If you don't have to financial means to replace your outdated garage doors, try slapping a coat of fresh paint on there. But if you can afford to replace those old aluminum or vinyl doors with wood, I going to highly suggest it. Notice how the door above almost resembles carriage house doors with those Dutch style handles, which go well with the traditional architecture. Make sure that no matter what you decide to go with that it compliments the architecture and doesn't distract from it. I also like how the color of the doors in the image match the door on the house. If the trim of the house had been that color and the door white, I would have gone with white garage doors and colored trim. Keep it consecutive.
Meet Peekay. The love of our lives.
Don't let that aggressive pitbull face fool you. Before she came to us from Georgia, she was left chained to a tree on an uninhabited property, literally left for dead. She was skin and bones; couldn't even lift her head when she was found. Then she spent 2 years in a shelter, originally being nursed and eventually left to live out her entire life. But a simple twist of fate put her in a horse trailer to send her north and in our minds, that's how angels arrive on earth. In horse trailers. Because she's actually an angel sent from heaven as a dog to teach us what pure kindness, sweetness and love actually are.
And to get on our furniture with muddy paws, tear up the garbage when left alone, eat my shoes, sunglasses and leave lovely golden puddles throughout the house.
If you relate to our situation in any way whatsoever, you understand how our love for these creatures seems to override any rational sense of human/canine relationships. Dogs on the floor or outside and humans rule, right? Ummmmm not so much.
We actually have 2 dogs, a cat and a wife who tracks the barn inside with her. Fortunately, we're not planning on selling our new home any time soon, but if we were, there would be some major changes.
Quick tips for preparing your furry home for sale:
Peekay napping in the car Bonsai showing affection for Bodhi
We recently purchased a new mattress for a good chunk of change only to discover it is our worst nightmare. Literally. Our dreams have taken a turn since this thing arrived. Our backs hurt, it's really hot, there is a hill in the middle of it where no one sleeps, and it's not even 3 months old. Fortunately we were able to swap it out for something that we can only assume will be better (yes, we tried every mattress in the store!) and are just waiting for its arrival.
Here is a short list of the best mattresses on the market in 2017 and the best part? They're techy too, as in outer space technology techy. The bad part? Our mattress ranked on the top 3 WORST mattresses. So be sure to do your research! Actually, you can just thank me for doing it for you.
Please keep in mind that memory foam is a petroleum based product with toxic fumes being release that may or may not bother you. Latex is completely natural and does not emit any fumes. My biggest regret was not getting latex. The images shown are of the best overall ranking in the industry this year for their make according to thebest-mattress.org which is a very useful site. Click any of them to learn more.
The importance of a fresh coat of paint on your exterior cannot be stressed enough! Simply painting the trim if your siding is in good shape can really make a house pop. I love the 3 colors used on the house above; the white trim, blue shutters and teal door and gables beautifully accentuate the house. I love the use of different colors of equal tone. Simply painting your front door could be all the edge you need to get noticed, but obviously if there are any cracks or chips in your paint then it's probably time to go ahead and do all of it. The best part is that a gallon of exterior paint runs at about $30 so you won't necessarily be breaking the bank to make a big impact.
When it comes to your walls when preparing your house for sale, it's once again important to show the best form and function of what your house has to offer. Artwork is a great way to make a den feel cozy or to give a sparse room the appearance of depth and dimension.
A few things to keep in mind when staging your house:
Don't be afraid to ask for help or a second opinion! It often takes a fresh eye to make new choices for an old space.
When it comes to interiors, I personally am one for contrast. However, lately I've been noticing a rise in monochromatic rooms ranging from plain white to rich, jewel tones, and I have to say there is something soothing and luxurious about these spaces. Texture is important in monochromatic settings, often seen with rich velvets, soft linens and matte paints. But what I really like about them is the contrasts pulled from tones instead of colors, which is what lends them the soothing, cozy vibe.
I have to confess: I love those chairs!
This makes me thirsty; I want to swim in it. Maybe I'm just thirsty...
Aahhh I love this green....
Our friends over at BackyardBoss.com wanted to share with you some great tips for pruning in order to keep that curb appeal at its finest. You can click the image above to be redirected to their great post which is divided seasonally, so just scroll down to winter and either get your pruning shears out or call you local landscaper for help. Just remember to watch out for poison ivy and poison oak as this time of year thier leaves tend to turn beautiful fall shades of fiery reds and oranges. And if they have lost their leaves, the roots and vines are just as toxic- trust me, I'm speaking from very recent experience! Always wear impermeable gloves tucked into long sleeves when you're not perfectly sure of what you're handling.
There is one thing we have not talked about when it comes to staging your home, and it's something you may or may not believe in. However, it is a fact that atoms are made up of 99.999...% energy, which is every single thing in the physical world, and energy moves. You've probably heard of Feng Shui; the Chinese way of creating harmony in a space, which is just one tradition. Basically every traditional culture around the globe has some way of cleansing spaces of negative energy. True Feng Shui requires a lot of work, but it all really comes down to this: Declutter. Because clutter is made of things, which are made of atoms, which are made of energy...
Smudging with herbs is a technique realtors and stagers are using more and more. What's crazy is how often I hear of properties sitting on the market for a long time, empty or staged and priced right, yet not moving until someone cleanses the space. Typically a space needs cleansing beyond the steps listed below if a negative event occured in the house, such as a divorce, bankruptsy, death, or just a lot of fights. Often this energy will carry over to new owners. For example, the house my friend lived in as a child was bought from a divorced couple. Then her parents divorced, and the people who bought it after them divorced.
Smudging's history goes primarily back to Native american traditions, although has been found in different cultures. I don't recommend smudging due to cultural appropriation, but there are other techniques such as burning rock salts or epsom salts to clear the space.
Before you go crazy lighting things on fire though, know that negative energy will only collect again if the space isn't decluttered. Getting rid of clutter will immediatly allow trapped energy to free up and you may be able to forgo burning things anyway. If you've practically emptied a space and it still just doesn't feel right, next step is rearranging furniture, then painting and replacing carpet or finishing floors. A lot of great energy can come from just those steps alone.
Do you have any experience with this? If so we'd love to hear from you!
Click the image above to get more tips on filling your house with positive energy.
You may disagree, since I've often heard people complain of the terracotta in a space and proclaim it needs to be replaced, but I for one have always been a fan and am officially predicting we will be seeing more of this. Why? Because it adds a lot of warmth to what has been a washed out white trend for a long time. Whether matte or polished, there is something about these tiles that immediately makes me feel like I'm in Spain. Meaning it adds warmth, charm and character. While I don't think that the faux painted yellow walls of the early 2000's will be coming back any time soon, I do think we will see these tiles used in a more modern way, with white or pale gray walls, which will be a cool contrast. Good news for your farmhouse table! It will look like it's right where it's supposed to be.
If you are on the more luxurious side of things, this will be a great compliment to your sunporch, conservatory or terrace. Maybe we'll even see more courtyards? Love those courtyards...
If I had a dollar for each time I hear about a property staying on the market because the owner refuses to paint, replace carpeting or remove wallpaper.... Well let's just say I'd have more than $1. I'd have at least $10. I was in a house recently that is only 4 years old, has a great floor plan, is close to town, comparatively very reasonably priced, but has been on the market for over 5 months. Why? Because its walls are yellow. Very yellow. And not just in one room. Now, yellow can be an uplifting, very warming color, but it is also shown to cause anxiety. In those five months, 2 contracts have fallen through- not because the buyers have complained of the color, but because they have literally gotten anxious about going through with the deal (one can surmise.) According to color-affects.co.uk:
Positive: Optimism, confidence, self-esteem, extraversion, emotional strength, friendliness, creativity.
Negative: Irrationality, fear, emotional fragility, depression, anxiety, suicide.
The yellow wavelength is relatively long and essentially stimulating. In this case the stimulus is emotional, therefore yellow is the strongest colour, psychologically. The right yellow will lift our spirits and our self-esteem; it is the colour of confidence and optimism. Too much of it, or the wrong tone in relation to the other tones in a colour scheme, can cause self-esteem to plummet, giving rise to fear and anxiety. Our "yellow streak" can surface.
The word "suicide" is mentioned. That isn't to say that you can't have yellow in your home and have it work just fine! Again, the right amount of it and the right shade make all the difference. And that rule does not just apply to yellow! Every color has a positive AND negative, so any color that is taking president over what your house has to offer is a distraction and has a potentially negative affect on the sale. Keep it NEUTRAL.
Here are some of my favorites for staging:
Sailcloth PM-21, by Benjamin Moore, which has some warmth to it
Agreeable Gray by Sherwin Williams, which we have in our kitchen, which is gray with just a touch of beige
Sherwin Williams Allabaster (NOT Benjamine Moore) is a fantastic white with a hint of a yellow undertone
This blue-gray, especially when it has a hint of green which can only be seen in the right light. It adds so much more dimension yet retains its neutral status. On the ceiling is Rainwashed by Sherwin-Williams.
I may be wrong, but I'm sensing that 2017 will be much, much softer than 2016. While velvet isn't for everyone - it's heavy and really changes the atmosphere of a space - small accent pieces of it, like a side chair, are about to enter our lives. And no one can deny that an object of velvety goodness isn't amazing to sit or lie on. It's almost as if an uncomfortable chair covered in velvet suddenly becomes cozy and nice. You could probably put velvet on my kitchen counters and I would lie on them. And it doesn't have to be a piece of furniture either! Just a pretty bolster pillow could be all the velevet you need. Plus, think of the colors. Blush pink like the curtains above, or the pale seafoam throw pillows we have in our den, are far more subtle and relaxing than bold colors, yet bold colors can be so much more fun!
Recently we talked about Light Fixtures and Ceiling fans, so this week I want to offer a simple solution for updating your home. Replace all hardware in your kitchen and bathrooms with something new. It's an incredibly low cost way to really spruce a space up. The important thing is keeping it consistent by not mixing up styles throughout the house.
Obviously gold and brass is IN at the moment, but you certainly don't have to stick to these finishes to make a great impact. Try copper, silver or black for a modern look.
Click this image directly above to get great tips for where and what to buy for your kitchen.
If you have installed any variety of elements under the umbrella of Smart Home technology, it's important to let your agent know about them when you go to list your property. If you like the gadget, what do you like about it? If you don't like it, why? Is it worth keeping if you don't like it? For example, think of the Nest Thermostat you installed a while back. It helps you to keep track of all your energy usage which in turn allows buyers to get a clear idea of what their energy costs are going to be. If they happen to be first time buyers, this is especially good since it tends to be the one thing first-timers don't factor to be their greatest expense after the mortgage. Did you install a sound system for all the entertaining you do? That could be a great selling feature, especially if your home is well designed for entertaining, compiling these details add up to be very attractive.
The market is finding that at least certain areas of the country are installing Smart Home technologies in order to best market their homes by adding these features as a positive comparison to other properties listed in their area. And it's expected this trend will continue because of how simple and cost effective an installation can be while showing the house better. But it's also important to educate your agent on how to use each feature before showings. Nothing will be more embarrassing for them than not knowing how to turn on the lights with potential buyers on their heels.
If you aren't familiar with gadgetflow.com already, click the image above to see more. It's a great website for learning about everything new on the market, offering reviews, the ability to shop and the stories behind each product.
While obviously the yard and porch are far from pristine condition (lots of things need to be tucked away,) and we are getting more shrubs to add to the front, we just wanted to share once more the before and after of our little house. As I mentioned last week, the landscapers were here working as I was writing so here is their finished work. Those three bushes are a type of Japanese Holly, not boxwoods as many understandably assume. Eventually we will have a nicely growing garden in the front with lots of flowering things, a new walkway (this one is OLD and cracked,) and the little slope in front- not shown- will be nicely landscaped with more than mulch. We have no plans to sell our house any time soon but we do want to at least give it some curb appeal, especially for all our neighbors who were kind enough to put up with 5 months of construction!
Next week: Exterior Doors!
In the mean time, check us out on Pinterest
images courtesy of makedoanddiy.com
It's amazing what a bit of paint can do for outdated tiles. While the images above are of kitchen backsplash, bathrooms are probably the most common place an agent or stager will recommend painting tiles because that's usually the place in the house where renovations are last and their age truly shows. But just a bit of primer and paint and you can have yourself a brand new bathroom. Sure the chances of a buyer ripping it all out and doing their own thing are high, but by giving the appearance of a newer bathroom (or kitchen) the odds of a faster sale are much more in the seller's favor.
Click the images above to get the full tutorial by makedoordiy.com, a fun blog full of great tips and tricks, or check us out on Pinterest to get loads more inspiration for updating the tile in your house.
It may seem like we're going back in time, but with a mega shortage of construction workers in the U.S. at the moment, prefab and modular homes are on the rise. Which is why the industry is trying to change the public's common conception of them as being trailers or mobile homes. The reality is that with today's technology and computer input, these homes are now quite customizable and far from cookie-cutter.
According to Fred Hallanhan, who is a research expert in prefab housing, “the general public—and that includes real estate professionals and builders—have a big part in helping to change the perception of what modular and manufactured housing means today. Prefab housing has the same degree of aesthetics and function at the same price—or maybe even lower price [than traditional homes.]”
You can read more about prefab homes, the industry's attempt to change the public's opinion, and all their features and functionality HERE and get a taste of some of the coolest prefab houses out there now HERE.
Images courtesy of https://www.tesla.com/solar
If you haven't already heard, Tesla has released a line of glass shingles that absorb the sun's energy and store it in their Powerball 2 battery pack. What's cool about this is how your energy efficient roof can now look like a roof and not a solar panel (increasing curb appeal and interest when you're ready to sell.) What will be interesting to find out is if Tesla got a little ahead of itself with solar panels being slightly on the decline due to poor performance (this is typically due to improper location of the installation.) However, I'm a bit of a believer in the future of renewable energies, so while they may be a little premature with this, chances are they will come out on top in the long run.
Today is the first reveal of the before and after of our house! Obviously, landscaping is in order... In fact, our friends at Environmental Landcare are here this very moment digging up the entire front yard. While this may not seem to be totally on-topic, it's always fun to see a transformation.
We were told before we even moved in that we NEEDED white rockers and an American flag, but we already had those items at the top of necessities as they are a requirement for pretty much any house with a front porch when it comes to curb appeal. As you can see, those arrived before the landscapers. The chairs were a kind gift from good friends.
So if there is one lesson to be learned today, it is this: white rockers and an American flag for your front porch.
Swapping out old light fixtures and ceiling fans can make a big impact on any space. It's a simple and cost effective way to show that your house has been cared for while providing a newer vibe that buyers crave. Even the ones looking for historic properties- unless they are looking for a total fixer-upper- want to sense a newness in order to feel like they could belong there.
It's important to be coherent with the look you're going for. Pick a floor and make all the ceiling fans the same, or stick with color schemes and/or metal finishes, such as rubbed bronze for all the lighting fixtures so that chrome and rubbed bronze and brushed brass aren't all coinciding in one room. This can leave a subtly unsettling feeling for anyone.
And if you're really on a budget or just a big DIYer, you can always try a can of spray paint on fixtures for a quick update that buyers won't immediately notice unless you make a big mess of it.
Have any improvements to fixtures you'd like to share with us? Send us an email or write us a comment. We'd love to hear from you!
Thompson Creek Window Company is the Mid-Atlantic region’s premier home improvement replacement products company. In 2015, they were ranked the #14 on Qualified Remodeler's annual list of the top 500 replacement contractors in the United States. They have been customizing and manufacturing replacement windows, doors, gutters and siding in the Mid-Atlantic region for more than 30 years. Their products deliver time and again, improving a home’s energy efficiency and increasing home values, curb appeal and sheer comfort.
Thompson Creek Window Company windows and gutter systems are custom manufactured, installed and serviced from their family owned and operated factory in Landover, Maryland – eliminating costly and inefficient middle parties. They're so sure you’ll love our products that they'll back everything up with a transferable double lifetime guarantee.
At Thompson Creek, they're your friends and neighbors. They're proud of their history in the Mid-Atlantic region and proud to help their communities improve the comfort and conditions of their homes.
Manicure it like it's a country club. According to Inman.com, "landscaping can add as much as 28 percent to the value of a home in addition to cutting the time a home spends on the market by 10 to 15 percent." And the internet is chock full of statistics like this. But also bear in mind that you don't want to put more than 20-30% of your property value into landscaping. Stats also show that people who spend more than 30% actually lose in the long run.
So if you've been on the fence about investing in your landscaping, the numbers are definitely in favor of making the effort. Some lower cost suggestions are:
Next week we'll take a look at some other exterior fixes to increase curb appeal and talk about the stats that support them.
Casaplex is a local business that believes in "Enhancing life, work, and play through the innovative use of technology."
Casaplex LLC is one of the leading systems integration firms on the east coast. They provide automation, security, and IT services for any scale of project, residential commercial. Casaplex is an award-winning provider of Home Automation, Home Theaters, Smart Homes, Smart Buildings and IT Services in DC, MD, VA
Their mission at Casaplex is timeless and constantly evolving alongside technology: They want to eliminate the confusion that the fast paced world of technology has brought along with it.
If you want to learn more about Casaplex, their award-winning team of professional designers and installers, or the work that they've done, visit www.casaplex.com.
The image above is of a waterfall and grotto at a pool house that Casaplex animated. It features two custom pools, custom lighting, a fully-featured kitchen, and distributed media from the main house. It has a grotto with a controllable waterfall that you swim up to through lit tunnel.
Before I tell you about Belle Grove homes, it's important for you to know that we personally used them to renovate our house. Which is not quite picture perfect YET but as soon as it is you will get the full before and after experience and we will give them a shout out again. In the mean time, the image above is from another project of theirs. But besides that, we want to make it very clear that we are IN LOVE with our house. Matt Younger and Belle Grove Homes took a 1950's 1 story bungalow and transformed it into a 2 story modern-meets-traditional home with a front porch and fireplace that weren't there before. All in under 5 months. It is better than we expected and we can't thank Matt and everyone at Belle Grove Homes enough for all their hard work and attention to detail that has literally given us not only our dream home but also our first home as a married couple. So thank you.
Since 1941, Belle Grove Homes has successfully served their customers and community. Belle Grove Homes is dedicated to quality construction and professional customer service. They pride themselves with innovation in the building materials and in their floor plans designed to meet your family’s day to day needs without losing the custom features that make their designs unique.
Organization and teamwork are Belle Grove’s keys to success. They understand that proven systems and working relationships are crucial to the management of the many variables in construction and real estate. Coordination with customers, engineers, architects, designers, suppliers, tradespeople, government & the local community are critical to the building process.
Belle Grove stays informed of current issues and have been active members of the Home Builder Association of Maryland for 70+ years, Associated Builders & Contractors for 30+ years and Anne Arundel County Association of Realtors for 40+ years.
You can reach them at 410-224-1411 or click the image above to learn more.
Today I just wanted to offer up some color schemes that are both trending at the moment as well as classically appealing and won't go out of date any time soon. You may have noticed that grays are the new neutral. It's everywhere at the moment and quite frankly, as a Gray, we love it. There are endless shades of gray out there (not just 50!) so it's a matter of choosing what you want you accent color(s) to be in order to then decide if you need a warm gray or a cool gray. The image to the bottom left shows warm grays as there is a hint of yellow in there, which then contrasts nicely with the cool door color. Same can be said of the middle image, with Siding B being fairly warm while Siding A and Door & Trim are cool colors. To the right are more grays to look at but I like the wild green of the door and how it contrasts with the dark trim and siding. Same with the orange of the door above! We can't wait to show you the before and after photos of our home in West Annapolis so stay tuned in the coming weeks for some sneak peaks.
We've certainly touched on this topic before, but I want to point out the difference rugs can make in a house when it comes to photographs. Obviously, rugs can really warm a space up and add dimension and color where it's needed. But when it comes to photographing a space, it is important to know that rugs can also be a hindrance.
The image directly above shows the clean floors of the room and gives the potential buyer a much better idea of how they could fill the space. I'm not suggesting removing all rugs, even if it means keeping ones with color and pattern. The top image, for example, has a rug that does a great job of grounding everything in the room while not causing any distraction. I am suggesting, however, that rugs, particularly with lots of pattern such as orientals and persians, tend to distract the viewer's eye.
This photo shows a cozy room with oriental rugs under the dining room table and in the living area by the fireplace. You may not notice them as a problem but if we were to remove them from the scene it would open the area up a bit, allowing the spaciousness of the room to fill the lens instead of the objects while also showing off the beauty of the hardwood floors instead of distracting from them.
Travis Gray was born in Annapolis and raised on the Severn River. He specializes in marketing fine homes and waterfront property in the Annapolis area.