Bob Hummer
November 2023
Retired Air Force Vet Successfully Helping Buyers and Sellers Reach Their Goals

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6 of the Most Popular Interior Design Styles

There are so many different interior design styles that it can quickly become overwhelming to figure out what’s right for you. Whether you’re redesigning your current home or planning to buy a new one, how do you know what your style is?

For some people, there isn’t one particular design style that fits their lifestyle and aesthetic, but at least by understanding some of the basics, you’re prepared to start designing your home.

The following are six of the most popular and loved design styles for interiors right now.

1. Transitional

Transitional interior design is arguably the most popular because it brings together things people love about traditional and modern styles. It doesn’t go too far in either direction. Transitional style can give a homeowner a sense of elegance that we tend to associate with traditional style, but you can also combine more modern, contemporary lines and textures.

The primary focus of transitional design is on the furniture itself and your textiles, rather than having a lot of accessories.

There’s also a good balance between masculine and feminine in transitional design.

2. Modern

Modern is not the same as contemporary. Modern design is a particular time period, but when we’re talking about contemporary design, it’s always evolving.

Modern design first rose to significance in the mid-20th century.

In modern design, the furnishings have clean lines, and the surfaces are smooth and sleek. The décor is minimal, and if you are going to accessorize, it’s typically through art. For example, a bold piece of art might hang in an otherwise neutral room.

3. Contemporary

Contemporary design style is a term that can refer to anything that’s current. As a result, this design style is very fluid, and it‘s always changing and evolving.

Typically, in contemporary design, the spaces are simple and sleek. The rooms are light, and airy and usually have neutral color palettes.

4. Mid-Century Modern

Mid-century interiors came from post-war America in the 1950s and 60s. The design industry was moving beyond the traditional at this time and forging ahead into a new modern era. The design style remains popular today.

Mid-century modern design focuses on flow and the use of rich natural woods like teak and walnut.

Color palettes include greens and yellows in many cases.

There’s also seamlessness between indoor and outdoor living in the mid-century modern design we see today.

5. Modern Farmhouse

Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper fame might be the person to credit with the massive popularity of the modern farmhouse style right now. Modern farmhouse style takes traditional farm style and mixes it with modern, unexpected elements.

There’s often a focus on using mixed metals, raw wood elements, and greenery. The color palettes are usually neutral, and when color is introduced, it’s often inspired by nature. For example, you might see shades of navy or sage green in modern farmhouse designs.

6. Scandinavian

Finally, the Scandinavian design is airy, organic, and light. The wood tones are ashy, the spaces are relaxed and inviting, and fairly minimal.

You feel cozy in a Scandinavian space, which is one of the things that can set it apart a bit from other modern or minimalist design concepts.

The walls are often white, and the textiles and inviting.

There’s also the Danish concept of hygge that’s important. That includes layered fabrics, clean lines, and, again, wonderful textures.


What to Consider Before Starting a Kitchen Remodel

Your kitchen may be the place where your family spends the vast majority of their time. That’s common, and as such, we often want our kitchens to reflect our style and how we live our lives. A beautiful kitchen can be functional, stylish, and can boost your home’s value.

With that being said, a kitchen remodel is a huge undertaking, financially, and just in terms of logistics. Rather than jumping in, you need to prepare yourself for what to expect and make sure it’s something your family is ready for.

Can You Live Without a Kitchen?

Before you make any plans, think about your lifestyle and the lifestyle of your family. Can you really manage a kitchen remodel? You’re going to have to pack everything up, and you may not have use of your kitchen for weeks or even months. Many families will set up a small version of a kitchen elsewhere in their home, but it’s still going to be a struggle.

There are minor upgrades you can make to your kitchen to refresh the style without a full overhaul. At this point in your life, would that be best for you?

If you have young kids at home and you’re going through renovations, safety becomes an issue.

Many people are also working from home right now, so will you be able to continue doing that with construction going on around you?

Are You Prepared for the Costs?

According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of a kitchen remodel is just over $25,300, which comes out to around $150 per square foot. The total cost varies depending on the size of your kitchen, whether or not you change the layout and the materials you choose.

You could do a minor remodel including refacing cabinets, upgrading your sink and adding a new backsplash for around $10,000. A much larger renovation costing upwards of $30,000 may include custom cabinetry, new flooring and countertops and high-end appliances.

Do you have the money to spend, and if so, is this how you want to spend it? If you’d have to finance the project, how will those added monthly debt payments affect your budget and life?

If you’re planning to sell your home soon, the project could pay for itself but you need to ensure you design a kitchen that will appeal to a wide set of tastes and don’t make it too personal to your family.

Inevitably if you set a budget for a kitchen remodel, you’re going to go over, so give yourself padding with that in mind.

Do You Need to Change the Layout?

If the layout of your kitchen isn’t functional and you think it needs to be changed, it’s going to be more time-consuming and expensive than primarily aesthetic changes. You will need to work with a contractor, even if you plan to do some of the work independently.

It’s important to understand which walls are load-bearing.

You will also need to talk to a professional to understand how to move plumbing, venting, and electrical components if you’re changing the layout.

If you think you can do all the work in your kitchen on your own to save money, what can ultimately happen is that you make mistakes along the way. Then, you pay more to fix them. Sometimes it’s a better option to find a reliable contractor to work with from the start.

You might also want to hire a designer or at least consult with one if you’re changing the layout. A designer can help you understand how layout changes will impact the flow of the kitchen, and they can help you with an optimal placement that will work for not just your family but potential buyers if you sell in the future.

A kitchen remodel is a huge undertaking. If you’re considering it, prepare yourself for how it’ll affect your day to day life and finances.


What Are the Pros and Cons of Open-Concept?

If you’ve ever watched a real estate show, you’ve likely heard the number one thing buyers want is an open floorplan. Open-concept design has its perks certainly, but it’s not right for everyone and their needs. Despite it being so in demand, it’s important you think about those downsides you might not have considered.

What is Open-Concept?

An open-concept floorplan indicates a layout where there are large, open rooms and multiple functions within a single space. If you don’t have a lot of square footage to work with, an open floorplan works well. If you have a large home, you might not need an open-concept plan because each individual room itself is so big.

Homes built before the 1990s tended to have a lot of separation between rooms. By the 2000s, the open floorplan was definitely the more popular option.

The Pros of Open-Concept

The following are some of the upsides of a wide-open living area.

• If you have a family, particularly with young kids, open-concept can make it easier for everyone to be together and for you to keep an eye on the kids even while you’re doing other things like cooking. You get a sense of togetherness with an open floorplan.
• Open floorplans help you make better use of space that would otherwise be unusable. For example, if you have a formal dining room, you may not use it often. With an open floorplan, you’re more likely to use all of the space available to you.
• If you entertain, open floorplans are undoubtedly ideal for you.
• Taking out walls or having a design with limited interior walls allows for more natural light, and you can get outdoor views.

The Cons of Open-Concept

Again, while people rave about open-concept living, it’s not right for everyone. Downsides include:

• If you have older children or multiple generations in your household, you might want the privacy that smaller rooms can bring to your home. If you have, let’s say a nanny who lives with you or something similar, open-concept can bring you all together in a way that maybe you don’t prefer.
• If you’re someone who loves to display items on your walls, you’re going to have limited space to do so with open-concept. For art collectors, as an example, you might want more rooms and thus more walls.
• If your kids regularly make a mess, having enclosed rooms can help you contain it to one room more easily, so it doesn’t spill into other living areas.
• Noise travels a great deal in open-concept plans.
• You may want rooms that are dedicated to specific, individual uses. For example, maybe you want a home office, a workout room, or a crafts room.

If you’re deciding on a new home or thinking about renovations, it doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing with open-concept.

There is a middle ground. For example, maybe your living area and kitchen are open to one another, but your dining area is separate. There might also be designs where you put partial walls to provide some delineation between spaces without full closure.


Architect, Designer or Contractor: Who to Hire for a Renovation?

If you’re going to do a home renovation or remodeling project, you may want to work with professionals for several reasons. Working with a professional in the remodeling industry can help you avoid costly mistakes, can help you get organized, and can bring your vision to life.

There are three main types of professionals you might consider working with on a renovation.

These are an architect, a designer and a contractor.

Knowing what differentiates them from one another can help you make the right decision for your project.

The Role of a Designer

A designer can help you by coming up with ideas, creating plans and steering you in a direction based on your wants and needs. Of those, for many people, drawing the plans can be the most important role of a designer. A basic design plan might include a floor plan and built-in features, such as cabinets in your kitchen. A full-service designer might take the work beyond that and help with fixtures and finishes. Designers aren’t typically project managers, however.

Designers can be costly. They can charge hundreds of dollars an hour, and they usually have a minimum project fee of anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000. Some estimates say that you should plan to budget from 8 to 12% of your total project cost for a designer.

If you have an idea of what you like and what you want, you might not need to hire a designer.

The Role of an Architect

An architect will come to your home and go over what you want from your renovation and budget. They will create a plan that will bring that to life. You may work with an architect only for the plan. Some people hire architects for full project management. In that case, the architect will choose contractors and will track their progress.

An architect’s services can cost anywhere from $50 to $200 an hour, or if they’re managing the project, it may be 5-20% of the total project cost.

If you’re doing a renovation that involves taking out walls and changing your layout, you may need an architect.

The Role of a Contractor

A contractor is someone who serves as a project manager when you bring them on for a renovation. They will work with you on your expectations and then make sure those are met. Contractors can give you a complete budget breakdown for the project, and they can also design your project if you want them to.

Something valuable about hiring a contractor is that they’ll then find your subcontractors such as electricians and plumbers. This makes your life easier because finding trustworthy subcontractors and then managing them can be a challenge.

You’ll need a licensed contractor so they can pull the necessary permits for your project. Contractors usually charge on a cost-plus basis. That means they take the total amount they anticipate the project will cost and they add a markup.

Who Do You Need?

A contractor with experience is likely to be able to deal with a simple renovation as well as an architect, and you can save money. If your budget is tight, you might want to collaborate with your contractor on your design. If you want a bit of help and guidance, you might hire a designer who will offer a consultation.

Finally, if you’re doing something like moving major walls for creating an open-concept layout, you might want to consult with an architect because of safety.


Are You Cut Out for an Older Home?

Yes, there's something exceedingly charming and special about a home built 100 years ago (or more), even if it doesn’t have nearly 9,000 square feet and a houseful of designer details. But could you maintain a home that was constructed according to standards that don’t exist anymore? Is it worth it to even try? What if something happens during a renovation—or just everyday living—and you’re on the hook for a major expense?

It’s important to be aware of the things that can FULL STORY->

Is Homeownership the Greatest Way to Secure Your Financial Future?

First-time homebuyers tend to focus on two things: The price of the home they’re buying and the monthly payment. And it’s entirely understandable. Affordability is key when you’re buying your first place—or any place, for that matter. And it’s especially relevant considering rising home prices across the country.

But there’s something else to consider: The future value of the home. Equity growth is likely something you’ve at least thought about if you’re in the market FULL STORY->

The Cohabitation Conundrum: What Happens to the House When you Break Up?

There are very clear laws that spell out what happens to community property in the case of divorce. These vary per state but are intended to protect each of the home’s owners when the union dissolves. But what happens when you’re not married? An ugly breakup can create even uglier financial circumstances if you’re not properly protected.

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By the numbers

If you’re thinking of moving in with a boyfriend or girlfriend, you’re not alone. FULL STORY->

Yes, You Can Have a Christmas and a Pet! Smart Solutions to Keep Everyone Safe and Happy

It's just a few days before Christmas and you STILL don’t have a tree. It’s your pets’ fault, right? We have one dog who thinks the Christmas tree is his personal urinal and another who thinks ornaments are tasty snacks, so we get it. But you don’t have to go without. You just need a smart tactic to outwit your animals. We have ideas.

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Go faux

One of the problems with “real” trees is that “many have sharp needles that can scratch and FULL STORY->

November Real Estate Roundup

Freddie Mac's results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® shows that "Mortgage rates continued to decrease heading into the Thanksgiving holiday. In recent weeks, rates have dropped by half a percent, but potential homebuyers continue to hold out for lower rates and more inventory. This dynamic is reflected in the latest data showing that existing home sales have fallen to a thirteen-year low."

• 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 7.29 percent FULL STORY->

Mortgage Rates
Averages as of November 2023:

30 yr. fixed: 7.79%
15 yr. fixed: 7.03%
5/1 yr. adj: 7.05%

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