For many, outdoor decorations and lighting are as much a part of the winter holidays as gift giving and enjoying our favorite foods. With the rising cost in electricity, using LED (light emitting diode) lights can save you money without sacrificing your holiday display. LED holiday lights use 10 times less energy than mini bulbs and 100 times less than traditional holiday bulbs. For outdoor lighting, consider solar powered LED lights.
If you’re concerned about how holiday LED light strands compare to traditional incandescent lights, you’ll find you’re in for a wonderful treat. Here are some great, green reasons why making the switch to LED lights makes sense this holiday season.
LED lights are energy efficient. They can save up to 98% of the electricity needed to power incandescent light strands. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the amount of electricity consumed by just one 7-watt incandescent bulb could power 140 LEDs — enough to light two 24-foot strings.
The environmental benefits of using LED holiday lights are numerous. They use less electricity, are recyclable and don’t contain ultraviolet light or mercury.
Because they generate less heat, LED light bulbs are cool-to-the-touch. There’s also less risk of them overheating and catching fire.
The cost is surprisingly affordable if you’re a smart shopper. LED Holiday Light Exchange programs from your local utility company and government are making it easier for consumers to switch. Consult the website of your local utility, city or county for holiday light exchange or reduced-fee programs.
Unlike incandescent light bulbs, LEDs don’t have a filament that might break or burn out. They have epoxy lenses that are almost indestructible, which means you can drop them or step on them and they’ll keep on shining brightly. LED bulbs can last for more than 100,000 hours. That means you could potentially have your LED holiday light set around for several holiday seasons.
LED holiday light strings that have earned the U.S ENERGY STAR® rating last up to 10 times longer than traditional incandescent strands. They are also independently tested to meet strict lifetime and electrical requirements. Check for manufacturers that offer five-year warranties.
With LEDS you don’t have to worry about your lights burning out if one fails because holiday light strands have tiny built-in fuses. Be sure not mix incandescent and LED strands together.
Holiday LED lights come in vibrant colors, bright lights and a variety of shapes and styles. You also get the same special effects like blinking, dimming and color shifting but with new and more efficient technology.
Since they’re made of plastic and aren’t breakable, like their incandescent forefathers, they don’t require the extra cardboard, special slots and packing material that the old ones do. This makes them lighter and easier to store.
By using LEDS you are can still create a big holiday light display while being eco-friendly.
October means more than pumpkin spice lattes and falling leaves, it is also the time for ghouls and goblins to come out and play for Halloween. If your new home is going to be in a neighbor full of children there are bound to be trick-or-treaters at your home, and a house with the right architecture can provide the perfect atmosphere for a frightening All Hallows Eve.
The Victorian era has some fantastic architecture, ranging from the simple to the elaborate. With details such as stonework and archways, these homes provide the base for a haunting Halloween display. A large veranda provides enough space to display jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, or even some antiquated bottles with distressed labeling.
The Villain’s Cottage
Perhaps your dream home is more in tune with the witch’s cottage that Hansel and Gretel happen upon. While gingerbread and other baked goods won””””””””t make for an easy to maintain home, you can still make the creepy cottage in the woods a reality with a home that features detailed millwork.
While homes like this have charm, they can easily be made into scary exhibits for Halloween with a few well placed decorations and jack-o-lanterns along the entryway. Dress as the wicked witch and you’ll have a façade that is sure to fright neighbors and friends alike.
If your dream is to live in that house on the hill that looks like it came out of a Shirley Jackson novel, then consider a large towering mini castle house plan. Homes with castle-like silhouettes will also provide a sturdy backdrop for Halloween displays.
Ideal for a home with a spacious yard, small castle house plans like this can be made into instant Halloween spectacles with very little effort. Put a few pumpkins on the porch, and light the windows artistically, and before you know it, your home will be the stuff of legends.
These detailed houses might seem a little off-beat for a modern home, but with the right styling they can be the envy of the block on Halloween. Whether you go for understated Victorian or out-right Gothic, if Halloween is your holiday, your ideal home exists somewhere in the Direct from the Designers library.
October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog month, and shelters all around the country are filled with dogs and puppies of all breeds who need a new home. If you already have one of these beautiful dogs or are thinking of adding one to your family after you build. Here are a few things to consider.
Keeping Pets In
A dog is active, and if you plan on letting them out to roam the yard, it would be wise to put a fence up. Yes, an invisible fence won’t obstruct curb appeal, but while it keeps your precious pet in, it can’t keep predators out. Your fence should also have a buried, inward, forward-facing section to keep your pets from tunneling.
Dealing with the Mess
There is also substantial mess involved in owning a dog. They are living beings and are as curious as a small child. There is definitely a chance that your dog might step in mud and track it through the house. For this, a mudroom is a nice addition to the house. Serving as a second entryway, it often helps to dirt from entering the house proper. Likewise, if your dog or puppy gets wet or muddy and feels the need to shake, it’s more likely the grime will end up on an easily washable wall, instead of some new furniture.
Decorating and Designing
When it comes to designing the particulars of a room, keep your flooring choices washable. Think of hardwood floors, semi-gloss paint, and easily washed area-rugs. Also, consider interior, dutch-doors. These two-piece doors will allow for easy control over which animals can enter each room and eliminate the need for awkward baby gates.
Owning a pet can be a rewarding experience, but to avoid regrets later on, it is essential to think about how the pets will be cared for in their new home. To prevent the loss of a four-legged friend and keep the humans of the house sane, a few stylish design additions will ensure a great quality of life for both humans and canines.
Decorating your home for the fall months can be both an enjoyable time spent with family and relatively inexpensive. There are plenty of great things about this particular time of year like the return of cooler temperatures (gather round the fireplace), fall colors and nature changing before our eyes (take in the gorgeous foliage). Adding fall touches of décor to the interior and exterior of home will help you transition into a new and exciting season of holidays and family traditions. Here are some great ideas and tips to decorate your home for the fall from the leading designers and architects of American’s most popular house plans:
The warmth of this classic two-story Craftsman house plan starts at the front entry with wraparound porch and continues through the opening living space to the rear covered patio cozy breakfast nook. Curb appeal and efficiency is easily achieved with fiberglass doors, columns and trim from Therma-Tru® and Fypon®. View Direct from the Designers extensive collection of Craftsman House Plans.
Dress up your porch
You can easily give your front porch and entry fall inspiration by wrapping corn stalks, raffia or straw around your columns and railings. You can easily add rich colors to this theme by adding thick ribbons and placing mums on your front steps. If you have children, don’t forget the pumpkins. Pumpkins not only symbolize Halloween but fall harvest. The best thing about using pumpkins to decorate your porch or entryway is that you can turn them into Jack-o-lanterns for Halloween night, while snacking on homemade pumpkin seeds.
Light up your home’s exterior
Luminaries are not just for the winter holiday season, they are perfect for fall too as the sun starts to set earlier in the afternoon. Try some harvest string lights in fall colors, Maple leaf garland string lights and of course there’s a wide selection of Halloween themed lights. Battery powered candles placed inside paper bags with sand in the bottom, makes perfect luminaries for your walkway and front stairs.
Nature-inspired door wreath
Welcome visitors with a beautiful autumn wreath at your front entry door. You can use simple grapevine wreaths, which are gorgeous on their own. If you prefer more adornment consider adding pinecones, leaves, berries and corn husks to your wreath. If you have a lot of windows that face the front of your home, consider hanging similar wreaths from these windows as well.
Roll out the welcome mat
Accent your front entry with a fall themed doormat. Whether you’re searching for a harvest, football, school or any other fall theme, there’s a bounty of options to choose from. To help with visitors tracking in the elements, you should consider both an outdoor doormat and an indoor entrance mat.
Add autumn artwork to your walls
Display artwork that depicts fall themes and colors in your front foyer or on a predominate wall in your family room or dining room. Consider nature themes with fall colors like oranges, reds and golden yellows, which can alter the mood in your home. Wall candles will not only provide ambiance, but also bring the aroma of fall into your home with the scents of apple, cinnamon and pumpkin.
This is Direct from the Designers most popular selling house plan. It’s packed with amenities and lots of style. Enjoy additional images and the floor plan for L’attesa di Vita.
Use your fireplace mantel to showcase seasonal décor
Your fireplace mantel is a great place to showcase your seasonal décor. Simply by taking a walk in the woods or your own backyard you can find a treasure chest of pinecones, dried leaves, cattails and red berries to create a simple decoration. Adding small pumpkins, gourds, dried arrangements and rich colored candles will add appeal to your mantel.
Create cozy sitting areas
As the cooler temperatures begin, you’ll want to bring out the colorful throw blankets and cozy pillows so you can cuddle up with a good book or movie. There are so many variations in pillow and throw sizes, styles, prints and textures that you can give your living room a whole new look for the fall.
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Now that summer is in full swing it is the perfect time to think about cookouts, backyard swimming and creating outdoor living space to enjoy with family and friends. Something as simple as a covered patio or a grilling station or as extravagant as a fully functional outdoor kitchen with a dining area and fireplace that surrounds a custom pool and patio, can increase the amount of time you spend outdoors.
This issue of Her Dream Home features house plans with our best outdoor living spaces to inspire you to design a new outdoor area or to redesign your existing space. You’ll find everything from covered patios, grilling stations, dining and sitting areas, fully equipped gourmet kitchens, custom pools and much more in a wide range of architectural styles. A personal favorite is the Terrebonne House Plan featured on the cover. This two-story European-styled home is absolutely gorgeous inside and out and features plenty of photographs.
You’ll also find some great articles including Stepping Outside: Creating an Outdoor Living Area featuring innovative design ideas and tips including helpful suggestions for lighting, patio furniture, decks and more! To inspire the cook in all of us, there’s 5 Sizzling Tips for Cooking Outdoors so you can create the perfect grilled dishes.
This is also the perfect time to think about building a new home or remodeling your existing home. The key to a well-designed house plan is one that offers flexibility with an open floor plan and bonus spaces. Learn about all the benefits of an open floor design in Create a Spacious Home with an Open Floor Plan.
The newest issue of Her Dream Home magazine from Direct from the Designers House Plans features a step-by-step guide to building your new home. This guide includes important information consumers need to know before they begin this exciting project.
From creating a home building budget to knowing what to expect during each building stage, 10 Steps to Building A New Home is a “must read” article that will assist homeowners every step of the way.
This issue also features a small sampling of Direct from the Designers most popular house plans, which combine the latest in green building techniques and products. These designs also feature open floor plans, large gourmet kitchens, luxurious master suites and comfortable outdoor living spaces to accommodate the demands of homeowners.
One of the most popular architectural styles is the Craftsman House Plan. DFD House Plans extensive collection features homes in a wide range of sizes with classic Craftsman styling touches like front porches, dormers, plenty of interior woodwork and warm earth tones to create a charming design inside and out. To view the entire collection, click here.
Enjoy fabulous photography of two brand-new home plans: the Riverside House Plan is a sleek, one-story contemporary design, and the Randolph House Plan is a two-story classic with lots of natural light featured on the magazine cover.
Direct from the Designers House Plans recently created their DFD House Plans boards on Pinterest to showcase photographs of their best-selling house plans, as well as added the “Pin It” button to all their house plan images to make it easy to add to your own boards.
Stay connected by signing up for Dream Green, a free weekly newsletter where consumers and builders can learn about the latest sustainable interior and exterior home building products and design trends and tips to build a new home. Click here to sign up.
Celebrate mother’s special day with a dream house plan from Direct from the Designers, where she will feel like the queen of the castle. If she loves to cook, surprise her with a home plan with a fully equipped gourmet kitchen. Special attention has been give to create functional work zones with plenty of countertop and storage regardless of the size of the kitchen floor plan. Everyone loves to be pampered, which is why these homes all feature master suites with spa-like baths, walk-in closets and sitting areas so mom can escape for some private time to rejuvenate and relax after a busy day of taking care of the family.
One can never have enough storage space, which is why all of these designs feature walk-in closets, built-ins, bonus rooms and optional basement floor plans. If you’re considering having your mom live with you, you’ll enjoy our extension collection of home plans with in-law suites, many offering the comforts of a small apartment with private entrance, full kitchen and living room.
Here is a sample of some of our favorite house plans, designed with mom in mind:
The Retreat at Waters Edge House Plan is a luxurious estate featuring five unique structures that are joined by trellised arbors and covered walkways with complementing floor plans designed for large families and those that love to entertain at home on a grand scale. The kitchen is absolutely amazing with marble countertops, two center islands, including one with ample seating. There’s plenty of cabinetry including a built-in desk area to keep you organized. View over 50 photographs and the floor plans for this luxurious home.
This sophisticated cottage house plan offers an abundant of unique features throughout its three floors. Beyond the soft arched entry is a gourmet kitchen that serves for casual and formal entertaining. Speaking of entertaining there’s a music room, large coffered great room, recreation room, two game rooms, a home theater, bar and wine cellar. This is home that one won’t want to leave. Upstairs is a true master retreat with a sitting area, fireplace, extensive his & her closet spaces and a private screen porch where one can relax and refresh.
With over 6,000 house plans to preview in a wide range of architectural styles and sizes you are sure to find your dream home. Check some of our favorite designs, including our newest home plans at Pinterest.
The architects and designers from Direct from the Designers House Plans wanted to make sure that all builders, remodelers and other home building professionals were aware of a new sweepstakes being offered by Therma-Tru called “Unlock the Opportunities.” This interactive sweepstakes allows visitors to pick a home and customize its front entry system using the latest products from Therma-Tru.
By creating and submitting an entry system, visitors are entered to win daily $25 gift cards, monthly televisions and laptops and the grand prize, which is a trip for two to the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans. One entry is allowed for every demonstration you take. The contest runs through June 30th.
Building a new home is such an exciting project and it all starts with a having great house plans – one that compliments your lifestyle, taste and budget and that you can envision living in for many years.
For Direct from the Designers latest issue of Her Dream Home the editor decided to share some of their top designer’s favorite house plans, based simply on their personal favorites and of course aesthetics, not their best-selling (though a few just happen to be) house plans. These plans were selected to help inspire you to find your dream house plan.
If you’re looking for luxury, you’ll enjoy the Ciscyane house plan, a contemporary Mediterranean featuring rich interior detailing. For every comfort of home, take a tour through the L’Attesa di Vita or if Craftsman is your style, take a look at the classic Halstad house plan. For a luxurious cottage house plan there’s the Olmstead, which features 3 levels of high-end living or if you’re looking for something smaller, there’s the well-designed, affordable bungalow cottage that’s just less than 2,000 sq. ft.
This issue also features articles about how to create a romantic master suite, the latest in pampering bath products and tips to design a cutting-edge home.
We would love to know which of these designs were your personal favorite and would be happy to answer any questions about these house plans or any of our collection of over 6,000 popular home plans.
The newest issue of Her Dream Home magazine features great house plans for entertaining from the leading house plan designers and architects at Direct from the Designers. Each of the designs in this special Tour of Homes issue features a dream kitchen with all the latest amenities including additional seating for socializing, innovative energy efficient appliances, eco-friendly cabinetry and flooring products.
These featured house plans also have large great rooms with fireplaces and plenty of windows, open living areas, as well as extended outdoor living spaces. One of the benefits of a having a home with an open floor plan and flexible living spaces is that it can easily accommodate small or large gatherings without having to rearrange your home’s interior.
Each plan features an abundance of great photography to help inspire consumers to design a beautiful, functional and festive home that they can enjoy all year long.
On the cover of Her Dream Home is the Cariati House Plan, which is a 5 Star Mediterranean masterpiece. Take a tour of this home with over a dozen photographs showcasing the two-story stone turret and great room, a pampering master suite and bath, sunken media room, formal dining room, cozy breakfast room, gourmet kitchen with island seating and custom pool area.
The Bellesera House Plan is a natural beauty featuring a private casita above the two-car garage, which is great for overnight guests and features a kitchenette and full bath. The foyer leads to an open living area with a gourmet kitchen, living room and cozy dining room that opens to the pool area with a covered courtyard. The interior décor shown in this home provides plenty of inspiration for consumers looking to replicate an authentic Mediterranean-styled home.
Travel back to Europe with the Boddington House Plan, which is a stylish two-story European Cottage that offers exceptional living spaces for entertaining and easy living. For a timeless traditional home, the Palladian House Plan features and exterior accented by columns and arches, warm shingle-style accents and welcoming front porch. The interior features rich wood flooring, intricate millwork and cabinetry that flow naturally through the open living spaces.
These house plans are just a small sampling from the thousands of best-selling house plans offered by Direct from the Designers, which are available in a wide variety of architectural styles and sizes. Please share your favorite designs from this issue on Direct from the Designers Facebook.