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Outdoor Living Spaces – The Best Ideas for Your Home

The great outdoors is calling. Alfresco dining, entertaining friends or just lounging under a clear sky . . . the best home design will create gracious indoor-outdoor living space where you can truly embrace the spring and summer months.
Get inspired by stunning outdoor ideas from these Lowell Custom Homes, and then create a space to complement your personal indoor-outdoor lifestyle.

  • Align interior and exterior spaces for a seamless extension of your main living area. A fluid transition between indoor and outdoor rooms can be created with a disappearing wall of glass doors. An easily accessible patio will draw everyone outdoors, enlarge your living space, and extend your spring and summer season with gentle protection from the elements.

Balance your outdoor space with large open and private areas

  • Balance your options with both open and intimate space. Just as a good interior space plan will provide areas for private and social activities, your outdoor rooms can offer alternatives that adapt to your needs throughout the day. Sun vs. Shade – Active vs. Restful – Entertainment vs. Retreat.  You select the most suitable outdoor environment to match your mood.

Lowell Custom Homes Outdoor living furniture position

  • Get in position to enjoy the view. Use your natural surroundings to create a focal point.  Arrange outdoor furniture where everyone can appreciate the scenery. A beautiful garden, swimming pool, or outdoor fireplace can all serve as appealing points of interest.

Lowell Custom Homes Outdoor living areas zones for activity

  • Locate zones on your property according to use. No need to cram all outdoor living space against the house.  Just anchor each zone with its own useful focal point.  A boathouse services lake front activities, a cabana offers poolside convenience and an upscale shed will store hobby or gardening equipment.

Lowell Custom Homes Outdoor Living areas

  • Create an outdoor hub where essentials are clustered for convenience.  Food preparation, dining table and entertainment equipment in one outdoor zone will let you enjoy the fresh air while hosting friends and family. An outdoor shower and self-serve refreshment bar can eliminate messy indoor traffic patterns and keep your home tidy.

Lowell Custom Homes Outdoor Living Cozy Fire pit

  • Introduce a fire feature to cozy up your outdoor space after dark. S’mores and story telling around the fire pit or outdoor fireplace will create memories and start traditions to be passed on for generations.

Lowell Custom Homes Outdoor Living Space Best Ideas

  • Dress up your space with weather resistant products to compliment your indoor style and color palette. Create visual interest with light fixtures, fans, area rugs, and accessories to add indoor comfort to your outdoor experience.

The experts at Lowell Custom Homes can help you plan a home with the most natural flow between your indoor and outdoor environments.

 

401 GENEVA NATIONAL AVENUE SO. – LAKE GENEVA, WISCONSIN 53147 – 262.245.9030

Top 5 Tips for Picking the Perfect Paint Color for Your Home

Back away from the paint chips until you consider our Top 5 Tips for picking the perfect paint color. The first impression of your home is greatly influenced by color. In fact, humans have an actual physiological response to color which is known to influence emotions. Get it right with our easy guidelines and capture the ultimate feel-good at home!

Lowell Custom Homes How to Pick a Paint Color Mood

Tip #1 Choose Your Mood

  • Think about the mood and feeling you want for each space. The color scheme of your home can lead you through the day with bright colors for high energy areas or subtle colors in relaxed spaces.  This brief overview on Color Psychology & Your Moods will help you decide with colorful room images.

 

2 Inspiration PIX

Tip #2 Inspiration

  • Every great artist works from inspiration. Begin with something you love and expand on the idea to create a color palette.  Develop a harmonious flow from the exterior to the interior and throughout your entire home with an appealing common thread.  You can even use a home from the Lowell Custom Homes Gallery as inspiration.

 

3 Color and lighting PIX

Tip #3 Lighting

  • Hold on to your paintbrush, these three spaces are all painted with the same color, Benjamin Moore #962 Gray Mist. The difference is lighting. For this reason it is critical that you choose your color in the actual room where it will be used, or at least in a space with identical light.   The following are key factors for how color is perceived.
    1. natural light
    2. artificial light
    3. room size and
    4. architecture
  • Our Interior Detail Gallery has wonderful examples to demonstrate the interplay of natural and artificial light in a variety of spaces.

 

4 Whites with lowell entry

Tip #4 White is a Color Too

  • There is no such thing as “just paint it white”. White is actually one of the most difficult colors to get right. Trim and ceiling colors must have compatible undertones to the wall color. While you’re thinking about undertone, be sure to also apply this concept to the  stained finishes in every rooms.

 
whitest white land of color PIX

  • If you are searching for the whitest white possible, take a look at the recommendations from Land of Color.

 
 

CR-BG-Paint-Neutral-Wall-Swatch Benjamin Moore

Tip #5 Always Test Your Color in the Exact Finish You Need

  • You know the drill, paint swatches on sections of your walls around the room. Check the swatches out at various times during the day and be sure you can live with any variation caused by changes in natural light. *Time Saving Tip – Often a designer or the paint store will be able to order larger paint sample sheets that you can tape directly to the walls.
  • Be sure to test the color sample in the finish you will be using. Matt, eggshell or gloss finishes all reflect light differently and will influence the final color impression.

 
Don’t be afraid of color,  but respect the pitfalls of a rushed decision. Start with these 5 Top Tips.   If you need extra confidence, definitely rely on the opinion of experts.

Lowell Custom Homes 

The Secrets to Timeless Design for Your Home

 
A well designed home has staying power. It transcends a specific architectural style to focus on an emotional connection, lifestyle and comfort. The secret to creating this type of timeless design starts with a collaboration of experts who truly understand the homeowner’s aesthetic.
This getaway home embodies the relaxed Lake Geneva lifestyle while integrating the homeowner’s appreciation for tradition and creativity. We worked with Architect John A. Hagenah and Interior Designer Elizabeth Drake as well as our talented craftsmen and quality resources to build a home that is both timeless and inviting.

1-exterior-lowell-custom-homes-pixGet In Sync with Your Setting

The Craftsman architecture utilizes wide gabled rooflines, tapered stone columns, and minimalist ornamentation for an intriguing relationship with the countryside. Cedar shingles and horizontal siding introduce subtle pattern with gable details that expose rafter beams. A screened in room and sleeping porch provide protected connections to the outdoors.  The back elevation of the home features a wall of windows and French doors where indoor-outdoor activities can flow effortlessly.
 

2-lowell-custom-homes-entry-and-music-room-pixRely on Classic Lines

The entry features a Mahogany Dutch Door inviting guests to the refined elegance of the Music Room. Classic lighting and traditional woodworking are relaxed with the warmth of grass cloth wall covering and medium wood tones.
 

3-lowell-custom-homes-living-room-fireplace-divider-dr-pixUse Neutrals or Classic Colors for Permanent Elements, Have Fun with Easy to Alter Elements.

The living room relies on Craftsman elements for its inviting character created with the low profile of a  beamed ceiling, custom stone mix on the fireplace wall, stone mantel and conversational seating area. All of the permanent architectural features in this home are timeless, neutral, and versatile.   The dramatic surprise of coral paint for the walls is actually an on trend element that can be easily changed should the homeowners ever feel the need for a different mood.
 
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Right-size the  Floor Plan for Effortless Traffic Flow

The dining room is adjacent to the entry hall and features another stone fireplace. Coffered ceiling and traditional moldings step up formality that is then relaxed with the rustic texture of stone. A built-in wine and refreshment bar is located at this mid-point of the home for easy entertaining with a convenient connection to the outdoor pool area.
 
 
5-lowell-custom-homes-kitchen-pix
The dining area of this open floor plan flows directly to the kitchen with its large island seating for casual dining and entertaining. Here Wood-Mode cabinetry from Geneva Cabinet Company, LLC is done in a custom color with Quartzite countertops. Appliances include a Wolf range, Miele Oven, Steam Oven, Warming Drawer, and Sub Zero refrigerator. An artistic tile backsplash from Bella Tile and Stone, grounds this area with handcrafted appeal.
 

6-lowell-custom-homes-master-bedroom-and-bath-pixProvide Accessibility and Privacy

The first floor Master Bedroom Suite is a key feature for a timeless home plan. This area is designed with such grace and style that you may not notice the accessibility features that allow for future aging-in-place. The compartmentalized Master Bath, with double vanity and spacious shower, is detailed with classic tile patterns using basket weave and hexagon mosaics. Interior windows provide shared light and privacy while a tiled wall performs as an easy to maintain backsplash for the vanity area.
 

7-guest-rooms-sleeping-porch-and-bathInclude Versatile Rooms

The Guest Suites include bathrooms for privacy and access to the second story Sleeping Porch.   Each suite features a seating area and a full wall of windows for natural lighting , ventilation and views of the countryside.
 
 

8-laundry-craft-room-cabanna-dressing-area-from-pool-pixRecognize the Value of Functional Spaces 

Even the highly functional spaces of this home are treated with timeless details and easy transitions to the outdoors. A clever open combination space blends the laundry, creative studio and mudroom. It includes a workstation with stainless steel countertop and sink that can serve as a Butler’s Pantry or potting area for gardening. Another space with direct access to the pool performs as a cabana like dressing room with stacked washer/dryer and locker storage.
 

You can see more of this beautiful home with larger detail pictures on Houzz.

 

Refreshing Spring Updates for your Home

1 Lowell Management FINAL pix Spring

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! 

Happy Spring!

 Shopping Links Below


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Top 10 Home Trends for 2016

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.

Top 10 Home Trends 2016 downsized luxury entry with display shelvingEffortless Luxury for Homes of All Sizes

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.

Top 10 Home Trends for 2016 screened in porch, sunroom, indoor outdoor livingSeasonal Living Spaces

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.

Top 10 Trends for Homes in 2016 Multigenerational Space, multiple master bedrooms Multigenerational Space with Flexibility and Inclusive Design

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.

Top 10 Trends for Homes in 2016, kitchen design, State of the Art Kitchen storage, range, range hood stainless steel, large island

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.
Urban cultivator, indoor herb garden
Kitchen by Geneva Cabinet Company
 
 
 
 

Top 10 Trends for Homes in 2016, Clean Healthy Living, quartz, large tile, no grout onesHealthy Homes – Clean Living

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.

Top 10 Trends for Homes in 2016, decorating idea, entry storage, cubbiesRelaxed and Farmhouse Entries

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.

Top 10 Trends for 2016 home design and decorating, Flexible Dining rooms, open floorpan, Lowell Management Services Lake Geneva WIFlexible Dining Room

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.

Top 10 Trends for 2016 in home decorating and design, mix and match finishes, kitchen cabinet mix finished, quartz, soapstone, metalLowell Management Lake Geneva WIEclectic Mash Up

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.

Top 10 Trends for 2016 in home decorating and design, entry with artisan craftsmanship, Lowell Management Services Lake Geneva WIAuthentic Materials and Craftsmanship

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.

Top 10 Trends for 2016 in home design and decorating, Leisure rooms, pool cabana, bar, kitchen, bath, barn door, Lowell Management Lake Geneva WILeisure Spaces and Getaway Rooms

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

Screened In Porch – Improving Nature

Summer Porch
Does the idea of extending your summer sound appealing? A screened in porch will prolong your outdoor living season in the most civilized manner. No bugs, always a breeze from the ceiling fans, and overhead protection from the elements, what’s not to love! This cost effective feature lets you get a jump on summer and cling to every last day before winter arrives.
We build screened in porches and rooms where our homeowners can enjoy a close connection with nature.   These areas deliver additional living space with the bonus of versatility. A place to unwind, entertain friends or shake up a boring dinnertime routine; the appeal is in its ability to become exactly what you need. The temporary charm of outdoor living releases you from the formalities created by four walls and encourages relaxation.
These screened-in fundamentals will guide you when setting up your own outdoor space.
 
Screened in Exterior
Business in the front – party in the back.
Even the most stately homes can embrace the look of a screened in room. You’ll avoid the architectural mullet phenomenon by treating this feature with the same details as your home. Design your screened in space to reflect the overall character of your home.
 
View from screened in porch
Focus on the view
If you are fortunate enough to have a scenic view, take full advantage by positioning the location and elevation where you’ll have best perspective. When not emphasizing a long distance view, create an intimate view with the surrounding landscape.
 

screened in porch ceiling

Make a statement with the ceiling
Since transparent screening surrounds you with nature, the ceiling becomes a creative outlet for your style. Beadboard is one of our favorite treatments. Created from wood planking, this material can be rustic or polished in order to reflect your design aesthetic.
 
screened in porch lighting and ceiling fans
Ceiling Fans & Lighting for Mother Natures downtime
Well-placed ceiling fans will add a soft breeze to a motionless summer day. Use a fixture with contrasting finish to bring attention to a beautifully detailed ceiling. Match the ceiling color if you would like it to quietly disappear.
The same applies to lighting.   But be sure to think beyond the typical porch fixture.  Outdoor lighting technology offers stylish fixtures and even table lamps to satisfy all of your functional needs.
5d Blog inset fireplace

 

Take the chill off with a warm fire.
The fireplace is a natural gathering point and will transform your screened area into an extension of your home. The added warmth will allow you to truly extend your outdoor living season.
 
Furnishing for Comfort
Rugged or refined, your screened room should be finished off with the furniture pieces that will allow you to make the most of your outdoor season. Check our past post for tips on the most durable approach:
Low Maintenance Essentials for Easy Indoor-Outdoor Living

 
 
 
 

Secret Indulgence, True Luxury

 
Luxury isn’t about necessity; it’s about indulgence.  It’s about the wonderful privilege of making a choice between everyday and extraordinary.  For some this indulgence can be as simple as chocolate, for other it is a special place created for their personal pleasure.  Part of the fun is the secret status.  As custom builders we create beautiful homes with delightful secrets.
1 hidden room
To the casual observer, this is just an incredibly beautiful transition with finely detailed woodworking, gently curved bookcases, paneling, coffered ceiling and accent sconces. But wait, there’s more! A touch of the bookcase reveals the secret access to a private den to be shared only with a chosen few.
ilmlsni08541685-11
The beauty of luxury is that you define it for yourself.   However, what women isn’t captivated with the idea of her very own Carrie Bradshaw closet?
 
 
DSC_1507
An under stair alcove presents the perfect opportunity for storage that displays a coveted collection.
 
hidden outdoor kitchen
Pay not attention to the gourmet kitchen behind the retractable stainless steel door!  Only revealed when culinary inspiration strikes, this outdoor kitchen will impress and entertain when its secret is shared.
 
Project2
We cater to fantasies for all ages.  This imaginative child’s play space brings new meaning to the term “Man Cave”.
 
hidden bedroom
While luxury is often defined in economic terms, we feel luxury is an emotional state as well.  Loft spaces have inherent intrigue.  Here we add a bit of romance with a rustic and intimate bedroom suggesting a tree house view.
 
1 hidden attic rooms
Your “Happy Place” does not have to be limited to your imagination. Our expertise and creative ideas help you add a little mystery and fun to your home by tucking secretly indulgent spaces into the forgotten nooks and crannies.

True luxury is building a home that holds a few secrets. . . just for you!