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Home Trends for Family Rooms

The family room is the place in the house where people can relax and gather together. This is the space where people spend their downtime together, whether it is for a movie night, a lazy Saturday morning reading a book, or gathering for a family holiday. Outside the kitchen, this is the space where the living and connecting really happen in a home. The family room is the place where you relax, where you entertain, and where you do fun activities together. If you are looking to update your family room, here are six things to consider for maximizing your space and making the room feel especially like home. 

1. Use Your Interests As Inspiration

"Geometric Metal Wall Decorations" by Gamze Genc Celik

When you are planning out your family room, it is a great idea to consider how your family will use the space. Figure out if there is anything that is unique to your family activities that might inform the design of the space. Your family's interests might be in music, sports, art, books, or games.

You can use these as family interests to tie the decor to what is meaningful to your family and make it really feel like home. You can use your interests as a decorative focal point in the room, or even as color inspiration for the space. The key to making this effective is to not theme it too heavily, but rather to give meaningful hints as to what is important to your family.

2. Design For Your Favorite Activities

"Modern Geo Living" by Maruf Madiyarov 

When it comes to family rooms, you might first think of a big tv and a large enough seating area to fit everyone plus a few guests. This is a great start to a space, especially for lounging together and entertaining. Consider maximizing your use of the space by creating multiple areas for activities and enjoyment.

If your family enjoys music, you might have a corner of the room dedicated to musical instruments or your musical collection. Maybe your family loves puzzles or board games, consider putting in a table for those nights where everyone is up late playing a game of cards together.

3. Add Versatile Seating

"Living room" by Blizarde

A family room is often more than a space for your family, it is where you entertain guests, throw a party, and have a friend or two over. You might consider adding in versatile seating to accommodate a wide range of guests. You can use your main seating area of a sectional or a couple of sofas as the focal point for seating, but consider adding in a reading nook or built-in bench for a small conversation area, adding an ottoman that can double as seating or a few smaller side chairs that are an inviting alternative.

These added seating areas allow you to accommodate for various crowds, and it also makes your guests comfortable to find a seat that works for them. Some people might prefer to be a part of the crowd in the main seating area, while others might prefer a spot off to the side. 

4. Get Creative With Storage

The family room is where living really happens, and with that comes the need for storage. If you have young children, this might be the spot where toys are front and center, it might be where a gaming console or two hangs out, or it might be where a collection of throw blankets reside. Nearly every family room needs some form of storage in order to reduce clutter and make the space feel inviting.

You can get creative with storage by adding doors to bookshelves for toys or board games, using a built-in bench as a toy chest, or putting a throw blanket collection into a storage ottoman. If the family room feels overwhelmed with clutter from a specific activity, you could pare down some of the items, move the majority of the activity or toys to another room in the house, or add more dedicated storage to your family room. It all depends on what works best for you.

5. Plan For Food and Drinks

 

There is nothing like grabbing a snack and settling down with the people you love for a movie night in the family room. As you design your space, consider how food and drink might be handled in that space. For example, if you have a large sectional sofa, plan out where hard surfaces will be within reaching distance to each seat.

Some ideas include adding a sofa table behind your sectional or adding a coffee table that is in proportion to the size of your sofa. You might also want to think about adding a specific side table for snacks and drinks. This a small bar cart or drink cabinet for adult beverages, or simply a dedicated surface for food and drinks. 

6. Design The Space To Grow With Your Family

"Eclectic kids room" by Eleni Psyllaki

The way a family uses a space often changes as the family grows and ages. If your family room is also the playroom for small children, know that the way your family uses this room will change with every age. As you plan your family room, consider night just how you use it now, but also how you might use it in two, five, or even ten years. What do you expect to stay the same? What do you expect to change? You can map out how you might shift the floor plan, the storage solutions, the type of furniture you invest in, and the activities that you make space for by considering how your room with grow with you.

Overall, a family room is where you make memories with the people that you love. More often than not it is either the kitchen or the family room that serves as the heart of the home. Because of that, it is important to make your family room represent who your family is and how you spend your time together. Build a space that feels like home, and fill it with the activities that you love to do together. 

How To Use Pantone's 2020 Color of the Year in Your Home

For nearly 20 years, Pantone has released a Color of The Year and this color is often a barometer for what is happening in design trends as well as a reflection of society. The 2020 Color of the Year is no exception to this, as they have announced this year's color to be Classic Blue, Pantone 19-4052.

Explained as, “instilling calm, confidence, and connection, this enduring blue hue highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era”.  With a new decade underway, this color is both relaxing and hopeful, and a great color to consider for any home that might need a refreshing look. 

Pantone Color Palettes

Along with the color of the year, Pantone released a series of five color palettes that incorporate Classic Blue in each of them. These are dynamic and appealing to a variety of aesthetics and design styles. By taking a closer look at these palettes you can start the new year with some inspiring new color schemes for your home. The key to using each of these color schemes is playing with the proportion of color, this is most effective by choosing one or two as the basis for your design, and utilizing the others as accent colors.

1. Ponder

The colors from this palette are an equal mix of warm and cool colors and are perfect for a bedroom or a whole house color scheme. This combination of colors welcomes you to play up either the warm browns and gold, the bright pinks or the soft blues depending on the room or personal preference. The palette can be used across an entire home, changing from room to room the color proportions and choices while still creating a cohesive look for a home’s interior.

2. Snorkel

This is a palette with blues, neutrals, and bright pops of greens and a hint of pink. This color scheme is ideal for a classic cool look, playing up the neutrals and blue and then using the greens and pink for accent colors. If you have a home that has a coastal or seaside feel to it, the Coralessence, Lime Punch, Jasmine Green, and Cashmere Blue are great colors for ocean-inspired accessories in any room. The energy of the colors in this palette would be particularly suited for a guest room or breakfast nook.

3. Desert Twilight

This year, Pantone's palettes are featuring a wide range of shimmery colors, and Desert Twilight is no exception. As they explain, this palette, “creates an elegant backdrop for a glittery grouping of sophisticated shades painted across the sky, adding illuminating sparkle to a Desert Twilight.” The two standouts in this palette are the inclusion of Inky Black and Red Violet, these two colors alone can create dramatic contrast in any room but would be especially effective in a formal dining room or powder room. Pair these with the shimmery jeweled tones for accents and your space will be boldly unexpected.

4. Exotic Tastes

This palette embraces and celebrates nature-inspired hues and subdued jewel tones, it has rich colors that have a muted quality to it almost like the colors of spices in a far-flung outdoor market. These earthy colors would play well in both a large space as well as an intimate space like your library or study. With a striking gray in Quicksilver utilized as a neutral, you will have a wide range of options when using the other colors as accents. Exotic Tastes appeals to the need for the ever-popular jewel tones, but in an understated twist.

5. Untraditional

With current color trends incorporating bright and bold hues, this palette is the answer. These colors are perfect for those who love a great design risk and can be paired boldly with the shimmer of Faded Jade, Water Nymph, Space Cherry, Brass Knuckles, and Glistening Grape for beautiful contrasts. Untraditional answers the call for color palettes that are bright and cheerful, balanced by Classic Blue, Opal Gray, and Cannoli Cream. If you are looking for something more traditional, using these three colors as your main scheme is a beautiful blend of traditional and modern, and the colorful twist of the glittering colors is a great way to turn your space untraditional and delightfully unexpected.

Designer Tips For Finding Your Colors

When choosing a primary or accent color from any of these palettes, consider choosing three colors from any one of these palettes and work around them. You can bring in lighter and darker versions, but using a triad of colors is a good way to establish a guide to follow that is not too overwhelming. Many of these palettes offer many colors at the same time. You can minimize the number of colors and use only your favorite colors to be consistent throughout. If any of these color palettes or simply the Color of The Year, Classic Blue is inspiring, you will have a wide array of options when it comes to incorporating it in your home.

The first step is choosing the colors, and the second step lies in playing with the proportions of color. Consider which one will be your main wall color and then your one or two accent colors for trim or furniture pieces. If you want to bring in more pieces from a certain palette, use those in small hints of color such as throw pillows and decorative accessories. As you play with these palettes you will be surprised at how the proportions affect how the colors look and how your room will look as well. You might be surprised to find a great color combination that works for you in unexpected ways, and sometimes that is the best way to find a palette that fits who you are and the home you live in. 

Source:

https://www.pantone.com/color-intelligence/color-of-the-year/color-of-the-year-2020

https://www.pantone.com/color-intelligence/color-of-the-year/color-of-the-year-2020-palette-exploration

5 Ways To Make Your Room Cozy for Valentine's Day

When it comes to decorating for Valentine's Day, it can be hard to come up with a sophisticated and cozy feeling for your bedroom or master bath. This is especially true if much of the holiday decor in stores is more geared towards hosting a Valentine's Day party rather than accessorizing your home. If you are looking to make your space feel cozy, intimate, and a celebration of your relationship, here are five ways to decorate your space.

1. A Wintery Mix of Love

When January comes around, much of our holiday decor gets packed away until next year, but consider keeping a few key pieces out and restaging them with a Valentine's Day look. February is a wintery month, and it can be a great way to embrace the season, by using it as a theme for your Valentine's Day bedroom. Evergreen boughs or trees, snowflake motifs, and anything that sparkles with Valentine's Day color (think reds, pinks, whites, or golds), can be repurposed for this holiday.

Once you have chosen a wintery theme, then add in some personalized layers of love. These personalized things could be photos of you throughout your relationship, little love notes to be opened each day leading up to February 14th, or something significant to you. Using these items, you can create small tableaus of decor on side tables, dressers, or the bathroom counter. Add in a couple of throw pillows that fit your theme, and your bedroom will be ready to embrace the winter and the cozy feeling of love throughout February.

2. I Really Heart You

Everyone knows that hearts are at the core of all Valentine's Day celebrations. You can take that theme and bring a level of sophistication to your bedroom and bathroom by layering heart-shaped accessories throughout your space. If you want a subtle look, consider finding heart-shaped pieces in natural materials: wood, stone, clay, rattan, or wool are great choices. By playing up the heart shape and playing down the color, this decor idea emphasizes repetition to bring the whole room together.
 

Alternatively, if you are the type to embrace color, you can use this heart-theme as a way to brighten up your space with a single color in multiple tones. This can certainly be done with classic Valentine's Day colors such as shades of pink or red. However, you could bring in an element of surprise with an unexpected color theme, such as greens or purples. It all depends on your taste and what feels right to you. 

3. Layering Textures with Valentine Colors

One tried and true way of adding interest to any design theme is to layer textures throughout a room. For a subtle but cozy Valentine space, consider using textures in quintessential colors for this holiday throughout your space. This will give a feel of the holiday without being a literal translation, this theme doesn't need hearts or flowers to be effective. 

For example, you might choose rose gold and white as your colors, and add in blankets, pillows, throw rugs, towels, or accessories in various textures. You could add glass, metallic, or sparkle in these colors alongside knits, faux fur, or silk. You can also do this with golds, reds, or silver depending on what works for your taste.

4. Words of Love

One unexpected but effective way to change up your decor for Valentine's Day is to temporarily bring in new wall decor. With the popularity of quotes and sayings as wall art, you could pull in a theme of words, phrases, and quotes about love into your bedroom or bathroom. By switching up the art and family photos in your bedroom it will give the whole room a different feel with a fairly easy change.

You can pick new pieces that are a similar size and shape to your original artwork, and simply replace them for the month of February. To not overwhelm your space, make sure to pick pieces that vary in font types, lengths of the quotes, and color. One great way to play with this is to have single words on larger pieces and longer quotes on smaller pieces. You can add throw pillows to your bed or armchair with words of love on it.

This decor idea could be especially personal if you and your significant other have written love letters to one another or have a certain poem or song that is meaningful to you. By making or ordering customized pieces with personal quotes on it, the entire room can become a symbol of your relationship. This is a very heartfelt way to decorate for Valentine's Day.

5. A Flowering Display of Spring

As an alternative to embracing the winter is embracing the coming spring. You can celebrate this holiday by emphasizing the giving of flowers and using it throughout your room. You can make this a lush and vibrant space with pops of color with bouquets, and lots of greenery.

This room can be a transformative space, that feels warmer and brighter than the snowy landscape outside. One easy change is switching up the bedding to something that feels lush and bright in color. To give this a real Valentine's Day feel, you can keep the colors of your flowers and bedding to pinks and whites, or alternatively choose deep reds and purples depending on how it might work for your personal style.

Overall, you can create a space that is a representation of your love and feels both cozy and sophisticated without compromising on your style. Each of these ideas is versatile enough to fit within the style of any home, and be customized to what works for your space. Pick a theme or decor idea that speaks to you and personalize it to make your space feel like a celebration of love.

This simple change in your bedroom and bathroom can end up bringing deeper meaning to how you celebrate with your loved one, and make this holiday about so much more than a night out together. 

Master Bath Trends in 2020

Whether you're building a new home or buying a home to renovate, the master bath is an important feature. New home construction and renovated master bathrooms have an updated look, but they may not have the very latest bath designs. It takes a few years for new products to become widely available. To stay up to date on master bath trends, visit home shows and high-end bath design showrooms to see trending colors and finishes in person. Here’s our take on what's trending in master bathrooms for 2020, and beyond:

Technology For The Master Bath

Upscale features like Smart Home integration are adding luxury and convenience to the master suite. Programmable showers, toilets with bidet functions, and integrated music and lighting controls create a master suite that’s a spa-like experience. Custom touches include a mini-refrigerator for organic beauty products, or a coffee bar and cold drinks for a long soak. Smart mirrors have integrated TV screens so you can watch the news, or even soak in the tub and watch a movie. Features like USB ports for charging and anti-fog technology allow for seamless movement from living areas to the master suite.

 

TV Mirror by Loft

 

Rustic Wood Bathrooms

While gray has been a master suite favorite for several years, warm colors like gold and olive green are trending. Subway tile is giving way to vertical shapes. Brass is popular, along with rose gold and other warm metal finishes.

 

Source: Fireclay Tile

 

Sparked by consumers’ desire to connect with nature, cabinetry features rustic wood finishes in lighter, natural tones. Textured finishes like limed grains, hand scraping, and wire-brushing add rich dimension. Wood-look tile, real wood walls, and vanity finishes celebrate wood’s natural grain variation.

 

Source: Fireclay Tile

 

Dark tile is having a moment, adding the dramatic contrast of deep green, blue, or black against white or gray. Neutral tones are trending away from gray, so expect to see cream colors, brown and gold warming up master bathrooms.

 

Source: Property Listing, Lynnfield

 

Freestanding Tubs

Sculptural, stand-alone bathtubs are increasingly popular. Not only do they provide a deep, relaxing soak, but they create a spacious, open feeling.

 

Source: Property Listing, Beverly

 

Even in a smaller master bath, a petite freestanding tub creates a focal point.

 

Source: Property Listing, Swampscott

 

Open-Plan Master Bathrooms

An open-plan makes a master bathroom feel very spacious. Instead of separating the tub and shower, open plans create a large “wet room” for both shower and tub. Glass walls separate the wet area from the rest of the space, keeping water in. The open plan bath is ideal for a tiled feature wall, or dramatic floor design.

 

Image courtesy of Westbuilt

 

Tile With Dimension and Color

Tile is taking part in the textural trend as well. Look for historic patterns, modern geometrics or bold colors to add color and dimension to your master bath.

 

Source: Ceramics of Italy

 

Use the latest tile patterns to bring nature indoors. 2020’s tile collections feature vines, palm fronds, and flowers rendered in stunning detail.  

 

Source: Ceramics of Italy

 

Geometric Tile and Matte Finishes

Patterned tile is still going strong. Global-inspired patterns are still going strong, but 2020’s patterns feature modern geometric designs. Look for warm shades of gray, brown and gold; combine them with matte brass and gold metals for a touch of glamour.

 

Source: Mandarin Stone

 

Matte surface finishes are also trending, as tastes move away from the glossy lacquers of recent years. Practical matte finishes on stone and tile are easy-care and more slip-resistant. 

Hexagon and chevron tile patterns are hotter than ever – but the colors are heating up, moving away from gray to brown and gold.

 

Source: Marble Systems

 

Stone-Look Porcelain Tile and Slabs

New printing techniques create realistic faux marble patterns on porcelain tile. Large format tile is more popular, with new sizes up to 24×48 inches. Full-size slabs of porcelain tile can replace real stone. At 5 x 10 feet, these wall-sized faux stone tiles create incredible master bathrooms.

 

Source: Property Listing, Manchester

 

Master bathrooms are the perfect place for a dramatic stone pattern. Large-format porcelain tiles make it easy. Center them on the wall of a walk-in shower like a work of art. Install a beautiful backdrop for vanity mirrors, or create an amazing floor design.

Terrazzo In The Master Bath

Terrazzo is an ancient material with timeless appeal, and 2020 is terrazzo’s comeback year. Made from a mix of stones, recycled glass, cement, and marble, terrazzo is easy to customize for your project. In a bathroom, terrazzo can be used for sinks, counters, walls and floors.

 

Source: Terrazco

 

Here at Sagan Harborside Realty, we understand luxury. If you’re planning a move to Marblehead, Salem, Swampscott, or Lynn, our professional Realtors have the expertise to find you the perfect home. Just give us a call at 781-593-6111.

 

12 Tips for Creating the Ultimate Guest Suite

When building your dream home, remodeling or simply redecorating, one of the most satisfying projects and most appreciated spaces you can create is an ultimate guest suite. Through the years, you will surely come to appreciate this well-planned space as your family grows and your needs change. As we see more and more multi-generational homes, mother-in-law suites also become exceptionally important. Here are twelve tips to help you achieve a wonderfully welcoming guest suite.

1. Design for Simplicity

Though it may sound counter-intuitive to suggest simplicity is key when creating the ultimate guest suite or mother-in-law suite, the most successful of these projects are indeed designed for simplicity in room layout, furnishings, and decor. Separate the space into well-defined areas for sleeping, lounging, entertaining, meal prep, and a private bath, of course. Allowing for lots of room to move about freely will make any space seem more spacious and comfortable. Think of that incredible hotel suite you’ve stayed in and how you seemed to have all the amenities of home.

 

Calming Colors in the Guest Suite

2. Use Calming Color

With so many gorgeous neutral hues to choose from, calming color palettes are anything but boring. Soft grays, taupes, blues, and beiges in both solid colors and a mix of patterns can be interesting and soothing at the same time. Blue is a serene color while adding a bit of flair to an otherwise neutral room. Accent with vivid pops of color with fresh flowers, toss pillows, and artwork for a bit of freshness.

3. Add a Kitchenette

Creating a luxury kitchen on a small scale doesn’t mean sacrificing quality. You will find many of your favorite high-end appliance brands offer slimline refrigerators, wall ovens and ranges, plus dishwasher drawers and lots of other space-saving options—the same high-end features you expect, just smaller in size. If space does not allow for a kitchenette, consider adding a microwave, minifridge, and small freestanding cabinet.

 

 

4. Furnish a Well-Stocked Bar Cart with Coffee, Water & Libation

One of the most thoughtful additions to your ultimate guest suite is a beautifully appointed and well-stocked cart offering water, juice and the ability to make hot beverages. Guests often hesitate to ask for refreshments because they don’t want to be a bother. Thirst can strike at inconvenient times like the middle of the night, so having easy access to cold and hot drinks will be appreciated. A carafe filled with water and a glass by the bedside are also nice touches.

5. Soothe with Scents

Natural, barely-there scents can help create that relaxing atmosphere you’re going for in your new guest space. Choose light, not overpowering, scents, and be sure to ask those who will be staying in the suite if they have any allergies so you can avoid those ingredients in your choice of scents.

 

 

6. Comfort with Luxurious Bedding 

Nothing pampers like luxury bedding, so add high thread count sheets and the most beautiful and comfortable bedding you can find. Remember to keep the look simple but sumptuous. Be sure to fit the mattress with a feather or thick cotton fill mattress pad for ultimate in plush sleeping. Lots of plump pillows with crisp cases are a must.

7.  Create a Beautiful Bath

When it comes to creating the bath for your mother-in-law suite, consider both form and function. Choose beautiful fixtures and finishes, at the same time remembering the needs of those who will be using the room. For instance, it might be wise to add a large walk-in shower in addition to that gorgeous tub you’re dreaming of. Add plenty of gorgeous thick, soft towels and bathmats.

8. Let There Be Light

Lighting is an essential element in any space. In your guest suite, lighting can make the difference between having a beautiful room and an extraordinary one. Beautiful light fixtures such as an appropriately sized chandelier or hanging pendant in the center of the room provide a warm glow, while bedside lamps or wall lights work well for reading in bed. Of course, table lamps should be added to the sitting area and perhaps on the chest of drawers or dresser.

9. Plan for Easy Connectivity

Guests of all ages require a spot to charge phones, tablets, or laptops. Access to the internet is also a must-have for most folks these today, so consider how you will make your wireless network available or even add a separate wireless router for your guest suite. Digital devices are not just a convenience anymore; they’re often considered a necessity, so a charging station and wireless access will be appreciated and will perhaps eliminate undue stress for your guests.

 

10. Provide Luxurious Touches

We’ve already talked about luxury bedding, but you’ll want to provide other luxe touches like cozy throws, beautiful wall art and a thoughtfully arranged basket of personal items like hand creams and lotions for the bedside and soaps or body washes for the shower and travel-size versions of other personal care items. Think of all those special touches you would receive in an upscale boutique hotel and how they make your stay feel a bit decadent.

11. Lavish with Lounge Furniture

Create an ultra-comfortable and inviting sitting area with a loveseat, lounge chairs and stylish, but functional coffee and accent tables. If space is an issue, consider placing a small loveseat at the foot of the bed with a small table set atop a decorative rug in front to offer the illusion of a separate sitting area.

 

12. Access to the Outdoors 

Creating a lush plant-filled patio, deck, or balcony outside your guest suite will add extra space and a place for relaxation. Guests can enjoy the view from inside or with easy access, go outside to read or enjoy a cup of coffee or a tall refreshing drink.

Kitchen Trends for 2020 and Beyond

Luxury kitchen trends for 2020 are centered around bespoke designs, high-quality materials, and high-tech functionality. Today’s kitchen designs combine the latest technology with timeless style. Hardware and lighting are more important than ever, as they’re truly the jewelry of the kitchen. Whether a home is traditional or modern, an outstanding kitchen design won’t look dated anytime soon. The true luxury kitchen is built to last.


Statement Kitchens With Pattern And Color


Creating a “feature wall” makes a visual statement in the kitchen, and strong pattern and color are the ongoing trends. Patterned tiles with a global aesthetic are the perfect update to a traditional kitchen. Open shelving lightens up the kitchen and provides display space, while rich color adds warmth.

 


Photo Courtesy of Emily Henderson

 

Durable quartzite now comes in bold designs that mimic veined marble and granite. Popular for countertops, this manufactured material is easier to work with than natural stone, so it can be used to cover large areas. We’ll continue to see tall backsplash areas, or even entire walls of patterned quartzite and real stone. Installed in a mirror-image pattern called bookmatching, it has a dramatic, elegant effect:

 

 

 


Source: TheDPages

 

Dark, moody cabinet colors are very on-trend. They evoke the richness of a dark wood kitchen, but add a modern aesthetic. Deep blues, greens, and soft blacks are popular, combined with rustic wood tones. Monotonous walls of wood-tone cabinets are out, as people are embracing colorful kitchens and two-toned cabinet finishes.

Matte finishes are the latest trend for stone and quartz countertops. They look fresh (after years of glossy kitchens), plus they’re easier to maintain. Matte countertops mix beautifully with shimmering tiles and trendy gold and brass hardware, creating an interplay of light. Luxury hardware trends include rose gold, matte brass, deep bronze, and matte black.

White kitchens are still popular, but designers are combining matte and glossy finishes with soft color to bring them to life. Pale aqua and greige are the perfect modern substitute for white, providing a light and airy look that’s completely custom.

 

 

luxury kitchen interior design manchester, MA

Open-plan kitchen in Manchester


Luxury Kitchens For Entertaining


Open-plan kitchens are still in high demand, sharing the same views as the living area. Features like double islands and a second dishwasher make entertaining easier.

 

Double islands and a view in Manchester

 

With the kitchen open to the living area, the focus is on beautiful finishes and uncluttered design. Reducing upper cabinets leaves space for a decorative tile or stone feature wall, visible from the living area. New storage options help keep everything close at hand and the kitchen clean and tidy.

Custom cabinetry walls are the perfect solution to open-plan interiors. They incorporate fully integrated appliances and concealed storage into a modern, furniture-quality design. Custom-finished in a beautiful wood, the cabinetry becomes a feature wall, creating a “hidden kitchen” effect:

 

Source: Pinterest


Luxury Trend: The Butler’s Pantry Returns


The current trend of removing upper cabinets makes kitchens feel more spacious, but it also creates storage issues. The traditional butler’s pantry is making a comeback, keeping clutter out of sight and adding additional prep space. A modern butler’s pantry may hold a coffee bar, wine refrigerator, countertop appliances (hello, Instant Pot) or a second dishwasher. Treat it with the same custom lighting and high-end finishes as the kitchen:

 

Luxury kitchen with butler's pantry,

Butler’s Pantry and Wine Bar, Swampscott

 

Some designers are even enlarging the butler’s pantry so it serves as a second kitchen, leaving the main kitchen practically mess-free.


Luxury Kitchen Lighting


Well-designed lighting makes luxury kitchens highly functional and illuminates its best features. A high-end kitchen will have three levels of lighting:

  • Task lighting – directed at work areas, it usually includes under-cabinet lighting and spotlights or ceiling fixtures over prep areas.
  • Ambient lighting – general lighting from chandeliers, with small ceiling spots where necessary. Advanced lighting designs include bright, efficient, and unobtrusive LEDs.
  • Accent lighting – added above or below cabinets and behind glass doors, it highlights decorative features and adds a soft glow when other lights are off.

 

Traditional white luxury kitchen in Lynnfield, MA

Traditional luxury kitchen in Lynnfield, MA

 

Dimmers and remote controls make it easy to adjust all three types of lighting. Smart Home systems can automatically control the light settings throughout the day.


Luxury Kitchen Appliances


Fully integrated appliances are a top luxury kitchen trend, followed closely by specialty appliances for specific lifestyles.

“Consumers looking for high end appliances are looking at SubZero/Wolf, Viking, Dacor, Monogram, and Thermador appliances. Consumers’ wish lists include speed ovens, microwave drawers, convection steam ovens, and coffee machines.”
Juanita Gillespie, Builders Source

Microwave and refrigerator drawers are easily incorporated into a kitchen island, an especially convenient design for families with children. Built in coffee machines by Thermador can create 28 different coffees. Steam ovens cook meals quickly and are a healthy alternative to microwaving. Gaggenau‘s Steam Oven has a sous-vide function, and a built-in vacuum drawer to seal food for cooking or storage.

Custom appliance colors are another luxury trend. These commercial-style refrigerators with gold hardware make a chic gourmet display:

 

Source: True Appliances

 

Smart Home technology is quickly becoming a luxury kitchen staple. Today you can control your oven from your phone, and check the refrigerator contents remotely to see what to buy for dinner.

Whether you’re looking to buy a home with a luxury kitchen, or planning a renovation to create the kitchen of your dreams, focus on high-quality design for a kitchen that lasts. Our professional Realtors here at Sagan Harborside Realty have the expertise to find you the perfect location. Just give us a call at 781-593-6111.

Design A Stylish Porch For Entertaining

Watching the sunset with a drink in hand is reason enough to have a front or back porch. But a well-appointed porch gives your home extra space for entertaining – and extends our outdoor season on the North Shore well into the fall. Whether your porch is petite or grand, the right furnishings and accessories can turn it into a gathering spot. We've collected some of our favorite porch design ideas to inspire you.

Create An Outdoor Living Room:

Front porch decor greets your guests with a statement of your style. Classic planters and attractive light fixtures create a warm welcome. Furniture with deep cushions makes your porch as comfortable as the living room inside. Even a small porch may have room for a pair of chairs. Include as much seating as possible in your porch design, and you'll expand your living space to accommodate large groups.

Design Ideas For A Small Or Narrow Porch:

If your porch is small, or less than eight feet deep, you may think porch rockers or a bench are the only option. But comfortable chairs with cushions are often less than 30" deep. You can easily fit a pair, or even a row of chairs against a wall. Put a small drinks table between, and your guests can linger for hours.

 

Image Courtesy of Copper Lighting World

 

Tuck a small bench across the end of a narrow porch and instantly create a cozy seating nook:

 

Image Courtesy of Pottery Barn

 

You can even use the bench trick to create a small dining area – just add a small round table in front of the bench, and bring out folding bistro chairs when you're ready to eat.

On a porch that’s narrow but long, create separate seating and dining areas. A dining nook or bistro set at one end can seat 2-4 people. Place shallow furniture against the house, facing outwards, for more seating. Vintage wicker sofas and chairs are perfectly scaled for narrow porches, but you can find modern designs around 30" deep. Measure your porch before shopping so you'll know what will fit.

Small stackable chairs are perfect for entertaining on a narrow porch. Pair them with small tables, or add them to a dining area. These striped chairs from Frontgate are stylish and comfortable:

Striped Stacking Cafe’ Chairs, Frontgate

 

Design Ideas For A Large Porch:

Large porches usually have space for different seating and dining areas. A porch that’s eight feet or wider has room for a dining table and chairs. A long, narrow table can be the ideal solution for large dinner parties. Or, set it up as a serving area for drinks and appetizers.

An outdoor buffet is handy for storing table decor, candles, and serving pieces. To have room for a buffet alongside your dining table, your porch should be ten feet wide. A buffet is also the perfect spot for a vignette of elegant accessories and potted plants. This buffet is made from weather-resistant teak and granite. When you're not throwing parties, it's durable enough to hold plants and flowers:

 

Teak Buffet from Country Casual

 

With an outdoor sofa, loveseat and cocktail tables, a porch becomes a second living room. Look for durable frames in teak, aluminum or resin, with comfortable cushions in Sunbrella or Outdura fabrics that will last for years. Today's outdoor styles even include sectional furniture, so it's easy to find pieces that fit your space perfectly:

 

Chatham Sectional, Pottery Barn

 

Smaller pieces make it easy to rearrange the furniture for different events. Loveseats are very space-efficient (most people won’t sit three-to-a-sofa anyway) and they’re easy to move around. Combine a pair of loveseats with several chairs to create a more versatile seating area - like designer Suzanne Kasler has done on this stylish porch:

 

Design by Suzanne Kasler for Ballard Designs

 

Use area rugs to define different seating areas – they'll also add texture, color and a sense of warmth. A cheerful stripe adds casual flair, while a Persian-inspired rug provides a touch of elegance:

 

Outdoor Persian-inspired rug, Eyely

 

Design Your North Shore Porch For Fall: 

The nicest porches here in Marblehead, Swampscott, and Lynn take advantage of our beautiful Fall weather. If you have room, add an outdoor fireplace so you can enjoy being outside well into the Fall. Enclosing one end of the porch (or adding outdoor curtains) offers some protection from cold breezes.

Even without a fireplace, you can create a warm and cozy glow with candles and lanterns. Look for LED lanterns for long-lasting, safe outdoor lighting.

 

LED Outdoor lantern, Eyely

 

Quilts and blankets are a great way to add a pop of Fall color to the porch, and they'll keep you warm. Sunbrella makes outdoor throws that are warm and washable, so you can leave them outside. Add a covered basket or storage trunk to keep extra quilts and pillows handy.

 

Sunbrella Outdoor Throw

 

No matter what size or shape porch you’re working with, our design tips will help make it comfortable and inviting. A porch that's as well-appointed as your interiors will beckon your guests outside to enjoy the fresh sea air.

Do you love the charm of a classic porch? Sagan Harborside Realty has been matching porch-lovers to amazing homes with porches for years. Give us a call at 781-593-6111 to find your dream home on the North Shore of Boston.

 

 

Guest Room Tips For A Luxury Retreat

A beautifully appointed guest suite is a gift to your guests they'll appreciate and remember. Creating the perfect guest room means adding thoughtful touches that make your guests feel pampered and completely at home. We've gathered our favorite guest room tips and ideas, so you can be guest-ready when the holidays come around.


Spending the night in your guest room is a great way to decide what improvements you'd like to make. Is the mattress comfortable?  A memory foam topper adds instant luxury. Did the sun wake you up too early? You'll want room-darkening draperies or shades. Is the closet too full? Be sure to clear out at least half the closet for hanging space, and provide empty hangers. 


Is your guest room attractive? If it's a collection of cast-offs from other rooms, freshen them up with paint or new upholstery. Add a plush upholstered headboard. Embrace a quirky mismatched look, and give your guests a charming spot to Instagram.


Guest Room Furniture


The ideal guest room has a plush, cozy mattress, enough storage and a spot to relax, read or work. A small desk can be used for a laptop, or as a makeup vanity (just add a mirror and good lighting). A seating area lets your guests relax in private. If your usual guests have babies, add a rocking chair. Short term guests don't unpack, so a luggage rack or a bench at the foot of the bed is handy for suitcases. Finally, cover those cold hard floors with a fluffy rug.

Guest Room from our Swampscott Listing
 Guest Room from our Swampscott Listing


Guest Room Amenities


Top quality bedding is a worthwhile investment. Not only will your guests love the silky-soft finish, high-end sheets will last for years. Include European square pillows for reading in bed. Give your guests a choice of sleeping pillows, both feather and non-allergenic. Layer a light blanket under a cozy duvet for year-round comfort. Bedside lamps should be at least 28" tall, and have 3-way bulbs for reading.


�Tenora Bedding Collection by Sferra

 Tenora Bedding Collection by Sferra

 

A plush throw is a luxurious touch - and your guests can use it for an afternoon nap without unmaking the bed.
Luxury Wool Throw at Gessato.com

Luxury Wool Throw at Gessato.com

 

Pamper your guests with hotel-style touches like plenty of white towels, mini toiletries, a blow dryer, and ironing board. A basket of things they may need, like razors, toothbrushes, and allergy or headache medicines are a thoughtful touch.

 


 Hospitality Supplies by Beekman 1802
Hospitality Supplies by Beekman 1802


Encourage guests to explore on their own with books about the local area, brochures and coupons for nearby activities and a map of the town. Local post cards and stamps add old-fashioned fun to their stay.


Guest Room Snacks and Coffee


A basket of snacks like granola bars, pretzels, or fruit lets guests help themselves without having to ask. Add mineral water, baked goods, or even a bottle of wine as a welcome gift. If your guest suite has space, a coffee bar and a small refrigerator will make them even more self-sufficient. We love the idea of gathering everything onto a guest room cart; it looks stylish and makes re-stocking easy.

 

�Photo Courtesy of KellyNan.com
 Photo Courtesy of KellyNan.com

Essentials For A 5-Star Guest Suite


These luxury touches will make your guests feel extra-pampered and loved.

  • Fresh flowers
    • For an instant welcome. Use a sturdy vase that won't tip easily, or a blooming plant in a pretty pot. 
  • Air freshener
    • A spray freshener for the bath area and an oil diffuser for the bedroom.
  • Bedside carafe of water
    • An old-fashioned touch that's much appreciated - they come in all styles, from modern to monogrammed.
  • Covered waste can
    • A step-can is easy and sanitary, a nice touch when the trash isn't emptied daily.
  • Extra toilet paper and plunger
    • Stash it in an easy-to-find spot, so no one has to ask.
  • Framed wi-fi password
  • Reading material
    • A few current magazines or books; essays, short stories and light fiction are a nice touch.
  • Slippers
  • Charging station
    • A USB outlet or power strip with USB ports is a simple solution.
  • TV-remote instructions
    • Print out your channel guide, and a few pointers for your particular setup.
  • Hamper
    • Keeping only the clean clothes in a suitcase helps travelers stay organized.
  • Night lights
    • A bathroom nightlight and motion-sensor nightlights in hallways help guests navigate in the dark.
  • Welcome treat
    • Chocolate on the pillow anyone? A sweet treat tells guests you're happy to host them!
  • Spare keys
    • Guests love to come and go as they please. Give them printed instructions for the alarm, if you have one.


 Image Courtesy of AlmostMakesPerfect.com 

Image Courtesy of AlmostMakesPerfect.com

 

If you’d like to be settled in your dream home before the holidays, Sagan Harborside Realty is your best resource for Marblehead, Swampscott, or North Shore luxury homes. Just give us a call at 781-593-6111.

 

Wine Storage Systems To Upgrade Your Home

Those of us who enjoy a crisp, chilled white wine on a summer evening, or sipping a full-bodied red in front of the fireplace usually keep a few bottles of wine on hand. A true wine connoisseur may even be in the market for a home with custom wine storage or a built-in wine cellar.


�Architect: Robert A.M. Stern

Of course, a dedicated wine cellar (and tasting room) is a luxury that requires a lot of space, as well as a large budget. When it comes to getting the best out of our wines, there are plenty of affordable storage options. We know you can do better than that shelf above the stove! First, let’s look at the best ways to store wine, and why it matters.


Tips for Wine Storage

Unless you’re a serious collector putting up bottles for years of aging, you probably don’t need a custom cellar. However, wine does need to be stored at a consistent temperature, ideally between 45 and 65 degrees. Large temperature swings must be avoided, and temperatures over 70 degrees will “cook” a wine and destroy its complex flavors.

For long-term storage, your kitchen refrigerator is too cold – although it’s fine for wine you’ll drink in a week or two. To preserve your wines’ subtle flavors and have them ready to serve, follow these tips:

  • Heat is very bad for wine, so a kitchen shelf is not ideal. Your laundry room or pantry are probably too warm as well.
  • Avoid locating wine racks in direct sunlight or under fluorescent lights. Exposure to light is very damaging, hence the dark color of wine bottles.
  • Storage in a cool spot in your home (consistently under 70 degrees) is fine for wines you’ll drink in a year or two.
  • Store bottles on their sides to keep the liquid against the cork – this keeps the cork from drying out and letting air in.
  • Artificial corks and plastic caps don’t require horizontal storage.
  • A wine refrigerator set at 55° F is perfect for storage and keeps your wine at what many experts believe is the ideal serving temperature.

 

Do You Need A Wine Cellar?

The short answer to this question is no – you can create good conditions to store wine at home in a number of ways. However, if you’re investing in wines to be opened after several years, you’ll need optimal storage conditions in order for them to mature properly. And if you’re a gourmet cook and want to have a large selection on hand to complement your menu, good storage will ensure that your wines maintain their flavors.

Traditional underground cellars were created in ancient times to provide the consistent temperature and humidity levels required for long-term wine storage. Modern wineries still use underground cellars for aging. If your home has a cellar, it may be the ideal location to store your wine collection. Humidity levels of 50%-80% are thought to be best to keep corks from drying out. Too much humidity can encourage mold, so it’s important to test your cellar area. A cool basement that’s not too damp can be used to create an excellent cellar just by adding horizontal wine racks.


What’s The Best Wine Storage System For Your Home?

If your home isn’t blessed with a basement that can also work as a cellar, there are plenty of ways to incorporate good storage practices into your home. Interior designers have unique and creative ways to turn wasted space into wine storage.

�Photo Courtesy of The Renovation Spot
 Photo Courtesy of The Renovation Spot


Wine Storage in Bar Furniture

Wine connoisseurs may advise against keeping your wine in a bar cabinet, but for short term storage (a few months to a few years) it’s just fine. Look for a cabinet with horizontal racks, and place it in a cool room away from direct sunlight.

�Wine Storage Cabinet, Wayfair
 Wine Storage Cabinet, Wayfair


Modular Wine Racks

Modular wine racks are available in many styles. A modular system can fit into tight spaces and lets you add additional racks as your collection grows. Create a wine storage area by re-purposing unused space in a cooler area of your home, like an empty closet or outdated wet bar.

Modular racks by Vinotemp
Modular racks by Vinotemp

 

Cabinet-style modular units can be added to built-ins, hung above a piece of furniture, or stacked in a closet for a custom look.

Modular storage by Kessick
 Modular storage by Kessick


Wine Refrigerators

The next step up from racks and cabinets is refrigerated wine storage. From small, countertop wine refrigerators to large dual-zone units that hold hundreds of bottles, a wine refrigerator is the easiest way to create cellar-like conditions in your home. Specially-designed wine buffets are even available with refrigerators built-in.

Under-counter wine refrigerators have become popular additions to modern kitchens. They’re an affordable way to keep your collection conveniently at hand. A dual-zone model provides ideal storage conditions for reds and whites, and the best serving temperatures for both.

�Undercounter Wine Refrigerator by Subzero
 Undercounter Wine Refrigerator by Subzero

 

If your enthusiasm for fine wines turns you into a collector, you may indeed need a cellar of your own. WineEnthusiast.com has refrigerators that accommodate 300 bottles. Beautifully-designed custom storage can even become a focal point in your interior design:

�Custom Storage by Kessick
 Custom Storage by Kessick
Photo by Eric Cucciaioni

 

Are you looking for a home with wine storage? Whether you’d like a kitchen with a wine refrigerator or a deluxe wine cellar, Sagan Harborside Realty is your best resource for Marblehead, Swampscott, or North Shore luxury homes. Just give us a call at 781-593-6111.

 

Design a Stylish Deck or Patio for Outdoor Entertaining

Is your deck designed for entertaining? Summertime is our favorite time of year to gather with friends and neighbors on the deck or patio. With our beautiful weather, everyone is longing to be outside. And with a fairly short season, we want to make the most of our outdoor spaces. To help you get your deck or patio summer-ready, we’ve gathered some of our favorite decorating ideas.

Of course, if hiring a top interior designer is in your budget, you can have a dream patio like this one, by designer Mark D. Sikes:

Photo by Amy Neunsinger, Design by Mark D. Sikes
 Photo by Amy Neunsinger, Design by Mark D. Sikes

 

What makes this patio so inviting? Aside from the gorgeous color palette, it’s a design that accommodates both dinner parties and relaxed hanging out. If you want to live outdoors like this in summer, you’ll need to create an outdoor living room. Here’s how to make it happen:


Make Your Outdoor Furniture Comfortable

Hard wooden benches or rockers aren’t conducive to hanging out for hours. Add seat cushions and throw pillows from durable outdoor fabrics to make the outside as comfortable as indoors. If you have the space and budget, an outdoor sofa or sectional creates a cozy ambiance.


Outdoor Sectional by Ashley Outdoor Sectional by Ashley

 

Teak or metal frames are best, since they can be left outside all year. Traditional wicker will need to be painted every few years. If you’re shopping for wicker, look for resin wicker – it’s weatherproof and looks just like the real thing.

Outdoor fabrics do vary in quality – from cheap and cheerful pillows that only last a season, to high-end acrylic fabrics that last for years. Look for brands like Sunbrella and Outdura for fabrics that are easy to clean and fade-resistant.

Even a simple bench or porch swing can get the “sofa” treatment, with a comfortable seat cushion and collection of throw pillows:
 

Porch swing by Ballard Designs

Porch swing by Ballard Designs

 

Don’t forget tables – your guests need a spot to set down drinks and snacks. Ceramic garden seats are perfect for smaller spaces. They’re portable, stylish, and just big enough to hold a small plate or two.

Add an outdoor rug to tie your seating area together with color and pattern:


  Outdoor Rug by Jonathan Yaraghi at Eyely.comOutdoor Rug by Jonathan Yaraghi at Eyely.com

Get Your Deck Ready For Fun

Keep your guests cool with ceiling fans, or a standing fan in a corner to create a breeze. Books and old-fashioned games encourage everyone to put down their devices and unplug. Games like checkers and dominoes are durable and easy for everyone to play, and you can have a basket handy with a frisbee or soccer ball for a quick game on the lawn. If your crowd likes old-school games, a croquet set can be a lot of fun.


Create an Outdoor Dining Room

Whether it’s a bistro set for two or a long table for a crowd, a dining set keeps the party going. If you’re blessed with a long deck, set up a permanent dining table at one end and a seating area at the other, and you’ll always be ready if friends drop by.

Outdoor Wicker Dining Set by Frontgate

Outdoor Wicker Dining Set by Frontgate

 

If your patio is small and you long for an elegant dining area, a built-in banquette is a great solution. It’s not an expensive project, and a bench can tuck easily into the end of a deck. Add a table and some extra chairs and you can seat a crowd. Plus, you’ll have a comfy reading nook. Splurge on upholstered seat cushions and some gorgeous throw pillows.

�Photo by David A. Land, Design by Andrew Howard
 Photo by David A. Land, Design by Andrew Howard

 

For extra seating (or a tiny deck where you only entertain occasionally) this folding dining set from Safavieh is really handy. The table folds down and the chairs store inside the base, so you can use it as a console when you’re not dining:

Source: Home Depot

 

For outdoor dining, you’ll probably want to set up a serving area. While a console or buffet is ideal, not every deck has space for a dedicated serving piece. Think creatively; re-purpose a potting bench or plant stand with pretty linens and colorful accessories for a charming buffet.

A bar cart is another handy accessory – you can use it on the patio, or move it into the garden. Keep it stocked with bar tools and glasses, so all you need is your favorite drink. The storage drawers and serving tray on this teak cart from Kingsley Bate make it the perfect summer accessory:


Teak Bar Cart by Kingsley Bate

Teak Bar Cart by Kingsley Bate

Storage For Outdoor Party Supplies

If you entertain often, it’s a good idea to add some storage to your deck for party supplies. Stock a cabinet or shelf with citronella candles, bug spray, a drinks tub, and a few throws for chilly nights.

Outdoor storage boxes or benches make the perfect spot to store cushions and pillows in winter. Larger storage trunks can even be used as extra seating. When the party’s over, they can hold extra pillows, candles, small rugs, and games.

Baker’s racks or etageres make wonderful spots for seasonal displays, and you can use them for storage and serving too. This piece from Ballard Designs has a storage cabinet at the bottom, and open shelves you can set up as a bar or buffet area:


 
Etagere by Ballard Designs

Etagere by Ballard Designs

 

It’s the perfect piece to dress up the deck with a vignette of potted herbs or flowers too.

Set up your deck as an extension of your home, and you’ll enjoy being outside all summer. So gather your supplies, mix some drinks, and invite the neighbors over for dinner on the deck! If you’re looking to buy or sell a deck (with a home attached) on the beautiful North Shore of Massachusetts, we’d love to help – just give Sagan Harborside a call at 781-593-6111.
 

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bench facing harbor with moored boats

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