The Timeless Elegance of Bay Windows

Windows are more than mere necessities when it comes to homes; in fact, they can add value, aesthetic appeal and comfort. This is especially true of bay windows, which come in a multitude of styles to fit almost any architectural design.

In essence, a bay window is a series of windows that extends past the exterior wall of the home. Thus, a bay window juts out from the wall surrounding it. From the outside, a bay window visually attracts the eye of the onlooker and people tend to notice them immediately. From the inside, residents of the house tend to feel that a room has been extended due to the additional space bay windows can provide.

Advantages for Homeowners

Bay windows are not only elegant, but they can offer numerous advantages to homeowners:

  • A bay window can increase the actual square footage and living space of a room. Bay windows that are quite deep in nature often offer a large sill or sitting area. Though some people choose to use the sill merely for decorative purposes, others transform it into a lovely breakfast nook or restful sanctuary. Even a smaller-sized room can feel more spacious with the addition of a bay window.
  • Homebuyers tend to find bay windows charming and appealing. Individuals and families who wish to invest in properties often gravitate towards those with unique characteristics, including bay windows. Adding a bay window to a house can help increase its likelihood of only being on the market for a short time.
  • With bay windows, the natural light is increased tremendously in any space. Because so many windows are used, they act almost like the facets of a diamond ring. Consequently, the light bounces from one pane to another and ends up creating plenty of natural lighting. This can be especially useful if a room was previously deemed too dark and unpleasant.

If you’re wondering if a bay window is a practical solution for your home, there’s no reason not to find out.  Installation by professionals is usually available much sooner than homeowners might assume, and this type of window is cost-effective and can fit into most budgets. It’s a practical solution that adds beauty and style!

Photo: Kristofer Williams






Is It Time to Replace Your Home’s Windows?

Ultimately, every home’s windows will need to be replaced at some point in a homeowner’s lifetime.  Still, some homeowners may be hesitant because they aren’t sure if their windows are still working at tip-top shape.

To help you figure out when you need to make the call to a window replacement company, look for the warning signs listed below.

1. Your heating bill keeps going up and up.

If you notice you’re spending tons of money on your utility bills, you may want to check your windows.  Older models are likely to become draftier over time.  Eventually, it may be best to remove them so you don’t keep throwing money away.

2. You discover water on your windowsill after every rainstorm.

Pools of water on your sills usually indicate a leak somewhere around – or perhaps through – the window.  Though you may be able to solve the issue with caulk, if the window has begun to warp, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll need to take other measures.

3. You notice the glass in your window panes is “wavy”.

Over time, glass that has been made by processes that are no longer used begins to be affected by the forces of gravity.  This is why older homes’ windowpanes sometimes seem blurry or wavy.  There is no realistic or cost-effective way to correct this defect without replacing the window.

4. Your carpets or flooring are discolored in spots.

Newer windows are created using special formulas that give the panes UV properties.  This keeps the sunlight from destroying your carpets, furnishings, etc., when the light enters the room.  A sure sign that your windows are causing your interior to sustain sun damage are all those discolored areas.

5. The wooden frame around your window is rotting away.

Windows with wooden frames may look quaint, but odds are high that the wood was never treated or sealed.  Therefore, insects, mold and moisture will begin to eat away at the grains until the window’s stability is compromised.  Wood that has begun to rot will need to be removed, and if the wood is attached to a window, it’s the perfect time to purchase a replacement.

Remember that all homeowners will deal with window issues sooner or later.  Fortunately, there are plenty of affordable and safe options on the marketplace that will dress up a home without costing a fortune.




Patio Doors Add to Outdoor Living Space

Outdoor living spaces are about to become more popular as families start to spend greater amounts of time enjoying the spring and summer breezes.  In fact, it’s not uncommon for some household members to treat the patio as a home office, living space or dining area as long as the weather permits.

There are untold ways to turn a drab patio into a fab patio, and a patio door can be just the thing to accessorize your patio.

Patio doors were once thought of as merely means to an end.  They gave people access to and from the house, and that was the end of their purpose.  Today, however, homeowners are savvier and have come to realize that a patio door can serve as an accessory to the patio area.  No wonder there is such a variety of doors to choose from.

The Sliding Door

The sliding door may be one of the most useful inventions.  Essentially, it allows a glassed portion of the wall to open without the need to swing in or out, and furniture can be safely placed adjacent to the door opening.  Newer sliding doors have advanced locking mechanisms that provide beauty and security, not to mention energy-saving insulation.

The French Door

There’s little doubt that a French door that opens to a patio makes a bold, elegant statement.  French doors can both open, but some families prefer to lock one side shut and only use one of the doors in the set.  Newer types of French doors use technology to make them safe and sound.

The Hinged Door

The hinged door has been considered a mainstay in patio door styles.  Not only do they come in plenty of shapes and colors, but they can also let in tons of light thanks to added window panes.

Regardless of what kind of patio door graces your outdoor living space, make sure you treat it like the accessory it is.  Keep it sparkling, take care of it and enjoy the years of use you’ll get from your investment.

Megan Hemphill (Prairie & Co)

Secure Your Home Against Intruders

As the weather gets warmer, home break-ins tend to increase, even in the nicest neighbors or gated communities.  This doesn’t mean you and your family have to live in fear, though.  There are a number of steps you can take to secure you home against potential intruders.

Adopt a Dog

Have you been toying around with the idea of adopting a pooch from the local rescue shelter or pound?  Canines of all sizes have an instinct to protect “their” territory.  Even a small breed can scare a burglar into running away, or at least alert you that a problem is happening.

Invest in an Alarm System

Many alarm systems can be surprisingly affordable, and while they can’t stop someone from trying to break in to your house, they can make it extremely difficult.  Since most thieves want to take the easiest route, they’re likely to avoid a house that’s alarmed.

Light Up the Night

Purchase lights that are equipped with motion detectors.  Whenever someone walks into your yard after the sun has gone down, they’ll instantly turn on.  No bandit wants to be put in the spotlight.

Lock Your Doors and Windows

You may have grown up in a neighborhood where no one locked their doors, even when they went away for the day. As ideal as this sounds, in many neighborhoods, this can be a bad idea.  Get into the habit of locking every entranceway into your home, including your windows, each time you leave the house for any length of time.

Hide Valuables From Sight

Sometimes, we don’t even realize we’re putting valuables on display.  However, if you are a woman who regularly puts her purse down on a table next to an easily-accessible window, you may be tempting a burglar.  Though you can’t hide everything that’s worth money, you can be discerning as to what is in plain sight.

Upgrade Your Older Model Windows

Some older model windows are relatively easy for a pro to break into because they simply don’t have advanced locking mechanisms.  If you upgrade to newer windows, you can rest easy knowing they won’t be easy to jimmy open.

By taking just a few preventive measures, you can make sure your home won’t become a target for robbers when the weather gets warm.

Photo: break.things

Three Home Remodeling Projects for Winter

With frigid temperatures hitting the midstate this winter, the last thing on your mind is your ever-growing list of remodeling projects. But instead of hibernating this weekend, make a dent in your to-do list. Bonus: All that handy work is bound to make you break a sweat, which sounds pretty toasty right about now.

Making a Splash

If your kitchen could use an update, take a cue from all those home improvement shows. Funky backsplashes are in right now. And, thankfully, you don’t need a degree in rocket science to install a splash of color and protect the wall around your sink. Look for glass, metal or stone tiles in your favorite hues.

Make sure to measure the entire area you want to cover — multiplying the width by the height — to purchase the correct amount of materials. Use the manufacturer’s preferred adhesive to attach the tile to the wall using spacers. After the adhesive has dried, use grout to fill the spaces in between the tiles. Be sure to wipe off excess grout before it dries and hardens onto the tile.

Tackle Your Entryway

Winter has a habit of reminding families just how much stuff they need to leave the house. Entryways quickly become a maze of backpacks, snow boots, mittens, hats and scarves. If you’re overwhelmed by the dumping ground inside your front door, get organized.

Hang hooks to catch coats — one for each family member, if possible. Build and install a simple bench in your basement workshop to do double duty: Kids can sit on it while putting on shoes, and bins for accessories can be stored underneath. Install extra shelving and a shoe rack in the entryway closet — if there’s a place for everything, there’s a good chance it all will be put away.

Update Your Cabinets

Your bathroom relies a lot on the state of your vanity. If it’s old and dated, chances are the rest of your space will feel that way, too. Sand and paint your vanity to give it a fresh look. If your cabinet doors are smooth, add a bit of detail with moulding before breaking out that brush.

Easily swap out drawer and cabinet hardware to match your faucet fixtures for a cohesive look. And don’t forget about updating accessories such as towel racks and your toilet paper holder to match.

Image: Marcelle Guilbeau

Decorate With Pantone’s Color of the Year

You’ve seen it on runways and in magazines. Pantone recently announced the color of 2014: Radiant Orchid. Pantone says the color evokes feelings of joy, health and love. So it’s only natural to fall in love with Radiant Orchid when you first lay eyes on it.

If you want to experiment with the gorgeous hue — which is a combination of fuchsia with purple and pink undertones — don’t be afraid. When done right, Radiant Orchid can add a touch of elegance, as well as a pop of color to your space. Here are a few tips for how it can be incorporated throughout your entire home.

On the Walls

Be bold and experiment with Radiant Orchid on your walls. If you’re not ready to commit to an entirely fuchsia room, try just an accent wall to really brighten up your space. Radiant Orchid will pair well with neutrals such as taupe, gray and beige in the various rooms of your home.

All About Accessories

Scour your favorite home décor stores for vases, pillar candles and other accessories in Radiant Orchid. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Don’t be afraid to do it yourself. Pick up these items from your nearest Dollar Store, and invest in a can of spray paint. Group Radiant Orchid statement pieces with turquoise items to dial up the glam factor.

Pass the Pillows

Throw pillows can be a great way to add visual interest to a room. Radiant Orchid solid and patterned pillows would really pop against a hunter green sofa and pair well with teal pillows or an olive throw. Consider reupholstering an existing accent chair in the bright hue to really stand out in your living room.

Brighten Up Bedding

Swapping out your bedding is an easy way to give your bedroom a makeover. Capture the elegance of Radiant Orchid with a luxurious duvet, add an assortment of fuchsia-hued accent pillows or even invest in a tufted headboard in Pantone’s color of the year. In addition to the colors mentioned above, Radiant Orchid also pairs well with light yellow, which opens up a number of options for bedroom textiles.

Image: Tatinax

How to Dress Up Your Existing Windows

If you’re looking to give your space a face lift, your windows might be a good place to start. With a relatively small time and money investment, here are a few tricks to help boost the wow factor in your home. Break out your toolbox and a bucket of paint to tackle these fun weekend projects.

Create a Faux Transom Window

Use pine boards, decorative moulding and crown molding to turn your existing windows into vintage statement pieces. Your windows can go from drab to fab in a weekend with a miter saw and a few coats of paint. The resulting faux transom window won’t let extra light into your room, but it will add height and enhance the architecture of your space.

Play Tricks on Your Eyes

If you have relatively small windows, you can make them appear larger with a simple illusion. Hang your curtains several inches above your actual window and closer to the ceiling. You can also purchase a curtain rod that is much wider than your window so that curtains actually hang in front of the wall and don’t block any of the natural light.

Down on the Farm

Farmhouse windows are growing in popularity. If you love the look, you can create your own. Use pine boards to create a wide windowsill perfect to set plants and other knickknacks on. Boards can also be stacked and nailed together to create a nice, thick header. Thick side casings are also a must. A fresh coat of white paint will tie it all together. And mullions — window grids — can be created from pieces of white vinyl siding.

Add a Valance

You can make a decorative wooden window valance for around the same price you’ll pay for one curtain panel. Use crown moulding and decorative trim to create a three-sided box, leaving the top, bottom and back open. Attach the front board to the two side boards using L-brackets. Paint. Attach the valance to the wall above your window with two more L-brackets to cover the top of your window and hide an unsightly curtain rod.

Image: Michael S. 


DIY Decorating for Valentine’s Day

You might be looking for something to fill the void that your Christmas decorations — now long packed away — left behind. February 14 is right around the corner, and while you won’t string lights and hang holly to celebrate those you love, you can have a little fun with DIY decorations.

Here are four inexpensive ideas to get you started.

Rag Wreath

You can easily make a wreath for your front door using leftover scraps of fabric and a wire hanger. Use pliers to form the hanger into a large, round shape and secure with duct tape. Then, cut your fabric — use red, pink and white patterns for Valentine’s Day — into 1-inch by 6-inch strips. Knot the fabric strips onto the wreath form, alternating colors and patterns, until it is completely covered. Finish with a bow before hanging with looped ribbon.

Send a Message

Banners continue to grow in popularity. You can cut pieces of burlap into triangles, and stamp hearts and letters to spell out a personal message. Thread the triangles together with string and hang above your fireplace. Another fun option for a banner is to thread cards from the hearts suit together with ribbon to hang above a mirror in your entryway for a pop of color and whimsy.

Put Your Love on Display

If you’re into DIY decorating, chances are you had glass hurricanes filled with all sorts of ornaments and Christmas baubles the last few months. You can update the decorations inside the hurricanes to make them seasonally appropriate. Fill with conversation hearts, red and pink candies or small plastic hearts from the Dollar Store.

Wine Time

If you have a few wine bottles in your recycling bin, you can dig those out and get crafty the next time you’ve got a snow day. Cover the bottles in paint — you can go with red, white, pink or even chalkboard. Once the paint has dried, you can decorate with hearts or group a few bottles together to spell out a fun message on your mantle or entryway table. You can fill the bottles with tree branches and heart ornaments to add height and pizzazz.

Image: Pink Sherbet Photography


How to Start the New Year With Sparkling Clean Windows

New Year’s always brings the promise of starting afresh in every aspect of your life. Whatever your personal resolutions may be, very few people think about giving their homes a chance for a new start.

On behalf of homes everywhere, we’re going to show you how easy it is to start your new year with beautifully clean windows. Just follow these simple steps:

  • Determine the type of windows you have. The way you clean your windows will depend heavily on whether or not they can be tilted in and out or if they are stationary. Tilting windows tend to be much easier to clean, but the older style isn’t impossible to make shine.
  • Gather your materials. You’ll need a bucket of cool water, a double sided window squeegee with a soft scrubber on one side, lint-free cloth like an old tee-shirt and a couple of drops of dish detergent.
  • Choose your timing wisely. You don’t want to try to clean windows when the sun is directly hitting them or when the wind is blowing. Of course, if it’s raining, you’ll want to postpone your efforts for another day.
  • Get to work. Don’t put more than just a drop or two of soap in your bucket, or you’ll have to deal with residue. Suds are not necessary here. Apply your solution with your squeegee, and wash the dirt off. Don’t allow the solution to dry — use the blade side of your squeegee to clear away the solution as you go, wiping the blade dry between swipes.
  • Use your lint-free cloth to tidy up the edges. Your squeegee blade won’t be able to reach the very edges, but you don’t want to streak up what you’ve done. That’s where your old tee-shirt comes in. Carefully wipe around the corners to finish up the job.

Of course, if you have specially-treated windows, you’ll want to check with any manufacturer directions before cleaning. You could void your warranty if you don’t use a specific cleaning solution. For most windows, however, this solution is cheap, easy and safe. Now go shine in your New Year!

Image: zoetnet


Wonderful Winter Windows

When the weather gets colder, what do you do? If you’re like most people, you break out the winter wardrobe, complete with sweater, coats, blankets and fuzzy slipper socks.

Did it ever occur to you, however, that perhaps your home — or more specifically, your windows — would appreciate the same wardrobe change? Giving your windows a special treatment for the winter season could perk up the appearance of your home and make it much cozier inside. Here are some ideas:

  • Thermal drapes. Insulated shades and drapes can save you quite a bit of cash throughout the winter in the way of heating bills. Thermal shades that hang right against the glass are best because they allow for the least amount of energy loss, but any type of thermal drape can be helpful. They also allow you to use your regular curtains on top, so you aren’t stuck with limited décor options.
  • Window quilts. If you’re the crafty type, consider making your own window treatment for the winter. Window quilts allow you to choose literally any type of décor scheme for your home. You can choose the fabrics that match your interior colors, and then choose anything from simple blocks to intricate quilting patterns to suit your taste. Just be sure to find a good insulator that can achieve the practical effect you’re going for.
  • Custom drapes. If you like the idea of window quilts, but you aren’t particularly crafty, you can still get the insulating effect while maintaining your normal look. Just purchase several yards of insulating fabric depending on the measurements of your windows, cut it to size and attach it to the back of your existing window treatment. You can tack the fabric on with just a few stitches, so you can easily remove it when warmer weather arrives.

Do you have a special winter window treatment that you fall back on every year? Do you plan to try one of our suggestions this year? Share your comments and thoughts below, and let us know how you combat the chill of the season without sacrificing your interior décor.

Image: Ben Seidelman