Smart Home Technology Trends in 2017

“The future of housewares and appliances is quickly moving toward the smart home,” said Doreen Schofield, CR, CKBR, designer with Callen Construction. “Connectivity is being incorporated into products all around the home – from light bulbs to coffee brewers, from thermostats to ovens – connected products, once only a dream, are quickly becoming reality.”

Smart Home Technology Trends in 2017This year, the smart home movement includes the emergence of five key trends. Leak detection sensors, including fire alarms, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, radon detectors, and moisture detectors are devices that help keep a home’s environment safe. “There are even air quality devices that measure the air inside a home and detect dangerous toxins,” Doreen said. Perhaps the most useful of these devices is the smart leak detection sensor, which monitor plumbing in a home’s walls to ensure there are no major leaks or malfunctions. “Leak detections sensors also help prevent serious water damage or the buildup of mold and mildew inside walls caused by a slow leak,” she said. “They are a game-changer, especially for older homes.”

For homeowners, energy consumption is a primary concern because it is necessary to manage how much energy you’re using. This involves monitoring many different facets of your home, including lighting usage and air conditioning dependence. “Connected or smart thermostats can help alleviate this problem by conserving energy over time,” said Doreen. They are far more advanced than programmable thermostats, as they are capable of learning habits and preferences and they can even detect your presence. “This allows for scenarios such as leaving the air off while you’re away from home and letting it auto-adjust to a comfortable setting when you’re on your way back,” she said.

How many times have you left home and realized you left your garage door wide open? A traditional door requires you to return home to close it. Conversely, a smart garage door enables you to monitor your garage door from anywhere. You simply have to check the open or closed status from an app on your smartphone and, if it’s open, you can close it remotely. “This feature offers a world of possibilities,” Doreen said. “For instance, you could let the dog or house sitters in through your garage or open your home to emergency services or neighbors when you’re gone. Smart garage doors offer homeowners both convenience and increased security.”

Homeowners also need to be concerned about water usage, as it is another form of consumption. Clean water for drinking, cleaning, or bathing are important, but so too is the water used to irrigate your land. This is where smart watering systems come into play. “On one hand, if you live in a deed-restricted community, you are required to maintain a healthy lawn; otherwise you risk fines and other penalties,” said Doreen. “On the other hand, shortages and droughts can restrict the amount of water you can use.” Smart watering systems make this process simple and efficient, allowing you to schedule watering sessions and also keep track of how much water you’re using, which will likely save you money over time.

According to Safewise, a burglary occurs every 18 seconds in the United States and a report by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology shows that about 60 percent of convicted burglars were deterred by the presence of a home security system. By installing a smart home security camera, you pay for the equipment once, with service fees typically lower than conventional security plans.

“As the demand for smart home technology continues to rise, it’s important for homeowners to stay up to date on the latest trends not only for added savings and convenience, but also for peace of mind,” said Doreen.

For more information or to arrange an initial showroom consultation, call Callen at 414-529-5509.



Four Popular Updates for a Better Laundry Room

Four Popular Updates for a Better Laundry RoomWhile kitchen and bathroom remodeling still lead the pack when it comes to home renovation, homeowners have increasingly started to choose a laundry room upgrade as their remodeling project of choice. Smarter storage and better function resonate with homeowners who realize they spend a lot of time doing laundry, so they may as well do it in a space that they enjoy! If a laundry room update is in your future, consider these ideas from Callen Construction to get a fresh new look.

Hook It Up

If your laundry room doesn’t have a good spot for a clothes rod, you can go another route by adding hooks to the wall, the doors of an armoire, or the side of a revamped entertainment center. Being able to hang your clothes as you launder them is important, as it helps decrease wrinkling and allows for easy, convenient transfer of your clothing items from the laundry room to the closet.

Create a Folding Station

When it comes to folding laundry, folding as you go will save a lot of time and trouble. If you have side-by-side front loading appliances, a counter-height table built directly over them will give you an ideal surface on which to fold each load as it comes out of the dryer. If this set-up is not a viable option for you, a baby changing station is a good alternative that lets you fold at a comfortable height and has the advantage of additional shelving for your laundry supplies.

Lighten Up the Room

Many laundry rooms are in the basement, which can make the already dreaded task of tackling laundry even more challenging. To combat this, paint your laundry room a bright, cheerful color, such as a sunny yellow. With as much time as the average person spends in the laundry room, why not make it a more pleasant place to be?

Repurpose Furniture

As more and more people opt for wall-mounted flat screen TVs, big and bulky entertainment centers are becoming a thing of the past. Fortunately, there are many ways to repurpose them for other uses, one of which is as a laundry station! Simply adjust the entertainment center shelves as needed to allow room for laundry baskets and supplies, and add a clothes rod to accommodate items that need to be hung. Freestanding cabinets and armoires are another great option that allows your laundry station to be hidden when not in use.

If you want a local remodeling company that knows its stuff, Call Callen at 414-765-2585. We can answer your questions about laundry room updates, as well as any other home improvement projects you may have in mind.



2017 Design Trends

2017 home design trends“From gunmetal, to customized storage walls, to laundry rooms with personality, there is an array of new design trends that have come to the forefront in 2017,” said Kathleen Yttri, designer with Callen Construction in Muskego.

“Gunmetal finishes have been making a jump in popularity in recent years, admired for their ability to bring be bold and stand on their own without the high price tag. They are reflecting the new trend in appliances with the black stainless finish,” Kathleen said. More recently, designers have been turning away from the reflective finish of polished chrome and are embracing satin or brushed finishes, which is more muted. “A matte gunmetal finish can be transitional or contemporary and it looks fantastic against any color of cabinetry,” she said.

In search of more open space in their kitchens, many homeowners and designers are pushing storage into a single hardworking wall, instead of using upper cabinets. This design development creates a one-stop storage area that frees up the rest of the space to promote a more open free flowing look and gives you the opportunity to use tile and floating shelves in place of upper cabinets.

The use of different white tones is also becoming more popular, as there’s something refreshing about a room bathed in white with subtle accents of other neutral colors. Conversely, things can start to feel clinical when only one stark white tone is used. “Balancing a white palette with creamy off-whites, cool greys or natural linen hues creates a breathtaking look that can be rich with character. It can also let you have tons of flexibility with bold color accents and a rich wood tone floor,” she said.

Upgrading on laundry rooms is increasing in popularity, as homeowners are seeing value in enhancing this area of the home. “Smarter storage and better function resonate with homeowners who realize they spend a lot of time doing laundry, they may as well do it in a space that they love,” Kathleen said.

Similar to the laundry room, entryways are also receiving more attention. The entryway is the first part of the home guests see and therefore has become a focus of organization, a reflection of the homes style in a compact area. You can have fun with design and a function and organization to the hub of coming and going without allocating a significant amount of money. “Sometimes all it takes is a few customized sayings in frames, a statement mirror, and a narrow table or bench with a tray for shoes underneath,” she said. “After all, first impressions matter.”

Lastly, counter-depth refrigerators are providing an option when kitchen space is tight. “For small to modest-size kitchens, remodeling is often a game of inches,” said Kathleen. “Counter-depth refrigerators sit closer to cabinetry and countertop depth, freeing up just a bit more clearance space, while creating a more streamlined look.”




The 10 Rules of Thumb for Decorating the Entryway

The 10 Rules of Thumb for Decorating the EntrywayYour home’s entryway is a unique space; heavily trafficked, it needs to be tidy and functional for daily lives, yet beautiful and inviting for guests. “After all, it’s the first space guests see and a good first impression is imperative,” said Paulette Sodemann, designer with Callen. “Not all entryways are created equal, as some homes have small entrances, some have large foyers, others have entrances that immediately bring you into another room, like the living room, for example,” she added. Paulette explores the general rules of thumb for making the entryway a successful space, regardless of size.

First, if your home is lacking a defined entry, utilize furniture and furnishings to create the illusion of one. “Adding an entrance rug or changing the flooring is a perfect way to define a space,” she said. You can also arrange furniture to create the essence of a hallway. However, it may be helpful to use a double-sided bookshelf or a low sofa back to create the entrance, if you choose not to create a tall “hallway” from your furniture. For example, if your home opens into an open living room, you’ll want to face the back of the sofa towards the entry and place a sofa table along the back of the couch. This separates spaces, which helps create a defined entry, and serves as a place to put decorations and store belongings.

Next, no matter the type of entry, you’ll want to trap dirt. “The entryway endures chronic foot traffic and wherever you live, trapping leaves, mud, dust, sand, or snow can help save the rest of your flooring throughout the house,” said Paulette. She suggests using a durable rug designed for the entry and make sure it can be easily vacuumed, cleaned, or shaken out. Another option is placing a heavy-duty entrance mat outside the front door and have a second rug or mat inside the door.

“Sometimes you need to make necessary changes to your entryway that are beyond decorating. For example, you want to add a built-in closet, add lighting, or build a half-wall. Or perhaps you might have an entry closet that might look better without its doors,” Paulette said. “It’s imperative to get a professional opinion as to what is possible before walls are moved or flooring is replaced.”

Subsequently, you’ll want to add order. Often times if a home has one main entrance, it is likely that it is used as a staging ground, a natural place to leave items when entering and leaving the home. Before installing organizational items, carefully assess needs. If coats, backpacks, and bags are an issue, hang as many coat hooks or pegs as possible. If shoes are the culprit, get some bins or low shelving. Some families like to have individual organizers for each member – making it simple to put things away. Whatever works for your family, add pieces that will help you organize this space.

Next, be sure to maximize vertical space if the entryway has walls. Whether you choose to hang art, photos, family calendars, or shelves, using available wall space will not only keep the space organized, it will make it look bigger. Decorating the walls is the quickest way to add a sense of depth to a space and it’s a great way to interject style to your entrance.

“You may want to consider extending the entryway past the front door, if you have a small entrance,” she said. A covered porch or stoop is a good place to keep items that you don’t have room for. Umbrella stands, welcome mats, or decorative objects can easily live outside instead of inside. Some homes have a double-entrance in which a mudroom can serve as a catch-all for a variety of objects before a person actually enters the home. “This style of entrance works great in regions with low temperatures because the double set of doors helps keep heat inside the home while a person removes their coat and shoes,” she said.

Remember to add lighting because you’ll want the entrance well-lit for several reasons. Safety is a number one concern; as soon as you walk in the door you’ll want to make sure you can see inside the home. Also, you’ll want to see your belongings – especially if getting ready to leave means getting ready before the sun rises. Light fixtures help set off an entryway and help make the area appear more spacious. Consider table lamps if you can’t add overhead lighting and choose energy efficient bulbs because they have a longer lifespan.

If space is available, a bench can be a great spot for people to sit and put on or remove shoes or hold purses or other objects. For extra organization, consider adding a storage bench or a bench with a shelf.

Don’t forget to add personality. The entry to the home is the ideal place to embrace an owner’ style. “When guests arrive, you want them to immediately sense who you are and how they think of your home. It’s a great place to add your favorite colors, objects or collections,” Paulette said. What is added will depend greatly on available space. Larger entrances have room for a center table, piano seating, and other decorative objects. Other homes only have room to hang a few pictures. “You can experiment by moving objects around or playing with colors. You’ll want to make sure that the décor is in accordance with the style and colors of the surrounding rooms,” she said.

And finally, mirror or no mirror. The idea of hanging a mirror in the entrance is arguable. “If you lean towards a more traditional, American or European style, a mirror can help reflect light into the entrance and allow you to check your appearance before leaving the house,” Sodemann said.

“Following these 10 principles for decorating your entryway will ensure that your entrance is both functional and beautiful,” she concluded.

For more information or to arrange an initial showroom consultation, call Callen at 414-529-5509.