Fall is such a magical time in Northern California. Foggy mornings roll in with perfect afternoons and chilly evenings. It’s a great reprieve from the summer heat and for many it’s the ideal time to be outside. The TD team decided to put together a list of some easy things you can do for your outdoor space this fall to UP your outdoor hosting game.
3. Refresh Garden Planters
Many flowers that we plant during spring and summer start to fade during the fall and may need to be replaced with more hearty plants. Some suggestions are Pansies and Violas, trees and shrubs as well as spinach, arugula, radishes, beets, and turnips.
2. Plant Fruit Trees
Fall is a great time to plant trees because it gives time for the roots of the trees to grow in the soft warmth of fall and establish itself before winter so it can fruit beautifully during spring and summer. Apple, pear, and persimmon trees are good options that are not only beautiful but incredibly delicious..
3. Update Outdoor Lighting
After a long summer, is your outdoor lighting looking dirty or dated? Give them a refresh by dismantling and washing the hardware or update it to something new and fabulous! Small changes like adding sconces near your front door can up your curb appeal drastically.
4. Install an Outdoor Heater/ Fire Pit
Whether it's for entertaining outdoors or just to create a cozy vibe for yourself and your family, there is nothing better than an outdoor firepit. There are many that can be used during spare the air days that don’t use wood and are aesthetically pleasing as well!
5. Outdoor Workspaces
Many of us continue to work from home and are tired of looking at the walls inside the home (if that's the case, you should probably give Thomas Designs a call...) So maybe it’s time to move your work space for at least a part of the day to outside. There are many ways you can create a comfortable and beautiful outdoor space whether it be to install a fun sail shade/canopy or just by utilizing a desk in just the right spot, it can keep you inspired for seasons to come.
6. Refresh Your Throw pillows, Rugs or Blankets
This one is one of our favorites-- a simple professional cleaning of your outdoor upholstery/ area rug or replacing outdoor throw pillows and blankets can completely transform your space. Keep a basket of blankets by the back door and stow away your pillows and cushions in a creative outdoor storage container when not in use. This way you can keep your cushions clean and perfectly cozy for whenever you want to use them. Or better yet get furniture covers to protect your furniture investment.
Would you ever consider putting these ideas in to action? Comment Blow and let us know!
We all know what it’s like to buy a sweet plant at a store, take it home and put it somewhere special and then within months or even weeks of buying it-- it’s dead. We have experienced this too and decided to figure out how to prevent this and share some advice with you--some of our favorite people! Here we break it down into 3 things to consider when you’re purchasing a new plant.
1. Amount of light in a room
There are many different kinds of light plants require. The hard part is trying to figure out what type of light is in your room and where it is. This diagram should help in figuring out where you should place your plants. The amount of light that a plant gets is as important to its health as being watered. Remider: sunlight is a plant's food! You can find out what kind of light is required for your plant by reading the informational tag that comes along with the plant, asking the sales person in the plant department, or giving a quick google search.
2. How the temperature of the room changes seasonally
A lot of places in California don’t have the same major seasonal temperature swings as most other states but the swing from warm to hot can be rough on certain plants. And some of our fruit bearing plants need to keep that high temperature and struggle during the colder months. Make sure that your plants don’t need to be moved around seasonally to different areas of your home. This is going to be something you need to keep an eye on and if your plant starts to struggle where it’s at, carefully try moving it to a different part of the house.
3. Children and Fur babies
Kids and pets get into things. Some plants can be very toxic to pets and others can irritate sensitive skin if not handled properly. Make sure when you are purchasing a plant you find out if it’s safe for your home or not. Plant’s typically say on the information tag if it is toxic or not but we highly suggest googling the name of the plant to see if it is safe to have near your loved ones.
A few air purifying plants we LOVE:
1. Sansevieria Trifasciata -- or Mother-In-Law's Tongue
This plant has a funny nickname, but it's seriously cool. Not only is it extremely hardy and works well in our wearmer california climate, it requires less maintenance and watering than other leafy plants. The cherry on top is that the Mother-In-Law's Tongue is an incredible air purifier. This is a great plant to buy that will fit on a shelf or table but you can find taller, more mature versions of the plant to fill larger corners of your home.
*Removes: Benzene, Formaldehyde, Trichloroethylene, Xylene and Toluene.
2. Dragon Tree - Dracaena Marginata
This plant is another great air purifier. The Dragon Tree has many of the same features as the plant mentioned above but it’s taller and fills space in a different way. This one is more tree-like and the edges of the leaves come in different variations. The most common has a ruby red color around the edges of the leaves which can bring in a lovely warmth and pop of color to your home. This is a particular TD favorite, and we buy/ install these beauties often for clients.
*Removes: Benzene, Formaldehyde, Trichloroethylene, Xylene and Toluene.
Corn Plant - Dracaena Fragrans
If you’re looking for something with similar qualities as the plants above but want a fuller leafier plant-- the Corn Plant is for you! This plant can grow to be fairly tall and the bushel of leaves can stretch wide without needing direct sunlight! This is also a low maintenance plant and would look perfect in any home.
*Removes: Benzene, Formaldehyde, Xylene and Toluene.
*information taken from a study done by NASA. For more info click here.
What do you think about these plant suggestions? Do you have any more helpful tips? Share below!
It is always our goal here at Thomas Designs to create a home that will be there for you no matter what life brings. Bathrooms are one of the most accident prone areas of our homes. They can become hard to navigate no matter the age or condition of your body. There are many simple yet beautiful ways to create accessible and safe bathrooms and we want to tell you all about it~
1. Install a Shower Bench
Shower benches are such a beautiful and easy thing to add to your shower and the amount of comfort it can bring is immeasurable. When your energy is limited, you don’t want to be using it to stand up in a slippery shower. Take a seat and enjoy your bathing time in the most comfortable way possible. If you’re working with a smaller space there are foldable and removable shower benches options that are just as sleek
3. Install Grab Bars
5. Check the Height of Your Toilet & Add Grab Bars
Many toilets are on the shorter side at 16” but you can use “comfort height” toilets which are generally between 17-19” high ( + ADA complaint) making sitting and standing up a lot easier. Also adding grab bars to these areas can help a lot with sitting and standing.
8. Consider the Lip of Your Bathtub.
Getting in and out of baths is extremely hard for most people but you don’t want to give them up as you age. Either opt for a shallow lip so you can step over it easily or build a casing around it with a wide lip so that you can sit and then swing your legs in.
Would you ever consider having any of these things implemented in to your bathroom designs or do you have any other ideas? let us know in the comments below!
In these changing times many are choosing to live in smaller spaces for a multitude of reasons. With that comes less space but that doesn’t mean you need to be a minimalist or get rid of your special treasures. This month we are taking Michelle, The Principal of Thomas Designs’ newly renovated bedroom as inspiration for elegant compact storage solutions. From quick grab jewelry, to family heirlooms we have beautiful and useful ways you can keep your space and jewelry looking organized.
We all know how frustrating and difficult it can be to access and use all of our personal accessories without having a huge walk-in closet. So we came up with four innovative organizational solutions to share with you.
Incorporate it into your design
We all love accessories and vintage treasures. Jewelry is such a personal item to collect through time and we are firm believers in more is more! In Michelle’s bedroom renovation she has incorporated her unique jewelry collection into the actual design plan.
Here you see Michelle has used a beautiful heirloom from her Grandmother to display her fun and chunky pieces. This lamp helps elegantly display them and we love the speak-easy boudoir vibe of the space!
Make a Grab and Go Area
*Thomas Designs Tip: Make sure to place this out of the way and not in direct sunlight for optimal protection.
Would you ever use any of these organizational elements in your home? Have you found another great storage solution for tiny treasures? Comment below and let us know.
Guest post by Idara Hampton
Overlooking the laundry room is easy to do. It’s not the place where you eat, watch TV, or sleep. The laundry room is the small space in your house that you may visit once a week for a few minutes at a time between shows you’re binge-watching. It’s all about practicality. Wash. Dry. Repeat. Not very sexy is it? But it can be a charming little area if given the right attention. There’s no need to sacrifice style for function. You can have them both. After all, even neglected, tiny rooms need love. The challenge is coming up with a beautiful design that makes you beam with pride using a limited amount of space.
Don’t despair, it’s easy to do with the right materials on hand. Making the most of chic storage solutions, vibrant colors, and beautiful flooring can take your laundry room to another level.
You may not even recognize it when you’re done. Dare we say that you might even start looking forward to laundry day?
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself getting sucked in by the hypnotic pull of your amazing, updated laundry room. Forget about fighting off the urge.
It’s in your nature. A moth must go to the flame as you must go to your newly tricked out laundry room. What You Need to Consider First is how do you make a small laundry room work for you? First, you must assess your space. You want it to be efficient, super-organized, and functional. It should also be a well-designed area since you’ll do a good bit of bending, lifting, and turning in this space. Consider the size of your family as well.
What that in mind, take a moment to look at your space and really think about what you need to do to make it as easy to maneuver in as possible. Consider the amount of laundry you have, the amount of space you can utilize, and what supplies you will need to store in your room. Give it some time. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
A large family may require a few more trips than a small size one. It will make the difference between handling those loads of socks, underwear, and jeans daily or weekly.
A well-equipped laundry room will simplify the process for you. You will need to consider how to fit in the laundry essentials you keep on deck. Think about where you’d like to store your supplies. Most likely you will do your folding and sorting in this space.
Perhaps you need an area set aside to dry wet clothes or to iron the wrinkles out of your favorite shirt. Think about the kinds of racks and rods you’ll use to dry delicates and hang items that have been pulled from the dryer. These 15 laundry room ideas for maximizing a small space will show you some of the best storage ideas, organization solutions, and decorating tricks to transform your lackluster laundry space into a serene oasis of jaw-dropping beauty.
Idea 1: Hide Your Washer and Dryer
Maybe you don’t have the fanciest washer and dryer and you’d rather not cast your eyes on them every time you get ready to do a load. Or what if you like your washing machines but you simply don’t want them out in the open for the world to see? If you don’t care for seeing your washing machines exposed like this there are creative ways to cover them. Not everyone wants a washer or dryer within their line of sight. Remedy this by hiding them. Use a simple tension rod and curtain to conceal your equipment. It gives you the added benefit of being able to infuse your space with more color, texture, and personality.
Adding a sliding door is another great option for keeping your laundry machines tucked neatly away in a closet-sized space.
Idea 2: Make the Most of Color
Use Neutral Colors. Neutrals are great for adding a touch of class to your laundry room. Various shades of white, gray, and earth tones are a safe bet because they go well with a many style options. Plus, you can always throw in a dash of color to brighten things up without worrying about the color being too overwhelming.
Get Cheerful with Pops of Color. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, why not try out different colors? You can experiment with different designs. Paint the walls, the floors, and cabinets to suit your style. Look who’s getting fancy with the brushwork. Add a bold pop of vibrant color to a drab laundry room by painting on some cool designs. The great thing about paint is that you can always paint over the design if you’re not happy with it. Take a closer look and you’ll see that the artist drew a stencil first before adding that very bright yellow to the wall. You may want to do the same to avoid unnecessary mistakes so you’ll end up with a paint job you can be proud to show off.
Using chalk paint is a great option if you’re short on time because you won’t have to prime anything before getting started. Get really creative and add stencil designs to your paint job. Go online and get some adorable vinyl decals to add visual interest.
Keep Things Calm With Blue. Did you know there’s evidence that says that most people feel calm when surrounded by the color blue? Wouldn’t it be lovely to walk into your laundry room to take a break from the chaos and be enveloped in a sea of serenity?
Taking care of your family’s laundry is a dirty business – literally, so why not make it as pleasant and peaceful as you possibly can?
Idea 3: Organize Your Laundry Room
Use Jars to Spruce Up the Vibe. Put your laundry pods and powder detergent in glass containers with scoops to make a cute décor statement. If you have liquid detergent it’s better to place it in a drink dispenser like this one from Estilo. It holds a gallon of liquid and comes with a leak-free spigot. Store them on open shelves to take in the visual glory. Open shelves above machines take up less space than cabinets. They’re perfect for narrow rooms. No open shelves? No problem. Place the jars on top of a front-loading washer. This is a great way to free up limited cabinet space.
Look at this beauty. A front-loading washer that’s ready to handle all your laundry needs. This is the type of washer that’s perfect for placing jars on top of. Imagine having to lift a heavy jar full of detergent off a top-loading washer every time you had to do a load. Not so appealing is it? You’d never have that problem with this gem. If you get a large jar, you’ll be able to fit a couple of boxes of detergent in there at a time. Make sure you keep the jars out of the reach of your kids’ little rambling fingers. Add labels to avoid getting confused with your new fancy array of powders and liquids on display, use labels so you know exactly what you’re reaching for. When you’re in a rush it could be easy to mistake bleach for your regular liquid detergent. There goes your precious black pencil skirt. Labeled jars, baskets, and bins will make you feel so pulled together – like a mini Martha Stewart – minus the jail time. Give chalkboard labels a go. With one swipe, you can rewrite labels as needed.
Idea 4: Start a Lost & Found Box
The best way to keep everything in tip-top shape is to have a spot for every item in your laundry room. Create a specific area to keep small items that could easily get lost.
This small box with a clasp is perfect for putting small items in that can easily get lost. Use an adorable little box for little items that need a home so they don’t turn up missing.
Now you’ll have a place to store items that otherwise might go missing. Isn’t it odd how socks know exactly how to disappear into thin air? It’s like Houdini came back to taunt you with one of his amazing vanishing acts. But don’t fret. Now you will have a place to stash your precious socks and other small items.
Idea 5: Maximize Your Storage
Get the most use out of a small space by using a customized cubby above your washer and dryer. It’s a great way to store your necessary cleaning supplies or to stash dirty clothes.
You can also add instant storage by using wooden craft crates. Get creative and spray paint them your favorite color.
Or you could buy craft crates with a chalkboard feature that lets you write on them. This three-pack of craft crates from My Gift comes in different sizes for your various needs.
Speaking of creative, how fun would it be to repurpose a small bookshelf by turning it into a smart built-in storage piece?
finish reading the article at this link if you are interested in more laundry room ideas!
Share your own ideas below and share with a friend!
So you've decided that you want to make some changes to your home...where do you start? The Thomas Designs team has put together a list of 7 must know tips about getting started.
1. Your Team Matters.
Read reviews, ask your friends and neighbors for referrals. The lowest bid does not mean the best bid. Cutting back expenses in other areas to hire a good team will be money well spent. Ask the people you hire for references for other parts of the team. A group of people that like working together makes for a successful project.
2. Clearly Define the Scope Before You Start.
Set the scope and budget of the project before you begin. It’s okay to get started on remodeling the kitchen and then decide to add on a bathroom but projects like that need permits which can take a long time to get approved. Then your project can last an additional 6+months costing you precious resources like time and money and possibly your sanity!
3. Pick Finishes Early.
Begin researching the types of finishes you want early on in the process. Start a Pinterest or Houzz page to keep track of all the wonderful ideas and materials you come across. If you don't know where to start, hire an Interior Designer to consult. They can help with material selections and save you time and money because they will know exactly where to direct you to see tile plumbing and other finishes. Delays due to shipping times or items being out of stock can really set back projects and add to the overall budget. It’s also nice to have time to look at your options so you’re not rushing decisions you could regret.
4. Know Where to Cut Corners if Needed.
Invest in the structural foundation of your home. Make sure the plumbing and electrical locations are exactly how you want them. Consider putting in a few lower cost items. Maybe instead of that crazy expensive marble you substitute it with a beautiful faux option that is much more durable and will save you money now and in the long run. Some things can also be changed out later on but if you only give yourself one outlet in a room, you will probably regret it later.
5. Consider Temporary Housing.
Depending on the scope of your project, it may be easy to stay in your home during construction but if you are doing a more extensive remodel where you need to have power and water shut off or the kitchen completely demolished you might want to consider temporary housing for you and your family. If you can’t stay with friends or family, planning the times you would want to be out of the house and including it in your overall remodeling budget could be worth offsetting costs with more standard finishes.
6. Be Careful of Change Orders.
Change orders are when the client changes their mind about something and the contractor needs to amend the contract you had originally agreed on. These can be very expensive and add up quickly! This is basically another reminder to take the time to plan out your remodel with your expert team before setting your ideas into contracts.
7. Keep Your Perspective and Sense of Humor.
Sometimes things don't go as planned. In fact things don't go as planned often in a remodel and at no fault to the team. Remodels can be extremely stressful when you have specific timelines and budgets set. But as we all know good things take time. And when you have the right team we do our best to help educate you through the process so any issues or delays get taken care of quickly and instead of experiencing pitfalls they're just bumps in the road. Try to keep perspective and laugh off the little things, it will all be worth it in the end.
We want to help you build it right the first time! If you have questions, ask. If you have concerns, lets talk. At the end of the day, if you hire a good team that you trust and respect and take the time to think about what you need in your home things should go smoothly!
Have a tip of your own? Leave a comment below to help our fellow readers. Pease share this with a friend and feel free to contact us with any questions.
By Jackie Waters
Clutter can take a huge toll on our health, yet many people are unsure of how to go about taking care of it. If you have a busy schedule, a large family, or small spaces in your home that become easily overwhelmed with belongings, it can be a challenge to keep clutter at bay. The good news is that there are several things you can do to address the mess and keep your home looking neat and clean, which will boost your mood and may even help with feelings of depression or anxiety. Getting organized will help immensely, but you must also be willing to part with things that are no longer necessary for your lifestyle. Here are four tips on how to get started.
Hire Some Help
While most decluttering can be DIY projects, you may need some help disposing of larger items like furniture, mattresses, and oversized decor that you no longer want. Most trash pickup services won’t haul away items that don’t fit into the can, but you can hire some help in the form of a junk removal service. Ask about mileage fees as well. If there are items that you are thinking of recycling, make sure your local recycling service will take them; for instance, many facilities won’t accept a mattress unless it is already broken down into manageable parts, but a junk removal service will take it off your hands.
One of the easiest ways to combat clutter is to make some organizational changes around your home. If the kitchen counter is a catch-all for homework, snacks, mail, and backpacks, it might help to give everyone their own space to keep their belongings in. Creating a small area near the door with self-adhesive hooks will allow the kids to hang up their coats and bags after school, whereas investing in a small mail holder will help you keep all the bills and important paperwork together. Not only will this cut down on the clutter, but it will also help everyone get ready a little faster in the mornings, and that can only be a good thing!
Many people have collections of books, records, photos, movies, and video games that take up a lot of space. You don’t have to get rid of these, but you can find ways to condense them or get them organized using apps and other simple tech. Rather than having several bookshelves in the living room, keep one full of some favorites and store the rest of the collection, then switch them out with the seasons. Photos can be scanned onto a computer and digitized; then, they can be moved to an external hard drive or a thumb drive for easy access. If you have a DVD collection, consider storing each one in a paper sleeve and alphabetizing them in a drawer or cabinet so you can pack the cases away; this will save you a ton of space.
Ask Yourself Some Hard Questions
One of the most difficult things about decluttering is figuring out how to let go of some of the things you’ve had for years. Keep in mind that you don’t have to lose sentimental items; these can be stored or given to family members. Other items should be tackled with the general “six-month” rule; if you haven’t used a non-seasonal item in six months, it’s probably time to let it go. Clothing, kitchen items, and furniture should be tackled first, as these tend to take up the most space. You can donate these items or sell them via marketplace apps to earn extra cash.
Decluttering your home is a great way to focus on your health, as it truly affects your mental space and your physical well-being to live in a home that is overwhelmed with belongings. Talk to your family members about how they can help so that everyone can be healthy and happy.
As summer approaches our team has been researching wildfire prevention tips so we can help fortify our own homes and share it with you. Since 1972, California’s annual burned area has increased more than fivefold. Over the past five decades, these summertime forest fires have increased in size by roughly 800 percent. (MEYER)
With this information in mind, we want to raise awareness of things we can do in order to protect our home and family.
Fortify Your Home
- Clear dead leaves routinely during the spring or summer from gutters, roofs, and porches.
- Remove dead vegetation with a 10 food radius of your home.
- Prune trees so the branches have 6-10 feet distance from the ground.
- Enclose exterior vents with metal mesh to prevent embers from traveling into your home.
- Buy a wireless or crank powered radio so you can stay up to date on news if power lines go down.
- Have a grab bag of essentials packed in a closet.
Create An Emergency Plan
- Plan on a safe location you can meet up with your loved ones in case of an emergency as phone lines are often too busy to service calls.
- Develop an emergency evacuation plan for both your home and neighborhood and put it into practice.
- Reach out to your neighbors to make connections and share contact information.
- Contact your local planning or zoning office to see if your area is at high risk for wildfires or if you are not sure if these items apply to you.
What To Do During A Wildfire
- Pack an emergency grab bag in your car with water, food bars etc.
- Move all outside furnishings inside your home or garage as soon as possible including all houseplants and door mats.
- Fill the pool, hot tub, trash cans, tubs, any open vessel with water. Fire Fighters have been known to need to pump water from these places to put out rooftop fires.
-Leave ASAP to a no risk area even before you are advised to evacuate. Once the evacuation orders are released, everyone will be trying to do the same.
Thinking in this way can seem scary and overwhelming but it is best to plan beforehand so if this ever happens again you will have ideas of what you need to do in the high stress moments. Bonus is that many of these emergency plans and items can also be used if there are earthquakes. California is only getting hotter and being prepared can put you and your family at ease.
Share this with your friends, neighbors, and family! Let us all get on the same page for this up coming fire season.
5) Support Local Businesses
Local businesses have local connections. When you use and shop local you are supporting independent contractors who often source and partner with other local crafts people in doing their work. Hiring one small business to do a remodel can create a chain of local small business stimulation which not only helps you have greater impact in your community but often a more eco friendly home!
Comment below if you have implemented any of these with your home and share with a friend that could use the tips!
Tables are one of the most space consuming furnishings we have in our homes-- shouldn’t it be a quality piece that is functional and nice to look at? The Team at Thomas Designs has put together a list of tables all created by small producing california furniture designers to inspire you on what could be in your home.
If you saw anything of interest within this article, click here to inquire about our sources. Thank you for reading and don’t forget to share with a friend!