Real Hardwood Floor v.s. Laminate Floors

hardwood vs laminated floors

Wood flooring is a commonly sought out home feature. It’s a neutral color, adding warmth and beauty to any room. Older, traditional homes typically have real hardwood floors, whereas more newer homes might be build with laminate floors to save money, but also still have the hardwood floor look. There are pros and cons to both types of flooring, which will help you choose which one you would rather have.

Price: Take into consideration the pricing of both hardwood floors and laminate floors to see which is in your price range.

  • Hardwood: Hardwood flooring prices vary based on what kind of tree they were made from. Hardwood floors are known to be more expensive to purchase and install.
  • Laminate: Laminate wood flooring is created from composite wood pressed together at high temperatures with the image of hardwood placed over the composite wood. The materials are cheaper than hardwood, as well as the installation cost by about 50%

Durability: Depending on how active your home is, you may one to consider a more durable floor that will last longer. Or if there isn’t much traffic, you could go with the more sensitive option.

  • Hardwood: PROS- Hardwood floors are beautiful, natural and they are the real deal. CONS- Hardwood is more prone to scratches and water damage. It is more likely to show wear and tear, especially in higher trafficked areas. It will also fade if there is a lot of sunlight exposure in your home.
  • Laminate: PROS- Laminate is more durable since it’s made from pressed wood. It won’t scratch easily or get damaged by water. It also has UV protection incorporated into the surface, so it won’t be affected by sunlight as much. CONS- It is not as attractive as real hardwood floors, even though it is more durable. It could end up artificial looking if it is lower in quality.

Repair: Hardwood flooring is a component of your home that is more likely going to need repair at some point than not. Depending on the accidents and wear and tear your floor faces, there are pros and cons to each type.

  • Hardwood: Hardwood flooring can be fixed by simply sanding imperfections and refinishing, which will allow it to last for years.
  • Laminate: Although it’s more durable, laminate flooring doesn’t repair as easily as hardwood flooring. If your floor is assembled with individual pieces that snap together, it is possible to replace the pieces, but there’s a chance that the pieces will not match due to sunlight and age.

Consider all of the pros and cons of each type of flooring before you decide which one to install in your home. Make an informed decision and be realistic about the wear and tear your floor might have. If you have kids, pets or a lot of movement going on in your home, that may effect which floor you choose.

Neighborhood Holiday Traditions

neighborhood holiday traditions

Holidays are the perfect time to form traditions that let you enjoy some quality time with the ones you love. There are endless family traditions, but there are also some traditions to start with your neighbors and others in your community! Here are some activities to do with your neighborhood around the holidays to get involved:

1. Go caroling around your neighborhood. Grab the neighbors that live right next door and go around the rest of the area singing holiday songs. You’ll be surprised how fun it is and how good your group will sound together.

2. Walk door to door delivering holiday cookies. Set a date to make a batch of cookies or two with the neighbors in your community. You can either hand them out to others that live around you, or enjoy them with the people you made them with!

3. Check out the holiday lights in your area. Grab some friends in the area and carpool to visit brightly lit houses or drive through light shows.

4. Go sledding or ice skating. If you live by a good sledding hill, take a group sledding for the day or go to a nearby ice skating rink to take advantage of all the fun winter sports!

Holiday traditions with neighbors are a great way to stay in touch and spend time with your friends that live near you. Neighborhood traditions can be started in any community and are something unique to look forward to every year!

Creating A Cozy Fireplace

creating a cozy fireplace

Fireplaces are not only a great source of heat during the harsh winter season, but they also add a stylish piece of work to your home all year round, even when it’s not turned on. Here are some tips to guide you in creating a cozy fireplace that fits your home:

  1. Decide on the fireplace’s main purpose.  Whether you want it for warmth, beauty, or a little bit of both, making this decision first and communicating it to who you’re buying from could narrow down your options and make the process easier.
  2. Don’t buy a fireplace to heat more than one room. Most people want to save as much money on heating their home during the winter as possible, but fireplaces will not solve this problem for more than one room. Using a fireplace to save on heating costs will leave you with an overheated main room, which will force you to turn the fireplace off more often.
  3. For heat-efficiency, consider a thermostat-controlled gas fireplace. The fireplace will automatically turn up and down to control the room at the temperature you want it to be.
  4. Once you have chosen an insert for your fireplace, look at trim designs to see which would best fit the style of your home decor.
  5. Be sure to view the fireplace while it is off. Since the fireplace will only be on when it’s needed and even then it won’t be on 24 hours a day, it’s important that you like the way it looks with the rest of your home while the flames are inactive. Hopefully it looks just as cozy and beautiful for you to enjoy all the time!
  6. Avoid a heating insert that relies on a fan. Better quality fireplaces don’t use a fan to push the hot air into the room it’s been heating. It helps with circulating the heat; however, it only somewhat helps the heat output and causes some noise.
  7. Find a fireplace retailer who will arrange to have a licensed and insured HVAC contractor install the fireplace. How the fireplace is installed is crucial in the efficiency, overall quality and life of your fireplace.

De-clutter Your Home For The Holidays

declutter your home for the holidays

With family coming to visit soon and holiday decorations around everywhere, the house can feel cluttered. From wicker baskets, to creative storage bins, and hidden storage, organizing it before the holidays will make you feel more at ease. Here are a few ways to de-clutter your home:

  1. Pick a target by choosing which are of clutter overwhelms you the most. This will make you feel instant relief once you start your de-clutter project. Whether it’s the mess in your family room or the disorganization in your storage closet, whichever one is more important should get done first.
  2. Shed the surplus. If there’s anything you know you don’t need, such as excess decorations or items you haven’t used in years, getting rid of it will eliminate more clutter than you may realize.
  3. As you pick and choose what you’re getting rid of, keep a few bins handy. These include a laundry container, a bag for donations and a garbage bag. Put the items laying around in the house in places they don’t belong in the laundry container to later put them in their correct spot, or storage. Put the items that are useless in the garbage bag and anything else that you just don’t need to donate, especially around the holiday season!
  4. Labeling is another way to stay organized. Any bins that you put a lot of like items it, label it for easier access in the future so your aren’t rummaging through all your belongings trying to find what you need.
  5. Maximize your space by rearranging items in places such as cabinets and shelves. You’ll be surprised by how much more you’ll be able to fit together by placing them in the correct position!

Fireside Dining at Philadelphia Restaurants and Bars

fireside dining in philadelphia

Cold winter weather will leave you wanting a warm fire or meal to get cozy. You can have both with fireside dining at various restaurants in Philadelphia! Escape the frigid outdoors and get toasty by the fire provided by a hearth or fire pit as you enjoy a delicious meal. Here are some of the most popular choices for fireside dining:

1. Continental Midtown at Rittenhouse, 1801 Chestnut Street, features a rooftop dining area complete with a warm fireplace. It’s partially enclosed so that it can be used year round and is one of the most popular spots in Rittenhouse!

2. The fire pits at The Lodge at Waterfront Winterfest with the seasonal beer garden at the Blue Cross RiverRink are a crowd favorite. Available on Friday, Saturday and Sunday until March 2 (weather permitting), fire pits are available all around the RiverRink, perfect for relaxing and warming up with a craft beer after a long night of ice skating.

3. Liberté at Rittenhouse, 120 S. 17th Street, 215-569-8300 includes fireside dining with an elegant glass-encased fireplace. Liberté offers French-inspired food and delicious cocktails in its stylish area.

4. Growlers at Bella Vista, 736 S. 8th Street, 267-519-3242 has leather chairs by the fire that will make you want to stay forever and the bar as well as kitchen serves delicious comfort food and craft beer to fill you up.

5. Landmark Americana at University City, 3333 Market Street, 215-222-4500 allows you to comfortably dine outside in the colder weather with the warm fire pits that are offered that will keep you warm no matter how cold it is.

All of the restaurants listed plus more located in Philadelphia are all nearby Judd Builders’ Siena Place Community! They provide the perfect winter activity to enjoy with friends and family for a nice night out in the city. Everyone will love the unique experience of fireside dining to be warm and cozy on a cold winter night!

Lehigh Valley Mall

lehigh valley mall

Lehigh Valley Mall is located in Whitehall, PA at the intersection of Rt 145 and Rt 22. Lehigh Valley Mall is the dominant shopping mall serving Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton with shops offering all types of items. The mall includes over 150 stores ranging from women’s and men’s fashion to department stores to children’s apparel.

There is also dining options such as Cucina Italiana, Ruby Tuesday’s and more to satisfy your hunger after a tiring shopping trip!

Lehigh Valley Mall is in an area not far from three Judd Builders’ communities including Brookshire, Whispering Pines and Spring Ridge Crossing! Visit Lehigh Valley mall to fill any of your shopping needs, holiday shopping or for a weekend activity with friends and family.

History in Philadelphia

Philadelphia

Some of the many reasons why Philadelphia is such a great city, is all of the history that has been built on it. There are endless places to visit in Philadelphia to learn about America’s history, no matter where you are in the city. Here are a few that are the most popular with the most astounding pasts:

1. Independence Hall is known as the birthplace of American Democracy and is located on the site where various important events occurred that have shaped America throughout history. Over the years it has grown into a National Historical Park since the Declaration of Independence was adopted there on July 4, 1776.

2. The Betsy Ross Home was the birthplace of the American flag, where you can wander through the tiny 1740 home today. You can find out why Betsy took on the responsibility of creating America’s first flag presented by George Washington.

3. The National Constitution Center holds on of the most influential and significant documents in all history. The National Constitution Center explains the document through various displays, videos and exhibits that will entertain and fascinate you.

These are just a few of many amazing historical sites located in Philadelphia. Taking a day to go to any of these places with family and friends is the perfect way to stroll around the city and learn about the foundations of our country. Siena Place is conveniently a short drive from center city, all of the sites mentioned, and more!

Holiday Party Planning Tips

holiday recipes and party planning ideas

The holidays can be hectic with planning for family to visit, decorating and preparing food for your celebrations. Here are some ideas and tips to get you started on hosting and party planning to make the process easier:

  1. The most important step of stress-free hosting is making a game plan ahead of time. Make a list of everything you have to buy or do and even how many guests you will be having. You can cross these items off your list as you go, which is very organized but also ratifying.
  2. Timing can prevent a lot of worries. Pick dishes that get better with time or ones that can be served at room temperature. This way you won’t have to rush to put everything on the table as soon as it’s done.
  3. If you’re trying a new recipe, practice it beforehand in a smaller portion. Otherwise, go with what you know so that you don’t run into any problems.
  4. Make whatever you can in advance. This will take some pressure off the day you’re family is gathered around to enjoy your delicious meal.
  5. A good way of keeping things moving so everyone can get their food at a decent time is to serve buffet style. After that, everyone can relax, enjoy the food and quality time with friends and family.

Decorating Your New Home For The Holidays

decorating your new home for the holidays

Decorations are an essential part of getting in the holiday spirit! Here are some small tips to get creative with in order to make your new home look extra festive for this winter holiday season with little time and effort:

  1. Use any extra ornaments for an ornament display. Place sparkling and colorful ornaments on a cake stand around with leaves for a beautifully simple centerpiece or table decoration.
  2. Greenery will surely add a festive touch in your home, whether its along a staircase or even around a doorway. This will create a very inviting atmosphere in your home. The same thing can be done with lights!
  3. Decorate a small articial white tree with holiday items. Candy canes, bows and mints will make a stunning display on any table.
  4. A festive chandelier-like decoration can be made from clustering ornaments, tying different colored bows on them and hanging them from the ceiling or door frame.
  5. With a simple touch of spray paint, a frosting look can be added to a wreath to transform it into a winter decoration. Put on gold or any other holiday colored leaves to add a pop of color.
  6. Filling a snifter with different kinds of shiny silver bells will add some sparkle to your dining room table.

Activities in Fort Washington State Park

Fort-Washington

Fort Washington State Park is the place to be for a relaxing afternoon away from your busy schedule. The park has two picnic areas with shelters large enough to hold a family gathering and one has a softball field to get some exercise and games in! Fishing is offered at the park as well as various hiking trails and group camping during the warmer weather. With the warmer winter weather this year, it’s still not to cold to visit or plan an afternoon with friends and family here!

Fort Washington State Park and the community of Fort Washington get their name from the fort built by soldiers of the American Revolution in 1777. The area was the campsite of 12,000 soldiers of General Washington’s army from November 2 until December 11 in 1777. The multiple historical spots in the park include Fort Hill, Militia Hill, Hope Lodge, and Clifton House.

Fort Washington Park is located at:

500 Bethlehem Pike
Fort Washington, PA 19034

Fort Washington Park is located just five minutes fro Judd Builders’ community The Reserve at Creekside. The neighborhood has perfect access to this beautiful and historic park to be able to take family and friends to visit or for any other of the great outdoor activities offered there!