Thursday, May 2, 2019

Laundry Rooms: Efficient AND Pretty

The laundry room is easily the most forgettable room in the house, but definitely one of the most important. Readily, the design of your laundry room becomes an afterthought, out of site is out of mind. Anything can be thrown in there and forgotten behind closed doors. But in actuality, it really is a room that gets used more than regularly. So the question arises, "Why don't we care more about the aesthetic and function of our laundry room?" Well, according to the NAHB (National Association of Home Builders), who conducted a national poll of home buyers to see what new trends and preferences are in the housing market, the second time home buyers find the laundry room to be the most essential feature when shopping for a house.

In this Ourso Designs project, she wanted a large laundry room that the kids could use for storage, to do homework, and to work on fun projects.

We may not be getting it right the first time, be we darn sure are getting it right the second! This may be attributed to the fact, that most second time home buyers are looking for a new home because they are growing out of their first.

This is a room that we spend a great amount of time in, and we want to enjoy that time. Having a space that feels comfortable and is also functional is the key to a great laundry room!

Not every laundry room has a lot of space to work with, so functionality is the most important. The 2 most important features in a laundry room are having a surface to set or fold items on, and storage.

In this Ourso Design remodel of a smaller laundry room, we utilized the space by putting in a stack-able washer and dryer. This allowed for more surface area. We also added a slat walls, so that she could hang baskets and hooks for more storage.
If your space allows, other bonus features that are a great addition, but not necessary, include a sink, laundry basket storage, and hanging and drying space, craft areas, and ample counter top. 

In conclusion, because we spend so much time in our laundry rooms after all, we want them to be efficient AND pretty!

In this Ourso Designs remodel of a laundry room we were able to take in some space from an adjoining room to expand the size of the room. Even in within a smaller footprint, we were able to include all the necessary features PLUS the bonus features! 

Monday, April 29, 2019

Trend Alert: Smart Sleep

"If you're having problems getting to sleep, staying asleep, or waking up in the morning, this article is for you. "

Two months ago we talked about "Smart Lights," an easy way to "smarten" up your home without taking any drastic steps. One improvement we mentioned but didn't go into detail on was a light that replicates the natural progression of the sun, allowing for more comfort and better sleep.

Following up on that, we have this month's topic: "Smart Sleep," or ways you can use technology to improve your sleep quality. Installing smart lights in your bedroom is one way to achieve this.

Our bodies operate on a circadian rhythm, meaning pretty much everything we do is according to the sun (or light that our bodies think is sunlight). Every single one of us will sleep, eat, work, and sleep again depending on the time of day. Poor sleep leads to poor feelings the next day, then to health issues if the problem continues. If you're having problems getting to sleep, staying asleep, or waking up in the morning, this article is for you.

Everyone sleeps and wakes according to different factors. Some might prefer silence, some might prefer noise, some complete darkness, some light. That being said, sleep solutions have to be adjustable in order to work. Pretty much every sleep-related product we've seen recently can be adjusted.

Take blackout shades, for example. Traditional blackout curtains were "one-size-fits-all," bulky and unattractive. Modern ones can be thin, lightweight and nearly unnoticable, able to be used in combination with any style of curtain or shade you choose. This gives you complete control of your look and lighting simultaneously.

Next is noise. Most people can achieve sleep despite natural, chaotic sound, but a large percentage of people need some sort of white noise or noise-cancelling effect in order to sleep restfully. Thankfully modern technology has brought us noise-cancelling headphones and white noise generators. You can find efficient white noise generators online or purchase a standalone device to keep near your bedside. Most higher-end wireless headphones are now also outfitted with a noise-cancelling feature, meaning you can have quiet wherever and whenever you need.

It may not seem like it but aroma plays a huge part in our mood and physiology. Certain aromas can induce feelings of relaxation or stress. Lavender, vanilla, valerian, and jasmine have all proven to be effective in helping people sleep. An aroma diffuser is an easy and affordable way to maintain this control.

Finally we have the covers. Your choice in sheets and blankets will directly impact your bedtime comfort. Breathable, high-thread-count sheets are a must for those who possess a tendency to overheat in their sleep, while weighted blankets can influence your nervous system into a more relaxed and restful state.

All-in-all there are many factors that affect our sleep. Finding your personal preference is a process that can take a very long time, but restful is sleep is absolutely worth it. Not everyone needs blackout curtains and fancy noise machines to sleep well, but most everyone could use a higher quality of sleep. For more tips on healthy living, check out this blog post, the first in a series by our founder and principal designer, Richard L. Ourso, CKD, CAPS.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Healthy Living Series: Hydration

A couple of weeks ago we hosted a breakfast event "Self-Defense & Healthy Eating 101," in the hopes that we could educate community members about two vital components of a healthy lifestyle. I spoke briefly about some basic techniques that might help in volatile situations, and Roy Domangue of Wooden Creations, Inc. was kind enough to share his story.

Roy is battling cancer and is focused on maintaining a healthy diet. The top priority of that diet is proper hydration and maintaining a balanced pH level in the body.

We learn from an early age that our bodies comprise mostly of water.

Staying hydrated should be a priority for everyone. A common question is, "How much water should I drink per day?". The amount of water in ounces is equal to your weight in pounds divided by two.

Be careful not to exceed 100 ounces unless under intense heat. It's also important to remember when consuming caffeinated beverages, you should drink more water to help neutralize the acidic effects.

In terms of digestion, try not to drink anything in the minutes leading up to and after a meal. During a meal, drink only four ounces of water. Chew in small bites. To further aid in digestion and hydration, eat unprocessed goods with high water content.

Different food and drink also affect the pH level in your body. Maintaining a balanced pH is vital for your immune and digestive systems to function properly. The next blog post in this series will focus on how healthy eating can help you keep a balanced pH.

This post is the first in the "Healthy Living Series". Special thanks to Roy Domangue for sharing his story and the information shown here.