Scandinavian interior design: How to Bring Scandi Style to your Home

Deciding on an aesthetic for your home can be difficult for a variety of reasons. Considerations include choices in furniture and colors, function and accents, personal touches, cohesiveness, home size, and more! Design can be a challenge for any homeowner, so where does one begin? There are a huge variety of well-known design schemes inspired from all over the world – a quick google search can easily bring you a plethora of results! Our featured design for today comes from Scandinavia – one of the most popular interior design methods of our time. This nordic design is rooted in earthen tones, high-quality craftsmanship, and functionality, with significant nods to minimalism. For more information on how to incorporate this design in your home, read on! 

Scandi style has impacted the world of interior design through its focus on functionality and minimalistic detailing. Minimalism has been on the rise, but who wants a home that feels more boring than stylish? There is a fine line between the two. Used in homes around the world, Scandi style is ageless and highly elegant. Natural and neutral materials (pale woods, wools/linens, leather, glass), tactile fabrics, metal accents, and high-quality craftsmanship elevate minimalism. Scandi style is all about the details.

When capturing Scandinavian-inspired themes in your home, consider colors in muted tones or shades of white, beige, or brown. Scandi style pairs gorgeously with earth tones and natural pieces such as wooden accent tables, woolen fabrics, and other earthy designs. Older pieces passed down through generations can often be incorporated into a purposeful style in your home. Wooden furniture (bed frames, dining tables, etc.) in particular – regardless of their color – can be shown off when the colors and accents surrounding them are simple. 

Draw focus to what matters to you. Do you have lovely china you wish was featured? Or maybe curtains with bold colors that always cheer you up? Scandi design balances your home and creates a gorgeous canvas in which to showcase the decor that matters most to you. In no way does this design need to be devoid of color or life, in fact the exact opposite is true. Blues, reds, and other vibrant colors ‘pop’ when combined with wood, metal, and earth tones. 

The Scandinavian interior design movement began in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Iceland in the 1900s, and became a worldwide phenomenon by the 1950s. Scandinavian designs you may recognize include Alvar Aalto’s stools in Apple stores, the PH lamp series, the Egg Chair, the Spanish Chair, and the Finlandia glassware series. Who knew elegance could be so simple and yet effective? 

Where to Start?

If you’re wondering where to find Scandinavian inspiration, we recommend these two sites in particular:

The Nordic Nest is a Scandinavian company inspired to bring nordic design to homes across the world. 250 Brands

My Scandinavian Home “Niki started My Scandinavian Home blog in 2011 with a simple vision: to inspire like-minded people with ethereal Scandinavian inspired homes often with a vintage touch.”

Hopefully you feel more comfortable diving into the process of design. Home buying can be daunting, but there are so many other considerations that come after! Will you turn your home into a Scandinavian oasis? If so, enjoy the serenity, style, and simplicity of this gorgeous design, and always remember – personalized twists are what make a house a home!

WANT MORE ADVICE ON HOW TO SELL AND STAGE YOUR HOME?

Are you looking to sell your Orange County home? If so, it’s helpful to know what to expect and how to maximize your investment. Even moreso, it also helps if you have the best real estate listing agent in Orange County. At the Stavros Group, we are expert marketers with a proven track record of preparing OC real estate to net the best return.

Visit our seller’s page to start the no-pressure conversation and tell us more about your situation. We can help expertly price your home and work with you throughout the entire home selling process. Questions about Orange County real estate? Contact us today and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Early Fall Fun in Corona Del Mar

Now that fall has arrived in coastal Orange County, get outside and have some fun at these upcoming events in Corona del Mar!

Located in the coastal city of Newport Beach, and famous for its fine beaches, Corona del Mar is a village for creating memories. From its tidepools and cliffside views, to quaint village shops, Corona del Mar will be a hit with the whole family. 

If you are looking for fall fun in the Newport Beach area, here are two great ways to celebrate the cooler weather with your family and friends. You can participate in or spectate the newly reignited community sandcastle competition hosted this Sunday, September 26th on Corona del Mar State Beach, and register to race in the 39th Annual Corona del Mar Scenic 5K on Saturday, October 2nd. 

59th Annual Sandcastle Competition at Corona del Mar

After a year-long hiatus, the Annual Sandcastle Competition at Corona del Mar is back! On Sunday, September 26th, join fellow sculptors in this sandy architectural showdown. An ode to art and creativity, this event is fit for all ages and a ton of fun to join or just watch! This year’s theme is “Explore the World” — a poignant contrast to the seclusion that communities and individuals have faced throughout the past year.

If you’re feeling artistic, gather your team and sign up on the chamber’s website or by calling (949) 729-4400. Families and architecture firms are welcome to compete, with entry fees based on category. This event is open to the public with attractions including castle viewing, food stands, sponsor competitions, and other beach-bound activities. Get together with those you love, and enjoy this commemorative day! 

39th Annual Corona del Mar Scenic 5K

On Saturday, October 2nd, a scenic 5K run and 2-mile walk will take place in the village of Corona del Mar! This is the 39th anniversary of this highly anticipated event. Beginning at 3001 Ocean Boulevard, participants will enjoy beautiful ocean views from atop soaring bluffs, while engaging with their friends, family, and their own competitive spirits. Park for free in the Corona del Mar State Beach parking lot, opening at 6am for event-day registration. Enjoy a brief warm-up leading into the start of the Men’s 5K followed closely by the Women’s 5K Race. A pleasant, inclusive 2-Mile Fun Walk/Youth Run begins at 8:45am, for those looking to enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the sun with or without the kids. Later, the 1K Children’s Dolphin Dash is a wholesome way to end a fantastic day of racing and scenery.

To join, you can register online or walk-in on event day. Note that there is a small fee to register, which varies by event. Teams of 10 or more will receive discounts. To commemorate your experience, registration includes a Corona del Mar 5K anniversary t-shirt, race bib, swag bag, and access to the awards ceremony. Still not convinced? All registered participants will have access to the complementary Restaurant Row feast of local eateries (subject to COVID-19 restrictions), and an awesome post-event party — complete with live music, sponsors and vendors, and more. This historic occasion is one for the whole family. We look forward to seeing you there!

Corona del Mar Real Estate Agents

As your go-to resource for Corona del Mar, we love to share our knowledge of community events, neighborhoods, and of course Corona del Mar real estate. When it comes time to buy or sell a home in Corona del Mar, or if you just have questions about the Corona del Mar real estate market, please reach out for a free consultation at no obligation to you.

Contact us any time — we’re always happy to help!

Easy Ways to Make Your Corona Del Mar Home Green

Say you have an Corona Del Mar home for sale and would like to attract an eco-conscious buyer. Even if you live outside of the Orange County real estate market, there are myriad benefits to “greenifying” your home.

As you’ll soon find out, adding green updates to your home can save you thousands of dollars over time. Not only that, but you’ll be doing your part to reduce environmental pollution that harms the atmosphere.

Whatever your reasons for going green — whether you’re in the Orange County real estate market or elsewhere — you’re looking for updates that won’t take a toll on your bank account.

This precludes solar panels for the simple reason that they cost tens of thousands of dollars to install on your roof. And although solar energy is the endgame of going green — not to mention it’ll make your Encinitas home for sale look uber-attractive to prospective buyers — solar panels aren’t exactly affordable.

But no worries. There are other ways to make your home greener as you work towards the prospect of solar energy down the road. In the meantime, below is our list of five inexpensive ways to make your home green. These steps will add value to your home in the Corona Del Mar and Orange County real estate market, or anywhere else for that matter!

Conserve Water

One of the most inexpensive ways to make your home green is to start with your ceramic friend in the bathroom. Today’s standard toilet is guilty of consuming 1.6 gallons of water per flush. Granted, this figure is less damaging than the older toilet’s whopping 3.6 gallons of water per flush! But you can do even better. To conserve water and come up with an inexpensive way to make your home green, consider installing an affordable, high-efficiency toilet like this one.

This bad boy will save you more than 3,000 gallons of water each year. And here’s another bathroom upgrade for you: a low-flow showerhead that conserves roughly 160,000 liters of water each year, enough to fill a swimming pool that’s forty feet wide, twenty feet long and five feet deep. And now that you’re done with the bathroom, head on over to the kitchen where an energy-efficient dishwasher starting at around $399 will save approximately 4,000 gallons of water over its lifetime.

Conserve Energy

CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) and LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are a tad costlier than your traditional incandescent or halogen light bulb. But CFLs and LEDs possess a greater value over time. This is because they last up to 25 times longer and use up to 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs. When you look at it this way, CFLs and LEDs are actually inexpensive ways to make your home green. And if you’re feeling ambitious, throw in motion-sensor lighting while investing in energy-efficient bulbs. This way, your light bulbs can switch off automatically when you’re not at home.

Additionally, there’s an upgrade in the energy side of things that’s also an inexpensive way to make your home green. We mean, of course, a SMART thermostat that will optimize your heating and cooling system at home. With this nifty gadget, you can control your HVAC remotely from an app on your phone, which comes in handy when you head out of town and forget to switch off the AC. Oh, and if you’re curious to know how smart home technology can affect the sale of your home (in a good way), click here to read one of our previous blog posts.

Consider Insulation

Another way to conserve energy and gas at home is to insulate your walls, ceilings and attic spaces. Besides soundproofing against airborne sounds, insulation can also improve your home’s resistance to heat flow. The more R-value imbued in your insulation of choice (eg. fiberglass, Rockwool, foam, etc.), the cooler your home will be. This is particularly useful in the summertime when air conditioners propped on windowsills nationwide thrum collectively while blasting frigid air for hours on end. Then comes the astronomical bill from the electric company, much to your dismay.

So, to avoid this tragedy and find an inexpensive way to make your home green, you can insulate the walls and attic spaces in your home with eco-friendly insulation called “blown-in cellulose.” The latter is composed of 85% recycled material and is one of the least intrusive ways of insulating your home. Check it out and see if it’s the right fit for you. If not, there are plenty of insulation types out there to choose from.

Install An Electric Car Charger

If you own an electric vehicle or are considering getting one, you can make your home greener by installing an electric car charger in your garage or near your parking space. But, wait… this consumes energy, you think to yourself. And so far we’ve been admonishing you against this wasteful practice.

But consider the alternative: carbon emissions from transportation alone account for 15% of the global warming pie. In light of this information, consider your electric vehicle a “hall pass” in the energy conservation department. For less than $200, you can purchase a portable Level 2 charger to install in a jiffy. And if you need any further incentives to own an electric vehicle — or looking for other inexpensive ways to make your home green — there are plenty of government programs and rebates to make this a lucrative opportunity for you.

Revamp Your Landscaping

Another way to make your home greener is to strategically improve its landscaping. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends planting trees around your home that’ll capture the sun’s scorching UV rays and absorb carbon dioxide in the air. If you have south-facing windows (where sunlight is abundant throughout the day), some tall greenery in between these windows and the sun’s path can keep your home cooler in the summertime. Conversely, if your tree loses foliage in the winter, direct sunlight can keep your home warmer on those chilly days.

You can make your home greener on the inside, too. To find out how, check out our blog post on “7 Easy Houseplants To Liven Your Living Space,” no green thumb required! Finally, let us know if you have any real estate questions or needs as we are here to help.

Home Battery Backup Systems: What To Know Before Retrofitting Your Home

Coastal living in Orange County can be a dream come true. Yet, Mother Nature also enjoys the location.

Whether it’s a heat wave brownout or an earthquake interrupting service, you may not be able to control power outages. Thankfully, the tech world hears your concerns and has solutions for providing comfortable living during these occurrences. 

If you are a current homeowner or looking to purchase a home in sunny Laguna Beach, Newport Shore, or another great part of Orange County, it’s worth some research to improve your home’s efficiency and resilience.

Maybe a home battery backup is right for you! Read our guide about home battery backup systems and how they are changing the way homeowners think about sustainable power.

What Are Home Battery Backup Systems?

If you have ever endured a lengthy power outage, you know the mess it can create with food spoilage and humidity levels that can damage furnishings and cabinetry.

You may also be part of the growing population of remote workers who require reliable power to do your job. 

Worse yet, you may have a family member with medical equipment that can cause a life-threatening situation if power is lost.

In any of these scenarios, a home battery backup system may be worth the investment that brings peace of mind. So, what are they and how do they work?

Reserved Power

Just like many of the batteries we use to operate children’s toys or even the car, a home battery backup system stores power for later use. Units come in various sizes depending on your power source and energy needs.

A home battery can be lithium-ion such as those used in smartphones, or lithium ferro phosphate as used in solar systems. Another type of battery is lead acid, like typical car batteries. In terms of the amount of energy storage and lifespan, lithium-ion outperforms lead acid batteries for home use.

Many home battery backup systems can be installed inside or outside. For large homes, installation outside can be a great benefit if multiple batteries are desired.

How Do Home Batteries Work?

One of the attractions to home battery units is the power of a generator without the messiness and fumes of fuel. A home battery backup system gets energy from two different sources.

Solar Powered Battery Backup

This type of home battery backup gets its energy from solar panels. The battery unit is connected to your solar panel array and is provided with a consistent charge throughout the day.

Homeowners can reserve use of the battery for power outages, or use stored power to operate the home at night for further energy savings.

Grid Powered Battery Backup

This energy source comes from your utility company.

The home battery backup system is directly connected to the main house electrical panel. Should power be lost due to an electrical line falling or peak overload, the backup battery system will switch on to continue powering your home and devices.

Will a Backup Home Battery System Increase My Home’s Value?

There are many factors in today’s real estate market that suggest home battery backup systems do increase the value and marketability of your home.

In states like California, clean and sustainable energy resources are almost always a consideration for homebuyers. Here are a few reasons.

Reach Codes

California has adopted energy codes that affect home improvements, new construction, and home sales. Included in these efforts are requirements for solar panel installation for high-dollar renovations and increases in roof size.

To improve the reliability of consistent energy from solar sources, battery backup systems are highly desirable. 

Millennial Homebuyers

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) completed a study for 2021 that demonstrates Millenials are the largest percentage of homebuyers now. This is a trend that has continued since 2014.

Millennial homebuyers have different expectations from their homes than previous generations. The top requirements for Millennials are energy efficiency, environmental friendliness, and automated technology. 

Home battery backup systems fulfill these requirements and may be a selling point that encourages higher bids for real estate that is already in high demand througout Orange County.

Natural Disasters

Wildfires, tsunamis, earthquakes, floods… they are a possibility in many parts of California. Understandably, they are a top concern for potential homebuyers. Any home feature that makes life a little easier when nature strikes is a selling point.

Things to Consider Before Retrofitting a Home for a Battery Backup System

If you are considering installing a home battery backup system, there are some factors you need to consider before making a purchase and hiring an installer.

Energy Source

Will you be using grid power or solar to charge the battery units? Each source has advantages and disadvantages for capacity (how much energy is stored) and discharge (how much power is released). 

Some manufacturers such as Tesla require the purchase of their own brand of solar panels for use with their home battery backup systems. 

When using grid power for charging your home battery, check with your area’s building codes for compliance.

Amount of Power Needed

Most people use home battery backup systems to power limited areas of the home such as HVAC, and a few outlets for small appliances and computers.

If you want to power the entire house, multiple units will be needed. Compare pricing based on amps and lifespan of the battery unit.

Space for Battery Units

The amount of space you are willing to dedicate to your battery installation is a very important factor before considering how to retrofit your home for backup power.

Decide if you have ample space in a utility room or garage. If not, you will want to shop for home battery backup systems that can be installed outside. Fortunately, the weather in Southern California is suitable for most outside units.

Homes With Battery Backup Systems in Orange County

The digital age offers many technological advancements to help us live comfortably and sustainably, even when things go wrong. If you want to make your home more efficient and more resilient to potential problems, a battery backup system might be part of your solution! 

Are you looking to buy a home, thinking of selling, or just want professional real estate advice on the advantages of energy-efficient home upgrades like home battery backup systems? Contact us to discuss how we can help you reach your goals.

Top 7 Tips to Get Your Home Ready For a Baby

With a baby on the way, you might feel overwhelmed by all the preparation needed to make your home safe and functional before the new family member arrives. You’re not alone. According to a new survey by Orlando Health, 40 percent of new mothers feel depressed, anxious, and overwhelmed following their baby’s delivery. 

Although it takes some work, preparing your home for a new baby ahead of time can actually help put your mind at ease. You’ll be able to focus solely on taking care of your baby instead of trying to find the right items that have gotten lost in cabinets, closets or under the bed. We’re here to help make baby-proofing your home easier and give you peace of mind.

Read on for our top seven tips on preparing a space and bringing baby home! 

Create Baby Stations

One of the most helpful things you can do to prepare your home for a new baby is to create baby stations throughout your home. Here are some of our recommendations: 

1. Changing Station

A dedicated area helps when trying to change a crying, messy baby! Consider including all of these items in drawers or baskets: 

– Unwrapped diapers (ready to grab and use)

– Diaper creams

– Wipes

– Clean clothes

– Towel

– Spit up cloths

– Trash can/diaper pail

– Hamper

– Toys to keep your baby occupied

Babies are usually wriggling and active when it’s time to change them. You’ll have your hands full keeping them still, so this is why we recommend including as many items as you think you’ll need. You can also keep a pre-packed diaper bag in this area for when you’re ready to hit the road. 

2. Feeding Station

The kitchen is where you might prepare formula for your baby, but of course you’ll also need a dedicated station for feeding, formula or not. Start with a comfortable chair in the nursery so that you can have privacy if there are guests in your home. Here are more items you’ll want to include: 

– Spit-up cloths

– Baby books if your baby is ready to fall asleep

– Nightlight or soft task light

– Bottles of water for mom

– Snacks for mom

– A small tv or a stand for an iPhone/tablet 

Feeding your baby takes some time, so it’s a nice opportunity to try and relax, listen to a podcast or catch up on your favorite show. 

3. Nighttime Station

Routines can help prepare your baby for sleep, especially if they’re fussy. By creating a nighttime station, you won’t have to search throughout your house to find items that will comfort your baby. Try including:

– Bedtime baby books

– Soft night lamp or nursery lamp

– Calming music

– Spit-up cloth

Baby monitor

We recommend setting your baby monitor in a dedicated space that gives a good view of your baby’s crib, like a nearby shelf or a dresser. To get the positioning just right, you might also consider installing a small shelf strictly for the baby monitor. 

Baby-Proof Your Home

Once you have some dedicated stations, your next step should be baby-proofing your home. We recommend baby-proofing sooner rather than later, as it’s hard to find the time once you have a crying and needy infant to manage! Here are a few steps to get started: 

4. Secure Furniture

Make sure that you install corner protectors on sharp furniture corners so that your child doesn’t injure themself as they grow and move around. You’ll also want to secure furniture to the wall so that it isn’t prone to tipping and falling. 

5. Electrical Equipment

Cover up unused electric outlets with covers. You’ll also want to do some basic cord management by bundling cords with zip ties and mounting them to the wall instead of in a tangle on the floor to prevent catches and snags.

6. Sleep Safety

When it comes to baby safety, making sure their sleeping area is safe is one of the most important tasks you can do. Make sure that the crib is free of stuffed animals, pillows, and blankets that your baby may suffocate on since they’re not able to control their bodies. You’ll also want the crib in your room until they’re one year old. 

7. Choking Hazards

Check your home for any small, loose items that may become choking hazards if your baby picks them up and puts them in their mouth. This can include items like pen caps, loose change, Legos, glass nick nacks, and a whole lot more. 

Hanging pull-cords for blinds can also pose hazards for your baby to play with. They can easily wrap around small necks or get caught on hands and wrists. Wrap them up, or invest in some cordless blinds. 

You’ll also want to do some research into houseplants. If they’re within reach of your baby or small child, they can easily be choking hazards. Some plants are also toxic for humans and animals, so make sure you’re only purchasing safe plants. 

If you find that some plants you already own are toxic, you can donate them to someone you know or place them in spots where your child will never reach.

Bringing Baby Home: One Step at a Time

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by everything you need to do before your baby arrives, from home improvement projects to stocking up on all the essentials. However, if you keep a list of things to do and make progress one step at a time, you’ll be able to get things done without stressing more than you already might be!

On the hunt for a new home that’s perfect for your growing family? Connect with us today to begin your home search!

Pop of Pantone: Decorate With 2021’s Colors of the Year

choosing a paint color for house exterior, facade

Pantone, the company known worldwide for color expertise, released an annual color of the year (or colors of the year in 2021). In addition to helping companies like designers and manufacturers to define and control color, Pantone’s color guides and documentation help regular homeowners to pick a style that fits with their own sense of decor. This year, Pantone released “joint colors” for just the second time, in their colors of the year for 2021. (The last time colors of the year come in pairs was in 2016 with Rose Quartz and Serenity.)

So let’s get right down to it. What are 2021’s Pantone colors of the year?

Discover: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating.

According to Pantone, the message of these shades is of strength and positivity. In this pair of hues, Pantone aimed to encapsulate hopefulness, energy, and clarity, a fresh look after a tough and uncertain year in 2020. Sounds nice, no?

Well, iIf you’re interested in adding a dash of positivity to your home’s decor, Ultimate Gray and Illuminating are a great option. For some interesting and effective ways to use these colors throughout your house, read on!

On the Table

Yellow and gray are a popular color pair, and it’s easy to see why. Yellow’s vibrancy adds life and joy to the subtle, calming nature of gray, and each works well in small doses too.

Even without any paint, you can bring yellow into your home. Real or artificial sunflowers, tulips and daffodils can add a happy touch to a living space. Even a decorative bowl of lemons on the table does the trick. Taking some inspiration from the Pantone colors of the year, try putting them in a gray vase or bowl for an eye-pleasing contrast.

In the Bathroom

Look, bathrooms aren’t the most exciting part of the house. Most folks have a lot more fun in the kitchen, family room… you name it, really. So how ‘bout some color to bring your bathroom to life? Especially in a small space, a pop of color can make a big difference and create the illusion of size and scale.

If you’re still unsure about the colors you want, whether that’s Pantone’s gray and yellow combo or something else, start small. Don’t go painting a full wall right away, just get a little decoration and see what you think!

For instance, you can display a combination of yellow and gray hand towels, a yellow shower curtain, gray bath mats. It adds that wow factor while being temporary — ie. low or no commitment. When you’re tired of the combination, change them out. This strategy is perfect when changing decor for each season or just on a whim, and it works particularly well with neutral wall paint as a backdrop. 

In the Bedroom

A bedroom should be comforting and calm, whether it’s a huge primary suite with a balcony and fireplace, or just a smaller spot to sleep. For an added touch of happy energy when you wake up in the morning, try incorporating yellow throughout the bedroom. A subtle, less-flashy yellow can even be nice as sheets or wall colors. 

For a dose of calm, Ultimate Gray is the ticket. More modern looks are also available in darker shades of gray, like sleek charcoal and steel.

In Furniture

Go big or go home, right? Bright yellow chairs love to stand out and offer a super cute and vintage vibe. On the flip side, a charcoal gray lamp adds a bit of modern bite to your design. 

If you’re daring, how about a yellow sofa? A statement piece like this can serve as a focal point in the living room or a nice addition to a large bedroom. Find a contrasting gray designer wallpaper as an accent wall, or gray curtains to balance the brightness.

As Art

Perhaps the easiest, tried-and-true method of adding color to your home is art. Posters, paintings, photos, sculpture and more can all add interest without being overwhelming (and being easily interchangeable). 

If you are a budding artist yourself, try creating a gallery wall of alternating yellow and gray DIY artwork. It’s a fun learning activity for kids and adults. 

Your Front Door

There are two ways you can include Ultimate Gray and Illuminating for the front door. The simplest way is with a wreath, adding a dash of color on your home’s facade. 

The other way is with paint. Be bold and paint your door yellow! And to mimic the Pantone-approved color pair for ultimate curb appeal, you can add some gray by switching out hardware like the handle and deadbolt lock.

Outdoor Space

To transform your outdoor living space, try a gray outdoor furniture set offset by yellow cushions and pillows. It’s a sure way to brighten a dreary deck or drab backyard. 

Or, instead of investing in new outdoor furniture, you can decorate with colorful accessories like stools, lanterns and end tables. Candles are also an easy way to add yellow or gray without going overboard or breaking the bank!

In the Kitchen

We spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so making it a “happy place” is a top priority. If you’re up for taking a big leap, try painting your kitchen cabinets a cheery yellow! If that seems like too much, there are very colorful and easily applied peel-and-stick backsplash tiles that might be just right for your design. 

If that all seems like too much work, you can add some colorful appliances, vases and kitchenware.  Gray tea kettle? Meet yellow mixer. And don’t forget about towels! Textiles like dish towels and aprons are amazing opportunities to add color that is interchangeable any time.

In the Nursery

Blue and pink may be standard fare for a nursery, but in recent years new parents have expanded their vocabulary of baby-room color. As an added bonus, you can paint the room ahead of time when you’re not trying to match color with your new baby’s gender. 

Pantone’s yellow/gray combo is an easy, soothing palette for both baby and parents to love. The gray is calming while yellow warms it up.

And, as your little one grows, you don’t have to worry about repainting or redecorating. It’s a color combination for all ages.

On the Floors

Whether it’s in the bedroom, living room, bathroom or kitchen, you can spruce up any area with a good rug or two. Expert designers even overlay area rugs for a bohemian, contrasting look. 

Since we’re talking about contrast, did we mention Pantone’s yellow and gray? There’s an idea to instantly liven up a space.

On the Walls

When you think of design, you probably think of walls first: art, paint, wallpaper, paneling, moldings and more. There’s a huge variety of options for wall decor, allowing you to get extra creative with it to make a smaller feature wall or cover whole swaths of your home’s interior.

For an accent wall in a larger space, try fresh paint or wallpaper to add some visual contrast. Patterns and texture really heighten the appeal, whether that’s designer wallpaper, painted wood paneling, or a molded plastic art form that you buy and install. Tiles are also a way to add interest at a relatively low cost. 

As Lights

Lighting truly makes the home, from natural light to your installed light fixtures. While it’s not so easy to knock out a wall to add a new window, installing new light fixtures can be a cheap and very effective way to bring light and contemporary design into a room all at once.

If you’re going with the gray and yellow look, you can try gray sconces flanking a headboard in the bedroom, and subtle, cheerful yellow sheets. In a dining room or kitchen, a pendant light on the wall can make a big difference too.

As Books

Now, books are primarily for reading, but displaying them on a shelf means they’re part of the scenery too. Got some empty bookshelf space? Head to a local used bookstore or thrift shop to find colorfully bound books that will enhance your shelves and the whole room.

Even if you’re not a big reader, books and candles are a classic adornment for shelves. Who knows… maybe you’ll even get around to reading the decorations. 

As Small Details

Gray and yellow are a proven color pair, but it can still be easy to get carried away and end up with a weird-looking living room. The best way to go is to start small, and use bright, eye-catching color sparingly so the room is not overwhelmed. 

Luckily, starting small is also the easiest thing to do! Just begin by adding in little colorful details like trinkets, pillows and throw blankets. See how you like the colors first, and reevaluate before you make bigger decisions.

Getting a Home Ready to Live in or Sell?

We hope this guide on decorating with Pantone Ultimate Gray and Illuminating has been a little bit of helpful fun. The truth is, when you decorate a home you own, the world is your oyster! It’s one of the many benefits of home ownership.

If you’re getting ready to sell your home, then you want to appeal to the broadest swath of potential, qualified and likely homebuyers. We’ve helped hundreds of Orange County home sellers to make the right staging and improvements that stay within budget and avoid leaving money on the table.

For more information on how the Stavros Group helps to get your home in top selling shape, please reach out any time to start the no-pressure conversation and discuss your options. We look forward to hearing from you!

Simple Appetizers for Your Next Zoom Party

Attending another Zoom party this weekend – why not celebrate with your own Zoom party appetizers? Dip, taste, snack, and savor delicious bites while you catch up with friends, family, and coworkers.

No matter what the occasion, appetizers can make everything better. Not sure where to start?

Check out these 5 fun appetizers you can make at home quickly!

1. Caprese Skewers

All you’ll need for this simple appetizer is cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella cheese, balsamic glaze, and wooden skewers. Assemble the skewers starting with tomato, then basil, then mozzarella cheese – and repeat. When you’re done top it off with a drizzle of balsamic.

This is sure to be one of your new go-to Zoom party appetizers!

2. Hot Crab and Artichoke Dip

This ooey, gooey dip is at the top of the easy appetizers list because it’s delicious and simple. Whether it’s a New Year’s Eve bash or a Friday happy hour, this appetizer will not disappoint. Here’s what to do:

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees

– Microwave 2 ounces of cream cheese for 20 seconds and spread into bottom of a one-quart dish

– In a bowl, add 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 2 finely chopped scallions, and 3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (hot sauce optional)

– Add 1/2 cup shredded artichoke hearts, 4 ounces crabmeat, 1 ounce of mozzarella, and 2 ounces of parmesan cheese

– Stir all your ingredients together and top with a little more parmesan cheese

– Bake for about 25 minutes until cheese is bubbly 

Consider adding a squeeze of lemon juice for added freshness. You can serve this dip with veggies, crackers, or bread.

3. Easy Focaccia Bread

Everyone knows that the best Zoom party has carbs! Try this easy focaccia bread for your next Zoom event. You will need:

– 1 loaf (1 pound) frozen bread dough, thawed

– 1/2 cup sliced pimiento-stuffed olives

– 1/2 cup shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese

– 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

– 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

– 2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On an ungreased baking sheet, pat dough into a rectangle. Top with olives, cheeses, and Italian seasoning. Drizzle with oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes and enjoy!

4. Mango Salsa

Looking for a light and refreshing appetizer? How about a mango salsa served with tortilla chips? Slice up 1/2 red onion, 1 mango, 1 bunch of cilantro, and 1 jalapeno (seeded). Add a generous squeeze of lime juice and add salt and pepper to taste. 

newThat’s it! Stir it all up, chill it, and serve. This a perfect Zoom party appetizer for those hot California days and nights!

5. Festive Goat Cheese Log

Don’t have much time to sort through zoom party ideas? This is the appetizer to make. All you need to do is crush up about 3/4 cup of pistachios and chop up 1/2 cup of dried cranberries. Take a log of goat cheese and roll in the pistachio and dried cranberry mixture. 

Serve with crunchy crackers. This is a great year-round recipe but is especially festive for the holiday season

Have an Unforgettable Zoom Party Menu

Try these simple appetizers for your next Zoom party. Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the chance to eat delicious food and socialize!

It’s been a challenging year – treat yourself to these tasty bites of food. And if you are looking to buy a new home this year or sell your current home, we can help! Connect with us today. 

Ways COVID-19 Will Affect Future Home Design and What to Look For

Are you looking to build a new construction home in Orange County? Do you wonder what the difference will be in home design pre- and post-COVID-19? If so, then you’ll be interested to learn how the coronavirus might affect future home design.

Understanding future home design trends will help to stir your imagination and plan for the features you want, before you set out to find or build your next home. We are beginning to see old spaces used in new ways, with novel additions to current homes and adjusted open floor plans, just to name a few.

See below for an in-depth guide on several COVID-19 architecture design solutions that you can expect to see in a post-COVID world!

1. The New-Look Open Floor Plan

Everyone loves an open floor plan. It’s a trend that has become commonplace in many modern home designs, whether you’re building a new construction home or remodeling an existing structure. 

However, the worldwide pandemic revealed something to us about open floor plans that we didn’t consider before: productivity is just as important at home as it is in the workplace. Really, the home has become a workplace itself. 

Among those who were able to maintain their employment during the pandemic, many were forced to share space with their family members in ways they had never imagined. Suddenly, mom and pop were forced to work at home, while kids ran around, eating, playing, destroying, sometimes learning…

All of a sudden, those coveted open floor plans became more distracting than invigorating. Productivity declined as a result. 

That brought on the invention of what we’re calling the “new-look open floor plan”. In this design, the entire space is maximized. What was once a living room/kitchen combo is now a living room, kitchen, office, arts and craft station, play area, study room, and more.

When looking at a new home, we at the Stavros Group believe that we need to embrace these changes, not run from them. It makes your home more functional and, thus, more valuable to your family!

2. Super Porches

Sounds like an awesome comic book title, right? While it might not be picked up by Marvel for their next blockbuster, this is certainly a growing trend in the home design industry.

We all had those neighbors, friends, and relatives that used the 2020 pandemic as a way to catch up on their home renovations, both inside and outside. Maybe you did too.

Many homeowners used that opportunity to improve the outside of their properties, like patios and porches. For some, it was the deck in their front yard. For others, it was the balcony or the roof lounge atop their home.

With more time spent at home, homeowners want better exterior living spaces to maximize their enjoyment of the great outdoors. A good portion of them preferred covered patios so that they could enjoy the fresh air in any weather (it helps that we’re blessed in Southern California with great weather most of the year). 

These homeowners are on to something! Not only does the “super porch” give you more ways to enjoy the outdoors, but it also enhances the curb appeal of your home for when it comes time to sell. It’s what we like to call a “win-win,” improving your enjoyment of the home now and your sale price later. 

3. At-Home Gyms

Did you know that Orange County has been ranked the healthiest county in California

This can be attributed to the residents, who are often health-conscious and committed to bettering their health and fitness each day. Unfortunately, when the pandemic struck, all the gyms we frequent to stay in shape were temporarily shuttered.

Everything was closed: CrossFit gyms, big-name gyms, the track at the nearest high school football field. All completely closed off to the public. Even public parks were shut down for a time!

So, many homeowners made their own workout solution. They invested in creating an at-home gym, which gradually continued to evolve as the year 2020 went on. Since everyone at once started looking for gym equipment, buyers had to hunt and buy piecemeal to put it all together. But now, a home gym has become a feature that many homebuyers are looking for in their next home.

4. Potential for Additions

As if land wasn’t already at a premium in Orange County real estate, the 2020 coronavirus pandemic made it even more of a hot commodity.

Economists believe that this is a direct correlation to many families having relatives move in with them during the pandemic, especially elderly relatives. Now, they’re with them for the long haul, and many homeowners are looking to build additional living space to give their new “roommates” their own private area.

Having a bonus bedroom suite or standalone ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit, aka “granny flat”) is a huge boon for housing multiple generations of family. An ADU is amazing when you have teens or grandparents living with you. Homebuyers know this too and will pay a premium for it!

5. Healthy Homes

An aging, dirty or broken HVAC system is never great, but homebuyers these days are putting even more attention on ventilation and comfort. After all, if the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything, it’s to be more conscious of the air we’re breathing (and who’s breathing it near us). 

The indoor air quality of a home is no different. Home inspectors put an emphasis on checking the home’s HVAC system for signs of mold or build-up in the air ducts, signs of poor air quality, etc.

Good cooling and heating has become a primary selling point. If you’re in the market for a new home, make sure that the home’s HVAC system is inspected by an expert. This pandemic has shown us all how much air quality truly matters!

Consider These Future Home Design Trends as You Search

Now that you have seen a few ways that COVID-19 has affected future home design, be sure to use these to your advantage while you search for or build your new house!

Getting ready for a big move? It’s never too early to start planning. See this article for a list of tips and tricks for a stress-free move.

For any other inquiries and questions about real estate, please feel free to connect with us and we will be happy to assist you further!

California Reach Codes: How do they impact Residential Homeowners

Most homeowners are aware that their home must be compliant with building codes, but many have no idea about reach codes. Progressive states, like California and Oregon, have recently added reach codes into their general building codes, to address hot topics like energy efficiency. 

For homeowners who don’t plan on starting any big renovation projects, reach codes are not yet relevant. For homeowners currently building their homes, renovating their homes, or intending to do so, construction must be compliant with these codes. Even for homeowners selling their home, they have to submit an energy report. 

What are these reach codes? What is their purpose? Keep reading to find out.

What Are Reach Codes?

In some areas, reach codes are also called “stretch codes” or “above codes.” They are codes that go above and beyond the standard statewide building codes. 

These reach codes must be proven necessary in a few ways before they’re written into enforceable statues.

They should be proven ways to increase energy-saving, more so than the existing city or state codes. They should be proven to be compatible with common construction practice. They should also be enforceable, as in something that can actually be checked by an inspector.

What Is Their Purpose?

Reach codes exist to improve the energy-savings within a community. Although city and state building codes already attempt to incorporate more energy-efficient legislation, the desire to go above and beyond is often driven by local sentiment. It can also be driven by the financial incentives of energy-efficiency.

Reach codes also serve the purpose of continually driving construction toward more energy-efficient practices. It takes time to educate the community about how to build in accordance with these codes, so making gradual changes sooner helps to have a large impact over time.

Examples of Reach Codes

Reach codes exist in pockets throughout the United States. One example of a reach code can be seen in Piedmont, California. 

In this municipality, the reach code primarily affects new construction, renovation, and home sales. Piedmont’s reach codes are particularly prohibitive of any new gas line hookups for homes. 

In this example, home improvement projects that increase the roof size must also include a solar panel installation. Any renovation that costs over $25,000 must upgrade insulation or heating system electrification, and any project that costs over $100,000 must include both of these upgrades.

What Areas Are Affected?

Energy codes are widespread in California, even in Orange County. These California communities take building codes a step further by adopting reach codes to additionally improve energy savings. Throughout California, around 38 municipalities have adopted these codes.

If you are interested in learning more and seeing reach codes in place throughout California, you can view a handy interactive map at this website.

How to Be Compliant

When you are in the market to buy a new home, it’s critical that you due your due diligence. That includes understanding how compliant your potential new home is with the local building and reach codes, before you close a deal. Code violations could affect the cost of future renovations, and even your success in selling the home later on. On the bright side, reach codes are a sign of more green things to come.

If you’re curious about reach codes, how they impact your situation, or if you have any other questions about buying or selling a home, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your real estate expert team at the Stavros Group for a no-pressure consultation. We’re happy to hear from you!

How to Make Your Home Cozy for the Winter

It’s time to cozy up for the holidays and wintertime. You want your home to be a warm and toasty retreat that you can come back to every evening, right?

Having a cozy home is great for your family and guests. Imagine comfortable nights in with tasty hot chocolate and a burning fire. Doesn’t that sound great?

We have a few tips and tricks for you so you can make your home cozy for the winter. Read on for some of our favorites. 

Keep the Fire Going

If you have a fireplace in your home, you’re so lucky! This is the perfect time to keep the fire glowing.

Organize the rest of your living room around that glowing fire. If possible, position your television on the wall on the wall above the fireplace so you can enjoy your favorite holiday movies without leaving the warm and cozy space.

Make sure you and your family know all about fireplace safety before you keep the fire lit.

Warm Wood Tones

We love warm and natural wood colors for the winter. They’re reminiscent of evergreens and natural tree bark, or a toasty cabin in the woods. 

Invest in a few side-tables or chairs with wooden accents, or wood hanging signs to put up on your walls. They bring a cozy feeling to your living room. 

Seasonal Colors for Everything

Does your living room have seasonal colors?

During the winter, most of us think of red, green, gold, and white. Some people also have blue in the mix. These are the colors that you want to decorate with to keep up the holiday spirit while staying stylish.

We love warm red hand-knit blankets and quilts and gold accent decorations on the shelves.

Keep Up the Heat

One of the most important parts of a cozy home is that it’s warm. Make sure you’re keeping the heat high enough that you and your family can stay comfortable inside.

You don’t have to run up your electric bill to do this. Instead, aim for a temperature that’s just warm enough that you can cuddle up in a warm blanket without overheating. 

Keep Some Greenery

Winter isn’t the best time for growing your outdoor garden. Instead, bring the greenery indoors.

You aren’t limited to the classic Christmas tree. You can get all kinds of pine and holly accents (or the famous mistletoe plant) to bring nature indoors. These sweet evergreen accessories make any space feel more wintery.

Live plants are also great for a cozy home. Not only do they look great and give you something to care for, but they also might make you happier and less anxious. Don’t limit your gardening time to the warm summer and spring months. 

Invest in Comfy Furniture

You can’t have a cozy space with uncomfortable couches and chairs. Now might be the time to invest in something comfy and plush so you can take full advantage of your space. 

Everyone has different couch preferences, so shopping in-person is the most ideal option. Do you want something soft that you can sink into, or would you prefer a firm couch that helps improve your posture? 

Whatever it is, throw a warm quilt over it and it’s ready for the family to enjoy. 

Use Warm Lighting

What’s more comfy and cozy than the dim flow from an orange-toned light? 

The bright lights that we’re used to aren’t very cozy. They strain the eyes and they’re often cool-toned.

Warm and dim lighting gives you that “cozy” feeling. Consider things like fairy lights (or string lights), or lights with changing colors and dimming options that you can control from an app on your phone. 

Lighting sets the mood, so pay attention to it. 

Use Candles

Speaking of lighting, candles are another great option for adding a bit of light and warmth to your space.

We suggest scented candles for the ultimate comfy and cozy experience. Nearly all candle brands offer seasonal scents. Some of our favorites are warm pumpkin and cinnamon blends or sweet vanilla. 

You’ll feel as though you’re sitting and waiting for cookies or other baked goods to come out of the oven. What’s cozier than that? 

Use Warm, Shaggy Rugs

Do your floors not keep your feet warm?

Whether you have tile, vinyl or hardwood flooring, you might not be getting cozy vibes from your feet. Even carpet can feel less than ideal if it’s old and flat. The good news is that any of this can be fixed!

Thick, plush shag or faux-fur rugs are a great way to give yourself a better and more comfy experience. You can even layer rugs for a Moroccan vibe, contrasting patterns and textures while providing a cozy surface for your toes.

Extra-Soft Everything

Why not use the coziest season to bring out your softest items? 

We love microfiber and fleece throw blankets for cozy additions to our bedrooms and living rooms, as well as soft pillowcases. 

You can get a couch cover for any couch that isn’t reaching its peak cozy potential. Most of them come on and off with ease, so you don’t have to go through a hassle every time the seasons change. 

Cozy Slippers At the Door

This isn’t a decoration, but it is a great way to make sure that your family doesn’t drag dirt into the home. Place a pair of warm slippers for every person who lives with you at the entrance to your home (preferably next to a shoe rack). 

This lets your friends and family know that they need to remove their shoes before coming in, but they can trade them for slippers!

Do You Have a Cozy Home?

A cozy home is essential for colder winter months. Why not amp up the cozy factor in your house with some of our tips and tricks? 

Making your home cozy, warm and inviting can be lots of fun, and something you can work on together as a household. Keep the warm and fuzzy feelings going all winter long!

If you’re looking for a new home that you can transform into a cozy sanctuary, we’re here to help. Reach out and connect with us to start the no-pressure conversation and discuss your options!