Smarter Windows and Doors

Smarter Windows and Doors

The new Insynctive™ technology by Pella® is leading the way with smart window and door products that make life easier for your customers. Insynctive wireless Window and Door Sensors relay information to a compatible home automation system via the Insynctive Bridge. Homeowners can check whether their windows are open or closed from virtually anywhere using a smartphone, tablet, or computer. The Insynctive Entry Door Deadbolt Sensor can be integrated into a new Pella entry door. If the entry door is left open or unlocked, a compatible home automation system will let you know.

Couldn’t remember if your Garage Door was left open? Your smart device can bring you peace of mind. Ready for bed? You won’t have to get up to close your blinds or shades — program them to automatically lower at bedtime. In a home theater room, blinds and shades can be programmed to raise and lower when your home automation system raises and lowers the lights. The comfort of your home is enhanced when blinds and shades and doors with Insynctive technology are connected with other products through a compatible home automation system — to get the most out of life and the home where you live it.

Learn more about Pella’s Insynctive technology by visiting their website:

Note: Product spotlights are for informational purposes only; we do not formally endorse any product or service.

Planning for the Future

Planning for the Future

There are many design elements that can be added to your home at a later date, but some things should be incorporated during the planning stages. Here we present two such items – one is an almost impossible change after the fact, and one will simply save you time, money, and unnecessary headache.

Basement Design

Slightly less than one-half of the homes built in the U.S. are built on basements. If your new home will sit atop a basement foundation, before you build, do your best to determine future uses for your basement. For example, you’re probably going to want taller basement walls in order to have a ceiling height that is at least 8-feet. You’ll know where to rough in plumbing for a bathroom, where to optimally locate structural poles, and where a small kitchen or bar might be situated. You will also want to make sure you don’t finish off too much of that lower level at the expense of much needed storage!

Happy Feet

If your feet are warm, chances are you’ll feel warm all over. But the converse is also true. And few things at home are more dreaded than climbing out of a warm bed or after bathing and stepping onto cold floors! Concrete, stone, tile, and even wood floors can be quite cold to bare feet. Radiant floor heating, in which either warming electrical wires or recirculating hot water lines are installed under the flooring, creates a wonderful, warm floor. Importantly, the decision to spend money for warm floors must be made prior to construction!

Read more home design tips on our Design Resources page.

What do you like to display in your home?

What do you like to display in your home?

About 13 years ago we did some remodeling. We chose a pleasant color scheme and then the art and decor to go with it. While I love the framed prints we have on our walls, sometimes I wish I could do something new or swap them out. But, to do that it takes time, money, and a little manual labor. To remedy the situation, here’s a great alternative — Meural!

Meural 1Meural is a leader in the emerging industry of digital artwork display. The Meural Canvas features their signature TrueArt technology that delivers “an organic and lifelike art-viewing experience.” With a built-in ambient light sensor, the images automatically adjust to match the room lighting. The three styles of frames — black, white, or a lightbox version — complements any interior motif. The Meural Canvas houses a 27″ diagonal, 16:9 display with full 1920 x 1080 HD resolution and can be displayed in landscape or portrait orientations.

With 8 GB of storage, the Meural Canvas can store approximately 2,000 images, which can be your own photos or digital artwork, or select from over 30,000 licensed images available from Meural, from the great masters to contemporary. Changing which picture is displayed is as easy as a swipe of the hand or control from your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Learn more about Meural by visiting their website:

Separate Owner’s Bedrooms

Separate Owner’s Bedrooms

Design Basics Bryndle OTB mlHaving separate owner’s bedrooms doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t get along. It could be your spouse has a job with frequent “on-call” sleep interruptions, you work different shifts, or a medical condition, sleep apnea/CPAP machine, or even loud snoring.

When you are designing your home is a great time to take this into consideration. We hear all the time, “My husband snores so loudly, he usually sleeps on the sofa,” or “I often sleep in the guest bedroom.” No one gets a good night’s sleep frequenting the sofa. And, wouldn’t it be nice to have a room that is your own and not have to trek to the guest room all the time, making sure it stays nice for guests?

For a myriad of reasons, separate owner’s bedrooms with a shared bathroom is a design concept that works for numerous households. The reasoning is simple:

“We need separate bedrooms but I don’t want to have to clean two bathrooms!”

Our Bryndle (#42320) home plan presents a dual owner’s bedroom “wing” with a common bathroom and closet.

Value = Practical + Aesthetic

Value = Practical + Aesthetic

Recessed “can” light fixtures solved the issue of evenly-dispersed illumination throughout a room that a typical light fixture suspended in the center of the room could not achieve, and eliminated having to clean those suspended lighting fixtures. But, recessed can lights are notoriously “leaky” in terms of air movement through the ceilings and associated energy loss. Then there’s the fact that the ceiling framing lumber will dictate where the can lights can and cannot be placed. And while tall ceilings are known for adding drama, that drama shouldn’t extend to changing those hard-to-reach recessed can light bulbs!

ilumigreenWafer-thin iLumigreen LED Downlights look and perform just like recessed can lights, but there’s no recessed fixture and therefore no cutting the ceiling and no energy loss. Rather, these 3.5 ounce downlights simply screw into the ceiling drywall, meaning you can place them anywhere you want. Choose from straight down or angled lights for cathedral ceilings; black, white, or satin finish; and color temperatures ranging from warm white to cool white to daylight. And because they are LED, they will last a very long time while using less electricity.

Stylish innovation that’s kind to Mother Nature and just makes sense…it’s not surprising that iLumigreen is a woman-owned and woman-led company!

For more information, visit:

More Than a Feeling

More Than a Feeling

Most model homes are a beauty to behold, designed to elicit all kinds of responses from visitors and prospective home buyers. But we have five senses. Are you marketing to all of them?

Touch. Some surfaces, such as flooring, are going to be encountered. Plush carpeting with the right pad can feel luxurious; tile bathroom floors can be cold. Some surfaces beg to be touched: tumbled stone backsplashes, come to mind. But to engage the sense of touch, sometimes an invitation is needed. According to one of the nation’s largest cabinet manufacturers, the majority of model home visitors do not open cabinet drawers/doors. You may need to invite model home visitors to open the cabinet doors to experience the soft close hinges.

45 degree drawers

Photo courtesy Mark Samu, Design: Jean Stoffer Designs, Ltd.

Hearing. Continuing the cabinetry illustration, soft-close hardware is quiet. While quiet may not be top-of-mind for prospective home buyers, its importance should not be undervalued. Quiet appliances, HVAC, kitchen exhaust and bath fans, food waste disposers, and garage door openers can become differentiators, especially when pointed out. Similarly, solid core interior doors, insulated plumbing walls adjoining entertaining areas and/or bedrooms, and even superior air sealing in exterior walls can contribute to a dreamy, serene environment.

Smell. Some studies suggest smell is the strongest of all of our senses. While your model home might smell “new,” those material off-gassing odors can trigger respiratory ailments among some buyers, particularly those with chemical sensitivities. The sense of smell has the ability to transport us to another time and place – bread baking at grandma’s house, for example. Department stores have long known that adding the scent of baby powder to their baby department increases sales. From potpourri and fresh flowers to delicious kitchen aromas, adding fragrance to your model home can create a much more pleasurable buying environment.

Taste. The sense of taste is the trickiest of the senses to deal with, because the introduction of food and/or beverages ushers in the likelihood of added clean-ups. Yet, people linger more in the home when refreshments are available. Some builders restrict where food/beverages are to be consumed, posting signs such as “Please enjoy our refreshments here in the information center.” Savvy builders are also tying into cause-related marketing, serving only responsibly-sourced fruits or coffee that comes from a third-world country women’s cooperative.

Why all the fuss over multi-sensory marketing? Engage three of more of your model home visitors’ senses and your home will be twice as memorable as homes that are mere eye candy. 

More home design articles on our Design Trends website page.

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