Granite Countertops: Resilient, Durable, Luxurious.

Granite is one of the strongest stones in the world, second only to diamonds which is one of the reasons it’s been used for thousands of years as a building material. The other reason is its versatility and looks.   Granite is formed in the center of the earth, as heat and pressure combine materials such as quartz, mica, feldspar, and other natural elements to form its ultra-hard, luminescent stone with intrinsic designs of a three-dimensional appearance. Each piece of granite is unique, and different combination of naturally occurring materials produce a range of some 3,000 different granite colors.

That versatility combined with the material’s durability and heat-resistant properties make is a perfect choice for a luxurious kitchen countertop. In addition, with changes in the global economy and world trade policies, granite from all over the world with different patterns, designs and colors, is made available to home designers and builders. That means that, no matter the style or design of your kitchen you are sure to find a granite contertop to match it.

Choosing a granite countertop:

Considering that each single piece of granite is unique, and if damaged can only be replaced by something fairly similar but never exactly equal, there are two main features to consider when picking granite countertops:

Origin:  keep in mind that some types of granite come from overseas, and a change in trade policies may make a specific type of granite hard to find at some point.

Movement:  “Movement” refers to the variations in granite’s color, tone, granularity, pattern, etc.  Movement is really what makes each stone so attractive and one-of-a-kind.  Depending  on the size of your kitchen you can keep it uniform with slabs from the same block, or mix and match movements. You can, for example, have uniform countertops around the kitchen and a distinctive one on a central island. Read the rest of this entry »

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Aging-In-Place Movement: Preparing Your Home For the Future

mature couple at the beach

Image Credit: RoyaltyFree/Corbis

A combination of medical advances, and an overall increase in both our awareness  and willingness to make healthier lifestyle choices, is causing us to live longer . We are now more aware of the changes our body goes through as it ages, and we are able to make all the necessary changes to adapt to them, while still living full, independent and very productive lives.

What if your home could age just as gracefully as you do? What if it remained safe, comfortable and fully accessible throughout all the changes in yours and your family’s lives?

The Aging-In-Place Movement seeks just that: create homes that adapt to people’s changing needs over the years and allow them to live independently, regardless of their size, age, physical condition or mobility.

Aging-In-Place incorporates the concept of  “Universal Design: The design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without adaptation or specialized design.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Home Organization: Shed the Guilt, Hire a Pro

Messy Room

Do you have a garage and no room in it to park a car?

Did you ever have to pay a late fee simply because you could not find the bill to pay it in time?

If I ask you right now for your tax return information for the past 5 years,  your pay stubs for the past 5 weeks or your birth certificate,  will it will take more than 10 minutes to locate and retrieve them?

If you answered yes to any of the above, don’t feel guilty. You are not alone. The US Department of Energy reports that 25% of homeowners with a two car garage don’t park any cars in them, and 32% park only one.

Research shows that 23% of adults say they pay late fees because they can’t locate the bills and Americans waste more than 9 million hours a day looking for lost and misplaced items.

Most of us would like to be organized and neat, but truth is, sometimes we just can’t keep up with work and daily chores, through no fault of our own. You should not feel guilty or embarrassed about it, because clutter and lack of organization are a product of very busy lifestyles, and not necessarily of procrastination and laziness.

Home organization is about method, consistency and time administration, and that is not exactly a “no-brainer” for most people, specially when they are living with the clutter and the mess. Like it happens with so many instances in life, sometimes you need to seek help from a pro to do things you feel you should be able to do on your own, and it is perfectly ok to do it.

According to Linda, from LMS Customized Solutions, a trusted CHDA member who provides Home Organization Services in Connecticut these are basic reasons why people usually hires a Home Organizer:

  • To brainstorm ideas – get a different perspective on the issues
  • To validate that their ideas will work
  • The process will go faster with the help of a professional
  • Not enough time or energy to tackle the project alone
  • Do not want to tackle the project alone
  • Procrastinating – Organizers can keep you focused and on track

If you need help organizing your Connecticut home, contact LMS Customized Solutions today.

Image Credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/boltron/ / CC BY-SA 2.0

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Tips on Shopping for Genuine Oriental Rugs

Oriental Rugs in CtFor centuries, westerners have been fascinated by the colors, patterns and textures of Oriental Rugs. These fine, hand woven works of art have been a must in practically every fine home in Europe and the Americas, where they became a symbol of both excellent taste and wealth. That because for many centuries, they were a luxury item only few could afford.

In today’s global economy, however, quality oriental rugs can be found at more affordable prices while remaining an excellent investment. The problem with that is that, unless you know the basics about oriental rugs, or work with a reputable, knowledgeable consultant and trader,  you can be easily tricked into purchasing an inferior product, sometimes for the price of a legitimate one.

What are Oriental Rugs?
Many furniture, carpeting, department and home improvement stores, call Oriental Rugs every kind of carpet that has a pattern resembling that of an genuine rug.  Some call oriental rugs, every carpet produced imported from Eastern countries, regardless of whether they are hand or machine woven.  Some call oriental rugs, every type of handwoven carpet produced in the eastern. That kind of confusion can be very misleading.

Genuine oriental rugs are indeed, handwoven and produced in several Middle Eastern and Eastern countries but they have one very specific characteristic that sets them apart from all the other products mistakenly given that name: they are hand knoted, not tufted, and they are made with natural materials and dyes, rather than nylon, polypropilene and synthetic dyes.

Where do Oriental Rugs come From?
Oriental rugs are produced mainly in Afghanistan, China, India, Iran, Nepal, Tibet, Pakistan, The Caucasus, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Turkey. However, not every carpet produced in these countries are classified as legitimate Oriental Rugs.  Legitimate pieces are hand knoted, not hand tufted.

How can you tell the difference between a genuine rug and an inferior product?

There are basically two “tell-tale” signs of a fake rug:

  • Fabric lined back: A hand tufted rug has a fabric liner glued to the back of the carpet. Because the yarn is not knoted over warps, the only thing holding that pile in place is the usually inexpensive latex glue, which tends to deteriorate and become brittle over time, causing the carpet to shed yarn. Hand tufted carpets are also usually made with inferior materials and are no more valuable in the market than machine made rugs.
  • Glued or sewn on fringe: Hand knoted carpets have a fringe formed by the end of the warp strings running from one end of the rug to the other. Hand tufted rugs have no fringe so a separate one (usually woven as a tape) is often glued or sewn to the piece.

If you are shopping for Oriental Rugs in Connecticut, Simjian Rugs, a trusted CTHDA member can help you. With an inventory comprised only of the finest pieces and the exclusive home consultation service, Simjian Rugs gives Connecticut homeowners an unique shopping experience: the opportunity to visualize a selection of area rugs in the privacy of their own homes.

Contact them today to schedule your in-home consultation.

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Winter Wonder Sale at Basset Furniture

Basset FurniturePicture yourself cozy and warm at your beautiful Connecticut home, in a newly decorated room, surrounded by luxurious and comfortable furniture, watching through the window while the snow slowly covers the yard.

Think it is a dream? The Winter Wonder Sale at Basset Furniture mighyt be just what you need to make that dream come true.  Hundreds of dollars off of many of the items in their catalogue, and no interest for 12 months!

Was just browsing their catalogue, dazzled by the choices.

The room planning tool in their website, helps you pick pieces that will fit your room and style.

Want more? Go to the Basset Furnishings page at the CTHDA website and grab yourself a Coupon for extra 25% off on any purchase.

What is not to love?

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Interior Design and Color: Choosing the Right Palettes

Red Dining Room

Beautiful Red Dining Room by DGR Interior Designs

One of the first, and probably most difficult decisions to be made in an interior design project is to chose a color palette for every room. There is the challenge of picking the favorite colors among a myriad of choices and then find just the right hues, the right shades, for each part  of the project.  And then, make sure that the colors will actually give you the expected results under each room’s specific lighting (or absense of it).

A brightly lit room might make that very pale green wall look more dirty than colorful.  A light shade of terracota might end up looking like dark brown in a dimly lit basement.  Colors can make a room look bigger or smaller, formal or cozy, welcoming or uncomfortable, cheerful or depressing.

Even if you are recruiting the help of a good Connecticut Interior Designer, it is a good idea to know what kind of effect you are looking for in your projects. It is better if you have at least an idea of what kind of colors will match your taste and personaloty.

There are a few tips that will make this task much easier. Read the rest of this entry »

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Home Theater Design: The Sky is The Limit. Or…is it?

Star Trek inspired Bridge Theater

The Star Trek inspired “Bridge Theater”: Where no Home Theater has gone before.

With the current economy, complicated housing market, and the end of the fuel crisis nowhere in sight, homeowners begin to look at their own homes as a source of entertainment. One of the biggest trends of the past decade, and which experts say will remain strong way into the middle of this century, were re-purposed and multi-function rooms.

Rather than try to build additions, or move into bigger homes, homeowners are trying to make the best of what they already have. Walls between kitchens, dining rooms, and living rooms are being forfeited in favor a single, big room that combines all the three functions. Formal living rooms are being transformed in a mix of Home Theater and Family Room; dining rooms, are now home offices and libraries. Basements are no long storage rooms, but media rooms, home offices and “man-caves”.

Current technologies allow homeowners to build custom home theaters to fit any size or type of room, many of which offering a sound and video experience  that is usually equivalent or superior to most commercial theaters. Read the rest of this entry »

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