IN Moon Township Spring 2018 - Page 25

SPECIAL SECTION HOME IMPROVEMENT WINDOWS / DOORS Homeowners are veering toward natural, clean looks this year, focusing on bringing the beauty of the outdoors into the home. Bright, airy rooms are trending in all areas of the home, from living rooms to bathrooms—the more natural light, the better. By lowering energy costs and brightening up your day, homeowners are designing with daylight in mind. • Transforming windows to doors: If you’re looking to lighten and brighten up a room, do it with natural light. Adding windows or creating larger, more expansive windows will not only bring in more of the outdoors, but can also change the look of a room. Large windows that were once a custom option are now available in mainstream models, with some that can expand up to 24 feet wide. • Allowing the fresh air in: ‘Tis the season for spring cleaning! When you’re working in the garage this spring, you may find it helpful to have a retractable screen door for the garage. Whether you are doing projects, or using the space as a place to hang out, garage screens keep fresh air in and bugs out. • Smart windows with auto tinting: Gone are the days of having blinds to dust, with the introduction of auto-tinting windows. Newer on the market, smart windows are equipped with sensors that can read room occupancy, sunlight, and weather conditions to tint your windows appropriately. While they are still a somewhat costly option, manufacturers are marketing them as a way to save up to 20 percent on monthly energy bills. • Going solar: The cost of going solar has dropped every year since 2009, providing more homeowners with the option of harnessing solar energy to power their homes. Solar installations are increasing in Pennsylvania, but solar currently produces less than one percent of net electricity generation, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection. The main type of technology used to turn sunlight into energy is photovoltaics (PV). You’ll see PV devices in fields or on the rooftops of homes where panel cells absorb sunlight and create an electric field that allows electricity to flow into the home. Individual PV cells, each producing up to two watts of power, are connected to form different- sized modules to fit any home’s needs. The module is then connected to an electrical grid, converting direct-current electricity into alternating-current electricity that is used to power your home. Although Pittsburgh may seem to be often cloudy, there is enough sun to make investing in the technology worthwhile. THINKING OF MAKING THE INVESTMENT? BE SURE TO FOLLOW THESE TIPS: 1. Shop around – As you would for any big purchase, shop around for quotes. Your first contractor may not offer you the best price for materials and installation. 2. Do your research – There are many different options of solar panels for your home. Assess your electricity needs to determine how many panels would provide you with what you need. Whether it be solar panels installed in your yard, or solar shutters on your windows, there are several options available. 3. Look for savings – Tax credits and incentive programs are available for those looking to lessen their carbon footprint. INDOOR Mixed materials are making their way into kitchens and bathrooms, thanks to a variety of new finishes available for appliances, countertops and fixtures. What were once rooms tucked away and never mentioned are now becoming gathering places for entertaining and spa-like sanctuaries sought after for relief from a long day. The kitchen and bathroom are really feeling the love this season, with punch and pizazz being added to personalize the spaces. Bathroom Bathrooms continue to gain importance as a space used for relaxation and meditation. Bathroom sizes are larger than they once were, bringing in more room for added features such as soaker tubs and extended shower stalls. No room to expand the bathroom walls? Opt for an illusion of space with large tile sizes on the floor and practical storage solutions to make room for your calming sanctuary. • Brass is back: Have brass hardware from the ‘90s in your bathroom? Don’t get rid of it just yet! With rose gold and copper making their way into the hardware scene last year, brass is also making a comeback. Chrome and satin are still the frontrunners, but switch up the classics for a trendier look. • Na tural stone sinks: Granite is so 2016. Countertops are now boasting durable quartz and hand-carved stone sinks. Porcelain will always be a classic crowd favorite, but the trend is moving toward the natural look and feel of stone. • Patterned tiles: Ceramics are enhancing bathroom floors, accent walls, and shower stalls with geometric designs and wood-like patterns. These tiles are adding a decorative touch to a room that doesn’t often get much decorating love. Kitchen Although homes are trending smaller, kitchens are getting bigger and becoming the preferred gathering point for families. Formal dining room walls are being blown out to create an extension to the kitchen. These larger areas allow for more creative freedom when choosing dining sets, appliances, and countertops. Customization in this room of the house is key. Love to cook? Add specific features that enhance your cooking experience, such as pot-filler faucets above the stove or double ovens for twice the cooking power. Not quite a chef? Create an inviting space for guests to gather around with decorative pops of color added by useful appliances that make cooking a breeze. Continued on next page > MOON TOWNSHIP ❘ SP RI NG 2018 23