Archive | May 2011

The Wonderful World of Home Automation

The popularity of home automation has been spreading lately, as technology is becoming streamlined and more user-friendly. People are turning to technology for control over their home’s lighting, audio/video, home theaters, security and even energy management—and often, whole-home control systems that encompass all of these things.

Touchpanels are the part of a home automation solution that allows people to access their control systems; essentially, touchpanels are very similar to remotes. And now there are apps for your iPhone and iPad that let you use these devices as remotes as well. How cool is that?! With “snazzy controls” being named a top home automation trend, installers can import the graphics on a touchpanel into an interface on an iPad, according to Electronic House.

What do you think of the advancement of technology in the home? Do you have an automation system, or are you planning on installing one? Let us know!

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Make a Record of Your Home’s Assets

Martha Stewart documents her antiques in an organized binder.

Given all the weather-related disasters that have occurred recently, we’re being constantly reminded that unexpected things can happen at any time, and we need to be prepared. Whether there’s a fire or theft—or simply for peace of mind—having a record of your home’s assets is a good idea, especially for insurance purposes.

Your house itself is considered a personal asset, and keeping track of the valuable items inside, including artwork, furniture and antiques, will help prepare you for an unexpected, unfortunate turn of events. On your list of assets, write down the items, detailed descriptions of them, their values and any ID numbers; you may also want to take pictures.

Store this record of your home’s assets somewhere safe; some suggest a firebox or a safety deposit box at the bank. If the list is a digital file, be sure to back it up. You never know when you’ll need it, but if you do, having this record will be a huge relief. And don’t keep the digital file at home. Also put in a safety deposit box.

For clients who are DIY with Mac who have numbers program on their mac, there is a preexisting template program for recording your goods. It’s certainly a tedious task but worth it !

Alternatively for the higher end clients there is a company called Asset Archives that will come in and do all the work for you. They are extremely professional and take record of everything there for the clients insurance purposes. Well worth it if you have over a million dollar home, and valuable artwork, furnishings, jewelry as well:

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Gorgeous Sisal Area Rugs

In addition to its new website, Merida Meridian has some great new lines of sisal rugs. Merida’s sisal rugs have been showing up time and again in national shelter magazines, including Luxe, House Beautiful, Elle Décor, Vernada, Coastal Living—the list goes on.

To give you a little history, Merida was actually the first company in the U.S. to produce sisal area rugs. Not too long ago, the flooring company also produced a line of rugs for National Geographic, speaking to Merida’s commitment to sustainability. Here are a few beautiful sisal options to choose from:

The Barclay Butera Ashton Stripe, which is handwoven in Brazil. Striped rugs are huge in interior design these days.

The Barcly Butera Abaca, handwoven in the Philippines.

The Tonga – Deep Sea rug, woven in Belgium.

Merida’s custom sisal rugs really show off the fibers’ natural beauty, and offer “sustainability with style,” according to its website. At CMR Interiors, we’re loving these sisal options. What do you think?

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Pet-Friendly Fabrics

Believe it or not, you don’t have to compromise beautiful interior design to have a pet at home. ShelterPop did an expert Q&A with Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams about pet-friendly fabrics, and they had some great suggestions. After advising training your dog and keeping its paws clean, they went over a few different types of textiles great for pet owners’ interior design.

Firstly, synthetic microfibers like faux suede are especially durable and let you easily wipe up spills. If you’re searching for furniture fabric, a washable slipcover is one smart way to go. And distressed leather is another pet-friendly fabric since it already has a distressed look; plus, it can be cleaned with a damp cloth or by dusting.

Do you have a cat or dog and love great interior design? What kinds of fabrics do you use? If you want pet-friendly interior design for your Chicago-area home, contact CMR Interiors.

Photo: Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams via ShelterPop

Time to Rethink Your Outdoor Lighting?

May is National Home Remodeling month!  If you’ve been thinking of dusting off an old project or taking up a new one, then this is just the excuse you’ve been looking for.  Consider undertaking an outdoor project, like freshening up the outside of you home or back deck area with some gorgeous lighting.  After all, outdoor lighting has many benefits, with safety and security being at the forefront.

Part of the San Gabriel Collection by ELK Lighting

Part of the Bennington Collection by Troy Lighting

Per safety, consider how a well lit outdoor area boasts few shadows on its steps, paths, or anything that people might trip over.  Your guests won’t want to navigate through an obstacle course every time they come over.

Large Outdoor Pendant Light by Craftmade Light & Sound

Outdoor lighting has come a long way and there are so many more choices than there was just a year ago!

Part of the The Chaumont Collection by ELK Lighting

Part of the Le Havre Collection by Framburg

Look into remote activation and control features for an outdoor lighting system.  This would allow you to turn on your outdoor lighting from anywhere in your home.

Part of the Maidstone Collection by Troy Lighting

The benefits of a steel framed house

According to, steel framed homes are far superior to wooden framed homes, and it’s not difficult to see why.  Simply start by looking at the material properties.  Steel: tough, lightweight, flexible, resistant to the elements and insects.  Wood: stiff, heavy, vulnerable to the elements and to termites.

When was the last time you saw an aluminum frame catch fire?  Better still, one eaten by termites?  If you’ve got a wooden framed home and you’re not worried about termites, you probably should be.  In 1998, Hawaii rotated out wooden framed homes in favor of steel in an effort to lower the number of homes throughout the state that are destroyed every year by the local termites. Many buyers buy homes only later to find the structure has been compromised by termites and termites are extremely costly to treat. Many times the previous owner wasn’t even aware of the termites, especially if they had regularly painted their home and covered up the evidence frequently by painting and filling walls and trim.

Also, steel framing’s “tough but flexible” traits help keep homes upright when things like hurricanes or earthquakes storm or shake-down and across an area.

Steel is also cost efficient.  Obviously by having a home that is less likely to be consumed by parasites or collapse from the weather or natural disasters will save you money.  But little things like how steel frames walls, squared cornered and straight, ultimately rule out any nail pops in the drywall of a home, which can also save you from having to hire someone to aid in home adjustments.

And while the cost of wood keeps escalating, the cost of steel fails to increase as the price per board feet inflates.

But there are also more benefits for both builders and customers considering steel framed homes as opposed to wood framed homes.  Steel framed homes are faultlessly constructed, boasting endearing engineered components.  When compared to wooden framed homes, steel framed homes posses an infinitely greater strength to weight percentage, a sturdier, lighter frame that won’t rot, shrink, or warp, and are capable of withstanding hurricane winds and seismic quakes covering a large area, while allowing for more room to live, work, and play within a home.

Steel framed homes don’t contain anything toxic, and lack any allergens.  They are easy to recyclable and reuse, are durable and highly unlikely to incur door  or window jamming, and cost effective – possibly lowing insurance premiums due to their elemental resistance to fire, hurricanes, and earthquakes.

If you’re having a home built, make the right choice and choose a steel framed home!

Photo courtesy of clarita.