Top 15 Home Design Features

What’s hot in the housing market today? Zillow looked at design features that sell homes at the best price and with the shortest listing time and turned up 15 features ranging from barn doors to outdoor kitchens, that topped the list. Anything craftsman-style, rectangular farmhouse sinks and solid surface countertops all proved to be hits.

Zillow Digs screened more than 2 million listings for homes sold between January 2014 and March 2016 and looked for the keywords that had the best effect on how much more than the expected price and how much faster they sold.
Here are the top 15 design features:
BarnDoor1. Barn Door – 13.4% of homes sell for above expected values and homes sell 57 days faster than expected.
2. Shaker Cabinetry – 9.6% of of homes sell for above expected values and homes sell 45 days faster than expected.
3. Farmhouse Sink – 7.9% of of homes sell for above expected values and homes sell 58 days faster than expected.
4. Subway Tile – 6.9% of of homes sell for above expected values and homes sell 63 days faster than expected.
5. Quartz Countertops – 6% of of homes sell for above expected values and homes sell 50 days faster than expected.
CraftsmanStyle6. Craftsman Style – 5.4% of of homes sell for above expected values and homes sell 14 days faster than expected.
7. Exposed Interior Brick – 4.9% of of homes sell for above expected values and homes sell 36 days faster than expected.
8. Pendant Light – 4.6% of of homes sell for above expected values and homes sell 48 days faster than expected.
9. Frameless Shower – 4.6% of of homes sell for above expected values and homes sell 38 days faster than expected.
10. Heated Floors – 4.3% of of homes sell for above expected values and homes sell 28 days faster than expected.
StainlessSteel11. Stainless Steel Appliances – 4.2% of of homes sell for above expected values and homes sell 42 days faster than expected.
12. Granite Countertops – 4.1% of of homes sell for above expected values and homes sell 38 days faster than expected.
13. Kitchen Backsplash – 4.1% of homes sell for above expected values and homes sell 46 days faster than expected.
14. Tankless Water Heaters – 4% of homes sell for above expected values and homes sell 43 days faster than expected.
15. Outdoor Kitchens – 3.7% of homes sell for above expected value and homes sell 19 days faster than expected.

The Future Is Arriving

For the past three decades, we’ve been hearing forecasts of smart homes that will respond to our every need. The list of over-promised features includes such things as smart refrigerators that will order what you need from the grocery store, lighting that automatically turns on or off when you enter or leave a room, heating and cooling that adjusts itself constantly to your desires and even robot butlers.

Fantasy? Perhaps, but your smart phone actually is bringing the smart home future to you now. There are now ways to control every aspect of your nest from your palm, from how bright your bedroom is to how much energy you use every month.

smarthome2Here are some of the ways you can control your home today, whether you’re there or not.

Music that follows you around. It now is easier than ever to throw what you’re listening to from your phone to your home speakers – even if those speakers aren’t internet-enabled. You probabaly have heard of Sonos, one of the market-leading connected speaker systems, and they undoubtedly put out beautiful high-quality sound with seamless syncing around the home. But, with speakers starting from US $199, it’s an expensive solution – and there are now much cheaper options providing you have some speakers already.

Gramofon is a classy-looking box that connects your speakers to your WiFi for US $69 and you can link them together to play the same or different music across your house using Qualcomm AllPlay. Similarly, Google’s Chromecast Audio is a smaller version of the same idea, though it can’t be wired into your home network with ethernet like the Gramofon.

There’s also the ingenious Vamp, which lets you turn any passive hi-fi speaker into a Bluetooth one – the tiny red box plugs into your normal black and red connections on the back of any speaker and even provides the power. With Vamp you could rescue any ancient working speaker and make it smart for about $60.

Appliances that do the hard work for you. Tea lovers’ dreams have come true with the iKettle (US $180), a Wi-Fi enabled kettle that you can turn on from your phone. It tells you when the water’s boiled and even keeps it warm until you get there. Th iKettle can send a message to your phone first thing in the morning or when you arrive home after a long day, asking if you’d like to turn the kettle on so the water will be boiled by the time you make it to the kitchen. The same firm also makes a connected coffee maker if that’s your caffeinated beverage of choice.

Other appliances are seeing similar features added, too. Forgetting to press “go” on the washing machine as you’re heading out the door ceases to be a problem with connected washers, which can be controlled from an app on your phone. Most manufacturers now offer this, with laundry apps from brands like LG and Samsung even diagnosing technical problems with your machine and telling you how to fix them without calling a repairman.

In fact, everything from your oven to your dishwasher can be controlled from your phone with appliance ranges like Hoover’s Wizard. Whether you want to ask how much cooking time’s left on your food, get an alert when your chilled drink’s reached ideal temperature or just remotely switch on the cooker hood light, it’s all a tap away. LG’s taken things even further with the LG Homechat, which lets you text your appliances.

Homechat responds to commands like “monitor all products,” (gives you a status update), “going to bed” (stops music after 10 minutes), and Siri-style “what is this song?” inquiries. It’s as zany as it sounds, but as AI and language processing improve, natural conversation will be the way we interact with everything.

While we’re waiting for robot butlers, we do at least have robot vacuums. Neato’s BotVac can be controlled not only from your phone but from your smartwatch too – Apple or Android. Cost is around $800 US.

Stopping the worries when out and about. What about forgetting to turn things off, such as the iron, hair rollers, the heating or air conditioning? All these things and more can be controlled from the cloud.

The Heat Genius system allows you to turn the heating and hot water on and off from a smartphone app, and even lets you control and schedule room heating individually. Similarly, Google has raised temperatures by buying out Nest and offering the Learning Thermostat through the Google Play store, alongside the Nest Cam home security camera and Nest Protect smoke alarm.

Nest products work seamlessly with each other, connecting to a range of third-party smart home tech including Philips Hue lights and Whirlpool washers. It’s an Apple-like approach, encouraging people to look out for the “Works With Nest” logo before making a purchase – much like the “Designed for iPhone” badge Apple uses.

The Nest range is facing tough competition from tado, though: a heating system that claims to pay for itself within a year. It uses your smartphone location to automatically turn the heating off when everyone’s left the house then turn it on again when someone comes back.

Smart plugs are the anxious user’s best friend, letting you check something’s switched off when you’re not at home. Belkin’s WeMo and D-Link’s Home Smart are two of the many branded versions of this handy product. Smart plugs can switch anything on or off from your phone.

Ambience and Security. The new connected showerhead from French firm Start & Blue uses Bluetooth to connect to an app that lets you set your ideal shower length. LED lights on the Hydrao Smart Shower then change from green through to amber and red to tell you when you’ve used too much water.

Systems like Philips Hue and LIFX have made a huge splash with their smart lightbulbs, which let you turn your lights on or off and change the colour with your phone or tablet. Other apps sync your lighting with the beat of your music or flash when you’ve been tagged in a Facebook photo. Wearables company Misfit has also taken on the smart bulb market with Bolt, a connected bulb that, can be controlled through your phone or, for extra futurism, by tapping on Misfit’s fitness wristbands

The Bolt isn’t the only smart bulb to do more than light up a million colors, either: the latest round of products can also boost your WiFi signal (Sengled Boost Wifi Bulb), and even play music (Mipow Playbulb).

You can put a Roost smart battery in your home fire alarm. The WiFI-enabled 9V battery hooks your alarm up to the cloud so it can tell your phone when your fire alarm’s blaring and you’re not there.

Despite the array of products noted above, the market is still pretty fragmented. In the future, products from disparate manufacturers may work together harmoniously. The future of smart homes isn’t just appliances talking to you, but talking to each other. Your washing machine vould let the dishwasher know it’ll be using the hot water for a while, your oven mighjt the ventilation fan know it’s burnt the chicken and might need some help with ventilation.

Spring Is In the Air

Spring fever is real. If you’ve noticed an extra spring in your step because of the weather, it’s not a coincidence. Warmer days directly influence mood and behavior.

StrollInParkBeing outdoors in the sun is linked with a mood boost. A 2004 University of Michigan study that found people who spent at least 30 minutes outside in pleasant weather had happier moods. And a 2014 UM study found that being outside could lead to a better mindset and reduced stress.

The weather-mood connection is a positive one, but the original University of Michigan researchers found that positive attitudes seemed to melt in particularly sweltering weather Other studies back that up.

Thanks, Ben Franklin. Folks are generally happier when the days are longer as they are thanks to Daylight Savings Time. There’s grumbling about lost sleep when we make the annual time switch, but the positive is there is more sunlight and people feel better when there’s more sunshine.

YoungLoversAnd, yes, in spring a young man’s fancy does turn to love. Warm temperatures may put you in the mood, yeah, that mood. There appears to be a seasonal connection to an increase in human conception, according to Scientific American. In Europe, there seems to be a 10 percent above-average increase in births during the month of March, meaning the babies were conceived around June. Research also suggests that men’s testosterone and women’s hormones linked to ovulation spike to above-average levels in June, the publication reported.

Another way folks indulge in Spring fever seems is through a more active lifestyle, according to experts at the University of North Carolina. Exercise can lead to a boost in endorphins — the same feel-good chemical that may come from warmer weather.

Warm weather also may make you more inventive. The University of Michigan study found that being outdoors in enjoyable climates can improve memory and broaden cognitive style, which is linked to more creative thoughts.

Have a Fun, Safe April Fools’ Day Tells us that the annual tradition of playing practical jokes on each other began with English pranksters on this day in 1700.

The origin of the day, however, is not quite that clear. Also known as All Fools’ Day, April 1 has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures. Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes. These included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as “poisson d’avril” (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person.

Some historians link April Fools’ Day to ancient festivals such as Hilaria, which was celebrated in Rome at the end of March and involved people dressing up in disguises. There’s also speculation that April Fools’ Day was tied to the vernal equinox, or first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when Mother Nature fooled people with changing, unpredictable weather.

April Fools’ Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century. In Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event, starting with “hunting the gowk,” in which people were sent on phony errands (gowk is a word for cuckoo bird, a symbol for fool) and followed by Tailie Day, which involved pranks played on people’s derrieres, such as pinning fake tails or “kick me” signs on them.

In modern times, people have gone to great lengths to create elaborate April Fools’ Day hoaxes. Newspapers, radio and TV stations and web sites have participated in the April 1 tradition of reporting outrageous fictional claims that have fooled their audiences. In 1957, the BBC reported that Swiss farmers were experiencing a record spaghetti crop and showed footage of people harvesting noodles from trees; numerous viewers were fooled. In 1985, Sports Illustrated tricked many of its readers when it ran a made-up article about a rookie pitcher named Sidd Finch who could throw a fastball over 168 miles per hour. In 1996, Taco Bell, the fast-food restaurant chain, duped people when it announced it had agreed to purchase Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell and intended to rename it the Taco Liberty Bell. In 1998, after Burger King advertised a “Left-Handed Whopper,” scores of clueless customers requested the fake sandwich.

Have fun with jokes and pranks today, but keep them safe and harmless.

Come to think of it, keeping your things safe and unharmed is a big part of what we do at Dino’s Storage. If you have things to store, we’re the go-to place. Come see us in Des Moines, Winnipeg or Omaha. We also have rental trucks, locks, boxes and moving supplies to meet your needs.