New Neighbors, New Friends

gossip-475029_1280 - CopyWhen you move into a new Fulton Homes community, chances are you won’t know any of your neighbors. But here’s the good news. You’re all new neighbors! You will have plenty of chances for casual encounters as other neighbors move in, you and your children meet at the playground and pool or walking through the community. But if you want to make sure you get to know your neighbors, here are a few suggestions to help.

Throw a welcome brunch: Saturday morning is a great time to invite people over for coffee and pastries. You don’t have to be fancy. Just pick up a variety of donuts and other breakfast treats at your favorite shop and cut up some fruit. You can hand-deliver invitations or just post an announcement on the side of the neighborhood mail box. Set it up as an open house so that people can come and go over the course of two or three hours.

Exchange contact information: When you meet your neighbors, take the time to exchange phone numbers and emails. You may even want to put together a roster of numbers and emails for everyone on your street. That way you can contact each other in case of an emergency.

Look for play date opportunities: If you see children the same age as your children in the neighborhood, look for chances to get them together. At first set up something casual such as going to the pool at the same time. Later you can plan home visits if the kids get to be friends.

A new community can feel strange at first, but with just a little bit of effort it will quickly start to feel like home.

Making the Most of your Walk-In Pantry

wWarner-Groves-at-Morrison-Ranch-053 - CopyIf you’re lucky enough to have a kitchen with a walk-in pantry, you will soon wonder how you ever managed to make meals without one. It can’t be beat for helping you organize your space and make the most of your kitchen. Here are some suggestions to help your pantry really work for you.

Use a FIFO inventory system: FIFO means First In First Out. If you don’t pay close attention to this, it’s easy to let food get lost until it’s out of date. To protect against this, keep like products together and take the time to put the new purchases toward the back.

Use baskets to store small products: Packets of spice mixes or dips will quickly get lost on shelves if you don’t keep them contained. Look for small wicker or plastic bins to hold this type of item.

Store small appliances on lower shelves: It’s easy to have small appliances such as blenders and food processors absorb counter space. Instead, use your lower pantry shelves to store those appliances, keeping them out of the way yet making them easy to grab when you want them.

Use labeled clear airtight bins to store grains and staples: Oxo and other companies make great airtight bins for flour, sugar and cereals. You can use a label maker to print labels or just tape hand-written labels on the fronts of the containers. These are much more efficient in terms of space usage and will keep everything fresher than leaving things in original boxes.

Position a grocery list in your pantry: As you run low on standard pantry items, add them to your list. When you’re ready to go to the store, just add any fresh produce or meat needs and go.

With a little planning, your pantry can be the center of your well-organized and enjoyable kitchen.

Water Feature Makes a Yard Special

wBackyard-Sycamore-Warner-Groves-at-Morrison-Ranch-057 - CopyIf you want your backyard to feel unique, consider a water feature. Take a look at this one from the Sycamore model at Warner Groves at Morrison Ranch. This water feature, and this yard, have much more going for them than the standard approach. Let’s take a look at the elements that make this space special.

Dramatic waterfall trio: By positioning the three waterfall fountains along the back of the yard, this space has a unique focal point. Living in the desert, we are naturally drawn to water, and this arrangement provides a cooling look and sound as well as a refreshing place to sit and cool off.

Pavers used in hardscaping: Pavers are versatile and attractive and hold up extremely well in Arizona’s tough weather conditions. They are also a cost-effective alternative to tile and stone.

Raised planter beds: Raised beds allow plants to stand out in a landscape and make it easy to plan a drip irrigation system. They also allow you to make the most of your water use, by planting in the richer soil that is used in raised bed gardening. They also create a sense of intimacy in a backyard.

Comfortable outdoor furniture: Thanks to the new outdoor fabrics and fillers, you can have cushioned furniture outside year-round. This arrangement invites guests to relax for an evening of conversation and fun.

Start with a significant water feature and continue adding elements until you have a backyard like this one – a place to relax, entertain and enjoy.


Create Cozy

wWarner-Groves-at-Morrison-Ranch-074 - Copyit’s not hard to make your family room to feel cozy and welcoming like this one. Here are some suggestions to bring the cozy into your home.

Darker Walls: You may have heard that darker walls make a room feel smaller. Not true. Instead, dark walls make you feel more secure and enclosed. The dark grey wall in the back adds warmth even though it is a cool color. It also provides a nice contrast to the bright windows.

Comfortable Upholstered Furniture: Getting comfy is an important part of feeling cozy. This plush sectional offers plenty of room to sit or stretch out. Throw pillows add comfort. You can tuck one or two under your head or at your feet on the coffee table.

Floor and Table Lamps: Ceiling light fixtures alone can’t add the ambiance that floor and table lamps can. Set your ceiling lights at a low level and turn on the lamps to create a cozy feel to any space.

Low Furniture: The television, coffee table and console are all close to the ground. This means that you can sit on the floor and still access everything. It’s an inviting space for lounging.

Carpeting: The choice of carpeting or a large rug adds softness to a room. Once again, a comfy soft flooring surface invites lounging on the floor.

Make your family room a place where friends want to linger. Create a cozy space for relaxing and fun evenings with guests or just family. Visit the models at Warner Groves at Morrison Ranch for a closer look.

Summer Learning

just-have-a-great-day-merry-christmas-picjumbo-com - CopySummer vacation is every kid’s dream, but studies have shown that their academic skills backslide with three months out of school. As a parent, you can make a difference while still showing them that learning can be fun. Here are some ideas to keep their skills alive without making them feel like you’re working them all summer long.

Read to them and have them read to you: Libraries have summer reading programs with prizes. Look into those or create your own prizes for reading. Ask their teachers or your local librarians for book ideas. You can pick up great books at good prices from used book stores or thrift shops if you want to start building a library for your children at home.

Use shopping lists and coupons to help with math skills: Have them sort coupons when you create a shopping list and add up how much you can save. You might want to put one of your children in charge of coupons and let him or her have the savings as spending money.

Visit local museums and pick out books or learning tools at the gift shop: Museum gift shops specialize in books and toys designed to help children learn more about history or science in a fun way. Help them choose something that appeals to them and then spend time going through the activities once you get home. Be sure to take the time to discuss what you saw and learned during the outing.

Look into activities and classes in your community: Parks and Recreation programs offer opportunities for summer learning for every age. Check out what is offered near your home.

You can keep your childrens’ brains active and learning all summer long, so that next fall they’re ready to jump into that next year of school.

Layers in Decorating

wWarner-Groves-at-Morrison-Ranch-052 - CopyWhen you’re planning to decorate a room, it’s easy to focus on the furniture and accessories, but there’s much more to consider. Let’s take a look at this photo and consider all the elements we see.

The view: From this angle, the first thing our eyes focus on is what’s outside the house – the backyard. In a way, the focal point of this space is actually the trio of waterfall fountains in the back yard. It’s nice to have this kind of special view from your back windows because it adds so much not only to the yard itself but to your home too. But even if you don’t have a view like this, be sure to think about what people will see when they look outside. Plan your landscaping with the view in mind and keep the yard free of clutter.

The window treatments: This room has curtains framing the back window that capture the accent color in the room – yellow – as well as shutters behind the sofa where drapes would be awkward. When you’re choosing window treatments be sure to consider how furniture placement will affect your choice.

Lamp and accessories: Notice that the shape of the jar on the side table echoes the base of the lamp. That creates a comfortable consistency that makes the room feel well pulled-together. The colors also work well together – staying in the background rather than pulling too much attention to that corner. And the curves flow with the soft upholstery and throw pillows.

Altogether, the layers of this room work well to make the space feel integrated and well designed. This makes the room a pleasure to spend time in and share with family and guests.

Elegant Master Bedroom

wWarner-Groves-at-Morrison-Ranch-062If you want a master bedroom with all the elegance of a fine hotel, you can create it with just a few touches. Let’s take a look at what makes this bedroom special.

Padded headboard: If you like to read or watch television in bed, a padded headboard makes the entire experience much more enjoyable. This headboard is high enough to lean back without your head hitting the top, and the extra-large pillows make it easy to get comfy. A padded headboard is one investment that keeps paying you back.

Matching nightstands: There is a pleasure in the symmetry of matching nightstands. Take a look at how these two really set a style for the room. With their white marble tops and dark finish, they tie in with the headboard but still stand out. Notice the height also – a bit higher than standard to make them the right height for the raised bed.

Matching lamps: The rectangular linen shades provide a splash of sophistication. They match the bases, and also allow you to set the lamps further back than round shades would, leaving more room on the nightstands for whatever else you want to put there. The opaque shades light up the room without shining light into your eyes – a smart choice.

Subtle colors: Grey, a soft yellow, dark brown and white create a sophisticated palette. The fabrics offer just enough pattern and texture to add interest. All in all, this room is designed for stylish comfort. Check it out at the Sycamore model at Warner Groves in Morrison Ranch.

Cozy Outdoor Area for Two

wWarner-Groves-at-Morrison-Ranch-067 - CopyMost people think about a table and chairs when planning outdoor areas, and that’s always terrific so that you’re ready for meals outside when our weather begs us to get out of the house. But this photo shows another delightful option, an opportunity for a special tete-a-tete in your own backyard.

This patio, right outside the master bedroom, provides the perfect place to relax in the morning before work with a cup of coffee. It’s also a great place for a rendezvous later in the evening. Imagine lingering here before bed, catching up on your day in the privacy of your backyard.

It doesn’t take much to make this idea a reality. Look for outdoor chairs with cushions so that you are comfortable enough to want to spend time there. The shared ottoman means that you can both put your feet up and relax. Other than that, a small table just large enough for a couple of cups of coffee or tea and you’re ready to go. All you need is a little time and an invitation.

So let the kids watch TV in the family room or play video games. You have a chance to get away from it all in peace and quiet, without ever leaving home.

Want to get a feel for this outdoor oasis for two? Visit our Sycamore model at Warner Groves at Morrison Ranch. You’ll be glad you did.

Gold Tones Warm up Family Room

wWarner-Groves-at-Morrison-Ranch-072 - CopyWhen you want to create a warm living space, consider choosing gold as the primary color. The hue fills a space with warmth. It also lends a sense of light.

In Renaissance times, furniture and accessories were often covered in gold leaf, creating a sparkle to any space. Today gold leaf is less common, but the choice of a blend of gold tones still works in any room.

Let’s start with the gold sofa. This sectional is the primary piece of furniture in the room, and it sets the feeling for the entire space. Every other element is built around it. The pillows provide a strong contrast with the sofa and also introduce the darker and lighter elements present in the room – navy blue and a bright yellow-gold.

The cocoa color on the back wall really helps the sofa to pop, and complements the mid-tone gold carpeting. This medium shade for the carpeting is a smart choice – not too dark but dark enough to maintain the mood in the room. All of the major elements hover in a mid-range, but then the pops of dark and light tones in the artwork and accessories keep the room interesting.

Notice the artwork. It depicts a natural scene with enough bright colors to draw the eye. Pieces such as that and the bright yellow bottle on the coffee table help make the room shine.

Decorating a room with a single color makes it restful and inviting, but be sure to add those color surprises to help the room sparkle too!

The Pleasure of an Open Floorplan

wModern-Family-Room-Evergreen-Elm-Warner-Groves-at-Morrison-Ranch-011If you haven’t lived in a home where the living space is set in an open floor plan, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Open floor plans, like this one from Fulton Home’s Evergreen Elm model in Warner Groves at Morrison Ranch, change your approach to everyday living.

With an open floorplan, someone working in the kitchen can be part of the rest of the family’s activity. The bar stools at the kitchen island let families gather and talk during food preparation. Those people who are not involved in the kitchen efforts can sit, out of the way, and still interact easily with the cooks.

It’s also easy to cook and watch television, keep an eye on the kids, or chat with guests. As you can see from the photo, you’re just a step away from the action in the rest of the space.

Getting meals on the table is easy too. With a few short steps, you can move from the kitchen to the dining area. Grabbing extra silverware or condiments from the fridge is easy and fast. And dirty dishes have a short hop to get into the sink after a meal.

Open floorplans also work well for parties. The kitchen island is perfect for an appetizer buffet, and mingling is easier with fewer walls. As the host, you can see in a moment if any individuals or groups need a little extra attention.

Finally, an open floorplan makes everything feel larger. With no interior walls, the sightlines give you more of a vista. Instead of three little rooms, you have one generously-sized space. You also have some flexibility on where one living area ends and the next starts.

Once you experience an open floorplan, you may find you love it, for these and other reasons you won’t discover until you’re there. Why not check it out in person by visiting Evergreen Elm today?