Decorating Tips for Any Room in Your Home

Are you interested in sprucing up some rooms in your house but don’t want to hire a designer? There are actually a few interior design tricks that most designers use that you can do to with minimal effort and cost. Even the smallest thing like adding a mirror, painting or plant can make a huge difference. Let’s take a look at a few design tips that will help to inspire you!

Choose the right paint color

There are thousands of paint colors with various tints, shades and tones to choose from. If you are moving and are looking to have a similar color to your old home, remember, “Each color looks different from home to home, because light sources vary, meaning what looks good in your current home might not in your new one.” Taylor (2014). The key is to choose a color that will best complement your upholstery, rug, or whatever else you may have in that particular room.

Space out your furniture

It’s important to space out your furniture and give it room to breathe. “Resist overcrowding a room. Gracious living means space to maneuver with ease.” Taylor (2014). This is especially helpful if you are working with a tight budget. Instead of buying a lot of furniture, use your money to buy fewer, higher-quality pieces. This will make the room look better than if you just packed it with lower-quality furniture.

Properly arrange furniture on the rug

There are a couple different ways that you can arrange furniture on your rug. If the rug is large enough, you’ll want to place all of the furniture legs on top of it. “For this, bigger is better. Just be sure to leave at least 12 to 18 inches of floor surface on all four sides of the rug’s borders.” Taylor (2014). If you have a small rug, be sure to keep all legs off of it. “You don’t want to pick a small rug, though, or it may look insignificant, like an afterthought. The run should appear as though it could touch the front legs of each of the seating pieces.” Taylor (2014). Another option is to put just the front feet of your furniture pieces on the rug. Not only does this tie the arrangement of the room together visually, it also creates a well-defined space while lending a feeling of openness.

Doing your own interior design is as difficult as you may think it is. Many of the tricks that designers are easy enough to do on your own.

Contact your Coldwell Banker United, Realtors Sales Associate or go to www.cbunited.com/houston for advice or recommendations on finding the right design for your new home.

References:

Taylor, J. (2014). 12 Key Decorating Tips to Make Any Room Better. Houuz.com. Retrieved from: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/19837206/list/12-key-decorating-tips-to-make-any-room-better

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Houston Events – May 2015

May is another busy month for the city of Houston. There are many fun events taking place such as Comicpalooza 2015, the 15th Annual Houston Dragon Boat Festival, and the 2015 Good Brick Tour. Let’s take a closer look at what each of these great events has to offer.

Comicpalooza 2015

All you comic book fans out there, this is the event for you! Comicpalooza is a four-day sci-fi and fantasy extravaganza in Downtown Houston. It takes place Friday, May 22nd through Monday, May 25th. “This year the event expands to four days and over 1,000 hours of programming of all types, including panels, Q&A’s, workshops, games, concerts, sports matches, demonstrations, performances, and many other things.” – Taken from the official visitors site for Houston. Celebrities that will be appearing include Laurie Holden (The X-Files, The Shield, The Walking Dead), Larry Thomas (The Soup Nazi from Seinfeld), Ari Lehman (Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th), and many others! For all the latest up-to-date information on Comicpalooza you can visit the official website by clicking here Comicpalooza 2015.

15th Annual Houston Dragon Boat Festival

The Buffalo Bayou will surely be overflowing with people and boats at the 15th Annual Houston Dragon Boat Festival in downtown Houston. For those who aren’t familiar with this great event, their mission state is, “To promote the tradition of dragon boating, increase awareness of Asian and Asian-American culture, and enhance cross-cultural understanding.” – www.texasdragonboat.com. This event is put on every year by the Texas Dragon Boat Association, and they pride themselves on fulfilling their mission every year by hosting dragon boating festivals during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The festival includes cultural performances, a variety of great food, and artisans. This year’s corporate teams include Amegy Bank of Texas, HEB, Houston Astros, PricewaterhouseCoopers, American Express, and Silver Eagle. This event takes place on Saturday, May 2nd. Please visit www.texasdragonboat.com to learn more about this festival.

2015 Good Brick Tour

Preservation Houston’s second annual Good Brick Tour, which takes place Saturday and Sunday, May 2nd and 3rd, gives you the chance to get an inside look at some of Houston’s best restored homes and buildings. “The Good Brick Tour is your chance to explore these outstanding examples of historic preservation and to meet property owners, architects and designers who guided them.” – http://www.preservationhouston.org/good-brick-awards-tour/2015-good-brick-tour/. With your ticket purchase you will receive entry to all featured locations on both tour dates. During the tour you will have an opportunity to see six outstanding projects that have won Good Brick Awards for excellence in historic preservation. These privately owned homes and buildings are not usually open to the public. You can learn more by clicking here 2015 Good Brick Tour.

May is certainly packed with a lot of great events in Houston. You’ll find that each one has a little something for everyone. This is just another example of why is Houston is the place to live!

Contact your Coldwell Banker United, Realtors Sales Associate or go to www.cbunited.com/houston for advice or recommendations on the communities and events in Houston.

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Houston’s Best Colleges

All throughout Houston there are more than 315,000 students that are enrolled in more than 500 degree and certification programs at the many colleges that the city as to offer. There are 14 major institutions of higher learning in the Greater Houston area. Let’s take a closer look at a few of these fine universities.

University of Houston

The University of Houston has many nationally recognized programs that include creative writing, health law, intellectual property law and business administration, among others. This is a premier learning destination for students all around the world to pursue graduate and undergraduate programs. Students are provided with endless opportunities to practice job skills, build professional networks, and launch a successful career. Alumni of UH can be found in leadership positions at major corporations, and have even won Olympic gold! Learn more about what this great university has to offer by clicking here University of Houston.

Baylor College of Medicine

“Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, the only private medical school in the Greater Southwest, is recognized as a premier academic health science center and is known for excellence in education, research and patient care.” – The Official Visitors Site for Houston. The college also consistently ranks as a top choice for medical students, graduate students and allied health students. The four schools of Baylor College of Medicine work closely together to prepare healthcare providers and scientists of the next generation. All of the educations programs undergo review by many national accrediting agencies. To learn more about this great university please click here Baylor College of Medicine.

University of St. Thomas

This Catholic institution has more than 3,700 students from 40 states and 58 countries. “Since 1994, U.S. News & World Report has named the University of St. Thomas to the top tier of Western mid-size comprehensive universities.” – University of St. Thomas Website. The university prides itself on fostering engagement in a diverse, collaborative community, and welcomes students of all faiths. One interesting fact about the university is that 93% of the full-time faculty has earned the highest degrees in their fields. More information can be found at their website University of St. Thomas

Houston is definitely at the top of the list when it comes to best colleges and universities in the country. No matter what profession you’d like to pursue, Houston has a college that will fit your needs.

References:

Houston Colleges & Universities. The Official Visitors Site for Houston. Retrieved from: http://www.visithoustontexas.com/travel-tools/colleges-universities/

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Houston’s Best Steakhouses

If you’re planning a night out and looking for a great steak dinner, Houston has some top-notch steakhouses to choose from. Many of the steakhouses in the city are known for their luxurious atmospheres and delicious steak dinners.

Brenner’s Steakhouse on the Bayou

“The steaks at Brenner’s location on Buffalo Bayou are wet-aged, USDA Prime and they’re served a puddle of au jus.” Shilcutt (2012). At Brenner’s Steakhouse you’ll experience an incredible setting for an unforgettable dining experience. The restaurant’s interior, which formerly housed the Rainbow Lodge, includes a stylish new décor, cozy cocktail lounge, wine cellar and spacious patio. Brenner’s received many Zagat awards in 2013-2014, including Best Steakhouse in Houston, Best Food in Houston, Best Décor in Houston, and Best Service in Houston. Some of the original favorites on the menu include crunchy German potatoes and apple strudel, as well as prime cuts of beef and the freshest seafood. You can learn more by visiting their website Brenner’s Steakhouse on the Bayou.

III Forks

This luxurious steakhouse hand-selects only the finest USDA Print steak and only deem the top .005% of beef acceptable. “The finest USDA Prime steak, mouthwatering, buttery lobster and ocean-fresh seafood are prepared to perfection, exact to order.” – Official III Forks Website. The restaurant is also known for its award-winning salad, which includes Granny Smith apples, toasted pecans, and Maytag Blue cheese in a walnut-molasses vinaigrette. III Forks also prides itself on having a very knowledgeable staff at all levels – from servers to bartenders. If you’re looking to experience the warm and intimate surroundings of a preferred fine dining restaurant, III Forks is the place to go! You can visit their website by clicking here III Forks.

Vic & Anthony’s

Vic & Anthony’s is known as one of the best all-around restaurants in Houston, period. “Indulge in a beautiful filet mignon or rib-eye topped with bone marrow bordelaise, or split a porterhouse for two and save room for V&A’s equally prime sides such as creamed corn or au gratin potatoes.” Shilcutt (2012). Their award-winning menu also features only the finest prime beef, fresh seafood and more! For all you wine lovers, you’ll find that they also have an extensive wine collection. When enjoying a night out at Vic & Anthony’s you’ll experience an elegant, yet intimate atmosphere, created with a very close attention to detail. To learn more, please click here Vic & Anthony’s.

There are many great places to go in Houston if you are looking for a delicious steak in a luxurious atmosphere. You’ll experience an unforgettable evening at just about any steakhouse in the city.

References:

Shilcutt, Katherine (2012). The Rest of the Best: Houston’s Top 10 Steakhouses. Houston Press. Retrieved from: http://blogs.houstonpress.com/eating/2012/11/the_rest_of_the_best_houstons_34.php

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Houston’s Finest Art Galleries

Whether you’re interested in collecting art our just enjoy looking at fine art, Houston has many galleries where you can do so. Art galleries in Houston offer a wide variety of art including glass art, painting, sculpture, fine art photography, and works ranging from contemporary art to traditional fine art.

18 Hands Gallery

If you enjoy ceramic art, 18 Hands Gallery is a great place to check out. The founders are all ceramic artists who share the goal of, “bringing together the unique work of many fine clay artists in an accessible and inviting way.” – 18 Hand Gallery Official Website. This gallery is known for featuring the work of fine Houston-area and Texas artists, but now also displays the works of dozens of nationally and internationally known ceramists. For those interested in learning more about ceramic art, there are monthly exhibitions that feature lectures and workshops by ceramic artists. A full list of upcoming exhibits and is available at their website 18 Hands Gallery

Archway Gallery

Archway Gallery is known in Houston, and across the nation, as being the oldest artist owned and operated galleries. There is always an artist on site to meet with visitors and give a unique and insightful view of their works. You’ll also find that there are a variety of demonstrations and monthly readings for local writers and authors. One of the great exhibits on display during April is “Body Language.” This will feature watercolor paintings by Cookie Wells, along with ceramics and glass works by Andre and Virginia Bally. To learn more about this great gallery please visit their website Archway Gallery.

Barbara Davis Gallery

The Barbara Davis Gallery has prided itself on bringing groundbreaking contemporary art to Houston for the past 30 years. For those who enjoy learning about contemporary art, “The Gallery offers a fresh vision for a broad understanding of, and dialogues about, contemporary visual art.” – Houston Visitors Site. You can find reviews of the gallery’s exhibitions in international publications such as ArtForum, Art in America, Art News, Flash Art International, The Art Economist, The New York Times, and many others. Barbara Davis has a passion for educating her collectors and community about innovative contemporary art. For a list of artists and exhibits please visit their website Barbara Davis Gallery.

The art galleries of Houston offer everything from contemporary art to ceramic art, and everything in between. Art lovers from far and wide travel to Houston year round to view all the great works of art the city as to offer.

References:

Art Galleries. The Official Visitors Site for Houston. Retrieved from:

http://www.visithoustontexas.com/shopping/art-galleries/

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Houston’s Finest Restaurants

Houston is known amongst both residents and tourists as being a hot spot for fine dining. Whether you’re in the mood for steak or fine Italian cuisine, there are many great restaurants to choose from.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar

Located in the heart of Houston, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar is proud to offer guests an unforgettable dining experience with an exceptional menu inspired by their passion for steak and wine. Start your dinner off by choosing from their list of 100 wines by the glass. This is the perfect place for professionals looking to have a “working dinner” or romantic couples looking to dine in style. Flemings has received awards for “Best Steak” and “Best Wine List” by Best of Houston, Citysearch. They also received an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator from 2010-2013. To view their great steak menu and wine list please click here Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar – Houston.

Sorrento

Those looking for the perfect dining experience go to Sorrento Ristorante. Both residents of Houston and tourists agree that Sorrento is the best Italian restaurant in the city. They offer beautiful dining rooms that are prefect parties or special occasions. The menu includes great dishes such as hearty lasagna with prime ground beef and Lobster and Arulgula Tortelloni with Lemon Cream and Caviar among many others. Don’t forget to save room for something off of the dolce menu. You’ll also be impressed with the ambience, romantic atmosphere and service. Check out everything this great restaurant has to offer by clicking here Sorrento.

Mark’s American Cuisine

Mark’s American Cuisine, located in a 1920’s renovated church, was recently voted Houston’s Most Romantic Restaurant. “The golden ceilings and candle lit tables provide guests with an intimate escape from the outside world.” – Mark’s American Cuisine Website. Mark’s has also won several awards, including #1 in Houston of Zagat’s Best Restaurants in the World. The dining room is surrounded by beautifully hand painted walls and stained glass lamps hang from the rustic chains overhead. Some of the great items on their menu include slow roasted duck, sesame crusted ahi tuna, prime sirloin of beef, and others. You can see their full menu by clicking here Mark’s American Cuisine.

Whether you’re looking for somewhere to have a work meeting lunch or a romantic dinner with your significant other, there is always somewhere great to go in Houston.

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Houston’s High End Shopping

Over the last few years Houston has become known all across the country for luxury shopping. Ed Wulfe, chairman and CEO of retail development and brokerage firm Wulfe & Co. had this to say: “Houston is rising and high-end retailers are expanding, and the two forces are converging.” Kaplan (2013). When most people talk about high end shopping in Houston they talk about the Galleria. They will also soon be talking about River Oaks District, which is set to debut later this year.

The Galleria

Each year The Galleria sees more than 30 million visitors from all over the world. They come to experience the dynamic and fine shopping environment that is offered by this luxurious shopping center. Executive Vice President of leasing at Simon Malls Vicki Hanor said that, “The Galleria is one of our most diverse and fastest growing luxury destinations.” Kaplan (2013). The Galleria houses 400 fine stores and restaurants, two high-rise hotels, and three office towers. In addition, there is also a full-size ice rink for recreational and figure skating, two swimming pools, a video arcade, more than 12 beauty salons, and many other great amenities. Some of the great stores you can find at The Galleria include Neiman Marcus, two Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Tiffany & Co., Yves Saint Laurent, Ralph Lauren, Fendi, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and others. More information can be found at the official website The Galleria.

River Oaks District

“The 15-acre River Oaks District will have individualized storefronts with modern designs, a collection of restaurants featuring a dining terrace under a canopy of live oaks, wide sidewalks and curbside parking.” Kaplan (2013). Debuting later this year, River Oaks District will feature 252,000 square feet of retail shopping, 92,000 square feet of office space and 279 residential units. Stores that you will find there include Anne Fontaine, Bonobos, Cartier, Dolce & Gabanna, Brunello Cucinelli, Jon Lobb Bootmaker, and many others. There will also be an upscale iPic Theater along with an Equinox Fitness Club. To keep up with all the latest news and happenings, click here River Oaks District.

When it comes to high end shopping, Houston is considered a hotspot, both nationally and internationally. While The Galleria is currently the center of luxurious shopping, the River Oaks District will soon give shopping enthusiasts even more of a reason to visit Houston.

Reference:

Kaplan, David (2014). Luxury shoppers, homegrown and from afar, push Houston’s high-end retail ever higher. Retrieved from: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/retail/article/Luxury-shoppers-homegrown-and-from-afar-push-5551422.php

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Houston’s Most Popular Theater’s

Houston, TX is home to some of the finest performing arts in the world. This is evident by the downtown Theater District, which spans over 17 blocks. Here you will find, “a unique blend of cutting-edge performing arts and well known classics in a variety of intimate settings.” – Houston Visitors Site.

Alley Theatre

Founded over 60 years ago, the Alley Theatre strives to provide audiences with the highest quality theater in Houston. They offer a variety of work including new plays, classics, the re-discovered and the rarely-performed, and new musical theatre. In addition, The Alley also hosts educational programs, where they connect with the youth of the city and state. These programs include From State to Page, HYPE (Hype Young Playwrights Exchange) and the Young Performers Studio. The Alley Theatre values creative excellence, alley artists, community engagement, openness, and education. You can learn more by visiting their website The Alley Theatre.

A.D. Players

Originally known as After Dinner players, this unique theater was founded in 1967 by Jeanette Clift George. They are committed to producing plays and programs that uphold human value, offer creativity, and promote literacy and education. A.D. Players is also known for starting Houston’s first year-round children’s theater. All throughout April the theater is featuring “Surprising God,” which is two one acts written by founder Jeanette Clift George. The children’s theater also has some great plays coming up, including the wildly entertaining musical comedy “Joshua and the TA-RA, TA-RAA, TA-RAA,” which opens July 14th. For more info and tickets please visit their website by clicking here A.D. Players.

Express Children’s Theatre

What makes this theatre different is that it is Houston’s oldest and largest performing and arts education organization that is dedicated specifically to children and families. Their goal is to, “honor the curiosity and complexity of young minds with innovative productions of high quality celebrating Houston’s diverse culture.” – Houston Visitors Site. The theater was founded in 1991 with two shows, four actors and a very limited budget. They current present around 250 shows every season reaching over 75,000 children. Express Children’s Theatre looks forward to many more years of presenting professional performing arts that celebrate Houston’s cultural diversity to children and families. More information can be found at their website Express Children’s Theatre.

If you are a fan of high quality theater, Houston is the place to go. With their large downtown Theatre District, you’ll find everything from plays for children to spectacular musicals.

References:

Performing Arts. The Official Visitors Site for Houston. Retrieved from:

http://www.visithoustontexas.com/things-to-do/performing-arts/

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Houston’s Top Art Museums

Houston’s Museum District is known as a popular destination for both locals and tourists. Alvarez (2013). The city is known for having several world-class museums that attract all types of art lovers. Let’s take a closer look at what some of these museums have to offer.

Pearl Fincher Museum of Fine Arts

What makes this museum so appealing is that it is dedicated to local artists and collectors. The Pearl is located in a former county library, and renovations were made possible by private funds, grants and gifts. Currently on display is “Painting in the Texas Tradition,” which showcases works of art in painting, drawing, and printmaking, with the artist’s giving their modern “take” on the Texas landscape, traditions, and the people of the state. There are also many great volunteer opportunities available at the Pearl. For more information about special events, exhibits, and general information about the museum you can visit their website by clicking here Pearl Fincher Museum of Fine Arts.

Children’s Museum of Houston

While most museums have a strict “do not touch” policy, this is not the case at the Children’s Museum of Houston. Kids are encouraged to touch, handle, and manipulate almost everything on display. Alvarez (2013). The Children’s Museum of Houston was rated America’s #1 Children’s Museum by Parents magazine. Popular exhibits include KLUTZ® Amazingly Immature, which is an interactive exhibit that aims to prove that immaturity and genius go hand in hand, and the Building Zone, a kid friendly construction area which features hands-on activities where kids can learn about physics and engineering. Another great feature of the Children’s Museum of Houston is that you can have your child’s next birthday party there. For more information please click here The Children’s Museum of Houston.

Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston

As part of their mission statement, “Blaffer Art Museum serves as a catalyst for creative innovation, experimentation, and scholarship in contemporary art.” The Blaffer Art Museum prides itself on operating in the here and now and embraces experimentation and creative acts of daring originality and vision. Official Website (http://www.blafferartmuseum.org/). One of the current exhibits is “Janet Biggs: Echo of the Unknown,” which is a multidimensional exhibition combining video, sound, and objects that explore the role of memory in the construction of identity. There are also great events taking place throughout April. You can learn more by going to their website The Blaffer Art Museum University of Houston.

Houston is very well known for its wide variety of art museums. The city is a popular destination for art lovers all around the U.S. We’ve only discussed a few of the many great museums that Houston has to offer.

References:

Alvarez, O. (2013). The Rest of the Best: Houston’s Top 10 Museums. Houston Press. Retrieved from http://blogs.houstonpress.com/artattack/2013/03/rest_of_the_best_houstons_top.php

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The Best Neighborhoods in Houston

Houston is known for having some of the best neighborhoods in the country. Whether you have a family or are single, you’ll be able to find a neighborhood that best fits your needs!

West University

West University is actually a small town within a city. In fact, the town even has its own city government and police. Conveniently located, West University is just a short distance from the Galleria, Rice University, and the nation’s largest medical center. It is also close to Hermann Park, Old Braeswood, and Houston’s Museum District. “No wonder that for more than two decades, West U. has been a prime choice for upwardly mobile white-collar and professional families with kids.” Frontdoor.com. Most of its residents find that West University is very family-oriented and old-fashioned.

The Woodlands

“This master-planned community 27 miles north of Houston is a city within itself.” Frontdoor.com. This area is filled with upscale malls, large business parks, corporate campuses, an outdoor music pavilion, a hospital and much more. For those who enjoy the outdoors, there are over 200 miles of walking and bike paths, along with 125 large and small parks. The centerpiece of The Woodlands is Waterway Square. This is a one-acre public plaza with special water features and beautiful green spaces. Most of the people living here are married middle-class professionals with families.

Bellaire

“Median home values have more than doubled over the last decade or so in Bellaire – from $234,000 in 2000 to just over $620,000 in 2013 – and they show no signs of slowing down.” Lomax, Shilcutt, Holley (2014). Those who live in Bellaire have easy access to downtown, the Galleria, West University, and even the medical center. Residents also benefit from award-winning public schools, high-quality city services, and not to mention an unlimited variety of home styles to choose from.

There are many great neighborhoods in Houston that are in close proximity to all of the amenities the city as to offer.

References:

Lomas, John; Shilcutt, Katharine; Holley, Peter (2014). Where to live Now: The 25 Hottest Neighborhoods of 2014. Houstonia Magazine. Retrieved from: http://www.houstoniamag.com/real-estate/articles/where-to-live-now-hottest-neighborhoods-april-2014/1

Five Great Houston Neighborhoods. Frontdoor.com. Retrieved from http://www.frontdoor.com/places/five-great-houston-neighborhoods

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