monochromatic color group.

Choose Different Paint Finishes

A single color used on walls and trim takes on new significance when applied in different finishes. For example, wall and trim colors can remain the same hue, but use an eggshell (matte and less reflective) finish on walls and a satin or semigloss on trim. The color will appear slightly different on each surface. It’s a good way to create a cohesive look in rooms with many windows and doors, and relatively little wall area.

 

Make Your Home Feel Bigger!

Small homes are gaining renewed popularity in the housing market. Many “Baby Boomers” are downsizing to simplify their lifestyles and reduce the costs and time required to maintain a large home. First time home buyers are finding that small homes are a good initial investment. There are also certain design styles of small homes that have withstood the test of time such as craftsman bungalows, cottages, capes, cabins, ranch and prairie style homes that have unique architecture and appeal to buyers.

A small home is generally less than 2,000 square feet. For people who are downsizing from a large home, the change may make them feel closed in. For first time buyers who may have lived in an apartment, the home may provide considerably more space.

Here are some remodeling ideas that can make a small home feel much larger:

1.  Create an open floor plan

Interior walls break up the space in a small home. Often the rooms are tight and not particularly functional. This is especially true of dining rooms. An eat-in kitchen of a small home may seem cramped. If the kitchen and dining room are adjacent and separated by a common wall, consider removing the wall to open up the space. If there is a living room adjacent to the dining room or kitchen, the wall could be removed to create more functional space. Removing walls will also make the home seem brighter.

2.  Unify the living space with uniform flooring.

Use wood floors, one style of carpeting, vinyl flooring or tile to create a flow to the home. Eliminate unlevel thresholds.

3. Limit the wall colors in the home.

Neutral wall colors can create an illusion of space. However, you don’t have to use just one color throughout the home. For example, if you limit your pallet to gray tones, use different values of that color in different rooms. One trick is to select a paint color and look for other values on the color strip. Use the lightest color in the darkest areas of the house such as hallways or rooms that lack natural light. Use darker colors to highlight architecture in dining areas or a kitchen. Mid-tones can be used in bathroom and bedrooms. If you desire a pop of rich color, or want to delineate a space, add color or wall paper to one wall. Some color pallets that work very well in small homes are gray, neutral beiges, yellows, gold, creams, ice blues and whites.

4.  Paint moldings and trims white in each room if natural wood is not an essential architectural element.

White trim accents a wide range of wall colors. It is neutral and bright. It will unify the rooms of the home. Trims are often made of pine and are susceptible to nicks and scratches that white paint will camouflage. Consider painting interior doors white, too.

5.  Add crown molding to make a room seem larger.

The standard ceiling height for a home is 8 feet. Crown molding can elongate the line of a wall and create the illusion of height.

6.  Hang curtains near the ceiling.

This is a decorator’s trick to make a room appear larger. Hanging curtains near the ceiling also allows more natural light from windows into the room.

7.  Use built-in shelving and cabinetry to maximize functional storage.

Storage is essential in a small home. Shelving recessed into a wall can provide much needed storage space when every inch counts. Recessed shelving also conserves floor space. Cabinets help to contain contents and keep the home’s appearance uncluttered. A custom-built buffet is an asset in a dining area and can provide storage for dishes, glasses and linens.

8.  If bathroom space is tight, use fixtures and elements that are functional and aesthetic.

Base cabinets will restrict space in a small bathroom. Pedestal sinks have a linear form and use a minimum of floor space to make the room seem larger. Furniture style vanities may also work well and provide a few drawers for storing small items. For storage, consider shelving and cabinets recessed into the wall, again to optimize floor space. A tub/shower fixture will generally fit into a small bathroom. A walk-in shower can also be a space-saver. A mirror will also make the room appear larger. A pocket door can be a space saver and eliminates a door swing into the room.

9.  Sacrifice a bedroom for a master suite.

If your home has small bedrooms and if you are only using one or two of them consider removing a wall to create a spacious master bedroom.

10.  Clear out clutter.

Be selective with your furnishings. Look for quality, not quantity.

If you are looking to do a remodel call or stop by Home Select today and get a FREE consultation! We have everything you need in our showroom and we do the install too! Servicing the Danville, Alamo, San Ramon, Walnut Creek, Blackhawk and Diablo area!

 

Different Types of Finishes

We’re not going out on a limb when we say hardwood floors are one of the most popular, value-adding features in your home. Homebuyers love ‘em.

But hardwood floors need regular maintenance and refinishing to keep them looking spiffy.

How much wear and tear your floors get determines how often you need to refinish them and what product you use. A household with just two adults might only have to refinish every 10 years; a home with adults, kids, and a dog might need to refinish every three to four years.

There are a lot of finishes out there. Use this at-a-glance guide below to choose the one that’s right for your home.

Wax

Pros Cons
Easy to apply Not as durable as poly finishes
Low luster Susceptible to stains
Penetrates into wood Needs regular upkeep (refinishing)
Mild odor Must be completely removed before applying a polyurethane finish

Wax is the time-tested, old-fashioned way to refinish wood floors and was routinely used before polyurethanes became available in the 1970s. Both paste and liquid versions are making a comeback with homeowners who want a mellow, low-sheen look, and with those who prefer to use natural products with low VOC’s and toxicity.

It’s applied by hand working small areas at a time, which makes it DIY-friendly (but labor-intensive). It’s also easy to touch up a wax finish, so ongoing maintenance is simple.

If you don’t want to darken your wood (which wax tends to do), first apply a base coat of shellac or sanding sealer that penetrates and seals the wood. Two to three coats of wax are recommended.

Especially good for: antique flooring in historic homes

Water-Based Polyurethane

Pros Cons
Fast drying time (2 to 4 hours between coats) More expensive than oil poly
Low odor; low VOCs Less tough than oil poly
Doesn’t yellow like oil polys
Easy to apply; good for DIYers

Polyurethanes are today’s standard floor finish. Water-based varieties used to have a reputation for being eco-friendly (still true) but not as durable as regular polys. However, today’s water-based polys are nearly as tough as their oil-based cousins.

One difference is final color: Water-based polys dry clear; oil-based polys have a slight amber tint.

Water-based polyurethane has very low VOC content and is easy for a DIYer to apply. Three to four coats are recommended. You can use a water-based polyurethane over an oil-based poly as long as the old finish has completely cured (two to three weeks).

Especially good for: eco-conscious DIYers

Oil-Based Polyurethane

Pros Cons
Less expensive than water-based poly Long drying time (8 to 10 hours between coats)
Extremely tough High odor during application; high VOCs
Easy to apply Gets yellow with age (benefit to some)

Oil-based polys are the mainstay of floor finishing and widely used by professional finishers.

Although they’re tough, long-lasting, and less-expensive than water-based polys, oil-based polys have a higher VOC content and stronger odor during application. A coat takes 8 to 10 hours to dry, so you’ll want to vacate your house until the floor is completely dry — and bring your pets with you. Two to three coats are recommended.

Professional floor refinishers report some problems when using an oil-based poly over a water-based poly. Best advice: Don’t do it.

Especially good for: professionally finished floors at a reasonable price

Acid-Cured (Swedish) Finish

Pros Cons
Extremely hard and durable Difficult to refinish (must use acid-cured finish if used previously)
Fast drying time (2 hours) but up to 60 days to fully cure Volatile odors; high VOCs
More expensive than most finishes Pro-only application

The Cadillac (or Volvo) of floor finishes, acid-cured Swedish finishes are for pro application only. They’re among the toughest of all hardwood flooring finishes, and the most expensive. They’re sometimes called conversion varnish sealers.

Acid-cured finishes have extremely high VOC content; you’ll have to bunk elsewhere for a few days after finishing to give the odors a chance to clear. The finish takes up to 60 days to fully cure, but you can walk on it after three days. Keep furniture off for two weeks, and rugs off for the full 60 days so the fibers don’t stick.

Especially good for: high-end homes with flooring made from exotic woods and floors with elaborate inlay designs

Moisture-Cured Urethane

Pros Cons
Extremely durable (one of the hardest) Extremely high VOCs (fumes may last for weeks)
Expensive Pro-only application
Fast drying time allows for multiple coats per day Low humidity extends drying time

This is a durable finish that’s a step up in toughness and longevity from water- and oil-based polyurethane. It’s tricky to apply and isn’t recommended for DIY — it dries very fast, so speed and a deft touch are needed to avoid lap marks.

It has a high VOC content, making a respirator and good ventilation a must during application. Homeowners and pets should vacate the house during application and for up to two weeks afterward.

Especially good for: high-traffic areas and homes with multiple kids and dogs

Penetrating Oil Sealer

Pros Cons
Easy for DIYers to apply Not as durable as a poly finish
Non-toxic ingredients Should be reapplied every 2 to 3 years
Mild odor
Mellow sheen

Oil sealers have been used for centuries to protect and moisture-proof wood. They’re easy to apply, and spot touch-ups are a snap. Because it penetrates the wood, an oil sealer enhances grain patterns and deepens the color of the wood. The finish itself doesn’t scratch, but recoating usually is needed every two to three years as the finish wears down.

The basic ingredient is tung oil, a naturally occurring, low-VOC oil that hardens as it dries. It needs long drying times between coats (24 to 48 hours), so finishing a floor with the recommended three coats can take several days.

Especially good for: historic homes with antique flooring; DIYers

Aluminum Oxide

Pros Cons
Extermely hard and durable (25 years) Only available with prefinished flooring
Difficult to refinish
After 25 years, you might have to replace the flooring

This super-tough finish only comes on prefinished wood planks. You won’t apply it yourself, but you’ll need to know it’s there if you ever decide to refinish it. It requires special refinishing techniques, like sanding with milder grits before using heavier grits. Your floor refinisher can determine if your flooring is covered with an aluminum oxide coating.

Shellac

Pros Cons
Easy to work with Not very durable
Few harmful VOCs Most shellac contains wax — refinishing with modern products isn’t possible
Inexpensive Must be recoated periodically
Easy spot repairs

Polyurethane floor products have surpassed the usefulness of this time-honored wood finish. Houses built before 1970 may have hardwood floors finished with shellac, and you can maintain and refinish them with another coating of shellac. It’s not compatible with more modern finishes, such as polyurethane, so only refinish shellac with wax or another coating of shellac.

Test for shellac by dribbling a few drops of water on an inconspicuous spot. If the finish turns milky white, it’s shellac.

Shellac is a natural product that’s non-toxic and produces few VOCs. It’s not as tough and durable as polyurethanes, and is susceptible to stains from water and other spills. However, it’s easy to repair scratched areas by rubbing out the scratches with denatured alcohol, then reapplying shellac.

Shellac pairs well with wax. Use shellac as a base coat, and finish with two or three coats of hand-rubbed wax.

Especially good for: refinishing antique floors already coated with shellac

When you are ready to get your hardwood flooring stop by Home Select or call for your FREE consultation!

Servicing the Danville, Alamo, Walnut Creek, San Ramon, Blackhawk and Diablo area.

Choosing the Right Padding

New carpet is an appealing feature in a real estate investment, and carpet padding should never be overlooked when choosing and installing carpet. A carpet pad adds a layer of cushion to your floor and provides thermal insulation during cold weather. A carpet pad also extends the life of your carpet. When selecting the right carpet pad for your home, consider quality, cost and carpet compatibility factors.

Density of Padding

Choose a residential carpet padding with a 6- to 8-pound density rating. Carpet padding with a density lower than 6 pounds is generally used in commercial real estate or in apartments where carpet is replaced frequently. Padding with a 6-pound density provides softer cushioning than padding with an 8-pound density. Opt for an 8-pound density rating if you want the firmest, sturdiest and longest-lasting option, which is especially useful in high-traffic areas. High-density padding reduces the likelihood of wrinkling in your carpet and is generally the most expensive.

Thickness and Warranty

Select carpet padding that has a thickness that meets your carpet manufacturer’s specifications. Otherwise, you will void your carpet warranty. Most residential carpet pads have a thickness of 7/16-inch. Don’t choose a carpet pad that’s too thick, or you risk unsightly folds and wrinkles developing in and beneath the carpeted surface. Padding that’s too thick or too thin decreases the longevity of your carpet.

Foam Urethane

Consider foam padding, also known as urethane or polyurethane padding, if you want a lightweight, cost-effective option. Polyurethane padding has a higher density and lasts longer that urethane padding. Urethane padding compresses quickly and doesn’t hold up well in high-traffic areas. Urethane padding is usually recommended for properties where the life span of the carpet is less than three years.

Synthetic Materials

Opt for synthetic carpet pads if you’re installing tight-weave or looped carpeting. Synthetic padding is durable and has a high-density rating. The rebounding nature of synthetic padding works well in high-traffic areas and keeps looped carpet styles from stretching and wrinkling. Many synthetic pads are designed to resist moisture, mold and mildew, making them the best option for concrete basement floors.

Recycled Padding

Pick rebond carpet padding if you want a viable, environmentally responsible option that is also cost-efficient. Rebond padding is made from recycled urethane foam and other materials and comes in a wide range of thicknesses and density ratings. Rebond padding is one of the most common padding styles and is available at most retail and discount carpet stores. Choose rebond carpet padding to get the most durable padding for the lowest price.

If you need new flooring in your home then call Home Select and schedule your FREE consultation now! Servicing the Danville, Alamo, San Ramon, Walnut Creek, Blackhawk and Diablo area.

How to Choose the Best Tiles and Styles!

Stain-Resistant Porcelain

Porcelain is always a more popular choice than natural stone for the kitchen because it’s impervious to spills. When it comes to color and style consider the cabinets and countertops. Look for a neutral tile without high shade variation to tie everything in the room together and to be safe, pick a grout color a shade or two darker than you think you want — it will hide inevitable stains better.

Durable Slate-Look Porcelain

A laundry room or mudroom is going to get knocked around, so you want something strong. However, homeowners also want to keep things casual or rustic in there, too. The solution is slate-look porcelain, which looks almost indistinguishable from natural stone, but is impervious to moisture. Given the vibration of the washing machine and dryer, extra care and attention need to be given to preparation and installation.

Small Mosaic Tiles

A small room means using small tile, mosaics is a hot trend in bathrooms right now. Tiles of one inch and smaller are much easier to install in a small room compared to a large one, even coming as they do on 12″ x 12″ sheets. In addition to their spectacular appearance, mosaics are a practical choice in moisture-prone baths because smaller tiles mean more grout lines and traction.

Vinyl Tile

The additional weight of tile flooring can become a structural issue in some areas of the home but that is definitely not the case in the basement, which has the most stable subsurface of the entire structure. That gives a homeowner the freedom to choose large, heavy tiles that may not work elsewhere.

For basements that double as rec rooms, a suggestion of wood-look porcelain tile is great. It gives you that relaxed bar look but with the durability and moisture resistance of ceramic. Wait up to a year before installing basement tile to give the house a chance to fully settle.

Oversized Travertine Tile

While not common in bedrooms on a top floor due to load, noise and instability of subfloor, tile is a popular choice for ranch-style homes in the hot Southwest. Throughout the Southwest, you see really beautiful travertine or natural stone flooring throughout the house, including the bedrooms. Natural stone has a cooler feel under foot and in climates that experience some seasonal chill, stone works great with radiant heating because it maintains and distributes the heat better than wood.

Stone-Like Porcelain

What can be a better pairing than a wine cellar and Italian cobblestone? A cobblestone that won’t permanently be stained by every drop of wine. We suggest passing on the natural stone in favor of stone-look porcelain. You get all the charm of an Old World grotto with all the chip and moisture protection of hard-wearing ceramic. If the house is a new construction it’s crucial to allow the slab to fully cure before laying the tile.

Natural Stone Tiles

Because natural stone comes from nature it can withstand the elements. That makes it a great choice for outdoor flooring like walkways, outdoor kitchens or around the pool. While almost any natural stone can withstand the elements, slate often is preferred over choices like travertine or marble because of its texture, which is less slippery. Though stone can survive drastic temperature swings, grout cannot. Those who live in chilly climates will have to swap out the typical mortar for cement or dry gravel.

Slip-Resistant Slate

Entryways are more prone to temperature extremes than almost any other room. They also take the most abuse and you can see why durable tile edges out wood, vinyl and carpet when it comes to practicality. So natural products like slate are good. Slate has natural color variations that will hide wet or muddy prints, especially when combined with darker grout lines. It also boasts a textured surface that reduces the risk of slips and falls.

If you are looking for the best tile for your home then call or stop by Home Select! We service the Danville, Alamo, San Ramon, Walnut Creek, Blackhawk and Diablo area. We have the best flooring from hardwood and carpet to tile and stone! We also have window coverings by Hunter Douglas!

Fix up Your Kitchen on a Budget

If stepping into your kitchen is like stepping back into decades past, it may be time for an upgrade. After all, tired cabinets, laminate countertops and archaic appliances are not only unattractive, they can also significantly reduce the resale value of your home.

Modernizing your kitchen can increase your home’s value while breathing new life into the heart of your household. And it allows you to customize an outlet to showcase your culinary talents too. Of course, there’s no denying that kitchen renovations can be exceedingly expensive and time-consuming. And many homeowners simply can’t afford to spend tens of thousands of dollars — or be inconvenienced for several weeks — to perform an epic overhaul. Fortunately, there are a number of projects that will modernize every kitchen within the constraints of every homeowner’s budget and lifestyle.

Have a budget of $500-$1,000?
Concentrate on cosmetic enhancements.

A new coat of paint will bring any kitchen back to life (and into this century). Additionally, depending on square footage, you should be able to paint your kitchen yourself for as little as $200-$300. If you’re looking to make more of a splash, consider wallpaper. These days, you can find easy-to-hang, peel-and-stick wall coverings in a number of patterns and textures. Other upgrades that come with a lesser price tag but make a big impact include updated lighting, faucets, décor, and hardware for cabinet doors and drawers.
Got a budget of $5,000-$10,000?
Renew existing kitchen components.

Dull, dated cabinets can drag a kitchen down. Fortunately, so long as they’re in good shape, refinishing them can completely transform the room for a fraction of the price of new ones. Refinishing involves removing old finishes from existing cabinets and applying new paint, stain or varnish. Typically, you can have your cabinets professionally refinished for around $1,500-$3,500, depending on the amount of cabinets in your kitchen. Another way to give your kitchen an instant facelift is to replace your countertops. Depending on the square footage of your kitchen — and the material you choose — you can generally have new countertops installed for between $1,500 and $4,500. Other improvements to consider in the mid-priced range include new sinks, window treatments, upgraded appliances and backsplashes.

Got a budget of $15,000-$20,000?
Focus on first things first.

A budget of $15,000-$20,000 affords you the opportunity to make a number of upgrades to your kitchen — and it opens up the opportunity to hire qualified professionals to make sure everything gets done right. New cabinets, countertops, flooring and appliances are all on the table, but you’ll likely have to make some tough choices and compromises to get the biggest bang for your buck. If your cabinets are in decent shape, consider refacing or refinishing them to increase the budget for energy-efficient appliances and countertops. If your appliances are fairly new, focus your budget on high-quality cabinets and other aesthetic improvements. Once you’ve committed to the biggest-ticket items, you can have some fun choosing additional enhancements such as lighting, backsplashes, faucets and sinks.

If you would like to start your Kitchen or home remodel start with Home Select! Take advantage of our FREE consultation today! Servicing the Danville, Alamo, San Ramon, Walnut Creek, Blackhawk and Diablo area! If your location is not listed above, call anyway and find out if we cover your area!

 

Vinyl Flooring

With advances in design and performance features, vinyl is a stylish, easy-to-clean flooring choice for any home.

Why Buy Vinyl

Vinyl is a great flooring option that fits every décor and budget. Vinyl floors are an affordable option that offers style, durability, and long-lasting performance. When installed correctly over the proper subflooring, vinyl is extremely resistant to dents, scratches, and stains.

Below are four more great reasons for choosing vinyl the next time you go shopping for a new floor.

Wide Variety of Design Options

Today, vinyl flooring is offered in many choices in colors, patterns, and textures.

  • Luxury viny tile – 150+ floors; mimics the vibrant beauty of slate, marble, travertine, and wood; warm and comfortable underfoot
  • Vinyl sheet – 1,200+ floors; looks and feels like stone, wood, leather, metals, tweeds, and more
  • Vinyl tile – 100+ floors; modular tile format allows you to alternate different colors to create checkerboards or other patterns

Easy to Clean

Nothing beats vinyl when it comes to cleaning. To keep your vinyl floor clean and sparkling, just sweep regularly, and occasionally damp mop with Armstrong floor care products. Advanced coatings create a strong barrier to protect against fading, scratches, stains, and moisture. Spills simply bead up and easily wipe away.

Affordability

Vinyl sheet and vinyl tile are the most budget-friendly of vinyl flooring types, but even luxury vinyl is an affordable upgrade.

DIY Installation

Installation options vary with the type of vinyl floor you choose, but all types can be installed by DIYers, depending on your handyman skill level. Innovations in vinyl sheet include fiberglass backing for “loose lay” installation without adhesive. Easy-to-install vinyl tile lets you create beautifully patterned floors by alternating colors or designs.

If you are interested in looking at some Luxury Vinyl then stop by Home Select and check out our selections. Servicing the Danville, Alamo, San Ramon, Walnut Creek, Blackhawk and Diablo area.

How to Properly Accent Your Home

If you are trying to add the finishing touches on your room but can’t figure out what the missing aesthetic piece is, it may be accent color. Accent colors enable a room to become whole with separate pieces of color adding depth to the composition of your interiors. The challenge is: how to bring the right balance of color as to not overbear the rest of the room or underwhelm the rest of your home. Here are tips for adding depth to your interiors with accent colors to reflect your individual decorative style.

Where to start with choosing your accent color:

If you are trying to get started in choosing your accent colors, consider starting with an inspirational piece of furniture, artwork, accent rug, or even a throw pillow that you love! Whether you enjoy the crisp and clean lines of a chair, or you adore the pop of jade green in your new couch, these are details to build upon in the rest of your space. If you have the luxury of designing your space from the beginning, find colors that inspire you to want to stay in the space and linger longer. This will help you decide which colors fit your style.

Subtle color can have a huge impact:

For many homes, the introduction of an accent color can define your space, and especially in open floor plan homes, can lead you to the function and definition of your room. Consider using subtle colors in spaces that you want to feel unified, and use stronger colors in spaces you want well defined. A white living room space connected to a dining room can use a bold accent wall in the dining area to bring the eye through your space subtly, and arrive dramatically in the dining room – just by using color.

Neutral colors thrive on accent color:

Remember accent colors don’t always have to be bright and eye-catching.  In fact, neutral colors are a treat because they pair well with bright and dark colors. Bright colors can bring a whimsical vibe, while dark colors are more traditional and elegant. When using dark colors as accents, consider using natural materials such as wood, metals, and stone to bring out the accents. You will be pleasantly surprised how a neutral color palette can add depth without being over the top.

If you can’t decide:

For the indecisive homeowner there is still hope for your home designing with accent colors – keep it simple. While the decision to know what colors you want on your walls, floor and furniture may come easy to some, for others it can be a challenge. Instead of stressing, start off with neutral walls, and introduce color slowly through a favorite vase filled with flowers, or opt for a removable wall sticker that adds color. Many people change their accent colors based on the time of year, holiday season, or guests that are staying at their home. Don’t be afraid, indecision can also be fun!

Bringing accent colors into your interiors can help define your mood, or it can catapult you into a different space and time. The beauty of accents is they can appear in different forms. From your decorative Robin’s Egg blue display dishes on your open shelving to the hot pink fluffy rug that adorns your playful media room, have fun with accents. Accent color can help you be indecisive or firm on color without even trying! Enjoy it.

Stop by Home Select and talk to our designer about giving your home some more character. Now servicing the Danville, Alamo, San Ramon, Walnut Creek, Blackhawk and Diablo area! If you do not see your location listed above but are still near by then don’t hesitate to call and see about getting your FREE consultation.