Archive for 'Just For Fun'

Winter Flowers

With Halloween come and gone, it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming holiday season. Holiday decorating can be expensive and after New Year’s those potted poinsettias, holly topiaries and Christmas cacti don’t look too appealing. It’s easy to save money by planting nontraditional holiday container gardens with plants that can be changed out from month to month. With our unseasonably warm fall, consider planting your garden before the hard frost sets in.

For hardy flowers, plant pansy, pinks, sweet alyssum, painted tongue or flowering stock. Hardy winter garden vegetables include radish, turnip, broccoli, English peas and leeks. A few plants withstand freezes that drive the thermometer to the low 20s and upper teens. These cold-weather all-stars are kale, spinach and collards, all of which grow well in a winter vegetable garden or winter container. As the holidays pass, you can replace dated-looking plants with hardier plants.

However, beware of the container you choose for your container garden. Anything that will help keep roots from freezing while not cracking during freezes will do — plastic, sturdy non-porous clay, metal, wood, or even old car tires, choose a container that will enhance your front entrance. Beware some inexpensive terra cotta clay pots, while thick enough to protect roots, can absorb water which can freeze, expand, and flake or crack. Plastic, on the other hand, which comes in many decorative styles and colors, may not crack as easily (though it most certainly can), but is not as thick as clay and may not offer the freeze protection plant roots need. Plus, as potting soil dries out, it tends to pull away from the sides of plastic pots, which can let freezing air get down around roots. The best method is to double up on pots, putting plastic pots down inside more decorative clay pots. This not only look nicer but acts as a double insulation. 

Here are some of our favorite plantings so far:


Color Therapy

There are hundreds maybe even thousands of color swatches available to pick from at your local Home Depot, Lowe’s, Benjamin Moore, or Sherwin-Williams store. How do you begin to pick the right color for your rooms?


  • Blues: peace and stability
  • Bright Yellows: uplifting and happy
  • Mellow yellows and orange: airy and relaxing
  • Red and Bright Pink: dramatic and energizing
  • Purples: youthful and fun
  • Greens: inspire creativity, nature, and energy
  • Greys, beiges, off-whites: a neutral favorite, classic

If you like the idea of using color to create an emotionally healthy home, color consultants say you should first consider the primary function of each room. Next, pick a predominant color. Although it can’t be proven scientifically, color consultants say some hues work better than others at encouraging certain activities.

Living Room and Foyer: Choose a warm color that will encourage guests to feel comfortable to gather and talk.

Kitchen: It may be best to use a color that you have fond memories of such as the color of your kitchen growing up. If you are looking to select a new color, avoid reds and oranges as they may stimulate your appetite, which is great for your dining room.

Bedrooms: Are a place you return to to relax and sleep. We already have a calming and peaceful sense from blues. However, if you have a teenager it may be best to allow them to select the color with the caveat that they repaint it white when they move out.

Bathrooms: Select a color that will flatter you. You want to look good in the mirror at all times of the day. Do you have a favorite color you wear?

Exercise Room: Red can inspire action and energy, but also make you feel hotter while working out. A bright blue or green color in your work out room or area can make you feel happier and more likely to enjoy a cardio workout.

Home Office: Your home office or study if not paneled in wood, should inspire productivity and focus. The best color should be a green tone as it is usually the best color to be surrounded by for longer periods of time.

At the end of the day, select a color you already feel comfortable with and hopefully will not bore or annoy you over time! It may be best to locate these colors in your furniture, floor coverings, or room accessories like paintings, lamps, or window coverings which will add subtle pops of color.

Movie Night

When thinking about a movie night most people imagine the smell of buttered popcorn, sticky floors, and fifteen minutes of previews. With Netflex, Hulu, and streaming services built right in to your tv, more people are staying in to watch movies and tv shows. Widely available technology is now affordable, making it easier to customize a dedicated space with HD televisions, surround sound and even an smart phone control panel.

Before beginning your theater, here are some components to consider:

  • Choosing the right room
    • Window locations, room shape, space large enough for desired furniture arrangement
  • List of all desired devices
  • Concealed wiring, receivers
  • Built-in components such as the display and speakers
  • Special theater-style seating
  • Remote controlled dimmable lighting and heating/air conditioning
  • Sound and light control
    • Wall materials: drywall is ok with the additions of drapes and room furniture
    • Additional sound absorbing wall panels 
    • Carpet instead of hard flooring
    • Darker paint color or black out curtains

The best advice we can offer is to visit your local tv and sound system supplier and listen and view the displays first hand. If it sounds and looks good, then it is the item for your home theater.

theater 1

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Built-in Convenience

Yesterday I was in my laundry putting some gift tags into the wrapping center we had built-in several years ago.  It occurred to me that the wrapping center was a microcosm of a house: a collection of ideas and miscellaneous second thoughts that could be used to improve the overall function of a house.

Where would I have stored all the wrapping papers, ribbons, tape, boxes, and gift labels if I didn’t have the wrapping center?  The most obvious answer is I would have stuffed them into a single drawer in my closet or pantry.  The built in was, thanks wife, a great idea. Instead of purchasing plastic bins or a shelving unit, we have an attractive, dedicated space for birthdays, holidays, and celebrations. How many other simple built-ins could make a family’s life more pleasant? While I understand there are other larger and pressing concerns when building a home, when it comes to your home as a sanctuary, maybe a little thought should go into these details when planning home or a renovation.  We do it all day for clients.  Here are some ideas that might help you:

  1. Window seats with hidden storage beneath the bench
  2. A library with hidden panels to conceal a bit of unorganized chaos
  3. Window desk with doors to hide paperwork
  4. Pantry door made to appear like a cabinet door
  5. Shoe shelves in the mud room allow for a dedicated place for mud and snow melt
  6. Cubbies or lockers for hats, gloves, and bulky coats
  7. Pet center to conceal cat litter, pet food, etc.

Great Desk AreaE2620 - Bedroom 3D Builtin - 1a - 102110 - Copy

Hunter Roberts Homes and Wellington Chase Homes design and build new, remodel, or renovate homes in traditional, modern and contemporary styles. We offer architectural services including interior design as well as new home floor plans and conceptual facade elevations. We manage all phases of the construction and renovation work. We build throughout Oakland County adding timeless elegance to the neighborhood in the following cities: Birmingham, Berkley, Bloomfield Village, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, Franklin, Sylvan Lake, Beverly Hills, Orchard Lake, Bingham Farms, Huntington Woods, Pleasant Ridge, Royal Oak, Ferndale, and Troy. Our work can be found in neighborhoods such Quarton Lake, Poppleton Park, Midvale, Holy Name, central and downtown Birmingham, and other fine areas.

The Way Things Used To Be

I just came across a copy of the January 1941 issue of THE AMERICAN HOME magazine.  As I was looking through it I noticed several advertisements that pertained to home building.

One of them was for Pella Windows.  They served a lot of custom home builders.  Architects used them because they had the famous “roller screens” built into them.  If you bought Pella Windows….in 1941 you were very modern because you didn’t have to use “old fashioned screens”.

Another advertisement from Red Cedar Shingles indicated that architects also preferred double coursed wood shingles over any other type of shingles.  Actually we love to use wood shingles when the homes we design are appropriate for them.

We tend to relate glass blocks with Modern style homes.  The magazine had an advertisement for a glass block company.  Back in 1941 the glass block company explained that using glass blocks was a very modern way to custom build a home.  Apparently modern is timeless.

When you hear the name Kimberly-Clark don’t you think of paper products, wax paper, paper towels and so on?  Me too.  Take a look at the insulation advertisement showing Kimsul Insulation.  50 years ago insulation, as today was an important issue….imagine that.  Well apparently it was back then and probably will be for  a long time into the future.

These Are Modern Windows For The Modern House

At One Time Wood Roofers We The Norm

At One Time Wood Roofers We The Norm

Insulation Was Important Then, Still Is!

This is a very affordable home!

Finally, we pride ourselves as being very good at designing new homes and renovations, as well being very affordable and effective builders.  Well, the advertisement from The Philip Carey Company redefines building economically and affordably.

By Rick Wiand who is a principal with a company located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan which designs and builds new residential design build and renovation design build in Michigan.  We operate primarily in the Oakland County cities, townships and villages of Birmingham, Bloomfield Village, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, Franklin, Sylvan Lake, Beverly Hills, Orchard Lake, Bingham Farms, Huntington Woods, Pleasant Ridge, Royal Oak, Berkley, Ferndale and Troy

Just For Fun!

Occasionally we will come across some very unusual design ideas for building practices.  Here are a few very “custom” construction techniques that we thought you might enjoy seeing.  We assure you the homes we design and build would not pattern anything you see here.

Why waste time on stone and extra labor. Just stack the bag of cement up and you’re done. In a few years the paper bags will dissolve and you’ll have a rock hard retaining wall!

This gives a new meaning to recycling and re-purposing. Then again, looks like it’s working!

Having trouble getting water to some of your garden? Try the Oxymoron Gutter and your plants will get all the water they need.

If one works well, two must be great!

What a Bright Idea!

It speaks for itself