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Remodeling and Home Design

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Wednesday, April 23 2014

One of the most important factors of a house is its curb appeal. Just ask any real estate agent and they’ll tell you the same thing. Curb appeal greatly affects the value of your house and is especially important if you plan on selling it in the near future.

So just what is curb appeal? Curb appeal is the wow-factor of your house. When people are driving down your street, you want them to slow down a little as they pass your house to soak in the glory. “What gives a house great curb appeal?” you may ask, well there are a number of things:

Awesome Exterior

Whether your house has brick, vinyl, or any other type of siding, you want it to be in tip-top shape. Siding with splotches of black rotting wood or faded paint look terrible and greatly decrease your house’s curb appeal. Not only does shoddy siding look awful, but it also can lead to energy leaks that cost you a great deal of money during the summer and winter months. Do plenty of research on what type of siding works best for you and get a contractor or three to come out and give you their opinion and a quote on fixing your exterior.

Once you’re sure that your siding is in good shape, you’ll want to have a good coat of paint put on it. Before you decide on your own, or have your tacky Aunt Beatrice tell you what color to paint it, make sure you talk to a few realtors to find out what colors and styles of paint are currently appropriate and desirable for your neighborhood. Just because you love the color turquoise does not mean painting your house that color will give it great curb appeal; it might actually make your house look much less appealing.

Windows

Windows are where it’s at when it comes to curb appeal. Make sure all of your windows are kept very clean and are in good shape. A broken window is a HUGE no-no when trying to build your house’s curb appeal. People love houses that have giant, beautiful windows, but if your house doesn’t have these you can work around it with custom shutters or by accenting them with your garden. Having your curtains or blinds drawn in your front living areas will make your house look nicer; just make sure everything inside your house that can be seen through the windows in the evening is in good order.

Once again, I highly recommend working with a contractor that really knows windows when replacing them. A window is a very important component of your exterior both cosmetically and functionally. Make sure all of your windows not only look great, but are also functional (open and close completely). A window that doesn’t open can be dangerous during a fire and one that doesn’t lock can be a security breach!

Garden

Now gardening is not something that we’re all good at. I have what my wife calls a “brown thumb,” meaning everything I touch that is of a botanical nature is bound to die within a few days. If this is the case, enlist some help. That being said, gardening is something that most people love to do, as it is a relaxing outdoor activity. If you don’t have any sort of plant life in your yard, your curb appeal is probably just as dead as the tomato plants I tried to plant in my backyard last week. There is a plethora of gardening blogs, both organic and conventional, that will let you know what to plant in your area during this time of year.

If you need ideas of what kind of garden looks good in your area, just drive around your neighborhood and take notice of the gardens that jump out to you. Take note of what people are doing with their gardens and how they bring out the best in the person’s house. Many people grow vegetables in their front yard, making their gardens not only cosmetically appealing, but useful, too.

Your Front Porch

How many times have you driven by a house and seen a porch that looks so cool that you wished you had one just like it to hang out on? Even if you don’t spend much time on your front porch, you should make it look like a place that you would want to. If you have the room, get interesting decorations and seating for your front porch. Seasonal decorations for your front door that don’t look too tacky are a must. Rocking chairs or porch swings, etc. always make a front porch seem more like a place one would want to spend time; and part of the whole idea of curb appeal is making your house look like a place that one would want to spend time, is it not?

Other Tips

Okay, so you’ve got the awesome siding/exterior, paint job, windows, garden, and porch going, what next? Well, here are some other things you need to keep in mind when looking to boost your curb appeal:

  • No trash or clutter ANYWHERE in your yard… Ever! – instant curb appeal killer.
  • Keep all fences painted and in good order. – no gaps or missing posts allowed.
  • Pick up animal poop! – gross.
  • No broken down vehicles in yard or driveway – you’re not Jeff Foxworthy.
  • Mow/rake your lawn – You’d think this would be a no-brainer, but…
  • Political signs – This might be controversial, but save it for the voting booth.
  • Your cars affect your curb appeal - even if your car is older, wash it if it’s going to be parked in your driveway.
  • Your mailbox affects your curb appeal – whether on your porch or at the front of your yard.

I’m sure there are countless other things I could write about curb appeal, but this should at least give you some ideas on where to start. Now go get your house looking great! 

Posted by: AT 08:25 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, April 08 2014

A kitchen remodel is something that you have been planning for months, and now it’s time to begin. But wait! There are still a few things to stop and think about including in your remodel that might add convenience to your day-to-day life. Let’s look at some things that make food preparation and cleanup faster, give your kitchen extra storage space, and make your kitchen a much more pleasant place to spend time, shall we?
 

Oatmeal, instant coffee, tea, thawing foods- the list goes on forever! “What list?” you may ask. Well, it’s the list of reasons why you should strongly consider incorporating an electric hot water dispenser into your new kitchen sink. Hot water dispensers usually float around the $200 range, but when you consider that time is more valuable than money, they pay for themselves. Just the amount of time you save boiling water for hot cocoa during one winter justifies the purchase. It can also make cleaning crusty tomatoes off of your pots and pans a much quicker experience. Usually you can find a dispenser with a faucet that fits in with your style of remodel.

Backsplash! No, it’s not a painful dive you do to impress your friends at the pool, it’s an effective way to improve the look, and value, of your kitchen without spending a whole lot of money. Usually made out of some sort of tile, backsplashes go on the wall of your kitchen behind the counter. Behind the stove is a good place to focus your backsplash. Some people will even shell out for more expensive tiling behind their stove, and use less expensive tiling elsewhere in their kitchen. A backsplash only needs to be big enough to cover your wall in areas that might get splattered with tomato sauce or the contents of a poorly-covered blender, but sometimes people run them throughout the entirety of their kitchen. It’s really up to you, but stick with what looks good, otherwise what’s the point?

Now, most kitchen remodels and upgrades include a replacement of cabinets, but don’t get so caught up in how they look that you forget what they’re there for: storage! One thing we all waste too much time and energy on is shuffling through our kitchen drawers and cabinets as we either search for what we’re looking for or try to make room for something that we’re unloading out of the dishwasher. By using drawers that extend out further and incorporating taller drawers, dealing with the organization of your pots, pans, Pyrex, and all the assorted lids that come with them can become a much easier and streamlined process. For years, I had to bend over and reach far underneath my stove and restack all of my pots, but in my current kitchen the entire bottom of the cabinet acts as a drawer that extends out for much easier access to my cooking wares. Not only does it save time, but it also saves my back.

Speaking of drawers and cabinets, did you know there might be some more places you can add storage in your kitchen that you may not have thought of before? Measure the space that will be above your fridge and see if it’s tall enough to place matching cabinets. Cabinets above your fridge are perfect for storing things that you will only use seasonally, or perhaps not at all (the recipe book your parents gave you). If your fridge is going to be near a corner of your kitchen and will have a wall near the left or right side of it, make sure you leave enough room to open its door without it banging into the wall. If you have to create a gap to keep the fridge away from a wall to its side, you can use that gap to install a tall cabinet with shelves on the inside of it (perfect for storing wine or spirits). The more storage your kitchen has, the less cluttered it will feel.

One thing that always makes my kitchen feel cluttered is the trash. That’s right, you have a giant receptacle in your kitchen meant for collecting trash. The best way to deal with it is to give yourself some space to store your trash underneath one of the counters or behind a corner in your kitchen. You can install a TrashRac to the inside of your kitchen cabinet door to keep the trash out of your sight and away from your naughty dog(s). The only problem with the TrashRac is that it’s only 3 gallons, so you have to empty it frequently.

One last thing to consider before you commence your kitchen remodel is how easy it will be to clean. The two pointers that I can give from experience are that tile is much more difficult to sweep than linoleum or hardwood flooring, as the grout between the tiles is recessed and will collect and hold dirt and that recessing your sink into your counter will make cleaning your countertops way quicker, as you can just brush all the crumbs and other junk into the sink and wash it down the drain (as opposed to having it stick to the sides of the sink that are coming up over the countertop). I’m sure there are plenty of other things you can add on to your remodel or consider to make your life much easier, but sometimes you don’t figure out what they are until it’s too late; so be sure to spend as much time researching and thinking about your remodel as you can.

For more articles like this, visit the source of this article: http://www.repairrenovaterelax.com/2014/04/kitchen-remodel-add-ons-tips-might-considered/

Posted by: AT 10:22 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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