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Liven Up Your New Apartment With These Hardy Indoor Plants

african-violet

A little greenery has an amazing ability to liven up any living space. The benefits go beyond the aesthetic, though. Research has shown plants to be effective in removing indoor pollutants. In fact, a study from NASA found that houseplants are able to remove up to 87 percent of air toxins in a 24-hour period.

Some of the most effective houseplants at removing toxins were dragon tree, ivy, ficus, philodendrons, spider plants, peace lilies, ferns, chrysanthemums, palms and the rubber plant. Several of these awesome creatures also made our list of hardy, easy-to-care-for plants. Here are our top six picks to brighten up your new apartment.

  1. Ficus. The braided ficus tree is a favorite for those wanting a low-maintenance indoor plant. Since they can grow tall, an apartment with vaulted ceilings is a perfect fit. They thrive in bright, but indirect sunlight. So, put it in the corner of a room with a large window and watch it take off. Only water your ficus every two to three days and fertilize it once a year.
  2. African Violets. We love our greenery, but having flowers indoors brings a whole new level of satisfaction. African violets are a great choice. They are inexpensive, usually only a few dollars, and are easy to care for. African violets will give you about nine months of blooms. Place them near a window because they need full sunlight. If you don’t have a sunny spot for them, they also do well under fluorescent light. Get more tips about using artificial light sources from HGTVgardens.com. The biggest key to success is to leave them alone. The quickest way to kill your African violet is to water it too much. Only water it when the soil feels completely dry. Don’t water it from the top. Place water in a dish and set the pot on top of the dish, allowing the plant to absorb the water from the bottom roots.
  3. Peace Lily. The peace lily improves indoor air quality and is one of the easiest plants to care for. It does not require a lot of light. It will grow as much as you allow it, dictated by the size of its pot. Keep it as a tabletop decoration or let it grown to six feet tall in a large room. They also provide a delicate, spoon-shaped flower.
  4.  Spider Plants. These gems are tolerant, tough and hardy. They can take a lot of abuse and neglect. They make great hanging baskets with their “spiderettes” that hang from the mother plant. Place in bright, indirect light. Don’t over water. Let the plant completely dry out before watering again. If you find success with spider plants and want more, you can easily propagate the spiderettes from the mother plant and create a new plant.
  5.  Cacti. If you are really doubting your green thumb abilities, start out with a cacti. Simply place it in a sunny spot and don’t water until they are completely dry.
  6. Jade. These incredibly easy plants help create a modern look. They do need direct sunlight, so place your plant near a window. If planted in a large pot, they can grow to be a five-foot shrub. The only problem you may encounter is the plant can grow so much it becomes top-heavy and dumps over. Here’s another perk. If a leaf falls off, don’t discard it. Simply place it in the dirt and it will root and create a new plant. Indoor plants are a great way to improve your indoor environment. Regardless of the climate in which you live, the lighting in your apartment or space restrictions, you are sure to find an indoor plant that fits your needs. One word of caution, though. If you are an animal lover, be sure your indoor plant is not poisonous to your furry friends.

Wood Partners would like to introduce you to your new home. Contact us to learn about our luxury apartment communities nationwide.

 

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A New Apartment and a New Roommate: Five Tips for Keeping the Peace

new roommate

Having a roommate can be a challenge, especially if you do not get off on the right foot in the beginning. Whether you are rooming with someone for the first time or you have shared apartments before, each roommate experience is going to be unique and have its own challenges. This is true whether you are rooming with your best friend or you are sharing an apartment with a complete stranger. At Wood Partners, we want your apartment living experience to be enjoyable, so here’s five tips to improve your chances of having a good roommate experience.

Respect Each Other’s Space and Boundaries

Whether you have to share a room with your new roommate or you are simply sharing an apartment, most people want some privacy. Even if you have previously had roommates, it is a good idea to quickly establish boundaries. If a door is open, is that automatically an invitation to come in, or does it still require knocking? Can you borrow each other’s clothing without asking? If your roommate leaves books, papers, or clothing in the living room, can the items be moved?

It may also be important to establish quiet times in your apartment, particularly if one or both of you works odd hours. Maybe visitors need to leave by midnight or you agree to use headphones when listening to music between ten at night and eight in the morning. Realize that just because something does not bother you, does not mean it will not bother your roommate.

Split the Workload

It is also important that everyone contributes to the running of the household. If you decide to purchase food together, you will need Continue reading


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Consider the Kids when Moving to Your New Apartment

Family unpacking cardboard box

Your move to a new apartment can signal a positive change in your life, getting a new job, or moving to a new city. You feel excited at the opportunities this adventures offers. However, if you have any kids, they may feel the exact opposite, especially if this is the first move of their lives. They may be leaving the only home they’ve ever known and saying goodbye to lifelong friends. You can make the transition easier for them by following a few guidelines.

Begin by explaining to them why the family is moving to a new home. Encourage them to express their feelings, both positive and negative. Acknowledge and sympathize with their fears but find a way to turn these feelings into something positive. For example, if your little one is sad at leaving her friends, agree that it is indeed sad to say goodbye, but point out that she can see her playmates for special visits in the future.

Take your children on the apartment hunt with you and ask for their opinions to give them some say in the decision-making process. You can ask them what they think of the location or whether they’d prefer to have this bedroom or that bedroom as their very own. Point out some of the advantages of the complex, such as the swimming pool or play area, and how the boys and girls around them could become their new friends.

During the move, give younger kids a toy or game that they can amuse themselves with in their own room. This puts them out of the way of movers. If your children are old enough, allow them to decorate their own room by specifying where to place furniture. Give them a small budget so they can choose window coverings and accessories for their new space.

If you would like more information on finding an apartment, please contact us.


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TIPS FOR DECORATING YOUR APARTMENT

Design interior. Sofa in Modern living room.While excellent interior design can involve structural changes, new floor coverings and wallpaper, your apartment lease won’t allow you to make such extensive renovations. However, there’s still a lot you can do to make your Wood Partners space your own without making permanent modifications. Try some of these tips.

Go curvy. Counteract those straight lines with pieces that show curves or circles for variety. Try a camelback sofa in the living room, a round table in the dining area, and circular throw pillows instead of square ones. Even curved patterns in your fabric choices, such as for bedspreads, can be good choices.

Keep it bright. If you feel a room is too dark, you’re first reaction is to add more lamps. But this can take up valuable table and floor space. Instead add shiny objects instead that reflect. These typically have metallic or glass elements and include brass lamps and chrome accessories. Wall mirrors are excellent for spreading brightness, especially if they face windows to reflect sunlight.

Use wallpaper as art. You can enjoy the beauty of wallpaper without any of its installation fuss by framing examples that you then hang on the wall. Use one 3-by-5-foot sample in a simple frame that won’t detract from the pattern. It makes an excellent focal point on a blank wall. If you prefer several designs but can’t decide on one, frame an 8-by-10-inch swatch of each of your favorites, and cluster the collection in a grouping. Use similar frames so the focus is on the wallpaper rather than on the frame.

If you’re interested in finding an apartment that suits your decorating and living desires, please contact Wood Partners today.


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Energy Efficiency Comes First


Meaningful Green Building Results Lies in the Company Culture

The program isn’t just about putting ENERGY STAR®  labeled appliances ENERGY STAR® for New Homes, lights and equipment in a building.  It starts at the studs.  Actually, it starts at the slab.  So it requires that field staff be trained in new, albeit quite simple, building practices – from framing and insulation details to the sealing of gaps and holes.

It’s a lot of little things that add up to a more air-tight, energy-efficient building envelope.  And if Project Managers and Site Superintendents don’t buy into it, and subcontractors and laborers aren’t trained and supervised to do it, it simply won’t happen.  Trying to meet the standards of the ENERGY STAR for New Homes program after the drywall is up can be extremely difficult, not to mention costly.

The key to delivering meaningful, cost-effective green building results lies in the company culture.  The development/construction team should be driven by a sense of pride in their work.  Whether mandated by governments or demanded by the market, green building will never be feasible if it is merely a specification.  It must start with the people who are in the trenches, making buildings happen every day.

Make the investment in your team – even your subcontractors – to learn more about green building techniques.

Did you know that the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program offers free online training to help you improve the energy performance of your organization. No travel, no lost time out of the office, and no cost. Here’s a link to their real estate workshop series: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=comm_real_estate.bus_comm_realestate_workshop

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) also offers online courses and webinars for everyone from beginners to people whose goal is to complete LEED credential requirements. Check it out here:  http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=2332


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Let’s Make 2013 a “Greener” Year

Bill GreenAs we enter the New Year, making resolutions has not always been the easiest thing to do. We start with good intentions but somehow lose focus and forget the importance of why we chose the resolutions to begin with. We might set our goals too high or try to achieve something that might be too difficult. Resolutions should be a daily effort, setting goals that are reasonable and in the long term, pay dividends.

As I was trying to come up with a topic for the next Wood Partners Green Blog during the holiday break, a thought came across my mind on what we can do to become more ‘green’ in the year 2013. This thought was a segue into resolutions we can make for the year 2013. By making these ‘green’ resolutions, we can create better habits at home and set examples for our children, peers, and neighbors.

If you haven’t already, here are some ideas and goals you can start this year. Our family has been doing this for a while and you’ll immediately see the benefits of taking these sustainable best practices:

  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs.
  • If your city recycles, try to divert to landfills by separating glass, plastics and paper products in a separate bin. You’ll notice at least 50% of your trash will be for recycling.
  • Also, if you have a green thumb and like to garden, you can divert your leftover kitchen bio products and create compost for the soil. Items such as coffee grinds, onion peels, egg shells, etc. help add nutrients back into the soil.
  • Insulate leaky doors and windows.
  • Lower the thermostat to 68° in the winter and 78° in the summer.
  • Install low-flow toilets that use less water.
  • Cut back on the water being used in the shower by installing a low-flow showerhead.
  • If your home has an irrigation system, only water once a week. Long, deep waterings in the evenings only once a week help promote deeper roots for the turf and vegetation around your home.
  • Replace older appliances, especially refrigerators, hot water heaters and dishwashers, with Energy Star-rated appliances.
  • Install ceiling fans to help circulate air throughout your home during the summer and winter months.
  • Turn off ‘vampire’ appliances when not being used such as cable TV box sets, dvd players, computers, etc. to help reduce electrical usage and cost.
  • Ensure you have the proper insulation and ventilation in your attic.
  • Seal around electrical outlets on all exterior walls to help reduce drafts.
  • And finally, recycle that Christmas tree you might not have taken down yet. Cities will turn it into mulch or like New Orleans where I’m originally from, Christmas trees are brought to the marshes of southern Louisiana to help slow down coastal erosion.

Hopefully your 2013 would be a good and ‘green’ one.

William J. Greene III, LEED® AP BD+C
Architect/Design Manager
Wood Partners


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What It Means to Go Green

Implementing change in the apartment development business is a tall order.  Contractors introducing new techniques or materials fear costly delays, call backs, or even building failures.  What’s more, renters are extremely price-sensitive and tend to chase lower rents.  So additional costs, whether related to learning curves or more expensive materials and equipment, are difficult to pass through to customers.

There are really only three reasons why change happens at all: legislation, value creation, or market demand.  Governments – whether local, state or federal – may mandate change in building practices or equipment efficiency standards, such as the steady increase in minimum SEER ratings required by code.  Developers may begin to introduce new features incrementally in the hopes of squeezing out higher rents or stealing customers from existing competitors; granite countertops and stainless steel appliances found their way into apartments throughout the last decade in this way.  And when upgrades become standard features, new developments must meet the market demand by providing these features, if they hope to capture even baseline market rents.

When we first started dipping our toes into green building, it was motivated by the anticipation of legislation.  The memory of costs and headaches brought about by the accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act was still fresh in our minds, and in early 2007, we decided to try to get ahead of it.  However, what our “Green Team” discovered is that green, when done right, can represent a low-cost opportunity for differentiation in a crowded, commoditized business.

In our next “Getting Green Right” blog post, we’ll give you our thoughts on “How green is green enough?”