5 Steps to Organizing your Closet!

Summer has come to a close, which means cooler weather. It’s time to move out your summer clothing and bring in your fall and winter wardrobe. Organizing your closet can be stressful and time consuming but here are 5 easy steps that will change your closet organization forever!

5 Simple Steps

closetStep 1: Divide your wardrobe by seasons – It’s a simple way to organize your clothing, divide them into different piles; winter, summer, spring and fall. This way your clothes are organized according to season making it easier to alternate wardrobes.

Step 2: Create 3 separate piles – Divide your clothes once again into piles. Instead of seasonal piles, these piles are to determine which clothing you are going to keep, toss, and items that you are unsure of. It’s an easy way to de-clutter your closet and get rid of items that you don’t want anymore.

Step 3: Look at each piece of clothing carefully – This is a continuation of step 1 and 2, go through each of the piles in the different seasons and carefully look through and double check the items in your keep and toss pile.

Step 4: Decide what to do with your toss pile – Carefully go through the items in the toss pile and determine whether they should be thrown away or given away!

IMG_1409 copy (1)Step 5: Put your fall/winter wardrobe to the front – Take your summer wardrobe and store it in the back of your closet and bring forth the clothing that you will wear for fall and winter!

Following these 5 easy steps will help you get your closet ready for each season!

For more information on organizing your closet click here!

 

 

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Prepare Your House for Fall

Fall is around the corner!  The leaves have turned and are sprinkling the streets everywhere. It’s time to start prepping your home for the cold season. While you don’t have to full out winterize your home quite yet, it is a smart idea to get a jump on some of these tasks for the autumn season. Here are some tips to prepare your home for fall:

Heating & Insulation

  • Have the furnace inspected and the chimney cleaned.
  • Clean out the heating ducts and replace the furnace filter.
  • Check the house for any drafts. Be sure to check the weatherstripping around all the doors and windows, and replace screened doors with storm glass.
  • Take out, clean and store window AC units.
  • Stock up on firewood. If you are bringing it inside to store, make sure there are no bugs on it.

Roof, Gutters & Downspouts

  • Clear out the gutters and downspouts, and install leaf guards to prevent any clogging.
  • Add extra insulation to the attic to help prevent ice dams.
  • Replace worn shingles.
  • Prevent Water Freezing
  • Turn off water supply to all exterior spigots.
  • Insulate any exposed water pipes.
  • Remove, drain and store garden hoses.
  • If you leave for an extended period of time, keep the heat on and set it to 55 degrees.

Don’t Neglect the Garage or Power Tools

  • Sweep and clean out the garage.
  • Clean gardening tools and summer power equipment.
  • Make fall and winter equipment more accessible (rakes, shovels, etc.).
  • Check all the fall and winter power equipment (leaf blowers, snow blowers, etc.) to make sure they are working properly.
  • Clean and store all your lawn and patio furniture.

Other Odds and Ends

  • Pressure wash the exterior of the house – This should be done once or twice a year. You’d be surprised how much sticks to the siding of your house. Give it a good scrub to help remove any dirt, mildew, and bugs.
  • Close down the pool (if you have one).
  • Trim down branches that hang close to the house.
  • Check foundation for any cracks.
  • Clean and store the grill.

Tips for Preparing the Interior

  • On one of the last warmer days, open up all the windows and air out the house before sealing it up for the cold season.
  • Prep your doorways by setting out throw rugs and mud trays.
  • Prepare for more indoor cooking by doing a thorough cleaning of the oven and stove.
  • Clean out old items in the food pantry and refrigerator, and restock with ingredients for home cooked meals such as homemade soup, slow-cooker recipes, and hot dishes.
  • Get ready for closed windows by doing a thorough cleaning of the whole house to remove dust buildup. Don’t forget to shampoo those carpets! You’ll be spending a lot of time with them over the next 6 months.
  • Store summer clothes – switch out flip-flops for boots, put away swimsuits and pull out mittens and hats, swap shorts for sweatshirts, etc.
  • Organize holiday decorations for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.

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*Related Post: Fall Lawn Maintenance*

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Steps to Finishing Your Dream Garage

A Garage can be more than a place where you park your car everyday. Your garage can be  storage, living space, workshop, hobby room, or even a game room. Whether you do it yourself or outsource it, finishing your garage will add functionality, space, and value to your home. The first step is to draw up a finishing plan. This plan can either be all at once or little by little. If you don’t have a plan, it will make it extremely difficult to get anything done. Here are a few things you should address when creating your garage finishing plan.

Electric

Look into an electrical plan and decide if you want more power receptacles in your garage. Make sure you put in consideration how many power tools you have in your garage, along with where the workspace will be. The more power receptacles the better. Adding outlets to your ceilings is a great way plug in things like heaters, different kinds of lighting, parking gadgets, etc.  Make sure your home’s power supply can handle the additional juice.

Ceiling

If your home plan allows for it, you can create some extra storage space above the garage ceiling.  Make sure you don’t store heavy items in this space as its main purpose will be for lighter items that take up space. You may also consider adding a skylight to your garage (again, only if your home’s structure allows it). This will be a great way to save some energy during the day by not turning on your lights.

Walls

Next, consider what to do with your walls.  Adding sheetrock will give the space a more finished off look.  You could take it even further, by taping and plastering, painting, and even adding trim work.  Insulating your walls may seem unnecessary in your garage but this will make all the difference in the cold Wisconsin winters and make the space a lot more comfortable to be in.  A window is another great idea to get more natural light into the space.  Installing a service door that leads to either the side of your house or your backyard can come in handy as well. Finally, cabinets and shelving are great space savers to help you better organize the space.

 

Floor

Finally, consider what to do with your garage floor.  Installing an epoxy floor will give you a colorful, shiny floor that will have you, and your car, feeling like you’re driving into a showroom every time you come home.  Some other options would be rubber tiles or simply staining the concrete floor.

Please feel free to stop by, give us a call at (920) 734-2324, or visit our website at www.callcypresshomes.com.

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Granite Counter Top Maintenance

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the home, many times it is on display when guests are over, so you want to keep it clean. Many homes today have granite counter tops, it’s one of the most popular trends in kitchen design. Granite counter tops are beautiful and with the proper care you can keep them that way.

Granite is a very durable stone, but you still need to use precautions so you don’t damage its appearance. Below are some helpful tips on how to easily maintain your granite’s appearance for years to come. Avalon island

  • First and foremost you should seal your granite counter top. Sealing your granite will help keep it looking shiny and new. This should be done every one to two years, it all depends on the usage and your own personal preference.
  • Clean up spills immediately. Although spills won’t etch the granite there is still the possibility of staining it. The longer you leave a spill sit the greater the chance it will result in a stain.
  • Sageridge Rockdale islandUse sponge or soft cloth to clean your
    granite
    . It is recommended to use a formulated stone cleaner, it will help keep your counter tops in great condition and protect the sealer. If you are just looking to do a quick clean up hot water will do the trick.
  • Always use coasters. Even though the granite won’t etch, it is still a good idea to take those extra steps to help protect your counters.IMG_1890
  • Use hot pads under hot pots and pans. You can put your hot pots and pans directly on the counter top, but it is recommended to use a hot pad to avoid any damage from the heat and grit.  Yes, granite is very durable, but there is still the possibility that it can suffer “thermal shock” and crack. Also, grit can get trapped between the pot and the counter top and has the potential to cause light surface scratches.
  • Cutting boards are a must. Always use a cutting board, it not only protects your counter tops but your knives as well.

These are a few tips to help maintain your beautiful granite counter tops, follow these and it should keep your granite looking great for years to come! It is always better to play it safe and take any precautions you can to potentially save your granite counter tops.

 

 

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Home Space of the Month: September

September is the month for “back to school” and in honor of this we are featuring mudrooms/laundry rooms this month.  These rooms are essential keeping up with hectic schedules and maintaining order.

Mudrooms

A mudroom gives you a space to contain the chaos of getting home from school. This is a designated space for the kids to put their backpacks, jackets, and other school supplies, instead of having these items dropped all over the house. Here are some great features to put into your mudroom.

Lockers and Shelves

Tamarack Haven Ct Built in bench

Lockers and shelves in the mudroom help to keep the designated “dump zone” organized.  It gives each person a space to keep their things together and easily accessible. The bench shown here comes with several great features; a side shelving unit, coat hooks, cabinets above and shoe storage underneath.  Locker systems have become very popular and are included in nearly all of our new homes. They come in different, shapes, sizes and colors.

 

 

Catch-All Space

Amberwood Jochman Entry board

Another popular feature we put in most of our mudrooms is a catch-all. This base cabinet and countertop gives you a place to set the mail, a purse, keys or phones when you first get into the home. Placing a calendar above the counter is a great way to keep track of all the activities, sports and clubs. Like the locker systems, these cabinet units and counters come in all shapes, sizes and colors.

 

Laundry

With the return of school and extra-curricular activities comes the return of mountains of laundry.  Having an efficient, well-designed laundry room makes this annoying task much more tolerable.  Here are a few things we see in a lot of our new homes.

Basket Storage

Amberwood Jochman LaundryA popular laundry room feature in many of our Cypress Homes is storage spaces for your laundry baskets. This allows for easy storage and less clutter! It is also a perfect way to separate whites from your darks!  The large rack above the counter has lots of space to hang clothes to dry.

Elevated Washer and Dryer

Brookridge Clayton Laundry

Lifting your washer and dryer off the ground on pedestals has lots of advantages. By having a pedestal or stands for your washer and dryer, you eliminate the need to bend over to pick up your laundry. Pedestals are a practical and a great upgrade for front loading washing machines and dryers. In the photo above, Cypress Homes actually built the floor up below the washer and dryer to bring the units to a comfortable height and fit nicely below the cabinets.

 

 

 

 

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4 Tips for Hosting a Party for the Big Game

fd5bf408db40f879aaaa42b63411eb3cHey Wisconsin sports fans! It’s the start of football season for both college and NFL football! Getting together with friends to watch College Football Saturday’s and NFL Sunday’s is a great way to spend your weekend! Cypress Homes is here to provide a few tips on preparing your home for a memorable game-day party.

1. Food

n-FOOTBALL-SNACK-EASY-628x314Not only do you need to provide food and beverages for your guests, you need to find a way to make it quick and accessible.  Wisconsin sports fans are crazy for their teams and they aren’t willing to miss a single play. This means 2 things: provide food that is easy to eat and make it easily available.  Ideally, provide a smorgasbord of appetizers, pizza, and snacks within range of the television.  Also, consider filling dishes with chips or nuts near all seating areas.  Finally, use food coloring or shop for team colored items to bring out some team spirit.

2. Layout

It’s time to show off your High Definition big screen TV.  Dependent on the number of guests you are having, make sure there is plenty of seating available. You don’t want to throw a huge game-day party in a cluttered living room with only a couple sofas. Also, be sure to give your guests the space and freedom to move around and celebrate with high-fives together.  Also, feel free to utilize 2nd or 3rd televisions in the kitchen or basement.  The more space, the better!

3. Decorations

F446175F_fullDecorate your house with team colors, footballs, goal posts, extra jerseys, or any posters or pennants you have.  A few team-colored balloons look festive and won’t damage anything.  On the same note, feel free to invest in a few foam bricks to throw if the referee happens to make a poor call.  Don’t feel too compelled to decorate extravagantly; just be sure to have plenty of space and remove anything fragile.

4. Activities

Before the game starts, set up some games for your guests to play.  For example, you and your guests can compete to predict the final score, the first team to score, the first player to score, the first receiver to catch a pass of more than 30 yards, heads or tails on the coin toss, etc. If you’d like, you can choose to require a quarter or a dollar as an entry fee into each game.  Then, the winners in each event will split the pot. A few small games can really captivate your guests and spark excitement!  Maybe even construct a Lombardi trophy out of cardboard and aluminum foil to award to the ‘fan of the game!’

We at Cypress Homes would like to wish the Packers and the Badgers luck this football season.  Imagine how great a football party would be in a new home with the perfect living room.  Check out our website to see what we have to offer!

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August Facebook Poll Results

Twice a week on Facebook, we create poll questions with 3 different options to let people tell us what type of home features they like. Then each month we’re giving you a summary of the winners so you can see our most popular home features! Below are the poll results from August:

Entry Way Light Winner – Custom Home

custom

This overhead entry way lighting won the first Facebook poll in August in a very close race, by gaining 54% of the votes!

An entry way is the first area of your home guests step into. This light is very modern and is a stand out piece in this entry. This custom home has tall ceilings with a balcony overlooking this front entry making the light stand out from two levels and giving guests a great first impression.

Pantry Winner – Belleview

Belleview- on birchwood

This Belleview pantry won our Facebook poll gathering 61% of the votes.

This pantry is hidden behind a plain frosted glass door and includes deep shelving units! These shelves wrap around the entire right side and back of the pantry. A large pantry is a feature many home owners desire, providing space to store items without having them displayed on kitchen shelves or counters.

Master Bath Vanity Winner- Amberwood

This Amberwood luxury master bath won the Facebook poll by tallying 60% of the votes!

amberwood bath

This master bath vanity includes many amenities that today’s homeowners desire. The vanity is split into two separate areas, featuring a large built-in cabinet unit in the middle. Having double sinks is great when two people need to get ready at once! The white furniture-style cabinets, large framed mirrors and granite counters give this master bath a luxurious feel.

 

 

 

Parade of Homes Winner- The Carabelle 

Carabelle collage

This collage of our Carabelle Parade home was our winner this week gaining 52% of the votes in a very close race.

Cypress Homes participated in multiple Parade of Homes events throughout the year. August was the Home Builders Association of the Fox Cities‘ Parade of Homes. The Bellmont, our brand new ranch floor plan, was the home we featured during the two-week event.

This poll featured collages from 3 of our past Parade homes. Each of our Parade home are decorated by our interior designer to give parade goers a better feel of the home’s style and layout. The winning Carabelle model had an amazing white kitchen that still get’s referenced and commented on frequently.

Locker System Winner- Ridgewood 

Ridgewood Altmeyer built in benchThis locker system won our poll with 54%, just over half of the votes.

Mudrooms have become an essential space in new homes. They gives you an area inside your garage entrance to remove jackets, shoes and more before going into the rest of the home. Locker systems, like the one pictured, are a great way to create a functional space that also looks nice! These systems help homeowners stay organized and keep things easily accessible!

 

Bathtub Winner- Karalyn 

Karalyn nelson bath tub This freestanding bathtub won this poll in one of our closest races yet, it won with 47% of the votes.

Freestanding tubs are becoming popular again in high-end master bathrooms. Many people are adding these tubs as a way to relax and de-stress by turning their bathrooms into in-home spas. They can look modern or vintage, either way they make a statement in the space.

 

Kitchen Island Winner- Avalon 

IMG_6895

This granite center island won the Facebook poll by a large margin, winning over 83% of the voters.

Large granite islands are one of the most popular and sought after kitchen trends. Islands are a huge statement piece right in the middle of the space. Often times, these islands double as table space, with seating for quick meals or entertainment.

This winning island has a built-in dishwasher and sink on one side and available seating on the other. The colors in this granite pair well with the stainless steel appliances giving this kitchen a definite WOW factor.

For last month’s winners click here!

Like us on Facebook to participate in more polls!

 

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Curb Appeal: The Many Faces of a Floor Plan

Houses for Blog

The first impression most people have of a home is its appearance from the street, often referred to as the home’s “curb appeal.” When building a new home, the homeowner is able to more easily tailor the home’s curb appeal to their personal style.  Much of the way the home looks is independent from the chosen floor plan.

Let’s take a look at some factors that make up a home’s curb appeal and how they can vary:

Color & Material Types

Exterior Building Materials

There are many types of materials available for the exterior of your home.  Vinyl siding is the most cost effective and therefore the most commonly used material. Often, vinyl siding is used in combination with other materials such as brick and/or stone.  The look of wood shakes is another common feature, however this look is more often achieved with a vinyl alternative rather than actual wood shakes for maintenance purposes.  Some other materials that are occasionally used are stucco/EIFS board and cement board siding.

The colors of your home’s exterior can also greatly change its curb appeal.  Each style of home has a traditional color scheme that is commonly used.  A good place to start is the Behr website, which calls out common color schemes based on the home style.

Roof Structure Styles

Roof structure is another factor to consider. Both style and pitch can change the look of the home. Two main roof structure styles are gables and hips. Gable trusses are the most basic style, with two vertical planes that meet in the middle. Hip trusses are more complex and typically have more than 2 vertical planes that all meet in the middle. Beyond truss style, the pitch of the roof can have a big impact on the feel of the home as well. Lower pitched roofs are more cost effective, but higher pitched roofs will give the home a grander feel from the road.

Roof Styles

Window Shapes & Styles

Windows come in all shapes and sizes. The type of windows you select can have a drastic impact on the look and feel of your home. Certain window styles are common with certain home styles. For example, adding a prairie style grill in your windows will automatically give your home more of a craftsman feel. So if you are going for a specific theme, the window you select will go a long way toward achieving it.

Window Styles

You need to consider both how the home will look and how much light will be brought into the home with the windows you select. Local building codes require certain amounts of light for rooms, so it is important to verify that those light codes are met with whichever windows are selected.

Garage Orientation

Garage Orientation

Garage orientation is another way to significantly change the look of a home’s exterior. Typically the garage doors would face forward on the home, but that is not always the case. The type of lot and floor plan play a factor in the type of orientation a garage can have. A side load garage will make the home look larger, since the garage doors will not be visible from the front. In order to have a side load garage you would need either a corner lot or a lot that is wide enough to have the driveway come in on the side. A concealed third stall requires that the floor plan not have rooms requiring windows by the garage walls.

 

amberwood collage for social

While the floor plan of your new home is important, the overall curb appeal and the factors that establish it are crucial decisions that will also affect the look and feel of the home.

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Community Profile: Town of Algoma

Community Profile: Town of Algoma
Located next to Oshkosh, the Town of Algoma is a residential area with plenty to offer. This “Progressive Rural Community” is an ideal area for those looking to build their dream home! Take a look at the community profile we have created for the Town of Algoma:

Location
The Town of Algoma is located just west of Oshkosh and on the southern shores of Lake Butte des Mortes. Major highways 41 and 21 run through the town, connecting it to Oshkosh and the Fox Valley.

Economy
With such close proximity to nearby cities, residents are close to many different employers in several industries. Major employers in the area include: Oshkosh Truck, Bemis, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, the Oshkosh School District, Winnebago County, Aurora Medical Center and Aurora Medical Group, Miles Kimball Company, and 4imprint.

Education
Most of the Town of Algoma is located in the Oshkosh School District with some residents falling in the Omro School District. The Oshkosh School District is made up of 15 elementary schools, five middle schools, and two high schools. The Omro School District consists of an elementary school, a middle school, and a high school. There are also several charter and parochial schools in the area such as Martin Luther Lutheran School and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School.

Government
The Mayor of Algoma is Wayne R. Schmidt. The Administrator/Clerk Treasurer is Jeff Wiswell. There are four Aldermanic Districts. The Town of Algoma has three County Supervisory districts (24th , 31st, and 32nd) and 10 wards.

Parks and Recreation
On the shores of Lake Butte des Mortes and just minutes away from the Fox River, the Town of Algoma offers plenty of water activities such as boating and fishing along with beautiful scenery and trails. Families can enjoy community playgrounds, the Sheldon Nature Preserve and the Town Hall Woods. The Wiouwash trail, which runs from Oshkosh to Hortonville, is also open for hikers, bikers and snowmobilers.

Residents of the Town of Algoma can enjoy all the shopping, restaurants, and attractions the city of Oshkosh has to offer. These include: the EAA Airventure Museum, the Outlet Shoppes at Oshkosh, and the Paine Art Center and Museum.

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Community Profile: Town of Grand Chute

Community Profile: Town of Grand Chute
With just over 21,200 residents, the Town of Grand Chute is the largest town in the state of Wisconsin.  Almost half of the town is residential which means there are plenty of opportunities to build!  Here is the community profile we have created for the Town of Grand Chute:

Location
Bordering Appleton and Greenville, the Town of Grand Chute is right in the heart of the Fox Cities.  US Highway 41 bisects the town and there are multiple other highways that connect the town to the rest of the Fox Valley.  These include state highways 96, 15, and 125 as well as county highways A, EE, JJ, and OO.

Economy
One of the main forces of Grand Chute’s economy is the Fox River Mall.  The mall and surrounding shops, restaurants, and hotels bring the “day time” population to over 70,000.  Another large business in the town is the Class A minor league baseball team the Timber Rattlers.  The top three sectors of employment in Grand Chute are: manufacturing, social services, and retail trade.  Major employers in these areas include: Pierce Manufacturing, Omni Resources Inc., Fox Valley Technical College, the Fox River Mall, Plexus, and St. Elizabeth Hospital.

Education
The Appleton Area School District serves most residents of the Town of Grand Chute.  Badger and Houdini elementary schools are actually located within the town boundaries.  The northeastern section of the town attends the Hortonville School District.  Fox Valley Technical College is located in the town and serves over 50,000 Fox Valley residents each year.

Government
The Town of Grand Chute’s government is made up of the chairman David Schowalter and four supervisors: Jeff Nooyen, James Pleuss, Travis Thyssen, and Bruce Sherman.  The town government also employs over 130 full-time staff.

Parks and Recreation
Located in the town are 2 community parks and 3 neighborhood parks providing opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.  The Town of Grand Chute is also home to the Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve.  There you can enjoy all the scenic trails the nature preserve has to offer and watch for wildlife throughout.  Guests can hike during the summer and snowshoe or cross country ski during the winter.  Plamann Park is also located in the town offering an abundance of outdoor activities.  Individuals can enjoy the hiking trails, play disc golf, volleyball, or baseball.  Other options include swimming in Plamann Lake during the summer and visiting the children’s farm which is home to cows, pigs, goats, and sheep.

Restaurants and Entertainment
Grand Chute residents don’t have to look far for restaurants, shopping, and entertainment.  The Fox River Mall is home to over 180 stores and restaurants offering something for everyone. There is also a wide variety of stores in the surrounding area such as Pier 1 Imports, Old Navy, Barnes & Noble, and Dick’s Sporting Goods.  Local restaurants include Nakashima of Japan, Bennigan’s Grill and Tavern, Carmella’s, and Fox River Brewing Company.  Other entertainment options include seeing a movie at the Hollywood Cinema or watching a Timber Rattlers baseball game.  

 

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