If there’s any room in the house where cleaning is a priority, it’s the kitchen. Not only is it where we store food and prepare meals, but it’s the heart of the home — a place where family and friends gather.

You likely know to keep your counters clean, rinse out the sink, clean up spills right away and mop the floors. But how do you go the extra step to really keep the kitchen clean? We have some ideas:

Tip No. 1 — Clean as You Wait

We call this Tip No. 1 because you can do much of the following as you’re waiting for water to boil, meat to defrost in the microwave or the oven to preheat. You’re already in the kitchen — make the most of it!

Clean Your Faucet

You mixed up a meatloaf or cut up raw chicken and need to wash your hands? You turn on the faucet. But how often do you think to clean the faucet? Get out your disinfectant cleaner and spray away. Just remember to let it sit for a few minutes for the cleaner to work. (Note — wipe off the faucet first before using the disinfectant — you want to sanitize the faucet, not the dirt.)

Is your faucet getting clogged? If you’re confident the acetic acid of vinegar won’t hurt the finish of your faucet, pour a 50-50 ratio of water and vinegar into a baggie and secure it around your faucet. Let it sit for at least an hour or overnight. Remove and enjoy a clean, free-flowing faucet!

Ban Dirty Microwaves!

The easiest way to keep a microwave clean is to not let it get dirty in the first place. Use plastic wrap to cover dishes or — for a more economical approach — purchase a microwave cover. (Just remember to clean it!) If you do need to clean your microwave, put it to work. Pour about a half cup of water into a bowl and cut a lemon in half. Squeeze the lemon juice into the bowl and add in the lemon halves. Microwave the lemon water on high until it comes to a boil (about three minutes). Let stand for five minutes, open the microwave and easily wipe away the grime.

No More Sticky Refrigerator Shelves

You line your kitchen cabinets — why not line your refrigerator shelves? Look for a liner that is made of plastic, as paper-based shelf liners will break down in a refrigerator. Don’t feel the need to invest in liners for every shelf? Use coasters under the condiments and jars that are the likely culprits of sticky shelf residue.

Dispose of Garbage Disposal Gunk

Ever walk by an empty sink and wonder why there’s a slight smell? It could be your disposal is full of gunk. Luckily, you have a couple of options on how to clean it. Pull out the vinegar again and pour in about a cup after you’ve poured about half of a cup of baking soda down your drain. Let it fizz and then rinse with boiling water. Two cups of ice and a couple tablespoons of kosher salt will remove any remaining debris. Freshen it up with lemon slices.

Maybe your disposal isn’t that dirty? Make lemon vinegar ice cubes (small chunks of lemon in vinegar), plop one or two down your drain and turn on the disposal.

Not All Cleaners Are Created Equal

If you’re looking to disinfect a surface or appliance, know that not all cleaners are also disinfectants. And despite the name, all-purpose cleaners shouldn’t be used on all surfaces. Look for specialty cleaners (or make your own) for glass and to clean mold or mildew. And if you have stone countertops, you’ll want to make sure your cleaner is safe to use on them. Glass cleaners, bleach and disinfecting wipes can harm natural stone countertops. Also, if you use dish detergent on countertops or floors without rinsing it afterward, you might be creating a bigger mess. Dish detergent attracts grease and dirt, so if you use too much, you could leave behind a dirt-attracting residue.

Clean What Cleans Your Dishes

You would think with all the soap and water running through your dishwasher that you don’t have to clean it. You’d be wrong. You should remove any visible bits of food after every wash. Each week, wipe down the door edges and gasket and remove and clean the filter. And monthly, you can use vinegar (seriously, how handy is this liquid!) to give it a thorough cleaning. Place a cup of vinegar in a dishwasher-safe bowl placed on the top rack and run the heavy/hot cycle. Don’t add any detergent or dishes.

Another pro tip for a clean kitchen is to start with a clean kitchen, and we can’t think of a better way than to do so in a new home! Talk with our builders to see how you can get a fresh start in a new home!

There’s something special about being the first person to live in a home. There’s no need to replace hideous brown carpeting, knock down walls, or paint old kitchen cabinets. Everything in a new-build home is fresh and, well, new! That’s not the only benefit. Here are five more ways buying a new home in Sunterra benefits you.

It’s All You

When you purchase a home in Sunterra, you are buying your dream home, not someone else’s. Everything from the floor plan to the homesite, the floors and the paint are chosen by you to fit your needs and aesthetic. Love quartz countertops. Done. Always dreamed of hardwood floors? Most builders offer them as an upgrade. Once your home is finished, you will be stepping into a home that is uniquely yours.

You’ll Save Money

An existing home may have developed structural issues that can cause heat to escape. The air conditioner might not be in the best condition, spiking your bill in the summer. Advances in building methods and materials have made new construction homes more energy efficient than homes built even five years ago. Your new home will include energy-efficient appliances, superior insulation, the latest HVAC system and more. Lower energy bills mean more money in your pocket.

It’s Under Warranty

Older homes are just that — older. Pipes, electrical wires, the roof and more are older, too. If they break, you will be on the hook for the repair bills. A new home in Sunterra is covered by your builder’s warranty. Most builders offer one-year warranties on workmanship and materials, two-year warranties on all mechanical work including the HVAC systems and a 10-year structural warranty. That means if something breaks, they will fix it for free.

Less Work, More Fun

All homes require some maintenance but there is a big difference between washing the windows and fixing leaky pipes. Older homes usually need more attention. Cabinets need to be refinished sooner, cracks in the driveway repaired and fences mended. Before long, you are spending most of your weekends as a handyman. A new home requires less maintenance because everything is new. That means you’ll spend less time on upkeep and more time enjoying Sunterra’s many planned amenities.

New Homes are Smarter

Everyone wants a smart home but integrating home automation technology into an older home can be frustrating. Most builders include some home automation features in their homes. That means smart thermostats, garage door openers and door locks are already installed. If you want more devices, you can choose them at the design center. Even if you don’t, they will be easier to add because your home will already be wired to accommodate the latest technology.

A holly jolly Christmas isn’t complete without a beautifully decorated tree. Many families will be flocking to local Christmas tree farms and lots. If you are one of them, how do you go about picking the perfect one? Here are some tips from Sunterra residents.

Measure First

If the tree you buy doesn’t fit your space, you will be doing a lot of tree trimming (and we don’t mean the fun kind). The solution is to measure before heading out. Know the height of your ceiling. Keep in mind the height of your stand and topper as those will add inches to your tree. How deep is the space? You don’t want your tree to look crowded or have branches sticking out to trap unwary guests. Measure your tree stand. Not all tree girths fit all stands.

Can You Transport It?

Make sure you have what you need to transport your tree safely. Bring bungee cords or rope to secure your tree if it will be riding on the roof of your car. A tree lot will net your tree to keep branches under control, but it’s a good idea to bring a tarp or blanket for extra protection. Tree sap will wreak havoc on your paint job. Amazon can deliver a fresh tree to your home if you don’t think you can manage the transport.

Buy Local

The average tree lot tree lasts four to five weeks unless it has been grown locally. Locally grown trees don’t need to be transported far so they last longer. For the freshest possible tree, grab a hand saw and cut your own. Sunterra residents head to nearby  Dewberry Farm. If you are up for the challenge, the farm provides bow saws. You can also head up to Spring and the sprawling Old Time Christmas Tree Farm. Either way, you get to pick your tree and enjoy fun holiday activities.

Give it a Good Shake

If you are purchasing your tree from a lot, the first thing you should do is give your chosen tree a good shake. If brown needles fall to the ground, you’re good. If green needles are hitting the floor, the tree is too dry and you should select a different one. Shaking also dislodges any insects that arrived with your tree.

Don’t Strive for Perfection

Your tree doesn’t need to be perfect, just perfect for you. Look for a symmetrical tree with full branches and a good shape. The trunk shouldn’t be visible through the branches. Stand 5 to 8 feet away so you can see the tree from all angles.

Get a Feel for Your Tree

Your tree should have flexible needles. You also don’t want a tree with needles that are easily pulled off. This is usually a sign that the tree is too dry. Smell your tree. If it doesn’t smell like fresh pine, it’s probably been on the lot a little too long.

The Slice is Right

Like any cut plant, your tree needs to be able to take in water to remain fresh. Most lots have someone who can cut a 1/2-inch-thick disk from the base of the tree. The cut opens the vascular system for water intake. You can do this yourself at home. If you do, stand your tree up in a bucket of water. Absorbing the water before placing it in the stand will keep your tree fresher, longer.

When the Celebration is Over

Have a plan for properly disposing of your tree when the holidays are over. If you have a woodchipper, you can chop it into smaller pieces for use in your compost pile or garden. If you plan to throw your tree onto the curb, check with your city. Most have disposal days. Check here for Katy disposal days and time.

Sunterra residents love holiday parties. Their gorgeous kitchens have everything they need to turn out delectable small plates to serve at potlucks, tree trimming and New Year shindigs. If you’re looking for a little inspiration for your own parties, here are some of their favorite dishes.

Break Out the Dip

Retire the dried soup mix and sour cream dip in favor of this delectable and fresh slow-roasted onion dip. This jalapeno popper dip will spice up any party. Guests will gobble up this buffalo chicken dip. You can serve this spinach-artichoke dip in a bread bowl but don’t be surprised if your guests munch on it after all the dip has been scooped out.

Mix It Up

Snack mixes are easy to prep and fun to eat. We’re partial to this sweet and spicy mixed nuts recipe. If you’d rather go savory, try this garlic-ranch party mix. Tell the kids Santa left reindeer chow just for them.

Have a Cheese Ball

A good cheese ball will be the talk of your party. Thanksgiving guests will love this pinecone-shaped cheese ball. For Christmas, shape your cheese in the form of a Christmas tree. This holiday wreath might just be too pretty to eat. Go upscale and serve this sophisticated cranberry-pecan cheese ball.

Cute Charcuterie Boards

Charcuterie boards are all the rage. You can just throw out some meat and cheese or try some of these cute ideas. This Christmas tree board is easy to pull together and fun to eat. Guests won’t need to juggle a glass of wine while trying to spread cheese on a cracker if you serve up charcuterie in a cup. This adorable hot chocolate charcuterie board will delight kids and adults alike. Vegan guests will appreciate plant-based board.

So Many Meatballs

Can you have a party without at least one plate of meatballs? Go traditional with these sweet and spicy bites or simple cocktail meatballs. Don’t have a lot of time? You can bake up these sheet pan meatballs served with salsa verde. Use your crockpot for an even easier way to cook up these festive meatballs.

Fabulous Finger Food

Small bites are easy for guests to eat as they mix and mingle. Impress them with these cranberry brie bites. Give your party a Tex-Mex twist with mini enchiladas. Kids will love munching on these red and green tortilla rollups. Ring in the New Year with sophisticated goat cheese and bacon bruschetta. Broiled oysters go great with champagne.

Sweet Treats

Christmas cookies are all well and good, but why not pile a dessert buffet high with these sweet treats. Oven full up? These Oreo truffles are no-bake. If you have 10 minutes you have time to whip up candy cane chocolate fudge. Guests won’t be able to resist this beautiful red-and-white chocolate bark. If you have gluten-free guests, serve these festive peppermint meringues.

Holiday Wassail

Whether you’re hosting a cocktail party or cookie swap, these holiday-themed beverages will go down smooth. Not sure how to make eggnog? It’s easy with this recipe. We’re dreaming of white Christmas margaritas. Who says hot cider needs to be made from apples? Spike your cocktails with chocolate and marshmallows. Kids and adults who don’t imbibe will love this apple-tini mocktail.

When it comes to holiday happenings, Katy really knows how to celebrate. From turkey trots to Santa sightings, there’s something for everyone. If you live in Sunterra, you can easily make every one of these events.


Run the Turkey Dash
7 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 24
Free to watch
Get some exercise before you feast! Choose the timed 5 or 10K. Families can stroll together during the 1-mile family walk/run. Kids ages 3-12 can compete in the 1-mile kids’ race.

Tree Lightings

MKT Distillery Tree Lighting
5-9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26
Free admission
MKT will continue the Katy tradition of putting a Christmas tree on the rice dryers. There will be music and cocktails before, during and after the tree lighting at 6:45 p.m.

Katy Tree Lighting
6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1
The City of Katy will light up the night and the city hall Christmas tree followed by stories, music and dance. Santa will be onsite for photos.

Festive Events

Katy Old Fashioned Christmas Festival
8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3
Katy Market Day is hosting a joyous event featuring more than 200 vendors, food trucks, entertainment, a beer garden, inflatables for children and a visit with Santa. Proceeds benefit Katy Christian Ministries.

Christmas in the Park
5-9 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 3
$7 per person
Celebrate the holidays with the Katy Heritage Society. Tickets include hot cocoa, letters to Santa, Christmas crafts and tours of the society’s historic homes and the decorated Christmas trees. There will be Christmas carolers and raffles. Food, hayrides, popcorn and drinks will be available for purchase.

Movie Night at Central Green
7-9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3
Grab a lawn chair, bundle up and hop on the Polar Express. The charming movie will be shown on a giant screen for everyone’s enjoyment.

Katy Mills Holiday Music Festival 2022
Times vary, Tuesday-Friday, Dec. 6-9
Local school choirs will sing and bands will play their hearts out at AMC Plaza in Neighborhood 1.

Winter Wonderland
5-9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10
Central Green’s annual tribute to winter will be filled with live entertainment, face painting, holiday crafts and more.

Santa Sightings

Breakfast with Santa at Dewberry Farm
8:30-10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3
$17.50 adults, $14 kids ages 3-12, free for 2 and under
Santa’s having breakfast at Dewberry Farm, and you can join him. Dig into pancakes, sausage, fruit, muffins, coffee and hot chocolate. Visit with the Big Guy and get a photo. There will also be crafts and holiday music.

Breakfast with Santa at Katy Mills Mall
10-11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 22
Price TBD. Reservations required
Join Santa for breakfast behind the Santa Photo Experience.

Storytime with Santa
La Centerra
9 a.m. & 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays & Saturdays, Dec. 3-17
$15 per family of four
Bring a blanket and settle down under the tree in Heritage Square for a holiday story read by the Jolly Old Elf himself.  Tickets include a photo opportunity, small gift and hot chocolate. Proceeds benefit the Texas Children’s Hospital. 

Caring Santa®
Katy Mills Mall
9-10:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 4
Photo package prices vary
Children with special needs are invited for a special photo experience with Caring Santa in an environment set up to support their sensory, physical and other developmental needs. Reservations required.

Santa Photo Experience
11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays & noon-6 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 24
Photo package prices vary.
Santa returns to Katy Mills Mall to hear children’s holiday wishes and pose for photos. Make Santa reservations today by clicking here.

Santa’s Wonderland
Bass Pro Shops
Daily through Dec. 24
Kids can get a free photo with Santa. View the schedule here, then reserve your spot

Pet Photos with Santa
La Centerra
Times vary, Tuesday & Saturday, Dec. 3-10
Present your fur baby to Santa for a beautiful holiday photo. The ticket price includes two digital copies of your photo. Proceeds benefit Circle B Veterinary Hospital’s charity of choice.

Pet Photos with Santa
Katy Mills Mall
6-8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11
Photo package prices vary
Bring your furry friend to Katy Kills Mall for a cuddly photo with Santa. No reservations required.

Moving — the thought of it is almost enough to make you forgo the many advantages (energy efficiency, modern layout, new appliances — just to name a few!) of owning a new home.

But with a little thought and planning, that dreaded chore can turn into something that is much smoother than expected. Let’s unpack those tips to get your stuff on the moving truck and on the road to your new home.

Pack Room by Room

When you start to pack, think about how you are going to unpack and put away. It will be easiest if you put all the bathroom/kitchen/office items together — particularly if they are from the same drawer or cabinet. You can even use plastic bags to store the contents of an entire drawer so everything is together when you unpack. Use plastic wrap and/or baggies for items such as shampoo and liquid soaps that could leak in a box. After packing, make sure to mark your boxes clearly with not only the room but also a description of the contents. You can even write your room and content description on color-coded paper taped to the box for an easy visual clue of where the box should go in the new home. One note on writing the descriptions — don’t get too descriptive. No need to mention this is the box with all of your fine jewelry or heirloom pieces.

The Packing Purge

Packing is the perfect time to clean out your closets and drawers. You’ll likely find items that you haven’t used in years — or didn’t even know you had. Put those items in a donation pile — no need to move them to your new home. And don’t be surprised if your packing purge segues into an unpacking purge as you find items that don’t fit into your new home.

Right Size and Right Weight Boxes

You don’t have to buy all new boxes, but all of your boxes — new or used — should be sturdy enough to hold your belongings without caving in. You also want a variety of boxes — some large enough for big kitchen appliances and others small enough for small knickknacks. When packing, you’re likely to have gaps between items — use newspaper or towels to fill in to protect what’s inside. Don’t make a box too heavy, either. You might have a professional mover carry it to and from the truck, but you’ll have to move it around your home. Heavy items such as stacks of books can go into a rolling suitcase.

Pack Your Kitchen With Care

Packing your pantry is pretty easy — just make sure to check food expiration dates and throw out what’s out of date. But when it comes to your dishes, that’s another matter. For plates, you can wrap a single plate in newspaper and then stack same-size plates together and wrap the stack with more newspaper or bubble wrap. Place the dishes on their sides in the box rather than laying them flat — this will make them less liable to break. Cups and bowls can be packed inside of each other, with paper in between. Bundle three or four together. It would be safest to pack your glassware in special boxes with cardboard dividers.

Tips for Packing Electronics

Before you disconnect one thing, make sure to take a photo — it will come in handy when you reassemble your television, sound system and other electronics. As you do disconnect cords, make sure to label everything. Color coding the cables and corresponding cable sockets will make set-up even easier.  You’ll want to take out all batteries, eject any CDs or DVDs and remove toner and print cartridges. Dust your computer before packing. Cushion the bottom of the box with towels or bubble wrap and put more on top after you put in your item. Wrap large items in bubble wrap. If something has a screen, use a towel or bubble wrap — never a newspaper.

What Moving Trucks Don’t Want

If you’ve never used a moving truck before, you might be a little surprised when they say they won’t allow your Lysol spray or nail polish on their truck. Moving companies won’t move what they consider to be hazardous materials. This can vary by company, but generally, the list includes aerosol cans, bleach, batteries, firearms, matches, paint thinners, pool chemicals, propane tanks and — yes — even nail polish. If you’re moving locally, you’ll want to plan on one or two trips to move these items in your own car. If it’s not a local move, you may have a neighbor or friend who will end up with extra fertilizer, charcoal and other items.

The First Box You’ll Unpack

You know how we said not to pack items from multiple rooms in one box? Forget that tip when it comes to packing your essentials box. This is the box that will have toilet paper, scissors or a craft knife to open your other boxes, snacks (you and your little ones will appreciate this), soap, shampoo, garbage bags, pet food and dishes, a small first aid kit and other items. Click here for a full list of things to consider.

No, moving is not easy. But packing and unpacking will soon be a distant memory as you enjoy your new home and living in a vibrant, fun community such as Sunterra!

Trick-or-treating is a time-honored tradition kids look forward to every year. It’s an opportunity for them to show off their costumes and pick up a cauldron full of candy. To make the night even sweeter, pre-plan and take precautions for a safe and fun Halloween.

Dress to Impress (But Safely)

Having a great trick-or-treating experience starts with a great costume. Let your children choose what to be, then make sure the costume is easy to walk in and doesn’t restrict their vision. Pick the right size and hem the costume if it drags on the ground (you don’t want your little munchkin to trip). If your child’s costume involves swords or other pointy objects, choose something made from soft material rather than hard plastic.

To Mask or Not to Mask

Masks can obstruct your child’s vision. A better option is face paint. Test the paint out ahead of time to make sure your child isn’t allergic to it. Wash it off as soon as they get home.

Go In a Group

If you are new to Sunterra, trick-or-treating is a great time to meet the neighbors and make friends. Invite them to join you on the excursion. While the kids knock on doors, you and the neighbors can chat. If your kids are old enough to go without supervision, a group is a great way to have fun and stay safe.

Let There Be Light

Add reflective tape to costumes and treat bags to keep kids safe as they cross streets. Glow sticks and flashlights are also a good idea. Kids love glow sticks. Costumes should be made of light-colored fabric to make kids more visible.

Walk, Don’t Run

Kids get excited while trick-or-treating. Many want to run from house to house. Discourage this as kids are likely to trip and fall. Set a good example by walking carefully on sidewalks and using crosswalks to safely cross the street. Put away cell phones as they can be distracting.

Walk Up to Houses Safely

As your child walks up to a house, make sure they stay away from any open flames. That means staying away from jack o’ lanterns if they have candles. If you have young children and the decorations are particularly spooky, go with them. A scared child could run and fall down.

Dinner Before Treats

A healthy dinner before the big event will ensure kids won’t be digging into their candy bags as they walk. Once they get home, it will be easier to keep them from gorging on treats.

Inspect Their Treats

Candy tampering is extremely rare, but you still want to inspect the treats your kids receive. Toss homemade treats, open candy packages and items your child may be allergic to.

Keep Candy in a Special Place

Once the candy is inspected, put the treat bag some place where kids can’t easily access it. Dole it out a few pieces at a time. Your children’s teeth and stomach will thank you.

On the Other Side of the Door

If you’ve been tasked with handing out treats, keep candies with nuts separate from other candies. Many children are highly allergic to peanuts and may have trouble if wrapped candies are in the same bowl. Better yet, pass out small toys instead of candy. Your lawn and door decorations should be welcoming not scary. While most kids enjoy the spooky seasons, some are easily scared.

The Katy High School football team is coming home on Thursday, Sept. 22, to play Mayde Creek at Rhodes Stadium. You know what that means. Time to break out the mums. Mums? If you aren’t from Texas, you might not know about this unique homecoming tradition. Don’t worry, we’ve got you. Here’s the skinny on everything homecoming in the Lone Star State, so when you make the move to Marvida you’ll be ready.

What’s With the Mums?

In many ways, homecoming in Texas looks like homecoming in every state — except for mums. Mum is short for chrysanthemum, a flower said to represent happiness, love, longevity and joy. It’s traditionally given as a corsage by boys to their dates to the homecoming dance. As with everything Texas, though, these corsages are supersized.

Mums are given on the day of the homecoming game. The flowers are decorated with ribbons as well as strings of bells, plastic novelty toys, teddy bears and even LED lights. Mums are usually tailored to the girl’s interests and activities. For example, if she is on the basketball team, a small basketball might be included.

The more elaborate the mum, the more jealous other girls will be. The typical mum is about 3 feet or longer.

Usually, the mother of the boy makes the mum. There are many tutorials online. Craft stores offer everything you need to make one as elaborate as possible (go big or go home). You can also buy mums at most florist shops. They can cost upwards of $300.

Do Boys Get Mums?

Boys wear garters on the arm in colors that match their date’s mum. They have been getting more and more intricate but still don’t brush the floor like mums. The girl usually makes the garter, so it’s important that everyone collaborate.

Asking for a Date

You’ve heard of “prom-posals?” Asking someone to the homecoming dance is almost as complex. Anyone can ask, but as a rule, boys still ask girls. The ask is much more public than the shy, “Will you go to the dance with me?” of yesteryear. Boys spend a lot of time thinking of the perfect way to ask a girl. They may put cupcakes on a desk spelling out the ask. They might have flowers delivered. They also might hold up signs outside the lockers. However, they do it, it must be cool.

Spirit Week

As with most high schools, spirit week leads up to the homecoming game. There are theme days. Students wear school colors and shout themselves hoarse at rallies. Some schools have parades with floats. At the very least the marching band will play — if not march — the day of the pep rally.

The Big Game

The homecoming game is a big deal. Texans take their Friday Night Lights seriously. The game usually sells out. Girls wear their mums the day of the game. It’s not unusual for the cheerleaders to be covered by their gigantic corsages. The homecoming king, queen and court are announced at the game.

The Big Dance

The homecoming dance is usually held on a Friday or Saturday. Katy High’s is Sept. 23 at the Merrell Center. Formal wear is not required but everyone gets dressed up. Many couples have dinner first. Others show up as a group.

You’ve chosen your floor plan and your homesite. Now it’s time to make your new Sunterra home your own by putting your stylish stamp on it. Flooring, countertops and cabinets, paint and more are available in a dizzying array of styles, colors and materials. How do you make the right choices for you? We have some thoughts.

Define Your Style

Are you a minimalist or a sucker for shabby chic? Defining your style will make choosing your home’s design elements easier. Start by taking this HGTV quiz. Once you have an idea whether you trend toward Modern Farmhouse, Contemporary or Mid-century Modern start checking out design magazines and websites to see what excites you.

Make a Mood Board

Mood boards are like blueprints. They help you pull all your ideas together. Are there any common threads such as color, furniture shape or patterns? These will inform your decisions when it is time to choose your interior features. Remember that paint, flooring, cabinetry and countertops all serve as a backdrop for your furnishings, accent pieces and art.

How Do You Live

Think of your mood board as a guide for how you want to live. Then backtrack and think about how you actually live. Do you have young children ready to place sticky fingers on your beautifully painted turquoise walls? Will the marble kitchen island you love be easy to care for? That stand-alone tub is gorgeous, but will it be easy to get in and out of? Check your mood board again and remove anything that won’t fit your lifestyle. Then see if you can find an alternative you love.

Speak with a Professional

Some builders invite you to explore their design centers. You can speak with a professional who can help you pull together the look you want. Other builders offer packages that take the guesswork out of designing your home. Consider consulting with an interior decorator. Even if you choose not to have them decorate, they might be able to give you some ideas.

Set a Budget

Builders offer standard packages. If you want to upgrade, it will cost you. The good news is that the cost of those upgrades can be rolled into your mortgage. Still, you should set a budget so you don’t go crazy. Experts agree that kitchens and bathrooms are worth upgrading as they can make those rooms easier to care for. Also, doing it now will keep you from having to make costly renovations later.

Stay Away from Trends (Unless You Like Them)

The thing about trends is that they are, well, trendy. Décor choices that rely on what’s trendy can quickly look dated. Make décor choices based on how you want your home to look five years from now, not when you move in. Current trends that will always look fresh include stained wood cabinets, pops of color in the kitchen, neutral paints with color accents and organic materials such as wood floors.









The well-respected Robert Charles Lesser & Co. (RCLCO) mid-year report was recently released, and Sunterra crushed the competition, becoming one of the top 10 best-selling master-planned communities in the nation.

The housing research firm ranks communities based on new-home sales from January through June. Sunterra scored the No. 8 position, with 450 home sales. That places us among the top 10 in the nation and No. 1 in Houston.

Sunterra is less than a year old but already we’re making a splash. Homebuyers are in love with our Katy location and the opportunity to send their children to Katy ISD schools.

Niche, a respected ranking review site, named Katy ISD the top district in the Houston area on its annual list of the Best School Districts. Katy ISD also scored the No. 13 spot on a list of the Best School Districts in Texas. That was out of 1,018 districts!

Fifteen builders offer a range of new home designs in Sunterra including

Adams Homes, Ashton Woods Homes, CastleRock Communities, Centex, Chesmar Homes, Colina Homes, Davidson Homes, D.R. Horton, Empire Communities, Gehan Homes, Hamilton Thomas Homes, Highland Homes, HistoryMaker Homes, Long Lake, Perry Homes, Pulte Homes, Shea Homes and Westin Homes.

Our planned amenities are also wowing homebuyers. Parks, lakes, trails and an expansive Amenity Village with a clubhouse and a pool overlooking a crystal clear lagoon will be part of the Sunterra experience.

Want to live in a pre-eminent master-planned community? We’re in Katy, look us over today.