Happy Homeowners: The Eckart Family

This new “Happy Homeowners Interview” features The Eckart family, who built their new home in Indianapolis, IN.  Read below to hear about Eckart’s homebuilding journey with M/I Homes!

 

M/I Homes: Is this your first M/I Home and what convinced you to choose M/I Homes over another builder?

Kelly and Paul Eckart:  Yes, this is our first M/I home. We chose M/I homes because we were highly impressed with the quality of the homes.  Everything from the materials used to the well-thought out floor plans.  From the minute we first walked in to an M/I home, we knew this was the builder for us.  Having previously built with a builder where almost everything was considered an upgrade, we were impressed with the items that were considered “standard” in M/I homes.

M/I: Are you happy with how your home turned out?

KE: We absolutely LOVE our home and wouldn’t change a single thing!

M/I: What is the name of your floorplan and what features of your home do you especially love?

KE: We chose the Clayton which in our opinion is the best floor plan that we have ever seen in a new home build. There is no wasted space and the entire layout flows nicely.  We love our hardwood floors.  We love the openness of our kitchen/family room area. We also love the many windows throughout our home that give us great views year-round.

M/I: Overall, how was your experience with M/I Homes?  Did you get to pick out your homesite and the floorplan you wanted to build, or had the home already been started?

KE:  Our experience with M/I homes was nothing but the best! We did get to choose our floor plan and homesite.  Leslie was the very first M/I employee that we came into contact with and she is the absolute best @ her job!  She was SO very personable and knew the neighborhood as well as many of the families already living here.  She was such a help to us.  Addie (our sales rep) helped in so many ways – navigating all the many decisions we were faced with as new homeowners and was a constant source of encouragement/information throughout the entire process.  Our construction manager Chuck was so good at walking us through the building process and calling us once a week to keep us up-to-date on what was happening with the build.  All of these people helped make the entire process enjoyable.

M/I:  Do you have any fun memories from the buying / building process?

KE:  We were so anxious for our home to finally start being built – it was hard to have patience. Because we lived close, we were able to drive out to our homesite frequently to see the daily/weekly progress being made.  It was so exciting when the frame went up and we could actually walk through all of the rooms.  Also, seeing what our views would be from each window was exciting as well.

M/I:  Was there something about your home that made you immediately know you wanted to move in?

KE:  From the moment the frame went up, then the drywall, then the cabinets, etc. we were able to really visualize our family living in these spaces and the memories we would soon be making together.

M/I:  What do you like about your neighborhood / community?

KE:  We have the best neighborhood in the greater Indianapolis area hands down! We love the fact that it is a smaller neighborhood – that actually started out as a custom home built neighborhood.  We have a great walking trail that goes around our neighborhood and provides a great way to get to know all of our neighbors.  We also had a block party this past spring that over half of our neighborhood attended.  Each month we have a men’s night out and women’s day out.  Our neighborhood exemplifies a great community where people know each other and care about each other.

M/I:  Anything you would recommend to someone looking for a new home?

KE:  Definitely talk to people about their experience with any builder you are considering. Also, visit model homes and look at the quality of materials they use on their homes inside and out.  Look at the overall feel/look of the neighborhood.

M/I:  What is your favorite memory in your new home thus far?

KE:  Hosting our middle daughter’s wedding shower this past summer. Also, the first Thanksgiving and Christmas we enjoyed in our new home. We look forward to making so many memories with our family and friends many years in to the future.

M/I:  What is your favorite space in your new home?  Do you have pictures you would like to share?

KE:  We have several favorite spaces in our new home! We LOVE our kitchen – especially the big island where our kids like to gather when they are home visiting.  We also love our family room and the beautiful views we have out our windows.  Our dining room is another favorite as well. We love to sit on our front porch in the morning and watch the sun come up.  In the near future, we hope to build a patio/deck and enjoy our evenings watching the beautiful sunsets as well!

M/I:  Anything else you think we should know about your experience or your home?

KE:  Overall, our experience with M/I homes has been excellent. There are honestly not any negative experiences that we had throughout this process.  Any minor issues that arose were immediately addressed and taken care of.  This was our second home to build and our experience with M/I was nothing at all like our first home building experience.  It was SO much better.  This is a professional company that truly cares about the families buying/building their homes and we saw that caring attitude in every M/I employee we came in contact with – especially Leslie, Addie and Chuck!

How to Throw a Great Housewarming Party

Buying a home is one of life’s most exciting moments. Whether this is your first purchase or you’re simply moving into a new place, signing those papers and being handed your keys is a feeling like no other. Moments like these are cause for celebration!

Like a honeymoon after a wedding, new homeownership calls for a housewarming party. A time where you can invite your friends over, have a great time, and create lasting memories as you “break in” the house for the first time. To help you plan the perfect party, we’ve rounded up a few ideas and key things you’ll need to keep the good time rolling.

Invitations

A housewarming party isn’t one of those times where you send out a big group text. This occasion calls for sending legitimate invitations, whether you want to customize them by hand or create them online. Dedicated invitations are easier for your guests to remember, and they’ll also help you keep better track of your RSVPs. Be sure to send your invites out at least two to three weeks in advance, and remember the following information:

  • Specific date and time
  • Address
  • Specific instructions (if you want your guests to bring anything, park somewhere specific, etc.)
  • Reminder to RSVP

House prep

It should go without saying that a housewarming party means your house should be presentable! With that said, house prep doesn’t simply mean cleaning the floors and emptying the trash (although you should do that too!). This is a chance to get creative and set up some additional decoration and props. As you spiff up the house, consider the following tasks, tips, and ideas:

  • Prep the bathroom (stock up on supplies and continually check things throughout the night)
  • Create plenty of seating (people are always looking for places to sit, so give them options)
  • Set out candles (great for both ambience and air freshening)
  • Put away fragile items (stop accidents before they have a chance to happen!)
  • Set up a guest book (fun for your guests and great for creating memories to look back on)

Food & Drinks

People love (and need) to eat. Unless you have options laid out on the table, your guests are going to get hungry, which will inevitably lead them to A) ask you for food, B) order food, or C) leave to get food. Now, you don’t have to have a full course meal setup, but a selection of appetizers and finger foods are usually perfect for keeping people happy and full. You can’t go wrong with a basic supply of chips and dips, but if you don’t mind cooking, check out these quick and easy recipes.

Speaking of edible happiness, to go along with your appetizers, you’ll want a selection of drinks! Housewarming parties are the perfect occasion to break out the margarita maker and whip up batch after batch of your favorite ‘rita recipe. Or, if you’d rather keep things a little more casual, pick up a few bottles of wine and make sure everyone has a tasteful glass. Whichever you decide, always make sure you have some non-alcoholic options available, too (water and/or iced tea usually go over well).

Entertainment

The house is clean, food and drinks are out on the table with color-coordinated plates and cups, and people are ready to walk in the front door. Once you get them inside, what’s the plan? In addition to house tours and the usual hangout, the best housewarming parties always have some sort of entertainment.

You’ll definitely want music playing and a solid party playlist, but keep a few good group games up your sleeve for when everyone’s ready to take the fun to the next level. Try to make sure the games aren’t too long or technical (for example, Monopoly would be a bad idea). The key is to keep them quick, easy, and funny. Here are a couple ideas:

  • Scavenger hunt (this is especially good because the house is new to everyone!)
  • Memory games (for example, put your guests in a room, give them 30-60 seconds to look around, then come out of the room and ask them trivia questions to see who has the best memory)

Conclusion

Throwing a party is the perfect way to get your friends and family together to celebrate a great achievement – homeownership. After all, a home is the biggest and most important investment you’ll make in life, so if you’re going to have any type of party, this is the one to have. By following the steps above, your celebration is guaranteed to be a hit.

 

**Cory Yeakel is a full-time writer and home improvement lover. When he’s not writing or working on his latest DIY project, you can find him in the kitchen working on new recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

 

Our Top Three Design Center Picks

Thinking about purchasing a new home in the near future?  Starting to remodel your existing home?  There are obviously a lot of questions, ideas, and thoughts that go through your mind when deciding to update or purchase a home.  One of those questions might be “what are the top trends for interior design for my home?”

With this question in mind we spoke with Jenny Entler, the M/I Homes of Columbus Design Center Manager, to learn what are the top three design center products our customers are choosing when designing their perfect space.  Check out her answers below.

 

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring has come a long way since it was first introduced in the ‘80’s.  Back then, it was notorious for looking “fake” and being thin and hollow-sounding.  Today’s Laminates are made of stronger, better materials; covered by a 3D photographic layer that reproduces the look of the wood; and topped with a transparent protective layer that protects the floor from scratches and liquids.

Laminate flooring, made of synthetic fiberboard and designed to simulate hardwood, is currently wildly popular—and here’s why:

  • Less expensive than hardwood. Current trends in flooring call for 5”-7” wide planks, hand-scraped details and a weathered “beachy” appearance.  You’ll pay about a third of the price of real wood to get that same look in a high quality Laminate.
  • Easy to install. Laminate “floats” above the sub-floor, so it can be installed over nearly any surface, including concrete, which makes it perfect for basements and lower levels.  It comes in tongue and groove planks, which are “clicked” into one another vs. hardwood which must be nailed down.
  • Hardwood may look beautiful, but it’s not always a practical choice, especially for an active family.  Hardwood will scratch, fade and show wear over time. Since Laminate is not real wood, it is very hard to scratch, and most brands are treated with a UV protectant to help resist fading and wear.

 

White Kitchen Cabinets

White has always been a popular choice of color for a kitchen—but lately the demand for white cabinets has grown.  Why?

  • Everything Farmhouse. This trend in design and décor has skyrocketed over the last few years.  White cabinets are the cornerstone of this trend, followed by subway tile and apron sinks in the kitchen.  Think of your favorite DIY shows – Fixer Upper, Property Brothers, Love it or List it – they all have something in common.  They are constantly putting in beautiful white cabinets with this farmhouse look.
  • White cabinets provide the perfect neutral foundation for any decorating style, which makes them perfect for redecorating projects too.  In addition, white is timeless and classic and your kitchen will never look “dated” like it might with wood stained cabinets.
  • Clean and Crisp. The kitchen is the room where you gather with friends and family, and you want that room to be the nicest place in your home. White cabinets have a clean, fresh look that is very appealing and comforting. They can help a small spacer look larger or a dark space look brighter.

 

Subway Tiles

Subway tile has been around for over a hundred years.  The term literally originated from the subways of New York, where small white oblong tile was chosen for the walls of the tunnels simply because it looked clean, was easy to clean and made the underground tunnels seem brighter. Thus the term for this style of tile became “subway.”

The classic Subway Tile—3” x 6” glossy white—is still the most common choice; however the term “Subway Tile” is now used to refer to tiles of many different sizes, colors and materials.  Creative installation patterns have also modernized this simple and inexpensive tile.

  • The shape is still oblong, but sizes can range from 2” x 4” to 6” x 18” and larger and still be termed “Subway” Tile.
  • Use White, Ivory or Light Gray for a clean, neutral backdrop in your shower and allow your rugs, towels and bath accents to take center stage. Or choose a bold color for a backsplash to create a focal point in an all-white kitchen.
  • Most Subway Tile is either ceramic or porcelain with a glossy finish; however current trends include glass, marble, metal and travertine. A matte finish gives a modern look, and also helps hide fingerprints.
  • The traditional installation style is called “running bond” or “brick joint” meaning a horizontal, ½ offset pattern. Subway tile can also be installed vertically in the traditional style; stacked on a “grid” either horizontally or vertically; or in a herringbone or chevron pattern.

The simplicity and versatility of Subway Tile is the key to their popularity. With so many options to choose from, you can always find something to suit your personal style.

These top three interior design selections can all be found when you schedule your tour of our Design Centers throughout the nation.  We too love these trends and you will often find them throughout our model homes.

*Jenny Entler is the Design Center Manager for our Central Ohio Division.  She has been with M/I Homes for nine years and has helped over 4,000 customers design their new homes.  When she’s not working, she spends her time working in her yard, watching her son play baseball and planning her family’s next beach vacation.

Irresistible Decoration Tips for Summer

Picture1Summer is officially here. It symbolizes a new season, a slower pace to enjoy with friends and family, and nature in her full-bloomed glory. All around us the trees are in bloom with lavish shades of green, flowers in vibrant shades of the rainbow, and gardens offer their bounty from the rich, earthy soil. Why should Mother Nature have all the fun? Hot decorating trends for this year incorporate many natural elements, and Summer is the perfect time to bring that earthy influence into your home to give it a fresh new look. With paint colors such as Hazelnut, Dogwood, and Greenery entering the style scene, it’s bound to be as breathtaking as a sunset and cozy as a warm breeze.

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Bohemian style is still big. Keep it light, airy, and comfy with a mix of organic elements like wood, greenery, and plants. Blend it with different textures, fabrics, and pops of color to keep anything from being too predictably matched, and throw in some leather or faux fur to keep them intrigued with your unique, eclectic style.

Metallics made a design comeback last year, and while they are still in fashion, copper is the latest and greatest in the metal trend. Use it for accents wherever you want to add an eye-catching statement piece. Think lamps, light fixtures, vases, or unique trinkets for an interesting accent.

Clear acrylic is on point this decorating season, as well. This clear, durable material is popping up in trays, decorative table tops, floating frames, and even chairs. It’s a great way to add detail without adding too much color or chaos to your room.

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While subway tile and shiplap are still very in vogue, some interesting new alternatives are emerging this summer. Marble has become fashionable again for everything from tabletops to backdrops to accent walls. The sleek look comes with a hefty price tag to do an entire wall, though, so a reasonable compromise between cost and style is a high end marble wallpaper. You get the chic look for a fraction of the price.

Cork walls and wood tiles are also giving more traditional materials a run for their money. Durable, reasonably priced, and with a rustic-but-oh-so-chic appearance, both provide interesting natural elements that offer a comfy, stylish feel that invites you to come in and relax.

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Climbing plants and vines are great complements to these more natural looks. Actually, greenery of any kind has made a comeback this summer, which shouldn’t be surprising considering “Greenery” is one of the hottest paint shades of the season. Going back to the acrylic trend, small succulent plants in hanging acrylic holders make great accent pieces, as do creative fresh flower arrangements in interesting vases or bowls.

You can use a combination of several of the elements above in small quantities in another summerdesign trend known as hygge (pronounced /hoogah/). This is a Danish term that translates into  “living simple.” Think clean lines with a minimalist approach. You can still have pops of color or provocative accents, but keep a light hand with them for a cozy but clean feel.

Whether you choose to incorporate one or two of these new trends or all of them, Summer is the perfect time to update the inside of your home.  Making a few simple changes can create a whole new look, leaving your home feeling fresh, fashionable, and ready for the new season.

Get the Look: Seaside Cottage

Summer isn’t just for a vacations—it’s the perfect time to add a fresh new look to your home. With warmer weather and the entertaining season kicking into full swing, now is the time to overhaul your outdoor living space with a classic seaside cottage look. With the help of some new seating, outdoor rugs, lighting and accessories, you can turn any outdoor space into a comfortable retreat fit for the Hamptons.

Coastal Colors

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Recharging your outdoor space can be as simple as introducing a dreamy seaside color palette. This doesn’t mean it’s time to buy everything that has stripes and anchors—instead, pull inspiration from the ocean for that next color overhaul. Seafoam greens, muted teals and grays, creamy whites and natural weathered patinas are fresh and calming, and can easily work with most home styles.

If calm and collected isn’t your sort, you can still channel the nautical navy look without going overboard. Pair deep navies with blue-grays and neutrals for a sophisticated aesthetic. For a more feminine look—and a bright pop of color—pair these hues with blush tones and rich corals or canary yellow.

Tastefully Textured

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The beauty of the seaside cottage style is the ability to play around with different textures for a breezy, curated look. Subtle elements, like cable-knit throws reminiscent of fisherman’s sweaters, add a seafaring touch for late-night fire pit chats without going overboard. Rustic woods (think driftwood) create a rustic yet refined look, while crisp and clean textures like cotton and linen are perfect for outdoor draperies and textured cushions.

 Pull Up a Chair

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Keep outdoor furniture classic and casual. Adirondack chairs are classically nautical. In a light neutral color, they add just the right amount of coastal vibe to even the simplest of outdoor spaces. Wire frame furniture adds a modern touch, while rustic and weathered metal silhouettes express a Malibu feel. Lastly, channel the seaside aesthetic by adding elements to your space that promote an al fresco lifestyle. Encourage large family gatherings with a generous, rustic communal table or bring in a traditional rounded fire pit for making s’mores.

How will you put your seaside cottage look together?  We would love to see photos of how you have put this all together.

Check out the ways M/I Homes has put some of these ‘Seaside Looks’ into their models:

 

**This piece was written in collaboration with M/I Homes by Kerrie Kelly.  As an award-winning interior designer, Kerrie Kelly writes for The Home Depot about interior and exterior decor. She provides useful advice on topics such as picking out the right outdoor patio chairs  and accessories to create an outdoor cottage-style space.

 

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