Fancy Family Fencing

childeren playin in sprinklerIf you’re like me, you enjoy spending much of your time outside.  There is nothing I love more than playing with my children and our 2 dogs in our backyard. I own a house on the outskirts of Richmond VA, near the Mechanicsville side, with a half an acre of yard in the back. The house is near a busy road so I thought that it would be nice to have a fenced in back yard. My children are still young and our dogs love to run off at anything that hits their eye so putting up a privacy fence might be of great benefit to my family. I want to ensure a safe atmosphere so I called up the folks at Good Neighbor Fence to come by to give me a quote and my options on different styles.

They had a certified fence expert swing by the following week and he ran me through a few of my possible choices. They offered wood, vinyl, chain-link, and aluminum fencing. Their wood fences were made of pressure treated pine which came in different levels of quality, color options, styles, and sizes. Our technician said wood is great but if we wanted something that would have less maintenance and a longer life span then we should think about their other product lines. Vinyl is very popular and some even come with a limited life time warranty. These hold low maintenance and will last you a long time. Aluminum fencing will also last you a long time with very little maintenance and it comes in many options. This also comes with a limited life time warranty. The last is chain-link privacy fencefencing which has a long life but I knew right away this wasn’t going to work for me due to aesthetic reasons.

After running through some samples that our technician brought, I decided to go with the vinyl privacy fencing in a white finish. It would complement my current outdoor setting while providing me with the safety and privacy that I desired for my family to enjoy. Good Neighbor really helped in getting exactly what I wanted and they provided me with an investment that would increase the value of my home. If there is ever  a time that I need any fencing I will be calling them first.

Does Your Home Need a Window Upgrade?

replacement-home-windowsKnowing when the best time to replace your windows can be difficult.  You may have a few windows that have some wear and tear and others that seem perfectly fine.  As a general rule, windows will last around 15 to 20 years.  So if you’ve had your windows replaced within that timespan then you’re probably fine.  However, if you know your home has had the same windows for longer than that or you are unsure of when you windows were last replaced, then it may be time for you to begin planning their replacement.

Below are a few tell-tale signs that may indicate aging windows that are ready for replacement.


Do you have a hard time carrying on a conversation or hearing your TV due to outside noise?  If so, this may indicate poor window quality.  As windows age, their quality degrades with them, meaning they allow more and more noise to seep their way into your home, making your living space much louder than it should be.

Replacement-widnowDifficult To Operate

Over time, some of the moving parts on our windows begin to rust or begin sticking.  To open and close them may become more and more difficult as they age.  A high-quality window will glide when operating and seem effortless.  If opening your windows to allow fresh air has turned into a workout, then it may be time to consider a window replacement.


An outdated window may be cramping your home’s style.  As our window get older, a simple wash and fresh set of paint just won’t bring out its best like it used to.  New replacement windows can really help improve the look and style of your home.  And if you’re looking to sell, they can also help add several thousand dollars onto its value.

High Energy Costs

Have you noticed your home energy costs rising throughout the years?  If you have and are just baffled as to why, then your aging windows may be to blame.  Old windows just aren’t able to provide the insulation like their younger selves.  Of course window replacement can often time be expensive, however, old windows may be costing you thousands of dollars a year on poor energy efficiency.  A high-quality replacement will save you money for years to come.

Window replacement can be a scary feat sometimes.  It can be hard to know the best place to find high-quality windows as well as a good contractor.  For my Bethesda home, I used Renewal by Andersen of Maryland.  From start to finish, they were able to take the measurements of my home and install beautiful custom made windows.  However, regardless of the route you take, make sure you always search for reviews on the quality of service you’re receiving.



Elegant Style with Senior Accessibility

wheel chair and helperAs I got older I found it harder and harder to get around. My knees were slowly failing me and my back would constantly give me troubles. It wasn’t long before I needed a wheel chair and reliable in home senior care. It was a challenging time but I, like many others, learned to cope. After all, we’re not created to live forever. As these new mobility challenges hindered my life, I needed to adapt.  I decided that I was going to modify my home in Lakewood CO to be more wheel chair friend yet hold a very regal setting like it has always done. I have a fancy style and I didn’t want my disability to hide that.

The first thing I wanted to add to my home was a top of the line stair lift so I can get up and down the stairs with no problem. These generally run anywhere from $1500 to $10,000 but I decided to upgrade and incorporate an IKAT pattern on the seating and backing cushions on a silk fabric. The metal on the tracks was all brass which gave a nice sheen to it. This chair lift would make it so I didn’t need to contact my senior care helper every time I needed to get up the stairs.

The next project we worked on was installing a ramp at the front entry door and the back patio door. I designed a long entry ramp that had cast iron railings on each side. To mask the incline I decided to incorporate lots of plant life. I had some wisteria planted by my senior care aid which I had intended to grow down the railing. I also had roses put in right in front of the incline. There should be some great colors and beautiful smells coming my way by next spring and summer. To accent the walk way at night I had small stairlantern light fixtures installed all the way to the entry door. The patio had a similar wheel chair ramp that led down to the pool.

My last addition was a hoisting arm lift that would help assist me into the pool. I had it put in right between the pool and the hot tub so I could use it to get in both of them. This was a hard one to make pretty but I ended up have the medical looking machine air brushed with sea foam green. I also made all the straps pink, which is my favorite color. Don’t let your disabilities discourage you from expressing your lifestyle. Take hold of life and show off your style!

Installing Granite and Marble

Price aside, it can be difficult to choose between granite and marble accents in your home. Our solution? Usually granite is a more practical choice in the kitchen, and marble is better to use in bathrooms. However, you can use both in either area of the house if you have a strong preference towards one over the other. NEKA is a popular granite and marble dealer in Northern VA with the technology to finish your stone however you like. Look for local businesses for the most support with installing granite countertops and other fixtures.


Although granite has some porosity because it is a natural stone, it typically does not stain when sealed properly. Wine, spaghetti sauce, and other dark or acidic substances can leave a mark if left sitting for long period of time. If you wipe down your countertops regularly, you should not run into any issues.

In comparison to marble, granite is shinier and more vibrant. Brighter colors with distinct speckled patterns comprise the stones, giving them an extra pop.


Marble is slightly more sensitive and prone to staining than marble. However, if sealed correctly, it becomes fairly resistant to colored liquids, acidic substances, and heat. White marble is especially prone to marks from dark spills.

Marble is a great material to use in large spaces, like floors and bathrooms, because of its sprawling veining pattern. It’s slightly duller than granite and generally comes in more subtle colors.

No matter which material you chose, make sure that you find a company that both fabricates (cuts, polishes, finishes, and seals) the stone. Huge manufacturers typically do not provide these services, and a third party will not do the best job possible.

Make sure you choose a strong, durable seal. Marble and granite are both porous material, but the right outer layer can provide extra protection. When it comes to maintenance, wipe the stone down each night with a gentle solution to remove any liquids that could cause build up or staining if left sitting for too long.

Why We Love Artistica

A High End Furniture Choice

Buying the right furniture for your home means taking the time to research. Finding a brand that has the right style, quality, and variety can be difficult. When you like the certain look and vibe of one piece, you will likely want more of the same style. Found the perfect coffee table? It makes things a lot easier if that brand carries couches and chairs with wooden accents in the same stain and type of wood. That’s why it’s usually best to find a couple of brands you love when furnishing and finding all pieces within their specific lines.

One brand that is noted across the US for quality, beauty, and a timeless variety in selection is Artistica. Located in California, this furniture company designs classic pieces inspired by European, Asian, and American style. Their primary specialty is working with iron, and Artistica has a wide selection of metal pieces with unique design qualities. Their styles from are around the world are brought to life from manufacturing plants in different countries. For instance, Artistica has subcontracting facilities in the Philippines and Indonesia. At each location, staff members are onsite making sure each piece is elegant, high quality, and durable.

Artistica’s collections have it all: barstools and kitchen furniture, dining room pieces, entertainment, chests, accent pieces, mirrors, office furniture, and bedroom sets.

The only downside of going directly to a quality dealer (especially if it isn’t a huge name) is that the shipping can be a pain. Having something delivered across the country is expensive, and you risk the piece being damaged. If you’re located on the east coast, try looking for local dealers that carry the brand. Click here for an example of a furniture store that carries a wide variety of high end brands including Artistica. Look at online ratings for more ideas of quality and where you can find the best furniture dealers across the country. Feeling stuck? Consult with an interior designer to help you style your home and get exclusive deals on less well-known brands.

Better Sun Control with 3M Residential Window Film

A great quality window tint can drastically improve the ambiance of any room in you beautiful home. If you’re looking to have more control with the suns solar glares and with the temperature of your home, than a brand new window film system may be just for you. There are a few different styles that maybe better fit each home individually.

home windowThe first is 3M’s Sun Control line. They are known for bring big savings when it comes to your energy bills. In some case people save up to 30% on their air conditioning cost. These wonderful window films also reduce the fading of precious fabrics and carpeting. Up to 99.9% of all UV rays are reduced to help not only protect your furnishings but your sensitive skin as well. This is especially important for those who have young children or cases of skin cancer in your health history. These films allow for maximum consistent temperature control as you move from room to room. Glare reduction is yet another benefit that allows for less eye strain on a sunny day. It prevents the solar glares from reflecting of the television and computer as well.

Another line of 3M window tinting that could benefit everyone is the Safety and Security product line. These window films have a thicker layer that makes broken glass penetration just that much harder. When a window is struck, this security film holds the glass together a lot better than any other normal window tint installation. This is great for when someone is trying to break into your house, giving the police more time to react and get to the scene. This is also of benefit to you during strong storms where debris may be blown up against the home. These can be installed with a clear or tinted version depending on your needs.

bathroom decorative

If a decorative window is all you need then check out the 3M Fasara line. Here the main purpose of the tint is strictly added for aesthetic reasoning. These are great on shower doors, rooms with needed privacy, and cabinets. You can get the look of a frosted etched window for just a fraction of the price. You can also incorporate a floral design or a custom design that meets the requirements of your current décor.


When selecting the style of window tint for your home choose wisely and be sure to take your time. I hope this helps you better understand you window tinting options and good luck with the rest of your home improvements.

Light Up Your Home

Designing Interior and Exterior Lighting Systems

You have already put the time and effort into seamlessly decorating your home. You already installed granite countertops, replaced your carpet with hardwood floors, gutted your bathrooms, and bought new stainless steel appliances. With all of the time and effort you have put into different rooms of your house, why do certain areas still look so flat?

 Adding Depth

At first, it can seem like continuing to decorate by adding more
color, rugs, or pictures will give your home some more warmth and depth. At a certain point, when you have filled all of the shelves and empty spots on walls, the ambiance of a space comes down to lighting. Lighting can mean much more than having a chandelier and bright bulbs that make it easier to read and see details. You want to add warmth to certain areas, brighten corners or darker spots under cabinets, and highlight trims and other details.

Adding the right lights around your home often takes the eye of a designer. With the help of a decorator and an electrician, you can plan something that will look wonderful in your home. Some popular places to add extra “layers” of lighting are:

  • Beneath cabinets to show back splashes and brighten up this dark area
  • Hanging above countertops for enhanced vision while cooking
  • Inside of cabinetry with see-through doors
  • Above coffee tables or any other central area of a room

Exterior Lighting

While you are talking with your designer, consider adding outdoor or landscape lighting to your yard. Adding lights can highlight a garden, help people find their way around at night, light up paths, and make an outdoor seating area functional in the dark.

Of course, you can make your own plan for lighting in certain areas. Would you like lights that point at your house to deter intrudes? Would you simply like some lights placed in mulch around your front walkway? The details that require more assistance would be placing fixtures in the right spots of your garden to light up a fountain, having lights surrounding a table and chairs that make it easy to see your food and drinks, or adding strands of hanging lights for decoration.