Gracious Lifestyles


Gracious Lifestyles

We All Enjoy Fine Appointments  —  The Sparkle of Fine China

One of the first items to consider for your new home is china, whether it’s a casual, contemporary pattern in durable earthenware or a formal, traditional pattern made from fine bone china. Either way, you should choose good quality china to set the most attractive table.

Many couples enjoy planing for two china patterns: one for casual dining and one for formal entertaining. In fact, many brides keep a few place settings of their fine china on hand at all times for serving romantic candlelit dinners for two or special weekend breakfasts in bed. What are the differences between an informal stoneware and fine china? Stoneware and earthenware are thicker and heavier while china is lighter and more glass like.

Fine china, or porcelain, is made from kaolin clay, a fine white clay found in China, feldspar and flint. These materials are fired at extremely high temperatures to form a nonporous ceramic. Bone china is a variation which includes bone ash to intensify whiteness. To see the difference between porcelain and other china, hold a piece to the light and place your hand behind it. You should be able to see the shadow of your hand behind the porcelain.





After the ground freezes, remember to add mulch for your perennials. Those that have been recently planted need mulch.

Mulch serves as an insulator. It keeps the soil uniformly cold. This insulation prevents the soil from shifting during alternating freezing and thawing. That shifting can damage exposed roots.

Choose a loose mulch like composted leaves, straw, or evergreen. Put 3 to 4 inches of mulch around each plant. Be cautious to not mulch the crown.




About woods used for furniture:

There are two categories of woods used in furniture manufacture. These are hardwoods and softwoods. Intriguingly, the terms have little to do with a wood’s hard or soft aspect. “Hardwood” refers to trees that lose leaves seasonally. “Softwood” refers to those that maintain foliage all year.

Hardwoods used in making furniture include ash, cherry, maple, oak, pecan, teak, rosewood, walnut, mahogany and poplar. Softwoods include cedar, cypress, fir, pine and redwood.




About that home buyer who can have everything:

KITCHENS: Bigger is better. Kitchens are rooms where people live, eat, do homework, and entertain.

COUNTERTOPS: Granite and Corian are in. So is copper, stainless steel, soapstone, quartz, and poured concrete.

PANTRIES: Traditional butler pantry with room for a pad and other gadgets is pleasing for some people.

WALK-IN REFRIGERATORS: With SUVs and big-box store discounts, people need room to store supplies by the case. Huge refrigerators satisfy that requirement.

RANGES: Restaurant appliances are often satisfying. These may have cook tops, featuring round, flat surfaces. They may have several rings of temperature for different size pans.



Do It Yourself

About vinyl siding:

Early vinyl siding was produced using a profile extrusion method. This could create irregularities. Slow sales compared with aluminum forced improvement. When problems were resolved, low-cost, no-maintenance features allowed vinyl siding to compete effectively with aluminum.

Vinyl has approximately 45% of the siding market. And, it is easy to install.

BIf you are planning a GIY project using vinyl siding, it will pay to understand the important, counter-intuitive application instructions.

Decorating As You Like It

About Your Decorating Preference

Please comment below.

1.   How familiar are you with decorating, architecture, furniture styles and brands, fabrics, paints, appliances, and so on?     Familiar with advanced design ideas
Familiar with basic design ideas     I am currently studying design
I forgot most of what I barely learned     I was never really too interested.

2.   My single most favorite furniture brand is:
Baker     Kindel     Thomasville     Stickley     Henredon     Drexel Heritage     Sligh      Broyhill     Ethan Allen     Ikea     Hooker     Century     Bassett     Other?

3.   I use a professional decorator when my home needs:
Never. I do it all myself, Anything beyond cleaning, Painting & carpeting, Painting, carpeting, & some new furniture, Painting, carpeting, some new furniture, & architectural changes.

4.   My favorite furniture style is:
Contemporary     Art deco – 1930s     Country French     Over-stuffed modern
18th Century English     None — I buy what I like spontaneously.

5.   Regarding fabric choices for chairs and sofas, I prefer:
Leather     Solid colors     Floral patterns     Use primarily leather & fabric
Striped patterns     Use primarily fabric     Other?

6.   Regarding art for walls, I prefer:
Lots of artwork     Little coverage     Moderate coverage     None

7.   Regarding the type of art for my walls, I prefer:
Oil paintings     Fabric coverings     Water color paintings     None — I buy what I like spontaneously.     Other?

8.   Regarding window treatments, I prefer:
Full coverage drapery     Blinds     Light, airy drapes     None — I buy what I like spontaneously     Other?

9.   Regarding floor coverings, I prefer:
Hardwood     Area rugs     Carpet, wall to wall     Oriental rugs     Other?

10.   Regarding a home office:
I would never have one     I recently built one     I am planning one     I have had one for several years.

11.   Regarding bathroom layouts and fixtures, I prefer:
As large as possible     Just the essentials     Smaller is OK     Fully equipped & hot tub, etc.     Other?

12.   Regarding kitchen layouts and decors, I prefer:
Open uncluttered Euro-style
Open with pass through
Traditional enclosed country look
Enclosed separate from other areas

13.   Regarding kitchen appliances, my favorite brands include:
Maytag     Kitchen Aid     Frigidaire     Krups     SubZero     Sunbeam     Amana     GE     Other?

Construction & Remodeling


Construction & Remodeling

home-modules-being-placed    home-exterior

Tips for you about to restore your property:

1. Do you want to retain the original character of the house. Then you must preserve original appearance and interior.

2. Be cautious that you do not restore beyond what is reasonable.
3. Use materials that were used when your house was built.

4. Hold to the details, including decorative glass, moldings, hardware, light fixtures, etc.

5. Understand and have respect for the intended use of rooms.

6. Don’t update to style that is inconsistent with originality. Hold to originality whenever possible.

7. Paint old houses colors of the period.
8. Finish floors in the methods and style of the original period.

9. Use fences to enhance and set off your property.
10. Use garden plants and shrubbery that complement your property.

11. Be sure to make additions and changes of the styles of the period.

12. Always be aware of your property’s original intent. If it was built to be a home, make it a home.

Neat & Clean


Clean & Neat

How to Care for Hard Wood Floors
Information furnished by: Hardwood Manufacturers Association 800/373-WOOD

Living with natural hardwood floors: Take a close look. Preventing damage: Regular care: Does your new hardwood floor look old? What condition is your floor in? What type of finish does your floor have?

When your hard wood floor needs extra care.
Damp mopping.
Maintenance coat.
Removing stains in waxed floors.
Removing stains and repairing surface finishes.
How to Care for Solid Hardwood Floors!
Solid hardwood floors repay a little care with a lifetime of value. When you first glimpse a solid hardwood floor, you sense richness, warmth and natural beauty. Gradually, you get to know its distinct personality — visual harmonies, the traces of history in the forest and in your home.
Appreciate the color and pattern of the floorâs strips, planks or parquetry.
Read the grain: Is it bold-textured oak? Subdued maple or cherry?
Check the condition of the underlying wood and the finish that protects it. Are there signs of neglect to erase (it’s not difficult), or do you see a well-tended surface that needs just a light touch to maintain it?

Buying, Selling, And Moving


Buying, Selling, & Moving

When you want to or need to sell your home, your timing may not coincide with optimal market opportunities.

When you put your house up for sale will obviously depend upon how quickly you need to sell.

In past periods, real estate agents would have advise putting a house up for sale from March 1 to June 1. In those periods, that timing would likely garner the most offers at highest prices.

However, house selling is no longer such a seasonal proposition.

With Internet sites providing all the details needed to make buying decisions, many parts of the country experience good selling periods at least ten months to twelve a year.