Month: October 2012

Cozy up to a Warm Interior

Three ways to keep your family toasty as the chilly season approaches

Image credit: © 2006-2011 Photogen / J. Klemenz
In addition to building a roaring fire in the fireplace, Highlight Homes suggests three other ways to keep your family toasty and warm as the fall and winter chills set in. Image credit: © 2006-2011 Photogen / J. Klemenz

As chilly wind gusts whipped through Georgia and news that historic Hurricane Sandy had merged with a snow storm to create a rare fall blizzard for many of our neighbors to the North, we all became aware of the value of keeping our homes warm. With several months of falling temperatures in our near future, Highlight Homes has compiled the following list of three ways to keep your family toasty and warm inside your home:

1)      Window Replacement – If you currently have single pane windows, the addition of energy-efficient double pane windows will help seal out moisture and cold – effectively saving you a pretty penny in heating costs. Fall is a terrific time to schedule a window, before winter’s chill settles over Georgia and seeps through the cracks and casements of your current windows. This benefit will continue year-round into the warmth of spring and scorching days of summer by sealing OUT the heat and locking IN the cooler air-conditioned air, thus saving you again in cooling costs.

2)      Weather Stripping – Weather stripping is a cost-effective way to save on energy costs, improve the comfort of your home by reducing air leaks around windows and doors, and can be easily installed by the homeowner him/herself. This simple tool is available at any big box home improvement store or mom and pop hardware shop for less than $10 for a 10’ strip of high density rubber foam self stick tape.

3)      Insulation – Do you find your home stays fairly cool in the fall and winter, no matter the temperature you set on the thermostat?  If so, then you may need to address the issue of insulation in your home. Our moms always told us to wear a hat in order to keep warm when playing outside on a cold day. The same holds true for a home – heat has a nasty habit of escaping through the top. Take a peek through your attic and make sure it looks properly insulated. Do you simply see a sea of pink and white and aren’t really sure what you’re looking for?  You may want to call in a general contractor (like Highlight Homes) for a consultation and to hear their suggestions.   If you also feel a draft around your outlets and light switches – particularly those set on the interior of an exterior wall – you can purchase special neoprene insulating foam strips to seal them. This is so easy – a homeowner can easily do this step on their own.

Needless to say, we’re also big fans of roaring fires in the fireplace and snuggling on the sofa under a big blanket – but felt the three ideas above offer more of a lasting effect to help you “weather” the chillier seasons – and not just this year, but for years to come.  While we’re on the subject – if you do build a fire inside your home this fall and winter, make certain the flue is open following the long spring and summer months and – if you have a wood-burning fireplace – be sure to have your chimney cleaned regularly (standard is one time per year) to avoid the risk of your fire spreading beyond the hearth itself.

If you require assistance implementing any of the initiatives above (particularly window replacement – which is one of our specialties… among many), we encourage you to contact the Highlight Homes’ team!  Highlight Homes can also design and build a showcase fireplace inside your home or a stunning outdoor hearth on the exterior of your home. We can be reached via phone at 678-873-9234, via e-mail at, or via online contact form. To learn more about the design-build professionals at Highlight Homes, be sure to visit us at If you’d like to stay up to date on the latest Highlight Homes’ news and specials, be sure to “like” us on Facebook!

For even more great tips for keeping your family toasty and warm through the fall and winter, be sure to read our blog “Don’t Get Left Out in the Cold.”

Image credit:  © 2006-2011 Photogen / J. Klemenz

Shades & Highlights: Things We Like October 2012

The Legacy Lodge at Lake Lanier Islands Resort is a must-see for renovation inspiration!
The Legacy Lodge at Lake Lanier Islands Resort is a must-see for renovation inspiration!

At Highlight Homes, we just love this time of year. The store shelves are cleared of the obligatory school supplies to make room for Halloween costumes and décor, which are then cleared to make room for holiday decorations and great gift ideas. Outside, the heavenly aroma from backyard barbecues is paired with the slightest hint of a chill in the air. Leaves crackle underfoot and neighbors seem a little bit friendlier as the holiday spirit begins to take hold. We can find lots of inspiration in the people, places and things associated with the holiday season, but here are four of our favorites leading into November:

  • Outrageous Interiors: Nothing sets off a beautifully crafted renovation by Highlight Homes like a great décor plan. With 24 years in the interior design industry to their credit, the associates at Outrageous Interiors can help you transform a relatively blank canvas of a room into something that is worthy of a four-page spread in a home décor magazine. From furniture and accessories to lighting and linens, Outrageous Interiors has the “look” you may be looking for.  In addition to four Atlanta locations and a convenient online store, Outrageous Interiors also offers in-home design services. There’s plenty of time left to turn your home into a showplace in time for the holidays!
  • Magical Nights of Lights at Lake Lanier Islands Resort: If you really want to get into the holiday spirit and find inspiration to start stringing holiday lights at your own home, you should make for the lake to enjoy the Islands’ renowned Magical Nights of Lights. On November 16, the lakeside resort will flip the switch on their 20th year of delighting guests with mile after mile of animated holiday light displays. Be sure to pop by the Legacy Lodge and pay attention to the gorgeous water features and beautifully crafted stone and timber entry – they might motivate you to incorporate a little of that classic “Great Camp” style on your home’s exterior (a look we love.) If that’s the case, we encourage you to call Highlight Homes to make it happen. Oh, and before you go, stop off at the Holiday Village to visit Santa, roast marshmallows, and hop aboard some good old-fashioned carnival rides.
  • BrandMortgage logoBrandMortgage: A Georgia-based full-service lender that has not only survived but thrived throughout the Great Recession, what makes BrandMortgage one of our favorite things is its people. These honest hardworking folks are big believers in the American Dream who will do everything in their power to help you obtain the right loan to finance a one-of-a-kind home renovation or stunning custom construction home by Highlight Homes. Check out their website for a branch location near you. This time last year, we were proud to have been named a BrandMortgage Repair and Renovation Partner. Click here to read the press release.
  • Great Lighting: An often overlooked “ingredient” in any successful home renovation is the incorporation of proper lighting – both decorative and functional. If properly chosen, lighting can also serve a dual purpose:  illumination and decoration. Not only will well-planned lighting give your home’s interior a brightly lit boost, but it can also serve to showcase your home’s exterior beautifully through lighted walkways, uplighting around trees, and spotlights to highlight key areas of the home.

Check back every month for a new edition of Shades & Highlights from Highlight Homes!

Fall Leaves Could Mean Full Gutters

A cornucopia of color may be beautiful on the trees this Fall, but they could make an ugly mess in your gutters come season's end. Image credit: Photogen
A cornucopia of color may be beautiful on the trees this Fall, but they could make an ugly mess in your gutters come season's end. Image credit: Photogen

Fall is one of those seasons when Mother Nature is at her best. The trees that line valleys and mountains all over the South are transformed from a rolling sea of green to a cornucopia of color – fiery reds, warm oranges, bold yellows, and chestnut browns. As the season progresses, those leaves will fall from their lofty perches to the Earth below. Homeowners often enjoy the time-honored tradition of raking the leaves in their yards as the neighborhood kids take turns jumping into heaping piles.

But those are just the leaves we can see. As they make their autumnal descent, leaves also have a nasty habit of getting caught up in the rain gutters and downspouts that line the home. Just because we can’t see them from the ground, doesn’t mean they are not there. Gutters filled with leaves means they can’t function in the way they were intended. The leaves serve to clog and slow (or completely halt) drainage during a heavy rain. In turn, the water that is backed up in the gutters and downspouts may cause costly damage to a home’s foundation, wood trim and roofline. Therefore, it is imperative – particularly if you live in a heavily wooded area – to clean your gutters before the season’s end.

The best time to clean one’s gutters is ideally after most if not all of the leaves have left the trees. This is usually late fall – sometime in November.  If tackling this project on your own, tools you will need include:

  • Sturdy ladder
  • Gloves
  • Gutter scoop (a garden trowel works just as well)
  • Bucket
  • Spotter to hold the ladder

While you’re up there, be sure to check around the gutters and roofline to look for problem areas, such as wood rot, missing shingles, holes, corrosion on the gutter, leaks, and compromised hangers that hold the gutter in place.

A great shortcut is to wait for a dry day when the leaves will not be as moist and to place a special leaf blower attachment at the end of a downspout. This will help blow the leaves up and out of the downspouts and at the edges of the rain gutters. No matter which method you use, you may want to check the effectiveness of your work by running the hose and creating your own mock rainstorm.

We never recommend cleaning gutters from the roof – this method forces you to lean forward repeatedly, increasingly the likelihood that you might fall off the roof. If you know you struggle with heights, you may want to hire a gutter cleaning company to come out and get the job done for you – quickly and efficiently.

For more home maintenance tips, be sure to check the Highlight Homes blog often. To learn more about Highlight Homes, we invite you to visit us online at When you’re in the market for an excellent design-build home improvement company – look no further than Highlight Homes of Georgia. We welcome your calls at 678-873-9234 – call us TODAY to schedule a no-obligation consultation.

Home for the Holidays

Everything from small touches to major renovations designed to make your guests feel right at home during the holiday season

Pumpkin Pie - © Karcich  Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos
Pumpkin Pie - © Karcich Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

While you may still find sand from that last beach trip in the trunk of your car and you’ve barely begun to break in this year’s pair of boots, one thing is for certain… the holidays will be here before we know it. In a matter of weeks, you’ll be greeted at every mall entrance by the familiar sound of the Salvation Army bell, holiday cards will begin showing up in the mailbox on a daily basis, and talk about where holiday meals should be hosted will ensue. Whether hosting a small gathering of friends or a full-on fun-filled houseguest extravaganza, there are a number of ways you can vie for the title of “host/hostess with the mostest.” From small thoughtful touches you can do yourself to full scale home renovations that require the aid of a professional contractor, there’s plenty of time left to get your abode houseguest-ready.

Guest Room:

Small touches – Take a good look around. Is it time to invest in some new linens and an updated comforter? Place photos that might mean something special to your guests around the room, have a clean bathrobe at the ready hanging in the closet, make sure there are plenty of extra blankets, and leave some new magazines for those late nights when the sugarplums are dancing particularly loudly through one’s head. Fresh flowers are always a nice touch.

Major renovation – Expecting more than one guest, but only have one guestroom? Could the guestroom you DO have be described as a large closet? If so, there are a number of solutions a skilled contractor can help you with. A repurposed home office that sees little to no use, or the conversion of an attic space or basement into guest quarters could be a wise investment that continues to pay off for years to come.

Guest Bath:

Small touches – Beyond the fact that this room should sparkle and shine in time for your guests to arrive, you’ll want to practice the Golden Rule here. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Examine the things that make you feel most welcome when you enter a restroom. Fresh towels and plush rugs underfoot, a lovely new shower curtain hanging on the rod, another clean bathrobe hanging on the back of the door, a drawer filled with basic essentials such as toothbrushes and deodorant, some light reading material and plenty of lovely scented soaps and shampoos will all go a very long way in making your guests feel welcome.

Major renovation – Is your guest bathroom woefully outdated? If so, then this may be the perfect excuse to renovate this space into a room you’re proud of. You’ll be amazed by the difference a new shower stall, some Italian tile, beautifully fashioned fixtures and paint can make!


Small touches – One of the best things you can do to create the illusion of more space in a cramped kitchen is to de-clutter. Move everything you possibly can off of the countertops and into the drawers and cabinets for a nice, clean look. Set a pot filled with orange peels, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and water on the stove to simmer – it fills the air with a wonderful holiday scent. Have some holiday tunes playing lightly in the background to help put everyone in the spirit, and leave little bowls of finger food about to take care of guests with the munchies.

Major renovation – A kitchen renovation is not only one of the most popular home remodeling projects, it’s also one of the best investments. By partnering with a contractor who has experience in structural engineering, you may be pleasantly surprised by the amount of space that is being wasted by your current layout. A skilled contractor can open up your kitchen space and totally transform the look with new cabinets, light fixtures, appliances, countertops, and flooring. If done correctly, this will be a holiday gift you give to yourself as this room finally earns the moniker of “heart of the home”.

Outdoor Living Space:

Small touches – Oftentimes, when you have a house full of guests – some of the activities naturally spill outdoors.  If you don’t already have a space that might qualify as an outdoor living space – such as a deck or patio – you may want to create an impromptu open-air parlor.  Make a large circle in the backyard with stones – fill it in with sand or pea gravel. At the center, place a circular firepit from your local hardware or home improvement store. Surround the firepit with seating such as brightly colored Adirondack chairs or a number of benches. Have plenty of sticks, marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate bars on hand for s’more making!

Major renovation – A patio can be screened in or enclosed with glass to make it more of a four-season space so there’s more room for entertaining. A permanent outdoor hearth of stone or brick can be incorporated on a porch or terrace for a wonderful space to sip wine and share memories of holidays past.

These are just a handful of ways you can make your house feel more like “home” for your guests throughout the holiday season – and there’s plenty more where those came from. The talented design-build team at Highlight Homes of Georgia welcomes the chance to help you get your home houseguest-ready over the coming weeks.  We invite you to give yourself and your family an early holiday gift – one that will keep giving, year-after-year – with a renovation by Highlight Homes. To schedule a no-obligation consultation, call Tony Pourhassan, owner of Highlight Homes, at 678-873-9234 TODAY.  To learn more about Highlight Homes, visit us online at and be sure to “like” us on Facebook!

Image Credit:  © Karcich | Stock Free ImagesDreamstime Stock Photos