November 10, 2016
9 Things To Look For When Touring A Home
Don’t get overwhelmed right out of the gate when starting your home search; peruse your options with confidence, knowing you are comparing apples to apples as much as possible.
Are you in the market for a new house? These 9 items top the list of things to consider whenever you tour a home:
Keep in mind all the places you need to go, and how far away they are from this current house location. Calculate the distance to your work, schools, groceries stores, and favourite nightlife spots. Wherever you frequent the most, such as your job commute or gym, should be your top location priority. Also, see how close you are to gas stations and freeways. These aren’t always considered, and it can be a pain to have to drive a long distance just to get to the airport or to fuel up.
If this is important to you, stop a few minutes at each window in the home you’re touring to check out the view. Take note of the direction the windows are facing to see if you’ll get that brilliant sunrise or sunset everyday. Also, check out how close you are to your neighbours, and see if they can easily look into a room.
Before you step into a potential home to tour, drive around the neighbourhood a little. Take a look at how people landscape their yard, if they have kids playing in the street, and if a block ends on a busy intersection. This is especially important if you have young kids that will be playing a lot outside. Your neighbourhood also plays a huge role in your home’s overall value.
This might seem like a small detail, but a poorly designed driveway can cause some serious stress. Make sure all your family cars can comfortably drive on it to easily access the garage. Some homes have a pillar dividing two or more spots, which can lead some larger vehicles unable to maneuver inside. Also, make sure you don’t have anything blocking your line of sight when you back out, such as tall shrubs or blind corners.
Size and Floor Plan
Pick up a floor plan while you tour a home, and revisit it and keep the house’s layout fresh in your memory. Imagine yourself walking between each room, and note any troublesome areas. Consider the overall space of each room, and know that a larger space will require you to run your heater longer, add more furniture, but will be perfect for a larger sized family. Measure your current furniture to get an idea of where you would put things like couches, beds, dressers, and any other bulky items. Some furniture might not fit, so make sure you factor these purchases into your budget.
Room Count: Beds and Baths
Consider your family’s needs, and if you will eventually need an extra bathroom or bedroom after a few years. Smaller homes can actually benefit a bigger family since they will be easier to clean, plus they transition well once all the kids have moved out. Take into consideration what you currently have now, and ask yourself if this amount of rooms truly meets your needs.
Ideal Kitchen Layout
Do you enjoy cooking? You’ll want to make sure your kitchen flows well, and that all the appliances you need are easy to access. When you’re touring the kitchen, walk through a typical dinner preparation, from cutting board counter height to oven door clearance space; it should all be tested. Ask your REALTOR® what appliances will stay in the kitchen so you can budget for the missing ones, such as a fridge.
Ask your REALTOR® to show you homes with varying layouts so you can experience how each one might work for your unique cooking needs.
Open every single closet while you tour. Take detailed notes of each storage space on your floor plan of the home, then see if it will work for your needs. When people move, usually they like to de-clutter, but there will still be some items you’ll need to store in your new home. Bring a tape measure with you so you can get exact measurements.
Windows and Finishes
Having natural lighting in each room will cut down on your energy bill drastically. See where each window is placed throughout the home to get an idea of how much sunlight you’ll be getting. Ask your REALTOR® how old the windows are, and if they might need to be replaced. Also, notice the finishes in each room such as the hardware style, molding, and focal points - like a fireplace. These can be changed out or disguised, but it’s best to find a place that already meets your expectations. Bring a camera or use the one on your smart phone to snap some photos of the details that drew you in, then file them with each house’s paperwork for future reference.
It might sound like a lot of prep work to do before touring a home, as well as a lot to think about during the showing, but this will ultimately make your final decision much simpler. You don’t want to miss out on a charming home if you can’t make up your mind, so make it easy on yourself by sufficiently preparing ahead of time, and you’ll be guaranteed to find a perfect home that meets all your needs.
*This article is syndicated and licensed from Realtor.GetWrittn.com.
October 11, 2016
Dream With A Theme
From, Bjorn Rygg, Pillar to Post
While not every room in your home needs to follow a theme, you may find yourself designing a bedroom around a child's favorite Disney character, sports team or activity, or playing up your own hobby or even trying to recreate the serenity of a vacation spot in your own bedroom. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you decorate.
- Make sure you don't go overboard with your theme while forgetting about the practicality of your room. If you can't sit/lie/relax on it, it's about as practical as stiletto heels on the beach. In other words, you don't want a bedroom that shows well but doesn't invite comfort and relaxation.
- Remember that a themed bedroom doesn't mean running out and buying every known accessory relevant to your vision. Your theme can be jumpstarted as easily and inexpensively as choosing the right shade of paint for the walls. Sports fans looking to create a shrine to their team should know there is paint designed to match team colors perfectly, allowing them to instantly surround themselves with logo-matched paint to complement the team accessories they plan to display.
- Looking to create a dreamy bedroom space? You'll want to choose calming colors for the walls and bedding. You may think white is right, but again, keep practicality in mind: spills happen, dirt comes out of nowhere, and before you know it your calming oasis turns into just another stress-inducing imposition. White can work in some situations, but keep your lifestyle in mind before you commit.
August 24, 2016
3 Ways to Make Your Living Room More Functional
The living room is the main space in your home where people gather. It's a high traffic room and it has a lot of jobs. Creating a space that meets the needs of your family, but is also beautiful and desirable to be in, is no easy task. You might find yourself wondering where to even start, but with a few simple tricks, you'll be headed in the right direction.
Here are three significant ways you can create more functional space in your living room right now:
Aim to Simplify
These days, with life spinning so fast in so many different directions, it's easy for our home to become a drop zone for so many things. We accumulate sports equipment, hobby related accessories, kid’s toys, pet supplies, and the list goes on. Somehow, in the midst of all these bits and pieces, the parts we really love about our home can get lost. The number one thing you can do to create a more functional living room is to start by de-cluttering. Start by grabbing four boxes labeled:
Go through your living room and do your best to purge those excess items. Think creatively and remember that by letting some things go, you are making way to really highlight the things in your home that really do matter to you. Consider pairing down on things you have in excess, for instance, limit your throw pillows, don't pack your bookshelves to the max, and try not to overwhelm your mantle with knickknacks. Colleen Madsen of 365 Less Things suggests, “There is no need to make things difficult by trying to organize the hardest things first. Most likely, it will simply deter you from the task altogether. Instead, start with the easy stuff and then as you strengthen your will to reduce, the harder decisions will become easier.” De-cluttering might seem like a daunting task, but it is worth it in the long run. Having less clutter is actually healthier for you and it helps promote a more peaceful environment. Who doesn't want a living room that ushers in peace?
Once you have simplified the extra stuff around your home, you can then really focus on the statement pieces that you want to showcase. Turn your attention to pieces that open up and add light to your living room. Mirrors offer a great way to add dimension to an otherwise boring space. Focus your energy on finding pieces that inspire you, draw out simplicity, and take up minimal space.
Designate Space Wisely
Creating functionality in your living room is so much more than arranging furniture, it's about developing an environment that works and flows with your family’s lifestyle. Instead of just placing your furniture where it fits or the best angle toward the TV, really consider the design and formation of your living room. Try to designate areas with certain jobs in mind. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
- a distinct sitting area
- a reading nook
- a play area
- a home office corner
- an entertainment space
Elaine Song from styleathome.com advises, “Divide your living space by designating areas for certain activities. It will allow for better organization of furniture and necessities. Whether it's a games area with a table and proper storage for board games and toys or a TV area with seating and media storage for music and movies, your space will feel less cluttered.” If you find yourself debating over what to do with your sofa, consider what Designer Laura Casey has to say, “People often ask me my opinion on using sectional sofas. Under the right conditions they can be functional and look great. I think their best use is in rooms with high ceilings or lots of windows, and upholstered in a lighter color. Getting room and upholstery proportions correct can be a challenge. If you've got a smaller sized room with low ceilings you are better off choosing a mix of a sofa and chairs to help break up the space.” The living room is the place that family gathers, with specific designated areas, giving everyone a corner of their own.
Use Furniture Creatively
One of the main reasons to use furniture creatively is that it is a great way to incorporate sentimental family pieces into your everyday life. Jan Porter of Isle Designs, brings over 35 years of Design experience to the table, she shared some helpful advice about how she uses pieces creatively within her own home, and “I tend to use pieces that have a multi functional purpose. One of my family heirlooms, an antique cedar chest from the 1800's not only doubles as storage, but it is used as my coffee table as well.” Another wonderful reason to use furniture creatively is that it can offer double-duty. Some benches have wonderful storage capabilities and they also make a great window seat.
Many new sectional sofas come with ample storage inside, and the chaise lounge portion can double as a daybed. If your living room is on the smaller side, consider using a bookshelf as an entertainment storage center/room divider. You can place TV remotes and controllers in lined baskets, store games in decorative boxes, and reserve one shelf for your favorite go to books. By using double-duty furniture, you not only create more space, but you develop a room that everyone in your family feels some sense of ownership to.
February 23, 2016
Decorating Trends Come and Go
Dated Decor - Are there any that have overstayed their welcome in your home? With another year behind us, it seems fitting to talk about those once-stylish décor choices that could cause your home to look like it's stuck in a time warp, and turn buyers off when you're trying to sell.
Mirrored Closet Doors
Few things evoke the 1980s quite like those sliding mirror doors with the brassy trim. But what if you like that they brighten and open up the room? Update mirrored doors by creating patterns with spray- or stick-on frosting, applying stylish decals, and/or painting the frame and track. Want to get rid of or disguise the mirror frugally? Replace the doors with panel curtains or cover them with grasscloth for a nature-inspired look, or wood veneer and rice paper for shoji-screen style.
Also called acoustic ceilings, popcorn ceilings were popular in the 1950s through the 1980s due to their ability to dampen sound and hide imperfections. Today, most homeowners want rid of them and many homebuyers consider them a dealbreaker. Why? They could contain asbestos, depending on their age; they're hard to repair and paint; and they can trigger allergies because they trap and degrade into dust. You can remove popcorn ceilings yourself by wetting them and scraping off the texture, but leave the job to professionals if asbestos is present.
Old-School Track Lighting
Speaking of ceilings, they can feel rather cluttered and obtrusive when outfitted with older track lighting systems. You know the type: those big, bulky, white or black "cans" that were popular in the '90s. You don't have to abandon track lighting altogether to get with the times. Today's systems offer more subtle, streamlined designs, with smaller, less overwhelming, track heads and a variety of finishes, such as chrome and nickel, that also help bring track lighting into the 21st century.
Are your windows wearing too many layers (e.g., blinds, sheers, drapes, and valances)? Are they dressed up in frilly accessories like swags, jabots, and festoons? Are your curtains "puddled" on the floor? Heavily dressed windows not only look dated, but also block out natural light (which you definitely don't want when selling your home). The trend has moved away from a lot of fuss on windows and towards simple, sleek treatments that let the light in and that highlight, rather than overpower, your views and architecture.
Like popcorn ceilings, faux painting techniques like ragging and sponging caught on in part due to their ability to hide imperfections. But these days, when décor trends are all about clean lines and simplicity, faux finishes are often seen as a faux pas. It's bold colors (unless your home is for sale), and the solid paint jobs that show them off, that are en vogue. Just as well – faux finishes are more difficult to apply and harder to paint over when you tire of them.
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