Improve Your Credit Score In 100 Days

 

a couple in front of their home

5 steps that can improve your credit score in 100 days or less

Low-interest rates, a strong economy and the turn of the seasons are all causing the real estate market to heat up. More homes on the market bring more competition to buy the inventory that is out there. And one way to stand apart from other buyers who are vying for their dream home is to take steps to improve your credit score now.

 

“Preparing your finances is a must before the busy real estate season,” says Barrett Burns, president, and CEO of credit score model developer VantageScore Solutions. “Knowing your credit scores and making improvements is essential to getting the best loan at the best rates. This also makes you a more attractive home buyer, especially in a competitive market.”

 

With limited time, you may think there’s nothing you can do to improve your score. Burns says that’s an incorrect assumption. While you can’t make dramatic jumps in just a couple months, there are several steps you can take that may influence your score to increase enough to get you prequalified for the loan you want.

 

Keep in mind, lenders will pull your scores from all three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and the TransUnion), so it’s wise to check your credit report from each of them. You can do so for free once every 12 months at AnnualCreditReport.com. For best results, monitor at least one credit score from each of the bureaus. You also can check your credit score for free through a large number of online services, such as CreditKarma.com, NerdWallet.com or Credit.com. Other sites offering free VantageScore credit scores can be found at VantageScore.com/free.

 

Once you have your reports in hand, you can take steps that may have a positive impact on your scores.

 

Step 1: Check for errors

A credit report gives a comprehensive list of your lines of credit and payment history. The first step is to review your credit report for errors and take steps to make corrections, including past and present names, loan amounts and credit cards in your name.

 

When checking your credit score, bear in mind that some differences in credit scores across bureaus are normal. But if one of the three credit scores is an extreme outlier, it could be worth double-checking your credit report from that bureau to make sure it doesn’t reflect any questionable or erroneous activity.

 

Step 2: Don’t miss a payment

Creditors are interested in seeing how you manage credit, and the consistency of behavior counts. You should always pay at least the minimum amount due on bills on time every month. An easy way to ensure you don’t miss a payment is to sign up for automatic bill pay when available.

 

Step 3: Lower credit utilization levels

Credit utilization is the ratio of a credit card balance to the credit limit. If your balance is $5,000 and your credit limit is $10,000, then your credit utilization for that credit card is 50 percent. In general, a good credit utilization is less than 30 percent, so if you have a higher ratio, consider using your tax refund to pay down this debt.

 

Step 4: Don’t close old credit cards

If you have a credit card that is no longer used but was previously paid off on time each month, don’t close the account. Not only is this good for your credit utilization ratio, but it also is another indicator you’re a responsible candidate for a loan.

 

Step 5: Don’t apply for new credit

Avoid applying for any new credit, such as an auto loan or a new credit card account, between now and the time you will close on a home purchase. Lenders considering your loan application request your credit score from one or more credit bureaus. And these lender “inquiries” are recorded with one or more of the three national credit bureaus, which may lower your credit score by 10 to 20 points. The score decreases typically only last a few months, as long as you continue to make payments on time. But unless they’re absolutely necessary, try to avoid additional inquiries until after you’ve secured your mortgage.

 

If you follow these five steps, you may see an increase in your score within a few months so you can get a loan and be an attractive buyer when it comes time to put in a bid for your dream home.

 

Keep in mind, the more you can put toward the down payment, the more instant equity you’ll have, the lower your monthly payment will be, and the better your chances are of not needing private mortgage insurance (PMI), which can add hundreds of dollars to your monthly payment.

 

Plus, if you’re able to put down more than a lender requires, a mortgage company may be willing to give you a pass on other issues on your application, such as a less-than-stellar credit score. (BPT)

Home Cleaning Routines For Allergy Relief

Home Cleaning Routines For Allergy ReliefThe Article Courtesy of Aurora Home Inspections

Many people turn to nasal sprays and antihistamines to combat seasonal nasal allergies or hay fever, but keeping the home clean to combat allergens, pollen and dust mite debris is just as important in the fight against allergies.

Vacuum often, and with the right filters and bags:

One key to minimizing allergens at home is to vacuum at least twice per week. Start by using attachments to clean surfaces up high, working down to the floor. Make sure to vacuum curtains and upholstery as well as hard surfaces, and pay extra attention to entryways and areas around windows.

It’s also important to select vacuum accessories that have been designed specifically to capture allergens. Arm & Hammer Premium Allergen vacuum bags are specially designed of synthetic material to capture even more allergens, dust and pet hair from the home’s surfaces. In addition, the brand’s HEPA filters trap particles 75 times smaller than a human hair, including 99.97 percent of dust mite debris, animal dander, molds and pollen.

Frequently replacing vacuum bags and filters will keep vacuums running smoothly to keep a clean home happening. New bags are needed every one to two months, and filters should be replaced every three to six months. Don’t be fooled by washable filters as they too should be replaced — after one or two washes they may become less effective at capturing dust and allergens.

Wash bedding with hot water:

Vacuuming high and low can help with surfaces, but bedding also should be a focus when attempting to allergen-proof the home. Sheets, blankets and comforters all attract dust mites in even the cleanest environments. Wash bedding once a week in hot water to keep allergens at bay. It’s also smart to consider protective covers for mattresses and pillows to stop dust mites from getting in too deep.

Keep air dry:

Too much moisture in the air can help dust mites thrive, and may also lead to mold. Using a dehumidifier, especially in humid climates or summer months, can help control the spread of mold and dust mites.

Minimize indoor plants:

While plants can be a great way to build ambiance in the home, some indoor plants can amplify allergy symptoms by releasing spores and other allergens into the air. For those with a green thumb who can’t live without plants at home, make sure to research the plants that are least likely to increase pollen or mold exposure indoors.

Keep the outdoors out:

While it is hard to control exposure to pollen and other triggers when outside, those with allergies can avoid bringing pollen into the house with them. Keep shoes and jackets limited to the entryway or mudroom, and shower and wash hair before bedtime to stop the spread of pollen.

There is a range of Arm & Hammer bag and filter styles made to fit nearly all brands and models of vacuum cleaners, sold at Wal-Mart stores and www.walmart.com.

– (BPT)

 

How to Clean a Room to be Allergy-Free


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Tips For Setting The Perfect Holiday Table

Tips for setting the perfect holiday tableFrom your friends at Aurora Home Inspections

Every holiday season, you invest hours planning and preparing the perfect menu for each celebration you host. While easy and fun may be the name of the game for buffet-style events, when it’s a sit-down soiree, the delightful cuisine you produce deserves a presentation worthy of your efforts. A beautifully set table can elevate your holiday dinner from just great to simply perfect.

“Table-setting is an art form anyone can learn to execute beautifully,” says Mary Bernardo, director of product development at Princess House, a leading provider of unique and exclusive cookware, food storage and home and entertainment products. “Simple touches like elegant holiday plates, colorful linens and an eye-catching centerpiece ensure a holiday table looks as inviting as the food smells.”

Bernardo and the table decor experts at Princess House offer these tips for creating a beautiful holiday dinner table:

Layers look lovely:

Tablecloths, placemats, table runners and chargers not only help protect your table from spills and scrapes, but they also create a lovely backdrop for dishes, glasses, stemware and — of course — the food. Layering these items adds depth and interest to the tabletop.

Consider starting off with a simple white or red tablecloth, and then add either placemats in seasonal patterns or a festive runner. If chargers take up too much room on the table (or too much of your holiday budget), you can layer dinner and lunch plates to create the same effect. For example, place a Pavillion Berry Dinner Plate from Princess House beneath a Poinsettia Lunch Plate. The solid deep red of the dinner plate is the perfect complement to the elegant creamy background and poinsettia pattern of the lunch plate.

Keep dishware seasonal and simple:

“It’s been said simplicity is the soul of elegance, and that’s certainly true when you’re setting a holiday dinner table,” Bernardo says.

Choose dishes with a basic white or cream background accented with a traditional holiday motif. Flatware should also be simple; if your everyday collection is in good condition, feel free to use it for your holiday celebrations. If you don’t have enough pieces, supplement with basic flatware that’s free of embellishment or heavy designs. Glassware should also be simple and, whenever possible, multi-functional. For example, stemless wine glasses can be used for soft drinks and water, as well as wine.

Add seasonal accents:

Even the simplest table setting can feel festive when you add holiday-specific touches, like napkin rings in jewel green or red, a centerpiece filled with evergreen or holly and twinkling candles.

For a centerpiece that’s festive and practical, consider using your favorite holiday serving bowl, such as a crystal bowl, for the foundation. Then add holiday decor items, like mini Christmas packages, your favorite Christmas tree decorations or a pillar candle in a holiday hue like red, green or snow white. Top with a few sprigs of evergreen, holly or fresh flowers and you have an easy, elegant DIY centerpiece.

Finally, don’t overlook the opportunity to extend the table’s festive atmosphere to the chairs as well. You can add to their elegance by adding simple decoration such as a mini-holiday wreath strung on a piece of ribbon and looped over the back of the chair.

“The dinner table is where holiday magic occurs,” Bernardo says. “With a few special touches, you can set a holiday table that’s perfect for the festive and welcoming spirit of the season.”

Want to find more holiday decor and inspiration for the table? Visit www.princesshouse.com.

– (BPT)

 

Setting A Holiday Table


River Vale NJ Home Inspections 07675 Aurora Home InspectionsAurora Home Inspections has been providing 5 Star Home Inspections, Buyer’s Inspection, Certified Move In Ready, Warranty Inspection, Vacation Inspection, Maintenance Inspection and Radon Testing to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Bergen County NJ, Rockland County NY and all cities and counties in the area since 2006.

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Uniquely You Hues: Decorating With Your Personality In Mind

Helpful information from Aurora Home Inspections

Whether you realize it or not, the colors you select for your home and your personal belongings tell a lot about your personality. In fact, according to a recent survey by PPG, 58 percent of 2,500 consumers surveyed agree that colors selected for their home, car and consumer products — such as appliances and electronics — reflect their personality and style all or most of the time. In addition, 70 percent of those surveyed agreed color selection is important when purchasing paint for their home. So, how do these color preferences come about?

PPG, a global leader in paint and color, knows that consumers’ color preferences aren’t random. One’s desire for certain colors can be quite personal, as each color evokes different emotions based on our unique experiences, current events, memories and style preferences. By determining the paint color schemes that positively reflect your personality, you can identify your unique style and ultimately add a more personal touch to your home décor.

Pulling inspiration from your wardrobe is a great way to determine your color preferences. Evaluating what clothing items are your go-to staples will help inform you of the colors and styles you find most appealing. Do you live in dark denim? Paint a rich navy accent wall in your dining room. Do you love your little black dress? A front door painted PPG Paints Black Magic (PPG1001-7) makes a stunning first impression. Your favorite vacation spot can also serve as a muse in realizing your design sense. If thoughts of weekends at your family cabin bring warm memories, then deep, earthy tones will likely evoke nostalgia in reminiscing about your favorite spot.

To make paint color selection easier, the PPG Paints brand offers five-color collections that help consumers see various paint hues in context with the colors of other existing home elements, such as flooring, tile and furniture. Seeing these five-color pairings next to each other allows you to easily visualize how wall and trim colors will work with other colors in a space. Arranged by personality, style and the five senses, the collections can serve as a compass for determining which groups of colors best fit your design preferences, and ultimately, your personality.

* If you are a peaceful person that craves calmness, blues may be your go-to hue.

The Blue Persuasion paint color collection by PPG Paints provides a selection of blue paint colors, including Stormy (PPG10-14), Aqua Smoke (PPG1034-5) and Gale Force (PPG10-08), all perfect for creating a tranquil atmosphere to make you feel at ease. By incorporating minimalist and modern décor elements, you can further create a sense of serenity and clarity within your space.

* Do you consider yourself charming and carefree?

Then you may describe your home décor as pretty in pink. The brand’s Pastel Wonders paint color collection involves a wonderful mix of pink, red and beige paint colors that create dreamy ambiances that exude elegance. Colors such as Peach Brick (PPG18-26) and Subdued (PPG1015-4) provide the perfect muted backdrop for a bathroom or entryway. Consider adding a farmhouse feel to the space with distressed wood elements to embrace country charm and create a modern rustic look.

* For spirited extroverts, plum, cherry and purple hues may adorn your space.

The PPG Paints Precious Tones paint color collection provides majestic shades that radiate passion and sophistication, such as Amethyst Haze (PPG13-23) and Heart’s Afire (PPG13-14). Show off your bold nature by adding a touch of glam with metallic elements to infuse drama into

The PPG Paints Precious Tones paint color collection provides majestic shades that radiate passion and sophistication, such as Amethyst Haze (PPG13-23) and Heart’s Afire (PPG13-14). Show off your bold nature by adding a touch of glam with metallic elements to infuse drama into the space.

Using the five-color pairings alone or in conjunction with the PPG Paints The Voice Of Color game, you can discover exactly which color collection best suits your style. In examining the color schemes that are most attractive to you, the décor elements that make you feel at home, and the sentiments that you value most, among other qualifiers, you will determine which five-color collection best represents your décor preferences and ultimately which colors to incorporate into your home to best express your unique personality. Once your perfect colors are chosen, you can digitally (and easily) paint your space in a variety of colors using the PPG Paints online room painter tool. Upload your own photos, browse designer color collections, and explore popular colors by visiting www.ppgvoiceofcolor.com/digital-color/paint-color-visualizer to use the tool. – (BPT)

 


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Smaller Metros Take Action To Draw Millennials Fleeing Bigger Urban Areas

Are millennials getting ready to leave big cities in droves? Some experts in demographics, economics and real estate have predicted the millennial exodus from huge urban areas has already begun. If true, the question remains: where will they go?Are millennials getting ready to leave big cities in droves? Some experts in demographics, economics and real estate have predicted the millennial exodus from huge urban areas has already begun. If true, the question remains: where will they go?
Some may head to the suburbs, like their parents and grandparents did before them, but many will look for a different lifestyle, one that combines the advantages of suburban living with the best features of city life. Some smaller metro areas, like Wausau, Wisconsin, are banking they have the blend of economic opportunity, urban elements, affordability and lifestyle that will attract migrating millennials.

The Draw:

“Economy has always been a factor in generational migrations, and while the nature of work has changed, economic opportunity is still key to where people want to live,” says Christian Schock, director of planning, community and economic development for the City of Wausau. “Everyone wants to find a place with the winning formula of urban activities, affordability and lifestyle. Businesses want to put down roots in that environment, too, knowing it will draw a bigger pool of skilled workers.”
In recent years, the City of Wausau has made concerted efforts to position itself with both big city amenities and small town assets. By many accounts, the efforts are paying off. In a 2016 Pew Research Trust analysis of income equality nationwide, Wausau ranked first in the nation, with the middle class constituting 67 percent of the city’s total population. Wausau also ranked highest in Wisconsin and eighth nationally on Area Development magazine’s list of hot spots for new and expanding businesses.

The Formula:

Small to mid-size metro areas that want to attract millennials, as well as businesses and investors, need to address key areas, including:

  • Urbanity

In addition to the recreational and entertainment amenities often highlighted when discussing millennials, many mid-sized metros lack the diversity of housing types that can be found in a larger city which millennials might be accustomed to.
One strategy Wausau has focused on specifically is diversifying housing product. The City funded local architects to design an urban rowhouse — a housing style which did not previously exist. For over a decade, leaders proactively assembled parcels for new riverfront apartments, and continually worked with developers to seek tax credits which could be applied to renovating historic properties into unique multifamily offerings.

  • Affordability

Rising real estate costs are among the factors that kept many millennials living in cities longer than they might have liked, experts say. Mid-sized metros have an edge in making home buying more affordable for millennials — and homebuyers of all generations.
Recognized as a leader in economic development homesteading, Wausau’s Live It Up program is a partnership between local employers and the city to provide employees with a no-interest down payment assistance loan for the purchase of a home. In the last two years, the program has allocated more than $200,000 in no-interest loans to local employees.

  • Place

Millennials who came of age in urban environments have a strong affinity for multifunctional spaces, and are drawn to communities that are a walkable mix of business, retail, industry and residential. While the specific physical space needs may change, their own strong sense of identity makes them inclined to seek a region that has its own established sense of self.
Wausau has leveraged more than $100 million in new downtown development over the past decade and currently has another $100 million under construction, emphasizing the city’s identity as a vibrant, growing core. Wausau’s Riverlife Village project is reclaiming more than 16 acres of urban waterfront along the Wisconsin River to house a new park, river wharf, mixed-use office space, biking paths, apartments and a family entertainment center.
Perhaps the greatest testament to a mid-sized metro’s success is the recommitment of historic businesses to local growth. Wausau Insurance was an early innovator in workers’ compensation insurance, which evolved out of the necessity for local lumber mills to share the risk of worker rehabilitation. Now part of Liberty Mutual, the company recently announced a $50 million regional facility expansion. Wausau Window and Wall Systems and Linetec, both in the building materials industry, also trace their roots to the lumber industry, and have completed over $60 million worth of expansion and doubled the size of their workforce within the past five years, providing a strong foundation for continued economic development.
“Any resident, millennial or not, is looking for ways to connect with their community. Both businesses and residents are discovering that smaller cities can even be more responsive and creative than larger metros,” says Robert Mielke, mayor of Wausau.
To learn more about how the City of Wausau is attracting residents from big cities, visit www.wausome.org. – (BPT)

Millennials On The Move

 

Bergen County NJ Home Inspections - Aurora Home InspectionsAurora Home Inspections in Bergen County NJ has the experience and educational background to perform a thorough and complete Home Inspection. We offer an industry leading 100% satisfaction guarantee. Headquartered in Bergen County, NJ we also serve the Rockland County and NY metro areas.Bergen County NJ Home Inspection schedule

Plumbing The Possibilities: Kitchens, Showers And Baths Highlight Outdoor Living Spaces

From your friends at Aurora Home Inspection!

The trend toward outdoor living spaces that mimic the look, comfort, convenience and functionality of indoor spaces doesn’t have to stop at the backyard grilling station. A growing number of homeowners are exploring new additions to their outdoor spaces, including outdoor showers and powder rooms, and even garage entertaining areas anchored by sinks and wetbars!

While traditional plumbing techniques might once have limited just how homey you could make outdoor versions of kitchens and bathrooms, modern up-flush plumbing cost-effectively solves many problems. Above-floor macerating plumbing systems, like those from SFA Saniflo, U.S.A., allow the easy addition of a sink, shower or toilet outside, regardless of where plumbing lines are located inside. They also eliminate the need to cut through concrete if you’ll be placing your project inside a garage or on a concrete patio. Finally, the compact systems fit perfectly into smaller spaces, such as inside cabinets in an outdoor kitchen or in an outdoor powder room.

Here are four water- and drainage-dependent, outdoor living features that are more possible and popular than ever, thanks to up-flush plumbing.

  • Kitchens:

Outdoor kitchens are in high demand, and have evolved to be true mirrors of their indoor counterparts. In addition to cooking facilities, such as a grill, cooktop, or pizza oven, today’s outdoor kitchen incorporates running water.

While a sink is an obvious necessity in outdoor kitchens, traditional plumbing can limit the location, configuration, size and capabilities of the space. Up-flush plumbing affords homeowners greater flexibility in designing an outdoor kitchen.

For example, using a Sanivite drain pump to remove wastewater more than 150 feet horizontally allows homeowners to install their outdoor kitchen where they desire, rather than having to rely on gravity and grading to move water. The pump is also capable of draining up to three separate fixtures, meaning you can have a sink and a dishwasher in your outdoor kitchen.

  • Showers:

If you have a pool or are lucky enough to live near the beach, an outdoor shower can keep sand and other messes from getting tracked into the house. However, traditional plumbing practices can limit where you can locate your outdoor shower. Up-flush plumbing systems use pumps to move wastewater away from the drain, so you can locate an outdoor shower where it’s most convenient.

Products like the Sanishower fit into a small footprint and its low profile is easily concealed beneath the shower floor. Yet the system can handle drainage of up to 20 gallons per minute.

  • Wetbars:

Whether you would like to add a wetbar to a patio or tucked into a corner of the garage, up-flush plumbing can make the process easy and cost-effective. Above-floor plumbing can handle wastewater removal in spots where no drain is present or possible. This means you can easily install a wetbar on a wooden deck, concrete patio or anywhere else where installing a traditional drain would be costly and inconvenient.

  • Powder Rooms:

When is an extra bathroom ever a bad idea? Imagine hosting a backyard barbecue or pool party without the need to make guests traipse through the house to reach the facilities, or wait in line inside the house while missing all the fun going on outdoors. Exterior bathrooms can solve those dilemmas, and up-flush plumbing can make it easy to add a toilet and sink outside the house.

While tying into existing traditional plumbing lines might require you to snuggle your outdoor powder room against the side of a house, above-floor plumbing allows you to position it virtually anywhere that’s convenient and appealing for your needs. The Sanicompact is a decorative one-piece system that combines a classic china toilet bowl with a built-in macerator/pump that can handle drainage from the toilet and a nearby sink. – (BPT)

 

Build an Outdoor Kitchen Cabinet & Countertop with Sink

 

Bergen County NJ Home Inspections - Aurora Home InspectionsAurora Home Inspections in Bergen County NJ has the experience and educational background to perform a thorough and complete Home Inspection. We offer an industry leading 100% satisfaction guarantee. Headquartered in Bergen County, NJ we also serve the Rockland County and NY metro areas.Bergen County NJ Home Inspection schedule

Repair Or Replace? What To Do With A Worn-out Cooling System

From your friends at Aurora Home Inspections!

Sooner or later, every homeowner will face the same tough decision: Can you repair that malfunctioning system or appliance one more time, or is it finally time to replace it? Summer temperatures can heat up the repair-or-replace debate for homeowners living with an older cooling system.

To arrive at an answer, you must weigh numerous factors, including which option is more cost-effective over both the long- and short-term, how the existing or new system will affect the air quality of your home, and just how much reliability you require. Your decision can affect your wallet and the comfort of your home for years to come.

The heating and cooling systems experts at Champion(R) offer some guidelines for knowing whether you should repair or replace your cooling system:

When You Can Still Repair:

Sometimes, it may be preferable to repair a minor problem than to replace a system. Your cooling system might still be a candidate for repair if:

  • It’s less than 10 years old and/or is a high-quality, energy-efficient model.
  • The repair is still covered under warranty, or you will be able to pay for the repair without financing the cost.
  • The cost of the repair will be far less than the cost of replacement.
  • You can reasonably expect the repair to solve your problem.
  • Repairing the problem means that specific issue isn’t likely to reoccur throughout the system’s remaining lifespan.

When It’s Time To Replace:

  • It can be much easier to recognize the signs that it’s time to replace a worn-out cooling system. They can include:
  • A system that is 10 or more years old.
  • Frequent and repeated repairs that are adding up to be very costly.
  • Even after repairs and/or maintenance, the system still doesn’t adequately cool your home.
  • Very high energy bills. Modern cooling systems are significantly more energy-efficient than older units.
  • You can afford to finance a replacement, but can no longer afford to pay cash for repairs.
  • The unreliability of the worn-out cooling system is affecting the comfort of your home and causing you to feel stress.

Replacing A Cooling System:

When you decide replacing a cooling system makes the most sense for your needs, you’ll need to start looking for a new system. Here are some points to keep in mind:

  • Choosing an energy-efficient unit like the Champion(R) Momentum(TM) Variable Capacity Air Conditioner can greatly reduce energy bills while improving the comfort of your home. Refer to the system’s Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) to get an idea of how much more energy-efficient the new unit is. Modern air-conditioning systems can be over 50 percent more efficient than ones manufactured a decade ago.
  • It’s important to right-size your new cooling system. A system that is too small for your home won’t be able to deliver the desired comfort level and will use more energy working harder at maintaining cool temperatures. A system that is too large will also use more energy and may result in uneven cooling throughout the house. Your Champion dealer can provide a load calculation and energy analysis to help you determine the right-size system for your home.
  • Depending on the age of your home and your cooling system, you may have to repair or replace other elements, too. Have your home’s ductwork, insulation, refrigerant piping, electrical service, wiring, thermostat and other cooling system components inspected, too. Ensuring all the parts of the system are in top working order will help your new air-conditioning unit work at its best, too.

To learn more about the advantages of replacing a worn-out cooling system, what you should look for in a new system and where to find a dealer near you, visit www.championhomecomfort.com/repair. – (BPT)

 

Cleaning Your Air Conditioning Unit

 

 

Bergen County NJ Home Inspections - Aurora Home InspectionsAurora Home Inspections in Bergen County NJ has the experience and educational background to perform a thorough and complete Home Inspection. We offer an industry leading 100% satisfaction guarantee. Headquartered in Bergen County, NJ we also serve the Rockland County and NY metro areas.Bergen County NJ Home Inspection schedule

Natural Selection: Live Edge Wood Home Design

Helpful information from Aurora Home Inspections!

Live-edge hardwood, in which the sides of the slab are left unmilled to retain the natural profile of the tree trunk, is an increasingly popular decorative trend in today’s residential interiors. The technique is not only used for pieces of stand-alone furniture such as tables and benches but also for built-in elements like shelving, mantles, counter tops, bars and kitchen islands.

“Most mills cut off the rough tree edges, turning the raw timber into neat boards,” says Linda Jovanovich, of the American Hardwood Information Center at www.HardwoodInfo.com. “But the current demand for live-edge slabs has led to a small but vigorous subset of producers who specialize in the category.” These are often boutique businesses that source, dry and mill limited batches of timber for use in furniture of their own design and manufacture.

“Some larger sawmills sell live-edge slabs to the public,” Jovanovich continues. “You visit their showroom and pick your own one-of-a-kind piece of ash, cherry, red oak, walnut or whatever other hardwood species they have in stock. A cabinet maker can then custom-make a piece of furniture or a built-in feature to your exact specifications.”

Sustainability-minded entrepreneurs are responsible for another niche in the live-edge hardwood market: small urban suppliers that source culled or fallen trees from the backyards of private homes, public parks, graveyards and other leafy locations in their city and its immediate environs. One such enterprise, RE-CO BKLYN in Brooklyn, New York, recently harvested four 12,000-pound logs from a 150-year-old storm-felled elm in nearby Prospect Park. The logs were taken to an upstate mill to be sawn into live-edge slabs and dried before being shipped back to Brooklyn, where they were either sold or used by RE-CO for tables, desks, bar counters, shelves, headboards and other beautiful custom-made pieces it produces.

“It was George Nakashima, the legendary Japanese-American mid-century furniture maker, who pioneered the use of live-edge slabs in refined residential settings,” says New York–based designer Glenn Gissler. “Previously, untrimmed wood planks, sometimes with the bark still intact, were used for rustic, log-cabin or ranch-house effects — elements that referenced the traditions, myths, and aesthetics of the American Old West. With his gorgeous large-scale pieces, comprising multiple slabs of characterful woods like walnut and cherry connected with butterfly joints, Nakashima showed us how unfinished natural edges and richly figured knotted surfaces fit perfectly into even the most sophisticated urban interiors.”

Today, original Nakashima pieces are highly collectible and command high prices at auction. But his free-edge aesthetic is more influential than ever as homeowners discover the ability of live-edge furniture to work with almost any decorative style. Paired with blackened-steel legs, for example, a live-edge slab of burled walnut creates a dining table with loft-worthy industrial chic. Fixed to the bedroom wall, a free-form expense of warm-toned cherry provides a romantic headboard. Or a hefty live-edge slab of oak, supported on an equally hefty oak-slab base, makes for a monumental console with the presence of a piece of archaic sculpture. New York–based designer Laura Bohn has even used the chainsawed cross-section of an elm trunk — complete with its bark — as a counter top on which to mount a stainless steel powder-room sink. “It introduces a decidedly rustic note into a thoroughly modern space,” she says. “And yet it looks perfectly natural as if it had just grown there of its own accord.”

Visit www.HardwoodInfo.com for more about residential design trends and other applications and products using American hardwoods. – (BPT)

 

Magnificent Wood Slab Coffee Table Ideas

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzFsmfdn_hI

Bergen County NJ Home Inspections - Aurora Home InspectionsAurora Home Inspections in Bergen County NJ has the experience and educational background to perform a thorough and complete Home Inspection. We offer an industry leading 100% satisfaction guarantee. Headquartered in Bergen County, NJ we also serve the Rockland County and NY metro areas.Bergen County NJ Home Inspection schedule

 

Create Your Dream Artisanal Kitchen Now

 

artisanal kitchen

Original, handcrafted décor brings an artisanal elegance to today’s modern kitchen. Designers and homeowners alike are incorporating more one-of-a-kind pieces that bring an individualized artisanship to the heart of the home. These unique fittings and fixtures adapt to multiple style preferences, from modern and contemporary urban design to rustic elegance. When it comes to the kitchen space, handmade furniture and accessories coupled with exposed natural materials infuse a sense of artistry for unmatched style.

Authentic elegance

Handcrafted materials make for eye-catching pieces in the kitchen. An island created from reclaimed wood transforms a functional aspect of the room into a beautiful piece of art. Live-edge countertops invigorate the wood grain and serve as a centerpiece for entertaining. A hammered copper sink paired with rich gold accessories doubles as a stunning complement to earth tones. Extend wood elements throughout the entire space with exposed beams and open shelving for a unified look.

Refined fittings

Deemed the jewel of the kitchen, the faucet serves as a focal point that brings all elements of the space together. The Litze Kitchen Collection by Brizo is inspired by the revival of the arts and crafts movement to meld artisan style with clean and contemporary sensibility. Every design element — from the three distinct spout configurations to the unique handle options — makes this collection feel at home in both modern, minimal environments and urban, industrial spaces. The Brilliance Luxe Gold and split Matte Black/Brilliance Luxe Gold finishes effortlessly bring luxury and style, while knurling details add textured appeal to any artisanal kitchen design.

Curated accents

Hand-painted accessories serve as beautiful statements in the kitchen with each piece containing a story as unique as the individual who created it. Whether decorated with bold colors or a muted palette, hand-painted accessories create striking displays of authenticity and originality. Use these pieces to adorn open shelves or feature them as table centerpieces to further accentuate a curated artisanal design.

Custom hardware

Custom drawer pulls and handles make a powerful statement in kitchen design. While seemingly small, these pieces unite all elements in the room’s aesthetic. Handles wrapped in leather bring both textural and visual appeal, while hand-carved wooden pulls cater to rustic elements when paired with exposed brick or mineral gray countertops. -(BPT)

Bergen County NJ Home Inspections - Aurora Home InspectionsAurora Home Inspections in Bergen County NJ has the experience and educational background to perform a thorough and complete Home Inspection. We offer an industry leading 100% satisfaction guarantee. Headquartered in Bergen County, NJ we also serve the Rockland County and NY metro areas.Bergen County NJ Home Inspection schedule

4 Things To Consider When Choosing Siding

Selecting new siding is one of the most important curb appeal decisions homeowners face when building new or remodeling an existing home. With so many options — both classic and modern materials — there’s a lot to consider.

Many manufacturers are now combining traditional styles and materials with advanced technologies, delivering a product homeowners can love for years to come. Among all the options on the market, vinyl siding — with its various styles, textures and colors — remains the most-used product. In fact, 2016 marked 22 straight years that vinyl siding held the top spot in cladding for new single-family houses, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual home report. This material has come a long way since it was introduced in the 1950s, with manufacturers such as Ply Gem Building Products making strides in research and development efforts for design and performance.

In fact, 2016 marked 22 straight years that vinyl siding held the top spot in cladding for new single-family houses, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual home report. This material has come a long way since it was introduced in the 1950s, with manufacturers such as Ply Gem Building Products making strides in research and development efforts for design and performance.

Whether you are building a new home or remodeling, there are four key considerations every homeowner should account for when determining which siding option will best meet his or her needs: durability, design, maintenance, and affordability.

Durability

Siding selection is typically a once-in-a-lifetime decision, making durability a key factor for many. Homeowners should look for a siding option that is resistant to every element, including rain, wind and even the sun.

Manufacturers now offer siding products with technologies that resist the damaging impact of the sun, preserving color for the lifetime of the home. Options, like Ply Gem’s Mastic Vinyl Siding SolarDefense Reflective Technology, expand exterior home design with darker, on-trend colors that can make your home the envy of the neighborhood.

Design & color

Today, the most overwhelming decision for many when considering siding options can be style and color — but it doesn’t need to be. There are several primary siding material options available to homeowners — vinyl, aluminum, steel, wood, brick, fiber cement, stucco and stone — and countless color and style options within each material type.

To help you determine what might look best, seek the advice of a siding specialist like a contractor, builder or architect for help. They can educate you on color coordination and what would go well with the neighborhood, while still giving personalized options for your home.

Also, check out online resources like Ply Gem’s home exterior visualizer to experiment with different options and customize your style.

“In recent years, homeowners have been getting more creative and choosing bolder colorful options for their exterior,” said Pat Verlodt, president of Color Services & Associates, an organization that identifies color trends and educates consumers and manufacturers about those trends. “Whether you’re looking for a certain period-specific color scheme to align with historical significance, for a new palette to freshen up your curb appeal, or for a specific panel texture, such as cedar shake or wood clapboard, my recommendation is to look at vinyl.

It provides the homeowner the freedom to add low-maintenance color and definition that will never go out of style or need painting or refinishing.”

In fact, more than 400 vinyl siding colors have been certified for color retention, according to the Vinyl Siding Institute (VSI). The variety offers homeowners a virtually endless palette of fade-resistant colors, from pastels to deep hues, combined with trim, accents, and accessories. Look to manufacturers like Ply Gem that offer complementary solutions for the entire exterior.

Maintenance

Beyond style and color, homeowners are also seeking siding that is low maintenance, which reduces or eliminates the cost and personal time expended for proper upkeep. Each siding material type has a different level of care and maintenance required.

Vinyl typically requires just soap and water for periodic cleaning, and no need to paint, stain or caulk, which means little maintenance over the long term. Wood and fiber cement can require repainting every five to seven years.

Stucco will need to be repainted and sealed. Brick and stone require repointing of mortar. The earlier point about durability plays a part here too, ensuring that the option you select is free from potential time-consuming and costly repairs due to storm damage such as wind and moisture.

Affordability

Lastly, establish a financial plan and budget. By doing this homework up front, you can have a more informed consultation with potential contractors and better ensure that estimates are aligned with your budget.

Don’t forget that sometimes investing a little more into the project up front may reduce issues and maintenance costs down the road.

As you look to select new exterior siding, be sure to keep in mind these important factors — durability, design, maintenance, and affordability — to make the best choice possible for your home and lifestyle. To get started on siding your house, look to manufacturer websites such as plygem.com for siding choices, as well as home visualizer and color selection tools that help homeowners experiment with different colors and textures before making a decision. -(BPT)

Bergen County NJ Home Inspections - Aurora Home InspectionsAurora Home Inspections in Bergen County NJ has the experience and educational background to perform a thorough and complete Home Inspection. We offer an industry leading 100% satisfaction guarantee. Headquartered in Bergen County, NJ we also serve the Rockland County and NY metro areas.Bergen County NJ Home Inspection schedule