Archive for the ‘Remodeling’ Category

A New Way to Raise Your Home IQ

By Home IQ Team

There’s never really been a place online devoted to the issues facing home product marketers…until now.

We’re excited to introduce Porte: an entertaining, educational online magazine that inspires new ways of thinking about marketing in the Home industry. From great campaigns and brilliant thinkers to closer looks at what is appealing to consumers today and why they buy, Porte hopes to reenergize you with thoughts, ideas, debate and discovery.

The best part, it’s published by the same people who bring you Home IQ!

Our editors are excited to bring you inspiring, yet useful content, curated every month by the Home marketing experts at IMRE.

We hope this is a place where you’ll be able to take a break from the daily grind and explore new approaches to marketing, new sources of creativity, and new ways of thinking about Home products—and how/why people buy them.

We invite you to check out our inaugural issue here.

Happy exploring. We can’t wait to hear what you think.

Bringing Down the Houzz

By Caitlin Haskins

373027 129309818805 31828432 n Bringing Down the Houzz Houzz is certainly bringing down the house as the leading online collaborative platform for home remodeling and design. The online database, touted by CNN as the “Wikipedia of interior and exterior design,” provides millions of like-minded homeowners, design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals the inspiration and tools needed to transform home ideas into reality. Whether you have a vision, or no vision at all, Houzz has it all, from design inspiration and project advice, to specific product information, professional reviews and discussions.

Houzz is the brainchild of a husband and wife team, Alon Cohen and Adi Tatrko, and stemmed from their personal frustrations while renovating their own home. Houzz aims to remove those frustrations by allowing ideas to live in a hub at your fingertips (literally – it’s available online, the iPad or iPhone). This type of tool couldn’t have come at a better time to save others from those same frustrations – and the proof is in the numbers. According to Houzz’s recent Houzz & Home Survey, “In the next two years, 72 percent of homeowners surveyed plan to decorate or redecorate, 40 percent plan to remodel or construct an addition and 10 percent are planning to build a custom home.” Enter Houzz – your one stop shop for inspiration.

Pinterest Picks: Upcycling

By Danielle Hogan

What’s old is new in this week’s Pinterest Picks featuring the best in Upcycled goods. New to upcycling? IMRE Green IQ expert, Danielle Hogan, is here to inspire you. Upcycling is the process of converting salvaged, second hand or waste materials into new materials of better quality – visually and environmentally. Take a look at Danielle’s picks, and find more ways to create beautiful things with items you may already have in the home at the IMRE Home IQ Pinterest page.

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By Green Experts Team

Last week, the Sustainable Furnishings Council hosted a webinar showcasing a grounding in the environmental issues related to home furnishings. IMRE Green IQ participated and learned a few ways to keep our homes environmentally conscious.223068987762694431 UkOObcvg c 300x300 Four Tips to Keep Your Home Environmentally Conscious

  • Seek out and buy green products: By using chemical free cleaning products, energy efficient appliances, appropriate light bulbs, and products that last in your home, you are sure to live in an eco-friendly environment. Over time, you will also begin to notice that you are saving money. For a list of green home products, visit
  • Recycle: Our favorite way to recycle is to “upcycle” as you’ve heard us say before. Using salvaged, second-hand, antique and used housewares in your home is one of the easiest and most eco-friendly ways to keep your home environmentally conscious.
  • Reduce energy use: Most of the energy produced in the U.S. is done so with fossil fuels, a major contributor to worldwide greenhouse gases. Replace the light bulbs throughout your homes with compact fluorescent bulbs. While initially more expensive than incandescent, they last 10 times longer, reduce your energy bills by about $15 per year, and keep a half a ton of carbon dioxide out of the air. Install automatic thermostat setters to raise and lower the temperature when you are not at home. Lower the setting on your water heater to no more than 120. Unplug appliances not in use. A TV consumes 25% of its total electricity when it is turned off. Set your computers to hibernate when inactive, and eliminate screen savers. Saving what? They use up to $50 a year in electricity.
  • Choose renewable energy: Examine options within your community for purchasing energy from suppliers that produce the highest percentage available of their power from water, wind, solar, or other clean sources. You may also support clean energy through the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates a transferable commodity intended to support the development of green energy sources by providing income indirectly to them.

What other tips would you add to this environmentally conscious list?

Decorating: Making a House a Home

By Abby Draper

Moving is always an exciting event. Whether you’re leaving your parents house for the first time, moving into your first home, or just moving into a new place, there are many things to consider. How you’re going to decorate your new living space is one.

Having just moved, I have been researching, reading and watching design blogs, books, articles, Pinterest and television shows for tips and ideas on how to decorate my new California home. One of the best lists of tips I have come across is a roundup from Family Circle and top designers. From the research I have done, and in starting to decorate my home, I have found that the following tips are most helpful for making a house a home:

Green chair Decorating: Making a House a Home

  • Eclectic furnishings, handcrafted objects and personal touches lend character to a home.
  • A room needs a single focal point—a great work of art, a dramatic piece of furniture, an architectural element or a stunning view—and the rest will fall into place.
  • Surround yourself with what you love. Trends may come and go, but your personal style is always in fashion.
  • Don’t postpone collecting because you think you can’t afford it. You can find paintings and pottery at every price in flea markets and online.
  • If you have the space, place a comfy reading chair in the corner of each bedroom to create a quiet, private nook.
  • Mirrors give the illusion of more space by bouncing light around. Hang one over a mantel or lean an oversize version against a wall.
  • A successful room incorporates all five senses. Get the look with a textured throw, scented candle, good music, pretty art, and a cup of delicious hot chocolate or tea.
  • A room needs at least one clash piece, like zebra pillows or colorful art, to add that dash of whimsy to an otherwise straightforward decor.
  • Decorating in one style—using exclusively antiques or modern pieces—is a bit cookie cutter. Mix up designs to give your rooms personality.
  • When decorating, trust your instincts. Choose colors and patterns that make you smile.

What other tips would you add to this list of making a house a home?

Defining Your Home Office Space

By Elizabeth Walker

More than five million Americans work from home, and over the next few years that number is expected to increase significantly.

Pottery Barn1 Defining Your Home Office Space

As someone who regularly works from home, I find this trend hardly surprising. There are a number of advantages to both the employer and employee to working at home. I enjoy my short “commute” in the morning, my casual attire, and seeing my son at lunch.

Working from home successfully takes careful planning though. The first step, and I think the most important one, is having the right set up for your home office space.

When I first started working from home five years ago, I made the mistake of using an old table for my desk and a chair I had moved with me from previous college apartments. The table wasn’t big enough for me, and the chair was terribly uncomfortable. My printer was on the floor and my phone jack was on the wrong side of the room. The set up was awful.

I spent that first weekend re-thinking and planning my home office set up, and now five years later I’m so glad I did. Taking time to plan your home office is critical to making working from home go smoothly. Here are five home office design tips for a great set up:

Buy good furniture and supplies

You should try to make a home office as much like a true office as possible. Find a good office desk and storage solutions. Get a speaker phone or head set – you’ll likely be on the phone a lot. Get an oversized calendar and a dry erase board for quick notes and appointments.

Find a comfortable chair

If you invest in anything for your home office space, make it your chair. It’s where you’ll spend most of your time. There is a big difference between a cheaply made office chair and a quality one. I have a swivel office chair with a high back and adjustable lumbar support .

Limit distractions

My friend Ryan shared with me another good tip to keep in mind. Ryan shared, “I have a TV in my home office, but I’m very disciplined not too turn it on.  I can imagine a TV in the office can be very distracting for some people.” Since you’ll be spending a lot of time in the home office you don’t want the room to be too distracting for you.

Keep it warm

My home office is painted a warm buttercream color. I like having the space a warm color. It helps keep the mood relaxing and peaceful, which is especially helpful during a stressful workday. Additionally, you’ll want a paint color that is easy on your eyes.

Personalize it

My friend Meghan reminded me try to personalize your home office as much as possible. Her office has black and white photos of Baltimore from today and from years ago. She also has a letter “B” on her bookshelf for her last name and a few personal pictures on her desk and bulletin board. Much like you’d personalize a traditional office, you should do the same at home.

Do you work from your home office? What other home office space advice would you share?

By Betty Lyn Eller

If you are a list maker, like me, (who has admittedly been a list maker from “way back”) then you know the thrill of crossing something off of your list! Perhaps that feeling of a task done, that feeling of accomplishment in finding the perfect paint color, is why we make a list to begin with. For those of us who are passionate about design, décor and all things home, our lists are not just written lists but visual lists, files of inspiration to assist in our ongoing pursuit of designing the home we love.

HomeDesignList 300x224 Have you made your 2012 Home Design List?

Interior Designers, home design magazines and blogs are full of design tips lists sha red to guide us in our home design endeavors at every turn. Interior Designer Thom Filicia recently shared with Elle Décor magazine that top considerations on his list for great bedroom design are – color, pattern and texture. Top of the list for New York designer Sheila Bridges is to design impactful entry areas that leave an unforgettable first impression. I love the orange color impact she gave to her own apartment entry. I am sure Pantone’s 2012 Color of the Year – Tangerine Tango will be inspiration on my home design list this year.

As your own 2012 Home Design list takes shape, I offer these three tips that remain on my list every year:

  • Always have a camera and a tape measure with you – you never know when something on your list will materialize right in front of you.
  • Be authentic. Your home should reflect your life and you should look comfortable in yourenvironment.
  • Don’t worry about fashion, trends or anyone else’s taste – BE BRAVE!

If you need inspiration for your visual lists, follow IMRE HomeIQ on Pinterest!

We would love a peek at your 2012 home lists if you would like to share.

By Sarah Findle

A recent study found that consumers on average visit no more than three stores when furniture shopping.  In comparison, they will visit an average of four stores when shopping for clothing and apparel.

You would think that consumers would put more time and effort into buying big-ticket items like furniture, but it seems the opposite is true.

couch 300x199 Furniture Shopping Behaviors: Do you shop like the average consumer?

One argument is that you care more about what you look like, so you will spend more time buying clothes (and let’s be honest, it’s a lot easier to pick up a shirt here and a necklace there than dropping a G on a couch every other week).  Clothing is also available in a wider range of stores, allowing the consumer more options for browsing.  For clothing retailers however, this poses a challenge as they get more people coming through their doors, but less people actually making purchases when they visit.

So what can furniture retailers do to glean purchases from those who shop less for large purchases?  The study notes that retailers should focus on up-selling current customers and creating customer loyalty.  Bringing in new customers could be lucrative, but when furniture shoppers are only going to two stores, prying them from the competition could be tough.

Bottom line: Flash sales and deals don’t drive significant or lasting cash flows. Focus on customer service and taking care of your current customers.  Word of mouth recommendations and return visits will pay off in the end.  Maybe someday your customers will even convert to monogamy when it comes to furniture shopping?

Are you a window shopper or a quick customer when it comes to furniture shopping?

By Home IQ Team

Understanding the Audience and Concept Are Ket to Marketing Universal Design

It’s stating the obvious to say that the Baby Boomer generation is aging – we’re reminded often, thanks to the media.  However, it is this generation – or more specifically, their situation and needs – that is paving the way for how the rest of us will prepare for the future.  Some examples include how the country is approaching healthcare, longevity of careers and retirement planning.  One of the more uplifting and interesting trends is how houses are designed, remodeled and laid out to allow for folks to age in their current homes.  This is a trend known as Universal Design.

According to Rebecca Stahr, ASID, CAPS, CSP, and president of the Universal Design Alliance in Atlanta, Universal Design is “a user-friendly approach to design in the living environment where people of any culture, age, size, weight, race, gender and ability can experience an environment that promotes their health, safety and welfare today and in the future.”

The Universal Design Alliance, you ask?  They’re not alone.  There are more groups dedicated to this concept than you’d think.  In addition the UDA, there’s the Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University, the International Association for Universal Design, the Universal Design Living Laboratory, and more. 

The Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University identified seven key principles of Universal Design:

Principle 1: Equitable use. The design has to be useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.

Principle 2: Flexibility in use. The design must accommodate a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.

Principle 3: Simple and intuitive. The design must be easy to understand regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge or language skills.

Principle 4: Perceptible information. The design should communicate necessary information regardless of the user’s sensory abilities.

Principle 5. Tolerance for error: The design must minimize hazards and adverse consequences associated with accidental or unintended actions.

Principle 6. Low physical effort. The design should be able to be used efficiently and comfortably with a minimum of fatigue.

Principle 7. Size and space for approach and use. All spaces should be designed to provide for easy approach, reach, manipulation and use regardless of user’s body size, posture or mobility.

You’ll notice that the real heart of Universal Design encompasses designing for all abilities, genders, sizes, strengths, races and ages.  The design aspects include space usage, colors, appliance choice and location, height, size and placement of furniture, doorway widths, and more. 

Some believe that the concept is extremely marketable to the Boomer age group, as mentioned above. One blogger even calls Universal Design the “special sauce in mature marketing.”   

However, others believe that what began as a concept for the disabled, is being repacked for the Boomer age group in what could be an off-putting way.  Chuck Nyren, author of Advertising to Baby Boomers, believes that without truly understanding the Baby Boomer mentality, marketing Universal Design can come off as condescending or a reminder of old age.  However, he remarks that when marketed intelligently, “whether they know or not, the majority of Boomers would appreciate the benefits of UD.”  Nyren’s philosophy on marketing Universal Design goes back to a marketing basic.  And in this case, it’s not “Know Who Thy Thinks Thy Audience Might Be”, it’s truly, “Know Thy Audience.” 

By Becky Shankle

1013 45 banner home industryinsider2 (de)Sign of the times: Garden Friendly Kitchens
So more folks are doing the staycation thing, eating in has become the new eating out & they’re even growing their own food. The common denominator of all those things? The kitchen. Preferably one that is a pleasure to use & spend time in – that time we used to spend someplace else.

What is Garden Friendly?

One of my clients has a worm composting bin in her kitchen. If you make them correctly, the worms are perfectly happy to hang out in their cozy home, & not venture forth to co-mingle withyour foodie zone. They pull double duty – munching away on your table scraps, & producing rich compost for your garden out back. And the smell is minimal. Really. I smelled it myself.

Zoning the kitchen

But just in case you’re worried about separating the worm operation from the human ones, there’s always the option for a stand alone cabinet with countertop. That way there’s room for neatly sorting & sifting what goes in & comes out of the composting system. We often use pull-out shelving for the worm bin itself. Frees up the counter for the table scraps while you sift, or for filling the transport bucket to the garden. compactkitchen mediumbrown 288x300 (de)Sign of the times: Garden Friendly Kitchens

Somewhere near that same cabinet we store cardboard, which becomes compost while it keeps the weeds from taking over the garden. Sometimes we spec an entire tall cabinet dedicated to just the recycling. Since larger sheets of cardboard work better at thwarting weeds, they get their own section of a tall & deep cabinet. The remaining sections are dedicated to the usuals: glass, plastic, newspapers.

Prep for the dormant season

What do you do with the backyard bounty you can’t give away or consume as quickly as it’s produced? You freeze it. A freezerless fridge allows more space for garden goods – especially if it’s a big garden. Some people are even opting for smaller refrigerators, or even under counter fridges for 2 reasons:

  1. Valuable counter space is gained, which means prep area for jarring & freezing increases.
  2. More efficient chest freezers can live in the garage or some other adjacent room without gobbling precious footprint area in the kitchen.

Last but not least

Aside from the normal cooking features like an oven & range, we try to maximize counter space by both the sink & cooking areas. You need a place for cleaning newly plucked lettuce & peppers, & getting them ready for your taste buds. There’s also a mobile countertop option on a cart that
can be stored out of the way.

And for those who don’t want to bother with transporting the goods from the backyard to inside, there’s always an outdoor kitchen & grill option. Or, you can just graze directly in the garden.

Learn more about garden friendly kitchens by visiting Eco-Modernism’s Web site:

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