Category Archives: Misc

DIY Floating Deck, Part 3: Diagonal Decking • Ugly Duckling House

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I’m building a DIY floating deck in my back yard! Catch the whole thing, start to finish, right here. In this chapter, I’m covering the details on decking on a 45-degree angle.

Hey hey! I know some of you have been waiting since last month’s post for the next update on my ground-level deck, and here it is!

The last time I posted about the deck, it was a full recap on all of the things required to ensure a solid foundation, water resistance, type of wood to buy for the frame, etc. Since there has been way too much info to cover everything in a single post, I’ve been dividing it all into separate parts.

MY LATEST VIDEOS

And now, it’s onto the the next step: decking on a 45-degree angle.

Watch the video

This was one of the most exciting completion steps for me, since this is when you start to see the deck really come together.

This deck project is sponsored by Wood Its Real.

Tools & materials used:

Laying the deck at a diagonal:

Getting the 45-degree angle was easier than I thought it was going to be. I think the main reason for that is because the angle was spot-on from the frame underneath. To make sure I kept my alignment correct, every now and then, I’d extend a board with a square edge perpendicular to the 45-degree angle I was laying the boards to. As long as the bit hanging off of the other end was even and not crooked, I was good to go.

(I know it looks like Stella might be having a, erm, private moment here, but this is actually how she sits in the heat. Go figure.)

I planned for a 1-inch overhang on all sides, but it really only mattered when fastening the first deck board on. After that, I just kept the ends jagged and hanging off; I would later trim all of the other sides down to continue the 1-inch overhang.

Using a deck fastening system:

The new decking tool was simple enough to use, and I bought it for two specific features:

  • It worked almost like a clamp, expanding itself over the edges of each deck board. When clamped down on the board, its metal tabs provided a consistent 1/16″ gap between each board. I think this is plenty, since I did most of my install between rain storms (this has been the wettest summer!). As the deck boards have since had time to dry out, they have a little bit larger of a gap now. I think if I had gone with something wider initially, it would look too gapped by now.
  • Once clamped onto the deck, it had a screw guide on each end to guide one of the specialty screws at an exact angle so as to fasten the deck right at the edge of the board. This makes the whole deck pretty much look fastener-free. It doesn’t work for the very ends when you have a little bit of an overhang, but I don’t mind having just a few screws visible.
  • I bought the CAMO materials as separate items, but sometimes it’s sold as a whole kit as well. Note that they work as a system together, so you’ll need to invest in buying the screws that match up to the tool if you go the same route as I did. I had enough screws to last me through my deck, the pub shed deck, and the pub shed bar… so they go a long way! No regrets!
  • Since the CAMO screw box comes with two bits to use with the screws, I found using multiple drills and impact drivers at the same time sped things up a good bit. K and I could both work on the same board at once and just pass the guide tool in between.

Seams and supports: fight the wiggle

When I started with the first board, I realized that I didn’t have enough support where the deck went over the patio. It was easily fixed with a few scrap pieces added in, but the rest of the deck’s framework needed no modifications.

The boards I bought were only 12 feet long. The store might also sell 16′, but even that wasn’t going to be long enough to extend over the longest parts of the deck. That meant I would have to lay two boards side by side in multiple places along the deck. It’s probably no surprise that I have notes for you on that, too!

Work in a Z pattern: When one board wasn’t long enough to span a single row, I used a full board, then cut off another piece to fit the remainder. On the next row, I again used a full board, but started from the other end (where the shorter piece from the previous row was). I would usually then be able to use another cut piece for the rest of the row, and so on. Doing this Z pattern of swapping which end to start with a full piece resulted in fewer seams meeting up across rows, so they weren’t as noticeable.

Square up the seam: I found that the edge of most of the deck boards to be slightly off square. Using my miter saw, I squared them up and was able to lay them side by side with almost no perceptible gap. Just be sure to lay the board so that both ends, when laid side by side, are well-supported at this seam. Add another support if not, or move the seam to . Test before screwing them in that you can step on top without any wiggle (that seam will only get weaker over time if so).

Use clamps where possible

Pressure treated wood is often wet when purchased, and the rain continued to wet down my boards as I installed. So, it was inevitable that some of the meticulously-checked straight boards I bought warped a little once they were home and drying out. I was able to fight a lot of it by regularly flipping boards on a flat surface so that they could dry evenly, but I still wound up with a few that twisted on the ends and such. For this, clamps were my best friend. I would also sometimes position the boards so that the warped part got cut off once the deck was trimmed down to its actual shape.

Trim back surrounding plants

Something I know I could have made the job easier on myself, but didn’t: trimming back plants! Installation happened right as my hydrangeas were blooming like crazy, and I hated the idea of chopping them down to make it easier to access one of the corners of the deck. I eventually did, but if you watch the video, you’ll see one funny part where I’m basically installing with a faceful of blooms.

Before long… boom! Deck finished, and time to celebrate. (Psst, for more celebrating shenanigans from Charlie, watch the video.)

Ok, so not exactly totally finished when the decking is in place. In the next part of the deck series, I’ll have to walk you through how to trim the boards to a straight line and round off the end. Then we’ll install some steps, improve the landscaping, stain, and more. But this was a huge step! More soon.

How to install a deck at a 45 degree diagonal angle #floatingdeck #groundleveldeck #deck

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy & effectiveness of the information displayed on this website, The Ugly Duckling House is for entertainment purposes only. All tutorials and demonstrations are not intended to be professional advice (nor substitute as such), and I make no guarantees as to the procedures and information here. Creating with my suggested methods, materials, and tools is under your own risk. Please ensure you are following proper guidelines with anything used, and seek professional advice if you don’t know how to do something! Read my complete disclosure here.

4 Ways to Decorate Around Minimalistic Mantels

Mantels used to be more ornate pieces in traditional homes. They acted as the focal point of the room, harkening back to a time when people were more likely to watch the fire than a television. But today’s mantels have taken on a more minimalistic touch. Many have simple, lightly colored facades around them. Some are little more than a square where the fire goes. All are defined by a stark geometry. Because of how minimalistic they are, there are several different ways to decorate around minimalistic mantels. Read on to discover how to work with the simple, but powerful, design element that is the minimalistic mantel.

Use Mirrors

Decorate Around Minimalistic Mantels Large Mirror

A large mirror over a minimalistic mantel opens up the space. Image: Polina Pidtsan

Mirrors are a favorite element in , small and minimalistic spaces. Having both a sense of minimalism and a classic appeal, they make a great addition to more timeless designs. They also work well in small spaces because their reflections visually double the space in a room.

Mirrors are a basic element to have in a room and can be kept in very slim frames, or no frames at all. As a result, they work great in spaces with the simple mantels that are common in small, transitional and minimalistic spaces.

The photo above shows how a large mirror can juxtapose a smaller mantel. This makes the space look more open and alive. A collection of smaller mirrors could also work. So could art pieces that use mirror surfaces as part of their design.

Use Large Art to Decorate Around Minimalistic Mantels

Decorate Around Minimalistic Mantels Large Art

Large art makes that minimalistic mantel area into a full focal point. Image: Deroseesa

One of the most popular ways to decorate around minimalistic mantels is to use large art over such a mantel. The art then acts as a focal point and creates some visual interest around the more basic element of the mantel. Because minimalistic mantels tend to be on the smaller side, the wall space above the mantel is a natural place for that art.

Abstract art works great with minimalistic mantels for a more modern touch, but you can also go for something more realistic like in the photo above. Realistic art adds a touch of tradition and timelessness that works with many different room designs.

Keep it Minimalistic

Decorate Around Minimalistic Mantels Single Plant

Using just one element on the mantel goes with the overall minimalistic look. Image: Lauren Shadidarch

Another option to decorate around minimalistic mantels is to stay with the minimalistic vibe. The photo above shows how you can use a single decorative element like a plant to add a touch of visual interest. But the single plant still keeps the space distinctly in the minimalistic category.

You have many options with this idea. Another common minimalistic mantel decoration is to have one small photo in a frame. Many people place the photo off to the side of the mantel to showcase the stark, minimal space. Another idea is to do the same with a single ceramic jar or a small grouping of jars. A set of three pillar candles is also a common design element on minimalistic mantels.

Cleverly Placed Artistic Pieces

Decorate Around Minimalistic Mantels Mirror Candles

Just about anything works well on a mantel if you know how to place it. Image: Designer Premier

Speaking of artistic elements, another way to decorate around minimalistic mantels is to use a variety of artistic pieces for one cohesive look. The photo above shows how you can use candles, plant life, a mirror and small ceramic art in one cohesive design.

A general rule of decorating on the mantel is to have taller or larger objects near the edge of the mantel. Smaller objects should be in the middle or spaced throughout. That creates a look of balance. For instance, it’s common to see pillar candles in holders on either side of some art hanging over a mantel. A series of ceramic jars in different sizes and heights is also a common style.

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12 Fresh New Front Door Colors to Welcome You Home

Cottage front door ideas

A cottage porch is the perfect spot for a colorful front door. Try Clark +Kensington Vintage Peach to get this look. Image: The Cottage Building Company

We love the look of a colorful front door to welcome guests into our home. Perhaps our front door is like our home’s jewelry — adding a little sparkle to the curb appeal. Painting your front door is one of the quickest (and prettiest) ways to change up your home’s exterior. Front door colors can be warm, cool or neutral. The freshest colors are warm and cool. You can use them as an accent in your exterior paint color scheme. Here are the freshest front door colors that we’re loving right now. 

Cool Front Door Colors

Our favorite cool front door colors include blue and purple shades. Green can be considered a cool color, but it can also be considered warm if it has a lot of yellow undertones. If you’re having trouble finding the perfect cool color for your front door, try sampling warm paint colors instead.

Aqua

Aqua front door

A pretty aqua front door is relaxed and welcoming. Image:Kate Lester Interiors

An aqua front door is not just perfect for a beach-inspired home — it’s becoming the go-to color for modern farmhouse and cottage styles. Aqua and turquoise doors are versatile, putting a fresh spin on neutral color palettesTry Sherwin-Williams Aquaverde to get this look.

Lilac

Lilac front door

Lilac and periwinkle doors are soothing choices for a front door and can cool down red brick exterior colors. Image:London Door Company

Lilac is the new Millennial Pink, appearing on the runway and in home decor right now. With all the emphasis on pastel colors lately, lilac and periwinkle have finally taken their place in today’s color palettes. A lilac front door is a bold choice in a sea of white doors that reflects your creativity and individuality in a sweet way. Try Sherwin-Williams Perfect Periwinkle to get this look.

Mint Green

Pastel green front door

A painted mint green door is the perfect fit for a cottage home. Image:Studio Three

Who can resist sweet mint green? Cottage and modern farmhouse lovers have already discovered the joy of this fresh color for their homes. Mint green is a popular exterior paint color right now, but you may not be ready to tackle such a big project. Changing your front door color is an easy way to bring a fresh shade like this to your home’s exterior without a big price tag. Try Magnolia Home Mineral Green to get this look. 

Pastel Blue

Light blue front door

A pastel blue front door makes coming home even sweeter. Image:Little Greene Paint & Paper

A sweet cottage or beach-inspired home with a pastel blue front door has that ‘love at first sight’ appeal. We’re smitten by the thought of coming home to an adorably fresh blue door accented by black shutters and colorful flowerpots. Try Little Greene Paint & Paper’s Celestial Blue to get this look.

Purple

Purple front door

A purple front door complements traditional gray siding to create an eye-catching focal point for your home. Image:Chattanooga Exteriors

A purple front door may be a surprising choice, but the right shade of purple can be a fresh change for your home. With the popularity of lilac these days, purple can be the right choice if you aren’t really into pastels. The secret to choosing the right purple for your front door is to look beyond rich jewel tones and try more vibrant shades. Try PPG-Pittsburgh Paints Purple Grapes to get this look.

Fresh Green

Green front door

Green is a versatile front door color, perfect for more than just mid-century style homes. Image:Benjamin Moore

Apple green, lime green and grass green are all popular mid-century modern front door colors that can be a showpiece for any style home. The secret to the mid-century green look is to choose a fresh color with yellow undertones. Charcoal gray, dark brown, and even black siding is a strong backdrop that can handle these bright green door colors. Try Benjamin Moore’s Green Meadows to get this look. 

Cobalt Blue

Cobalt Blue Front Door

The cobalt blue front door and shutters brighten up a traditional home. Image:Glen Layton Homes

A fresh new take on a traditional navy blue door is cobalt blue. We love this vibrant blue shade for front doors because it works with almost any home style. A traditional or Cape Cod-style home is a natural fit for a cobalt blue door, but that’s just the beginning. Contemporary, farmhouse and beach-inspired color palettes can easily accommodate a vibrant blue door. Try Sherwin-Williams Jay Blue to get this look.

Warm Front Door Colors

Autumn colors are usually the first thing we picture when looking for warm door colors. Yellow, orange, red and all our favorite fall shades give a welcoming look to your front porch. Warm paint colors look their best as an accent in a cool exterior color palette.

Yellow

Yellow front door

A vibrant yellow front door for a traditional home. Image:lda Architecture & Interiors

Will you choose bright yellow or butter yellow for your front door? We love them both. Vibrant yellow doors are popping up in every neighborhood for a good reason. A cheerful yellow door can give you that summer feeling all year long. Your yellow front door is an easy fit for a neutral exterior color scheme, but looks just as stunning on a navy blue or dark green home. Try Sherwin-Williams Sunny Veranda to get this look.

Coral

Orange front door

A painted orange or coral front door color is a stylish way to warm up a gray craftsman home. Image:Platform Home

Coral front doors have been a popular choice for mid-century modern homes for decades. Now this energetic color is one of the freshest looks for any style home. Coral is a striking complement to your green foliage and can brighten up a dark exterior. Try Behr Paint’s Orange Burst to get this look.

Gold

Gold front door

A rich gold front door is a welcoming way to greet guests at your home. Image: Garden Studio

If you love the look of yellow front door colors but want something with more presence, try on a gold front door. Mid-century homes were filled with harvest gold accents, and that’s still a good choice for the front door of a modern or contemporary home. Your traditional or cottage-style home can also benefit from warm gold front door colors, especially if you love fall colors and decorating. Try Benjamin Moore Yellow Hibiscus to get this look.

Peach

Peach front door

Peach is an unexpected front door color but could be the right choice to soften your curb appeal. Image:The Decor Fix

We’re ready for peach to make a big comeback in interior design. With the resurgence of pastels, colors like lilac and peach are next up for decorating trends. A peach front door can brighten up a white cottage with black accents or a beach-inspired exterior color palette pairing beige and aqua. Try Benjamin Moore Hathaway Peach to get this look. 

Pink

Pink front door

A pink front door is a cheerful way to welcome friends and family into your home. Image:Southern Living

Finding the right pink front door color may take a little while. From muted Millennial Pink to a saturated geranium color, your choices are seemingly endless. You might feel overwhelmed by your color choices but you can narrow down your pink options quickly. Decide right away if you like a muted or pastel pink or prefer a more bold front door color, then pick up a few samples in paint colors that you love. Keep your options simple by sticking to just a handful of color samples at a time. Try Sherwin-Williams In the Pink to get this look.

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Decorating a New Home? Here Are 5 Resolutions You Should Embrace After a Move

The moving process can be pretty work intensive. If you’re selling, staging your home so that someone will fall in love with it and buy it is a job in itself. Then, there’s the task of packing and clearing out your old place. And then there’s the actual move, unpacking and decorating a new home.

Many movers feel like they never want to move again, or at least they may want to set up their home differently the next time around. Here are five moving “aha!” moments and the lessons they provide on decorating a new home better and more easily the next time.

1. Some of the stuff you packed (and carried) should have been left behind

The most common realization during the moving process is that you have far more than you thought you did. And honestly, how much of it have you even used recently? Many movers end up realizing that a sizable percentage of the stuff they paid to move should have stayed behind. Moving it wasted time, effort and money.

It’s time to clear out the clutter, even if you have no plans to move soon. You’ll feel better about the space you make and you’ll be ready when it’s time to pack things up.

new home decorating

Even if you have tons of storage, like this large cabinet unit, keep only the items you use regularly. Image: Banda Property

Resolution: Packing and purging are two different tasks. Trying to clear out during the packing process is way too much work in a short time span. Start the editing process at least two months before you move. Take on one room at a time and decide what gets thrown out, recycled or donated. That way, when it’s time to pack, you’ll have less to handle.

2. Some of the furniture from the old home may not fit in the new place

One of the common problems when moving furniture from one place to another is that the scale or style of the major pieces doesn’t work in the new place. You can have a garage sale and practically give the pieces away, then have to spend money on new ones – or you can shop smart next time.

Modular furniture items can be used in different ways and take up minimal space. Color is infused in the form of small, affordable accessories. Image: Caitlin Wilson

Resolution: Your main furniture pieces should be classic in style, neutral in color and as modular as possible. Look for sofas or sectionals that can be separated into smaller pieces or can be expanded into large ones as needed, like the Tillary collection from West Elm. And once you move in, invest in bold or colorful accent pieces to give your classic neutral furniture some pop. It’s much cheaper to buy some graphic pillows or an area rug than it is to replace a sofa that’s too style-specific.

3. Heavy furniture makes moving and rearranging harder

It used to be a fact that the heavier the furniture, the better the quality. But that is no longer true, thanks to manufacturing and material advancements. And once you have to haul your heavy, giant sofa up a few flights of stairs, you may not love it as much as you once did.

new home decorating ideas

The dining table and benches are surprisingly strong yet lightweight, thanks to the hollow steel tubing frames. Image: Photo by Pixy

Resolution: Consider the weight of furniture before you buy. Look for pieces that are well constructed but feature lightweight materials. Even better, consider buying furniture that breaks down easily, or even flatpacks like these pieces, to save you time and money on your next move. Even if you’re not planning on moving, lightweight furniture makes it easier to rearrange or clean around it.

4. You loved the home staging of your old place so much, you considered staying

Did you fall in love with your old home all over again after the home stager worked their magic? You’re not alone. What’s the secret to the way your home looked so awesome after being staged to sell? Simplification and a few applied design principles.

new home decorating ideas

Stagers focus on creating a room layout that features soft, neutral colors and furniture pieces that don’t compete with the room’s architecture or view. Image: Georgia Home Staging

Resolution: When decorating a new home, set it up to look like it’s a model home – and live that way every day. That means that clutter is non-existent, everything is put away and every room has the right touch of accessories and color. Burn fragrant candles and enjoy your home!

Here are some great articles to check out to get you started:

And when the home doldrums set in, rearrange your furniture and accessories. Freshening up your space every few months can work wonders for the energy of the room.

5. Paint and decorate right away or it’s not going to happen

Let’s be honest. If you’ve moved in the last couple of years, you probably have some boxes you still haven’t unpacked. Or home improvement projects you wanted to tackle and never got around to starting. You’ve got to strike while the iron is hot and before you start settling into a daily routine.

A single wall was painted in a rich mocha tone to create a focal wall. Image: Unique Spaces

Resolution: Decorating a new home needs to happen right away. If you have projects you want to do, like upgrading lighting, painting or replacing the flooring, do them before you move in – or right when you do. It’s far easier to get the messier projects like painting and flooring done before you arrive, but if you can’t do them in advance, make them a priority when you move in. Unpack all boxes ASAP. And if you’re burnt out and rethinking painting the living room in a pumpkin spice shade, paint just one focal wall in the color. You’d be amazed what one single bold wall can do for a room.

Have you moved recently? We’d love to hear what you learned from your move and how you’ll approach decorating a new home.

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Which Uses More Water: Taking a Shower or a Bath?

If you’re trying to save money, which bathing option uses more water? How can you tell?

Comparing a shower to a bath is like comparing apples to oranges.  That’s because you measure showers by duration (how long the water is running while you’re in the shower), but you measure baths by the amount of water it takes to fill up the bathtub (regardless of the time).

As a general rule, taking a bath uses more water. However, these are some factors to consider when trying to determine which method is more (or less) water efficient.

Which uses more water: the shower or the bath? Image: LEAN Home Remodeling

How big is your bathtub? According to data from the USGS Water Science School, the average person needs 36 gallons of water to fill the bathtub. However, a larger than average tub will need more water.

Do you fill your tub all the way to the top? Image: Janet Brooks Design

Another factor to consider is how much water you’re running in the bathtub. It takes more water to actually fill to capacity, compared to filling it halfway or three-quarters of the way full.

The amount of water used during a shower depends on its duration. Image: Reid Architects

How long are your showers?  Are you singing one song as you shower or a compilation of greatest hits? The longer you remain in the shower, the more water you’re using.

Letting your shower run means more water consumption. Image: Rockridge Fine Homes

Also, leaving the water running while you’re lathering your hair and/or shaving causes you to consume more. Think about it: if you wash your hair in the bathroom sink, you would cut the water off during the lathering process.

Rinsing and repeating could be costing you when it comes to water use. Image: Sisters in Sync Design

And speaking of lathering, are you doing it for a minute, two minutes, three minutes, maybe more? If you lather for three minutes with the shower running, and then you rinse and repeat, you’re wasting a lot of water.

How water-friendly is your shower head? Image: Key Residential

Another factor that determines if you’re wasting water in the shower is your showerhead. On old showerhead can use up to five gallons of water per minute, according to the USGS. However, a low-flow showerhead only uses two gallons of water per minute.

The fabulous shower below has six body sprays, fixed and hand-held shower heads, as well as a rain shower head. If you’re using all of these bells and whistles, you’re probably wasting a lot of money in the shower.

Time your showers to evaluate water use. Image: Drury Designs

One way to evaluate your use of both water sources is to take a timed shower to see how long it lasts. Let’s say it was a five-minute shower. The next day, run water in the bathtub (and try to adjust the faucet level so it’s similar to the same water flow you have in the shower). Again, set your timer so you can determine if you reach your typical bathtub level in more or less than five minutes. If it takes longer to fill the bathtub, you’re using more water to take a bath.

However you choose to get clean, be aware of your water consumption. Image: thirdstone inc

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Defining a House Style: What Is a Ranch Home?

Until recently, the ranch home was the most popular home style in America. However, have you ever stopped to wonder what made this style capture our hearts for decades?

It’s time to take a closer look at exactly what goes into a ranch home. Read on to learn more about its history, the distinct types and some distinguishing characteristics. Chances are good that by the end of this post, you’ll fall in love with ranch homes all over again.

ranch home

Traditionally, ranch home design blends into a California landscape. Image: Zias Building Design & Documentation

History of ranch homes

The inspiration for ranch-style homes as we know them today can be traced back to North American Spanish Colonial architecture. Like ranches, these homes often featured single-story options that were best for battling the Southwestern heat. Rooflines were low with wide eaves. These homes were often U-shaped rather than straight across, but it’s easy to see the similarities.

By the 1920s, true ranchers — though they were then known as “ramblers” — came into existence. The style experienced its true boom in popularity after World War II, where its ease of construction and customizability made it a favorite among the many returning soldiers who were looking to settle down with their families.

By the 1950s, ranch mania had hit full swing. This style of home accounted for nine out every 10 new homes in America, and each region had put its own spin on the look. It wasn’t until the 1970s, when tastes veered more toward two-story living again, that production truly slowed down.

types

Some ranch subtypes have multiple levels. Image: Croteau Contracting

Types of ranch homes

California ranch

Originally designed by architect Cliff May for his own personal use, this style of home was meant to be sprawling and to blend in with the California landscape. It borrows influence from the Arts and Crafts movement, as well as Spanish Colonial architecture. These homes stand out for their L- or U-shape with a courtyard in the middle.

Suburban ranch

This is the version of the ranch that was made popular in the post-World War II boom. These homes are essentially smaller, simplified versions of the California originals. They’re often built on concrete slabs and feature tract material. However, they still share the open concept floorplan and connection with the outdoors with their predecessors.

Split-level ranch

Though these houses look like a traditional suburban ranch from the street, they actually feature three levels of living. In these homes, the front door leads into the main living area, dining room and kitchen. Then, on one side of the home, there is a half-staircase leading up to the bedrooms and another half-staircase leading down to additional living space.

Raised ranch

Sometimes called split-entry houses, these homes got their name from the fact that, when you walk in the door, you have a choice between walking up or downstairs. In these homes, utilitarian spaces like garages and rec rooms are often directly beneath the kitchen, bedrooms and main living area.

Storybook ranch

Also known as Cinderella ranches, these homes distinguish themselves: Unlike the simple exteriors common in ranch homes, these are full of charm. Exposed rafters, diamond-shaped window panes and ornamental trim are common features.

characteristics

Ranch homes are always low-lying. Image: South Pointe Construction

Defining features of a ranch home

Exterior:

  • Long, low-pitch roofline
  • A mix of materials on the exterior (most commonly stucco, wood, brick or stone)
  • Cross-gabled, side-gabled or hip roof
  • Deep, overhanging eaves
  • Large windows
  • Sliding glass doors
  • Attached garages
  • Back patio

Interior:

  • Single-story living
  • Open concept living area, dining room and kitchen
  • Separated bedrooms (usually three)
  • Full basement
  • Simple adornments and architectural details

With simple trappings and lots of opportunities for customization, it’s no surprise that ranch homes are still popular today. Does this style attract you, too?

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12 Dreamy Velvet Sofas You’ll Love

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Velvet sofas have found their way back into our living rooms. Once thought of as formal, velvet sofas and chairs had a renaissance in the 1960s when global decor was hot and earth tones ruled. 

Your velvet sofa can be a statement piece that you decorate around, rather than a predictable staple in your living room. This is your chance to lose the beige couch and dated accent pillows.  The new velvet sofas are often rich with jewel tones like royal blue and emerald green, but pastel colors are popping up in our living rooms, too. Here are some of our favorite velvet sofas in luscious colors: 

Velvet Sofas in Jewel Tones

A velvet sofa in a jewel tone doesn’t have to be formal (unless you want it to be). The styling and shape of your sofa is the determining factor in how it will fit with your decorating style. Clean lines in any fabric are perfect for mid-century modernor contemporary style, while soft sofas that sink in when you sit are a natural choice for boho or global-chic rooms. More traditional styles like the classic Chesterfield sofa can work in a variety of decorating styles, not just formal spaces.

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navy blue velvet sofa

Gertrudes Chesterfield velvet sofa in Navy, by Willa Arlo Interiors, is a focal point for a simple living room. The sofa’s silver nailheads highlight bright metallic accessories. Image:Wayfair

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purple velvet sofa

The Harcourt Chesterfield Sofa in purple is a bold color choice for your living room. Image:All Modern

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green velvet sofa

On-trend brass legs give the Avec emerald green sofa contemporary flair. Image:CB2

Pretty Pastel Velvet Sofas

We can’t hide our love for today’s pastel colors in decorating. The pastel trend is still going strong and is showing signs of joining ageless neutrals in our homes. It’s okay to treat your pink or pale blue sofa as a neutral, adding saturated accent colors to complete your palette. The popularity of brushed gold and copper lighting and fixtures makes them a stylish match for these softly-colored fabrics.

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Aqua velvet sofa

The Gilmore Chesterfield Sofa in turquoise blue is an easy addition to your living room and works in any decorating style,  from beach-inspired to modern farmhouse. Image:Wayfair

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pink velvet sofa

It’s easy to fall in love with the Kendall velvet sofa in blush pink. (We have.) Image:World Market

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blush pink velvet sofa

The Leonelle slub velvet sofa in Rosewood has a comfortable vintage style. Image:Anthropologie

Velvet Sofas in Rich Neutrals

Do you love the idea of velvet, but think it may be too fancy for your living room? Look for a neutral sofa that fits into your color palette. While neutrals are a simple way to provide a backdrop for your favorite accent colors, you’ll want to order or bring home several fabric swatches to make sure you find the right one. Neutral colors can be warm or cool, so they’re not completely interchangeable in any color palette.

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neutral beige velvet sofa

Let the Derrill velvet sofa in Sky Neutral be your decorating canvas with colorful accessories and accent furniture. Image:Birch Lane

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Gray velvet sofa

The Bea Chesterfield velvet sofa in grey is a new twist on a classic. Pair with pastel accents for a totally updated style. Image:All Modern

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green velvet sofa

Featuring contemporary lines with mid-century modern features, the Roddy velvet sofa in Royale Apple velvet is a versatile sofa choice. Image:Joybird

Vibrant Velvet Sofas

A richly-colored velvet sofa is definitely a statement piece in your home. Your vibrant velvet sofa will be the main accent color in your palette, so you’ll want to add neutral accessories (including black and white). We love the look of bold artwork that picks up the color of a statement-piece sofa for a curated look.

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Pink velvet sofa

The Kittrell Chesterfield velvet sofa in vibrant pink is a stunning accent for a white and gray living room. Image:Wayfair

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gold velvet sofa

Get comfortable mid-century modern style with the Matrix Yarrow Gold sofa. Image:Article

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rust velvet sofa

The clean lines of the Club velvet sofa in Rust are just right for a contemporary room. Image:CB2

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Getting Ready for College? You’ll Love Kirkland’s Trendy Take on Dorm Room Design

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Every college student knows that a cool dorm room is a must-have. With that in mind, Kirkland’s decided to do some digging into the top trends for the coming school year. What it found is not surprising: If you want to stay on-trend, metals, indoor plants and chic storage options are the name of the game. Though it doesn’t have a formal dorm room collection, Kirkland’s inventory backs up its research.

We’re not surprised to see these styles top the list. Mixed metals and succulents have been some of the most popular design elements of the last few years. That said, what sets many of these pieces apart is that they feel age-appropriate. They’re cool and grown up, yet still fun and playful enough to feel right at home in a college dorm.

With options ranging from full-on furniture to smaller décor pieces, there’s something to fit just about every style in order to make your dorm room feel like you. Plus, with individual pieces ranging from $7.99 to $59.99, there’s also something to fit a variety of budgets.

Don’t believe us? See for yourself.

Check out the hottest trends in dorm room decorating:

Mega metallics

Indoor plants

Chic storage options

All items can be purchased on the Kirkland’s online store or at one of its many national locations.

What’s your favorite dorm room trend? Are you a fan of metals, plants, storage or all of the above? Let us know your vote in the comments. Photography by Kirkland’s.

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Here Are the 10 Most Affordable Cities for Renters In 2018

Zillow has released a report of the most affordable cities for renters. They looked at the 50 largest metro areas in the U.S. to zero in on the 10 most affordable cities for 2018.

This isn’t a simple list of where you can pay the least amount of rent. Researchers also considered work, income opportunities and population, which add to the quality of life. To make the grade, monthly rent in these cities had to be no more than 30 percent of the average income for the market.

Is your city one of the most affordable cities for renters?

1. Philadelphia, PA

Household Income Spent on Rent: 21.9%
Zillow’s Average Monthly Rent Payment: $1,083

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most affordable cities for renters

A 3 bedroom, 1 bath, 1,064 square foot home for rent in Philadelphia for $1,150 per month.

The city of brotherly love welcomes renters with open arms. The universities attract a large student population, making Philly a fairly young place to live. In fact, US News says, “Philly is a great spot for dating, as a little more than half of the population is single.”

2. St. Louis, MO

Household Income Spent on Rent: 22.2%
Zillow’s Average Monthly Rent Payment: $1,150

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most affordable cities for renter

You can rent a large, 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 1,165 square foot loft with views at the Vanguard for $1,139 per month.

St. Louis is a family-friendly city. Its central location attracts tech startups, aircraft manufacturers and global financial investment companies. The charming, historic neighborhoods feature Victorian homes, farmhouses, two-story colonials and traditional ranch houses.

3. Oklahoma City, OK

Household Income Spent on Rent: 22.8%
Zillow’s Average Monthly Rent Payment: $1,100

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most affordable cities for renter

A lovely 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1,245 square foot apartment for rent for $1,000 per month.

You’ll feel way out west in Oklahoma City. You’ll find cowboys and horse shows are the norm here. It’s slowly becoming more cosmopolitan with a new restaurant and nightlife scene but Oklahoma City is still home to the world’s largest cattle market.

4. Raleigh, NC

Household Income Spent on Rent: 22.9%
Zillow’s Average Monthly Rent Payment: $1,441

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most affordable cities for renter

This 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1,600 square foot home in Raleigh has a fenced yard and is close to the Beltline. It’s for rent for $1,375 per month.

Along with being one of the most affordable cities for renters, Raleigh is also great for job-seekers. A strong job market in research, healthcare, tech and education placed Raleigh in Glassdoor’s list of top 5 cities for jobs.

5. Birmingham, AL

Household Income Spent on Rent: 23.1%
Zillow’s Average Monthly Rent Payment: $1,054

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most affordable cities for renter

Modern living featuring 2 bedrooms and 2 baths in 1,213 square feet at The Crowne for $1,015 per month. The complex includes a swimming pool and a gym.

Living in Birmingham revolves around sports and the outdoors. The city is home to the Southwestern Athletic Conference. And if you’re not a sports fan, there are lovely hiking trails in Red Mountain Park.

6. Kansas City, MO

Household Income Spent on Rent: 24.0%
Zillow’s Average Monthly Rent Payment: $1,278

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most affordable cities for renter

Kinsley Forest Luxury Apartments offers apartments for rent. This one is $1,299 per month and includes 2 bedrooms and 2 baths in 1,010 square feet. The property features resort living including a large swimming pool area, outdoor barbecues, a club house and gym.

Spread out over two states and two rivers, Kansas City has a lively music scene. Jazz legend Charlie Parker was from Kansas City. As more millennials move to this city for its affordable housing and expanding job market, the area is quickly growing as a creative community with plenty of coffee shops, bars and galleries.

7. Indianapolis, IN

Household Income Spent on Rent: 24.4%
Zillow’s Average Monthly Rent Payment: $1,204

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Resort living is possible at the Island Club Apartments in Indianapolis. A 1,055 square foot, 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath is $1,055 per month.

There’s always something to do in Indianapolis. One of the world’s largest children’s museums is here, as well as miles of recreational walking and running trails. The Circle City has plenty to offer in the form of entertainment. And for sports fans, Indy is the racing capital of the world and has plenty of professional and college sports teams to cheer on.

8. Cincinnati, OH

Household Income Spent on Rent: 24.5%
Zillow’s Average Monthly Rent Payment: $1,282

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A poolside clubhouse at Stetson Square is one of the many high-end amenities available. A 2 bedroom, 2 bath, 1,067 square foot apartment rents for $1,320 per month.

Cincinnati attracts families due to the city’s fame for having excellent Montessori, public and private schools. Several Fortune 500 companies recruit national and international talent to make Cincinnati their home.

9. Charlotte, NC

Household Income Spent on Rent: 24.7%
Zillow’s Average Monthly Rent Payment: $1,301

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Stone Ridge apartments are spacious, bright and packed with many amenities including a fitness center, a large outdoor pool area and a fireplace in many of the apartments. 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartments start at $1,180 for a minimum of 1,000 square feet.

With a median annual salary of $49,600 and a vibrant nightlife, Charlotte isn’t just one of the most affordable cities for renters; it also ranks #22 in the best places to live according to US News. The charming city is still old-fashioned and full of southern charm, yet the bars and restaurants offer the cosmopolitan vibe you’d expect in larger cities.

10. Detroit, MI

Household Income Spent on Rent: 24.8%
Zillow’s Average Monthly Rent Payment: $1,209

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You can rent a large, 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 3,400 square foot house like this one on Zillow for $1,350 per month in Detroit.

Detroit suffered from a mass exodus of people after economic troubles but it appears to be making a comeback. Whole Foods opened a store in Detroit’s midtown in 2013. The M-1 Rail, which is a new streetcar that runs down the city’s main thoroughfare from the suburbs, connects both worlds. Small businesses and new restaurants are popping up, making Detroit attractive to renters.

Do you live in one of the most affordable cities for renters, or do you think that Zillow missed your town? We’d love to hear which city you’d add to the list.

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4 Design Tips From ‘Queer Eye’ Star Bobby Berk

bobby berk design tips

“Queer Eye” star Bobby Berk is captivating the design world – and Netflix bingers. Image: Builder

The “Queer Eye” reboot has taken the world by storm. Whether it’s women fawning over Antoni Porowski or social media living for the next sassy statement from Jonathan Van Ness, the internet is abuzz with news about the Fab Five. Meanwhile, the show’s resident design expert, Bobby Berk, is quietly transforming entire homes in just a few days’ time.

Clearly, Berk is no stranger to the way good design can rejuvenate a space – and the person living in it. If you want to bring some of that transformation into your own home or apartment, check out these four design tips from Bobby Berk.

bobby berk - wall

Give any room a fresh feel with textured walls. Image: Bobby Berk Home

Wake up your walls

It’s tempting to adopt a set-it-and-forget-it mentality with our walls. You paint them, hang a piece of art and you’re done – right? Sure, you could be; but Berk reminds us that one of the best ways to freshen up a room is to turn to our walls, as he told Design Milk and PopSugar. He recommends using a notable piece of accent art or – if you’re ready to go all-in – a textured accent wall. Accent walls are nothing new. Instead of turning to your paint bucket, though, think about adding some structure to the wall’s surface. Wood or faux brick are great options.

bobby berk - lighting

A warmly lit room feels welcoming. Image: Bobby Berk Home

Consider temperature

If you really care about interior design, you’ve thought about every facet of every room. The paint hues are carefully selected, the textiles are thoughtfully layered, the furniture is set just so. But there’s one small yet crucial area we often overlook, Berk told Co.Design. “People don’t realize that lighting can change the whole look of a place and the feel,” he says. He doesn’t mean finding chic light fixtures, either. Berk says the amount of light and its warmth or coolness play a significant role in a room. Too much cool lighting makes a room feel sterile, and not enough light makes it feel small, as he reminded Sunset. He recommends choosing warmer-hued bulbs and checking that your lighting matches from room to room.

bobby berk - storage

Add enough storage to keep your space clear. Image: Bobby Berk Home

Find more storage

How does Bobby Berk completely transform large spaces in just a week? A key tool is storage. By finding a place for everything, you instantly make a room feel put-together. When talking about how helping Bobby Camp (Season 1, Episode 5) organize his home helped him organize his life, Berk told Metropolis, “When people are happy in their space, it really spills out to the rest of their lives.”

By creating enough storage to keep things in order, you improve your happiness and your room’s flow. Berk gave PopSugar some great tips on increasing storage: mount cabinets, create storage under bench seating or other multipurpose furniture and don’t forget about the space under your bed.

bobby berk - tempaper

Dress up your space without commitment using removable wallpaper. Image: Tempaper by Bobby Berk

Try temporary wallpaper

Berk, ever the accent wall advocate, knows that taking a big design leap can feel scary. On his blog, he points out that temporary wallpapers are an ideal way to dip your toe into a bold pattern or bright print without fully committing. He even has a line of them with Tempaper. We’ve rounded up some removable wallpaper ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Follow in Berk’s footsteps by exploring deeper hues and statement prints.

He also points out that temporary wallpaper isn’t just for walls. You can use it in the backs of cabinets and bookcases for a fun splash. Feeling overwhelmed by the print you just put up? He’s got a tip for that, too. Add some matted art to create white space that can balance the wall.

Whether you’ve never seen an episode of the showor you’re a diehard Fab Five fan, these design tips can help you transform your space. Do you have a favorite Bobby Berk design from “Queer Eye”?

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