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.

 

Happy Homeowners: The Weimer Family

This new “Happy Homeowners Interview” features The Weimer Family, who built their new home in Raleigh, NC.  Read below to hear about Weimer’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 Weimer: I grew up in an M/I home and I loved the space and layout it gave us as a large family. From living in Columbus, Ohio I knew that many M/I communities attracted families and people with children. We wanted a neighborhood in which the kids could make friends, and have lots of time to play with friends in the neighborhood.   I also knew that M/I Homes would make it possible to stay within our budget and get what us what we needed in our new home. This flexibility in budget gave us more time at home to relax, enjoy playing with the kids outside and becoming a part of a community. 

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

KW: My home is absolutely an ideal layout for us, and the perfect amount of space. It’s not too big and not too small, and it has every feature we need! I also love that I’m on a cul-de-sac in an interior street which offers a bit of buffer from the main roads of the community. We have been able to plant trees and shrubs that make it feel more cozy and wooded each season.

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

KW: We have the Sage plan with the upstairs basement/ southern basement feature. This is wonderful because it offers a space for anyone who needs to get away from the hustle and bustle of the office and kitchen, not to mention the laundry room, on the first floor.

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?

KW: We met a wonderful New Home Consultant who walked us through our purchase. She was a great guide because she listened and gave thoughtful advice and responses. We bought our home in a two day period during which we were able to tour and visit our new city. This was also Easter Sunday and my son’s second birthday, so it’s a very memorable weekend.

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

KW: My kids were not much taller than the M/I protective barrier wrap that marked off the lots. Now my oldest is almost taller than I am. Also, I remember my Dad ‘inspecting’ the house as it was framed out. I remember standing at the site of the current sliding glass door in the kitchen, imagining my back yard, and letting the kids go outside to play. We came from a cape cod so the walkout into the back yard was, and still is, amazing!!

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

KW: The fact that we found a home with an office, four bedrooms, on a cul-de-sac in a community with a pool, playground and green space ,that was within our price range was a dream come true and a huge blessing. It literally had every single thing we were looking for!

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

KW: I love that we are a growing community made up of many different people from different backgrounds. We are far from homogeneous or cookie cutter in this community. We are an international community of mothers, fathers, teachers, grandparents, nurses, pharmacists, law enforcement officers and entrepreneurs, to name just a few. One of the most unique parts of my community is the concentration of military veterans and active military. Being able to live and work and get to know these heroes on a daily basis and over time is truly a privilege. We are fortunate to be a “Hero Home” community and home to many American heroes. It is truly humbling and enriching to get to know these heroes and their families.

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

KW: Know exactly what you want and don’t be afraid to ask for it. M/I has a layout, and a home for your budget and needs.

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

KW: It’s hard to name one specific moment. In general I have to say getting to know new neighbors and watching the kids play and grow up together!

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

KW: This sounds ridiculous but it was such a luxury and it continues to be cherished–having three bathrooms! Everyone has a sink (two boys share one) and we have two full baths and a ‘powder room.’ Coming from a charming one bath cape cod, the bathrooms never get old in a new home!!!

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

KW: There is literally nothing I had to fix, repair or replace for about two or three years!!! Heaven!

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

KW: Again, know the layout that suits your lifestyle and talk to your representative- they have a layout for almost every dynamic!

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

KW: I appreciate the fact that M/I is able to offer homes at a fair cost which promotes home ownership and mobility to many different people and families. I was able to pace myself at work, grow my family and own a home that meets all of our needs, all the while making memories with family and friends in a comfortable space.

**Kelly Weimer and her family live in our South Lakes community in Fuquay-Varina in North Carolina.  Her family enjoys their M/I Home, days at the pool, and playing outside with the neighbors.  Native to Columbus, Ohio, her and her husband were familiar with M/I Homes of Columbus and were excited to find us in Raleigh, NC.

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.

Top 2017 Home Improvement Projects and How to Afford Them

By: Elizabeth Trach

When you own your own home, it seems like there’s always a list of projects to complete to keep it both beautiful and functional. Sometimes a broken air conditioner or garage door will force your hand and you’ll have to make a repair, but usually the decisions about which projects to tackle are all yours. Choose wisely, and you’ll reap the benefits when you sell your home for top dollar in the future.

So how’s a cost-conscious homeowner supposed to know which home improvement projects will bring the great return on investment for 2017? Each year, Remodeling magazine conducts a study about the cost of the most popular home improvement projects, and they calculate how much of the costs homeowners make back when they sell those properties. The 2016 results are the best way to plan your 2017 home improvement spending to get the most for your money.

Top 5 Home Projects for 2017

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It’s not surprising that some of the best investments you can make in your home are ones that add to its efficiency and curb appeal. Making your home more energy-efficient by adding insulation and blocking drafts will lower your heating and cooling costs so much that these projects almost pay for themselves. Additionally, making your house look great from the street will attract future buyers. Each of Remodeling’s top five projects will bring back some of the money you invest:

  • Adding Insulation: This is the only home improvement project that consistently pays for itself — and then some. You can’t see the results, but you’ll feel them every time you turn on the heat or open your electricity bill.
  • Adding Stone Veneer: Sprucing up your home’s exterior with luxury materials really pays off. If stone veneer would be out of place with your home’s architectural style, replacing the siding also provides an excellent return on investment.
  • Replacing Garage Doors: Upgrading garage doors provides an instant facelift and can boost your quality of life when you don’t have to worry about them getting stuck in inclement weather anymore.
  • Replacing Exterior Doors: Replacing exterior doors with steel or fiberglass models is a one-two punch that lets you improve the look of your entryway while stopping drafts in their tracks.
  • Remodeling the Kitchen: A minor kitchen remodel that includes cabinet refacing, efficient appliances, new fixtures and a clean color scheme will really pay off. You’ll enjoy cooking much more in a room you love, and future buyers will appreciate your good taste in this all-important room.

How to Cover the Costs of Your Remodeling Projects

Once you’ve chosen which home improvement project you’re ready to invest in this year, you’ll need to plan how to finance it. Depending on the total cost and your credit score, one of these popular payment methods should work for these mid-range projects:

  • Cash Savings: If a quick kitchen update is under $1,000, or if your state provides rebates for energy efficient projects, as some do according to Energy.gov, paying in cash can be easier than you think. Avoiding interest charges will save you money in the long run, so it’s a good option if you can afford it.
  • Credit Cards: Financing your home improvement project with a new credit card is a good way to take advantage of an interest-free period and/or bonus points. If you’ve received a pre-approved credit card offer recently, you could get a good deal if you do your research before signing up.
  • HELOC: A Home Equity Line of Credit typically offers low interest rates and a long payback period for homeowners, but you need to have paid off a certain percentage of your mortgage to qualify. If you’ve lived in your home for several years, it’s worth talking to a mortgage specialist to see if you should apply.
  • Mortgage Refinance: If you’re currently paying a high interest rate on your mortgage, you might be able to refinance your loan at a lower rate and cash out some home improvement money without raising your monthly payment. Talk to a specialist to weigh your options.

**Elizabeth Trach is a professional writer and editor living in Newburyport, MA. In addition to scrupulously saving her pennies, she also sings in a band, grows almost all her own food, and occasionally even cooks it. You can catch up on all her adventures in extreme gardening at Port Potager.

Eight Ways to Troubleshoot Your Garage Door Opener

Machines don’t always cooperate. Having a garage door stick in its place can prevent you from driving out of your garage or present huge security problems. If you’re home alone when this happens, you may need to fix it quickly and by yourself. If you’re not the type of person that normally tinkers with hardware, check out our list of easy checks that may fix your garage door!

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  1. Power and Batteries

Before tinkering with the tools in the garage, check your power source first.

Make sure the operator is plugged in properly and that the socket has electricity. You may want to try unplugging the operator and plugging it back again.

Also check the batteries of your remote control and wireless keypad. A simple change of batteries may be the only thing you need.

  1. Reset Your Remote Control

Another reason for the malfunction may simply be that the remote control is not working. Sometimes when you change batteries or reprogram the operator, you may need to reset the remote control again.

Resetting the remote control is not as difficult as it may sound; read your user manual and follow its short step by step guide.

  1. Garage Door Sensors

If the remote control is not the problem, check the garage’s sensors located at the bottom of the door.

Make sure the sensors on both sides are level with each other. Tighten the screw of the sensors or use a cable tie to permanently fix them on the door frame. Easily missable items like garbage bags, a mop, or your leg may interrupt the laser signal and cause a malfunction. So, before doing anything else, check the area near your garage door. Make sure to clean the lens of the sensors as well, since dust and snow may cause problems.

  1. Operator

The operator is the machine that moves the door of the garage. The machine may stop working due to motherboard malfunctions, busted wires, defective buttons, or overheating.

If the operator is frequently used and you suspect overheating, allow it to cool down for 30 minutes before using it again.

Tip: if the door only opens 6-8 inches, it’s probably an RPM sensor problem. If the operator lights blink 6 times, it may indicate circuit failure. Fixing these problems may be a little complicated but you’ll certainly impress your significant other or the mechanic if you can pinpoint which part of the operator is faulty.

  1. Repair Your Devices

Programming may be an intimidating word for some people but, setting up the operator and synchronizing it with your remote, wall button, keypad, and even your car’s HomeLink system is usually easier than you would expect. Read your owner’s manual for a step by step guide, watch video tutorials, or search the internet for easy-to-read troubleshooting instructions.

  1. Locked Wall Button

Another often overlooked part in the whole system is the wall button. Sometimes you check every little thing but nothing seems to work until you realize that the wall button is actually set to lock feature. If you don’t see an easy way to unlock the door right there on the keypad, consult your owner’s manual!

  1. Door Track and Inner Trolley

Sometimes garage doors get stuck because the door track or inner trolley is loose, bent, or broken. You may be able to tighten the railings and other parts by yourself. Just make sure to read the manual and turn the whole system off before touching anything. If you need a new track or trolley, call for a professional to install it properly.

  1. Grease the Door

If your garage door is stuck because it needs lubrication, then get your hands dirty! Grease the parts of the garage door that move, like hinges and bearings. Choose a dry lubricant so it will not attract dirt that may cause problems in the future.

Now that you know some of these tips and tricks, you can solve some of the most common garage door problems out there!

**Written by Kristy Jones of A Click Away Remotes – Garage Door Opener Store in California, USA.

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