1st Lake Blog

How to Add Warmth to Your Apartment this Winter

In this post, we’ll give you some tips on how to create a warm atmosphere in your apartment. Soon enough, your home will be the coziest place around.

You can look forward to game nights, large dinners, or relaxing movie nights with friends and family.


There are several ways to use light to your advantage when creating a warm atmosphere in your apartment.

Flameless candles, stringed lights or wax burners are great alternatives for creating a warm ambiance because they provide a sense of calm and a source of indirect light. Still want a cozy winter scent? Essential oil and stick diffusers can also add to the atmosphere — think lavender, pine, or other smells that evoke a warm haven from the cold weather.

Purchase window curtains that are slightly transparent, allowing some natural light to seep in and brighten your living area.

If you have a fireplace, use it when you have guests over. Fireplaces are especially useful during the coldest days of the year — you and your guests can bond by warming your hands and feet in the warm glow of the fire. 

Finally, try to use lamps rather than overhead lights as much as possible. Lamps radiate soft light while overhead lighting can be harsh and uncomfortable for intimate gatherings.


Keeping lots of cozy, soft blankets around your living room will give your guests easy access to quick warmth, and will make people feel at home. Plus, you can choose blankets that visually complement your apartment’s interior.


Well-placed, warmly-colored flowers and other plants add feelings of life and vitality to your living space. Reds, yellows, and oranges make your space seem vibrant and lived-in, rather than sterile and dull. 

Fabrics & Textures

In addition to blankets, use other fabrics and textures to your advantage. Cover cold wood floors and bathroom tiles with plush rugs.

According to Kenmore Development, rugs help rooms look larger while also providing texture and color to your living areas.

Alternate Sources of Heat

If there are any parts of your apartment that get drafty or particularly cold, strategically place space heaters. A small, portable heater will work just fine — there’s no need for anything large and difficult to move. 

Make sure you use a space heater that will automatically shut off if it gets too hot.

Start Getting Cozy in Your New Apartment Today!

Contact us today for information on our private residential communities.

2019 Interior Design Trends

2019 Interior Design Trends

This year, designers everywhere are calling 2019 the “year of maximalism.” But before we go out and buy anything, we thought we’d ask our own 1st Lake interior designer what trends she thinks we should take on! Here are her thoughts on the year ahead! 


It’s definitely the year of color, but we don’t need to go overboard. The rule: 90% white and 10% color. By keeping your walls and ceilings neutral, you have more versatility with how you want to accent your space. Think of your white walls as a blank canvas that you can recreate over and over again. When choosing color, think rich. Rich color palettes with deep hues will add pleasantly unexpected pops in your room. We’ll talk more about what pieces you can use to pull that color into your home. 


Canopy four poster beds are coming back home. This style bed creates a sensation of being protected and elevated from the rest of the world. The four posts can feel like comfy walls beckoning you back to the safety of your cozy bed. “To make one [a canopy bed] work in your bedroom, follow suit and source a canopy bed that is quiet and slim to ensure that it won’t take up too much space or ever go out of style”

Now back to our pops of color: there’s no stronger way to make a statement than with a brightly colored sofa. Bold, rich hues are in for 2019, and many of these loud sofas come in velvet and satin finishes, which gives them an extra level of shine. But if you don’t want to make such a bold purchase, opt for an inexpensive rug or pillows that contain the color spectrum you desire!


Patterns are another way to accent your space! Take a look at our accent rug in our Bella Ridge model. The multi-color, crushed triangular slices add interest and flare to the room, plus it complements the velvet blue couch. 

If shape patterns aren’t really your thing, floral patterns are here to stay. You can incorporate any pattern you want in small ways like on your shower curtain or your headboard, or even your place mats!  

For more funky finds, visit one of these local furniture thrift stores on our blog to find inexpensive pieces for your space.   


This year’s spotlight plants: Mother in Law’s Tongue and Money Tree! Plants are a great way to bring nature inside, and their air purifying capabilities create a healthy living environment without the need for unsightly equipment. To learn more about what plants are just right for you, read our Ultimate Guide for Indoor Plants! Tips for Herb gardens are also great to incorporate into your home-cooked meals.

 Check out our recipe blogs for ways to incorporate your herb garden’s bounty this year.

How will you style 2019?

Did we miss a trend you’ve embraced for the new year? Have you already decorated with some of these trends and tips? Share your tips and interior looks with us on Instagram so we can see how you’ve transitioned in 2019! 




5 Fun Facts About Mardi Gras History

You might have heard that Mardi Gras is a pretty big deal in New Orleans. It’s been called the biggest free party on the planet.

This year’s Mardi Gras takes place on March 5, 2019, but don’t be fooled, Mardi Gras festivities take place on more than just one day. Carnival season begins weeks before Fat Tuesday. 

Mardi Gras has a rich and storied past that has resulted in lots of fun, elaborate traditions. It has played a huge role in shaping Louisiana culture. So, in the spirit of the season, we’re sharing a few fun facts about Mardi Gras history.

Read on to learn more about the biggest free party on the planet.

The First American Mardi Gras Was Celebrated by French Explorers

The first American Mardi Gras was celebrated on March 3, 1699, by French explorers Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and Sieur de Bienville near what eventually became present-day New Orleans. They named the location Point du Mardi Gras.

New Orleans’ Carnival Season Begins on Twelfth Night

Since the 1870s, Twelfth Night has been recognized as the official start of Carnival Season. Twelfth Night is always on January 6, and is known as the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

In New Orleans, it’s common to wait until Twelfth Night to have the first slice of king cake of the year. In fact, local superstition states that if king cake is eaten before Twelfth Night, it will rain on Mardi Gras day.

The Mardi Gras Colors Each Have a Specific Meaning

The bright and festive medley of colors – purple, green, and gold – is inescapable during Carnival season. It is believed that the Krewe of Rex chose these colors as their color scheme in 1872 for the first daytime parade.

Purple, known as being a royal color, represents Justice. Green represents Faith. And gold represents Power.

Originally, beads of these colors were intended to be tossed to individuals that best reflected these characteristics.

Mardi Gras Masks Broke Social Barriers

Mask-wearing is one of the most iconic Mardi Gras traditions. Originally, masks were worn so that people of all classes could mingle freely with one another, which wasn’t common in everyday life. 

Did You Know: New Orleans float riders are required to wear masks by law.

The First Zulu Coconut Was Thrown Over 100 Years Ago

The Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club is one of the most popular Mardi Gras Krewes in existence, as well as one of the oldest traditionally black krewes.

The Krewe of Zulu has become known for handing out coconuts during their parades. They are beautifully decorated and heavily sought after by Mardi Gras parade goers. 

The first mention of a Zulu coconut dates back to 1910!

Be Near the Heart of the Festivities in Your New 1st Lake Apartment

Contact us today for information on our private residential communities.

Bella Ridge Adds New Sculpture

Bella Ridge Apartments installed its art sculpture to kick off the start of construction on its second phase, Bella Ridge South Apartments. When completed, Bella Ridge South will be another 240-unit luxurious community with high-end apartments and must-have amenities in River Ridge.

This metal sculpture was created by local artist Luis Colmenares, also known as “The Picasso of Chalmette.” The towering sculpture is topped with three large, metal “birds of paradise.” Each bird weighs 60 pounds and was created to move in the wind.

The entire installation process was completed on December 5th. Landscaping and further beautification around the area are still underway. Colmenares mentioned he couldn’t have completed this work of art without the assistance of fellow sculptors. The sculpture’s name has not yet been decided.

Placed directly in the middle of Bella Ridge’s roundabout, this artwork divides Bella Ridge North and the future Bella Ridge South Apartments. Bella Ridge South, which has already broken ground, will feature exclusive amenities including bike rentals, a Lifestyle Center with a kitchenette, TV, hang out space, a serenity fountain, and a dog park. Residents will also enjoy package lockers, a resort-style pool, a fitness center, a dog wash area, rideshare pick up, bike storage and a parking garage. Residents will be able to park on the same floor as their apartment and be just a few steps away from their front door.

The community is minutes from local dining, shopping and entertainment spots like the Elmwood Shopping Center, Zea’s, DSW, AMC Palace Theater, Theo’s Pizza, Zoe’s Kitchen, Hour Blast, District Donuts, and more.

DIY Holiday Gift Basket Ideas

When it comes to gift-giving, it’s often said that it’s the thought that counts. However true this may be, you should strive to give the best gift possible.

Adding a personal touch to your gifts is a way to show someone they’re special. That’s why DIY gift baskets are so cool – they’re a way to give a great gift with a personal touch.

In this post, we’ll share some ideas for DIY holiday gift baskets. With a gift basket, you can give your loved ones an assortment of goodies that show you’ve been thinking about them.

Read on for some great gift basket ideas!

Wine & Coffee

Both wine and coffee are great themes for a holiday gift basket. Chances are, you know someone who is a wine or coffee enthusiast, or both. There are lots of coffee or wine-themed gifts you can turn into a basket that will provide them with everything they need to enjoy their favorite beverage.

For coffee, include mugs, to-go cups and lids, coffee beans of your choice, mini-creamers, and sugar. And if you want to go the extra mile, you can even include a coffee bean grinder.

For wine, include wine glasses, a corkscrew, wine aerator, and a bottle of delicious red or white. For a more in-depth tutorial on wine baskets, check out Among Other Things’ detailed guide.


Do you know anyone with a green thumb? If so, they’ll be delighted by a gardening gift basket.

Use your gardening basket as a way to replace old or worn tools and provide inspiration for new things to grow.

Include gardening gloves, a garden trowel, seed packets, gardening books, air plants, garden cultivator for loosing soil and weeds, and gardening pots. Check out The Merry Thought for more.

Grilling & BBQ

The grilling gear basket is great for anyone who spends their holidays entertaining guests and flipping burgers out in the backyard.

Include a basting brush, a high-quality dry rub or sauce, skewers, an assortment of grilling-related condiments, and top it all off with a cutting board. Country Living provides a few more ideas for the grilling pro in your life.


You probably also know someone that loves to bake. Because those who bake love to share the fruits of their labor, a “baking essentials” basket might end up being a gift to yourself as well!

Include baking utensils, a whisk, spoon, spatula, measuring cups and spoons, tongs, and a strainer. Dish towels, oven mitts, and some kind of cake mix or dough are also great additions.

Start Making Your Holiday Gift Baskets in Your New 1st Lake Apartment!

Contact us today for information on our private residential communities.