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.

Happy Homeowners: The Randolph Family

This new “Happy Homeowners Interview” features Gary and Cheryl Randolph, who recently built their new home in Charlotte.  Read below to hear about Randolphs’ homebuilding journey with M/I Homes!

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M/I Homes: Is this your first M/I home? What convinced you to choose M/I Homes over another builder?

Cheryl and Gary: Yes, this is our first M/I home. We had our realtor take us around to see existing homes, but there was nothing that met our price/feature preferences. We soon noticed that some builders stuck houses wherever they saw a spot of land and had no thought of an overall community design. One place actually had someone’s front door opening out to the side of their neighbor’s home.

Once we started looking at new builds, we saw many different neighborhoods. Driving along Poplar Tent Road, we saw three developments in a row and we checked out each one. It was sort a Goldilocks experience. The first place we looked at was nice, but you were given a very limited floor plan selection, and there was no ranch style. The second place we looked at was M/I Homes. We fell in love with the neighborhood and the quality of the homes, but we did not think we could afford a home in this area. So, we went to the third development. Styles were limited, but not as much as the first neighborhood we saw. Prices seemed doable and we were willing to settle for a house that was not exactly what we wanted – no ranch style available there either though.

A couple of months later, we visited Charlotte again (we’re from Buffalo, NY). We had eliminated most of the developments we had visited earlier and had pretty much settled on the development on Poplar Tent. We actually picked out a home and the options we wanted, and were almost finalizing the buy on the last day of our visit.

We had three hours before we needed to be at the airport to return to Buffalo. What the hey, let’s just stop and talk to Wendy (M/I Homes) one more time before we fly home. We gave Wendy our budget and told her that we loved the Cambridge model but we don’t need the second floor. Wendy worked with us to see which (of the many) options we really wanted. Two and a half hours later, we were $9,000 over our budget. The thing is, we loved what we had drawn up much more than we disliked the $9,000 overage. The difference between what we would settle for and what we loved was huge. At this point it was a no-brainer. Wendy became our best friend.randolph-family1-1

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

C/G: Oh yeah, very happy. To save money, we decided to go with the standard lighting fixtures, no garage door openers or ceiling fans, so we were pretty busy picking those things out online and installing them. We did save a lot of money, and the electricians’ prewire work did make the installs very straight-forward. Our home is everything we had hoped for.

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

C/G: Our floorplan is the Cambridge without the second floor. Our favorite room is the bedroom. That bay window extension is beautiful.

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?

C/G: We have worked with at least three other builders on previous homes. This has been our best experience in home building. And yes, we picked out everything. Having lots of choices is both a blessing and a curse, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

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

C/G: Well, working with Wendy was fun. But our day at the Design Center was the most challenging. We picked out exterior colors, brick, fireplace stone, cabinets, countertops, toilets, kitchen upgrades, and so much more. We loved that Kelly was an expert at her job. She knew the colors of each neighbor’s home and guided us in picking out colors that would look great alongside them. Kelly was very skilled at helping us think about various aspects of each feature as we made our choices. Helping us think is much more beneficial than stating an opinion. She knew that.

Soon after the design center visit, we met John, the person supervising the construction of our new home. John made us feel comfortable when construction began but he was still an unknown to us at that point. As time went on, we realized that John really did mean it when he said that he builds each home as though he will own it. He kept things moving, kept us informed, and would not accept poor quality work. I guess that’s not really a fun memory, but it makes us really happy now.

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

C/G: We like that it was clearly planned. We also love that it has curbs. That may sound silly, but our previous neighborhood had no curbs and there were always tire tracks on the lawns, unless the snow plows had completely destroyed the lawns. Then there were tire tracks in the mud.

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

C/G: That depends on where the person is in their life. A young couple wants a starter home. We are at the opposite end of that. We wanted our last home. We wanted to get exactly what we wanted, so we would say now “don’t settle for something.”

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

C/G: We could not pick just one because we are so happy with the layout. It has a large, well-planned kitchen space, the master bedroom with the extension looking out on the woods is so romantic and cozy, and the family room with stone fireplace is also our favorite!

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

C/G: Wendy, John, and Kelly really listened to us, and really understood what would make us happy. They over-delivered and made this a home even better than our dreams. The upgrades, the wooded lot, the attention to our timeline, our budget needs – everything came together in our dream home.

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

C/G: Take advantage of the opportunity to look at online pictures of other homes going up in the neighborhood! You can see how your neighbors put together different options to help you determine what you like and don’t like before heading to the Design Center. I know of no other builder who provides this view of their homes as they are being built. It was invaluable, especially because we were building our home in North Carolina while still living in New York.

** Recently retired, Gary and Cheryl Randolph moved from Buffalo, NY to Charlotte, NC in order to be near their grandkids and enjoy a moderate climate. Their retirement is an active one as they both love to bike and run. Cheryl has run a marathon and Gary completed a full Ironman (Lake Placid) at the age of 60.

Warm Up Your Home with an Area Rug

Frosty weather beckons for extra coziness around the house. An area rug is a great way to add warmth to your space during the colder months of the year. With a multitude of shapes, sizes and styles to choose from, it can be difficult to choose the perfect one. We’ve picked out our favorite rugs for any style, to keep your house warm and inviting all winter long.

Warm Up with Wool

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Traditional, durable and plush, wool area rugs are the perfect way to keep your home cozy. Famous for their beauty and seemingly indestructible nature, wool rugs feel warm underfoot while maintaining resiliency in high-traffic areas, even those frequented by kids and dogs. Wool is also known for its ability to stay beautifully structured and saturated in color through cleaning after cleaning, making it one of our top choices for area rugs in living rooms, entryways and hallways.

Say it with Synthetic

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Incredibly durable and easy to clean, synthetic area rugs are popular in all areas of the home. Those made of acrylic, polypropylene and polyester are especially tough and fantastic for particularly busy or mess-prone areas, like the entryway and dining room. Synthetic rugs are also offered at great price points, making it easy and affordable to transform your space as the season changes.

Naturally a Good Choice

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If indestructible and stain-resistant aren’t your main priorities, might we suggest a natural fiber rug? Available in a variety of shades and textures, these rugs add an air of relaxation to any room, especially in larger sizes for the living room and master bedroom. Jute, sisal and sea grass are all great examples of natural fiber rugs perfect for adding texture and cohesion to your home. Want to dress it up or add some color? Consider adding a colorful twill or leather accent border to the rug to pull your space together.

Shop by Style

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If you’re unsure about the material you want to work with, we suggest shopping by style. Traditional design calls for area rugs that are soft and understated, perfect for anchoring a space. These may feature floral patterns, geometric prints and organic designs in soft hues of popular colors like blue, orange and beige. These styles usually play a supporting role in the design of a room and are great for centering furniture in the living room or adding softness to a bedroom.

Those with modern style can look to eye-catching geometric patterns and bold, bright colors for their area rugs. Interesting textures and high piles are also great ways to add flair to a contemporarily styled home while creating a cozy space fit for family and friends at the same time.

Southwestern and eclectic styles are also gaining popularity in the realm of area rugs and are great styles to add warmth to your home. Featuring tribal-inspired designs and earthy tones, Southwestern rugs are the perfect addition to a home styled with midcentury furniture or rustic decor. Eclectic area rugs work best as statement pieces in a simply styled home. Mix-matched colors, patterns, and textures are the perfect way to inject style into an eclectic or contemporary home.

With pets and kids running amok to low doors and high pile problems, choosing an area rug to add warmth to your home isn’t always the easiest home decorating task. Fortunately, with a few of our insider tips in your back pocket you’ll be ready to pick out your traditionally styled carpeting or eclectically elegant rug in no time! What is your favorite area rug style?

 

**Kerrie Kelly is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers, and an expert on using area rugs as a foundation for room design concepts. She writes on this topic online for The Home Depot. Kerrie is also the author of the popular book Home Decor: A Sunset Design Guide. If you want to review Home Depot’s area rug selection, you can click here.

 

6 Spots for a Second Kitchen Sink

As floor plans have opened up, kitchens have evolved into the main family and entertaining spaces in our homes. With that comes more traffic, and a greater need to use that space wisely.

A great way to make a high-use kitchen work a lot better is to add a second kitchen sink. The trick is finding the right spot, which depends on how your kitchen factors into your lifestyle. Check out our six suggestions for where to put that second kitchen sink, and see what will work for you.

Double Kitchen Sinks

    1. Island/Peninsula Prep Station:One of the main reasons for adding a second sink is the convenience of separate prep and cleaning spaces, so adding a sink on the island makes perfect sense. This gives you space to prep without having to fight with dirty dishes as they pile up while you prepare a meal for your family or guests. If you’re working with a peninsula, consider a sink that you can access from either side of the peninsula to help address traffic concerns in the kitchen. While we’re on the subject, it’s worth mentioning that pull-down faucets are the efficient—and stylish—choice for those who spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
    2. Work Station:If you’re working with a smaller space, or don’t have an island, consider a single bowl kitchen sink in a secondary work space. Make sure you’ve got a little counter space on either side and use this as your prep sink, keeping your main sink for washing and cleanup.
    3. Baking Station:Baking is a messy affair. Adding a sink at your baking station allows you to keep the mess in one area, rather than spreading it out all over the kitchen.
    4. Coffee Station:As our collective love of coffee grows, so does the amount of equipment and space needed to supply our habit. A second sink allows all things coffee-centric to happen in one place. It can also come in handy after dinner and dessert have been served, the kitchen is piled with dishes and you just need to get the coffee going.
    5. Party Station/Wet Bar:If you entertain a lot, you know better than anyone how people tend to gather in the kitchen. Rather than fight it, consider a wet bar station with a second sink. Keep it separate from the prep and cleaning stations and you can comfortably get the work done and get the party started without your guests getting in the way.

Entertainment Sink

  1. Pot-filling Station:We install a lot of pot-filling faucets on the backsplash behind the cooktop. They’re very handy, and keep you from having to carry—and spill—large pots of water for cooking. Why not install a second sink near the cooktop instead and simply make sure the faucets and fixtures will also accommodate your large pots?

Have any other ideas for clever uses for second sinks? We’d love to hear them!

***Kerrie Kelly is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers, and has won numerous awards for her home design creativity. Kerrie is the author of Home Decor: A Sunset Design Guide and writes about interior designs, including kitchens and kitchen sink design, for Home Depot. Home Depot’s selection of kitchen sinks can be found on the company’s website.

 

Tips on Making Small Spaces within Your Home Appear Larger

Even though you might not have a large and spacious home it does not mean that you cannot make small spaces work for you. Moreover, with a few tips and tricks you can make small spaces seem larger than they really are. But, you will need careful and precise planning and design to make small spaces work for you. It can be challenging to arrange everything in your living space to seem visually larger and bigger, but playing with the right color combination or with lighting you can really achieve great results.

Color Design

Opting for bright colors in small spaces will make them look bigger, but you have to be careful which colors and shades you choose because different colors can influence the mood of the room, as well. If you also arrange the room to have lots of light then you will have a winning combination in visually expanding your small room.

Be careful, though, that the bright color choices are not too aggressive as it will seem that your room is cramped. Moreover, too intensive colors and too much contrast will only create chaos and anxiety in a room; it is a good idea to match the colors with your furniture, or to at least make the colors compatible.

Multi-practical Furniture

Perhaps the biggest issue to tackle in a small living area is where to store all your belongings, and that is why it is great to own multipurpose furniture which can be used to store some of your stuff. Installing shelves and drawers on walls is a great way to put away some of your stuff, but be careful not to clog up pathways from room to room.

It is important to look for furniture which will allow you to maximize your space and that will not take up too much space on its own, we learn from renowned Sydney-based project management specialists.  Arrange the furniture and newly installed shelves in a way that will make the room feel less cramped, and most importantly: avoid clutter.

Lights

It is important to have your small rooms well lit and to avoid darkness at all costs. Lights for small rooms will help in making the room seem bigger and more welcoming. You should however focus on letting in as much natural light as possible, in small rooms avoid using heavy draperies and curtains that will choke the light out.

Installing artificial lights should be done in way to stretch the walls and to make them bigger and longer than they really are. You do not have to use lights which are too big nor do you have to use lights which are too big.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to create the illusion of a bigger room is to use large wall mirrors. By reflecting light and the contours of the room, your room will feel a lot bigger and more spacious. It is best to fill in empty walls with big mirrors and by doing so your room will look bigger and it will feel as if everything is utilized.

Keep Everything Organized

Having everything organized, from your furniture to the small details on shelves and desks can really mean the difference. It is vital that you keep small spaces clutter free and they will immediately feel bigger. Moreover, it is also important to decide what is worth having on display and what you can get rid of; by neatly organizing every detail in a room, you will create the illusion of it being more spacious.

Author Bio: Lillian Connors is a blogger and home improvement enthusiast ever so keen on doing various DIY projects around her house and passionately writing about them. She is also an online marketing consultant, closely collaborating with a number of companies from all over the globe. You can check her out on G+, Facebook and Twitter.

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