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Favorite Kitchens
There's a lot to love in today's new home kitchens.  Here are some of our favorites!  Click the pic to see more about the…

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Decor and Design

Favorite Kitchens

There's a lot to love in today's new home kitchens.  Here are some of our favorites! 

Click the pic to see more about the home, including photo galleries and floor plans!

The Wakefield Model

Most of us spend a lot of time in our kitchens, so we need them to be functional and we want them to look great.  We want them to be a fun, welcoming, busy but peaceful space where we can get lots done and feel good about where we are.  Plus, all of our guests end up in the kitchen sooner or later, right?  The Wakefield, shown above, is one of our favorites for open design and colorful backsplash accents.
 
Today's kitchens have tons of personality in the color schemes available, particularly the backsplash designs.  They are better than ever in terms of design functionality and use of space, especially for busy families.  The general trend toward natural materials is key in the kitchen, with granite remaining the most popular countertop choice with new home buyers. 




Organization continues to be a top priority for busy families who are multi-tasking, and the roles of technology and the home office continue to evolve.  For those who need 'just a little' office to keep home paperwork handy and neat, the pocket office is a great option.  Located adjacent to the kitchen, within a little nook for privacy, it blends seamlessly by using the same cabinet, tile, and countertop materials as the rest of the kitchen.  Pocket offices are typically optional features, so if your lifestyle calls for a bigger pantry instead, that's probably possible, too.  Floor plans with pocket office options include the Inglewood, Glenstone, Waverly, and Rutherford.



Another popular built-in feature in new home kitchens is the butler's pantry.  Nothing adds an upscale touch to a kitchen like a butler's pantry, which can be furnished as a china cabinet like the one below, with solid cabinet doors for storage, or with as a wine center, complete with wine rack and wine fridge.  The extra space it provides when entertaining or feeding a crowd makes it a winner. 

Butlers Pantry in the Cavanaugh II plan

In many floorplans, like the Hartford II and the Waverly, the butler's pantry functions as a transition from kitchen to formal dining room, making it even more useful as a serving station.  Again, the kitchen's color scheme, countertops, and backsplash pattern are repeated in the butler's pantry. 



Notice the role that undercabinet lighting plays in adding interest in both of these butler's pantries.

The Hartford II kitchen

Islands are still a favorite feature in new home kitchens, adding work space, storage, and a feeling of substance to a kitchen.  There's going to be some serious cooking going on in a kitchen with an island, right?

The Arlington II model home in Glasford

This Arlington II Expanded plan features a traditional rectangular island, with wine storage and lots of work space, ideal for families and friends who like to cook together without getting in one another's way. Matching the cabinets and countertop to the rest of the kitchen is a popular choice, but contrasting countertops and cabinets are also on the wish list of some homebuyers.  Pendant lights over the bar add both task lighting and aesthetic effect.


Notice the taller wall cabinets and glass doors shown above.  Opting for the 42" height wall cabinets gives this kitchen extra storage space and makes good use of the nine-foot ceilings that are so popular in today's designs, especially with buyers looking to add volume without loss of energy efficiency.  Glass doors in key locations let you showcase some favorite dishes, without revealing too much.

The gold-toned backsplash (this one is glass block lucente honey, 3X6, in a running bond with cornsilk grout) is a perfect companion to the gold tones in the Venetian Ice granite countertops.  A backsplash is a great way to add intensity to the color scheme in the kitchen, while still getting the soft, subtle effect of the pale cabinets, like these Classic 2 Maple Cabinets in Cashmere with an Auburn glaze. 

Busy families, especially those who sometimes can't sit down meals together at the same time, enjoy the convenience and closeness of a breakfast bar.  Island style can be traditional rectangles, or feature barrel-style curves that seat more people at the bar while taking up less floor space.  Curved island layouts also add visual appeal.

The Inglewood

Above, this Inglewood plan's optional elliptical island throws us a visual curve and softens the angle of the bar as it opens to the breakfast area and family room.  We love the extra, casual seating and the pendant lights, and the view of the back yard and the bay window option.  But our favorite thing about the Inglewood kitchen is the flexible layout choices: it comes with a walk-in pantry that can be optioned as a pocket office and smaller pantry, or even with a pocket office, pantry, and drop zone with built in storage in the adjacent hall to the garage, as shown in the Paynes Landing model home.  Who says you can't have it all?

The Talbot plan shown below has room for a curved island with eating counter, plus a breakfast area table and chairs.  This Talbot uses variable height wall cabinets (notice the stair step effect of the top cabinets) to create visual interest and add storage space.  Glass doors on selected cabinets create a showcase for dishes.

 The Talbot model in the Paynes Landing Gallery of Homes

This Livingston plan, below, also offers a curved island counter, and generous space for casual dining in addition to the home's formal dining room.  The built-in buffet at the left of the photos is a plan option that replaces a large pantry.  Again, the built in kitchen features add convenience and a custom feel to these spacious kitchens, tying together all the color and material selections in a unified and pleasing way.

The Livingston model in the Abbey at Old Oxford

The Livingston kitchen is also a great example of an open layout design.  Extra guests are no problem with a dining area this large and open.  The Hartford II is also popular with homebuyers in search of an open layout, as the kitchen and breakfast area open to the family room.

The Hartford II kitchen and view of the two story family room

Conventional wisdom says that kitchen design should have a window over the kitchen sink, but a beautiful view like this one in the Hartford II plan, with its two story family room and stone fireplace, is hard to resist.


See more homes at ballhomes.com

Whether your kitchen must-haves list includes granite, stone, colorful backsplash designs, glass door cabinets, dining counters, a pocket office, or butler's pantry, we invite you to check out our photo galleries on houzz, and to visit some of these floor plans during open house.



Visit Ball Homes on Houzz for more photos and idea galleries

Fallin' Into Fall

Does fall seem like a magical time of year to anyone else? It’s a beautiful time of year where the outside world is brimming with the richest, warmest colors. Bringing those colors and feelings into your home could make it feel magical too. Here are some easy DIY ideas that you can do to prepare your home for fall!


 
Painted Acorns This simple twist on something found in nature is so fun and simple!



Mason Jar Lid Pumpkin
How cute is this!? If you’re going for a very natural, rustic look, this pumpkin decoration would be the perfect addition to your home.



Fall Chalkboard If you already have a chalkboard in your home, why not make it fall themed? That’s part of the fun and versatility of having a chalkboard!



Gourd Candle Holders These are perfect for a fall themed table! And it’s very inexpensive too!



Chalkboard Pumpkins
Crafts don’t get much easier – or fun- than this one! Just paint your pumpkin with chalkboard paint and let the creativity flow. How cute would this look on your table for Thanksgiving dinner?



Painted Mason Jars These mason jars would look cute throughout your house year round. But when they’re painted a rich, warm color and filled with some leaves or branches, they’re the perfect autumn addition!



Chevron Pumpkins Here’s another quick and easy pumpkin decoration! It’s a beautiful, modern twist on a pumpkin rather than craving one!



Wooden Napkin Ring
Your table would look so fancy with these napkins at the place settings. Simple touches like this can make all the difference in the world.



Sweater Pillow Nothing sounds cozier than a sweater during fall. Add that coziness to your couch, and you’ve got yourself a perfect Sunday nap spot.



Yarn Pumpkins How cute and adorable! Once again, your fall table would not be complete without these!

Hopefully this has helped you get in the mood for fall. It’s coming, whether we like it or not…but we like it!

10 Foolproof Decorating Tips From the Pros

Ever watch HGTV and wonder how all those people's homes always look so put together? It's not as hard to do as you might think. Here are 10 helpful tips on how to make your house look just as professional!



1. Set the tone at the front door. If you want your house to make a great first impression, paint the front door a fun, glossy hue. One thing that should go: an outdated screen door. Get rid of it or replace it with a storm door with full-length glass that you can switch out for a screened panel.


2. Keep wall colors light and neutral. Stick to colors like beige or gray especially on the first floor where flow is important. Neutral walls give you the greatest decorating flexibility that allows you to easily switch up your accessories. Look at a paint strip. Move up or down a shade or two for a subtle variation from room to room.


3. Make sure your sofa talks to your chairs. Think of a nice hotel lobby. The furniture is arranged in groupings that invite conversation. When you place the furniture in your home, aim for a similar sense of balance and intimacy. One common mistake to avoid: Pushing all the furniture against the walls.


4. Let the sun shine in. When it comes to heavy, outdated drapes, a naked window is better than an ugly one. Ideally, window dressings should be functional and elegant. If your room gets a lot of sun, opt for light colors that won’t fade.


5. Hang at least one mirror in every room. Mirrors can make a space feel brighter because they bounce the light around the room. Put mirrors on walls perpendicular to windows, not directly across from them. Hanging a mirror directly opposite a window can actually bounce the light right back out the window.


6. Scale artwork to your wall. There are few things more ridiculous looking than hanging tiny piece of art too high on the wall. The middle of a picture should hang at eye level. For a large wall, go big with one oversize piece or group smaller pieces gallery style. For the latter, don’t space the pictures too far apart. Two to four inches between items usually looks best.



7. Layer your lighting. Every room should have three kinds of lighting: ambient lighting which provides overall illumination and often comes from ceiling fixtures, task lighting which is found over a kitchen island or a reading nook, and accent lighting which is more decorative.




7. Layer your lighting. Every room should have three kinds of lighting: ambient lighting which provides overall illumination and often comes from ceiling fixtures; task lighting which is often found over a kitchen island or reading nook; and accent lighting which is more decorative.

8. Anchor rugs under furniture feet. In a living room, all four legs of the sofa and chairs in a furniture grouping should fit on the rug. The rug should define the seating area. At the very least, the front two legs of the sofa and chairs should rest on it.



9. Use visual tricks to raise the ceiling. If your ceilings are low, paint them white to make the room feel less claustrophobic. Hang curtains higher than the windows to trick your eye into thinking the room is taller. You can usually go about three inches above the window casing before the curtains become too short. Try hanging vertical striped curtains also. The lines visually elongate your walls. Leaning a large mirror against a wall can also make the room seem taller.




9. Use visual tricks to raise the ceiling. If your ceilings are low, paint them white to make the room feel less claustrophobic. Hang curtains higher than the windows to trick your eye into thinking the room is taller. You can usually go about three inches above the window casing before the length gets too short. Also, try drapes with vertical stripes. The lines visually elongate your walls. Leaning a large mirror against a wall can also make the room seem taller.

 

  

10. Give outdated finishes the Cinderella treatment. Reinvent dated fixtures with spray paint and inexpensive refinishing kits. Even outdated kitchen cabinets benefit from a few coats of white paint and new hardware.

Breathe Easy

Indoor air pollutants have been ranked among the top five environmental risks to public health. Stagnant indoor environments allow pollutants to build up and stick around in much greater amounts than we should be breathing on a regular basis. Living and working in places with less than ideal air contaminants and less than ideal ventilation can cause "sick building syndrome" which can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, and eye, ear, and nose irritation.

Furnishings, upholstery, and cleaning products in homes can emit a variety of toxic compounds. Pollen, bacteria, and mold can also cause indoor air pollution. Outdoor air contaminants like car exhaust can also find their way into your home.

Now that we know how bad the air can be in our homes, how do we fix it? It's a lot easier than you might think! One of the best ways is to place some of these common houseplants around your home. The following nine houseplants not only help clean the air in your home making it safer for you, they're also nearly impossible to kill.

1. Garden Mum


Removes: Ammonia, Benzene, Formaldehyde, and Xylene

2. Spider Plant



Removes: Formaldehyde and Xylene

3. Dracaena



Removes: Benzene, Formaldehyde, Trichloroethylene, and Xylene

4. Ficus/Weeping Fig



Removes: Benzene, Formaldehyde, and Trichloroethylene

5. Peace Lily



Removes: Ammonia, Benzene, Formaldehyde, and Trichloroethylene

6. Boston Fern



Removes: Formaldehyde and Xylene

7. Snake Plant/Mother-In-Law's Tongue



Removes: Benzene, Formaldehyde, Trichloroethylene, and Xylene

8. Bamboo Palm



Removes: Benzene, Formaldehyde, and Trichloroethylene

9. Aloe Vera



Removes: Formaldehyde

Gallery Wall: Step by Step

Art gallery walls are all the rage right now in home decorating. If you’ve got a big wall space to fill, this might be the solution for you. Creating a gallery wall might seem intimidating, but we’ve listed a great step-by-step tutorial to help you out!

 

You will need:

Hammer

Pencil

Level

Nails

Painter’s tape

Tape measure

Scissors

Paper

 

Instructions:

1.     Gather your pictures. Be sure to have 1-2 larger pieces of art to mix in with your smaller ones as focal points.

2.     Lay your pieces out on the floor and move them around until you find an arrangement you like. Just make sure your pieces are an inch and a half to three inches apart. You don’t want your art too close together.

3.     Once you finalize your layout, trace each piece of artwork on the paper with a pencil and cut out the traced pieces.

4.     Flip your artwork over to see where the nail needs to be and mark that on your cutout.

5.     Hang the pieces of paper on your wall in the layout you created using the painter’s tape.

6.     Hammer nails into the mark you made on each piece of paper.

7.     Remove the paper and hang your pictures! Use a level to make sure they’re straight.

 

Here are some beautiful examples of gallery walls for inspiration!