Reduce Noise in Your Open Floor Plan Home

The Newsletter

These Hacks Cut Noise in Open Concept Spaces
There’s no question that open concept living is still the way to go for designers and their decorista clients. And why not? It can make a space feel large and airy, provide the room-to-room flow that supports today’s relaxed lifestyles, plus it’s so in now that alternatives look dated.

But with the open concept lifestyle comes a problem: no walls means no sound barriers, which can raise noise issues for families with competing priorities. Fortunately, there are hacks to deal with all that racket:

Pad it, literally

If your open living area is a hardscape, without soft materials to absorb sound, fabric can help. Thick, high-quality floor coverings are a great first step. You don’t have to install wall-to-wall carpeting (although that would work wonders); instead, consider adding an area rug to anchor your living room furniture.

If well chosen for their sound-absorbing properties, fabric window coverings also make sense. Eschew sheers or other similar-weight fabrics, as they haven’t the chops to do the job.

Allow for options

Create ways to divide your space at will, including popular reclaimed wood sliding doors; pocket doors that disappear when not in use, and even movable sound-absorbing panels like those dividing office cubicles. There are also elegant screens on the market today that demarcate and reduce sound while keeping that open feeling.

Switch up your flooring

Hardwood, stone, and tile floors may look lovely, but they’re part of the problem, not the solution. Cork is a wonderful option, and it comes in all sorts of styles and colors these days. And like wood, cork is soft and comfortable to walk on. While concrete may also absorb sound (and look great), don’t install it in locations where you’ll be standing for any period of time, like the kitchen. Your legs and feet will notice.

With these and other hacks, decoristas can have it all.

Borrrrring … ! Why We Have the Attention Span of a Goldfish
Gold Fish

Why are we so bored? It’s a question scientists are asking as they research boredom in the 21st century. With so much to occupy our time (work, friends, devices) you’d think we’d be too busy being busy to be bored.

But according to a recent article in the Guardian, “Despite the plethora of high-intensity entertainment constantly at our disposal, we are still bored.” In fact, reports the UK newspaper, we now have an attention span of 8 seconds, that of a goldfish.

Online site Live Science highlights the work of York University researcher John Eastwood, who defines boredom as “an aversive state of wanting, but being unable, to engage in satisfying activity.” Apparently, our brains are now so accustomed to constant stimulation that anything less is unpleasant.

Quoting Eastwood’s findings, Live Science notes, “And while seemingly benign, though little understood, boredom can be a chronic condition that may lead to issues like binge eating, drug and alcohol abuse, and gambling problems.”

In Psychology Today, Temma Ehrenfeld explains that it seems our brains are hardwired to seek pleasure and fast-paced activities that stimulate the body’s release of endorphins, the opioid peptides that our brains love.

Ehrenfeld quotes Dr. Irving Biederman, a neuroscientist at the University of Southern California: “To stoke your inner opioids, keep trying new things, or delve deeper into an area you already know and love, triggering fresh insights.” Says Biederman, “The best way not to be bored is to do what you like doing. …”

Science Explains the Flab on Your Lab
Chubby Lab

You really can’t blame your pet Lab for begging for scraps. Recent research indicates nearly a quarter of the breed lacks a gene that helps control hunger.

Veterinarians estimate that more than 50 percent of pet dogs in North America are obese. However, as some animal health professionals are quick to point out, there’s no standard definition for obesity in animals. And these troubling numbers skyrocket among Labrador Retrievers as 60 percent of this breed is considered obese.

With a biological reason behind it, it’s easy to understand why your pup is so likely to beg for food. To prevent obesity in your dog, consider more active ways of engaging with your canine. Throw a toy bone instead of an edible one. Spend more summer evenings walking or playing in dog parks. Find something that can energize both of you.

That said, there may be some benefits to your dog’s cravings, so don’t feel too badly if Fido insists on scraps; your dog probably responds well to food rewards. Using a food reward system often makes breeds such as Labs easy to train, plus it explains why they make good service dogs. A breed’s trainability, not just its potential for obesity, is important to remember when choosing and caring for a family pet.

Wondering How Much Your Home Is Worth?
How has the price of your home changed in today’s market? How much are other homes in your neighborhood selling for?

If you’re wondering what’s happening to prices in your area, or you’re thinking about selling your house, I’ll be able to help.

Click the market report below or select
San Antonio Real Estate Market and complete the requested information about your home!

Is the Concept of Neighborliness a Thing of the Past?
Do you trust your neighbors? Results of a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center indicate that our level of neighborly trust is pretty depressing. Nearly half (48 percent) of the Pew survey respondents reported that they either don’t trust any of their neighbors or trust only a few.

Sadly, these results may have a link to safety concerns. As Suzanne De Vita posts on RISMedia’s Housecall, fewer than 20 percent of people interviewed for the Pew survey said they didn’t feel “at all” safe from crime walking in their neighborhoods at night but actually trusted the people next door. And, perhaps not surprisingly, those in rural areas were more apt to feel safer and trust their neighbors than urban dwellers.

Although most adults believe it’s important for neighbors to look out for each other, today’s neighborhoods are not as tightly knit as they were in the 1940s and ’50s, when neighbors knew one another well. In a related Pew survey, 54 percent of respondents said that they do not hold regular social gatherings with their neighbors. Indeed, today, people are more apt to recognize their neighbors’ cars and pets than the neighboring adults or their kids.

According to social scientists, the way we react and behave toward each other is less civil when trust is low, which is a vicious circle, as this only exacerbates the trust deficit. The problem is fixable, though; neighbors can rebuild community and strengthen civic life (perhaps by harnessing technology to widen their circle of acquaintances) and become more civically involved.

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Recipe: Mexican-style Grilled Corn
This also works well when you cut the cobs in half
Serves 4
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste
Zest of one lime
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
4 ears shucked corn
Salt to taste
1/2 cup crumbled Cotija or feta cheese
1 lime cut into wedges
Turn grill on high and preheat for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl combine mayonnaise, sour cream, cayenne pepper, lime zest, and cilantro.

Oil grate and place corn on grill, turning occasionally until all sides are a little charred, about 8-12 minutes.

Place corn in a dish and season all sides with a sprinkling of salt. Add half the mayonnaise mixture and toss to coat.

Serve with remaining sauce, cheese crumbles, and lime wedges.

Ask the Agent: This Month’s Question
What is a reverse mortgage?

Many older people want to tap into the equity in their homes, and some opt for a reverse mortgage. There are pros and cons to reverse mortgages, so if you’re considering one, explore all your options. It may not be the best way for you to go.

A reverse mortgage allows a qualified homeowner to convert part of the home’s equity into cash, basically borrow money against the value of their property.

Unlike a second mortgage or credit line, there are no interest or principal payments to make on a reverse mortgage, and you needn’t sell to use the equity you’ve built up.

However, reverse mortgages generally come with higher interest rates, and the equity in the home may decrease as the interest on the loan compounds. And while a reverse mortgage can be paid back at any time (typically when the homeowner wants to sell), there likely will be significant penalties.

This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter. This newsletter is not intended to solicit properties currently for sale.
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