Happy Homeowners: The Powers Family

This new “Happy Homeowners Interview” features The Powers Family, who recently built their new home in Sarasota.  Read below to hear about Powers homebuilding journey with M/I Homes!

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

Cindy Powers: This is my first M/I Home and there were several reasons for the choice. I first looked at a M/I Home in another neighborhood when I wasn’t quite ready to buy, but wanted to start looking around. Patrick was wonderful and treated me like a serious buyer and I immediately fell in love with everything about the home. Fast forward to a year later when I was ready and of course I went back. That neighborhood was full so I went to check out the new one they were working on and I’m SO glad I did! I worked with Patrick again and he was just as great the second time around.

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

CP: Absolutely! The details really make all of the difference. My boss has a contractor’s license (not practicing) and came for a walk through before I signed the contract. I just knew he was going to be nit-picky but he just kept saying how well-built it was and how much he liked it.

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

CP:  My floorplan is the Andover II. I love how spacious it is–especially the layout from the kitchen to the living room. I also love the two huge closets in my bedroom and the spacious shower.

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?

CP:  My home was pretty much finished the first time that I saw it, but I wouldn’t change a thing! The features and colors are just perfect. I even love the color of the outside!

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

CP:  The whole process went super fast and I’m glad for that! It almost felt like a dream from when I wandered in to take a look to waking up every morning in my new home.

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

CP:  Yes, the quality. It is so much nicer than anything else that I had looked at in the area. M/I Homes made it easy to become a reality.

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

CP:  I really like the layout of the neighborhood and the fact that the beautiful pool just happens to be right in my backyard! The community is great—I love to walk and I am walking distance from several shops and restaurants. The interstate access is super convenient as well.

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

CP:  I would highly recommend M/I Homes due to their customer service as well as the fact that they handle everything for you! I didn’t have to search out a separate mortgage lender or closer; they even recommended a homeowner’s insurance agent that was just as wonderful. She already knew what they needed and took care of it all. The whole process was extremely smooth.

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

CP:  My favorite memory has been decorating the new space. It’s fun to bring the beautiful space to life.

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

CP:  I love how bright and airy the whole home is and I especially love the window in the bonus room, which is perfect for a reading nook. I don’t have pictures of that space yet because I am searching out the perfect comfy seating for that area.  When I find it I will most likely never leave!

M/I:  What was something that surprised you the most with building / moving into a new home?

CP:  I wouldn’t say it surprised me, but I love the fact that each and every thing is being used by me for the first time! Everything is so clean and shiny.

M/I:  Any additional items / stories you would like to share about your new home?

CP:  I just want to reiterate the customer service aspect. Patrick, our New Home Consultant, worked hard for me and was a joy to work with. When I did my walk-through with Al he was meticulous and thorough. From the beginning through move-in, everything went so smoothly.  Thank you M/I Homes!

 

** The Powers moved to Florida from Virginia in 2013 to enjoy the warm weather. Cindy works for an airport engineering firm in Lakewood Ranch and her favorite part of her job is flying to meetings in her boss’s Cessna. Her daughter is finishing up her junior year at the University of Central Florida with a 3.9 grade point average and is active in her sorority, Delta Zeta.  They enjoy visiting Universal Studios, watching movies, and going to the beach.

Make Your Patio Into a Living Space

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Spring is in the air, and we’re counting down the days until we can dust off the outdoor patio furniture and start entertaining outside. The beauty of outdoor spaces is not only their ability to bring the gathering out into some fresh air but also the increased amount of living space at your disposal. After all, what’s more fun than having a bonus space for some fun in the sun?

Turn your patio into the outdoor living area you’ve always wanted by creating an inviting scene with patio chairs, furniture, lighting and accessories. By sprucing up your furniture and maximizing livable square footage, you’ll be on your way to the outdoor living space of your dreams.

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 Patio furniture falling apart? Still using your plastic chairs from college? It might be time to invest in some high-quality outdoor furniture. Not only will this bring a fresh breath of air to your space, but it will also be a great jumping-off point for choosing the style and accents you incorporate into your outdoor living area.

Think about how you use your outdoor space, and use it to determine which pieces are necessary for your patio. Is your house a hub for gatherings? Consider an expandable outdoor dining table for when the party grows. Find yourself avoiding your unbearably uncomfortable chairs? Time to snag those beautiful lounge chairs with plush cushions you’ve been eying for ages. Aim to buy pieces you absolutely love, so that you use your patio often and with enjoyment.

 

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If you love to cook, you can turn your outdoor space into an entertainer’s oasis with just a few new introductions. A state-of-the-art grill is an easy way to live the al fresco life, and with compact, portable units becoming more popular than ever, you can bring the party out even in the smallest of urban settings.

Find yourself running inside a lot to serve food and beverages during gatherings? Go for a cute buffet near a dining set just like you would inside. A bar cart is also a perfect addition for spring gatherings in the garden or late-night soirees under the lights.

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One of our favorite things about outdoor living is how much fun you can have with accessories. There are no rules, so have fun with colors and patterns! Bold pillows made of durable outdoor fabric add just the right touch to a lounge area, while an indoor/outdoor rug is the cherry-on-top that will tie together any sitting or dining area. Mirrors or wall art are an unexpected focal point perfect for an exterior wall or a small, intimate garden fence. Decorative planters with a sleek neutral finish or a polished pattern add pop to a yard or patio corner in need of some love.

 

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Entertaining after sunset isn’t possible without sufficient lighting, so gather lanterns, outdoor candles or hire a professional landscape lighting expert to get your patio space ready for the night. A cluster of candles creates an intimate tablescape, while a fun chandelier or string of lights hung from an overhang or gazebo adds a splash of unexpected glamour and ambiance.

What ways are you adding life to your outdoor space this spring?

 

**Kerrie Kelly of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab is an interior designer who writes for The Home Depot. She provides advice on creating beautiful patio spaces. Visit The Home Depot to see a selection of outdoor furniture like those that Kerrie talks about in this article.

 

Ingenious Designer Decorating Secrets that Won’t Break the Bank

If we would try to define interior design, we would say that is the profession that deals with coordination and design of decorative elements in interior space. In reality, interior design is much more than that. It is the art of putting together millions of puzzle pieces to make everything look just perfect. People who are familiar with this profession only via magazines and home improvement TV shows tend to think that decorating some space requires a lot of money, when in fact, the creativity is what’s more important. Here are a few decorating secrets that will convince you in the veracity of this claim.

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Three Is the Magic Number

Here is a simple trick you don’t have to spend a dime on. All you need to do is to rearrange furniture or accessory items so in groups of three items in different heights. Take, for example, one pouf and two side tables or chairs. Group them together and you will create enough dynamic to draw the eye and provide a sense of movement.

Play with the Light

Understanding the principles of layering lighting can help you design a perfect room. The three main types of light you should introduce are ambient, accent and task. Ambient (usually wall-mount or chandelier) is the canvas on which you will draw the entire picture. Task serves a practical purpose (desk lamps, countertop lamps, etc.). Accent can enhance an architectural feature, artwork or some similar parts of the room.

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Extra tip: If you want to make the room seem bigger, introduce mirrors opposite to light sources.

Look Up!

White is the most conventional choice for ceiling paint, but who says that you have to do everything like everyone else? The ceiling can be just as visually appealing as any other part of the room if you dare to experiment with other shades. Make sure you don’t go overboard and stick to gentler shades like lavender, gray-blue, and buttery yellow. Another interesting way to draw the eye up is by adding ceiling molding.

Spruce Up Your Kitchen

Kitchen remodeling is one of the top home improvement projects you can tackle, but if you are not careful, it can be one of the most expensive too. Focus on minor tasks, such as refacing the cabinets, changing the cabinet hardware, painting the walls and replacing the fixtures.

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Create a Focal Wall

Creating an accent wall is simple, and what’s more important, affordable. Choose one empty wall where you can create an uninterrupted theme. You can accentuate it by painting it a different shade, displaying artwork, showing off family photos, arranging travel souvenirs, wallpapering, etc. If you are going with souvenirs or framed photos/paintings, make sure to have a unifying element (e.g. same size, frame colors, theme).

Follow the Right Trends

There are dozens of interior trends. Some come and go like a comet, other stick around for a couple of years and become a classic. Some require huge investments, while others can be done on a shoestring budget. Be careful, though, implementing a certain style you’re not familiar with (e.g. Scandinavian, Japandi, etc.) asking for pro help can actually save you more money, in the long run.

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Salvage and Reclaim

We are witnessing a movement that includes finding old items (usually on flea markets and antique shops) and breathing in new life into them, while preserving their classic finishes. This is great news for your wallet, since you’ll spend the minimal amount of money and get a trendy and classy addition to your décor. These pieces will create that unique back-to-home feel and introduce more warmth into every space.

Give Your Artwork a Twist

Displaying art in a home has always been a way to elevate a room and make it more refined. However, not all of us can afford expensive gallery-worthy pieces that make great conversation starters, but don’t give up on art just yet. You can frame inexpensive prints of classic portraits (e.g. Girl with a Pearl Earring, Mona Lisa) and paint the portion just below the eyes with dark paint to produce an avant-garde feel.

You see, money isn’t the most important ingredient of a successful interior design project. On the contrary, when seasoned with creativity, every decorating endeavor is bound to succeed.

**Lana Hawkins is an architecture student from Sydney. She enjoys writing about interior decoration and renovation, which she does regularly for Smooth Decorator. Lana is interested in sustainability and green building, as well as landscaping.

 

Creating a Cozy Fireplace Scene

By Kerrie Kelly, ASID

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The modern fireplace is more than just a place that provides warmth in the winter—it’s a natural focal point for any room. Whether it’s in the bedroom, dining room or living room, a fireplace is prime real estate for introducing more style and comfort to your home. From simple additions like accessories and bold artwork, to more complex alterations like new facing, there’s a way to create a cozy fireplace scene within every budget. Grab some cocoa and a snuggly blanket—let’s take a look at a few favorite ways you can create a cozy fireplace scene.

Fix Up the Facing

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A new facing can completely change the look and feel of a space. It is a more complex option, but a new facing can go a long way. This is also a fantastic option for those wishing to truly overhaul the style of a room or the entire home—swap that outdated granite for a classic marble, or get the contemporary feel you’ve always wanted by introducing some funky tile. As a focal point, it can instantly elevate a room to its new potential. Cheaper alternatives are also an option for those looking for noticeable alterations without the major price tag. Simply painting brick a crisp neutral can add airiness to a dreary room, so don’t underestimate the magic of a can of paint for creating your new vision.

Update the Mantle

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Similar to facing, changing up the fireplace mantle can help create a cohesive, updated look. Play around with materials and styles to make your fireplace your own. A simple, floating beam adds just the right amount of warmth for a rustic vibe, while a sleek and minimal mantle is perfect for a contemporary room. Add detailing to a bathroom or lush transitional living room with an intricate mantle—you’ll be sure to turn heads with your show-stopping focal point. For an easy yet significant change, consider painting your mantle a different color. An updated neutral is a wonderful go-to for a clean look, while an unexpected color adds depth and pizazz that is stunning all year round.

Play Around with Accessories

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Adding just a few accessories can make all the difference when it comes to elevating the fireplace area into a cozy yet functional scene. Fireplace screens not only keep your surrounding area clean and safe, they’re an easy way to add another interesting pattern and/or material to the room. Firewood racks filled with logs add instant warmth and charm, and they aren’t just for rustic interiors—mid-century admirers will love a modern rack filled with decorative birch logs, while a more transitional interior is a great candidate for a simple yet elegant rack. Top off your cozy space with an antique fireplace tool set and you’re ready for winter entertaining around the fire.  

Add Some Dashing Decor

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Take your cozy fireplace scene to a whole new level with some dynamic decor. The jewelry of the space, fireplace decor is all about adding a bow on the finished project and making your statement. Plush floor cushions or snuggly flokati rugs are fantastic for winter huddles by the fire. A welcoming fireplace scene wouldn’t be complete without fun decor on the mantle or hearth—from apothecary jars to glittering vases to branches or fresh flowers, decor options are endless with a wide range of color palettes and styles. Top off your fireplace scene with a bold art piece or a favorite mirror above the mantel and you’ve got yourself a warm and welcoming area.

What are your favorite elements of your cozy fireplace?

** Home design specialist Kerrie Kelly shares her decor tips online for The Home Depot. Kerrie’s interior design firm Kerrie Kelly Design Lab, regularly advises clients on decor solutions for all parts of their homes. For various fireplace options, visit the Home Depot website.

Happy Homeowners: The Morlan Family

This new “Happy Homeowners Interview” features The Morlan Family, who recently built their new home in Orlando.  Read below to hear about Morlan’s homebuilding journey with M/I Homes!

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

Angelia Morlan: This is our second M/I home.  Our first home was an M/I Home.  It was about a year old when we bought it and we lived in it for 13 years.  We knew when we were ready for a new home, we wanted M/I Homes to build it again.  We never had any problems with our first home and knew that M/I Homes built a good, solid home.  We did not even consider another builder.

 

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

AM: Yes!  This is absolutely our dream home.  We decided to build from the ground up so we could get everything we wanted.  We have been in our new home for almost 2 months now and still can’t believe it is really ours.  You will hear the words “I love our house” several times a week as we arrive home from work or eating out.  We are taking our time decorating each room and enjoying every minute!

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

AM: The floorplan we chose is called the Essex.  It has 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, and a bonus room on the second level.  We love the layout of the home and the great use of space utilized in this floorplan.  As far as features go, there are so many.  The one great thing we found with building with M/I Homes is that so many features that one may consider an upgrade are already included in the base model of any of the floorplans in our community.  We loved the brick pavers on the driveway and back patio, granite counter tops in the kitchen and master bath, the covered lanai, and the stone accent on the exterior.  These were not upgrades but came standard on the house.  Other features that we love include the master suite which is the size of a small apartment with a huge walk in closet and master bath.  We also love the large open living room, kitchen, and dining area with so many windows and a panoramic view of the golf course and tree line behind us.

 

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

AM: This was not our first experience living in an M/I Home, but it was our first experience building from the ground up.  It really was one of the best experiences we have ever had when it comes to building and buying a home.  We loved that we got to pick out the floorplan and the home site.  We actually looked at several M/I Home communities in our area but we kept coming back to Serenity at Redtail because the views were amazing.  Honestly, every home in the community has no one behind them and a lovely view of either a common area filled with beautiful trees, a lake, or the golf course.  We picked a lot with a view of Redtail golf course.  The best part is we get to see the sunrise to our left and the sunset to our right from our back lanai.  I am addicted to sunset pictures and have already taken quite a few.

 

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

AM: We loved visiting the construction site every week.  We could really see the quality of the work going into the house from the inside out.  Several times my husband and I brought our lawn chairs and sat on the back patio, watched the sunset, and talked about how we would decorate our new home.  We also loved visiting with Linda, our M/I Homes Sales Associate.  It was also a lot of fun working with Julie at the Design Center.  She had great ideas in interior design and really helped to make our vision of our dream home a reality.

 

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

AM: The views are stunning.  A sense of peace fills you as soon as you drive in the neighborhood.  There is always a breeze and it just feels good to be there whether we are inside of our home or walking around the neighborhood.  We love seeing the wildlife almost on a daily basis.  We love that we can walk out of our back door and are steps away from the golf course.  We love that we feel like we are on vacation. We are away from all of the hustle and bustle of the city, but still close enough to entertainment and shopping.

 

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

AM: Really look at the community you are considering to buy a home in.  M/I Homes does a great job with not just the quality of the construction of the home, but also with what is around your new home. We have beautiful trees, a golf course, and beautiful common areas for everyone in the community to enjoy.

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

AM: We moved in the day before Thanksgiving.  Our neighbor, next door, invited us to spend the day with them since they knew we would be moving. It was great to enjoy a wonderful meal with them and to get to know them.  We feel very lucky that they are our neighbors.  We also will never forget spending our first Christmas in our new home.

 

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

AM: My husband and son would say the man cave, AKA bonus room, it’s their favorite room in the house.  My favorite space is the back patio because of the amazing view.  I sit out there every evening.  I also really love our master suite.

 

M/I: What was something that surprised you the most with building/moving into a new home?

AM: I was surprised at how involved M/I Homes and our building superintendent allowed us to be.  We could come by and walk through the house anytime we wanted to and could ask questions and give input along the way.

M/I: Any suggestions you would give to someone building a new home with M/I Homes?

AM: Take a lot of pictures during the building process.  It is so neat to go back and look through them once you are in your home.  It was also helpful to have the pictures as a resource when making decorating decisions.

 

M/I: Any additional items / stories you would like to share about your new home?

AM: Our English Bulldog Yeti, loves his new home too.  When we first moved in, he ran laps up and down the long foyer and hallway.  His favorite space is our living room.  He sits in the same spot each night and watches TV with us.  He also enjoys sitting on the patio and watching the golfers and the Sandhill Cranes walk by.

 

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