Trendy Kitchens in 2016


This year we’ve seen plenty of eye appealing upgrades to kitchen trends, and we are thrilled to share them with you. Whether you’re curious about a brand new look for your existing kitchen, or you’re on the prowl for your next dream home, consider some of these eye-popping trends emerging. A few looks at these kitchens and you’ll understand why they are so lovable.

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Muted colors offer a great contrast from the usual dark wood we’ve seen so much of. It’s not quite “white” enough to be blinding, but it is a soothing and homey feel that is not quite as daunting to keep clean as white or those dark colors that seem to show every stain. This example from is stunning, and certainly doable by yourself. Add your own style by playing with different door knobs and drawer handles. A little pop of color never hurt anybody.


Remember our blog post about the power of the command center? Turns out that’s trending too. The kitchen, often a gathering place for the whole family is the best place to station yours. Some well-organized drawers, a clock for keeping on schedule, and plenty of plug-ins for charging those devices are a must. Try a bulletin board to keep everyone on task, or even a virtual bulletin board on a well-placed laptop for a more minimalistic look.


The parts of your kitchen you don’t see could just be the most useful, and trendy. Drawers that pull out with breathtaking organization will end the hunt for your favorite pan forever. Lower drawers are perfect for keeping kids cups within reach for small hands. And, if you ever plan on selling, kitchen lovers everywhere won’t be able to get these amazing drawers off their minds.


Commercial grade kitchens are all the rage. They look clean with the defined lines, open, and airy. But you can dress them up a bit by utilizing colorful hanging lights. Trade out the lights whenever you want a fresh new look. The possibilities are endless.


Along those same lines of commercial grade, a range hood will take your eye-popping kitchen to pizazz in no time. There are a number of metals and colors to choose from, and even if you aren’t the world’s greatest cook, guests won’t care when your stove looks that good.


But of course, regardless of trends, your kitchen should be your kitchen. Trends come and go but your personal style evolves right along with you. As one of the most important rooms in the house, find the perfect mix of trendy decorating that allows room for your own touch. Display a few personal knickknacks, even sentimental ones, and enjoy feeding your family in a kitchen that is both beautiful and individual.

Pet-Proofing Your Home


Our houses aren’t just a home for the people in our family, they’re just as much a homebase for our beloved animals. Accommodating for and streamlining those pet related messes is essential; and actually not that challenging! No matter what kind of pet you adore, we have some tips to keep them, and you, happy in your home.

The coveted mudroom is a great place to start. An entry way mudroom keeps pet messes out of sight and easy to clean; and if you have a utility sink, all the better. Old towels don’t need to be discarded, instead stash them for muddy paws and wet pets coming in from the rain. If you don’t have a mudroom, don’t worry. Create a space in your garage that accommodates messy needs. Furthermore, the back door and deck are a common entry point for pets, and that’s great! Consider a doggy door that lets pets come and go as they please while you’re away. A hydrating swimming pool is also helpful during the hot season. Also, if you really want to control the mess of food and water bowls, train the dogs to eat on the deck or patio and leave their mess outside. Add an old comfy pillow or dog bed in the shade, and your furry friend has a great outdoors refugee.

Inside the home, shedding and dandruff can just about drive you crazy. But it’s really nothing a nice lint roller or robot vacuum can’t resolve with little effort. Create a weekly pet hair pick-up schedule before things get out of hand, and this hairy task seems much less daunting.

If you are currently on the prowl for a new home, think of your pet and its needs. Lots of stairs might not be suitable for an older pet. And for any pet, a nice fenced in backyard is a must. Shade, along with a premade or DYI dog house is an excellent haven. Periodically inspect your fences for those escape artist pets, and let them claim this outdoor space as their own playground.

Perhaps your pet of choice has no hair at all. Birds, reptiles, and the like, are perfectly happy in a sunroom. Plenty of natural light comes through, plus this room is often one of the most used in a home. Your pet will welcome the added company. Have a reptile on your hands? Many species of turtles love an outdoor stay-cation during the summer months.  Check with your reptile expert and put your handiwork to good use building a solid and predator free outdoor home for the turtle members of your family.

If it Smells Phishy, Don’t Bite

A thief (dressed in black and eye-masked) pops up from behind a laptop's screen and hides the real URL by planting a fake one on it, clumsily written on a piece of cardboard as a visual metaphore for the phishing technique. Then, he "kindly" invites the user to fill in his/her bank account's password.
A thief (dressed in black and eye-masked) pops up from behind a laptop’s screen and hides the real URL by planting a fake one on it, clumsily written on a piece of cardboard as a visual metaphore for the phishing technique. Then, he “kindly” invites the user to fill in his/her bank account’s password.

According to a recent Google study regarding email safety, those phishing emails that slyly show up in our inbox are effective nearly 45 percent of the time. By those numbers, the odds of you falling prey to these—often times convincing—email scams asking for personal information is nearly a coin flip.

Phishing emails are more sophisticated these days than the Prince from Algeria telling you about your inheritance. Of course we all think we are too smart to be duped, but in the middle of a heated real estate transaction is the perfect time for you to get distracted just enough to let your guard down.

The beauty of email is in its convenience. Instead of playing phone tag with your Realtor or sneaking into the break room at work to give them a quick call, you’re probably relying on the ease of email for at least some of your communication needs.

A recent hacking scam preys on this, where a hacker will use a real estate agent’s email address to you send a buyer or seller an email requesting a wire transfer for closings funds. Of course, you trust your Realtor, so would you hesitate enough to consider that your agent practices under strict safety guidelines and would never use email to request funds from you?

The best rule of thumb if you receive any email that just doesn’t sit well is initially do nothing.

Never click links in the email.

Never reply.

Never follow any instructions to send or wire money.

The one thing you should do: call your Realtor immediately. Your agent, as well as your Title Company, are committed to protecting your safety (and your hard earned money). They won’t use email to ask secure information, and they certainly won’t send you instructions for wiring money.

As always, Woods Bros Realty is dedicated to your security. Reach out to us any time an email smells just a little bit too phishy.

How to Save on Costs and Energy Usage


The golden days of summer are perfect for baseball, tanning, and chasing the ice cream truck. However, the scorching temperatures of this season do a number on our energy costs. Of course you can set the thermostat a few degrees higher to try and cut back, but try this list of simple changes to make your home more efficient and your energy bills less painful.

In the Kitchen:

  • Adjust the water temperature to low on the dishwasher, or use the “efficiency” cycle if you have one.
  • Turn off the dishwasher after a cycle of cleaning, leave the door open and let dishes air dry.
  • If you don’t have a full load of dishes, hand wash! You might even find that you enjoy it.
  • Put your grill to good use this summer. Everyone loves a great burger, and the more you can keep the oven off, the better.


In the Bathroom:

  • Set a timer to shorten your showers, or try a few minutes of colder water in the morning (bonus, it will wake you up even before that first cup of coffee)!
  • Make sure your hot water pipes and the water heater are well insulated.
  • Laundry:
  • Keep the dryer lint trap clean to help the dryer run more efficiently.
  • Even better, toss in only the clothes you must dry, hang everything else to air dry.
  • Remember to adjust your water level for smaller loads.
  • Wash in cold water whenever you can.


The AC:

  • Before the start of each season, have a professional do regular maintenance to ensure that the unit is performing at its best.
  • A programmable thermostat will help you keep cooling costs low while you’re away.
  • Close the door and registers in rooms you don’t use- don’t pay to cool a room you’re never in.


Consider Upgrades:

  • Update insulation in the garage, attic, or an unfinished basement.
  • If your appliances are dated, splurging on more efficient ones will save you in the long run.
  • Efficient lightbulbs are pricier, but last longer than their less expensive counterparts.

Creating Creative Spaces


When it comes to using every space in your home effectively, some spaces are just easier than others to create exactly what you want. A room can be too small, lack windows, or just seem too awkward to be functional. Before you close the door on those rooms forever, take a look at this guide to creatively turn any space into a practical space.


The Non-Conforming Bedroom– Is it a bedroom or not? The non-conforming bedroom is typically a windowless room found in the basement that no one actually wants to sleep in. But it does makes a great office or craft room. The trick is to keep the colors bright and to bring in plenty of light. These rooms are often small, so limit the furniture to only what you need, an uncluttered look will do wonders to opening up the room. If you’d rather use your non-conforming bedroom as a storage space, don’t just stack boxes behind a closed door. Instead, install shelving to keep it neat and organized.


Long and Narrow– Sometimes the floorplan of a room can have your head spinning. A living room, for example, can be too long and narrow- tempting you to line up your furniture along each wall which creates a blocky (and boring) look. Don’t shy away from dividing a room down the middle and creating two unique spaces. Half can be a living area with television, and the other half makes a lovely reading area. Midwest Living offers up this great before and after of a living room that, at first glance, looks too narrow to work.

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The Entryway– In many floorplans, there’s just not as much space as most of us would like in the entryway. We’d all love a spacious mudroom, but if you don’t have one, you can still create a clean and functional space at your front door. Use the walls for decorative and practical shelving. Hooks will also be a huge sanity saver. Aimee Weaver Designs does just that in their entryway makeover tips:



The Creative Corner– Finally, don’t chalk up a corner to wasted space. Mirrors, triangle tiered shelving, even a small chair can make a corner cute and functional; even in a bathroom!



Door Colors


The writers of the DIY Network are experts in all things home improvement. And as they point out, your front door just can’t be ignored. A bright, bold, contrasting, or soothing color can make a world of difference for your home’s first impression. Consider these two pieces of advice regarding color:

 Burst of Sunshine. You just can’t sustain a bad mood in the presence of a bright yellow door.

 Stately Red. “The strong ocean blue and bright red hold their own against the color of exterior stone.”

But before you get started, reference your HOA guidelines regarding the colors you’re allowed to use on your home. Guidelines often include stipulations such as “earth tones only” and so forth. However, if you’re considering some aesthetic appeal for your first impression, let this list get your imagination flowing.

This sea themed green from Home Beautiful is to die for – especially with the added seahorse accents. In Nebraska, bringing a little beach to your home is always a plus, and when is seafoam green ever not in style?


The next color is yellow – associated with sunshine, summer, and happiness. It won’t work with every home (or every personality,) but when it works, man does it work! This Old House offers a subtle, rustic look to one incredibly inviting door, your guests just won’t be able to stay away.


Red – a cliché and trendy staple. And there are so many different red shades to choose from you can’t help but find one that suites the style and décor of your home. Check out this red from Better Home and Gardens– and what an amazing pop of color that white accent gives!


If the color choosing task seems too daunting, Angie’s List offers a lighthearted guide to choosing your best color. Consider these tips:

Think about the style of your home.

Look around the neighborhood, what collaborates well?

Coordinate with your exterior colors.

Let your door color INVITE buyers into your home.

And some of the best advice for any seller: don’t get overboard.

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, your front door is the soul into not just your house, but your home. If you’re trying to sell, it’s important to contemplate this important first impression. If you’re happy in your current home, ensure with the right color that your front door welcomes you home each and every day.


Summer Maintenance

Summer_MaintenancePicSummer is the perfect time to keep your indoors clean and spend your days outside. But it comes with just a little bit of work. Here is a list of simple things you (yes, even you!) can do to keep your yards thriving all season.

Tree trimming. The key is to not go overboard. Trim branches that are dead. An easy way to tell if they are, is that they will look drastically different from the other branches. With a quick snip, chop and dispose of them properly.

The same principle applies to bushes. Certain types of bushes need to be shaped regularly, but others, like the Summer Wine variety, bloom gorgeous flowers in the spring. This means that any over pruning may affect your plant’s ability to re-bloom in the next season. This is an example of why it’s important to only trim off the dead branches.

Gutters are a pest for every season. If you happened to miss (ahem, procrastinate) fall gutter cleaning, do it now! If you happen to have teenagers, the more the merrier to get this job done quickly.

Also, be sure to check your air conditioning unit or heat pump. It may need to be cleaned or serviced (often by a professional). Our familiar Nebraska cottonwood trees send lovely treasures found inside the units, and now is the time to clean them when you are relying heavily on your unit to run efficiently through the summer heat.

Furthermore, while you’re cutting back and pruning, keep overgrowth away from your AC unit. Your cooling system and technician will thank you.

Tag team some weed pulling effort. Make it a game. See who can gather the most weeds, or set a timer and measure your progress. Weed killer works too, but we prefer a more environmentally friendly approach.

Pressure washing! Let’s all admit it, it’s liberating and fun. Get that siding and deck sparkling with a little power tool effort.

And lastly, if you love an adventure, (and are up to date on safety…we’re looking at you Christmas vacation enthusiasts) go ahead and take a peek at your roof to identify any wear and tear. Particularly after spring storms, even minor ones, documenting any changes will help you in the long run.

Welcome Beth Plants to accounting team

HomeServices of Nebraska recently hired Beth Plants as Commissions Processor on the accounting team.

Plants will be processing commission checks to ensure that each real estate agent involved in any given transaction is paid correctly.

Plants also works part-time as a tax specialist for H&R Block during tax season. She was born and raised in Lincoln, but has traveled throughout the United States and also Mexico, Canada and even went with Nebraska Wesleyan Symphonic Band to Australia to play for the Olympic Torch run in the 2000 Olympics.

She enjoys spending time with her husband, Justin, nine-year-old daughter, Winsome “Winnie,” and their two dogs, Jax and Buddy. She also enjoys Husker football, yoga and knitting.

HomeServices of Nebraska is a wholly owned subsidiary of HomeServices of America, a Berkshire Hathaway Affiliate. It includes the entities of Woods Bros Realty, HOME Real Estate, Nebraska Land Title and Abstract (NLTA), HomeServices Lending, HomeServices of Nebraska Insurance, Home Owners Plus and the Larabee School of Real Estate. For more information about HomeServices of Nebraska, call 402-434-3700.

Different hats, much reflection and thanks

Hi Friends,

MP900387468People watching, especially in an international airport, can often be thought provoking, or at least helpful if you’re forced to surrender 4 hours of your time to the unfriendly skies of weather.  Such was the case recently at DFW (Dallas/Ft. Worth), where Stetson were plentiful, along with stocking caps, ball caps, an occasional turban and other cultural headwear offerings.  The wiley north Texas wind meant that about 175 of us, with our various cultural representations, had a common ground of being grounded.  Regardless of 1st class or coach, cocktail or complimentary Coke, we were all one, big, techno-device-hugging, departure board-staring, collection of dispirited curmudgeons.

The week ahead would be Thanksgiving, even in Ferguson, Missouri.  Probably most everyone in Ferguson would prefer the past 4 months or so could be put on re-wind.  Do over.  Un-do.  Re-think.  But it is a reality that I can not comprehend.  Many of us probably can not.  For those of us who lived in the confusion of the 1960’s, today’s media coverage may have reminded us of L.A.’s Watts district on a smaller scale, with homes, businesses and emotions enflamed.  Living in secure, prosperous and what many perceive as nearly crime-free Lincoln, Nebraska, may cause us to offer unrealistic solutions to that St. Louis suburb’s unimaginable disarray.

Our group of 175 or so at DFW wore lots of different hats last weekend as we waited anxiously for the possibility of our plane to take us home, where all was quiet and familiar.  Nothing unusual for a Realtor to do the same, wearing a myriad of hats, looking for answers to our common challenges of closing the transaction.  Sort of “putting out fires” in many cases.

Our hearts are with the families in Ferguson, Missouri, where we pray that the fires may be extinguished sooner than later.  Changes will occur, probably accompanied by incredible challenges.  In wearing our hats as Realtors, parents, grandparents, siblings, single persons, and fellow citizens of Mother Earth, we will look forward to this week of Thanksgiving and the memory-filled times this holiday creates annually.  Our abundance is immeasurable.

Let us give thanks in what ever ways we feel appropriate for our treasured families, friends, our homes, and our opportunities in this wonderful, yet sometimes troubled nation.  May the people of Ferguson, Missouri find some semblance of peace in the times ahead.
Blessings to all, my good friends.

First Snowfall

The first snowfall has officially come and gone, ushering in Winter 2012. Depending on which side of the millenium you were born, you may have met it with disdain or ecstacy. If you were like me, who experienced more than half of the previous century, you gave it mixed reviews. If you were one of 30-some thousand area students, it was a preview of Winter break, with flannel boxers or sweat gear the day’s fashion wear.

Wednesday afternoon found me rummaging through the depths of our basement in search of snow shovels, a quest not unlike exploring the underside of our vehicles’ seats spelunking for ice scrapers. I’ve made a pretty consistent practice of not seeking any of the above until they’re significantly past being needed. Sort of like those late night, last-minute collegiate papers……….I digress. This time, however, the forboding fright-cast of local meterologists prompted earlier preparation. The basement findings included a couple of sleds, resting in retirement from our now-adult children’s days of spills and chills on inclines such as Holmes Lake Dam or Riley Elementary School. Good times those were, with soothing mugs of hot chocolate and mini-marshmallows thawing out fingers and toes at the completion of the icy escapades.

The outlook on the snowfall is a classic tale of observation. Most remember Ralphie and his little brother, waiting hopefully for snow and the excrutiatingly slow arrival of Christmas. Would there be a Red Ryder B-B gun? And who doesn’t remember the challenges of snowpants, boots, mittens and stocking caps? Those items always seemed to prompt the urgency of bathroom treks, but NOT until you were fully mummified in the winter outerwear.

The coming of the first snow on winter’s eve was a good thing, I’ve decided. Helped me re-trace some days not unfamiliar to our classic friend Ralphie. It helped me appreciate a couple of good mugs of hot chocolate and the sounds of neighborhood school escapees frolicking in the winter froth. It was a good day to listen to holiday music. It was a good day to find a little escape from some crushing headlines, although my mind keeps repondering those awful events in Connecticut.

Here’s to the first snowfall and its welcomed moisture….and to hot chocolate…..and children gleefully escaping school for a day…..and holiday music…..and friends like you.

All the best of the seasons to you and those you hold most dear. This year, may we all hold those a little more tightly.


Lance Hall

_Reliance Setup Office

_Reliance Setup Office

, NE

Woods Bros Realty

Office Group

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© 2021 Woods Bros Realty, a Berkshire Hathaway Affiliate. Equal Housing Opportunity.