Written by Jaymi Naciri

It’s a girl! And a boy!

Yes, Pantone, the harbinger of color trends, has given birth to two colors of the year from 2016: Rose Quartz and Serenity, otherwise known as baby pink and baby blue.

It’s the first time Pantone has chosen two colors for its annual distinction.

“As consumers seek mindfulness and well-being as an antidote to modern day stresses, welcoming colors that psychologically fulfill our yearning for reassurance and security are becoming more prominent. Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace,” said Pantone in its statement naming the two colors of the year.

Los Angeles interior designer Timothy Corrigan said in the L.A Times said, “The choices represent a welcome change. People are ready for softer colors. They are moving away from the strong bold colors and geometric patterns that have been popular over the past few years. There is a return to comfort and innocence.”

But there’s more behind this year’s color choices.

“The prevalent combination of Rose Quartz and Serenity also challenges traditional perceptions of color association. In many parts of the world we are experiencing a gender blur as it relates to fashion, which has in turn impacted color trends throughout all other areas of design,” they said. “This more unilateral approach to color is coinciding with societal movements toward gender equality and fluidity, the consumer’s increased comfort with using color as a form of expression, a generation that has less concern about being typecast or judged and an open exchange of digital information that has opened our eyes to different approaches to color usage.”

Designers and people who like to stay on the forefront of interior trends wait for Pantone’s announcement every year to kick off their 2016 looks. Ready to get your new color on? Here are a few ways to use each in your home.

Decorating with Rose Quartz

“Rose Quartz is a persuasive yet gentle tone that conveys compassion and a sense of composure,” said Pantone.

Rose Quartz and complementary shades of pink and gray create a glamorous bedroom.

The Decorista
The color sets an elegant tone in this dining room, with goldtone lighting providing an added level of luxe.

Room Décor Ideas
A decadent piece of furniture in the hue, like this curvy Haute House Pantages Chair, adds interest.

Varying shades of pink and a shock of acid green bring a richness to the space.

Gray and deep blue bring out the elegance of Rose Quartz, realized in striking artwork.

Or, embrace your love of pastels and go all out with baby pink walls and a mint green couch. (And don’t forget the shag rug.)

Oscar Jetson
Yes, it’s a baby’s room (we couldn’t resist!). But what stands out in this space is the pink wainscoting. Are you bold enough to use this in a formal dining room, perhaps?


Decorating with Serenity

“Serenity is weightless and airy, like the expanse of the blue sky above us, bringing feelings of respite and relaxation even in turbulent times,” said Pantone.

Used as wall color, it creates a peaceful tone and sets the foundation for complementary hues.

It’s especially effective when set off by all the chunky white molding.

Serenity works across many types of architectural styles, including Scandinavian design.

In a bedroom, light blue walls set against black furniture create an elegant feel.

Home Office Decoration
Adding color to the island brings interest and subtle contrast to an all-white kitchen.

Who says baby blue can’t be bold? Using it on almost every surface gives it stature.

In a room with white walls and punches of bright color, the baby blue couch almost acts like a neutral.

Blue-hued glass on this standout light fixture brings in multiple trends at once.


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You and your spouse own your home and you would like to sell it. However, your spouse is currently unable to sign the sales contract. This is because he is either out of the country in some exotic far-away-place where fax and overnight delivery is unavailable, or because he is physically and mentally unable to make decisions or sign legal documents.

What to do?

There is a document called a “power of attorney”, whereby your spouse signs a legal document authorizing you to act on his/her behalf. The giver of the power of attorney is called the Principal. The receiver is generally called the “attorney in fact”. The latter is given the right to act on behalf of the principal, for the purposes and functions spelled out in the legal document.

There are two types of Powers of Attorney:

1. General — here, the principal authorizes the attorney in fact to take any and all actions as if the principal was taking them himself. This is also known as a Durable Power of Attorney.

Keep in mind that your own State law may have specific requirements in order to sell real property by way of a Power of Attorney. Some states will not permit real estate to be conveyed by a General power of attorney.

2. Specific — here, the principal gives specific information and instructions to the attorney in fact. For example, sell my house located at 123 ABC Street; or write a $1,000 check to my insurance company from my bank account. The specific instructions are contained in the legal document, and the attorney in fact has no authority to exceed those instructions.

If you plan to sell your house, and find yourself in the situation where one party in title will not be available to sign contracts, deeds or other legal documents pertaining to the sale, it is best to have your attorney draw up a Power of Attorney that meets your needs, as well as the legal requirements in the State where your property is located.

The principal may want to put a time limitation on the Power — for example one or two months. However, with a durable power of attorney, the principal normally does not place any such limitations. The purpose of a durable Power is to assure that in the event the Principal becomes incapacitated, his attorney in fact will be able to step in without having to go to Court.

Let’s go back to our example. If your spouse knows in advance that he/she will be out of the country when you want to sell your house, have the Power of Attorney executed before the trip starts — and give a long lead time before the Power expires.

However, if you do not have a Power of Attorney and your spouse suddenly has a stroke — or is otherwise unable to comprehend and sign legal documents, then you will have to go to your local Court and seek permission to become the Conservator of the Estate of your spouse. This is a relatively easy (but potentially time consuming and expensive) process. The Courts, however, want to make absolutely sure that you are sincere in your efforts to represent your spouse and that your spouse is, in fact, not able to sign any legal documents. There is a lot of fraud involved, such as situations where children try to use the conservatorship route to take away property from their parents; accordingly, the Court will also look carefully at all of the facts, and if possible, will even interview the person to whom the conservator will be appointed. I once attended an interview where the Judge went to the hospital to make sure that no one was taking advantage of the sick person.

Preventive law is the key; consider obtaining a durable power of attorney now, while you both are in good health. Each spouse should sign a separate document, making the other spouse the attorney in fact. However, an alternative attorney in fact should also be designated, just in case both of you become incapacitated at the same time.

Your local attorney should be consulted to make sure you are using the proper forms and that you fully understand the consequences of your actions. A Power of Attorney gives someone else the right to sell your house, and you want to make sure that you are not giving away the store.


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Winterizing your home is one of the best ways to get comfortable this year, and it’s not too late to get a few projects done before the holidays.

If you live in one of the states that got soaked over Thanksgiving, you might find a lot of debris on your roof and in your gutters. While you’re hanging holiday lights, sweep out the gutters so that other rains and snows are less likely to cause damage to your walls.

You may have to invest in a heavy duty scrubbing brush to clear sludge and decomposed leaves. The benefits of keeping your gutters maintained in the thick of winter are three-fold:

A clean drainage system keeps water from seeping into your foundation- freezing underground pipes.

Excess water that can’t escape from your drainage system will find other places to go, i.e. leaking into your house causing water stains on ceilings, mold and any other possible damage.

Properly maintained gutters are attractive and enhance your home’s curb appeal

And, while you’re on your ladder, check if your gutters are properly aligned to prevent any leaks. With a garden hose, you can easily check this problem.

The next thing you’ll want to check on is the state of your furnace. Call a master certified plumber to look for potential dangers such as carbon monoxide leaks. Typically a heating system is comprised of three systems; the heat/cold source, distribution system, and thermostat, so there is plenty of room for error. Make sure that your system is properly inspected and cleaned and has fresh filters according to maintenance directions.

Since a good number of homes use gas-based heating, it makes sense to also check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. According to the website, smoke detectors with a UL rating have a useful life of 10 years so don’t just push the button to see if it’s working. Stick a real flame source, such as a candle or a match, to see if the detector can actually pick up on the smoke being emitted.

Energy leaks put a hole in your wallet, so do your best to identify and seal all leaks in your ceiling/attic and cracks in or around your windows and doors. This is something you can do during inclement weather.

A quick way to check if you have enough insulation is to go into your attic and look at your rafters-if you can see ceiling joists you can add some more insulation. Though this will be an expensive process, you will instantly reap the benefits as your heating costs will plummet right away.

Wrapping piping in insulation is also a great way to avoid a “pound of cure,” like the old saying goes. This process will prevent pipes from bursting if you have a freeze. Be especially aware of pipes in areas that aren’t heated like your garage, crawlspaces or garden spigots. There are two main types of protection you can place on your pipes- the first is covering your pipes with regular insulation with either pre-molded foam rubber sleeves or fiberglass insulation.

The second way is more necessary if you live in a much colder part of the country. Wrap your pipes in electric heating tape-essentially you’re putting an electrical cord around your pipes that emits heat. This process is more expensive as you will undoubtedly need to wrap the pipe in foam rubber sleeves as well to guarantee the safety of your pipes.

Any steps you take will improve your home’s operation, and ultimately keep you more comfortable.