Karen Adelson - Barrett Sotheby's International Realty


Image by Mike Gattorna from Pixabay

The benefits of buying a luxury home that's under new construction include customizing it to fit your life and your family, and choosing your own finishes is a perfect way to achieve this goal. But which finishes will still maintain their beauty under the stress of busy families on the go? Which ones require the least maintenance and will wear well under heavy traffic? Our experts have put together the perfect primer for homebuyers who want to customize their new construction from the ground up, so that the surfaces look great, last long and require minimal upkeep. Here's what we recommend:

Cast Concrete Countertops

Concrete tops the list for designing versatile-yet-gorgeous countertops. Completely customizable right down to the color, concrete is an upscale, elegant material for countertops in both kitchen and bath, and it has benefits that make it worth the effort, including:

  • Superior Heat Resistance
  • Extreme Durability
  • Ease of Maintenance
  • Versatility
  • When you choose cast concrete as your choice of countertop, you can customize it to fit any shape and any space. You can even choose to have materials such as decorative river rock embedded. You can have your concrete countertops dyed, stamped or polished to ensure that they're custom to your luxury home and your home only. 

    Eco-Friendly Flooring

    Even if you're drawn to exotic hardwoods such as jatoba (Brazilian cherry), resist the urge to install them in your new luxury home because they contribute to harmful deforestation of the world's rainforests. Opt for eco-friendly, sustainable woods instead. There are plenty from which to choose, including:

  • Bamboo
  • Cork
  • Plantation Teak
  • Reclaimed wood is a viable alternative to non-sustainable wood, as well. Old barn timbers and salvaged pine logs make beautiful, luxurious flooring options that add history and architectural appeal to every home without harming the planet. 

    Sustainable Cabinetry

    Wood is, far and away, the most popular choice for luxury kitchen cabinetry. And it's not just the type of wood used, but the style and design of the cabinets, as well. For upscale, luxurious wooden cabinets in your kitchen, pantry or bath, consider American hardwoods such as cherry, maple, alder or ash. The growth and harvesting of these trees are monitored by the American Hardwood Export Council and strict best management practices ensure that no species is stressed or over-harvested. Additionally, they're exceptionally hard to withstand all the dings and scratches that come with family use. Lastly, they look exquisite when installed in your kitchen as paneled ends on upper cabinetry, decorative legs on islands, and as the frames for elegant, glass-paned doors. 

    Your new luxury home is only made better by customization. Talk with your builder today about which finishes you'd like to see incorporated, and you'll love the end result even more. 


    Photo by PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay


     

    Hanging baskets add personal enjoyment as well as curb appeal to any home. If you're the creative type, you may prefer to make your own rather than purchase ready-made hanging baskets from home and garden retailers. However, DIY hanging baskets sometimes fail to thrive. The following tips and tricks help ensure that your baskets look and perform their best from spring through fall. 

    Choose Plants According to Sun/Shade Requirements

    Sun-loving plants such as petunias languish and eventually fail to even bloom if placed in areas that don't meet their sun requirements, while shade-lovers such as impatiens and fuchsia may literally burn up if they're exposed to hours of hot sun on a regular basis. 

    If the sun requirements aren't listed on the tag that comes with the plant, check online or in your favorite encyclopedia-style gardening book and make sure that you select appropriate locations for your baskets. Also, keep in mind that varieties that thrive in shaded locations often do quite well in morning sun

    Choose Plants That Bloom All Season

    Most annual plants bloom from spring or early summer until frost,  so stick with them rather than using perennials for your hanging baskets. You'll have to replace them every spring, but that helps keep things interesting and fun. 

    Pick Off Spent Blooms 

    When flowers go to seed, that sends a signal to the plant that it's time to start slowing down on the blooming process and focus its energy on seed production. Picking off spent blooms, or deadheading, helps fools the plant into continuing to produce flowers. Some annual varieties, such as Wave petunias, have been bred to keep producing even after individual blossoms go to seed, so these make good choices for busy homeowners who may not have time to pay meticulous attention to their hanging baskets. 

    Use Potting Soil Designed to Retain Water

    Plants growing in hanging baskets require more watering than their counterparts growing in cultivated flower beds because their roots can't reach down deep to access water sources. Using a potting soil designed to retain water helps hedge their bets against drying out before you can get a chance to water them. 

    Use Potting Soil With a Slow-Release Fertilizer

    Fertilizing hanging baskets with traditional products is tricky — if you apply too much, you run the risk of damaging or even killing the plants, and if you use too little, the fertilizer won't provide the desired benefits. Using potting soil that's infused with a slow-release fertilizer circumvents both of these problems.  

    Making your own hanging baskets not only saves you a bit of money at the home and garden center, it also helps you avoid the mass-produced look of the majority of ready-made hanging baskets.


    The presence of a patio in your home can mean lots of convenience for you and your family. There are also many fantastic ways that having a terrace will make your life comfortable, and enhance your lifestyle. Having a patio is way more than having some pots of plants. Here are some ways to make sure that you get the best from this part of your home:

    Extra home space

    Attaching a patio to your home will make sure it is convenient to use. A patio extends your outdoor floor space without the added expenses of a home extension. Patios can be the perfect spot for outdoor living by adding some furniture like a sofa, table, heating, and lighting to spice things up.

    Games, drinks and entertainment area

    If you are into board games and cards, you can have a pool table on your patio. Pool tables take quite a lot of space when used indoors, and they fit nicely outdoor. To spice things up, place a bar for drinks and a dart wall carefully fixed on the wall. These pieces will come together to be the perfect setting for a fun evening with family and friends.

    Play area for children

    For a patio attached to a home, it will have a single wall. You can get creative and fill the other two side with a canopy to keep wind and weather out. If you have small kids that love to play with toys, this can be the perfect spot. Toys that use up a lot of space in the house will be perfect here. If you are thinking of throwing a kid party, a patio is also ideal. You keep the kids contained to limit the area that can be messed up.

    Ideal for Outdoor Meals 

    If you are a big fan of alfresco meals, your patio will be the perfect spot to enjoy your barbeque. Besides, if you are not are not a big fan of TV, your Patio will give you a nice comfortable place to keep in touch with nature. 

    Your patio can be transformed into another dining room, a greenhouse or a spot for sleep out. If you love Jacuzzi, you can install it! If you have a patio, there are many uses for it. It depends on you and how far you want to go. Make the ultimate use of your patio by furnishing and decorating it to your taste. Once you have tweaked the patio to your liking, you can genuinely enjoy and have fun in there.


    After buying a gorgeous new house your old furniture can feel a bit… outdated and drab. Suddenly your favorite pieces are beaten up and shabby. And the ones you thought were okay are intolerable, eyesores.

    If after your move a top-to-bottom redecorating project isn’t option right away, and for most of us it isn’t, you don’t need to feel stuck with unappealing furniture.

    The truth is you just need some creativity and a few free weekends to dedicate to reworking your current pieces.

    Start with the pieces that just need a facelift. Touch up scratched or scuffed paint and polish any hardware. Then experiment with their placement. Maybe the office bookcase looks better in the living room and the credenza is right at home in your bedroom. Being willing to experiment to find the most unique and best fit!

    Reupholster chairs, stools or even your sofa for a whole new lease on life. If you’ve never reupholstered before start with a simple project like a chair before jumping into a more advanced one (like your couch). Choose a bold new color for a statement piece or fresh neutral for a crisp, clean feel.

    Add new legs to a sofa, chair or table. And yes! You can change out the legs to a couch. Add thin modern legs to update an old couch or swap out a round shape for a square-one, or vice-versa. You can even DIY a new table altogether by installing your top of choice onto a set of legs.  

    You don’t always have to add to your furniture to make it look fresh and new. Sometimes it’s what you take away that counts. Experiment with removing hardware altogether from drawer pulls and doors from cabinets for an open shelf look. Try removing arms from a chair or the back altogether from a sofa. These last two are perfect to try if you’re already upholstering the furniture.

    Add contact paper in your color or pattern of choice to update a glass top or particle board piece. There are so many options and in classy options. You can opt for faux marble print or just a sleek black. Metal furnishings can be freshened up with metallic spray paint in a new modern tone. Or go all in and refinish a natural wood piece after sanding.

    Avoid dwarfing your apartment-sized furniture by arranging it away from the walls. This will create a feeling of spaciousness in the room. If you have an area rug large enough to do so arrange all of your furniture within its bounds. This makes a room feel more pulled together and will keep your furniture from slipping all over bare wooden floors.

    When it is time to upgrade do so slowly over time and prioritize by its importance to your lifestyle. This could be a new mattress, couch or cool new rug. What will make the biggest difference to your lifestyle? Start there.