Author Archives: Reality Concepts

8 Ways to Make Your Home Look Like New and Sell Fast

Your family has decided to look at new homes in Broomfield CO.  Before buying a new home you know you’re going to have to sell your current home.   A key way to ensure you get that home sold as fast as possible at the highest price is to make it look like new.  Here is a short list of items that will help your home sell for the top price.

  1. Paint

Painting your home, makes your house look completely new. With new paint, your house looks refreshed and ready for a quick sell.  There is no question new paint goes a long way for curb appeal.  The question is compared to cost is a new paint job worth it?

  1. Caulk

Caulk around your windows to help cut your heating and cooling bills. Caulking also makes your home look crisp and clean. This is a must if  you are going to paint your home. Caulk around the windows first then you can come back and paint where you have caulked for an even better looking home!

  1. Make the Lawn Look Good

Set the mower blade at least 3 inches high to let your grass fill in the bare spots your may have. This also pushes the weeds out. Don’t collect grass clippings. Let them drop on the lawn. This nourishes your lawn to make it looking even healthier. Cutting more often will keep your curb appeal at the top notch level.

  1. Clean Gutters

I know what your thinking no one will see in the gutters.  When the leaves build up and the gutters overflow  If you have a safe tall ladder you can easily do this at no cost to you. With fall and summer storms our gutters can get clogged and looking ugly every few months. Cleaning your gutters once or twice a year makes your house look clean adding to your curb appeal.

  1. Shine Your Windows

Get all the gunk off your windows for the summer. Some no-streak approaches you could use are using a few drops of dish soap in a bucket of warm water, applying vinegar and water solution to the glass and wiping it off with crumpled newspaper, or using trisodium phosphate (TSP) powder degreaser mixed in water and squeegeeing it off. For the last suggestion make sure you read the instructions on the TSP powder bottle.

  1. Seal Wood Decks

Is your deck looking a little worn? Seal or stain your deck to make it look brand new. With some sanding and a new color on your deck, you can walk out on a beautiful looking deck to spend the summer nights on.

  1. Insulate your Water Pipes

Without insulating your water pipes the pipes are carrying hot water through the cold basement and costing you money. Buy the pre-slip hollow-core, flexible “sleeves” at the hardware store to decrease your bills.

  1. Inspect and Clean the Dryer Vent

This is for fire prevention. Lint can get stuck in the duct so remove the lint filter and using a long-handled vent brush go down the duct cleaning as much lint as you can. You should also do this from the other end of the duct on the outside of your house too.

When you are finishing cleaning the duct turn on the dryer and go outside to make sure exhaust is coming out. If not, there may be a blockage. If this happens disconnect the duct from the drying and clean out all the duct.

Your Apartment, Your Personality

You have found and moved into the perfect apartment, but you may find yourself growing tired of looking at the plain walls. Without a decorating scheme, every room looks the same. Putting your personality into your apartment, while staying within the rules set by the landlord is not as hard as you might think. A little imagination and creativity and your apartment will be screaming “you” in no time.

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Tired of the white walls but are not allowed to paint? Well, that does not mean you cannot add color. Cheap picture frames can be spray painted in just about any color. Framing fabric, CD covers or anything else that you are interested in can really make a room come alive. Old t-shirts in a frame make for some fun wall coverings. There are also removable wall decals as well. They come in designs or in sayings. Some are large enough to take up a whole wall. If worse comes to work, give a child some paper and crayons and have them draw pictures to decorate the walls. We use my son’s art work from school to decorate his walls with. This way we are appreciating his art work but we do not have to view it all the time.

Before you put that spray paint away, paint some furniture to match your color scheme. Go wild or stay with neutral, the choice is yours. Keep furniture to a minimum if at all possible. Too much furniture will make your apartment seem small and crowded.

If your apartment is small, consider hanging some mirrors. Mirrors will give the illusion of depth and will make your place seem larger. Hang mirrors were they will reflect the most light and over the larger pieces of furniture such as the sofa.

Adding rugs are another nice way to add a personal touch. It is also a way to cover up some ugly carpet and makes a room warmer and more inviting. Or in my case it helps to prevent a dog and little boy from ruining a cream color rug. Do not forget to add a welcome mat at your front door. Even if you are the only one that sees it, it is nice to welcome yourself home.

If your apartment comes with a patio or balcony, make sure to decorate that as well. Do not use it as a storage area. Find some cheap outdoor furniture instead. Plant yourself a small garden using window boxes and containers. This is a time to start to learn how to cook with herbs and other spices.

Having your own space is a good feeling but making that space your own is even better. Do not be afraid to use color and fabric patterns. You are not stuck with your designs because nothing is permanent. This way you can switch it up whenever the mood strikes you.

This post was contributed by the fine folks at the The Hammocks at Timber Banks, a luxury apartment home community in Baldwinsville, NY.

A Place To Call Home

Home, sweet home! It is very important to know how to create comfort and cosiness in your home. The overall atmosphere of your apartment can recharge you with new powers and positive emotions for the day. Sometimes, after a long and exhausting working Friday, the only thing we dare to dream about is the following weekend, which we have planned to spend with our closest friends and family. We want to be able to rest and relax. Here are some useful tips on how to make your apartment a better and cozier place.

Slip covers and blankets.

One of the fastest and most efficient ways of improving the overall interior of your home is to choose the right furniture upholstery. Slip covers are a great decorating idea since it is very easy to maintain them clean. Also, they can be changed quite easily, so there is no chance for you to get bored of the old-fashioned patterns. Besides, a few colourful pillowcases and a couple of chair slip covers will immediately change the interior of your living room. As for the blanket – during the cold months they are a great addition to your furniture decoration and will fill your home with warmth and comfort.

More colours

No body likes big, blank, white walls. They are boring and pretty depressing. Besides, most people tend to associate them with hospital. If you want to provide a cozy atmosphere in your home, you will have to choose some bright, fancy colours. Let your imagination fly and combine them according your own preferences. Another great idea is to use some wall art home decoration. If you are a creative and artistic person, you can look up in the Internet for some inspiring suggestions. Wall prints, wallpapers, stickers – it is all up to you.

Organic decorations

It is not always necessary to decorate your home with flowers and fruit. In fact, any natural accent can turn into a great detail and even a focal point in your living room, the bedroom and even the kitchen. You can combine, for instance, small pebbles with some wooden elements or oak leaves. This plain beauty will create a really relaxing atmosphere an bring nature into your home.

Organize your home

According to all design interior experts, there are two main factors, which are very essential for the cozy and comfortable home – cleanliness and, of course, proper organization. Only when everything is exactly where it is supposed to be and you have arranged your home in the most functional way, you will be able to feel completely comfortable and satisfied. For example, if the space in your apartment is limited, you will have to consider very carefully the type (and, of course the size) of your furniture. The dining table, the traffic area, the library (if you have one). Everything has to be chosen very wisely. In such cases, too much decoration is very inappropriate.

Candles

Is there anything more romantic that a few aromatic candles, beautifying your coffee table? Of course, such type of decoration is only a small part of the overall interior of you home. But if you think for a while, it is a great addition to your living room.

Author Bio: July Minor is passionate freelance blogger and home improvement fan. She currently works as a cleaner at http://www.tenancyclean.co.uk/end-of-tenancy-cleaning-south-west-london/ but her dream is to become an interior designer.

4 Things To Consider Before Buying Your First House

In this age of decreasing house ownership, it is a rare achievement to be able to afford your very own home. Go ahead and take a moment to congratulate yourself. But there are still things you should consider before you put that payment down.

1. Make absolutely sure that you can afford the house.

You may have saved up the money to afford the down payment, but that does not that mean that the you can handle the monthly bills that come with taking a loan out to buy the property. Make sure you have a cushion after deducting all your monthly expenses, in case of an emergency. Owning a home also means paying additional expenses, such as – insurance, taxes and all your own maintenance costs. Shop around for good terms on your loan agreement, meet several bank loan officers to determine what the best option to finance the purchase is. After all, it is probably the most you have spent in your life.

2. Allow the “one little thing” to get to you.

People assume that the one little thing that bothers you about the house – too many French doors or the space left for the fridge – will eventually just be something you get used to. It may start off as a little nagging doubt, but can soon turn into a big issue that will make you want to sell and move on. Make sure that there is nothing objectionable about the house. Revisit houses you are considering more than once before you make your offer. You may find that thing that mildly annoyed you the first time, now infuriates you and is a deal breaker.

3. Check out the neighbourhood.

This is especially important if you have young children. Make sure there is no criminal activity in the neighbourhood. Check out the council laws or development laws, if there are any. Survey the availability of services nearby. Make sure you are near a good hospital, schools etc. Shopping options, especially if you have special needs, are also very important. Talk to some of the neighbours, find out how the neighbourhood is changing and how friendly everyone is. Ask about the people who lived there before you. If you get a bad sign, then you may want to reconsider your purchase.

4. Factor in the price for repair or renovations.

Leave some money out for repairs and renovations. You may have been sold the house as perfect, but you will soon find problems that need to be remedied. It is important to get an inspector out to the house before you buy it and get him to check for mould, mildew and penetrating damp. Calculate how much the repairs will cost and factor that into your budget when buying the house. Some problems require taking down walls and rebuilding them and this can really hurt your budget. Do not get involved in major repaid jobs that will clean out your bank account, even if you absolutely love the house.

James is an aspirational interior designer and decoartor who has recetly taken to blogging about his experiences.

Three Natural Ways To Clean Glass In The Home

Glass is a common feature in every home. It lets light in, opens up a room and, unfortunately, gets dirty fast.

There may be no better example of this than glass shower screens. Why? Because glass shower screens take on soap scum day-in and day-out. Sure, they provide a modern, fashionable look without taking up extra space. But people who own glass shower screens seem to agree: it’s inevitable that eventually it will look fully crystallized in soap scum.

So let’s use glass shower screens as our target. Rest assured, if these all natural glass cleaners can cut through soap scum, they can clean anything the rest of your glass is up against.

Everyday Application

The easiest way is to wipe your glass shower screen down after each and every shower. If the combination of hard water and soap isn’t on the glass, it can’t cause a problem. But who has the time to do that after every shower? Instead, get a spray bottle and mix two parts white vinegar with one part water.

After every shower, simply spray your glass shower down. If you have a squeegee to use, so much the better. Just keep the spray bottle in the shower and you’ll have a reminder to do it every time. For the rest of your house, some daily—or even just weekly—maintenance with this cheap, all-natural solution will keep your glass looking great.

Heavy Duty Cleaning

While that solution is a great method for prevention, if soap scum has been building up for a while, it’s better to bring in the big guns first.

For that, combine 2 teaspoons of borax, a teaspoon of castile soap, ¾ cup white vinegar, 1 ½ cup hot water and 10 drops of tea tree oil in a spray bottle and shake it together. Spray the soap scum down and give it time to penetrate. Follow it up with a brush or sponge to make sure the solution gets worked in and then rinse off and dry.

Now, maybe it’s really bad. Maybe you just moved in and the shower screen is almost impossible to see through. Here’s the all-natural formula for that: ¾ cup baking soda, 5 drops of tea tree oil, 5 drops of lemon, lemongrass or sweet orange oil and enough liquid castile soap to form a paste.

Mix the castile soap and baking soda first, slowly adding the soap until a paste is formed. Then, mix in the other ingredients. Use a sponge to apply it to your shower screen and after five or ten minutes, spray with vinegar and wipe it down with a sponge. Then rinse and dry off.

Remember, these solutions will work on any glass in your home, not just those in your bathroom. Shower screens simply serve as a great demonstration because they get soap scum on a regular basis. But as I said before, if a solution can clean soap scum, it can certainly cut through anything the rest of your household glass takes on.

Louisa Jenkins is a home improvement blogger. She offers advice on everything from natural remedies for cleaning shower screens, to picking out the best table for your dining room.

De-Stressing Your Move: Tips For Making Your Next Move Easier

For some people, moving from one house to another is the worst thing they can think of doing.  Moving is such a hassle for everyone involved, and it’s a ripe time for flared tempers to come out.  Sometimes you can get family and friends to help with the big move, but with stress running high, you have to ask yourself how much you’d like to stay on their good side.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to make moving a little easier.  Here are some tips to help you cope with some of the more easily-managed annoyances that come with a move.

1. Find Packing Materials Without Buying Them.

There’s literally no reason to buy boxes for your move as long as you’ve done some planning.  The natural inclination when we need boxes is to grab a few from local stores that gets rid of their boxes, but there are some even better options.  Your office, for example, might be a gold mine of computer boxes. They’re spectacular because they’re designed for heavy items, they’re fairly large, they stack well, and they usually have handles.

In terms of the packing materials to put between fragile items, start asking around as soon as you know you’ll need them.  Ask for anything like packing peanuts, foam, or bubble wrap so that as your friends get packages in the mail they can give you the packing material.  If you can’t get enough from people you know, try posting on Craigslist or Freecycle to see if anyone in your area has some items to help.

2. Know What’s Where, and Where it Goes.

One of the best things you can do to make for a better moving experience is to mark the boxes.  Don’t just settle for something like writing “kitchen” or “bedroom,” try color coded a system instead.  The guys helping you move will recognize a red dot much quicker than they can read “master bath.”  Unloading the truck will go much faster, and people holding heavy boxes like to know as quickly as possible where they need to go.

Additionally, you can keep a list as you pack of what’s in each box (generally), assign the box a number, and at the end you’ll have a manifest of everything you’ve packed.  That way if you need something quickly once you’ve moved, you know exactly which box it’s in.  It’s a simple tip, but it will save a lot of time and headaches later.

3. Get Professional Help.

One sure way to keep you and your friends happy as you move: hire the pros.  There are many reliable companies willing to move for you.  To find the right one, look for the best moving companies in your area through review sites.  That will help make sure you get a company that doesn’t have a reputation for poor prices, being late, or breaking things.

Moving companies are great because besides the muscle, they’ll come with their own truck and equipment to move the heavy stuff.  Just book early, especially if you want to move on or around a holiday.

If you’re planning a move, you’ll undoubtedly already be stressed out because of the general idea of moving to a new place, having to meet new neighbors, and not really knowing the new neighborhood yet.  Take some thought ahead of time to make the actual move easier.  Mitigate the stress by following some of these tips and your move be a much better experience for everyone.

Featured images:

Ashely is a recent college graduate that has a degree in writing. To see more of Ashely’s writing, check out her Twitter @ashelymarie1985.

Top Three News-Worthy Plumbing Disasters

When it comes to plumbing, it is very important for you to contract the best people to fix your plumbing issues. Not every plumbing company or worker has top-notch standards and expectations for themselves. Having the wrong solution implemented for a plumbing problem could seriously hinder the integrity and decrease the value of your home. Not only will you have to get a problem fixed twice; however, you risk having the problem surpass the point of no return. The implications of a plumbing issue going bad are far worse than taking the time to research the company that you are doing business with and paying the extra money to ensure that a trustworthy company and plumber are working on your problem. Here are three examples of news worthy plumbing disasters that you can avoid by hiring the right plumbing professionals to work on your home.

You Have Sprung A Leak!

When you do not take the time to interview and research the plumbing company that you are working with to fix a problem, or initially set up your plumbing in your home you risk having the wrong parts in your plumbing set up. When it comes to plumbing, it’s not always simple to find a company like Road Runner Plumbing Service. The lowest price is almost always the lowest quality of workmanship You do not want to skimp on the plumbing work that is done in your home. A news-worthy plumbing disaster is when the plumbing in a home was constructed so poorly that the pieces do not lock together properly. When the pieces of the plumbing solution are not locked together properly, then they will not hold tight once there is water running through them. If they are not tightly locked, then they will split apart and the water will not be channeled through the complex plumbing lines, the water will spill out all over the inside of your home. You risk flooding, surface damage, and depending on how bad it gets and how long it sits you can even get permanent damage on parts of your home.

But It Looks Good On The Surface

A common misconception by new homeowners is that if the plumbing looks good and the home looks good on the surface, then it must be good all over. This is so far from the truth. A lot of times, a contractor for plumbing may not be as skilled as they claim to be, thus make an area of the home look really great, and neglect to make sure that quality work or materials were used behind the scenes. If low quality or improper parts were used underneath the rest of the project then the whole integrity of the plumbing system is compromised. This can result in rusting, breakage, and permanent damage to important parts that support the functionality of the home.

Dark, Evil Mold In The Cabinets

One of the most news worthy disasters that you can face from using the wrong plumber or plumbing company can be the presence of evil, dark, black mold. This type of mold is extremely hazardous to your health and is bread in dark damn places. Especially in the inside of cabinets that are subject to having water and moisture present. For instance, if the plumbing is not tight and secure and there is a slow leak in a cabinet that is rarely used, you risk the formation of black mold.

As the operational administrator for an internet website marketing corporation, Daniel H. engages as a guest poster to service the business industry from the U.S. He lives in The City of Angels, and is drinking in life together with his wonderful better half and three munchkins. D. man requests tourists to review his Google society whenever they want.

5 Simple Steps To Avoid Living Room Design Disasters

Living Room DesignFor most people, the living room is their key room. After all this is likely to be the one place inside the home that the whole family can congregate. Unwinding after a stressful day at the office is made easier if you enjoy the surroundings that are offered by your lounge or living room.

However, it doesn’t always work out like that. Sometimes the living room becomes the place that no-one really wants to visit. This of course is a real shame as it can be detrimental to a healthy family life.

If you feel like your living room isn’t quite up to scratch then maybe now is the time to take action. Following the advice in this blog post should help you to steer clear of any major living room design issues.

Painting Far Too Soon

It’s fair to say that a fresh lick of paint can work wonders in improving the virtues of a room, not least the lounge area.

Hopping off down to the local hardware store might make sense; however, before you do, take a moment to think about things. If you are planning to change some furniture in your renovation then these should be bought long before the paint. The reasoning behind this is that it is so much easier to match the paint scheme to the furniture than the other way around.

Failing to Remove Things

Over time most people will have built up a fair amount of possessions, this is just fact and forms part of human nature.

However, if you don’t keep on top of things you can almost be over-run. To help avoid this situation when adding to your living room you should always try to take something else out. This goes a long way to making sure you are don’t have too much in there.

Additionally, if something is rarely used then take it out. Giving it away to charity can be a nice thing to do, or for those who want to cash in on its value then selling on eBay works out too.

Not Considering Scale

A classic mistake when it comes to furnishing a living room happens when people don’t consider scale.

The reality is that furniture showrooms are expansive places. Sofas will nearly always look smaller than they actually are, until of course they are delivered to you. To prevent this it is sensible to take measurements of how much space you have rather than measure the sofa and then try to fit it in. The bottom line is, just because it looks wonderful in the showroom environment it doesn’t mean it will work in yours home.

If at all possible, try to buy from a supplier that will allow you to return the sofa if it doesn’t fit. Some will, providing of course you haven’t made use of it.

Discounting the Entire Family

Doggie Footprints!Another aspect that sometimes serves to trip people up is forgetting about all of the family members. Put simply, when you are buying new floor coverings or indeed decide to splash out on that uber-sleek designer sofa it is sensible to consider everyone.

If either, children or pets are in your home or will be at some stage in the future then they need considering. That beautiful wool rug might not look so great once “Max” or “Buddy” has given it a good going over.

The moral here is to perhaps try to consider furnishings that are more “wear friendly”.

Settling for Anything

Adding to your lounge isn’t something that should be done on impulse. Sadly, though this is how a great many people operate. To be fair, the shops normally do a pretty good job of enticing people to part with their money.

So, if you are thinking of adding a new rug or a vase to compliment other items in your living room don’t just drive down to the store and buy the first thing you see. Best practice dictates that you think about the purchase and how it will interact with the other items in your house. Also try to imagine what it will look like in 6-12 months’ time.

If you are someone that finds impulse buying almost irresistible then take a look at the article “How to stop buying on impulse”, which can be found on the BBC website.

The best things are nearly always worth waiting for, so if in doubt, don’t.

The Wrap-Up

Living rooms aren’t all that difficult to get right, when you follow some simple pointers. The main idea is to think things through and try not to act too much on impulse.

Overstocking items can be a big issue and cause problems with space, likewise the same can apply if you don’t properly measure up for that new sofa.

Featured images:

Prior to embarking on a career as a freelance writer, your author (Stan James) spent a number of years as an interior designer. He recommends dealing with someone like Furnishing Homes as they offer a 7 day money back guarantee, ideal if you did mess up on the size available for your new sofa.

Gardening at Your New Home

Gardening At Your New Merit HomePlanting and Gardening at your new home can seem like a daunting task but with a little planning you can make it easy.  No doubt the outside beauty of your home helps the overall value and makes for a more enjoyable living space. Merit Homes encourages you to jump in and enjoy this rewarding hobby while increasing the value of your home and it’s beauty.  Gardening at your new home is a rewarding hobby, and getting started in the spring requires a little planning for the best success. Deciding on the area and the variety of plants is one of the first considerations. There are plenty of vegetables, herbs and flowers that will thrive in any area and require little care to perform their best.

Organic Gardening Techniques
This style of growing plants relies on the use of natural fertilizers. Gardeners do not use any chemicals on their plants, and this provides produce that is incredibly tasty and good for you. There is an easy way to grow organic vegetables and flowers at home. Raised beds are simple to build and can be filled with a quality organic soil or compost. They should be installed in sunny areas so that the plants get as much direct light as possible. Light is essential for plant growth, and most flowers and vegetables will grow faster when they are in full sun for the better part of the day.

Growing Flowers
Adding some color to the landscape is one benefit that flowers offer. The styles are variable, and using several different varieties in a window box is one idea. These boxes are ideal because they attach directly to the window. They can be filled with a quality potting soil. Petunias, geraniums, marigolds and impatiens are a few flowers that thrive in a container and are perfect for windows. Growing flowers from bulbs is another way to add color and fragrance to the landscape. Several varieties are grown this way, and they come back each spring. Hyacinths, crocuses, daffodils and hyacinths are a few of the more popular flowers that grow from bulbs.

Herbs For The Kitchen And Yard
Fresh herbs are easy to grow and are a great choice for a chef. Oregano, basil, thyme and rosemary are a few of the common kitchen herbs that will thrive in the garden. Herbs are generally more flavorful when they are flowering, and this makes it best to grow them at home. Most herbs can easily be dried for storage and will provide plenty of seasoning for the meals. Herbs can be grown outdoor or in containers and will thrive in both settings. Some herbs, like rosemary, should be brought inside during the winter, but they will continue to grow for several years.

Enjoying the great outdoors with a beautiful landscape at Merit Homes your landscaping is an extension of the beauty of your home.  Here are two quick tips that might help. Getting started in the spring requires a little planning for success. Consulting the local extension agent, the King County Extension is always there to help, is one way for gardeners to find out the plants the plants that thrive in their particular micro-climate. Flowers, vegetables and herbs are easy to grow at home and provide flavor to the kitchen, color to the yard and tasty produce to eat. Organic gardening is more popular than ever and relies on natural methods and no pesticides. This method of growing is easy to do with raised beds. It is the perfect way to grow vegetables or flowers.

 

The Making of a Modern Home, Technology Now

Have you come up with seemingly crazy ideas that could make your everyday tools and appliances even more useful? Almost everyone has probably experienced moments where they suddenly imagine a regular object has the capability to do extraordinary things. Anyone would be happy with a side table that can heat up or cool down beverages when you set them on top of it. Technologies all over the world are already so advanced that common home furniture and house fixtures are now equipped to be more efficient.

Made by In Style Modern, this infographic entitled “The Makings of a Modern Home” discusses the different types of innovations you can have in your household. In recent years, regular objects are able to do things that they weren’t normally intended for. Discover the cool gadgets you can install in your house. Find interesting inventions like the Memory Coffee Maker, Honda Miimo, and Self-sterilizing Door Handle.

The Making of a Modern Home, Technology and Home Automation

Source: In Style Modern Office Furniture

Infographic: A Guide to Raise the Value of Your Home

When it comes to investing in your house, no magic trick is needed. You just have to improve it to raise its value. Sounds easy, but you should be aware of the best options out there in order to avoid common mistakes. In this nice infographic you have a clear picture of the most profitable house improvement jobs, the ones that can literally double (or maybe, add a nice +20%) to the value of the place where you live.

There are so many ways to do it, but we can sum up everything in two simple words: renovations and extensions. Why renovation? It is obvious that something has a higher value if it’s new and fresh. Extensions, on the other hand, add space and functions to your house. It is clear from this little guide that if we had to choose the best option, it would be loft conversions. In a moment in which property prices are so high, a loft conversion creates a new room out of nowhere: you can rent it or use it as a bathroom, playroom, home theatre and so on.

What will you do to increase the value of your house?

Innovate Builders provides professional tradesmen, builders and decorators in London (England).

Raise Home Value

Invite Wildlife into the Garden

The warm weather is creating an unbelievable buzz. Grab the kids and the sunscreen and head outside to see what wildlife you can attract this summer!

Now that most of the groundwork is completely for a lush, beautiful landscape, some enthusiastic gardeners may be thinking what can I do? June is a great month to welcome wildlife into the gardens. Their presence is not only remarkable to watch and listen to, they can also provide many vegetation and comfort benefits as well.

Check out the full article here.

Spring Decorating Tips

THINK FRESH COLORS: There’s an overall airy and fresh feeling that you want to convey this time of year. Think about growth and new beginnings. Remove heavy throw blankets and replace them with lighter cotton ones. Change the heavy chenille pillows to canvas or silk in calming colors like blues and greens. Light beige is a great neutral color; think sand on a beach. If you like bright colors, think pink, yellow, turquoise, or the ‘trendy’ color for Spring 2012: Tangerine.

Spring Decorating

DE-CLUTTER AND GET ORGANIZED: Get rid of anything that you haven’t used or looked at in the last six months to a year. Purchase file folders and store those old tax forms in a cabinet and out of the way. Go through your pantries and throw out the old cereal boxes from 2008. Toss out Tupperware that has tomato sauce stains on it, and trash the freezer items in aluminum foil that you can’t identify.

Spring Decorating

LET THE LIGHT AND AIR IN: With longer days and shorter nights, take advantage of the natural light in your home. Pull up blinds and open drapes to allow as much light in as you can. Open windows and allow the fresh air to flow. This will clear out the stale energy of the previous season and leave the room feeling energized. It’s also important to have enough lighting at night: three light sources in each room.

Spring Decorating

This post is brought to you by our local guest writer Michelle Schaffel, an Interior Decorator serving Montgomery and Bucks Counties. As the owner of Inspired By Design, she uses creative solutions to provide balance and harmony in any given environment. For more decorating tips and ideas, check out her company’s Facebook page.

For the full article click here

Decorating A New Place After Moving

Decorating Your Rouse Chamberlin Home After Your Move
Image by Burrs & Berries

Moving to a new place can be rather stressful, and even after getting everything into the new place, it can be very hard to figure out where everything should go. Sometimes it is difficult because there seems to be not enough room, and other times the person just has a lack of design inspiration at the time. Fortunately, one can get some ideas and get back on track with how to store things and decorate their new place.

Generally people have one of two options when decorating a new house: either make it as busy feeling as possible or as simple and clean looking as possible. Busy decorations are usually only for certain rooms in the house that guests do not normally go into, because they naturally increase tension a little bit and do not look as good. People that have a lot of decorations can still place them about using a slightly different design technique. Instead of filling the walls with randomly placed pictures and décor, it works to simply place décor in a systematic pattern throughout each room. Simple rooms usually have one piece of décor a certain distance from others, and the distance can be minimized to look organized but still have a lot of items about. This also allows things to be placed above or below instead of just side by side.

First Things First

Storage is also important, and can be the main thing that people have trouble with when moving. The first step is to go through everything and get rid of junk that is simply taking up space and has no real use anymore. Many people will find that they can clear out enough to make the rest of their stuff fit, but others may still have an issue. Buying stackable totes with secure lids can allow things that will not be used often to be stored away, and this can be further assisted by covering them with a blanket or other fabric item. Sometimes it is necessary to turn these storage containers into a form of furniture to keep things away and out of mind.

Finally, placing décor intelligently can make a small place feel like a wide-open area. Floor decorations can be placed near the walls so the inner part of the room is open and there is usable area with enough places for cups or other necessary things. In particularly compact rooms, the placement of mirrors becomes extremely important. Mirrors carry light and make a room appear larger than it actually is, and in most cases, the bigger the better. Oval mirrors and round mirrors also serve another purpose, and at face level, bring focus onto a person or whatever is in the center of the frames.

Oval and Round Mirrors offer special kind of oval shaped wall mirrors and round shaped mirrors. Pick your favorite style, finishing, size, and profile from a big number of different selections.

Make your Kitchen fit for Guests

Having friends and family over for dinner and drinks is a great way to socialise and make the most of your home. Creating a stylish, spacious and accessible area to entertain can easily transform your house from an everyday abode into a desirable and modern dinner party venue. Whether you are looking to create a more efficient dining space for Christmas dinner or simply create a more stylish room for evening drinks with friends, you are sure to fulfil all of your needs by redesigning and remodelling your kitchen.

So, let’s take a look at a few things you can achieve by swapping around your kitchen and exactly how to achieve them!

Suitable Seating

Ensuring you have sufficient space for your guest to sit and eat, chat and drink is the first step towards creating a host’s/hostess’ kitchen. Modern day breakfast bars can be aesthetically wonderful; they are fantastic to look at (especially if bought to adhere to the kitchen’s colour scheme) and can provide enough seating for 6 or 8 friends to drink at if sufficient stools are provided. This can be ideal for hosting dinner parties, and even better if you are planning to have friends round for evening drinks.

If you have a more spacious kitchen, a sizable dining table may be a better suited option for you; this allows guests more space and more comfortable seating. One downfall the breakfast bar has is that stools can eventually become uncomfortable and may start to frustrate guests; the dining table allows for more spacious and comfortable seating, keeping guests happier for longer.

Pleasing Features

Ensuring your kitchen is equipped with enough modern and stylish features to both ‘wow’ and appease guests will put the finishing touches to the evening. Being able to throw together a smoothie or cocktail with a modern and stylish blender can add a fun and interesting twist to the evening, especially when guests are left to try it themselves! Think about which contemporary features you can add which will benefit guests and add heaps of style simultaneously.

Add some designer kitchen taps, fashionable seating and stylish glasses and cutlery to ensure you are adding heaps of style in the areas that guests will be seeing the most of. This ensures you are highlighting the areas of your home that guests will be using and impressing visitors at every turn!

So there we have some simple tips which are sure to help you create an impressive and contemporary entertaining space. 

This article was written by guest blogger Daniel Travis – Brown, for more great hints and tips follow Daniel on Twitter @DanTravisBrown

Easy Shabby Chic Crackle Paint Technique

We all love that warm, comfy feeling we get when we enter a shabby chic room that has furniture with a crackle paint technique. The well-worn look is pleasing to the eye and it conveys the image of casually stylish living where furniture can take a beating but still look good.

Achieving that look is almost as easy as living with it. You can start with almost any piece of furniture that you were thinking of tossing, and turn it into something that resembles a family heirloom!

The process of transforming a piece of furniture using a crackle paint technique is not complicated at all. If you like the color of a piece but want to spruce up or freshen up the look, all you have to do is simply paint on the special crackle medium (that you can buy in most paint stores) right over the existing paint, wait for it to set (according to the manufacturer’s directions – check the can), then paint on the top coat and wait for the magic to happen!

Depending on how you brush or roll on the crackle medium will determine the size of the crackle. For example, if you brush or roll on a thick coat, you will have long, large cracks. But if you use a lighter hand and apply a thinner coat, it will produce a subtle, finely crackled finish as a result. The large cracks are usually seen on more rustic items, such as furniture labeled “primitive”, while the smaller, finely crackled finish is used on more formal, French Country style pieces. Keep in mind that because of fast drying time, you can’t use this painting technique on large surfaces such as walls, but it will be perfect for small accent piece such as lamps, chairs or picture frames. Try using a weathered shade of top-coat paint to give your piece an aged patina.

The crackle paint technique can also be used on new, unfinished furniture. There is just additional work here since you will have to prime and paint the base coat first before you add the crackle medium and the topcoat.

Remember that the base coat will “peek” out from the crackles. You can use two colors that are just shades apart or you can have a more dramatic look by using complete opposites, like a red base with a black topcoat. Have fun with your color choices!

To learn how to pick interior paint colors and coordinate room color schemes, visit the author’s website.

New custom home completed at Red Bridge Farm

Rouse Chamberlin Homes recently completed a custom home at 690 Patrick Henry Circle in Pocopson Township in the Red Bridge Farm community. Beautifully located among the rolling Chester County hillside, it has spectacular views of a neighboring horse farm and the surrounding woods. This is a perfect opportunity to move into one of the great, established neighborhoods in the area.

The 3,649 square foot home includes 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths and is located on .93 acre on a private cul-de-sac. Special features of this home include a stucco façade, an expanded 3.5 car garage, a deck, full walkout basement, formal living room and dining room, and private first floor study. The cook’s kitchen includes a Bosch 5-burner cooktop, stainless steel convection oven, dishwasher, and 24” microwave drawer, plus a 36” Broan under-cabinet pro-style hood. A sunny breakfast room adjoins the kitchen. A spacious sunken family room off the dining room boasts a direct vent fireplace. The master suite has an extra-large walk-in storage area above the garage. Three secondary bedrooms and two additional full baths complete the second floor.

This home is attractively priced at $569,900.

An Open House will be held each weekend in November from 1-4. For more information, call 610-800-3514 or visit www.RouseChamberlinHomes.com

New vs Used – High Tech and High Efficiency

I don’t think you can underestimate the value of modern construction techniques. Quality construction, top grade materials and the implementation of new energy codes combine to create a home of maximum efficiency. Everything from the water savers in the showerheads, the water saver toilets, and state of the art plumbing systems with direct valves for shut off. New homes are wired for the future to meet the needs of modern homeowners, and are easily customized to meet personal needs. Every Rouse Chamberlin buyer meets with the electrician to review the standard wiring, and has the opportunity to add high hats, speakers systems, additional outlets, switches or dimmers. It is so easy to customize these items before the drywall is installed.

New vs Used – Peace of Mind

Never fail to appreciate the value of peace of mind! Manufacturers’ warranties on roofs, mechanical systems, windows and appliances guarantee your satisfaction and protect your family from unpleasant surprises. Prior to purchasing, buyers are given a binder of the builder’s warranty, which includes information on the one-year and ten-year limited structural warranty. In addition to the township building inspections,

Also, before the drywall goes up, you get to inspect the house so that you can see everything behind the walls. Prior to settlement you will attend a pre-settlement inspection, and review the systems of the home with the Project Manager who built your house. Watching the house come up out of the ground, and being familiar with what is behind the walls, is a very comforting feeling and great knowledge to have.

New vs Used – Mmm Mmm Good!

New homes definitely seem to have lots of the good stuff – open floor plans, lots of light and higher energy efficiency. Kitchens and baths have luxurious amenities, modern, quiet appliances and state of the art plumbing. Just being able to choose colors – down to the doorknobs – makes the purchasing of a new home so much fun! Best of all, you’ll love that no one used that kitchen or bathroom before! (I don’t know that I can put a price tag on that one!)

I find when I look at used homes, I walk through and say to myself, “Well, I would change that out.” or “These carpets have got to go!” The next thing you know, “Ka-ching, ka-ching!” I realize I would be spending $5,000 to $10,000 just on getting the house to look the way I want.

What is it about big purchases that makes us nuts?

Lately I have been thinking about the similarity of purchasing a car and purchasing a new home. They are both big decision making purchases, and for some reason, they tend to put our lives on hold for a bit.

All of a sudden, your weeknights are spent searching on line for the best designs, quality/safety, convenient locations, warranties, interest rates, terms, and deals. Then your free time is devoted to shopping car lots or model homes on the weekends. As you test-drive the model home, you envision yourself entertaining your friends on the deck, eyeing where the big screen will go, and mentally picturing your family and furniture in this home. Even though a lot of research was done on-line, you go home with arms full of brochures, gleaming pictures, estimates of closing costs and big decisions to make.

And then a smidge of buyer’s remorse sets in… Do we really need to move now? Should I do more research? Maybe I should look at used homes. Why am I so stuck on buying a new home? And then you start to research again. And you still come to the conclusion that you are better off buying a new home.

Still brooding? Well how about this… There was an article in The Philadelphia Inquirer that stated that older (i.e. used) homes can have hidden problems. 35% require central heating system repairs, 44% require central cooling system replacement, 30% require roofing repairs, 33% show water seepage, 33% require insulation work, 27% require electrical repairs, 25% have mixed piping, and 15% require plumbing system repairs.

Time to Garden!

So, what outdoor activities or hobbies do you love to accomplish outside? Take a peek out the window and you can feel that May is just begging for you to get outside and get your hands dirty.

If you’ve got a green thumb, aspiring gardeners should check out The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Time to … gardening column by Michael Mills. A lifesaver for novice to expert gardeners, his column blooms with a host of helpful tips that can help you prioritize planting tasks and make sure you meet all of those garden-related deadlines.

In his latest column, Mr. Mills gently reminds us that: Now’s the time to begin planting shrubs, trees, and perennials. You can also start on that vegetable garden of yours by planting beet, carrots corn, and spinach seeds.

Gardeners, who have been cooped up all winter, are just itching to don their gardening gloves and start cultivating. You should know, however, that May is only the very beginning of the growing season. To novice gardeners, May could seem a bit early to start planting. And although May is early, it’s still best to start the growing process now, so that spring and summer don’t get away from you.

When digging those first holes, just be careful about what you plant. The last frost date Philadelphia area’s Hardiness Zone is listed at April 24, but this is just an estimate. Know that frost IS still possible, so you should be careful of what you plant. Specifically, don’t plant tender annuals like tomatoes, peppers, basil, impatiens and petunias yet—even if those pallets of colorful impatiens lining the entrance to your favorite grocery store look positively tempting. If you give in and indulge in containers of those friendly little plants, you may be simply throwing your money away if temperatures dip and the plants are damaged.

Even if you avoid the more tender options, you should be prepared to protect anything that you have planted in case temperatures are forecasted to dip below 32 degrees at night for a late frost You can either bring container plants indoor, or cover in-ground plants with a bucket or some burlap.

We know you’re just dying to forget the long, cold winter we just endured with the help of a few friendly flowers and colorful plants, but in the long run, it really is best to be a tad bit cautious before you dive headfirst into this year’s planting season.

Builder’s Decorated Model Homes for Sale

Buying a builder’s decorator model is fantastic because you’ll get lots of builder and decorator extras, such as an enlarged deck overlooking woods, a walkout basement, a 4-foot kitchen and breakfast room extension, an upgraded kitchen, a gas fireplace, upgraded flooring, wiring for a stereo system, upgraded landscaping, walks, exterior lighting, and much more. Plus, you already have a turnkey professionally designed interior including designer-chosen custom paint and wallpaper. You don’t have to worry about painting or coordinating – all you have to do is move in! The four-bedroom, 2 ½ bath Longwood V decorator model home is conveniently located by the walking trail and exceptionally priced at $349,900. This home has already been reduced by $78,378.

Another quick delivery at Summer Grove is the unique, four-bedroom Malvern III available on homesite 29. The Malvern model is able to provide the feeling of openness while maintaining a sense of privacy, with a unique layout and quiet niches around every corner. This home offers a centrally located private library and a large, central family room which is accented by the graceful staircase leading to the second level.

Plus, this designer home includes a stone facade, an enlarged deck overlooking the woods, a finished walkout basement with full bath, solarium, direct vent fireplace, upgraded kitchen appliances, cabinets and granite countertops! Check out the video tour at www.rcltd.com, call 610-323-0603 for more information or text sgrove to 49469 on your mobile phone.

“Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.”

Tired of renting and paying the landlord’s mortgage instead of putting money in your own investment and getting your own tax deduction? Sometimes, we just have to bite the bullet and move on.

I remember how nervous I was when I signed my first lease, and I secretly thought, “How am I ever going to afford this? Will I be able to make the payments?” Before I knew it, the payment was a breeze, and I was back to going out to dinner, and hanging out. Then I got a promotion and started making even more money, and I knew it was time to consider buying a house. Buying a new home was sort of the same as leasing, but the plus side was that there were hidden benefits in each monthly payment. The interest and real estate taxes were tax deductions, so in the end, the monthly payment was lowered, unlike when I was renting. Best of all was the building up of personal assets. As the market turns and appreciation starts to grow, value is gained without lifting a finger.

There has never been a better time to buy a new home, and that window of opportunity is closing. The rates are low, and prices have bottomed out. Economists always say that we don’t know that we are out of a recession, until we are out of the recession. Don’t let the market beat you. It’s time to start building your future and stop flushing away money on renting. Visit www.rcltd.com now for new homes in Chester County and Montgomery County in the $200’s.

Primary Reasons for Owning Your Own Home

  • Have friends over for a barbeque on the deck.
  • Paint the rooms any color you want.
  • Finally…getting a dog without risking breaking a lease or getting a landlord’s permission.
  • Garage – having your own parking space and only having to walk 6 footsteps to carry in your groceries.
  • Neighborhood camaraderie
  • Guest room – a place for college friends to sleep, so you are not tripping over them on the air mattresses on the floor when trying to get ready for work.
  • Closets
  • Have friends over to watch the Phillies.
  • Adequate storage space for beach chairs, coolers, sports equipment and skis.
  • Not worrying about making too much noise, and better yet, not having to listen to other people’s music.
  • Space for board game nights
  • Yard for if/when you have kids
  • Space so it won’t be cramped if/when you have kids