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Top Home Décor Trends for 2014

Should you put in a black and white kitchen, paint your dining room radiant orchid and add a large, extravagant bath?

Staying abreast of the latest trends in home décor helps you extend the life span of your next remodeling project. Here are some of the top trends for 2014 in home remodeling and redecorating:

Kitchen Trends

Kitchens featuring black countertops, open shelves or glass-front cabinets and darker paint tones are popular with homeowners, according to Zillow Digs’ Home Design Trend Report for 2014.

But Elle Décor  predicts jewel tones and rich colors will dominate kitchen design in the year ahead.

If you can afford to update again in a few years, you can take the risk of putting in trendy countertops that look like malachite, agate or other stones.

But, if you’re going to have to live with your kitchen for many years or you plan to sell in a few years and don’t want to have to remodel again, stick with neutrals for countertops, walls, flooring and cabinetry. Save the bolder patterns for less expensive accents like curtains, rugs and pillows.

Industrial Accents

Sophisticated industrial revolution accents will remain strong next year, according to the Delta Faucet design team. This trend includes unique materials that look like they came from an architectural salvage yard.

To build this look on a budget, keep the accents in their simplest form. Light fixtures stripped down to nothing more than sockets and wires, open metal shelving stacked with cast iron cookware and reclaimed wood elements can easily reinforce this look with minimal cost.

Navy Blue Or Radiant Orchid?

House Beautiful says  the most popular color for home décor in 2014 is blue. “From rich, saturated colors like navy and indigo to bright, vibrant shades like peacock blue and cobalt, blue will continue to reign supreme in the coming year,” design blogger Paloma Contreras told the magazine.

The color experts at Pantone disagree and choose Radiant Orchid as the official color of the year. Can’t make up your mind which you like? Get them both with York Wallpaper’s Martini print.

USB Sockets

With so many devices to charge, homeowners are replacing a few of their home’s traditional electric outlets with outlets that pair one regular outlet and two USB ports to power cell phones, gaming devices and computers, say the design experts at Neil Kelly Remodeling in Portland.

Swapping a regular electric outlet for a USB outlet (get them at any hardware store) is simple for a do-it-yourselfer who understands home electric wiring. Neil Kelly recommends looking for a socket that has a smart sensor to shut off the power when your device is fully charged.

Small, Efficient Bathrooms

The downsizing trend isn’t just influencing homes, it’s also showing up in the bathrooms inside those homes, says Remodeling blogger Lauren Hunter.

Manufacturers have responded to the desire to right-size homes by coming out with smaller-scale bathroom fixtures.

Green living has inspired water-saving fixtures that don’t sacrifice performance. And an increasing number of multigenerational families are fueling a trend toward ageless bathroom design to ensure everyone can use a bathroom for years to come.



The start of a new year is a great time to make changes in your finances and the way you maintain your home.

If saving money is one of your New Year’s resolutions, I’ve got four smart ways for you to do just that:


If you haven’t yet refinanced your mortgage or home equity loan to take advantage of today’s low interest rates, there’s still time to lock in a great deal. Jay Brinkmann, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association, expects mortgage rates to rise above 5 percent in 2014 and to 5.5 percent by the end of 2015.

If your current mortgages exceed your home’s value, you may still be able to refinance using one of the federal government’s Home Affordable Refinance Program.

Change Your Furnace Filters

New Year’s resolutions don’t get much easier than vowing to change your HVAC filter once a month in 2014 to increase your furnace’s life span.

To make this task easy, buy 12 filters and store them in the furnace room so they’re at hand when you need them. Put a reminder on your calendar or tie this chore to another monthly chore, like paying your household bills, so you remember to do it each month.

Seal The Air Leaks In Your Home

Sealing the air leaks in your home is one of the most cost-effective ways to cut your utility bills. Check to make sure your winders are caulked around the outside of the trim on the inside and outside of your home. Use foam to fill large gaps where the plumbing, electric or cable comes in the house.

Shop Your Insurance Policies

Yes, it’s a bother to shop for insurance, but if you haven’t checked what’s out there lately, you may be overpaying. The easiest way to get this chore done is to delegate.

Copy the declarations pages from your current home, auto, life and umbrella policies and ask an independent insurance agent to look for a better overall deal for you. You can also visit your current agent or call your insurance company and ask for an annual review to make sure you’ve got the right coverage and are getting all the discounts for which you qualify.

All I Want For Christmas is a Higher Interest Rate

December2013-23-175x131 (Taper)So, it would appear that the honeymoon is over.

The government program that was stimulating our economy by keeping interest rates at or slightly above historic lows for the past 18 months or so could not last forever.  We knew this day would be coming.  Many believed that it would not come until Early 2014, but it seems that there was no time like the present.

“Tapering” has begun.December2013-27-175x131 (Rate Projections)

Over the next few days, weeks and months, we can expect interest rates to rise now that the U.S. government will be cutting back on their bond-purchasing program.  To the right are predictions on where interest rates can be expected to go by this time next year.  The consensus is, that by the end of 2014, interest rates will have risen by just about 1 point, which is an increase of nearly 20% from where we are now and almost 2 points higher than this past Spring.

There is no reason to panic over this.  It wasn’t so long ago that interest rates were well above 7%.  If you are thinking of selling your home, there is good news.  There is no evidence that the rise in interest rates will have a downward effect on the price gains we have enjoyed over the past 18 months throughout most of the Delaware Valley.  In fact, this information may be a boon for those considering putting their home on the market in the coming months.

WDecember2013-281-175x131 (Cost of Waiting)e can expect an influx in potential buyers in the first few months of 2014.  You see, by the end of next year, that home you were looking at may become more expensive, even if the price has not changed.  On a $250,000 home (about average for around Montgomery County) a one point change in interest rates can mean a difference of over $150/month.  Over the life of a 30-year loan, that is a difference of over $50,000 out of pocket.  I can think of a few things that I could do with that money, personally.

The Bottom Line

We all knew that there would come a day when interest rates would once again rise above where they were.  Everything, including real estate, is cyclical by nature.  If you were thinking of buying a home in the coming year, earlier will be better than later.  Now is not the time to sit on the sidelines, waiting for rates to dip back down.  While that may happen in the short-term, playing chicken with interest rates can end up costing you in the long run.

If you have been contemplating selling your home, now is the perfect time.  As of today, we are experiencing a primarily balanced market.  Home inventories are down (there are still not enough quality homes for sale to satisfy the demand) but the number of buyers has dwindled as well.  This is a seasonal shift, nothing more.  There will be an influx of buyers who don’t want to be left behind by interest rate hikes that may price them out of the perfect home for them.  Your home.  Because, the buyers will be out there.  If your home is not there for them to choose from, they will buy your neighbor’s house instead.

If you fall into either category, give me a call today to review your options and what the governmental taper will mean for you.


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