See Your Home in a Whole New Light

See Your Home in a Whole New Light

Velux kitchenNatural light is an important design element. Not only does it make us feel good, natural light also provides many health benefits such as increased vitamin D production and improved calcium absorption, lowers blood pressure, improves concentration, and reduces irritability and headaches. You can increase the number and size of windows in your home, but think about how great it feels to bask in the sun coming from above!

Skylights are a great addition to your home as they not only bring in natural light, but they also serve as a design element. Forget the old “bubble” style – today’s skylights are both functional and stylish, and are available with several options.

Velux solarOne such new feature is from VELUX®, the world’s largest manufacturer of skylights. VELUX raised the bar with Solar Powered “Fresh Air” Skylights. Rather than having to hire an electrician to run power to the roof, the skylight’s solar panel uses daylight to recharge its concealed battery that opens and closes the skylight (the practical side of ushering in fresh air and exhausting warm air trapped near the ceiling). It can also power an optional skylight shade.

Design Basics’ HER HOME™ publication teamed up with VELUX to showcase some of the possibilities for brightening your home. View this digital plan book with approximately 40 home plans with skylights incorporated into the design. This edition also features information on why natural light is so important, not only to your home design, but to you and your family!


Learn more about VELUX® skylights:

“See Your Toilet in a Whole New Light”

“See Your Toilet in a Whole New Light”

Kohler Lighted Toilet…says Kohler, referring to their Nightlight lighted toilet seat. In the middle of the night, you don’t want to turn the bright bathroom light on, startling yourself awake. With Nightlight, it’s easy to see the toilet area with the lid down; and, with the lid up, you can select from two different brightness levels to illuminate the toilet bowl for improved sight in the dark. Powered by four “AA” batteries, Nightlight runs on a seven-hour cycle, so you need not remember to turn it on at night or off during the day!

Visit to learn more.

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

No Warming Drawer, No Problem

Whether it’s a big family meal or formal dinner party, keeping food hot while you’re trying to get everyone around the table has long been a challenge. Viking Range has come up with a delicious solution with their 18-inch wide under-counter Incogneeto™ Induction Warmer that mounts directly under your stone or engineered stone countertop, transforming that portion of your countertop into a food warmer. The Incogneeto works with cookware that has an induction compatible base and features Automatic Pan Detection so there is no heating when the pan or bakeware is not present. Viking claims the Incogneeto can hold food to within +/- 2° F and has four temperature settings: 150°, 160°, 175°, and 190°. Best of all, the unit mounts underneath your counter with no drilling or cutting of the stone needed!

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

Reduce the Spread of Germs with Touch-Activated

Reduce the Spread of Germs with Touch-Activated

It’s just common sense, there’s a reason every time you wash your hands. Yet prior to each wash, you’re grabbing the faucet handle – that collector for all of the previous bacteria and germs you needed to wash off! Auto grease…raw fish and poultry…chemicals…what residue has built up on your bathroom and kitchen faucet handles? Touch-activated faucets to the rescue, such as Delta’s models with their Touch20® Technology. Simply touch anywhere on the faucet spout or handle to turn on and off. The faucet will deliver the same settings (flow rate and temperature) as the previous use. Powered by six AA or six C batteries, LEDs around the base flash red to indicate low battery; or choose the optional AC adaptor.

For more information on touch-free faucets, visit:

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

A Better Way – Sherwood Homes & Lane Building Corporation

A Better Way – Sherwood Homes & Lane Building Corporation

Who’s the best home builder?

Actually, that’s answered one home buyer at a time. And, in the Omaha, Nebraska, area, Sherwood Homes and Lane Building Corporation are raising the bar regarding what it means to be best. Part of that solution has been embracing Design Basics’ Woman-Centric Matters!® approach, which helps home builders focus on design, products for the home, and customer experiences from women’s viewpoints.

Though separate companies, Sherwood Homes and Lane Building Corporation build the same home designs, with the same tradespeople, using the same products; however, having two entities allows them to build in a wider variety of neighborhoods. Currently, the companies are building in 20 different subdivisions. Jerry Standerford explained, “Having building lots throughout the Omaha metro, buyers can get the neighborhood and school district they want. Or, we’ll help our clients find and secure a home site in one of Omaha’s other quality neighbor-hoods.”

A Better Experience

It is impossible to build a quality home without providing a quality new home experience. At Sherwood/Lane, that begins with a user-friendly website. But the customer experience gets into full swing when one of Sherwood/Lane’s three agents get involved.

“Our agents are really new home specialists and are very knowledgeable about home building,” Standerford said. “But even more important, our agents care. They’re focused on the buyer’s interests and helping each of our clients get the best home for their house-hold.”

Design Basics - Sherwood/Lane bathPre-construction, the agents assist with home plan and building lot selections, product decisions and finishes, and pricing. Communication is key, and with that, education. Home buyers don’t know what they don’t know.

Better Decisions

Sherwood/Lane offers dozens of different home plans, which, within reason, can be modified according to buyer preferences. The agents work out of furnished model homes that allow prospective buyers the opportunity to see the construction quality firsthand and experience the livability of the homes. Because it’s sometimes hard to visualize a home’s flow or perhaps a certain room size, being able to walk through the model home eliminates guesswork and avoids future remorse. Actually experiencing a dining area helps buyers know if it might need to be enlarged, for example.

Offering multiple move-in ready homes, Sherwood/Lane is also a market leader when it comes to buyers who are relocating to Omaha. Not surprisingly, many of those buyers are families with children who prefer traditional two-story homes. The company is seeing a higher number of multi-generational household clients and offers several popular two-story homes to incorporate a first-floor in-law suite. According to Standerford, “We’re also seeing the influence of websites such as Pinterest and Houzz among our clientele, which is helping them identify and prioritize what they want in a home.”

Design Basics - Sherwood/Lane design studioSherwood/Lane opened their Personalization Studio in 2006 and it’s been very popular with their personalized clients. Akin to a “university environment,” prospective home buyers meet there with their agent to further appreciate the included features and learn about avail-able options.

Read more about Sherwood/Lane’s Personalization Studio and home building design process.

Options for Independent Living

Options for Independent Living

Live-in Caretaker

Design Basics 56564 Bauer CreekForbes reports that women have a 1 in 7 chance of celebrating their 95th birthday (sorry guys, you only have a 1 in 14 chance of blowing out 95 candles). Today’s longer lifespans, scattered families, and the desire for independence coupled with the fear and high cost of nursing homes has made live-in caretakers a viable option. Similarly, accident victims and wounded veterans may need around-the-clock aides, which, not surprisingly, are often parents moving in. Home plans like Scholz Designs® Bauer Creek plan 56564 are more than dual master suite homes, they really “live” independently for the caretakers with separate garages, entrances, and living spaces, plus direct connections from one side to the other.

Unrelated Adults

Design Basics House Plan 50039The median age of widowhood is 59.4 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011). After a lifetime together, it’s no surprise that many of these “suddenly single” widows (and widowers) desire homeownership AND companionship. They’ve told us they’re looking for separate owner’s suites with shared living spaces. Take Design Basics’ Tucker Terrace plan 50039. The owner’s suite and suite #3 achieve maximum separation for desired privacy, meaning neither individual needs to be annoyed by the other’s loud TV programming. The common entertaining space + sunroom + rear covered porch provide plenty of opportunities for togetherness. While more modest, suite #2 could accommodate a third companion.

Related Adults

Design Basics 50037 ToulouseParticularly due to the aging baby boomer generation, there is a growing number of households with siblings or sometimes cousins moving in together. In addition to the desire to be with family, we often hear this is out of economic necessity, such as a suddenly single widow or even older related couples wanting to split housing costs. Not surprisingly, these are two of the driving forces behind the surging popularity of plans with dual owner’s suites on the main floor such as Design Basics Toulouse plan 50037. Each of that design’s first floor bedrooms is generously sized for a couple. An important consideration for older homeowners, the Toulouse features a zero-threshold front entry, ensuring this home can welcome visitors of all abilities. Similarly, interior passage doors are at least 36″ wide, easily accommodating a walker or wheelchair. And the over-sized flex/hobby space off the garage entry has another welcome amenity – a shower stall; originally en-visioned for pet care, but equally adept as a wheelchair wash-off station.

Design Basics 24297 GarlandSpecial Needs

We recently spoke with a woman with a special needs teenage daughter that will likely be living with her mom for many years to come. This homebuyer wanted a home with an owner’s suite, a separate adjacent suite (so she could hear her daughter), a third bedroom for frequent guests, and a room for her home office – all in less than 1800 square feet. Our search narrowed to the Garland plan 24297, where bedroom #4 was a perfect fit for her and her daughter’s needs, and bedroom #2 being re-purposed as the home office she wanted.

Search more plans with multiple owner’s suites to find the one that fits your lifestyle.

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