1. Pull-Down Designs
You’d be hard pressed to find a kitchen faucet these days without a pull-down function. This feature allows homeowners to extend the spray nozzle to rinse vegetables, fill pots and clean the sink basin.
Many manufacturers are updating existing collections and launching new ones that include a pull-down function in a range of styles.
Delta debuted its Monrovia collection, shown here. It’s a soft contemporary pull-down style that comes in four finishes. There’s also an add-on protective coat, called Lumicoat, that resists stains and mineral buildup.
This style of faucet, often seen in commercial restaurant kitchens, is experiencing a bit of a renaissance. Several manufacturers launched or expanded commercial-style designs this year. It’s part of a broader trend emerging post-pandemic: a back-to-basics strategy that seeks to modernize industrial-style plumbing fixtures.
Moen launched a collection of what it calls spring galley faucets in three styles. The Belfield, shown here in a matte black finish, is a compact industrial-meets-modern-farmhouse style.
There’s been a lot of innovation in recent years in integrated tech features for faucets. It’s been a gradual progression and one that’s still getting a feel for what homeowners want.
Brizo’s new Tulham line, shown here, features the brand’s SmartTouch technology, which lets a user tap the spout to turn the water on and off. There’s also an LED light that changes color to indicate water temperature.
One popular faucet trend emerging in recent years is the mixing of finishes and materials. This was initially rendered as dramatically contrasting finishes, such as Kohler’s black-and-gold bathroom faucet featured below. But some manufacturers are taking a more subtle approach.
Brizo’s new Tulham line, for example, features a tone-on-tone effect. The example shown here displays a mostly matte black finish with levers and bands in Brizo’s Brilliance Onyx Black finish.
It’s hard to deny the abundance of widespread lever handle designs in new bathroom faucet products. And it’s interesting to see all the various interpretations of levers that manufacturers have dreamed up.
Brizo’s new Allaria collection, available in summer 2022, features a widespread lavatory faucet with lever handles that resemble twisted ribbon.
The style shown here mixes matte black and Brilliance Black Onyx finishes.
Similar to new commercial-style kitchen faucets, these are another result of manufacturers looking to modernize industrial-style plumbing fixtures. Wheel knobs were found on many of the first plumbing parts and are still used in many commercial applications. Several manufacturers picked up on that detail and introduced elegant takes on wheel knob designs.
Brizo released the Litze widespread lavatory faucet with wheel handles, shown here in Brilliance Polished Nickel.
As with kitchens, manufacturers are mixing materials and finishes in bathroom faucet designs.
Brizo’s new Allaria bath collection features a clear lever option, shown here with a luxe gold finish.
Speaking of single-handle faucets, many manufacturers are releasing new collections in a single-handle design. Some homeowners find that this style saves countertop space and is easier to clean around than, say, a widespread design.
Delta launched Saylor, shown here, a transitional-style design with a geometric spout, gently flared base and subtle industrial-style-inspired handle.
While transitional styles certainly dominate a lot of the new faucet collections, some manufacturers are expanding their more traditional-leaning offerings.
Kohler extended its Riff kitchen collection into the bathroom. The company says the elegant, sturdy look is inspired by French Creole and Spanish Colonial architecture.
A lot of attention gets placed on the look of a faucet, but a growing area of interest is on water conservation and usage monitoring.
Moen’s Smart Water Network lets homeowners control and monitor their water usage to conserve as needed. It can also detect leaks and notify you. If you’re away on vacation, you can remotely shut the water off and flush the pipes to prevent bacterial contamination or freezing in the winter.
Kohler’s H2Wise system performs functions similar to Moen’s Smart Water Network. It also features AI capabilities that learn your water use over time so you can make more informed decisions.
If you’re planning to sell this year, you’re probably thinking about what you’ll need to do to get your house ready to appeal to the most buyers. It’s crucial to work with a trusted real estate professional who knows your local market to get your home ready to sell. But there are a few things you should consider when deciding what to renovate and update before listing this season. Here are three things to keep top of mind as you’re making your list of projects to tackle this year.
Housing inventory sits far below what is normally considered a balanced market. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the latest data indicates inventory is hitting an all-time low. Because there’s such a limited supply of homes available for sale, you’re in a unique position when you sell your house to benefit from multiple offers and a quick process.
But you want to do so while buyers are still scooping homes up as fast as they’re being listed. Spending time and money on renovations before you sell could mean you’ll miss your key window of opportunity. Of course, certain repairs may be important or even necessary. The best way to determine where to spend your time – and your money – is to work with a real estate advisor to confirm which improvements are truly needed and which ones aren’t likely to be deal-breakers for buyers.
Today, many buyers are more willing to take on home improvement projects themselves to get the house they’re after, even if it means putting in a little extra work. A recent survey from Freddie Mac finds that:
“. . . nearly two-in-five potential homebuyers would consider purchasing a home requiring renovations.”
If more buyers are willing to tackle repairs on their own, it may be wise to let the future homeowners remodel the bathroom or the kitchen to make design decisions that are best for their specific taste and lifestyle. Depending on the structural condition of your house, your efforts may be better spent working on small cosmetic updates, like refreshing some paint and power washing the exterior to make sure the home stands out. Instead of over-investing in upgrades, the buyer may change anyway, work with a real estate professional to determine the key projects to tackle that will give you the greatest return on your investment.
Over the past year, many people made a significant number of updates to their homes. The most recent State of Home Spending report finds:
“Home improvement spending rose 25% year-over-year to $10,341. Homeowners who invested in home improvement did an average of 3.7 projects, up from 2.7 in 2020, . . .”
With more homeowners taking on more projects in the past 12 months, there’s a good chance you’ve already made updates to your home that could appeal to buyers. If that’s the case, your real estate advisor will find ways to highlight those upgrades in your listing.
The same is true for any projects you invest in moving forward. No matter what, before you renovate, contact a local real estate professional for expert advice on what work needs to be done and how to make it as appealing as possible to future buyers. Every home is different, so a conversation with your agent is mission-critical to make sure you make the right moves when selling this season.
In today’s sellers’ market, it’s important to spend your time and money wisely when you’re getting ready to move. When you work with me, you'll know exactly where to target your efforts before you list.
It may seem obvious, but many sellers fail to recognize that a home that feels, looks, and smells welcoming and homey will more likely raise a buyer’s interest when they come for a showing. Of course, you think your home is pretty comfortable and welcoming already, but there are a few things you can do to make buyers feel right at home from the moment they walk in the door.
If your home smells good, it will make buyers want to stick around longer. The sense of smell is the strongest of all the five senses in its connection to our emotions. Certain smells simply make us feel comfortable and at home no matter where we are. There are a few smells that are almost universal. Try a flameless scented burner that is safe but releases a wonderful fragrance in your home. Choose scents like vanilla or spices, smells that remind people of home cooking and sweet treats.
Be sure your fragrance isn’t overwhelming, however, and don’t use it to mask other odors like cat litter or food smells. Buyers will know right away you are trying to hide something!
Clean your windows and open all of the blinds and curtains to let the sunshine into the home. The warm feeling will make your buyers want to settle in and bask in the glow. A brightly lit home looks bigger, too, while a dark home will appear smaller.
Be sure you replace burnt out light bulbs so your home will be fully lit and have a welcoming glow even in the evening or on a cloudy day.
It may seem odd, but a table set as though a family is about to sit down to a meal makes the home feel lived in and comfortable without being cluttered or too personal. Set the table with matching dishes and a nice but simple centerpiece, to give the dining room that ready to sit down feel.
Making buyers see your house as a home is important in getting them really interested in making it their home. With just a few simple adjustments, you can create a feeling that welcomes buyers to settle in—they will want to make an offer so they never have to leave!
A gardener who idolizes nature and who likes to interpret the world symbolically is a good candidate for Zen Gardens. But lovers of low-maintenance landscaping should think twice before installing such a design. Zen Gardens may look simple (which is part of their appeal), but they're a lot of work—both to make and to maintain. Nor is this style a great choice if most of your gardening fun comes from growing showy plants, which immediately disqualifies most of us (growing plants being almost synonymous with gardening for most people).
Japan is a mountainous nation of islands jutting out of the ocean. This natural setting is awe-inspiring, and the Japanese people value the raw beauty of nature that surrounds them. It's this appreciation, in part, that accounts for their innovation of the Zen Garden.
Developed by Buddhist monks in ancient Japan (with some Chinese influence), Zen Gardens are often dubbed "miniature landscapes" because their components symbolize aspects of nature. Most notably, the expanse of white gravel (which is easier to work with than sand) raked to have ripples represents ocean waves, and the tall, narrow boulders jutting out vertically represent mountains. Meanwhile, the shorter, more rounded rocks or the flat ones in the "sea of sand" represent islands.
Plants, too, are part of nature and therefore have a place in the design, although their use is restrained by Western standards. But short, green plants may be grown on or around the "islands" to represent island vegetation, and architectural plants can serve as accents. Any short trees or shrubs that are included in the design must be pruned meticulously. In fact, shrub topiaries can be pruned in such a way that they represent islands (instead of using rocks for this purpose).
Zen Gardens can be characterized in several different ways. Because of their stark, artistic quality, they're quite abstract when compared to, say, English cottage gardens. Along the same lines, they can be considered minimalistic. Their symbolic use of raked gravel to represent water leads to the characterization of being "dry landscapes." Their heavy reliance on rocks leads some to refer to them as "Japanese Rock Gardens," although the intent (meditation) behind making them differs from that behind other rock gardens.
Since Zen Garden design evolved over the course of centuries, it's pointless to try to ascertain a single "authentic" set of components for it. Most gardeners interested in the topic who live in lands far away from the far East are content to incorporate enough of its classic components in their construction to suggest a true Zen Garden.
Select a flat area in your backyard and mark out a rectangular portion of it. Size can vary; on a small property, a 12 foot by 18 foot rectangle may be appropriate. You can reduce your workload (which is significant) by settling for a smaller space. If you'll be growing plants in your Zen Garden, their sunlight requirements factor into your site selection, so decide ahead of time whether you will be growing sun-loving or shade-loving plants and locate your meditative space accordingly.
The traditional Zen Garden was a walled-in space. The seclusion thus attained was conducive to meditation. For most homeowners, building a masonry wall for a meditative space in the backyard is either undesirable or unaffordable. Substitute a lattice fence to achieve inexpensive privacy. Consider this a separate project, to be undertaken before you make the Zen Garden (but include a wide gate to make it easy to bring supplies inside).
A gated community is a neighborhood that is enclosed by fence or wall, surrounding the entire community- with a gated entrance. Some gated entries have a 24 hour guard, and some just have a security gate. Many people choose to buy a home in a gated community because of the many benefits. Others choose no gates, because of a few drawbacks. Is living in a gated community for you?
While you are house hunting, keep in mind the key advantages of living in a gated community. This will help you determine if life behind the gates is worth it. Although the perception exists that gated communities are expensive, they actually come in many price brackets and housing styles. Gated communities are no longer just for the super rich or wealthy. There are less-expensive gated communities that might just fit the bill.
If feeling secure in your neighborhood matters the most to you, being surrounded by gates might be a priority, however not all gated communities have the same features and crime statistics vary by region. There are usually extra security measures taken to ensure the safety of the residents. It’s not unusual to see security cameras in a gated community or neighborhood watch groups. Gated communities typically have a lower crime rate than other non-gated neighborhoods and communities. Also, because of the gates and walls, homeowners experience a more private and secluded living experience.
If you like to be active or entertaining guests is a priority, living in a gated community might be the choice for you. Some of the larger gated communities offer amenities like golf courses, tennis courts, pools and clubhouses. Some communities even offer lakes with boat docks. Gated communities regularly coordinate sports activities like golf and tennis tournaments, and neighborhood parties, too.
Today, many gated communities are green neighborhoods where the focus is on designing homes for energy efficiency, using advanced building science with eco-friendly materials to promote things like water conservation, indoor air quality, and just healthier living in general. They are able to do this by integrating natural sources of energy, such as solar, wind or water, into the architectural design of a home. Traffic and noise are also taken into consideration, when planning and building gated community homes. Since you are enclosed from other outside neighborhoods and areas, you generally don’t hear a lot of noise from roads and other outside sources.
Here in Orange County, we have many different gated communities, suited to all lifestyles and homeowners. Please click here, to search for more information on specific gated communities in Orange County. Contact Ron Evans today, to set up your consultation. We are ready and available to assist you in your next gated community homes search.