Five Essentials Every Home Should Have

Regardless of whether it is a tiny apartment, a sprawling mansion, or anything in between, the space that you call your home is an essential part of your life. It’s the place where you begin and end most days. It is filled with things that you love and that help you function throughout your daily life. It is the place where you can both invite family and friends over but also steal some quiet time to yourself. As such an important place, what we put into our homes and how they are designed to function should be considered with care. There are a few items that we think are essential to have in a home. Keep reading to find out what they are.


Art and Décor 

Décor and art are all too often viewed as an after thought in the home. But without it you risk the home feeling sterile and lacking in emotional connection. Even just a few well-placed pieces can give your home personality and a lived-in appearance. Luckily, there are a plethora of options when it comes to home décor. And since it is your house, you get to choose the type of decor you want to display. The only person whose tastes you must satisfy are your own, and perhaps the other people who live there with you. Add art that is meaningful to you. That could range any where from a contemporary piece of art to stylized scenic scenes or perhaps something that would fit in well with classical art or even family or vacation photos that you have taken yourself.


Comfortable Mattress (With Quality Bedding)

One of the most important activities that takes place within a home is sleep. You may joke that you barely need it, but even the hardiest of individuals must admit that without at least some sleep your body will not be able to function the way it should. As such, ensuring that your home can provide you with the best sleep possible should be a no brainer. Achieving that goal should start with investing in the perfect mattress that fits your needs. Another thing that can play a big role in quality of sleep is bedding. This is another area that you don’t want to skimp on. Thread counts aren’t everything, but they do make a difference. Material choice can help regulate temperature so look for materials that will create the ideal sleeping environment for you. A nice comforter or duvet can also help to add a little bit of functional personality to the bedroom.


A Place to Entertain

Chances are at some point you will host guests, be it an intimate family gathering or large-scale party with friends, and when that happens you will need a place to entertain these people. The reasons for why you are hosting guests will play a big factor in what areas will be ideal. A quality kitchen will be important for people who enjoy hosting group meals, whereas if you more often have people over to watch movies or sporting events then the living room or family room will be more important. Or if you’re lucky enough to live in a place with good weather then you may find yourself hosting backyard pool parties or barbeques. If you know which areas of your home you will be most likely to use for entertaining then you can make sure it is equipped and ready for hosting those gatherings. Also, make sure you have a bathroom set aside that your guests can use.


Caruth 1.jpg

A Place to Relax

Your home is your space, and while that might include inviting other people over to share in that space with you from time to time, your home ultimately needs to suit your needs. And something that everyone needs at some point is to be able to unwind and relax. Preferred methods of relaxation will vary. Some people may like to take a relaxing bubble bath, others may want to find a quiet corner to curl up with a good book, others still may prefer to take a nap, or perhaps find a peaceful place outdoors where they can enjoy nature. Regardless of your preferred method, make sure your home includes a place where you can comfortably unwind and relax.


Window Treatments

Natural light can make a significant difference in how a room feels. More natural light provides a light and airy feeling that can make rooms seem larger and fresher. But leaving your windows unadorned in an effort to maximize natural light isn’t the best option. At the very least you will want to have blinds or screens of some sort to allow for privacy when needed or to block out the sun when it is at just the right height that it shines right in your eye. Another good option to try would be lighter weight fabric curtains. Even if you’ve taken the time to carefully add design elements throughout a room, completely bare windows will stick out like a sore thumb and make the room feel cold and unfinished.

2018 Summer Home Maintenance Guide

Are you ready to welcome in another summer season? Ready or not, summer officially started yesterday. And with the start of a new season comes the chance to start another home maintenance to do list. Keep reading to find out a few tasks that we recommend tackling this season.


Spend More Time Outside

We’ll start out with an easy and hopefully enjoyable task. Summer typically means nice weather accompanied by longer days, so it is the perfect time to enjoy some fresh air. If you’re home has an outdoor living area or pool then carve out some extra time to spend using it. Even just bringing a chair out onto a porch or laying in the grass to enjoy a good book are some great at home options for getting more outdoor time. If your home doesn’t provide any good ways to enjoy the outdoors then so some searching for a local park or just go for a walk through your home’s neighborhood.

General Clean Up

The time for spring cleaning might be passed, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to skirt around keeping your house clean. For the summer focus on tasks that will help keep you cool. Dust your fan blades so that when they’re running they’re not also spreading dust throughout the air. Do the same with your air registers throughout the house to further help prevent spreading dust. It will also help keep your A/C running more efficiently by eliminating blockage around the vents. This is also a good time to check and replace you’re HVAC filter. Finally, consider getting your HVAC ducts inspected and professionally cleaned if needed. Summer temperatures can get hot so ensuring that the A/C is running efficiently is vital.


Touch Up Exterior Paint

A little bit of paint touch ups can go a long way to making your house look great. Summer’s more pleasant weather makes this a good time to tackle this task, although if you live in an area where summers can get exceedingly hot you may want to get it done soon. You don’t need to do a full repaint of your house, although if it has been a while it might be worth considering that larger task, but do a thorough inspection of your home’s exterior and touch up any areas where the paint is peeling or looking a bit worse for ware. Other exterior areas where some fresh paint might be beneficial are exterior doors, window trim, and outdoor living areas.

Plan Bathroom Remodels

When was the last time your bathroom got a facelift? If the answer is a long time ago then perhaps it is time to start planning a remodel. A well done master bathroom in particular can be a great benefit both for your own needs and for the ultimate resale value of your home. The master bath should be a peaceful and private retreat where you can relax and unwind. If your master bathroom isn’t giving you those vibes then it might be time to make some changes. Start planning now so that you can get the project started late fall or early 2019.

Hot Water Heater Maintenance

Chances are you will not be relying on your hot water heater quite as much during the summer which makes this the perfect time to perform some maintenance and perhaps make a change or two to increase its longevity. A key maintenance step is to drain the tank and wash out sediment, a task that should be performed annually. Another worthwhile task is to check and replace the anode rod if it has deteriorated too much. Adding some insulation around the tank and/or pipes can help increase the unit’s efficiency. And given the outdoor heat, summer is a good time to turn the unit’s temperature down a few degrees and save on your electric bill.


Pay Attention to Water and Your Landscape

Being a plant can be rough in the summer with the hot temperatures and lack of rain. Keep a watchful eye on the wellbeing of your landscaping so that if plants or grass start to look a bit dry you can nip the problem in the bud before anything is too far gone to save. If you have a sprinkler system set it to run early in the morning before the sun comes up to maximize its effectiveness. Be sure to check if your city has any specific guidelines about lawn watering to make sure you aren’t breaking any rules. Also keep an eye out for any standing or pooling water as these can far too easily become mosquito breeding grounds.


Project Spotlight: Modern Convenience in a Historic Home

Over the past two months our blog has featured an in depth look at the kitchen and living room portion of the remodel of this historic Dallas home. In our latest blog post it’s time to take a closer look at another major portion of the project: an elevator addition. The homeowners loved their home and wanted to be able to age in place. As such, their home needed to be equipped to handle any changing needs they might have in the future. Because they were already engaged with the large-scale remodel of other areas of the home, they decided that this was the perfect time to tackle the addition of an elevator to help make their future, and current, lives easier.


Adding an elevator onto a home tastefully can be tricky. In most cases, including this project, there is not enough space in the existing home for an elevator so that space has to be added on. But all too often these elevator shaft additions can stick out like a sore thumb. In many cases the elevator shaft addition is just a rectangular tower tacked on to an exterior wall of the house. The homeowners greatly valued the Tudor style and design of their home and did not want to sacrifice those elements for the sake adding an elevator. They wanted the elevator addition to seem like it had always been an intentional part of the home.


To accommodate the homeowners’ desires, careful thought was put into the design of the elevator shaft. Architecturally, the elevator shaft was designed to mimic the look of a European castle turret. The three niches within the exterior of the shaft resemble windows and their ascending placement around the shaft gives the structure an appearance of housing something like a rounded staircase. But the niches are not actually windows. They were made using a slate background and a steel grid that matches the new windows in the living room and kitchen to closely mimic the look of a window. To further aid in ensuring that the elevator shaft blends in with the design of the home’s existing exterior, the brick and stone masonry material was carefully matched with material originally used on the home when it was first built.


Some of the landscaping in the courtyard had to be reworked to accommodate the new elevator addition. The walking path was rearranged as it used to lead to an exterior entry door where the elevator shaft was added. New built in flower beds were added around the shaft that tie in with the existing flower beds. Again, the brick and stone masonry that was used match original materials used to construct the house to create a seamless transition between the old and new parts. If someone were to walk through the courtyard they would never know that the tower-esque structure had not been built along with the original house.


The interior of the elevator is paneled with dark stained wood that matches wood wall paneling on the second-floor landing. The brass finishing of the elevator mechanics gives it a classy and high end finish. On the first floor the elevator entrance can be found on the far side of the remodeled bar. Its close proximity to the kitchen and living room allows for added convenience of use in the large house. On the second floor the elevator opens to a hallway that leads to the master suite. Placing the elevator in this location allows for the best possible access to the areas of the house most used by the homeowners.

2018 Spring Home Maintenance Guide

Another winter has come and gone and today we mark the official return of spring. As you prepare to say goodbye to the cold and welcome back the warmer weather, it’s also time to knock out a new list of tasks to keep your house in good working order. Keep reading for a few ideas of what we recommend adding to your to do list over the next few months.


Spring Cleaning

It seems only right that we start with this quintessential and often dreaded task. A refreshed, uncluttered, and cleaned up home is a great way to welcome in the new season. Play to your strengths as you approach this task. If you prefer powering through something until it’s complete, then set aside a weekend and make spring cleaning your top priority. If you’re better working in small chunks, then make a schedule with specific goals that you can accomplish throughout the season. It may be a chore, but you’ll appreciate the effort once it’s done.

Clean Windows

Longer and sunnier days are on their way! Don’t let dirty windows stop you from enjoying them. Take some time to do a thorough cleaning. Wash both the inside and outside of the panes as well as the indoor sills and surrounding trim. Also, visually inspect the caulking and sealing around your windows for deterioration or leaks. Fix any issues that you find now to help keep the cooler air in come summer by taking time to maintain your windows now.





Prep Outdoor Living Areas

The shift towards more pleasant weather means increased opportunities to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. While the cold of winter may still linger for a few more weeks, this is an ideal time to begin preparing your outdoor living space. Get furniture out of storage, dewinterize outdoor plumbing (once there are no more freezes), and make sure your outdoor appliances and equipment are in good working order. If anything needs to be replaced or added get it now before the summer rush at stores.

Deep Clean Floors

Winter weather can wreck havoc on your floors with all the dirt and muck that gets tracked in. Give your floors a fresh start this spring by giving them a good deep cleaning. Some floor cleaning can be DIY-ed without bringing in a professional, but we recommend researching best practices for your floors before starting to avoid inadvertently harming them. Give extra attention to entryways and mudrooms as they see the most traffic coming in from the outdoors.

General Home Maintenance Tasks

Once again, when a new season starts there are a few general home maintenance tasks to add to your to-do list. First,  clean out and make any necessary repairs to your gutters so that they are ready to handle the spring rain deluge. While you’re outside start prepping your gardens. Clear out weeds, lay new mulch, and do any other necessary prep so that when planting time arrives everything is ready. Another task to complete is to test run your air conditioning unit. The temperature outside might not be warm enough to warrant turning the A/C back on full time, but if there are any issues with the unit then you’ll want to get them fixed now and not be left without access to cool air when the summer heat hits,


Inspect Roof

Spring tends to bring with it some of the wettest weather of the year and the last thing anyone wants during an intense rainstorm is to find out that their roof is bad. Unexpected leaks or hidden damages that have festered over time often require immediate attention when they are discovered. To help prevent that unfavorable scenario, take time now to inspect your roof. At the very least do a visual inspection for glaring issues. If your roof is older or if you have any reason to suspect that it has sustained damage then it would be wise to bring in a professional to do a closer inspection. You may also want to consider this option if it has been a while since your roof’s last professional inspection.

Inspect Attic

Spring’s moderate temperatures make it an ideal time to knock out a few tasks in the attic. Inspect for signs of unwanted critters or insects who may have made your attic their home. These pests can cause significant damage if not taken care of promptly. Also look around for signs of mold. Conditions in the attic provide good breeding grounds for mold growth. Finally, take stock of everything you have stored up there. Get rid of itemsyou don’t need and spend some time organizing what you want to keep so that when you need something it is easy to find.

Take a Home Tour

When it comes to planning home remodels the internet is a good source of inspiration. But nothing beats getting to see things in person instead of on a screen. A great way to do that is by going on a local home tour. If you live in a growing area search out new construction sites with model or show homes. Open houses are another option, although you won’t be assured that you’re seeing the latest and greatest in home design. But homes on the market want to attract buyers so hopefully they will have undergone some updates to make them appealing. One of the best parts of touring local homes is that you’ll get the chance to see designs that are popular in your area. If trying to ensure the highest return on investment is an important factor in your remodeling plans then you’ll want to ensure you’re sticking to popular local trends.

Project Spotlight: Upgraded Living Room in a Historic Dallas Home

Cover Photo.jpg

Last month we featured the kitchen remodel of this home on our blog. If you haven’t read it, we would recommend checking it out, or at least look through the photos to see the incredible transformation. But the remodel work at this home was not limited to the kitchen. This month we wanted to focus on the remodel of the living area as we continue this behind the scenes look at the remodel of this historic Dallas home. The remodeled living room was part of an effort to create a more open and inviting general living area that both incorporated modern amenities and honored the home’s heritage.  Once again working with designer Mark Fletcher of Deleo & Fletcher Designs, the homeowners created a living room where they could relax in comfort and style.


As with the kitchen, the main footprint and layout of the living room did not change in the course of the remodel, but the room did receive a complete update throughout . Due to adjusting a few of the walls, adding larger windows, and some necessary rewiring, the space had to be gutted down to the studs during the remodel. The open-door frames that led to the former garden room and to the bar were removed to promote a better sense of openness between the connected rooms. Constructing a truly open living space between the living room and kitchen areas was not practical with the project, but the increased connectivity between the rooms creates as close to an open living space as possible.


The focal point of the remodeled living room is the fireplace. A new custom designed limetone surround with matching mantle and hearth replaced the old dated brick surround and hearth. The new limestone surround has a very traditional design to it that is right at home within the overall design style of the home. The wall tile that spans the distance between the fireplace and adjacent bookshelves and between the mantle and the ceiling blends well with the limestone and helps make the fireplace appear even larger. The TV above the fireplace is hung on a pull-down wall mount that allows the homeowners to lower the TV to an easier viewing height when in use.


To either side of the fireplace are new built in cabinets and bookshelves. The undershelf lighting help to highlight the art pieces and décor that are displayed on them. As avid art collectors, the homeowners wanted to ensure that their collection could be properly displayed throughout the home. Special care was taken with the lighting placement throughout the living room to make sure pieces were properly highlighted. The cabinets and shelves were painted the same blue as the wall color to form a cohesive look. The white tongue and groove backing behind the shelves provides a break in the dark color and helps the bookshelves stand out.


Connecting the living room and the kitchen is a wet bar. The original bar area, like the other rooms, was very dark and had dated décor. The mirror wall, in particular, had a very 80’s vibe to it. The bar cabinets were replaced with new custom designed cabinets that match the design of the cabinets in the kitchen and were painted to match the blue color of the walls. The mirror wall was replaced with a metallic arabesque shaped tile backsplash. Paired with the undershelf LED lighting, the tile creates a unique design element. Included in the wet bar is an undercounter beverage fridge, and panel front fridge drawer and nugget ice machine.

The bar area also includes the first-floor entrance to the elevator addition (which we’ll take a closer look at in an upcoming blog post) and a pocket doggy door. As owners  of several small dogs, the homeowners wanted a way to coral their pups when needed but they didn’t want it to take away from the high-end style of the home. The solution was the pocket doggy door that was custom built to match the design style of the home. It features leaded glass and dark stained wood that matches the wood door frame.





New floor to ceiling steel framed windows with matching doors that lead to the courtyard and backyard replaced the old small wood clad windows. The new windows allow for a plethora of natural light throughout the area as well as beautiful views to the well landscaped outdoor areas. As with the breakfast room, Lutron controlled shutters provide privacy when needed but without feeling bulky like the wood plantation shutters that covered the old windows.


Stylish and classy, the remodeled living room both honors the history of the home and provides the homeowners with modern comforts and amenities. The room feels high-end but also inviting and is the perfect place for the homeowners to relax by themselves or host family and friends. But let’s face it, it’s really the homeowners’ two adorable dogs that will enjoy the new digs the most.