How Home Makes You Happy

You know how owning a home is tied to the phrase “American Dream?” That’s because it is a measure of success on many levels. From a financial standpoint, it makes sense as each month you are working toward accumulating equity, with the ultimate goal of paying off your mortgage and owning your home outright. In our society, becoming a homeowner has traditionally been viewed as a mature, stable and responsible decision – a major mile marker in life. But owning a home brings emotional and psychological perks too. Where we live becomes a part of who we are, and when that place is stable, consistent and comfortable, it affects us internally, no matter our age.

Home is where many people say they feel the safest and secure. According to mental health professionals, being stable in your own home and knowing that you do not have to move – which is a major life change that can trigger upset for family members of all ages as adjustments to new jobs, different schools, and new communities are made – is worth its weight in gold for our psyches.

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Recent increases in natural disasters have created a need to ensure your family is prepared in the event of such an occurrence or even just a storm that strips you of power for an extended period of time. Make sure you are ready to handle any weather-related emergency that comes your way by preparing. Enroll your family in creating a plan, so you’re all in alignment on what actions to take and make sure each member has a copy of it. Go shopping together so you all understand what items will be included and allow each member to choose some personal items to their likings – such as a particular snack or personal items that will calm children.

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Creating an Efficient Kitchen

The kitchen really is the heart of the home. It is where we share nutritional sustenance, bond around a table to talk about our day and share stories, and where kids color or do homework at a counter while mom or dad prepare dinner. An efficient kitchen can promote smooth functioning through your entire household. For the kitchen to work for your family, it needs to work for the person who is the primary cook and person who maintains the space. And that is different for every family and its unique lifestyle.

Organize and Streamline

Young families especially need an organized and streamlined kitchen that easily meets its needs for fast meals and preparation of daily lunches that get toted off to school. Get rid of excess food, appliances and gadgets, and stick to what meets your lifestyle day to day. Trying to make your kitchen something your lifestyle is not will only lead to frustration.

Make sure there is a space where kids can keep you company, coloring or crafting, while you prepare food. This is a great opportunity to connect and hear about their day at school. This is not a stage in their life when you need to be focused on a formal dining table. Kids need a casual space that can handle a mess.

Clear your counters of unused appliances that are rarely used and replace with the ones that reflect how you live – like the waffle and pancake maker, and microwave or toaster ovens.

How You Cook

Are you raising small children with barely enough time to throw a meal together as you rush to keep up with diapers and laundry? Or are your kids teens and a little more independent with more advanced palates, eager to try your gourmet recipe attempts? A kitchen needs to grow and evolve with the family it serves – so make sure your kitchen is set up to match and meet the needs of your family at any given time. Remember the famous peg board fashioned by Julia Child’s husband so she could have her prized pots, pans and kitchen tools within easy reach? That was not a fancy option for a famous French chef and could have easily hung over a work table in a garage for tools, but it served its purpose. An easy over head rack can also keep your go-to pots and pans within an arm’s reach.

Path of Least Resistance

Forget about trends. Create a kitchen triangle with easy access between the refrigerator, sink and stove for ease of preparation and cooking. Ease of access from multiple points is the name of the game here. Follow the path of least resistance and it will save you time and energy.

Storage That Works

Get creative about where and how you store items to maximize space and decrease the time and energy it takes to retrieve items like baking supplies, herbs and spices, and kid’s snacks. An organized pantry space, or supplemental floor or counter storage can work wonders.

Launched in 1995 by Chris Jones, C.A. Jones is the only woman-centric builder in Southern Illinois. Our roots are in Southwestern Illinois, in several communities in Madison County. We have expanded south to build new communities in St. Clair and Montgomery counties. Contact us today to learn what we have to offer. With over 1,600 designs and unique features including drop zones, hidden prep areas and kid zones, we have a housing option to fit every family. Find out about our custom options that will help you create the kitchen that matches your family’s lifestyle. We are ranked among the Top 15 Largest Home Builders by St. Louis Business Journal. Our forward-thinking philosophy, business integrity and superior customer service make us the right choice to build your next home.

Green Ways to Stay Cool

As we head into the warmer months, it is time to think about ways to keep your family and pets cool, without compromising the efficiency of your home. Air conditioning is great, but when used continually it can be expensive and not so easy on the environment. Work with nature when it comes to meal time by utilizing an outdoor grille to keep your indoor temperature lower. Use the power of the sun and the wind to dry your clothes outside to minimize dryer use and save energy costs. Turn off the dry cycle on your dishwasher and let the dishes air-dry. Choosing eco-friendly alternatives can have a big impact on your utility bills and the environment.

Go Low Tech

Old-fashioned ceiling, pedestal and counter fans can help supplement your air conditioner by circulating the air in your home and keeping it at an even temperature, instead of having areas that are too cool or void of conditioned air. Cooking and drying the clothes outdoors will not only minimize your utility costs, it will also keep your indoor temperatures from being elevated and making your air conditioner have to work that much harder to keep your home comfortable.

Early morning is typically the coolest time of the day. Give your air conditioner a break and open the windows to save energy and allow fresh air into your home.

Natural Fibers

Just as you wear lighter colors and weights of clothing during the summer months, make sure your bedding is breathable. Cotton sheets are the best for helping to keep you cool when the temperatures climb. Before you retire for the night or start your day, taking a cool shower will lower your body temperature and make you more comfortable on hot days. Using less hot water will also save on energy costs.

Our homes are built with a focus on quality and efficiency, so you are one step ahead of the curve already when you choose a C.A. Jones home. New homes are built tighter, eliminating air loss and ensuring a controlled indoor climate. Contact us to find out more about our participation in the Home Energy Rating System Index and our 10-year Builder’s Limited Warranty.

Launched in 1995 by Chris Jones, C.A. Jones is the only woman-centric builder in Southern Illinois. Our roots are in Southwestern Illinois, in several communities in Madison County. We have expanded south to build new communities in St. Clair and Montgomery counties. Contact us today to learn what we have to offer for green-home options. With over 1,600 designs and unique features including drop zones, hidden prep areas and kid zones, we have a housing option to fit every family. We are ranked among the Top 15 Largest Home Builders by St. Louis Business Journal. Our forward-thinking philosophy, business integrity and superior customer service make us the right choice to build your next home.

Wall color not only makes a strong visual statement in your home, but it can also impact how you feel in a space in terms of emotion and energy level. Whether your goal is to create rooms that are comforting, energizing, relaxing or inspiring – this is a decision you and your family can enjoy making together. Make no mistake, this can also be an intimidating prospect. A good place to begin is with a visit to your local hardware store, where you can browse palettes and purchase small samples of paint you can apply to your walls to discern if it is the right color. The process of painting an entire home can be eased with a palette approach that utilizes different shades of the same hue.

Whole-House Color Palette

If you want to keep a sense of spaciousness and flow in your home, you can achieve this with a whole-house color palette. Begin by observing your floor plan and determining which rooms are visible from others. Focus first on the largest space, usually the living or kitchen and dining area. Using a soft and natural palette will take much of the worry out of this process. Once you decide on the primary color for the largest space, you can then continue room by room, adding varying shades of the same hue.

Go Bold

If you enjoy color and are brave, think about using a totally out-of-the-box color in at least one room and perhaps applying the statement hue to only one wall if you think color on all walls may be too intense. Like a statement piece of furniture – one bold room or wall will speak volumes to family members and visitors alike.

Lighting Sources

Your paint color will be affected by the light in a room. Both the natural light that enters the room through windows and the lighting you install via fixtures will make a difference on your paint choice, so be sure to take this into consideration when selecting your color. Using samples and holding them up in different areas of your home may help determine if that color will complement the space.

But How Does It Make You Feel?

Never underestimate the power of color and its impact. It can make or break a design and a mood! In general, blues are soothing, greens are relaxing, and reds are energizing. But the shades used can definitely change the emotional response.

Take into consideration what actions will be undertaken when selecting an appropriate paint color. For example, a vibrant red in a bedroom is probably not going to encourage a restful sleep!

Launched in 1995 by Chris Jones, C.A. Jones is the only woman-centric builder in Southern Illinois. Our roots are in Southwestern Illinois, in several communities in Madison County. We have expanded south to build new communities in St. Clair and Montgomery counties. We offer custom design options, for both interior aesthetics and exterior finishes and color, to make your home unique and to your liking. Contact us today to learn what we have to offer. With over 1,600 designs and unique features including drop zones, hidden prep areas and kid zones, we have a housing option to fit every family. We are ranked among the Top 15 Largest Home Builders by St. Louis Business Journal. Our forward-thinking philosophy, business integrity and superior customer service make us the right choice to build your next home.

Keeping little ones entertained and engaged in inclement weather can sometimes be a task. When bad weather keeps your family indoors, make the most of it by spending quality time together and creating fun, rainy-day memories your kids will retain as they grow up. Remember, kids have a lot of energy to burn, so make sure to incorporate indoor physical activity until they can get back outside. From creating indoor forts, obstacle courses and treasure hunts – with a little advanced planning, you can turn a blah day into a wow day in no time.

Include Physical Play

Just because it’s raining out and you have to stay inside doesn’t mean your kids don’t want or need to play. Line up some plastic bottles and grab a tennis ball and you’ve got yourself an indoor bowling alley. Set up floor targets and toss homemade bean bags to see who can come closest. Grab a hula hoop and let the kids work off some energy – just make sure the furniture and any breakables are pushed out of the way first! Paper plates and balloons make for a great indoor badminton game.

Build Forts

Let the kids build their own forts in their rooms. Employ blankets, pillows, and discarded (and saved for a rainy day) carboard boxes. Have some colorful light sets on hand to lend a decorative element to their structures. Set up a battery-powered lantern so they can read and nap inside their fort. Let them do a craft inside their fort or simply color with crayons and markers.

Don’t Let a Little Rain Spoil Your Vacation

You’ve saved all year to take your family to the perfect sun, sand and water spot and it’s raining! Disaster can be averted with some creativity and some pre-destination research. Find out what type of museums are in the area. From history, to space, to specific places for kids – there is usually something nearby. What about indoor play areas that offer a slew of games and recreation for several ages? When is the last time you went to a real movie on the big screen as a family? Now is your chance! Don’t forget about libraries. Many libraries have motivated staff members who schedule great kid’s events that are free and open to all.

Launched in 1995 by Chris Jones, C.A. Jones is the only woman-centric builder in Southern Illinois. Our roots are in Southwestern Illinois, in several communities in Madison County. We have expanded south to build new communities in St. Clair and Montgomery counties. Contact us today to learn what we have to offer. With over 1,600 designs and unique features including drop zones, hidden prep areas and kid zones, we have a housing option to fit every family. We are ranked among the Top 15 Largest Home Builders by St. Louis Business Journal. Our forward-thinking philosophy, business integrity and superior customer service make us the right choice to build your next home.

Time really does seem to fly when you are raising children. They grow up so fast – if you could get them to stand in one place for more than a few minutes, you could almost see them grow before your eyes. Any parent who has bought swiftly changing sizes of clothes and shoes, can attest to this. Keeping their bedroom current and relevant as children age can be a challenge but sticking to some guidelines can help keep them happy with their personal space without your furniture and decorating ideas breaking the bank.

Invest in Classic Furniture

Forget setting up a nursery that will be quickly outgrown once your child is a toddler. Instead, invest in some timeless, classic pieces from the outset that will continue to serve your children until they are ready to fly the coop. A timeless chest of drawers can be used by kids of all ages. As they mature, you may add to the “suite” with new classic pieces, such as a full bed. Avoid trends and furniture chosen for specific ages that will not stand the test of time.

Also, choose multifunctional, flexible furnishings which are becoming more widely available and can see your child through many ages.

Let Them Choose

You can make their room age through the years with appropriate accessories and décor. And keeping them happy with their space can be as easy as enlisting their help along the way. Let them choose color variations and decorative themes when it comes to outfitting the room, so they get a sense of ownership.

Storage Solutions

As kids grow, their belongings change and also increase in size and quantity; from clothing and toys to sporting equipment and musical instruments. Look for storage solutions that can accommodate each stage of growth and the accompanying items. Classic canvas totes, colored cubes, and baskets are suitable for different ages.

Add Pops of Color with Paint and Wall Coverings

Nothing changes the appearance of a youngster’s bedroom faster than paint or wall paper. Changing one wall every couple of years, especially if it’s just paint, will help reflect their evolving personality and keep their space relevant.

Launched in 1995 by Chris Jones, C.A. Jones is the only woman-centric builder in Southern Illinois. Our roots are in Southwestern Illinois, in several communities in Madison County. We have expanded south to build new communities in St. Clair and Montgomery counties. Contact us today to learn how we can help you design a home that will grow with the needs of your family. With over 1,600 designs and unique features including drop zones, hidden prep areas and kid zones, we have a housing option to fit every family. We are ranked among the Top 15 Largest Home Builders by St. Louis Business Journal. Our forward-thinking philosophy, business integrity and superior customer service make us the right choice to build your next home.

Clean Home, Clear Head

Keeping an organized and clean home has a positive impact on our mental outlook and even our physical well-being. Clearing clutter from our residence ultimately helps to clear “cluttered” thoughts from our mind, freeing up space for clear thoughts. Laying down at night with a clear mind leads to a much better night’s sleep, which is crucial for good health. Research has shown that an orderly home leads to better nutritional habits and the physical activity required to maintain a clean home, contributes to being physically fit. Having an orderly foundation, means we spend less time looking for lost items, and more time on more important things. Cleaning our home regularly also keeps dust and contaminants at bay which can lead to allergies and illness. Having a tidy home is a practice with numerous benefits that can help improve our lives.

Routine

Routine is key in keeping a clean and organized home. Once that is established, it takes less overall time. Simple steps like making the bed every morning and not leaving dirty dishes to accumulate have a visible impact that can keep us motivated. Spending a half hour to an hour a day doing the basics – dishes, a load of laundry, a quick surface dusting or vacuum can keep a home clean in a very efficient and effective manner. Knowing a home is cared for, naturally makes a person feel better.

Increase Productivity

Having an orderly foundation to work from, that is free of distracting clutter, means you save time and can accomplish more work and enjoy other activities. Being more productive means you can finish tasks and then move on to other things like spending time with family, relaxing, exercising, making nutritious meals and ensuring you have enough time for proper sleep.

Mood and Home

In 2009, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology found a link between the state of a person’s home and their mood. Those who described their home as cluttered or unfinished experienced more stress and cortisol present in their brains than those who described their home as restful and restorative.

Benefitting Body and Mind

Indiana University found that people who were more physically active had cleaner homes. And the physical activity definitely has to do with what it takes to keep a clean home. Further, they determined that cleaning helped keep the body healthy through release of excess energy and toxins and also improved blood circulation.

Indoor Air Quality and Physical Health

Today’s homes are definitely built tighter and as a result, especially in winter months when they are closed up, seal in and circulate a lot of the same air. The US EPA has said indoor air quality can often be more contaminated than outdoor air quality.

If a home is not kept clean, the indoor air quality can plummet leading to allergies and illness. Pet dander, mold and dust mites can accumulate and lead to health problems.

Launched in 1995 by Chris Jones, C.A. Jones is the only woman-centric builder in Southern Illinois. Our roots are in Southwestern Illinois, in several communities in Madison County. We have expanded south to build new communities in St. Clair and Montgomery counties. Contact us today to learn what we have to offer. With over 1,600 designs and unique features we have a housing option to fit every family, providing a home that will motivate you to maintain well. We are ranked among the Top 15 Largest Home Builders by St. Louis Business Journal. Our forward-thinking philosophy, business integrity and superior customer service make us the right choice to build your next home.

Spring Entertaining

When the weather warms, everyone is ready to enjoy the great outdoors. This is a great time of year to show off your new home to family and friends, integrate nature into your entertaining, and create a fun gathering. Think bright, easy and light! Nature can supply a lot, if not most, of the elements needed. Sunshine, flowers and home-grown produce showcase springtime entertaining. Moving the party outdoors to a deck or yard automatically sets a more casual and less fussy tone, enabling the hosts to be more relaxed, too!

Decorate with Nature

Create festive centerpieces simply by putting flowers and fruit in a bowl together – think daisies and lemons. Using what you have on hand and in your yard helps cut down on having to buy all the elements which will cut the labor time substantially. In the evening, lighting can keep the party going by using simple strands of lights in the trees and around decks and patios while also supplementing with candles on the tables.

Warm weather entertaining is simpler all around – from the food, to the decorations and the activities. Mason jars can serve double and triple duty as vases, utensil keepers and the perfect glass for summer lemonade. Create a welcoming vignette on your front porch, directing visitors to the rear yard or deck. Set up an old-fashioned badminton net or bocce set to encourage physical activity with just a little bit of competitive edge, that won’t have your guests overheating.

Create unique favors for guests to take with them, such as little bundles of your own flowers placed in mason jars or wrapped in simple butcher paper.

Lunch Not Dinner

Hosting a casual lunch event means there is less time involved. You can host friends and family and have your home put back together in time for a quiet family evening playing games, ordering pizza and watching a movie.

Festive Food

Preparing food on an outdoor grille or smoker keeps the kitchen clean and there are always plenty of volunteers who want to stand by and oversee the process! Skewers of vegetables, seafood and meat provide for easy eating and great color presentation. Freeze edible flowers for ice cubes or float berries in beverages to add a wow factor to a glass of simple lemonade.

Let summer desserts take center stage by putting them on a pedestal with see through glass. Again, plan for simple tasks and presentations that create a fun aesthetic with little time and labor investment. This ensures the hosts have a good time at the gathering, with plenty of time to visit with guests.

Launched in 1995 by Chris Jones, C.A. Jones is the only woman-centric builder in Southern Illinois. Our roots are in Southwestern Illinois, in several communities in Madison County. We have expanded south to build new communities in St. Clair and Montgomery counties. Contact us today to learn what we have to offer. With over 1,600 designs and unique features including drop zones, hidden prep areas and kid zones, we have a housing option to fit every family. We are ranked among the Top 15 Largest Home Builders by St. Louis Business Journal. Our forward-thinking philosophy, business integrity and superior customer service make us the right choice to build your next home.

When you first buy a new house, the concept of turning it into a real home that offers comfort and meets and reflects your family’s lifestyle, can feel a bit daunting. However, adding a few pieces of furniture; experimenting with color; adding texture with rugs and curtains; and creating a designated play space for the kids will bring forth your personalities and add warmth to your new home. Most likely, this will be the only time you will have a blank canvas to work with – so make the most of it.

Personalize with Statement Pieces of Furniture

When adding décor, try building your rooms around statement pieces of furniture like a dining table and chairs or a fabulous sofa or modular seating center that offers the perfect spot for every family member. In the master bedroom, begin with a great bed and build your aesthetic from there. A large lighting fixture in the kitchen can serve as a focal point, setting the tone – whether it be industrial, modern, traditional or eclectic.

Adding Warmth with Sensory Elements

The quickest way to warm up a big empty space? Add sensory elements. Think texture: curtains and a fluffy rug will increase the cozy factor. Use scented candles to bring aroma and soft light to your space. Oil diffusers can add scent to make your family and friends feel at home. Instead of a TV going constantly, choose some soft background music and create a family-favorites play list.

Enhancing Visual Appeal with Color

An empty home is the perfect time to experiment with paint color and finishes to enhance the visual ambience of your house, bringing out the best in your furniture and creating the right mood for how you want to feel in your new space. You might consider starting with a palette of neutrals that build in intensity with your floor plan, or perhaps opt for pops of color, painting just one wall in a room in a bright hue. Start your color adventure by painting your new front door! Make it unique and welcoming.

There is no better opportunity to put some paint on the canvas of your home and see where it takes you. Paint is inexpensive and easy to change, especially when the house is still relatively open, if it doesn’t work.

Creating a Lifestyle

As you add furniture and décor, keep in mind how your family wants to live. If you have young children, designate a fun play area that is their personal space, where they feel comfortable and have easy access to toys and games. If you have a chef in the house, make sure to highlight their special pots and pans, using a statement rack to keep them within reach. Don’t forget your tech aficionado as you lay out a family media center with a wide screen, a great sound system and plenty of outlets and surfaces for your family’s favorite devices. Create a quiet reading room or nook with good lighting, stuffed chairs and some go-to texts on a shelf.

Launched in 1995 by Chris Jones, C.A. Jones is the only woman-centric builder in Southern Illinois. Our roots are in Southwestern Illinois, in several communities in Madison County. We have expanded south to build new communities in St. Clair and Montgomery counties. Contact us today to learn what we have to offer. With over 1,600 designs and unique features including drop zones, hidden prep areas and kid zones, we have a housing option to fit every family and the ability to personalize any design. We are ranked among the Top 15 Largest Home Builders by St. Louis Business Journal. Our forward-thinking philosophy, business integrity and superior customer service make us the right choice to build your next home.

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