Does Decorating Matter – How do I Stage my House for the Holiday Season?

jennycookies.com

p: jennycookies.com

As we get into the decorating holidays, Sellers always ask, “can I decorate for the holiday?” The short answer, “yes, with some ‘staging’ recommendations.”

True story – I once showed a house with one fully decorated artificial Christmas tree in every room. Well that’s not too weird, right? Did I mention it was July?? Sometimes it’s difficult to imagine “not” displaying treasured holiday keepsakes or seasonal decorations when your house is on the market. So, what about decorating for holidays when it makes sense – October, Halloween; November, Thanksgiving; December, Christmas/Hanukkah? Unless you are showing houses to Scrooge, most buyers are in the holiday mood and a welcoming seasonal wreath, doormat, or display on the kitchen island makes them feel welcome. Too many decorations can be distracting to buyers, much like a wall of family photos. Here are the Weaver Team’s tips for the upcoming holiday season.

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p: houseofhargrove.com

First, Halloween. Don’t get us wrong, we love Halloween – who doesn’t? The candy, the costumes, the orange & black decorations – what’s not to love? Many of you will even buy a costume for Fido or Kitty. Awe! Cute! Pumpkins, mums, decorative kale and cabbage, all safe bets if your house is for sale. Unfortunately, most buyers are a little scared of zombies, skulls, and anything with fake blood. For more formal spaces, like living rooms and dining rooms, try a “Martha Stewart” type vibe with white Cinderella pumpkins and black branches. Orange and black are not everyone’s favorite color combination so be careful not spread the decorations into every room. If you need to be “spooky” try to keep it on the front porch or back deck, that way once inside the house the buyers feel more at ease.

1-Rustic-Fall-DecorNext, Thanksgiving. Autumn and fall colors blend nicely with most décor. A spray of silk autumn leaves or mums fit nicely into nooks and bookshelves. Your fall-themed pillows, blanket throws and flower arrangements will add a cozy and warm vibe to the interior. Don’t skip the autumn decorations in November and go right to Christmas. If you get weary of thinking that you need to overhaul the house again for November here’s another Weaver Team tip – “layer” your decorations. Place autumn first as a base, think leaves, mums, fall colors and then add your Halloween decorations. When it comes time to switch on November 1st just remove Halloween and voila! All set for November.

theharperhouse.com

p: theharperhouse.com

Finally, everyone’s favorite decorating holiday – Christmas. Okay, you have permission to dive right into the holly and “ho-ho-ho” the day after Thanksgiving. Here, again, just a caution about overusing red and green in every room. Like Halloween, you may want to research a more elegant look for your formal rooms. Gold, silver and white may be decorative enough to add an air of festiveness to your living room without overwhelming the buyer’s senses. If you celebrate Hanukkah then you are all set as the silver, white, gold and blue theme compliments almost all styles.

So, go ahead! Trim the tree, display the Menorah, put a scarecrow on your front porch. But, remember, take them down when the celebrations are over. You don’t want to end up in my blog – like the condominium owner that still had a Halloween mat at his front door – in March!

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5 Kitchen Remodeling Ideas That Will Last the Test of Time

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p: Houzz

It’s easy to get swept up in the latest design trends, but if you choose something that’s too trendy you may regret your choices a few years down the line when the fad is long gone. Chances are you’re only going to remodel your current kitchen once, so it’s important to get it right!

It’s best to stick with the classics to ensure your remodel is timeless and will retain it’s marketability and value. Here are our top 5 picks:

White never goes out of style. White is fresh, clean, and bright, a no-brainer for the kitchen. Because it is a standard color for manufacturers, you’ll find white cabinets, tile, counters, faucets, sinks, and appliances at any price point, making it an ideal choice for any budget. You don’t have to go all white in the kitchen – add your personal touch with wall color, colorful small appliances, or display colorful dinnerware.

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p: Houzz

Install hardwood flooring. Buyers love hardwood floors – it’s one of the most requested wish-list features when searching for a house. Hardwoods add warmth to a space and make it feel more inviting, and as the ‘heart of the home’, you want your kitchen to feel welcoming. With such a large variety of woods and stains available, hardwood flooring will pair well with any kitchen style.

Choose Shaker-style cabinets. Shaker cabinets look good in any setting thanks to their clean, simple lines – something that will never go out of style.

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p: Kindesign

Carrara marble countertops are timeless. Carrara marble has been used in homes for thousands of years – it’s white color and lacy graining look great in a white kitchen. It’s readily available, making it less expensive than other high-end choices, such as quartz.

Subway tiles are classic. Choose a white or neutral subway tile for the backsplash to blend with any look. Ceramic subway tiles will guard against moisture, are a snap to clean, last forever, and always looks classy.

Are you Looking for a House or a Home?

DSCN4282Are you looking for a house or a home? This question seems redundant. Is there a distinct difference between a house and a home? Houses exist everywhere, they are easy to find. Finding a home is more elusive.

Looking out my kitchen window I can see two houses across the street. Opening my KW app (download the app here) on my phone it’s easy scroll “nearby houses” with photos and prices of houses in Williston. Jumping in my truck and driving to Shaw’s at Maple Tree Place I pass village houses, neighborhood houses and a condominium community all within my four-mile drive. These are all physical places where people live.

A house is a building where people live. Location, size, bedrooms, bathrooms typically define a house. For example, a friend may call and ask me to look for a 4-bedroom house within walking distance of UVM Medical Center. Moving involves changing your physical location from one house to another. Often, when showing a house I am asked, “Why are they selling?” In all cases, it’s simply because they are moving.

DSCN4717When it’s time to change your physical location, or move to a new house, many real estate agents will engage you in a “Buyer Consultation.” Notes from this meeting include your wants, needs, and wishes for your new house. Most of the time, this involves the components or features of a house. For example, small yard, space for a garden, privacy, flat driveway, ½ bath on first level, walk-out basement, two-car garage, pool, etc. Most important, though, is your preferred location. Discussions about location involve a particular lifestyle that will, eventually, lead to finding a home. Another conversation follows involving personal questions. These are lifestyle questions, which, may sound intrusive or prying, but this is what I need to know to help you find a home. To assist in this quest for a change in location, there is a need to assess your lifestyle. Hence, the need to tell me about yourself. From parrots to parties, please “tell all.” No need to feel self-conscious as I am not judging you, just trying to help you find a home. Include your preferred forms of recreation, shopping, eating, traveling, exercising, etc.

Finding a home is more elusive than finding a house. The word “home” elicits an emotional connection to a physical place where one reads, cooks, relaxes. Your home does not need to fit the physical definition of a house. It can be an apartment, a boat, a trailer, a cabin, a room over a garage, or a yurt.

600x600bb-85If you’re still skeptical, watch one of my favorite HGTV shows, Love It or List It. A simple premise of “should we stay or should we go?” The “Love It” portion involves designer Hilary. “List It” features David a real estate agent. While it may seem counterintuitive for me to cheer for the “Love It” part of the show, let me explain. David finds them a physical house that seems to meet their expressed need to move. Yet, the physical house that he finds does not meet their lifestyle needs. Either the commute is too long, the schools have changed, they are no longer near their favorite gym, restaurant, juice bar. In the end, the talented Hilary has revamped their living space to make it truly a “love it” and the place that they call “home.” In conclusion, the perfect house may not be the perfect home.

4 DIY Projects Under $500

It seems there is always something that could use a little sprucing up, and with HGTV, DIY Network, and Pinterest, it’s hard not to catch the renovation bug. Luckily, there are some budget-friendly projects that you can handle yourself on a weekend! Here are our top 4 DIY projects under $500:

076a1834479ec7782ee48b24169cebd7--fern-on-front-porch-front-door-patio-ideasHit the refresh button on your entry. If your front entry is looking a little tired and offers no curb appeal, it’s time to freshen things up. A welcoming entrance will improve the whole house and it’s easy to create. Add a fresh coat of paint and new hardware to your front door – switch out old brass hardware for oil-rubbed bronze. Choose some sleek house numbers to add to the door or next to the door. A few brightly colored plants and a new welcome mat will add some life to the entry.

Update lighting. Changing out dated light fixtures is a quick project that will make a huge impact. Consider swapping any brass fixtures with brushed nickel or oil-rubbed bronze. Select fixtures that complement each other and your home’s overall style.

Replace kitchen hardware. It’s amazing the difference upgrading your kitchen cabinet and drawer pulls will make! Hardware comes in a huge array of styles and price points. Look at the finishes that already exist in your home – if you have stainless appliances, brushed nickel hardware will match well. If you’ve gone the route of black stainless appliances or have oil-rubbed bronze light fixtures, flat black hardware will blend nicely.

small-bathroom-makeover-ideas-astonishing-on-pertaining-to-best-25-makeovers-pinterest-11Upgrade the bathroom. Since it’s typically one of the smaller rooms in your home, the bath is a great area to upgrade, and a little will go a long way. You can choose some more expensive finishes in this space because it is so small. If you’ve had your eye on some marble tile, splurge on the small bathroom floor. Replacing the vanity will completely change the look of the room – you can find simple, single sink vanities for under $500, but will likely have to spend more for double vanities. Upgrade your shower head for a touch of luxury that will make you want to get out of bed.

These improvements will make your home more stylish and will help you to enjoy your home more every day. If you’re thinking of selling, these projects will add value by making your home ‘show ready’ to garner that all important positive first impression.

5 Steps to an Organized Closet

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P: stayinelpaso.com

Closets have doors to hide your secret mess. You accumulate things and stuff them in every possible inch of your closet, so where do you begin to dig out? If the task seems overwhelming, follow these 5 steps to organize the closet of your dreams:

Start with a clean slate. Pull everything out of your closet and set it aside. Now you can give the space a good dusting, wipe down any shelves, and vacuum the floor – don’t forget the corners!

Maximize your space. If you have the resources, investing in a closet system like elfa with custom shelving and drawers is a great long-term fix. If that’s not in the budget, there are some inexpensive options you can implement to make the most of your storage space. Hanging shelves are great for folded items like sweaters and sweatshirts, or even organizing accessories like hats, scarves, and purses. When using hangers, choose all the same color for a sleek look and slim non-slip hangers will maximize the space.

Keep only what you wear. This is always the most difficult task, getting rid of the items you no longer like or wear. Maybe you’ve been holding on to that pair of jeans that is 2 sizes too small, because one day you will fit in them. Let them go! Weed out the unnecessary items by asking the following questions:

  • Have I worn this in the past year?
  • Does it have holes or stains?
  • Does it fit well? Ahem, jeans!
  • Does it look outdated?
  • Do I still like this?

Separate everything into 3 piles: keep, sell/donate/toss, not sure. If the items in your sell/donate pile are still on trend and in good condition, you can take them to a place like Plato’s Closet or Style Encore and make some money off of your unworn threads. Try on the items in your ‘not sure’ pile and either keep or toss. If you still can’t decide, place the items in a box and store it in the attic, basement, or garage. If you don’t feel compelled to find the box in 6 months, toss it.

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P: Pinterest

Sort your clothes by color. Now that you have weeded out the garbage, hang your keepers up by color. It will make getting dressed in the morning easier and seeing your closet so beautifully organized will encourage you to keep everything neat and tidy.

Keep it clutter free. Don’t let unwanted items pile up and crowd your closet again! Learn from Oprah – After you wear something, hang it in the closet in the opposite direction from everything else. After six months, anything that hasn’t been hung in the opposite direction gets donated.

Baby It’s Cold Outside: Isn’t it Too Cold to Live in Vermont?

Roberts WinterBundle up! It’s that time of the year again. Many people move to Vermont every year for our quality of life. We are fortunate to live here, in Northern New England, as our weather and seasons are perpetually changing. If you have lived here for a while then you are familiar with an old New England adage, “If you don’t like the weather then wait a minute and it will change.”

After an unseasonably warm fall (we didn’t take our window unit air conditioner out until November 3rd) we are now experiencing cold temperatures. One question that newcomers to Vermont ask is “How do you live here? It’s so cold!”

Over the years, Realtors, in particular, have adapted to the cold weather in Vermont as we spend a good deal of time getting in and out of our vehicles and running in and out of houses in all weather. If you follow my blog you will remember the family from Connecticut that drove here in a blizzard after Christmas one year as they were going to move to Vermont for a change of lifestyle. We looked at vacant houses that hadn’t had their driveways plowed often tromping through three feet of snow.

Here are our 5 tips for getting through our coldest months:

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p: Darn Tough

Throw out all of your socks. Yes, that’s right. When you wear regular, everyday socks your feet experience sweating and cooling throughout the day, not the best thing in the winter. We recommend Darn Tough socks, made in Vermont, lifetime guarantee. Wear wool socks.

Layer the “right way.” Of course everyone knows you need layers. Again, your best “base layer” should be wool. Focus on your “core” with an insulated vest and invest in a warm scarf that matches all of your outerwear. Be ready to pull off the layers when you get inside a store, restaurant, movie theater. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than being too warm.

Invest in seat heaters for your vehicle. In Vermont this is not a luxury item. If your car does not have them we recommend having them installed with a local auto accessory shop. While you’re there you might as well get a remote car starter. There is nothing more jolting than getting into a cold car. While “warming up” your vehicle may not be recommended by others, trust us on this one.

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p: crystalinmarie.com

Wear a hat. You can see this for yourself. On your morning commute look around at the other drivers. Real Vermonters wear hats, winter hats. I have resisted this for years (pure vanity, afraid of “hat head/hair”) but now it is a necessity. Once it’s on you won’t want to take it off.

Electric blankets and throws really work. Many of us live in older homes that were built prior to the energy efficiency days. There is nothing better than sitting on your couch after a long day and putting a heated throw on your lap.

6 Low-Cost Kitchen Cabinet Upgrades

If your kitchen cabinets look a little shabby, your whole kitchen will look outdated. No need to break the bank and completely replace the cabinets, just give them a simple facelift with one (or all) of our inexpensive kitchen cabinet updates:

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P: fanofugifts.com

Paint – Nothing will create a bigger impact than a fresh coat of paint. This is a project you can take on yourself, but the key is in the prep. Start with a thorough cleaning to remove any grease or dried on gunk. Fill holes and nicks with putty and sand to create a smooth, even surface. Lay cabinet doors flat to paint, and wait until completely dry before painting the other side. Create some visual interest by mixing up colors on upper and lower cabinets, or on cabinets and islands.

Hardware – Installing new hardware is probably the easiest way to dress up tired cabinets, but you need to be careful here as cabinet hardware can get very fancy and expensive. You can find simple, contemporary hardware in packs of 10 or 12 at Lowes or Home Depot.

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P: BHG

Ditch the Doors – Remove outdated cabinet doors and go for the open-shelf concept. They will make any kitchen look larger and you can accessorize the shelves to reflect your personal style.

Molding – Adding crown molding to the top of cabinets will add height and create a more high-end look. This added touch of luxury isn’t as pricey as you may think – three-inch, primed composite crown molding with a dentil design costs as little as $20 for 8 feet.

Glass Inserts – Changing or adding a decorative glass insert will give stock cabinets a custom look. Not all cabinet doors can accommodate a glass insert – check the backs of your doors to see if the center panel can be taken out. Glass inserts typically cost between $7 – $9 per square foot.

Task Lighting – You can easily add lighting under and inside cabinets with battery powered peel-and-stick LED lights. At about $8 each, you can afford to buy several and scatter them around. Under cabinet lighting is not only practical, it will also make the room feel much brighter and bigger as the dark shadows under the cabinets would otherwise visually shrink the space.

 

6 Best Bathroom Remodeling Trends for 2017

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P: Agnizer.com

Dreaming of that spa-like bathroom, but not sure if you should drop the money into a remodel? Springing for a new bath is typically a sound investment, often returning more than 100 percent of the cost. So go ahead and design the bathroom of your dreams! To help get the ideas flowing, here are our 6 best bathroom remodeling trends for 2017:

Increase the Size – Most bathroom renovations focus on increasing the room size to give the space an open and light feel. Adding square footage to the bathroom frees up area to install a separate soaking tub and shower, maybe a master closet space, and room to add much desired storage.

Heated Floors – Add a touch of luxury and comfort with some extra-added warmth. Radiant floor heat can make all the difference on a chilly winter morning, and it will warm you from the bottom up. If you can’t afford a new heating system for your floors, install a towel warmer so you can wrap yourself in warmth.

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P: HGTV

Upscale Shower – Start with a beautifully tiled shower and then up the ante to create the ultimate spa experience by installing multiple shower heads and body jets. If you can fully enclose your shower, add steam and a built-in bench to sit and relax as you sweat your cares away.

Cue the Music – Who doesn’t love singing at the top of their lungs in the shower? Wireless speakers are being incorporated into bathroom mirrors, showerheads, and vanities. Put on Pandora’s spa station and take a relaxing soak in the tub, or pump up the jams to get your morning going. Check out Kohler’s Moxie® Showerhead for a super easy way to add a speaker in your shower.

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P: Entirely Eventful Day

Smart Storage – Storage never goes out of style! Take advantage of vertical space and install floor to ceiling cabinetry. If built-in cabinetry is not an option, bring in an interesting piece of furniture like an antique armoire. Open shelving is still a popular trend that works in the bathroom – install floating shelves and neatly arrange extra towels and toiletries.

Go High-Tech – If you love smart home technology, don’t forget the bathroom! You can buy toilets with seat warmers and motion sensors, digital faucets with touchless technology, and soaking tubs with mood-enhancing lighting.

5 Space-Friendly Ideas for a Home Bar

Love entertaining, but don’t have a dedicated bar area? You can easily create an on-trend home bar by carving out a small space in your kitchen, dining, or living room.

Here are 5 ideas to craft the perfect home bar:

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P: Wayfair

Bar Cart – All the rage these days, bar carts are a stylish and mobile solution for a home bar. Stock the cart with your favorite liquors, mixers, drinking glasses, and anything else you need to entertain. You can store the cart in a corner and roll it out for parties. Try something small and simple like this bar cart from Wayfair.

Bookshelf – Instead of filling all the shelves with books, use a few shelves for your bottles and cocktail glasses. You can dress up the shelves with some nice placemats and fun beverage napkins.

Armoire – Keep your booze and drinkware tidy and out of site by repurposing the top of an armoire into your own mini bar. Arrange your glasses neatly on the top shelf and your bottles on the bottom. Shut the cabinet doors when not in use and you can still use the bottom drawers for storage.

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P: Houzz

Floating Shelves – If you’re lacking extra floor space for a piece of furniture to use as a bar, floating shelves are a great option. Install a couple shelves above a dining buffet or on any blank wall. Display your favorite bottles and drinking glasses. You can also find floating shelves with glass holders, like this one from Houzz.

Dresser – Take a counter height dresser or chest of drawers, clear the top and use it as a home bar. Set your favorite spirits and mixers on one side, and glasses, straws, and cocktail shaker on the other.

6 Types of Countertops to Suit Your Style

New countertops can totally transform your kitchen, and there are plenty of options out there to choose from, all with their own pros and cons. From modern chic to casual country, there’s a countertop option to suit your design tastes.

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P: Decorpad

Granite – The top choice for most, but also the most expensive option for your countertops. Granite comes in a variety of color patterns and is extremely durable. If you are looking to add color and shine to your kitchen to achieve an upscale look, then granite is for you … as long as you have the budget to accommodate the pricey stone.

Butcher Block – Perfect for adding a feel of warmth and comfort to your kitchen, butcher block countertops are available in a variety of woods. If you’re not ready to go all in with butcher block, start small by just replacing your island countertop. Butcher block needs to be well-maintained to keep its beauty.

Glass – A simple, yet gorgeous option, glass countertops paired with stainless appliances will create a sleek and modern kitchen. You may think glass is the most fragile option, but in actuality it’s quite the opposite. Glass countertops are heat, stain, and scratch-resistant, and are also very hygienic.

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P: Homedit

Soapstone – No two slabs are exactly the same, so you will get a countertop unique just to your kitchen. Soapstone won’t get damaged from heat and doesn’t stain, so it’s a great option for those who cook a lot. An eco-friendly and timeless option, soapstone is a much more affordable option compared to granite.

Concrete – Concrete countertops offer complete customization, including color, finish, shape, and size. Concrete countertops are extremely durable, but may develop hairline cracks as a result of curing and settling. You can make your own concrete countertops, it is one of the most challenging DIY projects, but it can be done!

Copper – If you are looking for something extravagant, unique, and warm, try copper. It is important to remember that copper is constantly oxidizing, so anything that comes into contact with the surface will leave it’s mark. These counters require a lot of maintenance and quite a bit of prep to install. To copper-ize your countertops, you will have to laminate a sheet of copper to your current countertops or a sheet of MDF.