Details Matter: Light Up Your Home and Light Up Your Life | Pictured: Model home at The Woodlands, Waterbridge-80' Homesites in The Woodlands, TX 77375
Design

Details Matter: How to Bring Light to Every Room in Your Home

Guest Contributor Lee K. Crowder, Design Gallery and Model Home Branding Manager for Taylor Morrison and Darling Homes

Darling Homes builds in the metro areas of Dallas and Houston. However, no matter where you live, sooner or later the sun goes down (or the clouds come out) and Mother Nature needs an assist. That’s where smart lighting choices come in. Lee Crowder, our Design Gallery and Home Branding Manager, offers illuminating insights about home lighting in our Details Matter series.

Let the Sunshine In!

Lee Crowder says home lighting begins with the floorplan’s design and how the home is situated on the homesite.

Whether you get sun exposure throughout the day or only during certain times of day depends on whether you home has an East/West or North/South orientation. Pay attention to the site plan when you’re shopping for a new home. If you love waking up to morning sunshine, you’ll want your owner’s suite facing east. If you savor watching sunsets, pick a home with a balcony or picture window facing west.

Lee K. Crowder

The thought and attention that goes into details like site orientation are part of the Darling Homes Experience.  

Obviously, the more windows in your home, the more natural light you’ll enjoy throughout the day. If that’s your vision of perfection, then look for homes with volume ceilings and windows that soar the full two stories, typically offered in great rooms, living rooms and owners suites.

Home design 6734 at The Woodlands, Smooth Stream - 65' Patio Homesites | 3,415 Sq. Ft. | 3 Bedrooms | 2 Baths | 2 Half Baths | 3 Garage | 2 Stories

By contrast, rooms with lower ceilings (9 feet of height vs 11 feet or more) reduce the amount of natural light and make the space feel darker at times.

Dealing with Shade

Family rooms that open onto covered patios tend to be darker. In that case, Lee suggests adding extra LED flush-mounted lighting. This may also be a solution for brightening up a secondary bedroom where there’s only one window.

Perhaps your foyer could use some brightening during the day.  Add glass panel insert windows to your front door and let natural light flow into your home.  If you have a small or narrow entry, you might want to borrow this trick.

Landscaping is another consideration that can impact natural light. “Trees and tall shrubbery can cut down significantly on the amount of sunshine your home receives,” says Lee.

Finally, don’t overlook window coverings that provide privacy (and protect upholstery) without blocking natural light. “Your Design Consultant at the Taylor Morrison Design Studio can show you a variety of suitable window treatments for this purpose that will complement your overall design scheme.”

Brighten Up and Lighten Up

Okay, you’ve made the most of the available sunshine. Let’s see what design tips and tricks Lee advises for creating the illusion of light. Paint, especially white paint, can be your best friend, according to Lee.

“A neutral base color for your rooms will make your home look brighter, while also giving you greater flexibility with the rest of your color palette. Off-set the neutral walls with crisp, white trim for a bright, sophisticated look. And don’t overlook the power white ceilings have to create the illusion of height and spaciousness, even in small rooms.”

24/7 Daylight at Your Fingertips

Lucky us. We can flip a switch (or punch a smartphone app) and light up the darkest space, creating everything from the brilliance of sunlight to the soft ambient glow of moonlight. Best of all, we can do it without generating the harsh shadows or excessive heat of the old-fashioned incandescent bulbs.

“At Taylor Morrison and Darling Homes we use LED ceiling flush-mounted lights instead of traditional can lights. These are thin disks that affix easily to the ceiling and let you add LED lighting to any room in the house. They have the added advantages of lasting longer than incandescent can lights and, because they collect no dust, you won’t need to open the fixture to clean them. That’s a big plus!”

Lee recommends reviewing your various spaces and ceiling heights to determine where to add more LED disks.

“If you spend a lot of time in the room doing things like reading, crafts, office or homework and other tasks that require good light, you’ll want additional disks. If the ceilings are low, adding more disks is a clever way to make the room appear larger. They make it a snap to find clothing, especially in a deep walk-in closet. And they are ideal over vanities where you want good light for applying makeup and grooming.”

In bedrooms or family rooms, especially in warmer climates, you should consider adding a light kit to your ceiling fans to get the benefit of cooling and illumination in one package.

Designing with Light and Light Fixtures

Explore the lighting design in person by taking a tour of our 5031 Model Plan at Lakewood at Brookhollow in Prosper, TX | Models open daily.

Take the virtual tour of our 5031 Model Plan at Lakewood at Brookhollow in Prosper, TX and you’ll notice dramatic pendant lights over the kitchen island as well as flush-mounted disk lights in the ceiling. “Your kitchen is certainly someplace where you don’t want to skimp on lighting, and this model demonstrates how you can have the design element of pendants combined with highly functional but inconspicuous ceiling lights.”

Sparkle and Shine Your Way

A major perk of buying a new Darling home is your visit to the Design Gallery. “You’ll see a dazzling selection of lighting fixtures for task lighting and mood-setting, along with hardware, flooring, wall and window treatment options, appliances and much more,” says Lee. “It’s your opportunity to make your home reflect your taste with the expert help of a professional design consultant.”

Here’s a Bright Idea

It’s a great time to visit a Darling Home community near you. Touring a few model homes is an excellent way to understand how much details matter when they’re thoughtfully combined. It’s a fun way to spark your imagination and turn on a few creative lightbulbs, too! Explore all our Darling Homes communities online, find the one that’s absolutely YOU and plan a visit today.

Community

Your Guide to Rodeo Houston

If you live in Houston, you know exactly what Rodeo Houston means to the city. Cowboy hats and boots, live music, carnival rides and the world’s largest livestock show and rodeo. Known as the best tradition in Texas, Rodeo Houston is much more than just entertainment. It’s a celebration of Texas culture that aims to educate and raise money for various charities around the state.

Go Texan Day kicks things off. The day celebrates the unofficial kickoff of the 20-day Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Houston residents dress up in their Texas best, sporting jeans, cowboy hats and boots to school or work, showing off their western pride for tradition. You’ll see #GoTexanDay everywhere on local social media, from Houston news stations displaying their Rodeo style to elementary school classrooms full of tiny Texas boots. Go Texan Day is a day for everyone of all ages to come together to celebrate Texas’ Western heritage and raise awareness for rodeo season.

The Rodeo takes place at NRG Park in Harris County and takes over NRG Stadium, NRG Arena and NRG Center. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was first established in 1932 as the Houston Fat Stock Show and has now grown to more than 30,000 entries. The show is organized by three categories of competitions known as the Junior Show, Open Show and Youth Show. The show sets world records in the junior market auctions, raising more than $12 million in 2016. Submissions for the junior auctions include school art as well as different types of livestock and wool entries.

The official sport of Texas is rodeo and at Rodeo Houston, you’ll understand why. Events include tie-down roping, bareback riding, team roping and more happen throughout the event. The bull riding competition tests the cowboy’s physical strength as he faces off with a bull weighing up to 2,000 pounds whose single thought is removing the rider off its back. Participants in these events come from across the nation in hopes of taking home one or more of the Rodeo’s coveted grand prizes, totaling a $2.17 million payout.

Every night after the rodeo dust settles, a superstar will steal the show. With this year’s performances from pop star Camila Cabello and EDM entertainer Zedd, the music is larger than life, true to Texas tradition. Not to mention the performances from some of country music’s finest including Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, George Strait, Chris Stapleton, Zac Brown Brand and much more.

Looking to get in on the action? Check out ticket sales here.

Community

Opening Day: Baseball Returns to Dallas and Houston

Major League Baseball is back on March 28! In Texas, this means it’s time to bust out the baseball caps and get ready to support the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros. And if regular season baseball seems a bit early this year, it is! This is the earliest opening day in the history of the game (outside of international openers). But as any baseball fan will tell you, it’s never too early to play baseball!

Dallas

The Texas Rangers will start the season at home at Globe Life Park in Arlington. They will face off against the Chicago Cubs at 3:05 p.m. The Rangers have their sights set on a better finish in the  American League West this year and will look to Mike Minor to begin the season on a high note. The Opening Day starter was 12-8 in 2018 with a 4.18 earned run average. This will be Minor’s first Opening Day start of his career. For information on tickets click here.

If you live in Dallas but can’t make it to Opening Day, you’ll have 81 other chances to visit Globe Life Park before the team moves into its new home next door in 2020. Check out the Rangers’ 2019 schedule here.

Don’t live in Dallas? Darling Homes has you covered. Check out all of the gorgeous homes Darling Homes in Dallas has to offer so you’ll never miss another home game.

Houston

The 2017 World Champion Houston Astros will face the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg to kick off their 2019 campaign. The game begins at 4 p.m. Last year, the Astros won the American League West before bowing out to the eventual world champion Boston Red Sox. For information on tickets to this game click here.

When the Astros return home, be sure to check out the team’s home field, Minute Maid Park. Take a look at the Astros schedule here.

Don’t live in Houston? Check out all the beautiful homes Darling Homes in Houston has to offer so you’ll never have to miss a home game.

Darling Difference

New Model Homes Arrive in Houston

More homes from Darling Homes’ Retreat Patio Collection and American Classic Collection have arrived in the community of Woodforest. These collections offer homebuyers in Montgomery, Texas an unparalleled living experience in an amenity-rich and active master-planned community. 

Woodforest Retreat Patio

The Woodforest 65’ homesites features the Retreat Patio Home Collection. This collection of patio homes is designed to offer luxurious homes with ample space for entertaining without sacrificing storage space or living areas, giving homeowners the best of both worlds. Homesites feature private rear yards that back to either a wooded reserve or golf course.

Darling Homes offers one- and two-story homes in that include up to four bedrooms with home studies and expansive master suites with walk-in closets, made for homebuyers looking to downsize without compromising their lifestyle. The homes, which range from approximately 2,900 to 3,800 square feet, offer Modern, Traditional and International exteriors and include three-car garages as standard.

Available options include extended covered patios, courtyards, outdoor fireplaces, guest suites and media rooms and more.

Woodforest American Classic

The Woodforest American Classic Collection offers a step back to a time when neighbors spent time together on front porches waving to the people who would pass by. This series of homes with colonial-influenced designs are inspired by classic American architecture and neighborhoods with a modern twist that includes all the updated and upscale features that Darling Homes is known for.

This collection of homes offers owners the best in upscale living. From gourmet kitchens to elegant master suites with vaulted ceilings, the American Classic series is the perfect choice for those who seek a classic and unique living experience but still inclusive of all the bells and whistles of the modern era.


Darling Homes has several three- and four-bedroom home designs to choose from – ranging from approximately 2,300 to 3,300 square feet, allowing homebuyers an exciting array of choices.

The Woodforest Retreat Patio Home Collection and American Classic Collection of homes will be offered in a north Houston community that features a golf club, water spray park, miles of trails, tennis courts, basketball courts and much more.

Learn more about Woodforest and the Darling Homes’ American Classic Collection here or the Darling Homes Retreat Patio Home Collection here or call 713-401-2008 today.

At Home

Getting Your Landscaping Ready for Spring

When the weather finally begins to warm up, it’s time to prepare your yard for April showers and the opportunity for gorgeous May flowers. Transitioning your outdoor landscaping from winter-protected to spring-prepared is a breeze with the following tips that will help guide your grounds into an enchanting oasis.

Transitioning from Winter

Just as you put away your winter wardrobe to make room for spring, you need to do the same with your yard. Remember to remove any burlap you may have used for winter shrub or tree protection and then inspect your plants for broken branches or other damage to see if they need to be pruned or removed all together.

Next, rake old leaves and debris from plant beds and use an edging tool to refresh and tidy up the natural edges around the beds. Don’t forget to test out your irrigation system once the weather has warmed up enough to ensure it hasn’t been damaged during the winter.

Testing Soil

Once every few years, it’s best to test out your soil to see if it has the proper pH balance and mix of nutrients. When a plant’s soil pH is high, its ability to absorb nutrients can be disrupted and if it’s too high, it prevents the iron in the soil from changing into a form the plant can absorb. To test your soil, you can purchase a soil meter or pH kit. If you would rather test it yourself, there are some homemade soil pH testing methods you can try out here.

Lawn Fertilization

Once you’ve analyzed your soil conditions, you can decide whether or not to fertilize your lawn. If your soil is in need of nutrients, it’s best to choose a fertilizer that can fulfill those needs. A slow-release or controlled-release fertilizer is generally the best option to reduce the possibility of losses to the environment and increase nutrient absorption. It may also help your lawn to choose an organic fertilizer to improve the health of your soil in certain cases.

Despite popular belief, choosing to fertilize early in the spring might not be the best time for your lawn. In Texas, homeowners often make the mistake of fertilizing when it begins to warm up, but your lawn might not be ready to wake up from dormancy. This is because the Bermuda and St. Augustine grass that exists in Texas thrives in the warm season, which means neither are ready to break out of dormancy until soil temperatures stay above 70 degrees for several weeks. According to Dr.Green.com, the best time to begin fertilizing for spring in Texas is usually about mid- to late-April each year.

Once you’ve chosen your fertilizer and when to fertilize, make sure you read the directions to avoid making the mistake of using too much. This can harm your lawn and end up costing more than expected. If you use too little, your lawn might not achieve the results intended and can lead to thin stand, causing soil erosion and unwanted runoff.

You can also choose to fertilize your trees and shrubs as most will benefit from the correct type of fertilization. However, make sure to consider the steps above before deicing how much and what type to apply.

Weed Control

Spring is ideal for removing those tough weeds that made it through the winter by applying pre-emergent weed control for weeds like crabgrass. This will create a barrier across the surface of the soil that will prevent the seedlings of weeds from penetrating through.

The right time to apply weed control is during flowering time, also known as forsythia, when your shrubs are in full bloom. In gardens, the best time to begin weed prevention is when you plan to plant flowers or vegetable beds.

Make sure to clear the designated area of weeds before you start planting, so they won’t become more prone to weeds later on. Also consider adding a layer of mulch or straw to further prevent weed germination and growth.

Applying Mulch

Mulching areas of your yard can do much more than making planting areas look clean and neat. Mulch helps soil retain its moisture, keeps roots cool in the summertime and insulates them during the winter.

Plus, organic moisture is added to the soil as mulch decomposes over time. Adding in a one-inch-thick layer of fresh mulch is ideal for plant beds and around trees but make sure to not let the mulch touch tree trunks as it may prevent the trees from gaining access to oxygen

With the help from these tips, you can make your Darling Dallas or Darling Houston home as beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside.