Parents have always documented their children’s back-to-school day with pictures, but this year the photos going viral are all about the parents! We want you to have just as much fun celebrating the joy of missing your children. Our favorite tips and ideas will prepare your home for a full year of blissful and stress-free school mornings.
A centrally located planning area is essential for keeping track of schedules and back-to-school paperwork. Add a bulletin board, to keep it free from clutter, and a calendar where everyone can synchronize activities for the day.
Kids Rooms with Personality
Children will always wake up on the right side of the bed when they love their room. Decorate with colors and accessories that speak to their special interests. Hooks or pegs will help them keep their room tidy and a whimsical alarm clock is a fun way to teach the value of waking up on time.
Prevent Bathroom Bottleneck
Prevent morning bickering with a bathroom that allows for multiple users. The classic Jack-and-Jill layout or a double-bowled vanity will increase efficiency during the morning rush. Bath lockers provide great storage and visibility for toiletries and towels. Plenty of hooks keep the floor clothing and towel free.
Eliminate Wardrobe Wars
An organized closet is helpful for both parent and child. Include shelving and hanging space to keep clothing and personal treasures visible. Let kids help select their complete outfits for every day of the week. These appealing printable labels will encourage them to dress themselves and leave the early morning drama behind.
Before and After School Huddle
The concept of the Great Kitchen (open family room-kitchen) is ideal for Before and After school family connections. With open space children are in the line of sight for parents to check on everyones status for departure. An oversized island can multi-task as a dining bar, work surface, or even a desktop when the home has Wi-Fi. This is a great place to include a charging station behind flip-down panels or on the inside of cabinet drawers.
The Launch Pad
Ease the morning rush with a staging area where backpacks, shoes and show-and-tell treasures are ready to grab-and-go. This is also the drop off point at the end of each day. A basket or clip board for each child can hold special notes and permission slips. This is another good spot for a family calendar and electronics charging station.
School Supply Stash
A designated storage place for school supplies should be close to the Launch Pad. Built-in cabinets keep the area clutter free. Pull out shelves with labeled bins or storage boxes will make it easy to access and inventory supplies. Keep the basics organized to eliminate last minute trips to the store and wasteful spending for duplicate supplies lost somewhere in the back of a closet.
No need to banish children to their rooms to study. The study lounge concept will help parents monitor homework progress and the child’s use of the Internet. Built-in cabinetry and shelving provide orderly storage for long-term projects.
Healthy Snack Station
Encourage healthy choices for snacking with a designated area filled with grab-and-d0 treats. Stock up on single serving snacks and individual water or 100% juice drinks. This is a good place to store lunch supplies and packed lunch boxes. Companies like Goodbyn have colorful, reusable containers that make healthy snacks even more appealing. Their “Spork” is a real lunch box space saver.
Bedroom Study Getaway
A study area tucked into a corner of a bedroom is great for reading and quiet study. Shelving provides a place to display special mementos and awards. Built-in cabinetry is helpful for sorting and organizing school projects and after-school hobbies.
Time to Unwind
Studies show that children who are active after school have improved concentration and learning ability. Areas of the home equipped for safe physical activity or a special place to pursue hobbies will make it more likely for children to choose activity instead of television.
The entire team at Lowell is ready to help you with your plans for a beautiful and well thought-out home for back-to-school . . .
. . . or any other time of year.
Here’s to all of the wonderful parents, you get a gold star!
We love to indulge our pets, but our home doesn’t have to go to the dogs! Our pet-friendly home ideas will help you maintain a stylish standard, while making your furry family members right at home.
No matter what their age or level of training, “things” happen. So, our number one tip is to select durable and washable finishes when building or remodeling your home. Choose hard surface flooring in main traffic areas for easy clean up with classic style.
Create a pet-friendly entry area. Use easy to clean hard surface flooring and provide storage for everything needed on your daily outings. Leashes, treats, water bottles and even a supply of small towels for muddy paws.
Don’t worry about your playful pet damaging walls; use a washable surface from the start. Active areas will benefit from a semi-gloss paint finish. Better yet, shiplap and beadboard paneling are on-trend and super-durable.
Safety first on the stairs, consider carpeting them or use a runner to eliminate slipping and scratches in this high traffic area. When selecting carpet, look for brands that use the most advanced fiber technology, like Smart Strand.
Area rugs are the perfect way to protect hardwood flooring while providing a soft and cozy spot for afternoon naps. The newest indoor-outdoor rugs feel soft, repel stains and can even be hosed down. Choose multi-color rugs with a lively pattern to disguise any mishaps between cleanings.
Daydreamers and neighborhood watchdogs love windows. Keep the windowsills low or add a built-in window seat for hours of viewing pleasure.
When selecting toys, consider how they will look when laying around on the floor. Choose colors that coordinate with your home and entertaining shapes that will make you smile when you step on the squeaky.
If your little buddy sheds, match the shades in your upholstery to his fur color. Extra brushing during shedding season and a handy lint roller will keep it looking good.
Choose washable fabrics for your home when possible, especially on bedding.
Consider adding “Pet Parlor” features to your laundry or mudroom. These cabinets by Wood-Mode feature convenient storage for everything from large bags of dog food to bath supplies. Wood-Mode Fine Custom Cabinetry is available at Geneva Cabinet Company
Keep a dedicated drawer or cabinet for toys in the same room where everyone hangs out. Open them up at playtime so you pets can help themselves to favorites.
No need to banish the water bowl, just select one that is as pretty as your other home accessories.
Pets need a safe haven. Built-in kennels or a quiet corner can become their sanctuary when household activity is overwhelming. For peace of mind when you’re away, add a pet-cam. A personalized bed made to just the right size will complete the space.
David Adler Treat Cannister
Jenna MICHELE Dog Collars & Leash
Aplomb Designs Leash Holder
Karastan Smart Strand Carpeting
Company C Samantha Rug
Kravet Furniture Allegro Chair
Fresh America by Annie Selke
Wood-Mode Cabinetry Pet Parlor
Wood-Mode available at Geneva Cabinet Company Lake Geneva, WI
Uncommon Goods Pet Toys
Indigo Home Chinoiserie Dog Bowls
Adore Custom Pet Beds
Pet Chatz Greet & Treat Videophone
A stunning first impression is an invitation to consider who’s behind the front door.
Curb appeal or Rorschach test? What does the exterior of your home say about you?
When building a new home, choosing all of the parts and pieces that express your unique style is exciting. This can also be a bit overwhelming when you’re now sure about what you want your style to say. Having a good idea about the design and architecture you find appealing will help the entire process run smoothly.
A home can be architecturally faithful to a historic period, or reference a point in time with adaptations for modern lifestyles. We customize every home for the perfect balance of architecture, lifestyle and character. Browse through some of our favorite exteriors to help identify your style preferences. Then be sure to take the style quiz at the end to guide you in the selection of the perfect home for you and your family.
This historic charmer has its roots in New England with inspiration from Britain’s thatched cottages. Its popularity grew post World War II as a modestly priced option in housing. This style is a classic and can be expanded in size with upscale amenities.
- Symmetrical exterior with centered front door
- Steep roof with side gables and dormer windows
- Clean lines with siding of clapboard, shingles or brick
- Simplified style can range from casual or moderately formal
- Excellent choice as starter home or vacation home
- Compact footprint adapts well to smaller lot size and lends itself well to future additions
An impressive comeback is in progress for the Craftsman Style, which emerged in 1905 from the Arts and Crafts Movement. This style is characterized by modest yet meaningful carpentry details and the use of natural materials. It is uniquely American with a nostalgic reference to the home kits sold in pattern books and catalogs.
- Wide porch with tapered columns on shingled, stone or brick piers
- Low-pitched roof with exposed rafter tails
- Emphasis on rustic qualities using natural and local materials
- Relaxed atmosphere that encourages togetherness for families or entertaining
- Organic quality with gentle transition between indoor and outdoor spaces
- Open floorplans with built in niches for convenient storage
Unpretentious and real, these homes are streamlined versions of Victorian or Colonial architecture. The pure form is based on need and efficiency rather than ornamentation. Uncomplicated lines make this style suitable for both country and urban aesthetics.
- Front or side gabled roof with tall windows and second story dormers
- Signature wide or wraparound porch covered by roof overhang
- Rectangular structure with additions, all covered in lap siding
- Casual comfort with sprawling, light, and airy spaces
- Minimalist appeal balanced with the warmth of county styling
- Large kitchen or gathering spaces that relate to the outdoors
Complex and ornate, the Victorian home is rich with detail and covers popular styles from the Queen Ann, Gothic Revival, Italianate and Romanesque architectural periods.
- Asymmetrical with complex intersecting gabled or hipped roofs
- Steep roof pitches with turrets, towers, and eyebrow dormers
- Detailed, often with lacy ornamental work and decorative shingle patterns
- Romantic quality with whimsical details
- Architectural details are complimented by multi-color schemes
- Layout offers opportunity for privacy and special purpose rooms
Uniquely American, the Shingle style incorporates Queen Ann and Colonial Revival architecture with the costal free form character that originated along the shores of New England.
- Asymmetrical forms featuring multi level eaves, towers, dormers and eyebrow windows
- Rambling shapes unified by shingle siding, often on a rough-faced stone foundation
- Wrapped porches, classic columns and expansive windows
- High style inspired by architects of New England’s seaside resort design
- Relaxed formality with breezy rambling floor plans
- Strong relationships between indoor and outdoor rooms
With humble beginning as early American one-room houses, the Dutch Colonial hosts highly efficient floor plan. Resembling a barn, the gambrel roof creates extra living space without adding a second story.
- Gambrel roof structures adaptable to multiple architectural periods
- Moderate roof pitch, dormer windows often with flared eaves
- Round window on gable end of roof and covered entry often with pediment top
- Efficient personality making every square inch productive
- Friendly human-scaled structure with intriguing curb appeal
- Timeless design in a cost efficient structure
This American icon is rooted in the 1600’s and continually adapts to lifestyle trends. Using classic Colonial or Tudor architecture as inspiration, these homes present a formal façade to the public while integrating comfortable living areas behind the scenes.
- Steep roof pitches allowing for volume ceilings and loft areas
- Combination brick, stucco and siding exteriors
- Symmetrical or Asymmetrical exteriors with covered entry
- A balance of formal public spaces with relaxed private areas
- Gentle application of historically accurate details
- Floor plans that are adaptable for modern lifestyles
European style homes suggest features from Country French and English Tudor homes dating back to the 18th century. The emphasis is on high quality finishes, and large scale spaces for a luxurious experience.
- Steeply pitched roofs with multiple generously sized chimneys
- Brick and stucco exteriors with details trimmed in stone
- Formalized balance to the ornamental and structural details
- Accommodates a highly formal to semi formal lifestyle
- Well-appointed design with luxurious amenities
- Highly attentive to historic accuracy in the architectural details
Whimsical features often add to the storybook appeal of cottage style homes. The intimate scale features romantic details borrowed from medieval times. It is the perfect starter or vacation home that can be enlarged and still maintain its charm.
- Intimate scale with an abundance of picturesque details
- Steep roof pitches, cross gables and arched doorways
- Bright exterior color scheme surrounded by flower gardens
- Romantic character with an effortless country attitude
- Meandering walkway to the main entry and throughout property
- Cozy and inviting style that translates well to larger spaces
While these beautiful homes express some of today’s most popular architecture, we have a full team of designers and an AIA architect who will work with you to design a home that truly reflects your personal style and lifestyle.
You can start to discover your style personality with this fast and fun Style Quiz from Homegoods . It’s amazingly accurate!
Next learn more about various architectural styles, by visiting this helpful guide from Realtor Magazine.
Be sure to stop by the Lowell Website for more information about building and remodeling your home.
You can view the Lowell Gallery of Homes on our website
or visit our portfolio on Houzz.
While you’re there, check out the Houzz Decorating Personality Quiz!
We enjoying hearing from you, so contact us for answers to your home building and remodeling questions!
A Step-by-Step Guide
Building or remodeling a home is one of life’s most rewarding experiences. The more you know about the process, the more you will enjoy the journey.
This overview will walk you through the home building stages, step-by-step, with images from one of our stunning new homes. Then visit the LOWELL Process Page to view more of our homes in various stages of construction.
Step 1. Design & Pre-Construction
So much work is going on behind the scenes before construction even begins. This is the time to gather a team of experts to help you address your wish list in a way that supports well-informed decisions. The in-house team at Lowell has an AIA architect, interior designer, project manager and full supportive staff on hand to guide homeowners through the entire process.
Step 2. Site Preparation and Foundation Work
Clearing growth, rocks and debris from the lot allows the building site to be properly leveled and excavated. Utilities will be run to the home site at this time. Foundation footings are formed and poured, followed by the foundation walls. Once concrete is cured, waterproofing is applied, and drains are installed. Sewer and water will be tapped before the basement or first floor slab is poured.
Step 3. Framing
Walls, floor and roof systems are constructed to form a shell for the home. Sheathing is used to cover the exterior walls and roof. A moisture shielding house wrap is used to form a protective barrier. Exterior windows and doors are installed allowing for interior work to begin. This is the first opportunity to actually experience the size and shape of each new room.
With the protective shell complete, a schedule is masterminded. Multiple trades people will operate simultaneously to build the inner workings of each home. Undercover mechanical systems are installed for electric, plumbing, heating and air conditioning. Computer and entertainment networks, security systems and smart home wiring are placed at this time.
Insulation is installed on exterior walls, attics, basements and crawl spaces to maximize the thermal performance (R-value) of each home. Once the rough-in of plumbing and electric is complete, drywall is hung and seams are taped and sanded. A prime coat of paint is applied to walls.
While the interior developments, the exterior materials and finishes are installed to further protect and define the structure. Stone, masonry, shingles, siding and trim work all add to the architectural details that give a home its unique identity.
Hardwood and hard surface flooring is now installed. Trim, moldings, interior doors and custom millwork will be completed. Specialty finishes and the final paint selections are applied. HVAC equipment and electrical systems are completed.
Cabinetry, plumbing fixtures, and tile will be installed and connected. Shower doors, lighting and switches are placed, and trim details are applied.
All of the beautiful decisions made before construction are now apparent as you see the finishing touches installed in each room. Lighting, hardware and millwork are finalized to complete the vision.
This is the day everyone looks forward to! Lowell conducts ongoing inspections throughout the construction process while working with building code officials. Every home will meet and exceed all of the health and safety codes. The final walkthrough is an opportunity for us to explain the operation and maintenance features throughout the home. Any minor items in need of attention are placed on a Punch List to be completed a.s.a.p.
We invite you to a drones-eye-view of one of our latest homes. Just click here.
Summary of the Building Process for New Homes or Remodeling Projects.
- Design & Pre-Construction
- Site Preparation & Foundation Work
- Interior Rough-In Plumbing, Electric & HVAC
- Insulation, Drywall, Taping
- Exterior Finishing
- Interior Millwork & Finish Materials
- Kitchen & Bath
- Interior Details & Finish Work
- Final Walkthrough
Spring is nature’s time for renewal and the ideal time to bring your home out of hibernation. Celebrate the season by adding a few refreshing touches from our list of favorite home pick-me-ups.
- Awaken your senses with flowers and scented candles for an instant lift. Use them generously in the most visible and well traveled areas of your home
- Reposition furniture to take advantage of natural light and outdoor views
- Brighten the bath by accenting with colorful towels and accessories
- Lift heavy area rugs to enjoy the natural flooring or replace them with indoor/outdoor sisal
- Use color and bold pattern in your toss pillows, throws and accessories for a lively accent
- Lighten the look of your mantel and bookcases by storing away heavy accessories to keep the space open for a visual breath of fresh air
- Spice up the kitchen with cheerful pops of color in cookware, tableware and serving pieces
- Relate your home’s indoor and outdoor color palettes for a seamless connection to the exterior
- Upgrade your standard entry fixture with one that makes a memorable style statement
- Add a ceiling fan to covered porch or patio areas to create your own gentle breeze
- Gather attractive trays for portable outdoor service with easy clean up
- Display summer themed collections and playful activity equipment to set the mood for fun
- Select outdoor furnishings based on the way you want to use your space. A daybed, outdoor bar or fire pit benches may serve you better than the customary umbrella table with chairs
For inspiration, take a look at some of these perky finds!
Shopping Links Below
Fads come and go, but trends in homebuilding can last for generations. These develop over time and respond to changes in lifestyle, innovations in materials and new technology. With this in mind, our goal is to bring you the latest trends that are sure to become timeless classics.
The well appointed home is in demand for homes of all sizes. Downsizing does not mean giving up the beautiful features empty nesters are accustomed to, even starter home buyers want to feel pampered. Open floorplans, custom woodwork, gourmet kitchens and statement lighting all detail the homes that are sized according to lifestyle needs, not neighborhoods.
Move from the sunroom, to screened-in porch, to the pergola-covered patio with ease. Fluid transitions between indoor and outdoor living space has the ability to extend seasons for the year long appreciation of nature. These spaces often include fireplaces, entertainment technology, conversational seating, dining area and outdoor kitchens.
Extended families under one roof are giving rise to homes with multiple bedroom suites for the comfort of everyone from aging parents or boomerang children. These homes are designed with large shared space to enhance family connections. Personalized private areas often features showers with seats and grab rails to insure safety and open space for easy navigation.
State-of-the-Art Kitchens with Integrated Living Space
Today’s kitchens are connected to family life more than ever. The super-sized island is a multitasking essential with cabinetry in furniture-like finishes and smart appliances. Integrated equipment lends a streamline look to open floor plans. Luxury niche appliances satisfy the most serious chefs and include high performance ranges, steam ovens, warming drawers, metal range hoods and wine coolers. Emerging trends include kimchi refrigerators for preserving vegetables in keeping with Korean traditions and cultivators like the Urban Cultivator for fresh herbs.
Kitchen by Geneva Cabinet Company
A clean aesthetic is highly desirable and designs are evolving to incorporate low maintenance finishes that advance the cause. Quartz countertops with antibacterial properties are growing in popularity along with stainless steel countertops and large-scale tile with fewer grout lines. Air and water purification systems and natural materials work together to reduce toxins in the home along with streamline design where dust can’t hide.
The farmhouse tradition of practicality is driving the trend for relaxes entries that focus on convenience. Open cubbies provide visible storage that eliminates the frantic search for keys. Additional storage under built-in benches keep shoes and boots tidy while preventing outside dirt from being tracked inside. Charging stations are often included to keep electronics in sight and ready to go.
Dining is an art to be shared with friends and family. For this reason many are not willing to give up on the idea of a formal dining room. We have the perfect solution with open floor plans where the dining area can be adjusted to suite an intimate dinner party or grand affair.
Mix and match principles apply throughout the home and are most evident in the kitchen. Combinations feature complimentary styles and colors for cabinetry along with various countertop materials assigned by use. Quartz, soapstone and hand scraped woods compete with granite for the most popular position. Metallic finishes for hardware and tile inserts includes gold, copper and platinum along with the traditional chrome and steel.
Appreciation for handcrafted work from local artisans and locally sourced material is on the rise. It goes beyond the sustainability factor and speaks to a newfound respect for the time-honored skills of our neighbors. Repurposed and locally sourced materials carry a highly trusted reassurance of quality.
When it’s time to relax we want a space that transports us from the daily grind to a relaxing retreat. Home hobby spaces can be as peaceful as a meditation room or as active an arcade. Many are self-sustaining with a refreshment area and private bath. These spaces vary from a basketball court that is just down the hall to a freestanding boathouse or poolside cabana.
Kitchen by Geneva Cabinet Company
What if the design of your home could increase your potential for success?
In his book Slim By Design author and behavioral scientist, Brian Wansink, explains how changes to your environment can change your behavior.
With this approach in mind, we present some of our award-winning homes to demonstrate the best design ideas for a healthy lifestyle.
How excited are you about the 2016 Color of the Year?
Even if you have not been breathless with anticipation, there is a value to watching as the 2016 Colors of the Year develop into trends that help you freshen up the look of your home.
There is not much controversy between the two leading paint companies, Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams. Both select a version of white consistent with the current cultural desire for calm and simplicity.
Benjamin Moore Simply White Video Sherwin Williams Alabaster Video
From the standpoint of architectural integrity and composition, we agree with the importance of the color white in all of its variations.
However, when Pantone pioneered two interacting Colors of the Year 2016, Rose Quartz & Serenity, a new understanding of color direction emerged.
Interplay or the interaction of color becomes the theme running through the 2016 color predictions.
Interplay is a technique we often use when creating interior and exterior architectural statements. Here are some of our favorite ideas that will help you update the color impression of your home.
The Pantone 2016 Colors of the Year were selected with the intention of pairing calm harmonious hues. The specific color is not as significant as the fluidity of the pairing. Keep balance in mind when applying color to your home and you will be on track for 2016.
How-To Create a Home for Entertaining & Celebrating
Home is the place where holiday celebrations begin. Whether you are entertaining a crowd or planning quiet family time, preparing your home with decorative touches will add meaning and special memories to the holiday season.
Today we are going take you through a LOWELL custom home to demonstrate opportunities and ideas you can use to set the mood in your own home.
Remember you can do as much or as little as you like, the intention is what makes it meaningful.
For “how-to” information on these ideas and more, go to our special Pinterest board:
Happy Holidays from Lowell!
Room images are from Lowell Management Services, Inc.