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    What is the meaning of home? Hint: It’s not just a place.

    November 17, 2020 12:00 PM by emily.bailey

    Tuesday, November 17, 2020

    Family sitting in living room talking | Schlage

    We have spent an unprecedented amount of time sheltering in place this year, which makes us wonder: What is the true meaning of home? Keep reading to hear from people from all walks of life.

     

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    If you’re reading this, you probably have a home as defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary – one’s place of residence; domicile; house. But there’s another kind of home, the one we at Schlage spend a lot of time helping you achieve. It’s the intangible feeling you get in a location, a sense of peace, joy from loved ones or an environment where everyone knows they’re welcome. “Home” isn’t easy to define, but you know when you’re there.

     

    We have spent an unprecedented amount of time sheltering in place this year, which makes us wonder: What is the true meaning of home? Keep reading to hear from people from all walks of life – sages, celebrities and everyday people – on what home means to them.

    Family sitting in living room talking.

    Where we find comfort and safety

    Feeling secure at home often goes beyond just having good deadbolts. It’s where we retreat when times are tough and where we depend on family and the familiar to restore our sense of peace.

     

    “Home is where the heart can laugh without shyness. Home is where the heart’s tears can dry at their own pace.” – Vernon Baker, First Lieutenant in U.S. Army who earned the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Distinguished Service Cross and is the only living Black WWII veteran to earn the Medal of Honor

     

    “Home to me is where I feel safe, secure, loved and accepted. It's a place I don't have to define my strengths or explain my responses. Home is where I can be me 24/7, where I can be the champion or be insecure and still be cherished. Home to me is a place of refuge. Home is happy and full of laughter. Home is a place where the hugs abound and peace is found.” – Victoria Cowen, Corporate Compliance Manager at Allegion (parent company of Schlage)

     

    “Home is the place where I go to feel safe and comfortable. If something negative happens, where do I retreat and regroup? It's not even my entire house, it is specifically my living room, kitchen, and bedroom; that is my 'home.' (The garage, bathrooms, den, and office don't feel like part of my home, they are just other places that happen to be adjacent to my home.) And if my house were to burn down, my home would be the next place in line that I go to in order to be safe: my bedroom in my childhood/parents' house.” – Matthew Stonebraker, Senior Mechanical Engineer at Allegion

     

    “Home isn’t where you’re from, it’s where you find light when all grows dark.” – Pierce Brown, science fiction author

    Dad dancing in living room with his two kids.

    Where we are always welcome

    No matter where life takes us, many of us see home as the place where we are always wanted. It is where we can be true to ourselves and others.

     

    “I want my home to be that kind of place–a place of sustenance, a place of invitation, a place of welcome.” – Mary DeMuth, author and speaker

     

    “I think that when you invite people to your home, you invite them to yourself.” – Oprah Winfrey

     

    “May you always have walls for the winds, a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire, laughter to cheer you, those you love near you and all your heart may desire. May joy and peace surround you, contentment latch your door, and happiness be with you now and bless you evermore.” – Irish proverb

    Mom holding sleeping baby on her chest.

    Where we put down our roots

    Home is not static. It could be where we grew up, but it can just as easily be where we feel settled and begin a new life full of possibilities.

     

    “Our homes are more than financial assets. They have deep emotional meaning. For those of us fortunate enough to have grown up in houses owned by our parents, they were the backdrop for our childhood memories — the places we played and argued and hung our artwork and marked the door jamb with pencil lines as we grew taller.” – Dr. Keith Ablow, Psych Central

     

    “[T]here’s a big psychological difference between feeling at home and being home. Feeling at home on the Tiwi Islands or in Bangalore or Vancouver (if you are not native) is simply a way of saying that the not-home-ness of those places has diminished since you first arrived. Some people, as they move through their lives, rediscover home again and again. Some people never find another after once leaving home. And, of course, some people never leave the one home they’ve always known.” – Verlyn Klinkenborg, Smithsonian Magazine

     

    “I think the house shows that I have true faith in myself to take on this task when I was just 27 and see it through … I also think the house says that I will forever remain solid in the place I was born.” – Rapper Drake in Architectural Digest talking about his 50,000-square-foot mansion in his hometown of Toronto

     

    “For me, home is my physical space, yes. A place I feel comfortable and safe. My retreat. ‘Home’ is also where I've planted roots. It's my friends and my community. Fun fact, in my 41 years on Earth, I haven't lived anywhere as long as I've lived in Fishers (a suburb of Indianapolis), and in this particular house where we live. So, I would say, Fishers is my ‘home’ now. We have talked about moving but I would have a really hard time leaving.” – Lauren Young, HR Global Compensation Manager at Allegion

     

    “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” – Robert Frost, author

    Boy with superhero cape flying over stuffed animals on couch.

    Where our dreams become reality

    When we are safe at home, we are free to imagine the possibilities that lay ahead. It is where our future begins.

     

    “Just like memories, home is also where your hopes and dreams are. Dreaming about when you grow up. Being a spaceman or a firefighter. Sinking beneath the sea as a scuba diver. I couldn’t imagine living without dreams. My home grounds them, and without a home, I wouldn’t have any.” – Wynn, Fifth grade. Read his full essay for Habitat for Humanity Canada

     

    “Home means a future. Once we had a stable home, we could think beyond where we were going to live from week to week, and we could begin to look ahead to where we wanted to go. Home is the base where everything begins.” — Kelly for Habitat for Humanity

     

    “Yes, your home is your castle, but it is also your identity and your possibility to be open to others.” – David Soul, actor

     

    What does home mean to you? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

     

    How to safely host holiday guests during the pandemic.

    November 16, 2020 12:00 PM by emily.bailey

    Monday, November 16, 2020

    Holiday living room | Schlage

    With the uncertainty of 2020, many of us are still trying to decide how to celebrate the holidays. If we’re going to host guests, how do we do that safely?

     

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    With the uncertainty of 2020, many of us are still trying to decide how to celebrate the holidays. If we’re going to host guests, how do we do that safely? The best way to lower your risk of getting sick is to avoid large gatherings, wash your hands frequently and wear personal protective equipment. While this doesn’t sound particularly festive, you can incorporate that advice into your strategy for hosting holiday guests during the pandemic. Here’s how.
    Glamorous living room with Christmas decor.

    Keep your guest list short

    We know this will be tough for some, but it will be worth it to keep everyone healthy. If you need help deciding how to shorten your guest list, consider inviting only in-town guests who won’t need to stay overnight or at least out-of-town guests from areas with low infection rates. You might also skip high-risk individuals. This could be someone with pre-existing conditions that make them more prone to infection or those with jobs – nurses, bus drivers, teachers – that expose them to the virus more frequently. Be honest and upfront with anyone you leave off your list so that you don’t start a long-running feud.

    Set clear ground rules

    If you expect people to social distance and refrain from close personal contact, tell them that hugs and handshakes will have to wait and that the mistletoe is on hiatus. Share the seating situation and if there will be one big dining table, spaced out TV trays in the living room or picnic-style benches outside. This might be a good year to put a twist on the traditional kids’ table. If you’re worried about certain high-risk individuals, you might give them their own seating area. We’re not saying you have to make Grandma sit by herself, but do make sure you’re following your social distancing guidelines.

     

    And of course, tell them whether you’ll require them to wear masks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing masks as much as you can, even around trusted family and friends. If you expect your guests to take the precaution, have extra masks on hand in case they forget theirs. You can also turn it into a game or contest. See who can make the best themed mask or have the kids decorate new ones.

    Have a quarantine plan

    When you send your invites, be sure to include whether you want people to self-quarantine for the two weeks prior to their visit. You may want to quarantine as well, especially if you’re worried about passing something on to Great-Aunt Edna.

     

    If you’re hosting out-of-town guests during the pandemic, have an isolation strategy in case they get sick during their extended stay. Is the guest room private enough for them to quarantine? Will they have access to their own bathroom? Can you set up a mother-in-law suite to separate them if someone experiences symptoms?

    Shop at off times

    Whether guests are coming just for the day or staying overnight, you’ll need to stock up on food and other supplies. We know it’s a struggle at holiday time, but try shopping when and where there are fewer crowds.

    Help them stay clean

    Stock up on soap, hand sanitizer and other disinfectants, not just to keep people’s hands clean but to sanitize surfaces and anything else people might touch or sneeze on. If you’ve been eyeing a touchless soap dispenser, you now have the perfect excuse to get it.

     

    Making a welcome basket for overnight guests? Throw some hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes in with the snacks and backup toothbrush while you’re at it.

    Have a food strategy

    Making a food plan goes without saying for days like Thanksgiving, but holidays in 2020 call for a slightly different approach. The CDC says that the coronavirus isn’t generally transmitted through food or packaging. However, sharing serving utensils is higher risk. To reduce that risk, consider serving individual portions like a handheld pie instead of the traditional family-style dessert. You might also ask guests to bring food for their own household instead of serving a potluck. We know it won’t be the same, but at least you’ll be celebrating together.

     

    If you absolutely can’t give up your holiday food traditions, consider plating meals for your guests so that everyone won’t be touching the same serving spoons. And while you’re cooking all the delicious food, try to limit others’ access to the kitchen. They’ll think they’re being helpful and you might like an extra hand, but it increases the chances of contamination.

    Mark your glasses

    Whether you label plastic cups with a Sharpie or distribute charms for wine glasses, make it easy for guests to know which drink is theirs.

    Go disposable

    You’ve successfully hosted another delicious meal. Don’t let dirty dishes, especially those that might be points of virus transmission, lay around. Consider disposable items – tablecloths, utensils, plates – so can clean and disinfect the table more quickly.

    Entertain safely

    Figure out how you can make your favorite activities safer. If you usually go to a ballgame or parade, stay in and watch it on television this year. Instead of post-holiday shopping in person, stick to online purchases. Even small shops are more internet savvy these days, so you can often still shop local. Instead of board games where you might be sharing playing pieces or cards, try trivia or an online game you join via your phones. Sharp HealthCare says to “refrain from singing, loud talking and shouting,” so try not to get too boisterous.

    Be flexible

    Anything change on a dime. Try to roll with the punches. If you or a guest starts to feel sick, be prepared to cancel the visit.

     

    Let go of some rigid traditions and make this the year of trying something new. You might be pleasantly surprised. If not getting to do some of your favorite holiday activities leaves you sad and disappointed, volunteer with a local non-profit for the day. Serving others less fortunate often can help take us out of ourselves and improve our outlook simply by practicing charity, compassion and empathy.

     

    No matter what holiday you’re hosting, remember that part of the fun is coming up with creative new ways to help your guests feel welcome. Let Schlage inspire you with ideas for the perfect guest room, backyard winter parties and holiday décor.

     

    How traditional are you? Thanksgiving traditions from 100 years ago.

    November 11, 2020 12:00 PM by emily.bailey

    Wednesday, November 11, 2020

    History of Thanksgiving | Schlage

    While you’re planning your Thanksgiving menu, don’t forget to brush up on some history and see what this classically American holiday looked like in 1920.

     

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    Traditions exist because there are some things we just can’t bear to let go of. Certain events and food, and the people we share them with, become inexplicably linked until their very existence defines us. But how unchanging are traditions really? While you’re planning your Thanksgiving menu, don’t forget to brush up on some history and see what this classically American holiday looked like in 1920.
    Three pumpkins sitting in windowsill.

    How did Thanksgiving start?

    While the first Thanksgiving is believed to have happened in the 1620s – exactly when and where is up for major debate – Thanksgiving Day was not an officially recognized national holiday until Congress passed a resolution in 1941. Prior to that, each American president had to proclaim a Thanksgiving Day.

     

    In President Woodrow Wilson’s 1920 proclamation, as the country was coming out of World War I, he wrote:

     

    “We have abundant cause for thanksgiving. The lesions of the war are rapidly healing. The great army of freemen, which America sent to the defense of Liberty, returning to the grateful embrace of the nation, has resumed the useful pursuits of peace, as simply and as promptly as it rushed to arms in obedience to the country’s call. The equal justice of our laws has received steady vindication in the support of a law-abiding people against various and sinister attacks, which have reflected only the baser agitations of war, now happily passing.

     

    “In plenty, security and peace, our virtuous and self-reliant people face the future, its duties and its opportunities. May we have vision to discern our duties; the strength, both of hand and resolve, to discharge them; and the soundness of heart to realize that the truest opportunities are those of service.”

    Thanksgiving turkey.

    What food did we eat at a 1920s Thanksgiving?

    Much will look familiar between a meal from 1920 and 2020, but not everything. In November 1920, McCall’s magazine published an article – “New Fashions for an Old Feast” – full of advice for cooking the ultimate Thanksgiving meal. Not surprisingly, Thanksgiving was a multi-course meal, just not how you might expect. Before you even got to the turkey and sides, there was a first course – raw oysters, clams, grapefruit or “dainty canapes” of chopped olives, pimientos and cream cheese combined with anchovy or caviar – and a fish course of halibut turbans.

     

    McCall’s also suggested unusual salads of stuffed apples, although it wasn’t specified what they were to be filled with, white cherries stuffed with salted pecans and “tomatoes, their peel turned back like rose petals.”

     

    Finally, there was dessert with some additions to pumpkin pie. New England pudding, a concoction of crackers, molasses, eggs, raisins and spices served with a sauce, was apparently appropriate, as well as ice cream, stuffed figs and dates, and candied orange, lemon or grapefruit. Nuts, it seems, “must always be present.”

     

    Stuffing might be one of the most controversial menu items, starting with whether you call it stuffing at all. Or is it dressing? Today we see plenty of regional flavors for stuffing, but this 1920s recipe from the Chicago Tribune might be the most perplexing. Made with plenty of seasonings like sugar, paprika, sage and summer savory, you mixed those and other ingredients by hand “until the mixture is just ‘plah’ and smooth.” We’d love to hear from someone who knows when our stuffing has reached a “plah” state.

     

    Apparently, having cranberries was non-negotiable, but how you prepared them was up to you. McCall’s suggestions included “cooked and moulded with the skins on, or made into jelly as a conserve with seeded raisins, walnuts and an orange; or frozen as a frappe.”

     

    And in case you were wondering, turkey was pretty inexpensive by today’s standards. Of course, it depends on where you lived, but a survey of ads in the Chicago Tribune showed the cost of turkey at just 28 cents per pound in 1915 and 37 cents per pound in 1929.

    Woman watching Thanksgiving Day parade.

    What were some 1920s Thanksgiving traditions?

    While food usually takes center stage on Thanksgiving, we also use this day to connect with family and indulge in other pastimes. For some, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a parade. For others, it’s football.

     

    You might think Macy’s lays claim to the oldest Thanksgiving Day parade; it’s certainly the most well-known. But the first formal parade on Turkey Day actually goes to Philadelphia. In 1920, the Gimbel Brothers Department Store organized a relatively small trek from City Hall to the store where Santa greeted children and took their Christmas lists.

     

    Four years later, in 1924, the first Macy’s Day Parade was held in New York City. Originally billed as a Christmas parade, it included employees dressed up as characters from Mother Goose nursery rhymes to match their massive window display at the store. There were also animals – bears, elephants, camels and more – from the Central Park Zoo.

     

    The animals featured in the parade for just a few years. The six-mile route and crowds proved to be too much for the beasts, while some small children were frightened by them. The circus theme was abandoned, and the signature balloons were introduced instead.

     

    While there was initially some concern about parades interfering with worship services – the very first Thanksgivings were rooted in religious praise of bounty and gratitude – football won out. It was determined that Thanksgiving Day parades were best in the morning so as to not interfere with the games.

     

    The inaugural Thanksgiving Day football game was played in 1876 between Yale and Princeton. It wasn’t until 1920, however, that the NFL played its first Thanksgiving Day game. Today we’re used to seeing Dallas and Washington, or maybe the Lions, square off. A century ago, it was the Akron Pros and Canton Bulldogs. The Pros walked away with a 7-0 victory that day.

    Thanksgiving table with pumpkins as centerpiece.

    Fun facts to share at the dinner table

    No matter what your family’s traditions look like today – whether you’re old-school or looking to create new memories – you can test each other’s knowledge with some of this Thanksgiving trivia. It’s a great way to connect with loved ones and start a little friendly competition to see who knows the most about Thanksgiving history.

     

    • Early settlers would have had corn on their Thanksgiving table, although it was likely served as cornmeal, boiled and pounded into a porridge and sweetened with molasses.

    • Some claims have the first Thanksgiving taking place between the Pilgrims and Native Americans. There were, in fact, very few Europeans from the Mayflower at that meal. It’s estimated that only 22 men, four men and 25 children from the initial voyage had survived to celebrate that year.

    • When Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving in 1863, it was at the behest of Sarah Josepha Hale. She had lobbied for a national Thanksgiving by writing letters to the president – 17 years’ worth of letters – and finally persuaded Lincoln that it would unite us following the Civil War. While this was momentous for Hale, the author is better known for writing “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

    • Thanksgiving has not always been on the fourth Thursday of November. President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved it a week earlier during the Great Depression, hoping that more time between Thanksgiving and Christmas would encourage people to spend more at stores. It was an unpopular move and changed again, and for the last time, by Congress in 1941.

    • It’s commonly believed that the tryptophan in turkey makes us sleepy. Research shows that the real culprit behind post-Thanksgiving naps is the carb-heavy sides and sugars we tend to indulge in.

    • There are four towns called Turkey in the United States, one each in Arizona, Louisiana, North Carolina and Texas.
    Happy Thanksgiving.

    Share your favorite traditions with us on Facebook and Twitter. If you’re searching for inspiration for a new tradition or figuring out how to make your Thanksgiving the best one yet, check out the Schlage blog for holiday hosting tips, Thanksgiving décor ideas and more.

     

    5 alternative Thanksgiving ideas when COVID threatens tradition.

    November 9, 2020 12:00 PM by emily.bailey

    Monday, November 9, 2020

    Alternative Thanksgiving ideas | Schlage

    Like most holidays and celebrations in 2020, Thanksgiving might not quite be how you imagined it. Just a few simple tweaks to your holiday planning will help put you in a festive mood and have you feeling grateful.

     

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    Like most holidays and celebrations in 2020, Thanksgiving might not quite be how you imagined it. That’s doesn’t mean it’s not going to be a great Thanksgiving, however. Just a few simple tweaks to your holiday planning will help put you in a festive mood and have you feeling grateful.

     

    Our best advice: Don’t force traditions this year “just because.” Some things, like the merriment of being surrounded by extended family simply can’t be re-created if they choose not to travel. To avoid setting yourself up for disappointment, go into the holiday with a different, optimistic mindset. Choose to make this a year where you break a bit from tradition and create new, unexpected memories.

    Mom with two children holding up phone to FaceTime family at Thanksgiving table.

    1. Decorate to the max

    Some of us are worried that with these unusual times, we’ll feel like we missed milestone events. Birthday parties were cancelled during shutdown, graduation parties were skipped and family vacations postponed. One way to make sure you don’t feel like the holiday passed you by is to take your Thanksgiving décor to the max. Don’t stop at a simple wreath for your door. Go all out with Thanksgiving front porch décor. Add a garland of fake leaves to a stair railing, indoors or out. Freshen your potted plants. DIY a front porch sign to show your gratitude for the season.

     

    Your mantle is the perfect place for seasonal décor as well. We especially like what Hymns and Verses has done, combining all the classic mantlepiece holiday decorations for something that’s sophisticated and seasonal.

     

    Farmhouse style Thanksgiving mantle decor.

     

    Consider decorating areas of your home you’d typically gloss over. Apartment Therapy argues that the most overlooked spot is actually your shower curtain. Why not try it out?

    Dog on front porch with mums and pumpkins.

    2. Start a new tradition

    Sometimes we inherit traditions from others that don’t actually work or that have little personal meaning. Now’s your chance to make it just for you.

     

    • Swap the family football game for a movie marathon where each person picks their favorite and everyone can enjoy it from the tiniest of tikes to the wisest of grandparents.

    • Create a time capsule. Each person puts an item in a box or tin, or writes a note sharing what they’re thankful for. You might be surprised by what people are most grateful for this year.

    • Skip the main meal and serve your community instead. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Write and deliver notes to first responders. Share craft supplies with children’s hospitals.

    • Make it a birthday party. Especially if you missed someone’s birthday earlier this year because of the pandemic, now’s a great chance to celebrate more fully.

    • Have everyone sit at the kids’ table, complete with short chairs and folding tables. Or turn it into a picnic in the living room with blankets and pillows spread out for extra comfort.

     

    The most obvious place to start a new tradition, however, is in the kitchen, which leads us to our third tip.

    Thanksgiving meal.

    3. Put a twist on the turkey or other food favorites

    Especially if it’s a small crowd and you aren’t worried that Aunt Linda will think you’ve blasphemed the green beans, now’s your chance to shake things up. Try duck instead of turkey, apple walnut chutney instead of canned cranberry sauce, shredded sweet potato-carrot fritters instead of sweet potato casserole or mini pumpkin tartlets instead of a whole pumpkin pie.

     

    If a big meal doesn’t sound appetizing, switch it up for something more akin to a cocktail party. Finger foods – they can still be inspired by your holiday favorites – and a signature fall drink could be your answer.

     

    You don’t have to do away with all your favorite traditions. If you look forward to a certain dish all year, by all means, make it! But you might be surprised by a new recipe and want to add it to the menu in the future. Even if you don’t, there’s always next year to bring back the tried-and-true.

    Thanksgiving tablescape.

    4. Try a new table setting

    Smaller crowds should mean less cooking and that means more time on your hands. You can use that spare time to relax or put it to use doing something you’ve always wanted to try, like doing a grand tablescape.

     

    This centerpiece from Far Above Rubies might be one of our favorites. There’s a lot to love about a dose of DIY mixed with pumpkins, candles that set the right ambiance and the ability to relocate it if you need more room for your side dishes.

     

    Thanksgiving centerpiece with pumpkins and candles.

     

    You can also take the crafty route and give each family member or guest a blank slate to decorate. Replace the tablecloth with butcher paper and let them doodle their ideal décor or have blank name cards for everyone to personalize.

    Outdoor Thanksgiving table.

    5. Take it outside

    Try dining al fresco this year. An outdoor Thanksgiving meal also means you could deep fry the turkey. If you’ve never tried it before, read up on the safety precautions first. Here are some other tips for hosting a fun and comfortable outdoor Thanksgiving:

     

    • Grill your sides. Foods like corn on the cob, vegetable skewers and even dinner rolls, all of which can be cooked on the grill.

    • You might skip the paper or plastic plates and choose regular dinnerware, even though you’re outside. Paper plates are more likely to blow away in the fall breeze, plus they might not be durable enough to hold up to heavier Thanksgiving fare. It’s a celebration, anyway, so why not go a little fancier than your average picnic?

    • Have a bar cart? Put it to use, but don’t limit yourself to drinks. Because bar carts are mobile, they can help you transport food, serving utensils and anything else you might need outdoors.

    • Serve dessert around the fire pit. Depending on where you live, you might need a warm pick-me-up. Either break tradition with pumpkin marshmallow s’mores or serve the pie fireside with a hot coffee or steamy seasonal drink.

    • Make sure pets are secure. You and your diners will be going in and out, and you don’t want your furry family members to escape and ruin the holiday. Many Thanksgiving foods are dangerous for pets to eat, so make sure they’re stowed safely away from temptation.

    • Read up on how to make any outdoor party better during the cooler months here.

     

    Sometimes all you need for the perfect holiday is a little inspiration. Get yourself in the Thanksgiving spirit and stir those creative juices by visiting the Schlage blog or following us on Pinterest and Instagram.

     

    8 easy steps to the perfect fall front door.

    November 5, 2020 12:00 PM by emily.bailey

    Thursday, November 5, 2020

    Perfect fall front door | Schlage

    Sara from Simply Southern Cottage is helping Schlage break down the perfect elements of a fall front porch and why they work together.

     

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    You see a gorgeous front door – or maybe it’s a beautiful kitchen or bedroom – and think, “That! That is exactly what I want to do at home!” So you collect all your DIY supplies, buy the plants, organize the accessories, put it all together … and something just doesn’t look quite right. Why does some décor hit all the style marks and others fall flat?

     

    To help you avoid future missteps, Sara from @simplysoutherncottage is helping Schlage break down the perfect elements of a fall front porch and why they work together.

    1. Yellow door

    No matter the season, the pop of color on the front door is eye-catching in the best way possible. Such a warm, welcoming color – Sara chose it to represent the joy she feels in life – draws you in to the cozy cottage and serves as the perfect backdrop to the matte black door hardware and porch lights.

     

    Says Sara, “I love my gas lanterns because I feel they draw in old world charm to my porch. I envisioned a ‘Dickens like’ vibe when I was designing this space.”

     

    Door made by @webster.millwork
    Gas lanterns handcrafted by Copperworks Lighting, Shreveport, LA

    2. Wreath

    With such a vibrant door, you don’t want to go too crazy with your wreath, which is why this asymmetrical beauty works so well. A touch of color with the flowers and ribbons balances the natural grapevine. It’s festive and fun without being busy and overbearing.

     

    You can also see how Sara relies on non-traditional fall colors like the pale green of the pumpkin and pastel flowers. “I really want my home to ‘stand out’ from the crowd, so I’m always pushing the envelope and trying to think outside the box,” Sara explains. “Adding in pink with orange presents an unexpected and joyful twist on traditional autumn décor.”

     

    Wreath and swags crafted by Kandi’s Kreations

    3. Mums

    It’s hard to go wrong with mums of any color in the fall. What makes these so perfect, though, is they way the yellow and rusty orange flowers play off the rest of the décor. They help create a cohesive design being paired with that yellow door and the rusty hues in the crotons’ leaves.

     

    “As much as I can, I always try to incorporate real, natural elements. Living in Zone 8 (Louisiana), I am still able to utilize some of my summer plants such as ferns, dianthus and gerbera daisies to add some extra pop to my fall porch.”

    4. Layered doormat

    You’ll find two top trends in this single piece of front porch décor. First is the natural material of the top mat. It’s not only effective in removing dirt from shoes, keeping your home cleaner, but natural décor is one of the most popular choices in home design right now. Layering mats is a leading trend as well and shows that you did more than just toss out a mat and call it a day. The orange plaid design brings in the autumnal colors and motif as well.

     

    Doormat from Nickel Designs

    5. Neutral-colored pumpkins

    With so much other color happening, a collection of bright orange pumpkins could seem out of place at best and garish at worst. The neutral, muted colors of these gourds show how, if you think outside the box a bit, you can enjoy the tradition of pumpkins with an extra sophisticated touch. Like Sara said before, it’s all about standing out from the crowd.

    6. Rustic décor

    Not every home can and should pull off rustic décor, even in the fall when corn stalks and haybales abound. But because this is a southern cottage, the flower and ribbon bundles flanking the door fit right in. You’ll notice that they’re the same flowers and ribbons as in the wreath, again adding to the cohesive design throughout the home’s exterior.

     

    “My home is very feminine and dainty, and I extend this aesthetic to all of my outdoor spaces.”

    7. Symmetry

    We said we loved the asymmetry of the wreath. And while the rest of the décor does mirror itself on either side of the door, it isn’t identical. Yes, there’s a mum of each color, a croton and a flower bundle on each side, but the pumpkins are scattered more naturally, varying in size, color and location on the steps. This helps strike that balance between chaotic and messy on one hand and matchy-matchy on the other.

     

    “While I like order and symmetry, I also think a smidge of off balance always draws interest,” says Sara, “In fact, I really like arranging things in odd numbers. It creates interest and draws in the eye to the unexpected. Our brains like order, so when things are a little ‘off’ it captures our attention.”

    8. Dog

    What can we say? We just love dogs. But in all seriousness, a front porch is meant to be welcoming to all. Choose the décor that makes you happy and shows guests, even four-legged ones like this handsome pup, that they’re in for a treat.

     

    Sara let us in on a little secret. “This 4-year-old labradoodle actually belongs to Hector Manuel Sanchez, a nationally renowned commercial photographer whose work has been featured in Southern Living, Cooking Light, Better Homes and Gardens, Country Living plus many more!” The photo is all hers, though.

    Find more fall porch décor inspiration at the Schlage blog. You can also see more from Sara on Instagram @simplysoutherncottage or at the Simply Southern Cottage blog where she offers her tips on simple living, affordable décor solutions, DIYs and just plain old love for life. She’s worked with everyone from Martha Stewart and Macy’s to Home Chef and Sleep Number. Her fall front porch was featured on HGTV.com and in an HGTV Instagram post in October. Currently Sara’s home can be seen on the cover of the holiday issue of Cottages and Bungalows as well as the cover of Better Homes and Gardens Cottage Style. Sara’s home has also been featured in Southern Lady, Where Women Create, Better Homes and Gardens and Country Sampler Farmhouse Style.

     

    Level up your entryway for the fall.

    November 3, 2020 12:00 PM by emily.bailey

    Tuesday, November 3, 2020

    Level up your entryway | Schlage

    You can level up your home décor with these fall interior DIY projects for your entryway.

     

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    The best DIY home hacks, according to influencer Emily Henderson, is what she calls “leveling up.” Instead of starting from scratch, use what you already own and put your unique stamp on it. You can level up your home décor with these fall interior DIY projects for your entryway. They’re the perfect way to welcome the season in style.
    Minimalist entryway.

    Doors

    One of the first greetings you and your guests get is from your front door. If the weather is still mild enough to update your front door, we say go for it. A bold new paint color like a vibrant green can change house’s entire façade. Bricks might not look so overwhelmingly brown and siding might not look so bland with the right color for your front door.

     

    If the weather won’t let you paint your door’s exterior, though, you’re not stuck. Consider painting the interior side of the front door, the same way you would an accent wall. Or level up on interior doors you can see from the entryway. Try our tips for how to make hollow core doors look more expensive to keep that beautiful, welcoming feeling as you enter the rest of the home.

     

    Door hardware

    For being such small fixtures, front door handlesets and interior door knobs and levers have a surprising ability to change the overall look of a door. Replacing your hardware is a cost-efficient way to level up your door. Schlage offers a variety of styles and finishes that complement nearly any style of home. Whether you have an historic home that needs glass knobs that turn without coming off in your hand, a transitional home with tired-looking builder’s grade brass knobs or a contemporary home that needs a sleek lever to complete the look, we have something for you.

     

    Installing new Schlage door hardware is simple, too. Our knobs and levers are guaranteed to fit standard pre-drilled doors and all you need is a screwdriver. Check out this guide to installing door hardware to see the simplicity for yourself.

     

    And in case you’re wondering, the Schlage Custom™ Alexandria is a great choice for updating your glass door knobs. For that transitional home, try the Schlage Merano lever in Satin Nickel. And for a sleek contemporary lever, you might want one of our most popular designs, the Schlage Latitude lever.

     

    Crown molding and trim

    Adding crown molding above a door or windows is a surefire way to take your entryway, or any room for that matter, to the next level. Addicted 2 Decorating shows how simple it is to turn what was essentially a hole in the wall into a defined passageway. Imagine the impact when you add that kind of detail to your front door.

     

    You can also simply update existing trim with a fresh coat of paint. And don’t think it has to be white. Try a bright lemon yellow or a rich plum, instead. Door trim is small enough that you won’t feel overwhelmed by a color that’s a bit bolder than you might normally choose. To make sure your new paint job looks flawless, be sure to clean your molding and trim well and repair any cracks or dings first.

    Landing strip

    This isn’t the first time we’ve talked about adding a landing strip – a small area where your keys, sunglasses and so on can land – in your entryway. In the spirit of leveling up, consider moving a piece of furniture from elsewhere in the house to your foyer. Even if you already have a landing strip, a simple swap will give new life to the space.

     

    Try some of these ideas for a “leveled-up” landing strip: A refinished sofa console table, a narrow bookcase or that small cabinet that seems too undersized for any other wall in your home.

     

    And if simply moving furniture from one room to the next isn’t enough, consider painting it, replacing the drawer pulls or applying some removeable wallpaper that looks like marble to the top.

    Storage

    Whether it’s a closet, a bench with storage or simple hooks, they all provide much-needed organization for an entryway. It’s easier to level up a closet than you might think. Make better use of your shelf space with DIY drawers. Hang baskets on the inside of the door to collect hats, winter gear, bags and even mail. Think of everyone in the home, too. A rod or coat hooks down at kid level will take away any excuse for them not hanging up their things.

     

    If you’re looking for a storage bench, you can go as simple or as extravagant as your DIY skills allow. Add some crates under an existing bench, maybe reupholstering the bench or giving it a new coat of paint to start. You could also flip some shelving on its side, doctor it up like Gail from My Repurposed Life, and you have a “leveled-up” cabinet-turned-entryway bench perfect for your space.

     

    Hooks come in all shapes and sizes, are made with all kinds of materials and can provide an unexpected look that will delight your guests. Repurposing items like old door knobs for an instant winter mudroom refresh never looked so chic.

    Entryway décor

    Whatever you decorate the rest of your house with, you can also use to decorate your entryway. In fact, repurposing some of that décor from elsewhere can help maintain some style continuity throughout every room. Instead of going out and buying accessories exclusively for your foyer, try moving that large potted plant from the living room next to your door’s sidelight. Your child’s artwork on the fridge can be displayed in the entryway, either framed or on simple hooks. And those vintage Russian nesting dolls from your collection of travel souvenirs? Show them off on your landing strip.

     

    The possibilities for leveling up your front entryway are endless. Spark your creativity, get new ideas for the holidays or find budget-friendly ways to improve your décor any time of year at the Schlage blog and Pinterest.

     

    3 difference-makers in the Native American community.

    November 2, 2020 12:00 PM by emily.bailey

    Monday, November 2, 2020

    Native American designers | Schlage

    As part of Native American Heritage Month, Schlage is spotlighting three individuals who are taking important strides in their fields to promote greater mainstream understanding of their culture.

     

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    Trailblazers abound in the housing industry, whether it’s architecture, design or technology. Sometimes you just have to look a little harder to find them. As part of Native American Heritage Month, Schlage is spotlighting three individuals – entrepreneur Aaron Thomas, architect Tammy Eagle Bull and artist Santiago X – who are taking important strides in their fields to promote greater mainstream understanding of their culture.
    American landscape.

    Aaron Thomas, Entrepreneur/Commercial Construction

    Aaron Thomas, Entrepreneur/Commercial Construction

    When we think of highly decorated individuals, military heroes often come to mind, maybe celebrities with lots of Oscars, too. But what about contractors? Aaron Thomas, president and CEO of Metcon, a commercial construction company in North Carolina, proves it’s good to think outside the box.

     

    A member of the Lumbee Nation, Thomas founded Metcon in 1999. It was a major step after growing up working in his grandfather’s hardware store since childhood. Today, Thomas’s business is completing multimillion-dollar projects in healthcare, hospitality, multifamily and corporate sectors. Metcon has gained much of its recognition through sustainable construction practices for schools.

     

    Sustainability has nearly always been a key business value for Metcon, not only to preserve the environment, but also to help businesses lower energy use and reduce expenses. They accomplish the feat by using natural sunlight as much as possible and using recycled and salvaged materials.

     

    In 2013, Metcon built Sandy Grove Middle School in Lumber Bridge, N.C. The school district faced significant budget cuts during construction, forcing them to find ways to lower construction costs. What resulted was the first privatized energy positive school in the country. By employing features like geothermal heating and cooling systems, high-efficiency LED lighting and a high-performance building envelope with spray foam, the school produces 30 percent more electricity than it uses. It’s then able to sell that electricity back to the power company. Metcon estimates the school will save approximately $16 million in energy costs over the next 40 years.

     

    Metcon has also constructed several buildings at the University of North Carolina-Pembroke. The projects undoubtedly have special meaning for Thomas, who is an alum. The university was founded in 1887 as the North Carolina Indian Normal School, then became the Pembroke State College for Indians, where his grandparents earned degrees.

     

    Under Thomas’s guidance, Metcon has been named the 2013 U.S. Minority Construction Firm of the Year and twice been honored by the U.S. Department of Commerce. And the man himself was selected to the Native Business Top 50 Entrepreneurs list in 2019 and the Building Design and Construction Magazine’s 40 under 40 list in 2010.

     

    “Diversity and inclusion is one of Metcon’s core values,” Thomas told the Minority Business Development Agency in 2014. “We believe in hiring and subcontracting with diverse groups especially in our Native American community. We contribute in this way as well as with scholarships and donations to many Native Charitable Organizations and to UNC-Pembroke, the nation’s first 4 year (sic) university founded by Native Americans (Lumbee) where I serve on several boards.”

     

    Thomas volunteers with several organizations, including Kill the Pill, which raises awareness of prescription drug abuse, and Homes for Our Troops to build specially adapted houses for wounded veterans. Last but not least, Thomas is also a co-founder for Natives for Progress, a community service organization.

    Tamara Eagle Bull – Architect

    Tamara Eagle Bull – Architect

    On the road to equality, some professions have farther to go than others. Architecture is one industry that is still seeing its share of “firsts.” Norma Merrick Sklarek was the first licensed Black woman architect in New York (1954) and California (1964). Now we finally have Tamara Eagle Bull, the first Native American woman to become a licensed architect.

     

    A member of the Oglala Lakota Nation, Eagle Bull is the president of Encompass Architects in Lincoln, Neb. Her projects can be found across the country, but some of her most meaningful work might be what she accomplishes with Native Communities. Eagle Bull thrives on connecting culture with space, thereby designing buildings that truly fit people’s needs, not just what a designer thinks they might want or something that fits a particular aesthetic.

     

    “Tamara’s experience and values allow the clients to become an integral part of the design process, allowing the community to implement their own cultural values,” Troy S. Weston, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, wrote when he nominated Eagle Bull for the American Institute of Architect’s Whitney M. Young Jr. Award in 2018. “I view this approach to attribute her own cultural values as placing the client/community first to value their own project.”

     

    Eagle Bull received the AIA’s award, which goes to an architect or architectural organization that embodies social responsibility and actively addresses a relevant issue, such as affordable housing, inclusiveness or universal access. Many of these issues could not be more relevant to Native American communities. According to 2018 data, the U.S. homeownership for the white population was 72.1%, but just 54.6% for the Native population.

     

    Eagle Bull has worked in the architecture and project management industry for more than 30 years and has seen her share of discrimination, both as a woman and a Native American. It’s a generations-long problem, and one that she has worked hard to rectify. She told part of her family’s story in a Member Feature by the AIA.

     

    “My dad had wanted to be an architect since he was in high school. He grew up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and his father, a tribal leader, once said, ‘One day, our tribe will be in a position to rebuild and change our situation, and we are going to need architects and lawyers to do it.’ But when my father went to his non-Native counselor at school, the counselor said, ‘The best you can hope for is to be a teacher.’ So he became a teacher, and had a wonderful career, but he always regretted not becoming an architect.”

     

    Many of Eagle Bull’s projects today do contribute to the Native Communities, but sheconsciously looked elsewhere early in her career. The reason: to gain as much experience as possible so that she could better contribute to tribe architecture.

     

    “They (other Native architects) would find enough work, mostly little projects, but they didn’t have the know-how to handle big projects,” she told the AIA. “When a school or any multi-million-dollar project came up, they were never qualified. When we started our company, we started with a $20-million project. We can handle any project a tribe might have.”

    Santiago X – Artist

    Santiago X – Artist

    Just as there are great cultural differences – linguistic, ceremonial, historical – between Native American tribes, there is equally great variety in indigenous art. Case in point are the creations of Santiago X. Self-described as an “Indigenous Futurist,” this Chicago-based member of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana and the indigenous Chamorro from Guam uses art, architecture and new media to reclaim Native American tradition and identity.

     

    Although his art is not the kind you would incorporate in your home décor, like most of the tips you find from Schlage, Santiago X aims to make us rethink what we know about Native culture and how we use its images and perhaps misappropriate the symbolism or erase its presence altogether.

     

    “Because I have a duality of indigeneity and everyone that’s Indigenous has a duality of being Native and American, it’s a really big part of my artwork,” he was quoted in the Santa Fe Reporter. “My art is an exploration of my cultural identity; it’s a reclamation of being both Indigenous and American, and reminding people that there’s a lot of stereotypical iconography that saturates Americana, and a lot of my artwork is reinforming that almost bastardization of our culture and trying to reinform it with the fact that Native people see this stuff. We’re aware of its history; we know it’s racist. Here’s a way for people that wouldn’t necessarily know that it’s racist or that it’s offensive to kind of look at it through our eyes. That’s a lot of what my artwork is: a reappropriation of misappropriation.”

     

    One of his most recent projects is creating two public earthwork installations along the Chicago and Des Plaines rivers. Although it’s an ongoing project, the indigenous mounds were part of the 2019-20 Chicago Architecture Biennial, for which was the first Native American contributor. They’re designed to be “destinations of contemplation” where we can reconsider urban development in the name of so-called progress and remember that American architecture pre-dates colonization. And on top of that, they’re also the first effigy earthworks to be constructed by indigenous peoples in North America since the United States’ founding.

     

    “I’m trying to remind people of that presence and the grand nature of indigenous civilizations and their ability to create communities and trade networks and cultural epicenters,” the artist told the Chicago Tribune in 2019. “We had those things here pre-Columbus, preinvasion. I walk around these American cities, and I don’t see the presence of the indigenous point of view, the indigenous architect. ... I don’t see the presence of indigenous place makers in any of these cities, so I would like to return to that or at least catalyze the movement to create indigenous spaces again.”

     

    While Santiago X is becoming an installation himself in Chicago, he has exhibited internationally, such as at The World Expo in China and Italy’s Venice Biennale. The U.S. State Department commissioned him as lead artist for The American Arts Incubator Brazil in 2020.

     

    Wherever he exhibits, the art, and the change it sparks, always hits close to home for Santiago X. It’s a matter of protecting his identity and those of other Native peoples around the world.

     

    As he told The Art Newspaper, “Indigenous artists that have any kind of public exposure, are dealing with hostility and deep-seated sentiments all the time. What we do is ultimately a labour of love. Hopefully we can make a more harmonious world for all—that is the crux of our belief system as indigeneity is a kind perpetuity with the earth and the cosmos. I try to find that through art, and I do it for the empowerment and celebration of my people. Whoever shows up to be allies for us and our longevity and for a healthier relationship to the earth, it’s for them too.”

     

    You can follow the artist on Instagram @xtheshapeshifter.

    These spotlights are part of a series recognizing trailblazers in home design, construction, technology and business. You can read the previous installments published at the Schlage blog.

     

     

    6 must-have elements to unlock your foyer's decor potential.

    October 29, 2020 12:00 PM by emily.bailey

    Thursday, October 29, 2020

    Foyer decor | Schlage

    Make sure your foyer is both welcoming and coordinates with the rest of your home by including these six elements.

     

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    Your foyer is the first thing to greet you each day and your guests’ introduction to your personal style. Make sure it is both welcoming and coordinates with the rest of your home by including these six elements below.
    Foyer with yellow front door and Schlage Custom handleset in Bright Chrome.

    1. Complementing door hardware

    If you're still rocking the same door hardware that was installed when you moved in, it may be time to for an upgrade that complements other style elements in your home. Take a look at existing lighting and fixtures, consider the style of your home and choose a style and finish that adds the perfect finishing touch. You'll be pleasantly surprised by how well door hardware completes the look. Try our Style Selector Tool to help you get started.

     

    2. Adequate lighting

    There's nothing more welcoming than a vibrant, well-lit space. If your entryway has the tendency to look like a dungeon, consider installing new lighting that brings it to life. You can even opt for smart lighting that illuminates as soon as you unlock your front door with one of our smart locks. It’s not just a style boost. It can improve your home’s security, too.

     

    3. Organization

    It's easy to throw your bags, coat, shoes and everything else you're carrying on the floor or nearest surface as soon as you get home. Tackle the chaos before it starts by adding organization right when you walk in. Install hooks for coats and bags, a shoe tray, and even a decorative crate or basket to catch miscellaneous accessories. A landing strip – a table or slim shelf – is ideal for corralling keys, mail, your phone and other odds and ends, even in small entryways.

     

    4. Place to sit

    Give yourself and your guests a comfortable and convenient place to remove shoes by adding a chair or bench to your entryway. You can save a little room by using the space underneath to organize shoes and accessories.

     

    5. Durable rug

    Finally, add a rug that is both stylish and can stand up against whatever you may track in from outside. Resist the urge to choose something too light that will need to be replaced after a few weeks of wear and tear, but don't be afraid to have a little fun with prints and color.

     

    6. Personal touch

    Whether you hang photos on the wall, place fresh cut flowers on a table or show your creative side with colorful bench cushions, your entryway décor can be an expression of you and your family’s personality. Take advantage of this frequently overlooked space that craves your decorative touch.

     

    Ready to get started? Check out these DIY entryway projects to help you complete a space affordably and with your own personal touch.

     

    Simple style swaps with Schlage door hardware.

    October 27, 2020 12:00 PM by emily.bailey

    Tuesday, October 27, 2020

    Schlage style swaps | Schlage

    Depending on which knob or lever you pair with a trim and in what finish, your door hardware can give a totally different feel. See what we mean with these combinations made from simple style swaps.

     

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    A small change can make a big difference. Sometimes that means making a relatively minor upgrade – replacing curtains – that can transform an entire room. But sometimes, that means trading one element for another of a different style to create a fresh look. It’s true of a new lampshade on an existing light or different jewelry with the same dress. It’s also true with Schlage door hardware.

     

    Schlage offers trims, door knobs and levers to accent virtually any style of home – traditional, transitional or contemporary. Depending on which knob or lever you pair with a trim and in what finish, your door hardware can give a totally different feel. See what we mean with these combinations made from simple style swaps.

    Glamorous master bedroom with satin brass Schlage Latitude lever.

    Contemporary

    Schlage Plymouth knob with Greenwich trim

    If you like the Greenwich trim but want a more contemporary look – something that relies on simple color and shape, rather than elaborate design – you’ll get just that when you pair it with the Schlage Plymouth knob. A Satin Nickel finish enhances the modern style.

     

    Try this pairing in modern homes that feature clean lines, modern surfaces and metallic finishes on anything from coffee tables to lighting to artistic accessories. Your décor is likely simple without a lot of elaborate patterns or overstuffed furniture.

    Schlage Plymouth knob with Greenwich trim in Satin Nickel finish.

    Transitional

    Schlage Plymouth knob with Camelot trim

    Let’s keep the Plymouth knob but change up the trim. Pair this round knob with a Schlage Camelot trim and you’ve gone back to transitional style. The Camelot trim features scalloped edges, putting it most often on the traditional-to-transitional side of the spectrum. In this case, it’s the knob and the Satin Nickel finish that updates it.

    Schlage Plymouth knob with Camelot trim in Satin Nickel finish.

    Traditional

    Schlage Custom™ Whitney lever with Camelot trim

    If you’re wondering what a more traditional Camelot trim pairing looks like, look no further than the Schlage Custom™ Whitney lever. When you combine these two stylish pieces of door hardware, you capture design rooted in the past and focused on comfort, familiarity and romanticism.

     

    Try this pairing with décor that also incorporates floral patterns, fringe and tassels, and classic, luxurious designs like what you might see in 19th-century Europe. Your home may also have wrought-iron features, which is why the Whitney lever on Camelot trim in an Aged Bronze finish is so striking.

    Schlage Whitney lever with Camelot trim in Aged Bronze finish.

    Traditional

    Schlage Custom™ Whitney lever or Georgian knob with Alden trim

    The Whitney lever is also often paired with the Alden trim for a traditional feel. The Georgian knob and Alden trim pairing has a similar aesthetic and is a beautiful touch with the same style of home. Aged Bronze and Matte Black finishes are good choices with these combinations as they can call out the warm wood tones of Arts & Crafts-style architecture or complement other features that evoke artisanal molding or ironwork.

    Schlage Georgina knob with Alden trim.

    Transitional

    Schlage Georgian knob with Collins trim

    Even though the Georgian knob is a classic style that draws on architecture of the 1700s, you can still use it with a more modern trim for an eclectic look that complements your transitional home. Try the Georgian knob with the Schlage Collins trim in Matte Black finish for an unexpected combination of shapes that’ll catch the eye for all the right reasons.

     

    Look to Mid-Century Modern architecture again, or maybe even some funky farmhouse designs, to help make a statement with this pairing.

    Schlage Georgian knob with Collins trim.

    Contemporary

    Schlage Broadway lever with Collins trim

    Let’s look at one more pairing to bring us all the way back to contemporary. The Collins trim, with its clean, square shape, is most often seen in more modern spaces. This is especially true when you add one of our straight levers like the Schlage® Broadway lever to it. In Satin Chrome or Matte Black finishes, this Collins-meets-Broadway combination is perfect for urban styles inspired by the Bauhaus movement.

     

    Schlage Broadway lever with Collins trim in Satin Chrome finish.

    We offer a variety of trim, door knob/lever and finish combinations across the Schlage Custom Door Hardware line. That means endless possibilities for you to create a look that flawlessly complements the style of your home and expresses your unique personal taste. Try our Style Selector Tool to help you find the style that’s right for you and learn more about Schlage Custom Door Hardware at Schlage.com.

     

    Buying and selling a house during a pandemic.

    October 22, 2020 12:00 PM by emily.bailey

    Thursday, October 22, 2020

    Home buying during a pandemic | Schlage

    To say that you need to be prepared when entering the real estate market is an understatement, but when you’re buying and selling a home during COVID, there are a few extra factors you might want to consider.

     

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    To say that you need to be prepared when entering the real estate market is an understatement, but when you’re buying and selling a home during COVID, there are a few extra factors you might want to consider. Reduce your stress and make the process as simple, fun and safe as possible by asking these questions before setting out on your house hunting expedition.
    Couple looking at homes online.

    What are your priorities, both long- and short-term?

    Chances are that your lifestyle changed in 2020, spending more time at home, working from home, cooking at home, going for more walks around the neighborhood. Even if your day-to-day is back to normal, you might have discovered new hobbies or better ways of doing things. Consider your new priorities when choosing your next home. Here are some of the most common home features people added to their wish lists in 2020:

     

    • More outdoor space: Valuable for warding off cabin fever during times of quarantine and finding more pleasure in nature at home

    • Traditional or closed floorplan: More important when working from home, e-learning and quarantining requires more privacy, or you just crave more personal space during no-travel orders

    • Dedicated home office: Important for improving focus and productivity as well as privacy and confidentiality

    • Home gym: Because home workouts, and meditation or yoga spaces, have become a bigger part of people’s routines

    • Mother-in-law suite: Particularly important as multigenerational homes become more common and in the event that someone needs to be quarantined from the rest of the family

    • Updated HVAC systems, air purifiers and sanitary materials: Especially appealing if you want easy-to-clean surfaces and ways to limit germs in your home

    What does “location, location, location” mean now?

    Whereas commute time was a major consideration when looking at houses prior to the pandemic, location has a different significance if you’re now working from home. If you aren’t worried about drive time to the office, you can now give higher priority to the neighborhood or schools you want for your kids, the climate you’ve always dreamed of or the proximity to your favorite restaurants. Some homebuyers have shifted their attention to the suburbs, where population density is lower and cost of living is more affordable.

    How will COVID-19 affect the financials of buying a house?

    Many people are anxious about what kind of down payment they should make, especially if their employment situation is a bit tenuous during the pandemic. The same can be said about future mortgage payments. The best answer here is to contact a financial expert so you can get the personalized advice you need.

     

    This is also an interesting time to decide if you want to take on a fixer-upper. It’s often a way to save money on the home sale itself, and if you have the time or developed some new DIY skills in recent months, this could be the perfect opportunity to put your personal stamp on a new home.

    What will you do if you need gap housing?

    There might be a gap between when you move out of your current home and into the new one. Where will you stay during that time? The friends and family you would have counted on pre-pandemic might not be able to or comfortable with hosting you now. Figure out what short-term living situation works for you and plan accordingly, whether that means lining up a generous friend, budgeting for an extended hotel stay or putting your things in self-storage.

    Little girl and parents moving into new home.

    Is it a good idea to do a virtual showing?

    Some realtors and homeowners began doing virtual showings only this year to limit exposure to the virus. While some buyers have shied away from a home they can’t see in person, others have found it to be beneficial. Emma Banks of Apartment Therapy found that she was able to ask the seller questions directly, which they wouldn’t have been able to during a realtor-hosted showing, especially since she was looking at properties on the other side of the country. Here are some tips for attending a virtual home showing.

     

    • Ask for the home’s disclosures beforehand. Your real estate agent should be able to get a list of “defects,” so you know what to look for and what to ask about before you even tune in.

    • Get the floorplan. When you’re watching on a screen, it can be easy to get lost. Think of it like the map to a guided tour of a city.

    • Ask lots of questions. It might be harder to get a feel for the house when you aren’t actually standing in it. There are no bad questions when it comes to making this kind of investment, so ask away. If you’re doing a live virtual viewing, you may need to hold your questions until the end. Write them down as you go so you don’t forget. Some things you’ll want to ask about no matter what, regardless of the specific house. Come prepared with your list of those questions – how long has the house been on the market, when was it last renovated – as well.

    • Learn the software. You’ll probably see tours on a variety of platforms – Facebook, Zoom and even real estate-specific software. Don’t miss the tour because you were trying to figure out the technology.
    Mid-century modern living room.

    What should I know if I’m selling during the pandemic?

    If you want someone to make an offer, you need them to feel at home and be able to picture themselves in the house. There are several ways to do this, but here are some of our favorites:

     

    • Focus on curb appeal. Because it might not be possible for buyers to tour the house in person, expect them to at least do a drive-by. That means they need to get a really good feeling just by looking at it from the street. This is important in any market, but it might be even more so during a pandemic. Spruce up the landscaping, clean and repair the porch, paint your front door an appealing color and make sure the lighting is perfect. And don’t forget the garage door, which is routinely named as one of the biggest bangs for your buck when it comes to remodeling projects for resale.

    • Prepare for virtual showings. Plan the route you’ll take as you guide your “guests” through the house and know what you’re going to say, just as you would if you were public speaking. Do a test run at different times of the day to see how lighting affects the video quality. And just as you would if you were showing your home in person – or on a video call for work – be sure to clean up and find a safe place for pets where they won’t interrupt.

    • Get ready to answer questions. Homebuyers are likely to make more personal, to-the-point inquiries, particularly if they’re viewing your house virtually. Start by figuring out what questions you would ask when buying a house during coronavirus, then prepare those answers for your own house.

    • Install a smart lock. If you are allowing potential buyers to tour the home in person, you might be able to practice social distancing by not even needing to be on-site at the same time. A smart lock with unique and programmable access codes can make it easy for your realtor to show the house without you having to be there to let them in, to exchange keys or to mess with one of those lock boxes. You can take the smart lock with you when you move out, too.

    • Stage your house. This isn’t unique to the times, but you might stage your house keeping in mind those new priorities we mentioned at the very beginning. Perhaps you show a spare room as an office rather than a craft room. Or emphasize how inviting and relaxing your back deck oasis can really be.

    A lot goes into buying and selling your house. Get more tips, from deciding which projects to tackle for resale value to packing advice to what to do first when finally move in, from Schlage’s real estate resources.

     

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