The Elegance of Hardwood, For Every Style and Budget

floor-shutterstock_160071077-copy
Whether you have older, distressed floors in need of refinishing to bring out their full charm, or carpets you’ve wanted to upgrade for years, a refresh is within easy reach with ezhome flooring services.

No trend has ever surpassed the timeless appeal of gleaming wood floors. Mauricio Melendez, ezhome flooring expert, takes us through the essential options.

Solid Hardwood

“Solid hardwood floors are the ultimate home investment piece,” says Mauricio. “They have a proven track record of adding to your home’s value,” he notes “and properly taken care of, they can last hundreds of years.”

They’re beautiful, durable, and each variety of wood — whether oak, maple, hickory or any number of exotic choices — gives its own distinct look to a room. Solid hardwood can be tailored to your wants and needs through your choice of wood, stains in a wide variety of tones, and finishes from matte to high gloss.

floors-shutterstock_23249191-copy
Wood floors of all kinds add warmth and elegance to every room.

Refinishing Even with worn looking floors, you’re standing on a good foundation. Sanding and restaining can have old floors that bear the scars and scratches of use looking good as new. “That’s the beauty of solid hardwood,” says Mauricio. “It lives on.”

Engineered Hardwood

Engineered hardwood is real wood, but it’s manufactured with multiple layers. The way it’s constructed, layering different woods in perpendicular to each other, makes it very stable and less likely to shrink and expand with differences of humidity and temperature. That makes them well suited to any room in the house. The middle road balancing cost and durability, engineered wood can be a great solution for those who want solid hardwood, but feel that it’s a bit out of their price range.

Unlike the many decisions required with solid hardwood floors, and the time it takes to install and finish them properly, “with engineered hardwood and laminate, what you see if what you get,” Mauricio points out. And what you can get is incredibly varied.

puppy-on-floor
Hardwood floors — an investment for generations, and maximum home value.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate may not be the home value enhancing investment of hardwood, but it can get you the style you want at a fraction of the cost. A synthetic material made to look like wood or stone, laminate is incredibly durable and water-resistant. It’s a great choice for high-traffic areas, like kitchens, bathrooms and play rooms, bringing style and spill resistance at a great price!

Laminate can also be a way to get everything you want style-wise without breaking your budget. Want the look of an exotic wood that’s way out of range as solid hardwood? You can have it with laminate.

 

About ezhome Flooring Services Solid hardwood, engineered hardwood, or laminate, ezhome has a flooring option to suit your style and budget. As with all our 50+ home services, we work hand in hand with our customers from the moment we provide a quote, to when we finish the job — communicating effectively along the way to provide a high-quality floor at a price that’s less than what you might think. Request a free quote and learn more.

Get inspired and find your perfect floor with ezhome on Pinterest

Beyond Cactus — the wonderfully varied world of drought-tolerant landscaping

shutterstock_526811107
Species commonly known as Kangaroo Paw can bring the color and whimsy of a Dr. Seuss book to your own backyard.

Drought tolerant plantings and low maintenance yards are a trend that shows no signs of quitting — and for good reason. It pays to be water conscious in your landscaping, both when looking at your environmental footprint and looking at your water bills.

Moving your yard to a low-water use design can seem daunting, but remember, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Finding ways and parts of your yard to bring in more drought-tolerant plantings will still have an impact. And if you want help coming up with a plan, ezhome’s landscape design services can help.

The range of species and looks is greater than many people realize. Here are some points to consider.

Embrace Stark Beauty

Cacti and other succulents are what comes to mind for most people when they think about low-water plants. A bold agave plant claims space with authority! The variety of shapes, colors and sizes make this category a favorite.

Soften the Edges

Not all low water plants are compact or prickly. Ornamental grasses (like Festuca glauca, Muhlenbergia rigens and Miscanthus sinensis) add textural variety. Red fescue (Festuca rubra) creates a “lawn” that looks like windswept waves of grass.

 

Get All the Color You Want

shutterstock_389936389
Trailing African daisies are drought-hardy but look delicate.

Kangaroo paw describes a number of species from Western Australia that produce flowers that look straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. To incorporate colorful groundcover with evergreen qualities, try trailing African daisies (Osteospermum fruticosum) or California lilac (Ceanothus ‘Centennial’) with tight clusters of purple-blue flowers. And don’t forget fragrant and flowering species that you can bring into the kitchen or bath, like lavender and rosemary.

 

Go Global

shutterstock_305292251
Lavender varieties bring the Mediterranean into your garden, kitchen and bath.

The American West isn’t the only place on Earth that needs to be water conscious. California native species are great, but you can also look to the Mediterranean and Australia for inspiration, opening more looks to choose from.

“While invasive plants are a concern to take seriously,” says ezhome landscape designer Samantha Bella, “just because it isn’t native doesn’t mean it’s causing damage. A professional landscape designer will be well-informed on what’s a good choice and what isn’t.”

 

Don’t Forget Trees

Most trees, once established, don’t require much watering. Big winners are Marina Strawberry trees (Arbutus marina) and crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia) with its beautiful clusters of blossoms in multiple colors.  Or choose fruit bearing trees like citrus and olive to create a Mediterranean idyll in your own backyard.

 

Stone is a Garden Tool

To build in areas for activities and entertaining, consider a bocce ball court or a decomposed granite patio. And for a soft path, mix stone with plantings like creeping thyme.

Call on ezhome’s landscape design services  to create a custom plan that suits your yard and tastes.

Get inspired and dream up your best garden with ezhome on Pinterest.

pinterest-drough-tolerant

YOUR HOME, MADE EASY.

Tile — Your Interior Design Secret Weapon

tile-kitchen-wall-shutterstock_461350198
With ezhome’s new tile installation service, getting what you want has never been easier.

There’s no home design material more versatile than tile. It’s the perfect fusion of form and function, able to adapt from floors to walls and from inside to out.

No matter what your style, there’s a tile that fits it. Modern or traditional, masculine or feminine, subtle or bold. They can be a supporting element, or striking enough to be the main event.

If it’s been a while since you’ve checked tile options, prepare to be impressed. The selection of materials, colors and shapes has never been greater. You’ll want to take tile well beyond your bathroom.

A few tile trends to love:tile-shower-shutterstock_465064154

  • Simple and modern subway tiles for a clean, unified look
  • Innovative shapes and sizes that design with their lines as much as their colors
  • Retro colors and combinations to highlight the period charm of your home, from mid-century kitchens to an Old Hollywood powder room
  • Global inspiration from Mexico to Morocco

 

Floors

tile-livingroom-shutterstock_181705637Tile is a great flooring choice for bathrooms, kitchens, entryways, sunrooms, laundry rooms, hallways, patios — any high traffic area of your home. Get water resistance, longevity, and make clean-up a breeze.

Find colors and patterns that can brighten even the smallest spaces with a single design gesture.

And tile floors are great for temperature control. They stay cool when it’s hot, and are one of the best choices to install over a radiant heat system.

Walls & Backsplash

No surface is easier to clean than tile, from kitchen splatters to sticky fingers and muddy dogs. Whatever mess you throw their way can be solved with a swipe of a sponge.

tile-shower-shutterstock_94123312
Update your bathroom with tiled showers, walls and floors. Nothing combines form and function better than tile.

Any spot craving charactertile-fireplace-shutterstock_536678077

Take an unused space, like the rise of your stairs or a tiny hallway, and make it special. Or use tile to define a space, like around a fireplace, or to create separation between living areas in an open floor plan.

When you’re ready to install, call ezhome. With ezhome’s new tile installation service, getting the look and functionality you want has never been easier.

Request a free quote.

Get inspired and find your perfect tile with ezhome on Pinterest

pinterest-tile

YOUR HOME, MADE EASY.

Top 3 Reasons to Repaint Your Rooms Right Now

paint-shutterstock_420632929
With ezhome’s interior painting service, getting a whole new look is easier than ever.

Sometimes, you just need a change, and nothing transforms a room like a fresh coat of paint. The path to your new look has never been easier with ezhome’s interior painting service. You decide what you want, and our pro team does all the work.

There are so many reasons to love designing with paint, but these are some of our top picks.

#1 It’s a Big Bang for the Buck

There’s no greater impact on a modest budget than the transformation paint offers. A fast few coats of paint later, and you’re waking up to a whole new room. What was dingy is bright. What was dreary is fresh. What was jarring is soft.

You don’t need lots of color to make an impact. If you like the clean minimalism of white, a fresh coat of paint will make your rooms look new. And “white” isn’t really just white. Choosing whites with warm or cool tones can create totally different atmospheres and play differently with light.

#2 You Can Have Whatever You Want

paint-shutterstock_331119938-cropSeriously. Whatever. You. Want. And how often is that true? Your imagination is the only limit.

Want a sunny kitchen? Butter yellow walls will perk up the room. Bored with your living room? Try out one of the deep blues that are popular now, and it’s got a whole new vibe.  Want to paint your bedroom a brilliant green, so it feels like you’re waking up in the jungle canopy? Do it.

Sometimes a relatively small and targeted application of color is the right amount. If you have your heart set on a really bold candy apple red or tangerine, but think a whole room is too much, try an accent wall. Or refresh the walls with a nice white, and use something bold on doors and trim for a flash of color that doesn’t overwhelm.

Fresh color can go anywhere. Try ceilings and floors…the rise of your staircase…the brickwork around your fireplace. Nothing is off limits. Remember, you can have whatever you want.

And there’s no need to contain your new palette to the inside of the house. An eye-catching front door is a great way to play — and boost curb appeal.

#3 It Doesn’t Have to Be Forever

When you start a remodel that has you knocking down walls, you’re going to be living with that for a while.

With paint, you’re committed only as long as it’s working for you.

If you go bold, and then get tired of it in a year or two, paint over it.  It’s not that hard to change (and even easier if you have ezhome do the work). You could pick an accent wall and change it twice a year. (We’ve seen it done!)

Get inspired and find your perfect color with ezhome on Pinterest 

 

About ezhome Painting Services Walls, floors, ceilings and more — ezhome can make your design dreams happen with our interior (and exterior) painting service. We work hand in hand with our customers from the moment we provide a quote, to when we finish the paint job — communicating effectively along the way and tailoring every detail to your specific needs to provide a high-quality paint job at a price that’s less than what you might think. Request a free quote and learn more. 

Want help with painting your rooms? ezhome can get the job done, from accent walls to full rooms, floors and ceilings. We can paint your home’s exterior too. Visit ezhome.com/services 

YOUR HOME, MADE EASY.

Q&A on Winter Yard Care with ezhome Landscape Designer Samantha Bella

shutterstock_93597238January and February might not seem like the most obvious months for garden projects, but it’s the very best time of year to see to the health of your trees and plants. Good winter maintenance can put your yard on the path for a beautiful spring. Every step of the way, ezhome is here to help.

We sat down for a chat with ezhome landscape designer Samantha Bella to get her tips for winter yard care.

Q: If homeowners take on one project for their yard this month, what would you suggest?

Samantha: Winter is a great time to take care of your trees with proper pruning. That’s my #1 priority. During winter, trees are in their dormant period (yes, even here in California), and because they’re not engaged in active growth, they are more receptive to pruning. Our wet winter weather also helps to reduce stress on the trees, avoiding shock. By pruning your trees in winter, you’re not fighting against their natural cycle, but working with them. And on a practical note, fewer leaves allows you to see a tree’s structure better and make the proper cuts.

Q: Pruning 101. What is pruning?shutterstock_533693173

Samantha: Seasonal pruning is an important process for the health, longevity, and aesthetics of your garden.  Using proper equipment, pruning removes dead, damaged and diseased branches to allow for healthy new growth.  It is especially beneficial during the winter months when the trees and shrubs are putting their energy and nutrients towards their root systems in preparation for spring blooms and foliage.

Q: What kind of trees are candidates for pruning?

Samantha: Really, all of them, but for different reasons. First, there are ornamental trees, flowering trees and fruiting trees. In their case, pruning is essential for best growth and productivity. Fruit trees in particular need to be pruned yearly to maintain the quality of the fruit.

Here we have some citrus trees that are “ever-bearing,” meaning they produce fruit throughout the year. Even though they don’t ever go dormant, it’s still possible to prune them in winter, and you still need to manage their growth.

Q: Do big shade trees get pruned too?

Samantha: Absolutely. Big trees can become dangerous if they aren’t pruned. Branches that are too close to your house, or your neighbor’s house, can block light and cause excess debris on the roof and in the gutters. And with big trees, it can be easier to identify potential hazards in winter when their limbs are bare.

Pruning is also important for the health of the tree. We might love a dense, lush tree, but allowing some openness is essential. If the center of the tree is too dense with vegetation, and debris is allowed to collect, that can lead to rot. Overly dense vegetation can also block the wind from safely passing through the branches, and that puts the tree at risk for being blown over by strong winds.

Q: What if I just want to let everything go natural?

Samantha: If you’ve ever taken a walk in the woods, you’ve seen how out of hand that could get! Your neighbors might not be pleased. Even more importantly, there are real safety concerns in a populated area. Branches can become hazardous, causing serious property damage or injury. And as we just talked about, it’s not good for the health of the tree.

Q: Is tree pruning something I can DIY, or do I need to hire a professional?

Samantha: You can do it yourself — but not without some serious study of plant biology. Of all the tasks in your yard, pruning trees isn’t for beginners. Even for small trees, making smart decisions about where to prune for best growth and productivity is essential to the health and longevity of the tree. Tools need to be kept clean to prevent spreading disease between trees. And for big trees, pruning can be a dangerous job. Anyone climbing up into a big tree needs to have proper safety equipment — and know how to use it. And then you’ll need a plan for how to manage all the debris. It piles up fast!

shutterstock_194677277
ezhome’s gardening experts prune trees of all sizes. Learn more.

Q: Do I have to deal with every tree in my yard at the same time?

Samantha: No. With a lot of trees, pruning can be a big job, so not every tree in your yard needs to be pruned at once. A landscaping professional can help you make a plan for your property, identifying which trees need the most frequent pruning, and which can be put on a more occasional schedule.  

Samantha’s #2 tip for winter gardening — Winter is for dreaming! This is the time to plan your best yard, and the time to get your big plantings done before the spring rush. Stay tuned for more on that…

About Samantha Bella, ezhome Landscape Designer — Raised in Kansas on five acres surrounded by wheat fields, Samantha grew up with a love of gardening and a fascination with the life of plants. She earned a B.S. in Landscape Design and Horticulture from Kansas State University, and then a Certificate in Landscape Architecture from UC Berkeley. Samantha is a Bay Friendly Qualified Landscaper and holds a CA state contractors license. She is currently smitten with the brilliantly colored variety of plants native to Australia and New Zealand that are low water use and thrive in the Bay Area. Just ask her about Kangaroo Paw.

Want help with pruning your trees? ezhome can get the job done for trees of all sizes, as well as assess potential hazards. Visit ezhome.com/services 

YOUR HOME, MADE EASY.

5 Must-See’s in San Jose!

There’s no denying that the Bay Area is home to some pretty great stuff, and San Jose is no exception! Without further ado, here are a few of our favorite must-see’s in California’s third-largest city.

1. Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose

Parents trying to find a fun, educational activity for their kids can’t go wrong with the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose. This unique museum uses play to engage your child’s senses and take advantage of their natural curiosity, while also introducing them to science and engineering.

800px-children27s_discovery_museum_of_san_jose
Children’s Discovery Museum

2. Japantown

San Jose is home to one of the United States’ three Japantowns that are left in the country, providing opportunities for unique cultural experiences throughout the year. There’s plenty to do in San Jose’s Japantown, which is home to a year-round farmer’s market, the Japanese American Museum, several authentic restaurants, and the summer Obon Festival celebration–a popular two-day event featuring music, dancing, and more.

3. Winchester Mystery House

Looking for a genuinely spooky experience? The Winchester Mystery House might be right up your alley! Built based on the bizarre instructions of Sarah Winchester, this Victorian maze of a building features a seance room, secret passages, and unusual staircases. Touring this real-life haunted house is a perfect Halloween activity.

800px-winchester_house_910px
Winchester Mystery House

4. Almaden Quicksilver County Park

For a taste of the outdoors without leaving San Jose, you can’t go wrong with the Almaden Quicksilver County Park! This picturesque location is home to an extensive network of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails. With beautiful wildflower displays, a look at San Jose’s mining history, and even the chance to see bobcats and other wildlife, this park is perfect for family picnics and other outdoor fun.

5. Raging Waters

You can’t talk about fun things to do in San Jose without mentioning Northern California’s largest waterpark! Whether you prefer to relax on the lazy river or test your bravery on intense waterslides like Bombs Away or Blue Thunder/White Lightning, there’s something for the entire family to enjoy at Raging Waters.

800px-ragingwaters_sanjose01
Raging Waters

As you can see, there are plenty of great activities for the whole family in San Jose! Which one is your favorite?

3 Mistakes People Make When Choosing a Gardener

With so many gardening services out there these days, it can be tempting to think that they’re all pretty much the same, right? Wrong! Not all gardening services are created equal, and in many cases, choosing the wrong gardener can lead to subpar service and other, more serious problems.

The list below highlights three common problems homeowners face when they hire the wrong gardener. But don’t let these problems scare you. By working with ezhome, you’ll never have to worry about these gardening problems again:

1. Gas Blower Regulations800px-leaf_blower2c_homewood_cemetery

Gas blower regulations are a big deal in the Bay Area, where many of our local municipalities have regulations in place that limit (or in some cases, entirely ban) the use of gas-powered blowers. Unfortunately, far too many gardening services fail to follow these regulations, creating a nuisance in the community. You don’t want to find yourself on the wrong end of a noise complaint – or a fine – simply because your gardeners don’t obey the laws. At ezhome, we use electric blowers when required by local regulations to ensure this won’t become a problem.

2. Cutting Costs

Sure, you don’t want to break the bank in your efforts to take care of your yard, but if a gardener’s prices sound too good to be true, they probably are. Those super low prices could be an indicator of many issues, rpexels-photo-largeanging from the use of illegal workers to not providing insurance coverage to protect homeowners from injury liability. And all too often, those cut-rate prices often result in cut-rate care for your garden, leaving your home looking worse off than it did before. At ezhome, we protect both you and our gardeners by conducting thorough background checks, as well as providing fair wages, ongoing training, and liability insurance coverage so you can get the best care possible.

3. Hard to Reachperson-woman-smartphone-calling-large

Whether you need to make a special service request or make changes to your service, few things are more annoying than not being able to contact your gardening company. A hard-to-reach service provider can make it impossible to get the customized care your garden needs. At ezhome, our intuitive interface allows you to communicate with us whenever you want via app, website, or telephone. Our team is always available to address your concerns and respond to your requests so you are always happy with your service.

When you work with ezhome, these gardening problems become a thing of the past. Find out for yourself why more and more people are choosing to work with ezhome by getting your free quote today!

Childproofing Your Yard: Poisonous Plants To Avoid

While it may seem like a silly risk, there’s no denying that children are naturally curious and are often tempted to touch or even eat plants that they aren’t supposed to. While teaching children not to eat berries or leaves from the garden is a good first step, it’s better still to keep dangerous plants out of your yard altogether.

If you have young children, keep these plants out of your yard:

Foxglove

While foxglove’s columns of purple flowers make it an extremely beautiful addition to your garden, the brightly-colored flowers and berries are also very tempting for young children. Unfortunately, all parts of this plant are considered highly poisonous.

450px-common_foxglove_28digitalis_purpurea29_-_detail_of_flower_-_geograph-org-uk_-_855282
Foxglove

Oleander

Oleander is a very popular, and tall shrub, with flowers ranging from white to pink to red, with some even apricot and yellow in color. Like foxglove, oleander is very toxic if ingested.

800px-nerium_oleander_flowers_leaves
Oleander

Datura

Also known as Angel’s Trumpet, it has elegant flowers that hang similar to bells. Datura is another plant to reconsider planting if you have young ones running about your yard, as it is fatal if consumed.

800px-angeltrumpet_mounts_asit
Datura (Angel’s Trumpet)

Tulips and Daffodils

These popular flowers aren’t as toxic as the other plants on this list, but they can still be problematic if ingested.

800px-pink-tulips-2009
Tulips

If you’re concerned about the presence of poisonous plants in your yard, visit the California Poison Control System’s complete list of toxic and non-toxic plants or speak with your ezhome gardener. By taking steps to remove potentially hazardous plants from your yard, you can keep your family safe.

What You Need to Know About Leaf Blowers in the Bay Area

The use of leaf blowers is a topic of frequent debate in the Bay Area, where many cities have ordinances and restrictions regarding their use. In Palo Alto, for example, the city’s leaf blower ordinance completely bans the use of gas-powered leaf blowers in residential areas, while also limiting the hours in which electric leaf blowers can be used. Other areas, such as Sunnyvale, only restrict the hours in which leaf blowers (both gas and electric) may be used in an effort to regulate noise in residential areas.800px-leaf_blower2c_homewood_cemetery

Gas-powered leaf blowers are generally more powerful than electric leaf blowers, which allows our workers to complete their work more quickly. However, these blowers are significantly louder than electric blowers, while also emitting air pollutants. Though electric blowers are quiet and pollution-free, their lower power can increase the time it takes our team to care for your yard.

At ezhome, our gardeners follow local ordinances and use electric leaf blowers when mandated so we can be good neighbors while still providing you with the best yard care service possible.

Here is a list of current residential leaf blower restrictions in the Bay Area:

Berkeley: Gas-powered leaf blowers are banned entirely.

Los Altos: Gas-powered leaf blowers are banned entirely.

Menlo Park: Only gas-powered leaf blowers with a noise rating of 65 dBA or less may be used. Approved gas leaf blowers may only be used between 8 AM and 5 PM Monday through Friday and 11 AM to 3 PM on Saturdays. These restrictions don’t apply to electric blowers.

Piedmont: Only the city is allowed to use gas-powered leaf blowers. Electric leaf blowers may be used.

Palo Alto: Gas leaf blowers are banned entirely in residential areas, though not in non-residential zones. Electric blowers can only be used between 9 AM and 5 PM Monday through Friday and 10 AM to 4 PM on Saturdays in residential areas.

Sunnyvale: Leaf blowers (gas or electric) can only be used in residential areas between 8 AM and 8 PM. Only leaf blowers with a noise rating of 65 dBA or less can be used.

If you’d like a free quote for a gardening service that adheres to these regulations, visit ezhome.com today.

 

 

3 Inexpensive Home Improvement Tasks To Increase Your Home Value

Whether you’re prepping your house as a rental unit or simply want to increase its curb appeal, it seems like there is a seemingly endless number of home improvement tasks you can invest in to increase your property value. Of course, not every homeowner wants to invest tens of thousands of dollars in remodeling a kitchen or bathroom to increase the value of their home–and the good news is, you don’t have to!

In reality, there are several inexpensive home improvement tasks that can give your home a fresh look while also increasing its value. Here are three of our favorite inexpensive, value-adding home improvement tasks:

1. Painting

Few things can lower the appeal of your home like faded or outdated paint. Whether your exterior walls need a fresh coat of paint or your living room could use a brighter color, fresh paint gives a clean, updated look to your home. In fact, Consumer Reports estimates that spending as little as $100 to $1,000 on paint touchups can increase your home value by as much as $6,000. There’s no denying that replacing the purple paint in the guest bedroom with a more neutral color can do wonders for enhancing your home’s appeal! art-wall-brush-painting-large

2. Plant a Tree

If you’re planning on living in your house for years to come, planting trees in your yard is one of the best ways to ensure a long-lasting increase for your home value. Healthy trees improve the entire appearance of your yard, and can even reduce your home cooling costs when planted in the right locations.  According to HGTV, “mature trees in a well-landscaped yard can increase the value of a house by 7 percent to 19 percent,” demonstrating that planting trees and continuing to take good care of them can ultimately pay big dividends for your home value.pexels-photo-119779-large

3. Fence Restoration

While a well-maintained fence can add great character to your yard, a worn or faded fence will ultimately detract from your home’s overall appearance (regardless of how much security it provides). Thankfully, there’s a cheaper solution than tearing out an old fence and starting over. Homeowners who wash, re-stain, and seal their fence can regain the potential value and curb appeal a fence can add to their property–and at a much lower cost than a new fence installation. 1_hpcmg56

These relatively inexpensive home improvements can increase your home value by thousands of dollars! So what are you waiting for? For these and other great home improvement offerings, contact the ezhome team today.