Tag Archives: modern homes in San Antonio


Work from Home & the Newfound Value of a Home Office

“Sorry, that’s my dog barking in the background!” Sound familiar? COVID-19 quarantine and shelter in place orders have sent many of us home while still juggling a full workload. Facetime, Slack, and Zoom have all taken new prominence in our lives as we try to find our new normal. Whether it is helping the kids with school, trying to operate business as usual from the bedroom, or looking for some quiet on the back patio, we have all felt the challenges of this new work format.

Finding a suitable place in the home to connect virtually can be difficult. It can feel like waiting for the stars to align for pets, appliances, and family to all be quiet enough for a peaceful hour of work at home. While it has been nice to be near to those we love through the stay at home era, we must also face reality. Work from home may not be going away anytime soon, and we need to set ourselves up to be productive in this format.

Work from Home

In a CNBC article, Fidelity’s Chief Risk Officer, Greg Montana, predicts there will be no return to packed office buildings. Montana thinks there will be some return to office work, but not like before as he leads one of the world’s largest financial institutions which has 95% of its workforce at home. The CNBC article goes on to cite a Global Workplace Analytics claim that employers can save $11,000 per employee who works from home at least half the time. Cost savings, expanding technology, health concerns, and convenience may have catapulted us forward into the work from anywhere format for good. This brings us back to the barking dog in the background of our zoom call. What should we be doing with our homes to anticipate this change?

Investing in a dedicated home office space is quickly transitioning from a “nice to have” to a “must have” for homeowners. The corner of a bedroom might work temporarily, but we all know we need more permanent solutions. Not only can a dedicated workroom increase our quality of life amidst chaos, but it also holds the potential to increase the value of our homes.

A dedicated, working space off the main living area could make our homes more desirable when we market them in this new era of remote work as a business norm.

Having a home office with a heavier soundproof door and dedicated space to serve as a differentiator between home and work might just be the next best investment for your career, sanity, and home. For those who are self-employed and now using a home space as their primary place of work, you may even be able to use a home office as a tax deduction. Work from home can become a joy if we take the steps to set ourselves up for success. Simply having a differentiator within the home can ease the mental strain of “never leaving the office” now that you live there. As we write this article from our kitchen table and make our own home office ready, may we advise you to invest in an office space now to proactively take advantage of the opportunity COVID-19 has brought us.

Okay Fido, you are free to bark now!


Written by Michael Smith

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Kitchen Countertops: What’s Classic, Complicated & Trending

Countertops are the focal point of your kitchen, and can anchor the style of your home. Arguably one of the most used rooms in the house, the kitchen is on the front lines of a family’s daily routine. A good countertop should be stylish but practical for the lifestyle of the homeowner. With so many trends to choose from, let’s take a look at the style, cost, and upkeep of the most popular choices.

One low cost and trendy option is butcher block countertops. Not only will this cost you less up front, but a wood counter will add warmth and an organic style to any space. This light alternative may be ideal for some food preparation but poses some challenges in upkeep. A wood surface is porous, not heat resistant or waterproof, and prone to staining and cracking. Many of these drawbacks can be mitigated with proper care such as oiling and refinishing, but butcher counters may not be ideal for every lifestyle. If you still love the style, we recommend committing to proper care and using wood as the counter on an island or limited space and incorporating more hearty countertops elsewhere.

Another option that is making appearances in modern homes is concrete. Not only can this be a less expensive alternative, but concrete can be pre-made or custom poured in your actual home. This material makes an industrial statement with its bold yet minimal design. It’s important to keep in mind that concrete makes for a heavy counter and is also prone to chip, stain, and fracture, which can be difficult to repair. While the potential fragility can be discouraging, concrete can be sealed to help protect against heat and stains.

Stainless steel offers another surface that can incorporate an industrial feel into your kitchen. This alternative is in many professional kitchens, is heat resistant, and can be an ideal surface to prepare food upon as it is easy to clean. Surprisingly, stainless steel can sometimes be more expensive than some economical stone options .

While prices for marble, granite and quartz counters vary, generally marble costs more on average. Marble offers both a timeless and elegant style and has been used in European kitchens throughout history. While the surface can be scratched or chipped, it is possible to polish out these imperfections. Additionally, sealing the surface protects against stains. As with other stone options, marble is heat resistant which is a luxury in the kitchen.

Granite is the most popular choice for home kitchens. It can stand up against, heat, knives, spills and any other catastrophe a kitchen should undertake. Granite does needs to be sealed to prevent staining and also is known to chip at corners though rounded edges reduces this risk. This popular classic offers a unique natural pattern in every slab and comes in a variety of styles contributing to its popularity in America’s kitchens.

Quartz is another stone option but is technically considered an “engineered stone” created from stone chips bonded with resin. Quartz is similar to granite in its ability to survive daily abuse from cooking with rounded edges helping to guard against chipping. This man-made material has diverse patterns all mimicking stone.

With so many options to choose from, its important to consider both style, intended use and your commitment to upkeep as you design your home kitchen. Under the right contexts, all of these materials have pros and offer a unique feel to your custom space.

Source: consumerreports.org