Our Favorite Fall Kitchens

To wrap up Cozy Kitchen week, I thought I would do a little digging and share my favorite cozy kitchens from around the web. They all have a gorgeous, unique element to them that makes me just want to jump in and start cooking!

  1. Janna from Yellow Prairie Interior
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    See the whole home tour by Kelly at Eclectically Vintage

2. Shayna from The Wood Grain Cottage
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Check out her entire kitchen over at her blog, The Wood Grain Cottage

3. Yvonne from StoneGable
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Take a peek at her whole Fall-ready home on her blog, StoneGable

4. Jen from Jennifer Rizzo
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Check out her Fall inspired living space at her blog Jennifer Rizzo

5. Lauren from The Endearing Home
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Visit Lauren’s whole Fall inspired tour over at Savvy Southern Style with Kim

6.  Becca from Adventures In Decorating
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Check out the whole home tour over on Pamela’s Blog, From My Front Porch To Yours

What do you think? Tell us about the cozy, Fall style you love in the comments.

Langhorne-Kirsten

Luxury Libraries

Libraries are one of my favorite rooms to plan in a new home. A lot of times clients either want to combine them with an office or bedroom, but occasionally we get to work with a serious bookworm who wants a room just for their most treasured tomes.

Here are our top 5 tips for creating the most luxurious library experience.

1. Plentiful, comfortable seating

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http://www.decoist.com/2012-10-16/40-home-library-design-ideas-remarkable-interior/space-conscious-home-library-setting-with-stylish-furniture/

Every great library is set up with a lot of comfy seating. For the best experience, be sure to offer a variety of seating types to accommodate the many positions readers like to assume. Include a comfortable chair that promotes good posture for long engagements with deep literature, add a space to lounge for fanciful dives into fantasy, and don’t forget a chair and table for serious investigations.

Built in benches are a great way to include spacious seating and storage. Talk with your architect or designer early on about your visions for the library to find good ways to add in built in options.

2. Well placed lighting

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Good lighting makes a world of difference. Avoid harsh glares and energy sapping brightness by planning recessed, pendant, and track lighting with your architect or contractor. Having electrical access in just the right places will prevent unsightly cords from taking up space in your sanctuary. Go for soft, warm, diffused lighting in several locations rather than one solution that lights up the whole room.

3. Safe and secure shelving

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Be sure that all your shelving is securely fastened or “built in” to the walls. This is especially important for families with kids. An expert carpenter should know to do this, but it never hurts to communicate your concerns about safety during the install process.

4. Structural Support

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Books are heavy. A lot of books….a library of books are REALLY heavy. Make sure your builder knows about the placement and scale of the library you have in mind so that they are able to ensure the greatest structural integrity possible for the space. It is important that your floor and flooring material is able to adequately bear the weight.

5. Windows, windows, windows

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http://www.decoist.com/2012-10-16/40-home-library-design-ideas-remarkable-interior/summer-home-library-that-comes-along-with-gorgeous-views/

Traditionally, many historic libraries were dungeon-like. Built without windows and designed in deep masculine colors. This doesn’t have to be the case in your home. Lots of windows bring a comfortable and bright natural light to the space lighten up the visual weight of the books. Besides, who doesn’t love day dreaming while pondering the natural beauty of the great outdoors?

These are just a few of the libraries we love. For lots more inspiration check out our Pinterest board, built just for bibliophiles. https://www.pinterest.com/langhornecustom/luxury-libraries/

Tell us what you think! What would your library fall flat without?

Kid Approved Play Areas

Play areas for kids can be some of the most exciting rooms we build. Often times clients will come to us with amazingly creatives ideas and we are always all too happy to work them into our plans. A great playroom will keep a family (not just the kids!) entertained for years and provide a serious statement piece in the home. We often get asked about how these specialty rooms and custom installations affect resale values of homes, and most of the time, really exciting pieces like a fabulous play area contribute to the luxury feel of the house, but for maximum impact on value, make sure all the features in your custom room are impeccably crafted, but also removeable.

When it comes to the term “removable”, we encourage every family to talk with their builder about what it means. For us, we can create indoor playhouses and climbing objects that look and feel “built in” but can easily be deconstructed later. A padded floor, or architectural nooks and crawl spaces are less easily taken out.

We’ve come up with these 4 “must have” features in a spectacular playroom.

Chalkboard Walls

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As parents (and fashionably sensitive homeowners) there is little we fear more than our kids coloring on the walls. The idea is really enough to make even the strongest stomachs turn. Just like most things with kids though, if you give them space to be creative, they can learn to take responsibility for their actions and confine their “artistry” to just one acceptable area. Enter the chalkboard wall. It’s the ultimate rainy day activity and lets your little one express his/her individuality by making a room their own.

Although chalkboard paint comes in a variety of colors, the iconic black finish will help younger kids understand where they can and can’t scribble. As an added bonus, a wall to wall chalk board alleviates the need for further decor in that area, making it super kid friendly and easy on concerned parents.

Really Big Bean Bags

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Bean bags went out of style a while ago, but they’re back, and in a big way. A modern play area has to have one and the bigger they are the better. Vast and cozy bean bags lighten up space by making it more youthful and fun, plus, they save your regular furniture from the wear and tear of the kid’s games.

Loads of Built In Storage

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Every good playroom needs a ton of built in storage. The advantage that built ins have over wardrobe style, or bookshelf style storage is that the kids can’t knock them down and they give any room a timeless dose of elegance which will last long after the kids move out.

Modern Teepees

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http://www.houzz.com/photos/query/playroom/p/88

Teepees are the Fisher Price play kitchen for the modern family. For all those parents who want to encourage imaginative play but have banished plastic from their kid’s rooms…get a teepee. We love them mostly because they serve as a gorgeous visual element in any room and inspire whimsy and cheer….but also because they’re fun!

What do you think? What elements of a playroom can’t you live without? Tell us in the comments and use the hashtag #LCHplayrooms on Pinterest for a chance to be featured in our October design awards!

Good vs. Bad Drywall Technique

Let’s talk about drywall. It’s an element of construction that bridges the gap between building and designing. Drywall sets the scene in your home for paint colors and wallpaper, and can make a tremendous impact on the overall look of your home for years. A great drywall job can mean the difference between a luxurious, photoshoot ready interior and a home that looks cheap and poorly designed.

So what is it?

Technically speaking, the dictionary gives us the following definition of Drywall, “a type of board made from plaster, wood pulp, or other material, used especially to form the interior walls of houses”. Basically it’s the material used to cover the skeleton of the house and create smooth, flat walls and surfaces.

How is it installed?

The process, in theory, is quite simple. Cut the sheets of drywall to size, hang it up with the proper nails, and finish it off with mud, tape, and a whole lot of sandpaper.

Just like most things that seem very simple, the end result depends largely on the subtle technique and the experience applied by the craftsman. Because a great drywall job will make your entire home look and feel cleaner and more well constructed, it’s important to be sure the finishing process is done with meticulous precision. If done poorly, within a matter of months you will begin to see indentations at holes where screws were inserted to hang the sheets, seams will become visible, walls may have uneven texture, and the surface will not absorb paint the same way in all areas.

On very high end homes, builders use what is called a “Level 5 Finish”. This is a process which takes a considerably great amount of time and labor, but results in a pristine finish fit for the most detail-centric homeowners. The finisher on the job goes one step beyond mudding, taping, and sanding seams and nail holes. For this process we water down the joint compound used on the seams to a paint like consistency and apply it to the entire wall in small section, then expertly remove it with a drywall blade. The end result is a super smooth surface that results in even paint coverage every time.

What to look for?

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The signs of great drywalling work are subtle. The work should be so seamless that you forget the process ever happened. Here is what we look for when evaluating every job.

  • The joints have completely disappeared. You can’t tell where one piece of drywall ends and the next begins.
  • Nail and screw holes have been blended into a smooth surface. The best finishers will have you convinced the drywall was just “poured” into place.
  • The corners are smooth and precise. No gaps, bumps, or creasing is visible from any angle.
  • The overall surface of the entire wall should feel smooth and flat. Remember, the texture of the drywall will be the texture of the finished, painted wall.
  • The dust from sanding has been cleaned up with extreme attention to detail. Sanding a perfectly smooth wall creates a LOT of dust. Thats dust, if not cleaned up, will get into paint and sealant, contaminating your wall color, flooring material, and even make weatherproofing on doors and windows less effective.

Langhorne Custom Homes is obsessed with quality. To find out more about our high standards in every step of construction check us out online at www.langhornecustomhomes.com or give us a call at (571) 333-8159.