High-Tech Bathroom Trends for 2018

(BPT) – Technology is trending in home design and decor this year, and some of the most dramatic, futuristic and fun tech trends are showing up in the bathroom. From glass doors and windows changing from clear to opaque with the touch of a button to toilets transforming the whole experience of going to the loo, it’s all about high-tech tricking out your oasis.

Here are four tech trends that will take your bathroom into hyperspace.

1. Privacy Glass

Glass blocks are opaque but let in some filtered light; blinds or shades get in the way. The answer? Privacy glass. It is an ultra-futuristic special adhesive film that’s cut to fit your existing glass doors and windows. Tap an app on your smartphone and transform your glass from opaque to transparent instantly. (Alien technology? We can neither confirm nor deny that.) It gives you privacy when you need it and lets the sun shine in when you don’t, and eliminates the need for shades or blinds, giving your bathroom a sleek, clean look.

2. High-Tech Toilets

This is not your father’s WC. Toilets today offer technologically advanced features like sensor-operated seats and lids, night lights, deodorizers, self-cleaning technologies and heated seats.

A toilet with a TOTO WASHLET electronic bidet seat is a coup de loo that leaves you cleaner and more refreshed than you’ve ever felt after a bathroom break. Operated by remote control, it’s completely hands-free and offers comfortable, warm, aerated water to cleanse, warm air dryer and heated seat. No need for toilet paper.

The Aquia IV High-Efficiency Toilet Dual Flush and WASHLET+ S550e combine seamlessly (no visible cords or hoses). This elegant design features high-tech innovations to make your life cleaner, healthier, less complicated and more beautiful – auto-open/close seat and lid, electrolyzed water to keep your toilet bowl hygienic without harsh chemicals (better for the environment and your pocketbook), and in-bowl deodorizer. The new DYNAMAX TORNADO Dual-Flush Technology cleans the entire bowl and rim with 360 degrees of cyclonic rinsing action. Its CEFIONTECT glazed surface is smooth down to the nano level, preventing matter from adhering to its surfaces. Visit www.totousa.com to learn more.

3. High-Tech Warmers

While a warm bathroom floor isn’t new, some manufacturers are taking it up a notch by making it digital. These systems feature a mat that’s installed under your tile. It’s Wi-Fi enabled and connected to a digital thermostat that you control from your smartphone.

Make your towels toasty, too, with a towel warmer. Pop your towel into what looks like an ordinary bathroom cabinet, but it’s really a hidden, stainless steel warming drawer, and your towels will be toasty by the time you’re finished with your shower.

4. Digital Steam Spa

You don’t need a major remodel to get a steam shower. There are kits for that! They’re digitally operated steam generators that even include aromatherapy features (think eucalyptus steam when you’re stuffy with a cold).

The bathroom is the place where you start and end your days, your oasis for renewal. With these new high-tech products, you can design your perfect retreat.

Don’t Re-Roof Until You Do These 5 Things


(BPT) – With spring officially arriving, home improvement season is swinging into full gear. Fair warning to homeowners looking to hire a professional, 2018 is predicted to be a record-breaker.

A recent study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University projects home improvement spending will approach $340 billion this year – the strongest gain for remodeling in more than a decade. Among the costliest of projects is roofing, a large expense with serious implications if put off or improperly done.

When you add 2018’s remodeling demand with the much-talked-about skilled labor shortage, on top of the recovery from last year’s hurricane season, homeowners could be tempted to jump right into major home work, all without doing their homework first. As this could prove costly, consider the following before anyone sets foot on your roof:

1. Check Contractor Qualifications

Choose a local, reputable contractor. These contractors should have the best knowledge of local building codes, state codes and required certifications and licenses. Ask the contractor to see their certificate of insurance before stepping onto the roof. Consider going the extra mile and choosing a contractor certified by the manufacturer of the shingle the contractor installs. Improper installation is considered one of the major reasons roofs fail prematurely, so finding a contractor with knowledge and experience in the correct application of a particular product is of the utmost importance.

2. Determine Layover Or Tear Off

Many times, contractors will push for a removal of all existing shingles, or a tear off, over adding another layer of shingles on top of an existing roof, a layover. Although a complete tear off is more expensive due to increased labor costs, there are some advantages.

“When you tear off, you get a chance to look at the roof deck and repair any deteriorating wood or substrate,” said Rick Taylor, longtime roofing contractor and a trainer for shingle manufacturer TAMKO Building Products Inc.

Typically, doing a layover is more economical, although homeowners need to discuss relevant factors with their contractor, including local building code requirements and implications for the manufacturer’s warranty.

3. Research the Warranty

It is important to understand the warranty specific to the roof product you have installed. Educate yourself on requirements for installation, including whether a shingle layover is applicable (as mentioned above).

“Some shingle manufacturers won’t warranty the roof unless it is a complete tear off,” Taylor said. “TAMKO is one that actually does have the option to warranty a laminated shingle applied over one other layer of 3-tab shingles.”

Other warranty concerns to consider include proper installation, the required steps to register your roof after installation and the time period allowed for transferring that warranty to future owners of the home.

4. Assess Ventilation Needs

Inadequate roof ventilation is another major culprit behind premature roof aging. There are a variety of options for roof ventilation; however, it is generally recommended to incorporate proper ventilation into the original re-roof, rather than add it later. The recommended ventilation depends on the size and architecture of the home, but when done correctly, the air inside the attic should be near the same temperature as the ambient temperature of the air outside it.

5. Check the Weather

It may seem obvious, but a simple check of the weather before starting a roofing project could prevent a big headache later. Avoid starting a project with wet plywood or underlayment, or when the forecast indicates a strong chance of rain. Also, many manufacturers of asphalt shingles, the most popular form of roofing in the U.S., do not recommend installation in below-freezing temperatures or in excessively high temperatures.

Careful consideration of these steps during your next home exterior project could save you from costly and lengthy rework years later.

Are Hidden Leaks Damaging Your Home?

(BPT) – Home water leaks waste 1 trillion gallons of water per year, and 10 percent of American homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons of water a day, according to the EPA.

Fixing easily detectable leaks like dripping faucets and malfunctioning toilets can reduce water bills and water waste. But what do you do about the leaks you can’t see?

Hidden leaks can be dangerous. Leaking pipes within walls can cause mold. Dripping faucets behind appliances can be a fire hazard. Leaking irrigation can cause significant lawn damage. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

In a national study of more than 300 homes, intelligent-water industry leader Phyn found that 17 percent of homes have some type of leak. Of those leaks, half were from a broken toilet flapper. This type of common leak wastes 800 to 1,100 gallons of water each day!

Uncovering hidden links is important for your budget, your safety and to protect your property investment. Here are some ways to easily detect hidden leaks so you don’t have to worry:

Proactive Inspections

Look where hidden leaks commonly occur before you see signs of a problem. Early detection could prevent costly damage. Even new homes need this approach, since human error during construction could lead to hidden leaks later.

Inspect Systems

First check your irrigation system by walking around the yard, looking for signs of leaks, like puddles of water or depressions in the ground near sprinkler heads or lines. Also, inspect around your water heater for moisture. Remember to watch the water meter, too. An unexpected spike in a water bill could indicate a problem.


New advancements help detect leaks using intelligent-water technology, such as the Phyn Plus smart water assistant + shutoff. Installed right after the meter on the main water line, this device analyzes your home’s water use by measuring tiny changes in pressure at 240 times per second. This allows the device to shut off the water automatically, so the owners can rest assured that they won’t come home to surprise water damage from a burst pipe.

Keep Age In Mind

Older homes have older pipes and systems that may be more prone to leaks, so it’s important to keep close attention on your home as it ages. That being said, new homes aren’t immune to water leaks. You may have heard stories of new homeowners hanging a picture on their wall, only to find a puddle on the floor the next day right below where the nail had punctured a pipe. Pipes and soldering can fail at any time, whether your home is brand new or 100 years old.

Use the Pros

When in doubt, hire a professional to get expert insight and workmanship. For example, the Uponor Pro Squad is a group of authorized, intelligent-water specialists, dedicated to installing and servicing the Phyn Plus. Pro Squad members have been trained and certified to provide an expert installation experience, ensuring the quality and workability of the Phyn Plus device.

It’s important to detect hidden water leaks in your home. Learn more about water leaks and smart home technology at www.phyn.com.

The Best Way to Clean Wood Floors Might Surprise You

(BPT) – Although most people envision their dream home with shiny wood floors, many consumers are unaware of the best way to care for them, according to a 2017 survey conducted by the National Wood Flooring Association.

“Not surprisingly, many homeowners are unsure of the best way to effectively and quickly clean hardwood floors. Some believe mopping with a bucket of water and a cleaning solution is best while others occasionally sweep or vacuum. Many cleaning methods can hurt rather than help a floor, for example, even a ‘damp’ string mop can leave excess water on a hardwood floor, and we know that water and wood don’t mix,” said Bona U.S. Director of Marketing Cate Vanegas.

The key findings in the online survey, conducted in October 2017 by Public Opinion Strategies, found that just 24 percent of consumers answered “sweeping” as the correct way to clean wood floors. This answer was closely followed by 19 percent who believe using a soap- or oil-based cleaner is best, and 12 percent who believe using water and vinegar is the best solution.

Just in time to open the doors and windows and welcome in spring, Bona has introduced its Premium Spray Mop for Hardwood Floors with a larger mop head for faster cleaning, and a full-size cleaning cartridge of cleaner. The new pressurized cartridge dispenses the perfect amount of solution designed to care for and sustain hardwood floors.

Lifestyle and design blogger Jennifer Rizzo (jenniferrizzo.com) recently refinished her wood floors, and notes the simplicity firsthand: “After all the dust bunnies are cleared away, I use a Bona spray mop to clean my floors. It’s odorless, non-toxic and doesn’t leave any residue. It also leaves my floors looking beautiful.”

With an estimated 25 million homes in the U.S. with wood floors, understanding how to clean them is essential to maintain and protect the investment. Try the following tips to keep your hardwood floors looking beautiful.

Regularly: Dust/Sweep

While using a broom can be effective, it also just pushes the dirt around, so using a microfiber mop or cloth is the best daily defense against scratches and surface damage.

Often: Dust and Mop

After a quick spin around the floor to grab dust, use a microfiber pad mop and residue-free, neutral cleaner. Look for third-party certified cleaners that will be healthier for your floors and your family.

As Needed

When scratches pop up or the finish looks dull, consider a recoat or refinish to keep floors durable and beautiful. Ask an outside contractor for a water-based finish and dust containment system to ensure the job is VOC and toxin free.

Things to Avoid

Water and vinegar, soap-based cleaners, wax or steam cleaners. Vinegar (remember, it’s an acid) and water will damage and dull the floor’s finish, while soap and wax leave residue. Steam cleaners put heat and excessive water on the floor, which can lead to cupping and long-term damage.

Want more cleaning tips? Visit Bona’s Wood Floors 101 tutorials.

Add Fire Safety to Your Family’s Routine

(BPT) – Think of all the items you replace regularly – your cellphone, lightbulbs and even your toothbrush. But when was the last time you replaced your smoke alarm batteries, or even the alarms themselves? It’s easy to overlook, but the time to think about fire safety is now – before an emergency strikes.

Many assume that because they have smoke alarms in their homes, they’re protected in the event of a fire. In reality, smoke alarms need to be installed, maintained and tested regularly to ensure they’re working properly. That effort includes knowing how old smoke alarms and their batteries are, as neither lasts forever. While smoke alarm lifespan and sensing technology have improved in recent years, the fact remains that all smoke alarms – even hardwired and sealed battery models – expire after 10 years.

“According to the National Fire Protection Association (www.nfpa.org), three out of five home fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms or from missing or dead batteries,” said Tarsila Wey, director of marketing for First Alert. “Just like other household duties, it’s important to make sure alarm maintenance and replacement and escape planning and practice become a regular, ongoing part of your family’s routine.”

First Alert offers the following advice to ensure your family is best protected from fire.

Count the Alarms

In most cases, one alarm isn’t enough. In fact, the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), recommends smoke alarms be installed inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement, as well as one carbon monoxide (CO) alarm on each level and in each sleeping area. A quick and easy way to remember is one on every level and in every bedroom.

Install Them Properly

Does your alarm ever sound when cooking? Chances are, you’ve installed the alarm too close to your appliances. An easy way to reduce false alarms and maximize coverage is to take a moment to review manufacturer guidelines and install alarms in the proper locations. Smoke alarms should generally be installed at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance to minimize false alarms. It’s also recommended to install smoke alarms high on walls or ceilings. Remember, smoke rises, so high placement provides a direct path for detection. Lastly, don’t install smoke alarms near windows, doors or ducts, where drafts might interfere with their operation.

Get Complete Coverage

In general, there are two types of fires – quick flaming and smoldering. Today’s smoke alarms are effective at detecting both but use unique technologies that make them better suited for particular locations within the home. The NFPA and other safety advocates recommend installing dual-sensor alarms like the First Alert 10-Year Battery Dual Sensor Alarm because they provide the best potential for early detection of all types of common household fires while helping to reduce the number of non-emergency alarms – all while providing a decade of protection without the need for costly and ongoing battery replacement.

Install and Maintain

Having smoke alarms is only one part of the story. In order to function properly, all alarms must be regularly inspected and maintained. Make sure to test the alarm, by simply holding down the test button, at least once a month. Also, when testing, it’s important to clean the alarm to remove any dust or debris. This advice holds true even for newer alarms, which feature 10-year batteries, as well as hardwired alarms that feature a battery back-up. Check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall.

Plan Your Escape

Maintaining alarms is essential to every household, but what about your escape route? Unfortunately, recent research indicates that just 25 percent of families have an escape plan that they practice regularly. To develop an effective plan, walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. Identify two ways out of each room, including windows and doors. Practice your home fire escape plan at least twice a year and make sure to plan a meeting spot.

For more fire safety tips, visit www.firstalert.com.

4 Tips For Protecting Your Home This Season and Beyond

(BPT) – Winter is in full swing, and extremely cold temperatures continue to grip much of the U.S.; which mean hats, gloves and high home maintenance bills could be in your future. According to recent data from the Insurance Information Institute, in 2016 severe winter weather cost homeowners more than $1.7 billion in property damages. While the seasonal shift can be a challenge for homeowners, taking these four steps today could ease home maintenance burdens this season and all year-round.

1. Take a Look At Your Windows

Old windows – especially those with multiple panes of glass- are notorious for air leakage, allowing heat to escape the home while letting in cold air. If your home still feels drafty after you’ve turned the heat on, it may be time to upgrade to more energy-efficient windows.

Mark Montgomery, vice president of marketing for Ply Gem Windows, www.plygem.com, recommends that homeowners pay attention to insulating values and glass packages when selecting new windows for their home. “Manufacturers have made significant technology advancements over the years. Thermal performance of windows can now achieve performance well beyond building code and Energy Star levels, significantly increasing energy efficiency. Along those same lines, low-E glass coatings allow us to customize windows to specific regional climate conditions. So, if a home has old windows, replacing them with new energy efficient ones can make a significant difference in comfort, while also saving energy.”

One window example is the Premium Replacement Series from Ply Gem, which can be configured to meet Energy Star requirements in all climate zones, and is available through a network of building product distributors.

2. Seal Up Any Leaks

Air leakage through holes, gaps, or cracks in the home’s structure is one of the biggest causes of home heating and cooling loss. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that reducing drafts could save homeowners from 10 to 20 percent on their annual energy costs. To help control air leakage through gaps and cracks larger than two inches, such as where the wall sets on the subfloor or where pipes and wires go through wall plates, homeowners should use caulk or foam sealant materials. For smaller cracks, typically found around windows and doors, weather stripping can help manage leaks. Steps taken to seal your home and save heat in the winter will also help improve indoor air conditioning flow during summer months.

3. Think About Adding Insulation

In addition to sealing up any small leaks, it’s important to evaluate your home’s air tightness on a few fronts. For instance, consider adding materials such as fiberglass, cellulose or natural fibers to interior walls for enhanced insulation. On the exterior, look at areas like your home’s cladding and consider upgrading to an insulated vinyl siding system. In addition to boosting curb appeal and minimizing ongoing maintenance, insulated vinyl siding, such as Mastic’s Structure Home Insulation System, efficiently reduces air leakage by providing continuous insulation along the entire exterior and covering wall studs that are left exposed by traditional wall coverage.

4. Keep Your Gutters Clean

As temperatures drop, check your gutters to ensure they are completely devoid of leaves and debris so that water can flow freely. If needed, have professional gutter protection installed, such as a gutter protection system that includes a continuous hanger, to reduce the possibilities of ice damming. If melting ice is unable to drain due to buildup, it could seep into the walls and ceilings of your home. Having an effective gutter system installed is a simple solution that can prevent the hassles of gutter cleaning and damage throughout the year.

By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be able to better protect your home from Mother Nature’s ways this winter and throughout the remainder of the year.

4 Tips to Prepare for Extended Power Outages

(BPT) – In the year 2018, it’s very easy to take your home’s power for granted. You flick the light switch, and the lights come on. Same with the television and the microwave. It’s easy. And should a storm knock the power out, you expect that it will be up again in a matter of minutes or hours.

Oftentimes this is true, but believing this will always be the case is a mistake. Because while the nation’s reliance on its power system is greater than ever before, the threats facing it have grown as well.

According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, the U.S. suffered 16 weather-/climate-related disasters resulting in more than $1 billion in damages each during 2017. Droughts, hurricanes, floods, freezes and wildfires ravaged different portions of the country, and for the people living in those areas, it meant going without power for an extended period of time, or worse, losing their homes.

It’s impossible to predict when the next major weather event or disaster may strike, so now is the perfect time to begin preparing your home and family for such an event. To prep for the worst, keep these four tips in mind.

Stay In Touch.

During a power outage, it’s important to stay in the know about current weather conditions, road reports and emergency instructions. A battery-powered radio can keep you connected to local authorities and reports, so keep one stashed away and make sure you have extra batteries on hand. Also, purchase a portable charger to keep your cell phones up and running to communicate with family, friends and neighbors.

Set Up Your Own Temporary Power.

The longer a power outage lasts, the more potentially dangerous it is for your family and home. That’s why it’s a good idea to invest in an automatic standby generator that permanently connects to your home and turns on automatically when power is lost. Look for an automatic standby generator, like those available from KOHLER, that features fast start-up speeds, has a commercial-grade engine to handle heavy workloads, provides high-quality power and is durable enough to withstand the weather disaster going on around you. KOHLER has generators that can withstand wind speeds of up to 181 mph.

Stockpile Non-Perishable Food.

A refrigerator will keep food cold for approximately four hours if the door remains closed during a power outage. Don’t chance it. Stock up on non-perishable canned goods, protein bars, beef jerky and other food items with an extended shelf life. And don’t forget about bottled water.

Climate Control.

Extreme heat in the summer and freezing temperatures in the winter are not only uncomfortable, but can be very dangerous. Should your home’s power fail during the winter, staying warm suddenly jumps to the top of your concerns. Be prepared by stocking up on warm blankets, sleeping bags or purchasing a portable, non-electric space heater that is properly vented. If you lose power during the summer months, retreat to a cool place like a basement, take a cold shower, drink a lot of cold water and consider purchasing a battery-operated fan. To ensure your HVAC system is fully operational during a power outage, consider installing an automatic standby generator.

Start Your Planning Today.

The idea of your home being in the path of a natural disaster is a terrifying thought, but a plausible one. That’s why it’s important you start planning today. Last year showed a dramatic increase in total weather damage and no one knows what 2018 will hold. If you wait until the disaster strikes, it may be too late. But if you take action now, you can enjoy the peace of mind that you’re ready for whatever nature delivers.

Keep Your Home Pest Free This Year

(BPT) – Now is a great time to establish year-long goals and resolutions, including home improvement goals you’d like to tackle this year. The first step is to create a pest control plan for your home. It’s important to establish good habits early in the year to help prevent potential pest problems. Unchecked, pests can wreak havoc in your home, but there are several steps homeowners can take to help avoid an infestation and keep their home safe and their family happy.


Clean your kitchen, pantry and any other places where food is stored. Remove crumbs and wipe up sticky drink residue to avoid attracting cockroaches and ants. Drains and sinks can be breeding grounds for flies, so keep them clean and clear. Regularly vacuuming and dusting can help prevent pests during the winter months.

Repair Home Damage

Engage in regular home maintenance to help avoid unwanted pest entry. Insects can come in through tiny cracks and openings, rodents can squeeze through a hole the size of a dime and raccoons and squirrels can enter through large holes. Basic maintenance steps include fixing gaps or holes in broken screens, doors and cracks in your walls and repairing any other exterior home damage.

Maintain Your Yard

Trim branches and trees touching your home to prevent easy access for pests. As expected by the name, roof rats and even squirrels can crawl across branches and enter your home through the roof. Keep outdoor trash cans secured to reduce the attractiveness to rodents and raccoons. Cardboard boxes and trash in your yard can provide shelter for spiders and insects. Yard clutter, such as leaf and wood piles, may be a source of food or shelter for a variety of pests.

Monitor Your Home

In the new year, step into a new routine of monitoring the exterior and interior of your home for holes, cracks and crevices. But also monitor for droppings, as well as chewed or damaged spots in your home. Regular monitoring for visual cues can help quickly address pest problems, and prevent future issues.

Know When It’s Time To Call a Professional

As hard as we work to keep pests out, they are working hard to get in. Even the most vigilant homeowner can experience infestations. To prevent further damage and ensure you are safe in your home, it’s important to know when a pest problem is beyond your control. Professionals are trained to locate the specific sources of infestations and provide treatment options to eradicate the problem from your home. A trained professional can use proper techniques and tools that will provide the best solution to eliminate your pesty problem. Most companies, like Terminix, offer a free pest inspection to evaluate the situation. For more information, visit Terminix.com.

Stuck Inside? Easy Tips to Freshen Up Your Living Space

(BPT) – Winter weather means more time living indoors – working, playing, relaxing and staying warm. It’s important to keep your home fresh by staying ahead of the continual buildup of dirt, dust and allergens. The following are some key areas to tackle for a comfortable and efficient home.

Wash Windows

Washing away dirt and water marks from your windows and screens gives you a clear view of the outdoors and lets in more natural light. It will also make your home feel lighter and brighter, keeping cabin fever at bay. And to help maintain a controlled climate inside the home, prevent air from leaking in or escaping by using weatherstripping or caulk around your windows. You’ll stay cozy inside and save money on your energy bill.

Check and Replace Your Vacuum bag, filter and belt

A full vacuum bag, clogged filter or broken belt can hinder your vacuum’s effectiveness, leaving dirt, dust and allergens behind. Replacing your vacuum bags every 1-2 months, filters every 3-6 months and belts once per year is recommended to help your vacuum achieve peak performance. Even more, a Filtrete HEPA vacuum filter will help trap particles 75 times smaller than a human hair, including 99.97 percent of dust mite debris, animal dander, molds and pollen.

Don’t Forget to Look Up

After tackling floors, dust ceiling fans and light fixtures. These hard-to-reach and hard-to-see places can harbor dust. And while you’re up there, change the direction of your ceiling fans to counterclockwise for the winter. This will keep air moving, but circulate warm air instead of cooling the room down.

Clean Around Your HVAC

With the heater on, be sure to clear the area around your HVAC unit to make sure there is nothing blocking the flow of air. Next, remember to swap out that filter for maximum effectiveness and change your filter every 90 days.

Turn On the Humidifier

Increasing the humidity in your home during the cooler months adds moisture to your air and living space. This raises the “heat index,” making 68 degrees feel more like 76 degrees. If your house has low humidity, you may notice chapped lips, dry skin or a dry, sore throat. Be sure to maintain a relative humidity in the home between 20 and 40 percent. As the temperature outside drops, lower this percentage so condensation does not form on the windows.

Add Extra Insulation to All Areas of Your Home

Adding insulation to your home reduces energy usage and increases comfort. If your home uses less than 12 inches of insulation, chances are heat is escaping. Add insulation in the attic to prevent warm air from escaping. Also consider adding insulation in crawl spaces, under floors and against basement walls to stop the transfer of cold through the house.

Take back your clean, fresh home today.

Tackling each of these simple projects will help you take on winter with a fresh, cozy home you and your family can enjoy. For more information, visit www.filtretevac.com.

Creating a Dream Home With Cypress

(BPT) – Transforming the unremarkable into the extraordinary need not be an impossible task. More and more homeowners are finding that lavish looks are both attainable and affordable. Their imaginative design professionals are making it happen, using cypress to create their clients’ dream homes.

“Wood is a classic and timeless building material,” says Stephen Logue of the Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association. “And many people are discovering that the inherent beauty of cypress, a species so often chosen for outdoor applications, adds a luxurious look to indoor living spaces, for anything from walls and ceilings, to exposed beams and so much more.”

Transforming the Ordinary

When a coat of paint just won’t do, think paneling. For Christopher Rose, an architect based in Johns Island, South Carolina, solid wood paneling provides a sense of warmth and richness to a room. But not just any wood.

“I particularly like working with cypress,” says Rose. “It has a wonderful grain pattern that offers a relaxed, yet elegant look. Vertical beadboard or tongue-and-groove patterns are popular options that add perceived height to a room. And more recently, horizontal shiplap paneling and accent walls have been requested by many clients.”

Reaching New Heights

Looking to add dimension and visual interest to otherwise flat, dull ceilings? Architect Geoff Chick of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, says it’s not enough to simply add crown molding. Too basic!

“Owners today are looking to celebrate their ceilings with more creative design solutions and materials,” Chick says. “In large rooms where I have tall ceilings to work with, I typically use a coffered ceiling. Filling in the coffers with wood helps to warm up a room and add another layer of detail. Cypress with a square groove is my favorite wood to use for ceiling treatments. I just love how it looks, especially when combined with cypress beams.”

Adding the Finishing Touch

When selecting a finish for his interior cypress woodwork, Chick prefers stains. “It’s a shame to cover cypress with paint,” Chick says. “To help bring out its grain pattern, I like finishing it with a matte stain or pickled finish. Some rooms require a lighter finish than others, and it can be a challenge to coordinate with flooring. But from my experience with cypress, it’s all worth it when it comes together.”

And remember, much like wood cabinets and floors, solid cypress paneling and ceilings can be refinished. If you’re envisioning a fresh look down the road, swap neutral tones for bold colors, or sand the wood and apply a transparent stain to let cypress’s natural beauty speak for itself.

Browse the Photo Gallery at www.CypressInfo.org and see how cypress transforms the unremarkable to the extraordinary. It’s time to make your dream home a reality.