The Adams Model for Today’s “Mature” Lifestyle

Today’s “mature” home owners prefer to have the luxury of one floor living. This spacious 2,084 sq. ft.  model will fill that need with some additional built in benefits.

This particular model offers an entry foyer area rather than opening right into the living area. This gives a more formal entrance for greeting your guests.

No more carrying heavy laundry baskets up and down steps! No more struggling to carry the vacuum while cleaning those steps!

One floor homes are energy efficient, so you’re not spending extra money heating a second floor.

The family room and kitchen are inviting and open to create a relaxing atmosphere for entertaining your guests. The modern island also provides a gathering area for you and your guests to enjoy with plenty of room for food preparation and entertainment.

The master bedroom lies in the opposite corner of the two other bedrooms to give privacy to your guests. With the master bath and the separate bath for guests, you can provide that privacy for family or friends visiting overnight.

Ranch homes offer a great resale value as your market will be much wider in terms of possible buyers. Ranch homes are perfect for older home owners who prefer not to climb steps on a daily basis and also don’t require all the square footage needed when raising a family.

All Folino Homes’ floor plans can be customized to fit your specific needs. For additional photos of our Adams model, click here. And don’t forget, we build all over Berks and surrounding counties!

Outdoor Living in Style

What better way to enjoy the warmer weather than in your own outdoor living space? You can customize your extended living area to fit your family needs. Would you want to add a unique area to entertain family and friends while sharing a refreshing drink? Would you love to have an outdoor grilling area to move your meals outside? Or would you enjoy relaxing around a fire pit enjoying a clear night sky? Or all of the above? Keep reading for more tips on how to create your own outdoor oasis:

  • Spruce Up Your Patio: It’s impossible to relax on a patio that has split and warped wood, needs staining or contains dirty concrete. It’s just a constant reminder of the work that needs to be done around your home! Have you considered an elegant stamped concrete patio? It’s a project that will not break the bank and requires minimal upkeep. There are tons of stamps to choose from, as well your choice of color:

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  • Add a Water Feature: Creates a relaxing environment (who could not benefit from that) with very low maintenance.

  • Plant Racks or Trellis – Especially great for small yards to add more greenery and accent pieces that will make you feel at home on your patio.

  

  • Pergola – These architectural structures define outdoor rooms and you can decorate with hanging lanterns, curtains, candles and plants.

Creating your personal patio area can include the design of the patio layout, the materials you use to create it, the furniture you choose, and the accessories you include. The best way to achieve what you’re looking for is to design it like you would a space in your home. Outdoor living is exactly that, an extension to your home. Picture yourself in the outdoors, entertaining with family and friends while creating timeless memories and start designing your oasis!

Check back again when we’ll be featuring some DIY ideas for your outdoor space!

A New Breed of Space Heaters Helps You Stay Toasty in Style

Well that time of year is officially here, the cold, ice and snow!  Nothing like trying to bundle up and keeping warm on your comfortable couch watching some of your favorite shows!  The new designs on the market for space heaters have got everyone going out to purchase at least one. Their new styles are not only sleek and efficient but you are still able to maintain your style in addition to keeping warm.  There are many reasons to utilize a space heater. The most important reason is by turning down your central thermostat in your house and using a space heater, it can actually be a more efficient way to heat your home! Just make sure that when using the space heater you close all doors in surrounding rooms so that you are not heating those areas as well.  Here are some models for suggestions that you can look into purchasing for your home:

  • Staddler Form Max Heater/Fan, Swizz Style-  this cool device is versatile so that you can use it all year round!  It even comes in multiple colors to choose from.  The picture above is what this awesome little device looks like!!
  • Staddler Form Anna Ceramic Heater- this heater is slender with a silver and white finish.  It’s style goes with almost anything, and in addition it provides for a very powerful ceramic heating element and even contains an automatic safety shutoff feature.
  • Econo Heat Eheater- a wall mountable heater that you can customize to your wall style by painting! Not only is it invisible but it alleviates being knocked over.
  • Sunpentown Mini Tower Ceramic Heater- small and slender heater that can be tucked away! Some of the features are overheat protection, cool-to-the-touch casing and a tip-over switch.
  • Dyson AMo4 Fan heater- futuristic looking fan that provides for heat in the winter and a fan for hot summer nights!

So this year, don’t worry about trying to find every blanket in the house to try and keep warm; treat yourself to a modernized space heater that will not only add style to the room but also alleviate bundling up as well!

 

Home Gyms Gets Heart Pumping

Wouldn’t we all love to work out if our gym looked like this?

Let’s be honest with ourselves, that new year’s resolution to hit up the gym on a daily basis to get back in shape and lose the holiday weight is already starting to be challenging, especially with the cold snowy weather.  This is the peak of the year where we all want to get into shape and perfect that beach body before the summer time hits.  The truth is by the time 5:00pm rolls around, it’s cold and dark outside, you have to get in your car to drive home, change into your gym gear, then drive to the gym. And lets not forget about dinner! Certainly, the motivation drastically decreases.  At that point, you just want to stay home in the luxury of your nice warm house.  Well guess what? There’s a solution! Why not enjoy the luxury of your home and exercise at the same time?  It won’t cost drastically more than your yearly gym membership and it’s a space your whole family can utilize. Here are some tips to convert an extra room in your house to your new, personalized gym:

  1. inspirational gym- stay motivated when you work out by surrounding yourself with your favorite photos or collectibles to maintain that positive attitude.
  2. all-inclusive workout- use an entertainment system to organize your weights, keep extra towels, or store water bottles.  Add a tv and favorite dvd to exercise to and your workout is sure to be a success!
  3. visual transformation-add floor to floor ceiling mirrors against one wall, so you can really take notice on everything you are doing to perfect your workout as well as brighten the space if you’re in a basement or room with no windows.
  4. yoga studio- a spare bedroom or office is perfect to create a yoga studio.  Ambient lighting and yoga mats are the only things you need to create this oasis!
  5. stair workout- have an awkward area underneath the stairs in your basement?  Stick a piece of equipment in there!
  6. cool down- we all love the cool down phase of the workout process. Create a seating bench with built in storage to hide any extra weights or towels you might have laying around.
  7. family workout- include the entire family!  Paint a wall with chalkboard paint and add some things for the kids to play with.  This way not only will they be content, you can enjoy your workout and all be in the same room together!
  8. gym addict- convert your old attic into a gym, stretching area, and yoga studio.  This is also a perfect way to get rid of all that old, unused junk stored up there!
  9. office break- if you’re limited to space, try squeezing it in to your home office.  This would be a great way to always keep you on your toes and remember your workouts at the end of the day.

So this winter, don’t get discouraged!  Create your own personalized gym in the convenience of your own home and hopefully you’ll find that motivation to get in shape for good!

Serenity in a Bedroom

I’m sure we can all agree that one of the greatest feelings is being able to walk in to your bedroom and feel a sense of quiet relaxtion.  This is mainly due to the fact of how the bedroom is decorated to make you feel that way.  Before getting to that point we’re sure many of you feel that decorating a bedroom is just as, if not, harder than trying to decorate a kitchen or a living room.  Here are a few ideas to keep in mind to help ease your mind off the difficulty decorating your master bedroom could be!

  • Placing the bed- Try having the head of the bed on the wall opposite of the bedroom’s entrance.  Don’t worry if the headboard is blocking the window, how the bed is positioned is more important.  Another suggestion would be to place the bed still opposite of the entrance way, but making sure it is not right up against a wall or on a diagonal.  Something else to consider is what is your first thought when walking in to a bedroom.  Do you want to see the bed directly across from, or would you rather view the window scene?  These questions will be able to help answer any type of unsure questions you might hav regarding bed placement.
  • Buying nightstands- Figuring out the size of the stand you need is a rather easy task.  All you really need to figure out are the items that will be going on top of it to determine how big of one you will need to purchase.  Picking a stand with a larger top will allow for more items to go on top of it, or if you are more minimized, one with drawers would work as well.  You can also try positioning the nightstands to match the height of the mattress. Nightstands are great for welcoming an accent of color or a new furniture piece.
  • Traffic & seating areas- It’s a great feeling to wake up in a gigantically large bed, but just make sure that it is not dominating the entire bedroom!  Place your bed within the dimensions of your other pieces of furniture in which you plan to put in your room.  Some ideas for furniture pieces could be a single chair, or even a small table.  Just a rule of thumb, try and leave at least 2 feet of walking distance around the perimeter of the bed.
  • Decor- Inviting nature inside can be a wonderful way to create a calm environment. Add a plant or two, which will not only add color to the space, it will filter the air in your bedroom. Hang up artwork featuring ocean or forest scenes. Choose paint and bedspread colors that evoke a sense of serenity, like soft blues or greens.
  • Work Spaces & Clutter- The worst thing you can do in a bedroom space is clutter it up or add a work space. You’ll never be able to be fully calm or rested when you see these constant reminders of work or mess every evening before you fall asleep and every morning when you awake.

Now you have a few easy things to put into consideration when decorating your bedroom. Good luck and may you have a peaceful rest!

A Lasting New Year’s Resolution

Can you believe the holidays have came and gone so quickly already?  It feels as if it was only yesterday when we were all wishing for the holiday season to arrive and start our Black Friday and Christmas shopping!  Well now it is that time again to start getting ready for the New Year.  I know many of us enjoy spending New Year’s Eve with our families, or going out on the town with friends, or even just enjoying a nice little quiet dinner at home.  With the New Year comes the infamous idea of New Year’s resolutions.  I am sure everyone can attest to this at some point in their life; we all make resolutions the night of and those resolutions get shortly lived!  Or, each year we say “this year I am sticking to my resolution,” and it never happens.  This year why don’t you try something different for the New Year’s?  Instead of making resolutions that are unattainable or made due to peer pressure, make a resolution for yourself that can be long lasting.  Here are a few key elements that could potentially become helpful to you in sustaining your resolution:

  • Focus on change, you will see results, versus focusing on results because you will never change
  • Don’t make the new year the only reason why you want to change
  • Resolutions often fail because you rarely see outcomes, they are calendar driven obligations
  • Stay mindful- this will help alleviate anything negative that could potentially keep you from achieving your goal
  • Recognize what makes you think positive- often times this will allow you to continue your motivation to the road to achieving your goal

So this year, start it out right!  Pick a resolution that will help create a better change for yourself, something that gives a sense of happiness. Don’t pick something just because you have to.  Choose wisely and try and find something that will make yourself an overall better person.  Just remember, you can only move forward!

Getting Ready for Christmas Dinner

Can you believe that Christmas is 8 days away?!  Where did this month go? I am sure many of you are starting to panic a little more as each day passes.  For many, I’m sure there is still too much to do and you are starting to become overwhelmed.  Not only is there shopping to be done, but let’s not forget about the cooking as well!  When it comes to the holidays, we think the most stressful part can be trying to cook for the entire family. We’re sure many of you are able to attest to that.  Appetizers are always the way to go before sitting down for the full course meal, not to mention the fact that it kills a little bit of time in between having your guests arrive and waiting for the main entree to be complete!

Chorizo Bites with Arugula Pesto

Chorizo Bites with Arugula Pesto

INGREDIENTS

Arugula Pesto:

  • 2 big packed handfuls arugula leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated romano or parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • water, as needed

Chorizo:

  • 1 (8inch) link chorizo sausage, cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
  • dash sherry vinegar
  • dash oil, for sauteing

DIRECTIONS:

To make the pesto: Add the arugula, garlic, cheese, and walnutsto the bowl of a food processor or blender, and puree. As the processer is running, drizzle in the olive oil. This will be used to garnish the Chorizo. Season the mixture with salt, and pepper, to taste. If the pesto is too thick, you can thin it out with water.
To make the sausage: Cut the sausage link into large 1 1/2-inch chunks. Heat the oil in a saute pan, and saute the sausage until the edges start to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Toss the pieces while they fry so they cook all over.
Add a dash of sherry vinegar to the pan to deglaze and release all the flavors. Transfer the sausage to a platter and serve with dollops of the arugula pesto. Add little cocktail sticks or toothpicks to each piece for easy eating.
Popcorn Rock Shrimp with Spicy Honey
Popcorn Rock Shrimp with Spicy Honey
INGREDIENTS
Popcorn Shrimp:
  • oil for deep frying
  • 2 cups of cornstarch (recommended: Maizena)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 pounds of rock shrimp

Spicy Honey:

  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorn
  • 1 tablespoon chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • sea salt

Garnish:

  • lemon wedges

DIRECTIONS:

For the spicy honey: In a saucepan, on medium heat, bring the honey, garlic, peppercorn, chili flakes, smoked paprika, and salt to a boil and let simmer for 2 minutes. Let cool, strain and transfer to a squeezable bottle. Keep aside.
For the popcorn shrimp: Preheat the deep-fat fryer to 360 degrees F.
In a bowl, mix together the cornstarch, flour, salt and pepper. Place the eggs in a bowl add the shrimp and coat. Remove the shrimp, letting the excess egg drip back into the bowl, then add the shrimp to the cornstarch mixture. Gently add to the fryer, turning until golden. Drain on paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately after frying and drizzle with the spicy honey and garnish with lemon wedges.

 

Pizzettes with Caramelized Onions, Goat Cheese, and Prosciutto

Pizzettes with Carmelized Onions, Goat Cheese, and Prosciutto

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large onions, sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon herbs de provence
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 ball purchased pizza dough (about 12-16 ounces)
  • 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2-3 ounces prosciutto (about 5 large slices).  cut into 2 x 2 inch pieces
  • parsley or rosemary sprigs, for garnish
  • special equipment: 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter

DIRECTIONS:

In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over low heat. Add the onions, salt, pepper, herbs de Provence, and sugar. Stir to combine. Continue cooking over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are caramelized and dark golden brown, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

Roll out the pizza dough into a 1/4-inch-thick round. Using the cookie cutter, cut out 24 dough circles. Arrange the circles on a large heavy baking sheet. Place a small spoonful of the caramelized onions on each dough circle. Top with a small amount of goat cheese. Bake until golden and bubbly, about 10 minutes.

While still hot, top each pizzette with a piece of prosciutto. Arrange on a serving platter and garnish with sprigs of parsley or rosemary. Serve immediately.

 

So this holiday season relax with your family and friends as you all enjoy some quick and easy to make appetizers!

9 Low-Cost Ways to Insulate Windows and Doors

Winter time is here which means re-organzing the closet with all your winter clothing and heavy coats! Unfortunately this time of year can get pretty costly.  Do you find that each winter your utility bills keep getting higher and higher?  By blocking areas where drafts can get through, this will help reduce the amount of money you will spend on heat. Below are some inexpensive ways to do this that won’t break the bank:

  1. Weatherstripping & Caulking- Plug any air leaks that you might find by caulking inside and outside your window casing and use weatherstripping in the sash.
  2. Heavier Curtains- By switching out your summer curtains for heavier winter ones, this will help trap in more of the heat.  Choosing fabrics such as velvet or heavy linen on the windows will help keep away any unwanted drafts because it will provide more insulation.
  3. Doorway Curtains- If you have a glass door in your entry way, try hanging a floor length curtain directly behind the door.  It would make a beautiful accent piece during the day and at night when pulled shut, it would help absorb the heat.
  4. Cellular Shades- This is a window covering that is made with folds of fabric that help create multiple layers of air pockets to insulate windows.
  5. Layered Window Treatments- By layering windows with insulating or cellular shades with curtains hung on top, it will help keep your house warmer.
  6. Draft Stopping Door Snake- This quick and easy approach helps to stop a big draft underneath your door in no time! Stylish door snakes can even be found on Etsy!
  7. Insulating Window Film- This sticks directly to your windows, adding an additional layer of protection from elements.  Since you will be sticking it on the windows, you will not be able to see 100% clearly.  It might be a good idea to only add it to certain parts of the house!
  8. Storm Windows & Doors- This is a more costly approach; adding a storm window to an older window that has been weatherstripped provides the same or better energy savings as a new dual-pane window.
  9. Exterior Barn Doors- Take the barn-door trend outside with thick sliding doors to protect sliding glass doors underneath.

Extra money saved on heating costs means extra money for an island vacation this winter! If only…

Quick backsplash facelift for the holidays!

The holidays are almost here!!  Soon starts the hectic, busy time of getting holiday prepping done in advance, which I’m sure some of you have already started. Now is the perfect time to do a little sprucing up to your kitchen before all your wonderful guests arrive!  Not only will you be able to* wow* them with a wonderful, homecooked meal, but you will also be able to show off your quick and easy kitchen backsplash facelift.  I know many of you often think that no matter what you want to do to your kitchen, it will cost you an arm and a leg.  The truth is, there are many ways to go around that.  Adding a tile backsplash to spruce up life in the kitchen is rather inexpensive if you know what you are doing.  In one weekend you could have a kitchen that seems that you completely renovated it!

Materials & Tools:

  • Tile: Measure the square footage of your backsplash, then add 10-20% to your total.  This makes up for waste.  General cost is $10-$25/sq. ft.
  • Adhesives: Thinset bonds to drywall plaster, and just about any other porous surface.  It is a cement-based adhesive that penetrates the wall as well as the porous back side of the tile.
  • Tile Spacers: These help keep tiles straight and even on the wall, and come in various shapes & sizes.  Keep it simplistic when choosing a spacer.  Always make sure the spacers fit the tile sheets in which you choose.
  • Notched Trowel:  Used to apply the adhesive to the surface being tiled.  A small-margin trowel and a larger notched trowel are good to keep on hand when doing tiling.
  • Grout: Pick something complementary to your tile. Try and stay away from exact matches, as well as pick a color that will not be as difficult to clean.  Avoid bright white unless you enjoy scrubbing!  Try and pick something that alreay has a sealer in it as well.  In addition, you will need a grout sponge, and a grout float or trowel.

*Note: All materials and tools are available at your local hardware stores.

** When picking out backsplash tile, try to keep it simplified and neutral.  If you pick a smaller tile, the install process will become a little bit more easier than if you choose a bigger tile.  Most tiles can be cut using the scoring process.  Sometimes the bigger tile requires the use of professional!

Follow these easy steps:

  1. Pick a pattern: If tile sheets are what you decided, then your pattern is set. If you want to go with subway tile, lay your tile in a brick pattern.
  2. Find a starting point: The center of the sink is always an ideal place to start; starting in the center and working your way out.
  3. Do prep work: Apply a bead of silicone caulk to the seam between your wall and your countertop. This acts as a backup line of protection.  Turn off the circuit breaker and make sure that none of the outlets or switches are live. Then remove any electrical wall plates. Unscrew the switches and outlets and pull them out of the boxes. Do not disconnect the wires!
  4. Apply the adhesive: Make sure you can see your center-line starting mark; apply adhesive from that point.
  5. Install the tile: Start from your center line, press the tile up against the wall firmly.  Use a pencil and a speed square (a right-angle tool that helps to give you a straight line) to mark your cuts before you make them.  Once tile is installed, go back and remove any adhesive that has pushed up into grout lines.
  6. Grout & clean:  Once tile has been installed for 24 hrs. you can go ahead and start grouting!  Remove all the spacers and clean off any dried adhesive on the face of the tile. Work the grout in at an angle.  Apply it with the trowel angled toward the wall, moving in a diagonal pattern. Clean off the excess grout with a sponge and work a 3- 5 foot area at a time. Once finished grouting, run a clear bead of silicone along the bottom edge of the tile. Let sit for 24 hours beforer putting back the outlets and switch plates.

So now that you know these few easy steps, pick out a weekend to get to get started!  There is still plenty of time before the holidays are here!

 

 

 

 

 

How to choose the right generator, especially with the Winter snowy season coming

We all survived all the crazy havoc from Thanksgiving and Black Friday! Can you believe that it is soon that time of year again?  I know many of you have probably already started decorating for Christmas, it is such a joyous holiday to celebrate; so much joy and laughter! Along with this holiday we receive the snow and ice!  I know, it is a bittersweet feeling, we all love the the idea of a nice white Christmas, and being able to watch the snow fall with candles.  That will not be so enjoyable however once the electricity goes out and you are left without a back up generator or fresh food!  This is exactly why you need to know how to pick the right generator.

Here are a number of things you can do to to prepare in advance to alleviate all the stress and future damages.

Basically, there are 3 types of generators to choose from:

  1. Standby or permanent generators:  Used for multiple items that need to be kept running during a strong storm.  They get wired to your home’s utility system.  Standbys produce larger power output, great for areas of high frequency levels of storms. Generators that come with a higher price tag usually require professional installation and potentially obtaining permits.
  2. Portable generators: Portable ones are extremely efficient if you do not plan on using it all the time and you plan on storing it away.  A disadvantage to this is that portable generators are not always the most powerful.  This does provide the essentials and the basics though, as well as durability during a short storm.  Portable generators can be set up outside with the use of heavy extention cords.
  3. Inverter generators: Everyone wants a ligther and quieter generator, this would be it! There is only one slight downfall to this: they are not nearly as effective during a severe storm.  They have their own personal use such as to go away on camping trips, or to power electronics- not for major scenarios.

What size generator is best for you?!

Killowatts per hour is the power input for how generators get rated.  A good size generator for a small-medium home for a short period of time is one that produces 5,000 killowatts per hour.  If you are trying to alleviate outages that could last up to a couple weeks, the best idea would be to review your overall power use and consider going larger.

  • Start by adding up all your power requirements- everything that you need during a storm that requires power use, as well as what you think could not be a priority for use.
  • Account for startup surges- after you have figured out what is a necessity and what is not and have calculated your total power needs, don’t forget the fact that many appliances have a surge at startup.  So to get the proper calculation you must multiply your total number by 1.5 to account for these charges.
  • Don’t test its limits- Never run your generator at full power, doing this will certainly run it out a lot quicker.  A good recommended percentage to keep it between would be 50-75%.

Wiring into your home:

Wiring a generator into your home will then enable you to power more appliances than what a normal generator would have outlets for.  Transfer switches are essential when wiring your generator into your home.  They allow you to switch the power from your utility company to run the generator itself.  These switches allow you to either switch the power manually, or have it automatically transfer on when there is no power.

Other things to Consider:

 Generators can produce odorless and deadly carbon monoxide. Basic rule, never, ever use them in an enclosed or partially enclosed space.  You must always follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding placement for the generator, as well as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your entire home.  Fuel is also an important attribute to a generator, not to mention each generator uses a different starting fuel.  Be smart, energy consumption is important- get the best usage for your dollar.  Here are a few key things to consider:

  • Noise- Generators can often times be extremely noisey.  Keep into consideration your family as well as your surrounding neighbors. Always place them away from the house or in neighboring distance of someone else.
  • Starting- Often times manual generators take a little bit of time to start up.  Considering an electric starter might be ideal when trying to weigh out your pros and cons.
  • Gauges- Oil and temperature gauges are ideal.  Always pay attention to the notifications.  They will always tell you if something is wrong before it completely destroys your machine.
  • Weight- Keep in mind the weight factor.  If you plan on moving it around more frequently you might want to consider purchasing a lighter weight generator.

Now that you have enough information on which generator could be best for your and family, be proactive before the real trouble begins.  You don’t want to spend another snow season tied up wondering what to do, or when the power will return!!