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Now you have talked with the H.A Fisher new home builder in Warwick RI about your plans of having a room designated for a home theatre, it’s time to start considering your options.  First things first, get the dimensions of your room and bring them with you wherever (more…)

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Director's Chair

So, we paused our movie to continue our recent conversation about Home Theater…  (See Home Theater, Part I, here).  After you ponder how to use that “Flex” or “Bonus” room for entertainment in your home, and spent some time examining that space to see if/how your vision could play out, we move to the next part of our discussion…

 

Next, determine the purpose for the room: do you imagine a well-stocked game room?  Kids playroom?  In-home theater?  An artist’s haven?  Man-cave?  Do you want to carve out an office nook in the space, or a mini-kitchen?

 

Once you have narrowed this down, and defined your space, then, lay out the components –  i.e. ping-pong table, flat screen TV, desk area, etc – in your room.   Research the sizes of the pieces and make some templates to place on the floor.  (Hint: Masking tape, cardboard boxes, or even recycled paper work well for this kind of activity).   Having actual sizes in place really helps determine whether or not, or how, the item(s) will work in your space.

Lights...Action...

 

After all of these steps, if your space lays out properly & budget allows, determine your décor, purchase the items, & gather some friends & family together to finish it up!  After all that work, of course, don’t forget to pour a refreshing drink, break out the snacks & have some fun!  Ready?  Lights… Action….!  Ok, you can start your movie up again.

Curious?  Ask us about Home Theaters & other “Flex room” options in your new HAFH home today!

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AEveryone in?  Ok, let’s dim the lights!  Did anyone grab the popcorn?  Hurry, grab a seat!  Shhh….the movie is about to start!    Have you ever dreamed of having your own private home theater?   Or a recreation room, complete with a ping-pong or pool table, board games, and, of course, a large flat screen TV?

If so, you are in good company.  A popular amenity in our society, today many families choose to designate an area of their home –  a “bonus” room over the garage, a finished portion of their basement, or another “flex room” – exclusively to media, recreation, and fun.  Whether gathering with friends for a game night, enjoying a favorite movie, or routing for your favorite athletic team, having an area designed to accommodate this type of entertaining is a luxury more and more sought after.Popcorn and Movie Tickets

Perhaps you are considering including this amenity as part of your home.  Before you head to purchase that 55” flat screen (or pool table), here are some helpful things to consider….  First, examine your space. Where can you fit this media/recreation room into your home?    How much space do you have to work with?  Of course, if you are doing this prior to your home being built, this process is far easier than if you are remodeling an existing home.   Consulting and hiring professional contractors up front is wise.  Visit our Anderson plan at Hidden Oaks to see a fantastic  space for a Home Theater….

 

Stay tuned for the continuation…

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Tradition dictates that when we turn the calendar over into a new year we make all kinds of resolutions to improve ourselves, our jobs, our surroundings…on and on.  It’s overwhelming – and destined to fail.  Instead, how about starting 2014 with a little less lofty agenda, but one that is doable and offers benefits to be enjoyed for the full twelve months – and beyond?

The suggestion?  Let’s cut the clutter.  There’s even a bonus!  A little organization and clean-up goes a long way in brightening up attitudes as well as surroundings.

Let’s face it – we all collect clutter and at times it can be overwhelming. But if you break down your home into zones (i.e. entryways, closets, garage, etc.), tackle one at a time and before you know it, the clutter comes under control.

Front DoorLet’s start at the entry – and for many homes, that is plural. There is the “front” door, or the guest entry,  and the back door, or the family entry.  The front entry is usually fairly simple – and if it is not, it should be.   Simplify your entries.   Keep a clear traffic pattern with minimal “obstacles” that don’t have purpose – i.e. coat rack, umbrella stand, bench.  Of course, a coat closet near the front door helps this all the more!

The family entry is often the bigger challenge. It’s usually one of the most cluttered areas iStock_000019134078XSmallof the house – a virtual drop zone for nearly everything that enters.  Depending on the physical constraints of your home, consider adding a small bench and various sized and labeled storage bins (possibly under the bench) near the door.  Labels can be arranged by name, photos, color-coded, categories, etc.  Whatever works for your family to contain the scarves, coats, rain boots, mail, etc. belonging to each member.

Backpacks and Jackets Hanging by the BackdoorAnother idea?  Simple, inexpensive coat hooks in this area (perhaps labeled by name, too) at appropriate heights help reroute those jackets, coats and backpacks from ending up on the table or living room sofa. Just think of how much clutter could be removed from your living area if you begin stemming it right at the door.

In 2014, think of your home in terms of zones and resolve to organize them one at a time – maybe one each month – and by 2015 you may have to come up with a whole new set of resolutions! Need more ideas? Check out our Women-Centric home designs – purposed to help minimize clutter and keep your home and family life organized.

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CBed & Bath – (not the store) Ready for the spa? Gift certificate for spa, massage, pedicure, etc.

New is great – comforters, pillows, sheets, towels, etc.  How can you beat new?

Customize it – embroidered pillows/towels always make a classy & personalized gift (Sources: Pottery Barn, Lillian Vernon (for kids), or local embroidery shop).

Techy & Practical(ly cool!) – For the adventurers, outdoors-men, skiers…

Uber-nice (& way cool) flashlight – how’s a 30 day supply or 5 year flashlight sound for those Eagle Scouts? (Hammacher Schlemmer)

Heated towel warmers – everyone, from little snow bunnies, to skiers, or walkway shovelers will appreciate this luxury! (Fixture Universe)

Chess setFun-loving – For those who love motion (Perhaps a “Maggie” personality…)

Let’s do it – gift certificate for series of exercise classes, or gift card to favorite airline

Game night – Who doesn’t love a good board game? – from the beautifully re-designed classics (i.e. Chess, Chinese Checkers), to newly-revised old favorites (Apples to Apples, Taboo, etc.) to brand new, everyone loves a good game!

(Sources: Restoration Hardware, Walmart, Barnes & Noble, and local toy stores)

Bling – How about a playful splurge on her?

Unique cabinet pulls, pins for your memory board or funky jewelry – try local, hand-crafted designs by Norma Jean

Vintage – For that “designed-from-afar” look in cabinet pulls, tablewear, mugs, etc., visit Anthropologie.  (Yes, she will love you for it).

Extra-special & hand-created luxury – shop MacKenzie-Childs for table-wear, accessories (for home, body & even pets) & high-end furniture.

For the Bonus!

Don’t forget Fido – Yes, they’re family too…english bulldogs dressed up as santa and rudolph

New collar/leash –  pick a fun pattern, perhaps in honor of favorite Sports team (hint: the Red Sox World Series is a great excuse!)

Pet treats – from traditional to health-conscious, ask your pet-crazy friends for good sources (hint: go local)

Luxe – Nostalgic about the Old Quarter?

A wonderful splurge for your home &/or favorite person, (attn. husbands!) invest in a Bevelo free-standing copper gas lantern.  Oh, how sweet it is!

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Christmas Ornaments Made by Children on TreeHand-made crafts – Keepsakes are hard to beat!
Personally designed ornaments, tote bags, potted plants, fudge, etc.   Why not share your children’s Christmas creations in packages mailed to far away places? (Idea & Inspiration Sources: Real Simple, Better Homes & Garden, & Martha Stewart offer wonderful inspiration.)

Entertaining/Cooking – For the “Chef Tell(s)” (or those aspiring to be) in your family…
Items – Unique pottery, serving utensils, wooden cutting boards, cookbooks, initial-ed coffee mugs, special salts or oils, etc. (Seek & ye shall find)

Cooking classes – join Chef Kait Roberts of Easy Entertaining & her team for a variety of fun & do-able classesC

Food – hot chocolate, soup, pancake, cookie mixes – don’t forget your GF friends! (Sources: Williams Sonoma or Whole Foods Market offer wonderful pre-made mixes; or, of course, assemble your own in cute packaging.)

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Couple with moving boxes.Prepping for the big move?   If you’re like most of us, the thought of moving can be an overwhelming proposition.  Tips & checklists abound, either from friends, your favorite magazines, blogs or an internet search. After sifting through some of the research & our varied experiences, we’d like to share some of our favorite tips for a smoother move…

First, the basics…
Determine the Movers – Self or pro?  
• The Professionals – Should you choose this route, shop around for the best deal.  Compare costs for packing/unpacking; materials/boxes, distance/weight charges; insurance; availability & length of notice required, etc.    Consider: Professionals hold insurance for any damage they may accidentally incur.
• Me, Myself & I – If this option makes the most sense for you, organize your schedule to minimize rushing around & allow for rests breaks.   The more fresh you are, the less mistakes, injury or damage may be incurred.  Reserve a moving truck, dolly & pads well in advance (at least 6-8 weeks) and confirm a week ahead of time.  Consider: You control the schedule.

Designate a Packing Zone – yes, keep everything together – your list (see next point), tape, labels, boxes, etc.

The List rules – Yes, make one (an extremely detailed one) & check it multiple times.   Deciding on a record system before filling one box will make the process so much smoother.   On either a computer print-out numbered list, or a bound notepad, number every box you pack and record the contents on your list.


Then, the prep…
Stock up – Plenty of boxes of all size, packing supplies (good packing tape,  large plastic bags, markers, labels, bubble wrap, packing paper), etc.   “Extra” boxes will probably be filled, and it’s far easier to return unused boxes than to run around trying to find enough at crunch time.

Color coordinate – Here’s a bonus idea – decide on a color for each major room (i.e. Kitchen is Yellow, Master Bedroom is Blue, etc.) & put a coordinating colored sticker next to the box number on each box.   In your new home, label each room w/the designated color & everyone will have an easier time unloading boxes.

Get ahead – don’t wait (or let your kids wait) until the last minute to begin assembling items to pack.   Unopened cosmetics or food items, off-season clothes, extra flashlights, books and electronics, etc.  – pare down to bare essentials as the time draws close & have the rest ready to go.

Dog Waiting in CarDon’t forget…
Necessities – keep everything related to your home in a binder (i.e. manufacturer & appliance info); Retain all moving related receipts for tax purposes.   Make all necessary changes/updates to your new location: School info, shut off old utilities, change of address forms, forward your mail, update subscriptions, etc.

Keep valuables handy at all times…
• Items (silverware, antiques, etc.) should be kept with you if possible.  In the case of a long-distance move, pack them well and number the boxes, but label them anonymously (i.e. “Miscellaneous Bedroom stuff”), and record detailed notes on your master list.
• Paperwork (birth certificates, marriage license, school records, mover estimates, employer contacts, realtor info, current bills, closing papers, maps, etc.) should not leave your side.

Finally…
Happy moving!  Regardless of whatever is happening around you on the first night, sit down as a family and enjoy your first meal together in your new home.   Celebrate – You’ve done it!  Welcome home.

welcome mat

 

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Gardening prepWhen the leaves begin to change, lots of images come to mind…apple cider, harvest, Thanksgiving, pumpkin pie… Mmmm! Often we think of raking the yard, but landscaping? Art, a URI Master Gardener, says that in spite of the cooler air & less green (browner) grass, proper lawn care this time of year makes a big difference for a colorful spring season. Check out his tips below:

Fall is the perfect time to plant bulbs like tulips, irises and crocuses which will need a winter freeze to start their growing process. For best results, plant bulbs once the temperatures are in the forties and fifties, but a few weeks before the ground completely freezes.

If a summer’s worth of growth has caused your plants to outgrow their homes, take some time this fall to replant them in larger containers. Dense or compacted soil, poor drainage, or roots creeping out the bottom of a pot are sure signs that plants are root bound and struggling for more space. Autumn leaves & berries

Now is a good time to trim back your perennials. Not only will it clean up an overgrown garden, but will give the plants more energy next year.

If you plan on adding shrubs and trees to yard, fall is the best time to do it. You’ll want to plan trees and shrubs and the ground a few weeks before the first frost.

While it might look like your lawn has shut down for the season, a little lawn care in the fall months will guarantee a lush green lawn in the spring. Growth slows above the surface in autumn, but beneath the soil, your lawn is still hard at work establishing strong roots. Help it out this fall with a good mix of phosphorous-rich fertilizer, which strengthens roots.

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dreaming and happyHave you ever finished doing something – cooking a meal, buying a car, giving a presentation, wearing an outfit, etc. – and suddenly, inspiration strikes and you realized that _______ could’ve been a lovely addition/completion to the package?

How about in your current home?  If you’re like most of us, you have probably wished you’d thought of ______ before your home was finished. Perhaps the location of a closet, or you would want do it differently.  (next time).

Man and woman with blueprints.When people do decide to build/purchase a new home, there are many features to consider. As women-centric home builders, we constantly hear feedback from homeowners and often incorporate/offer some of the best ideas.

Often, the most common responses we hear is that many folks wish they had invested more in options up front instead of having to go back later and spend more time, energy and expense “modifying” something they could have addressed in the New Home Selections phase.

Here’s a list of the most requested items…

  1. The ultimate garage – many folks, men especially, would like to add one or all of the following: plug for a generator (and have the electrician complete the package after closing); completely finish (Insulate and plaster all walls and ceiling); a “Slop” sink (for gardening, washing the car, etc.);  and extra outlets (for tools, refrigerators, TVs, etc.)
  2. Surround sound and speakers – inside of course, in the entertainment area(s), especially (typically a living room), and often, on the back deck (for outdoor entertaining and relaxing)
  3. Comfort-height and elongated toilets – way easier on the knees!
  4. Heated tile floors – oh, how your feet (and your spouse!) will thank you in the middle of the night, and the dead of winter!
  5. Motion sensor light-switch – when your hands are full with the bags of groceries or oversized bunch of paper towels, the convenience of a motion light switch in the pantry is unbeatable.  It also works great for a Master Bedroom closet.
  6. USB charging plug – the coolest, and quite useful way, to charge your smart phone and devices and still have extra plugs to access for other electronic needs, this is a perfect addition to your Drop Zone.
  7. Battery back up garage door opener – especially in the (at-some-point-in-time-likely) event of a power outage or storm, this feature is quite helpful to have.

For these and more, talk to your H.A. Fisher Homes rep today, and visit one of our furnished models to see which home is right for you and yours…

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Young studentCan you believe we’re at this time of year again, with summer “over” and kids back to school?   If you are a parent of school-aged children, you have likely transitioned back into the (hectic) busy season of drop-off/pick-up schedules, homework, sports & music practices, lunch making, snack prep, etc.   (Are you relating to fellow moms who consider themselves full-time [yet unpaid] taxi drivers?)

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 11.20.56 AMFor parents who are considering a move in the near future, the area you desire to raise a family in is understandably a huge part of your decision.   Here are some questions that may be helpful in your decision:

Where do you envision raising a family?   Out in the country?  The town you grew up in?  City living?  A suburban metropolis? All of these “options” pose different scenarios and school choices casino online for your family and school-age children.

When moving/building a home, many parents (or parents-to-be) prefer a neighborhood that is set apart from the hustle and bustle, yet accessible to it, as an ideal place for raising a family.

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 11.21.08 AMAs Women-Centric home-builders, we understand that women search for homes that suit the needs not just of herself, but of her entire family, and not only in the design, but in the location. We strive to build homes and neighborhoods that families will be proud of and can enjoy for years to come.

As you help pack those lunch boxes and backpacks daily, we’d love to hear your thoughts on your own journey!   On your way, be sure to visit our new neighborhoods in Warwick: Wyndermere and Hidden Oaks.  We’d love to help welcome you home!

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