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Southwest Austin Home Improvement

Break the Rules with these Eclectic Home Decor Ideas

Homeowners typically gravitate towards a common theme, color, and or style when it comes to the overall look and feel of their home. That is until now! Join the fun, spunky and rule-breaking home design trend sweeping homes across Austin, Texas! These eclectic home design trends are sure to bring your boring home decor to life. Check out REALTOR.com's recent home improvement article.

Origins of eclectic style

The eclectic look is hardly new. Even though it's in the spotlight these days, eclecticism actually came about in the early 1900s, with the Arts and Crafts movement. "It became hip for progressives and thinkers to fit art and furnishings into their homes to achieve a more personal feeling, rather than one particular style," Solomon explains.

Sounds familiar, right? Today's homeowners are once again turning to eclectic style to show off a distinctive touch to their decor.

Just beware: Eclectic decor might allow you to break some rules, but it isn't a totally lawless design scheme. If this style speaks to you, read on for how to make it work in your home—without veering into tacky territory.

  • Embrace BOLD colors
  • Use a variety of furniture styles
  • Accessorize with FLAIR
  • Showcase a RIOT of textures and patterns
  • Toe with the line between eclectic and "EW"

Homeowners Beware: Four Signs of a Water Leak

When it comes to protecting your home from leaks, it is important to be proactive. Here are a few signs courtesy of Austin Plumbery that can help you catch a water leak in the early stages.  These telltale signs may just save you thousands of dollars. 

Sign #1: Water Bill Spikes

If you notice your water bill increases drastically or a change in pattern this could reflect a possible undetected leak. Compare your bill from year to date, to confirm any irregularities. 

Sign #2: Foundation Shifts and Cracks

Sudden and frequent cracks in the foundation can indicate a leaking pipe behind the scenes. Seepage can cause damage and present itself as cracks in your foundation and other structural components such as walls.

Sign #3: Ticking Water Meter

Another way to check for a home leak, turn off the water of your home, then check the status of the meter. If the water meter is ticking and starts to move quickly, this indicates that you have a rather large leak. If it slowly increases, your leak may be of a smaller impact.

Sign #4: Mold, Mildew, and Wet Spots

If you notice any wet spots on or around sinks, toilets, showers/tubs this may be a sign of leakage. You may also find accumulation in your yard. Beyond the visuals, if you have a persistent damp or musty odor, contact your local plumber. 


Energy-Saving Projects For Your Southwest Austin Home

With the turn of a new season comes new ways to protect your homes energy use and efficiency. Of course, you could seal air leaks, add a ton of insulation and swap out your energy draining light bulbs for LED bulbs, but we have projects that will not only take that a step further, they are fun too!

DIY Laundry Drying Racks 

Laundry dryers account for 6% of the electricity used in the United States each year, according to a group that studies dryer efficiencies. That is roughly the same amount of energy used by the entire state of Massachusetts. Debbie, from ME and my DIY, made an awesome DIY drying system that you can view here. Use Debbie's model and come up with something that works with your space so that you can cut down on that monthly cost. You never know, this may even cut down on the number of shirts you shrink along the way!

DIY Frosted Windows

Depending on the type of film you use and the amount of the covered area, frosted windows can play a key factor in keeping a room cool in the summer and warm in the winter, cut UV exposure so fabrics won't fade, and even strengthen windows for added security.  Window film starts at around $1.50 per square foot. Click here to see how Tricia, from the Blog Making it Feel Like Home, used the frosted window technique to save on energy costs!

DIY Rain Barrel

Rebekah Greiman of Potholes and Pantyhose.com discovered that an inch of rainfall on a 1,000-sq.-ft. roof produces 600 gallons of water, and now she waters her yard...

Home Improvement Projects Under $500

Home improvement doesn't have to be a huge drawn out chose, and it definitely doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg. You can easily liven up the spaces in your home with a number of small projects here and there that can really make a difference. Here are some basic projects that cost less than $500, and make you feel like you spent a lot more updating your Southwest Austin home!


Painting is one of the cheapest and easiest home improvement projects that really make a big difference! A fresh coat of paint can make any space look brand new, give the space a more modern feel, and definitely add value. A gallon of paint costs roughly $25 and is an inexpensive way to improve your home's desirability all on your own.  


There is no shame in borrowing ideas! You can find all sorts of amazing ideas in books, magazines, interior decorating TV shows, and Pinterest. To stay within your budget, pick projects that can be completed yourself. This will not only save you a few bucks, but it will be that much sweeter knowing you tackled it yourself!


Take advantage of your utility company's free energy audits to determine which improvements could potentially save you some extra money. Most local utility companies offer a free home inspection that will show you where exactly your money is going down the drain. You never know, the money you save could go towards another amazing home improvement!


Landscaping your home is key when it comes to adding great curb appeal. Planting a tree not only is great for the environment, it also provides shade to keep harmful rays from bleaching out your paint of heating up the inside...

Dig Into Spring with the Right Gardening Tools

We are almost out of this strange "wintery, spring" part of the transition into beautiful weather and sunny skies! Before long, everyone will be pulling out their gardening tools to get a start on your landscape and outside projects. Gardenoid, did the dirty work for us gathering 34 gardening experts to find out their options on the top must-have tools for sprucing up your garden this fall. 

Among the most popular tools used by gardeners is a mattock, which is used for clearing the ground, removing stones and digging out deep roots that create blocks. Another favorite of the experts was the idea of composting. Composting is a great way to practice environmental responsibility. The tools needed for composting can be anything from a chipper shredder to a leaf shredder. 

While there are a ton of new and improved tools that make your project much easier and less time consuming, the most important tools take it back to the basics! While having one generic pair of garden gloves can be essential, the real trick is owning three pairs will make a multitude of tasks easier:

Washable synthetic gloves – For general maintenance, such as deadheading, weeding in dry soil, and handling seeds, the thin fabric, and snug fit allow fingers maximum dexterity.

Latex-coated cotton gloves – For dirty, wet jobs, like picking up leaves or planting shrubs, and for working with thorny plants (the latex coating is puncture-resistant)

Heavy-duty leather gloves – For tough jobs, like digging holes, clearing brush, and carrying firewood.


Protect your Kitchen with these Practically Indestructible Materials

When spending thousands of dollars on renovating your kitchen you don't want it to go to waste in just a few short years. Making sure you use the proper materials to maintain your new design through the seasons is important when making your updates. HouseLogic gives us the 411 on the must-have materials to ensure you are using nothing but the best!

Laminate Countertops 

Laminate is heat-, stain-, and water-resistant that has come along way through the years. The old stereotypes about the way it used to look aren't really the norm for this indestructible material.  With super-realistic marble and granite patterns, you can disguise your laminate countertops with ease! Now available in 5-by-8 foot sheets, which means it really replicates the more pricey materials with fewer joints. 

Quartz Countertops

Coming in at a much higher price is using Quartz for kitchen countertops. This material carries a hefty price tag, but they also carry a great benefit. The quartz promise is that you don't have to maintain or keep up with it at all! Unlike marble and granite, the manufactured quartz defies stains, mold, mildew, and bacteria with no sealing required. Photo by Russ Hendricks

Luxe Vinyl Floors

New and improved luxe now has thicker layers that better prevent shoe scuffs, scratches, and tears. It required less care than linoleum and comes in 12-foot-wide rolls making it easy to cover the floor in one big sheet with no seams. 

Glazed Ceramic Tile Floors

Tile and grout is a classic...

Choosing Paint Colors for Your Home That You Won't Regret

We know that choosing paint colors for your home can be a daunting task. There are hundreds of hues and shades to sift through, and what if you regret your decision? It could ruin your home's ambiance and be expensive and/or time-consuming to fix. No pressure, right?

Here's some advice from the pros on how to choose paint colors for your home that you won't regret!

1. Know what 'mood' paint colors exude

Light colors make spaces feel bigger and brighter. Dark or intense colors make spaces seem smaller—however, these colors do have their place and purpose in a home. Another consideration with your paint is whether it exudes "warm" or "cool" undertones. This can severely impact the overall 'mood' of the room and could give off some heavily unwanted vibes that could upset your rooms energy.

2. Match Colors to the space

Make sure you are taking the type of room into consideration when choosing your potential colors Certain types of rooms tend to look better one way or the other. "Bathrooms tend to look better with cool colors, both because of the connotation of water as cool and the color in nature is blue or blue-green, says Amy Bly of Great Impressions Home Staging/Interiors.

3. Let a neutral paint color anchor your home

Including a "neutral" shade, such as white, gray an beige is key to the color dynamic of your home. "It often looks best to have a main neutral as your base to carry throughout the home," says Dessie Slickers of Slick Designs. Keep your base color in the common areas, and add coordinating colors and accents as desired. This color should cover at least 60% of your home, leaving 30% for secondary colors, and...

Home Improvement: Are Permits ALWAYS Necessary?

Southwest Austin Permits for Home ImprovementA recently-published Community Impact article provides great insight on what home owners should expect with regards to permits and home renovations/improvement projects that require them. Here is a summary of the said article that you might find helpful for your DIY home improvement projects:

The image featured above is a compilation of Kara Nuzback and Angie Calderon as featured in a recently-published Community Impact article. The useful graphic aims to inform readers that home improvement work may require approval from local authorities.

According to the Austin Development Services Department, a building permit is needed to “erect, construct, enlarge, alter, repair, improve, remove, convert, move or demolish any building or structure within Austin’s zoning jurisdiction." For electrical, plumbing, or irrigation work, a trade permit may be required.

The general idea of the requirement and issuance of permits is for local authorities to ensure the safety and quality of home improvement work in order to protect the residents of a property and ensure that the structure's overall condition is safe for habitation. Home owners are encouraged to be careful about doing home improvement work without checking if the scope of their work may need a permit, as lacking permits for the job done may prove detrimental when you eventually decide to sell your home. Penalties may be incurred for a lack of...