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.

granite

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.

soapstone

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.

Advertisements

8 Gadgets to Make Your Home Smart

PC Magazine

P: PC Magazine

Smart home technology is becoming increasingly popular amongst homeowners, and it’s no wonder since this tech is designed to make our lives easier and less stressful. Out for the night and forget to turn off the lights? Not a problem, just open an app on your phone and shut the lights off. At the grocery store and can’t remember if you need milk? Open an app and see what’s in your fridge.

From appliances and electronics to tech that controls lighting and temperature, here are our 8 favorite smart home products:

Belkin WeMo Insight Switch – Probably the simplest way to ease yourself into smart home technology is with this WiFi enabled switch. Just plug the switch into an outlet and then plug and electronic device or appliance into the switch. You can then monitor and turn your appliances and electronic devices on or off from an app on your smartphone.

P: Digital Spy

P: Digital Spy

Nest Learning Thermostat – It only takes a week for this thermostat to learn what temperature you like and it will build a schedule around yours. It knows when you’re away and will automatically lower the temp to save energy. You can control the house temp from an app on your smartphone and the app will also show you how much energy you use each day.

August Smart Lock Homekit Enabled – Never copy a key again! With this smart lock, your smartphone is your key and you can create virtual keys for your family and guests, choosing when to grant them access. Your door will auto-lock behind you when you leave and will auto-unlock when you approach. The August Home app lets you monitor who enters your house 24/7.

Phillips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit – You can set timers to turn lights on and off, as well as control light color and brightness from an app on your phone. The system also works with the Nest Thermostat, when Nest senses you have left the house, the lights will automatically dim.

P: CNN Money

P: CNN Money

Amazon Echo – This voice-activated smart home speaker can play your music just by asking. You can ask Alexa to read the news, weather, sports scores,  or you can simply ask her any question. Maybe the best feature is that Amazon Echo is compatible with most smart home devices, so you can ask Alexa to lock the doors, turn off the lights, or turn up the heat!

GE Profile Free-Standing Gas Convection Range – The WiFi Connect allows you to preheat the oven and adjust the oven temp from anywhere via the GE Kitchen app on your smartphone. You can also set timer alerts for when you are baking. GE WiFi Connect also integrates with Amazon Echo so you can ask Alexa to preheat the oven to 350.

P: Samsung

P: Samsung

Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator – You’ll always know what’s in your fridge thanks to the 3 built-in cameras that take a photo every time the doors close, so when you’re grocery shopping you can access the app to see what you need to pick up. You can keep track of everyone’s schedule, post reminders, and show off your favorite photos on the refrigerator’s touchscreen. Entertain guests in the kitchen with streaming music or TV right on your fridge!

Whirlpool Smart Top Load Washer & Dryer – Control your laundry from anywhere with the Whirlpool app. Put a load in the dryer but heading out to run some errands? Activate Wrinkle Shield from your smartphone to help keep wrinkles from setting in. You can remotely start and pause cycles, as well as track progress and energy usage from the app. The Smart Top Load pair also connects to the Nest Thermostat.

8 Ideas for Your Spare Room

Do you have a guest room, but no guests? Or maybe you have a great bonus room … but have no idea what to do with the space. Rather than leave the space empty or fill it with junk, create a functional space that will add to your quality of life and your home value!

Here are our favorite 8 spare room transformations:

P: HGTV

P: HGTV

Home Office – A home office is probably one of the best and most popular uses for a spare room. Bring in a desk and comfy chair to create a workspace and home for your computer. Keep all of your mail and important papers organized neatly in a filing cabinet. Bookshelves are great for organizing, well, books, but also office supplies, knick-knacks, photos, etc. Paint the room a soothing shade of blue or gray to make a relaxing, tranquil space that you will want to work in.

Craft or Art Studio – A wood or laminate floor works best in this type of space as you are likely to  drop craft materials or spill paint. Install cabinets to store supplies, or opt for a bookcase or open shelving with baskets to organize and hold supplies. Bring in a large table or floating island to place in the center of the room to provide a flat workspace.

Game Room – Create a dedicated space to hang out with friends … or where your kids can hang out with their friends and not tear up the entire house! If you’ve got the space, a pool table is always a win for a game room focal point. But there are plenty of other options – poker table, bubble hockey, arcade games, or a folding table tennis table. Assemble a lounge area with seating and a coffee table or large ottoman to play board games or cards.

P: HGTV

Home Theater – Who wants to spend $9 on a movie ticket when you can kick back and relax in the comfort of your home? Bring in a large sectional and some recliners or chaise lounges for plenty of comfy seating. Mount a large flat screen on the wall, or get tech and install a projector and screen for the ultimate movie experience. Add a surround sound system, blackout drapes, and an old-school popcorn machine and get ready for some binge-watching.

Boutique Closet – Ladies, this one is for you! Take that tiny extra bedroom and turn it into your dream closet with dressing room. Install tons of storage – hanging, shelving, and drawers. Up the ante by adding a center island with storage and a stone top to display your jewels. Bring in a full length floor mirror (or 2!) to lean against a wall. Add some dazzle with a sparkly chandelier.

Wine Bar – If your idea of entertaining includes uncorking a fabulous bottle of wine, why not create a room dedicated to good taste? All wine, red or white, should be stored between 53 – 57 degrees Fahrenheit, so you will want to invest in a wine refrigerator or build your own wine cellar with wine racks and a cooling system. Bring in a simple bar, a few bar stools, and a wall-mounted wine shelf with glass rack to complete the bar. Add some cozy lounge chairs for guests to sip and relax.

P: Green Heat Initiative

P: Green Heat Initiative

Home Gym – There’s no excuse not to work out when you have a gym at home. Start with wood floors or interlocking rubber tiles to support any heavy equipment. Add mirrors to one wall to check your form and bring in a TV to do your workout videos or watch The Real Housewives when you’re running on the treadmill.

Library – If settling in to a comfy chair with a good book is your ideal Saturday afternoon, then consider turning that extra room into a library. It really won’t take much – bring in a few bookcases, you can buy cheap bookcases at Ikea and add your own molding to make them look like an expensive built-in. Add a couple plush chairs, pillows, and soft lighting to create a relaxing reading space.

Revamp with Paint!

Feel like your home could use a little update? Or maybe you are just looking to change things up … either way, the simplest way to make an inexpensive change is with paint! The walls are an obvious choice, but you can spruce up almost anything with paint, from fixtures and objects to floors and furniture.

Not all surfaces are alike, here are some guidelines for painting 5 different surfaces:

  1. P: How to Nest for Less

    P: How to Nest for Less

    Wood: Probably one of the easiest surfaces to paint, wood will easily soak up paint. Clean the surface, removing any buildup. If it has a glossy finish, you will want to lightly sand it first so the paint will adhere. You can use a primer, but it’s not often necessary, and most paints these days have primer already built-in. Stick with eggshell paints for interior wood projects, it’s more durable and has a slight sheen.

2.  Metal: The first step in painting metal is to remove any rust using sandpaper or a wire brush. Next comes the primer to protect the surface and provide a good base. Choose a paint with rust inhibitors or spray paint – they make spray paint specifically for metal. You will need to apply multiple layers for a nice finished look.

P: decorpad.com

P: decorpad.com

3.  Concrete: Yes, you can totally paint concrete! Floors should be sanded and the surface must be clean and completely dry before painting. You will need to prime and then opt for a floor or epoxy paint. They make kits to paint garage floors that include decorative chips to give a speckled effect.

4.  Tile: Have some dated tile or are you just sick of the color? Instead of ripping out your existing tile and replacing with new, which could be quite expensive depending on the tile, refresh the look with paint. Tile must be cleaned and then use a special glass or tile paint, other paints will easily chip or scrape off.

09559497cb989065fadea5fb1d50183f

P: Pinterest

5. Drywall: If you are starting with a newly dry-walled wall, make sure you’ve sanded down the seams so that the surface is smooth and then clean off any dust.  Primer is not required, but recommended on new walls. The type of paint you choose really depends on the room – satin or eggshell finishes are fine for bedrooms and living spaces. You will likely want to go with a higher-gloss finish for kitchens, bathrooms, and entryways that can easily be wiped down.

5 Landscape Projects That Make Sense

P: 411homerepair.com

P: 411homerepair.com

Warmer temps and sunshine have us itching to get out and enjoy the outdoors. When Spring hits, it’s prime season for yard work –  you don’t want to be slaving away in the gorgeous summer weather when you could be sipping lemonade (or a margarita!) in the shade of your perfectly manicured outdoor paradise.

But where do you start? What projects are really worth it? Here are our top 5 landscape projects that offer the best return on your investment:

  • Spruce up what you have. Start with a spring yard cleanup – pull out the weeds, prune trees and bushes and rake up any leaves you may have missed in fall. Freshen up your mulch by flipping and fluffing with a rake, once you’re finished you may not even need to buy new mulch for the season!
  • Renew your deck. A wood deck will take a beating being exposed to our crazy VT weather. If your deck is looking a little worn, start by power washing to get a completely clean surface. Once dry, you can stain and then follow with a waterproofer designed for unsealed wood to protect your deck.
  • P: sheknows.com

    P: sheknows.com

    Plant flowers for a pop of color. Choose some colorful perennials to dot your yard, these plants will last for years so you will not need to replant every spring/summer like an annual. Cone flowers, daylillies, and hydrangea are good choices for VT. Annuals come in so many pretty varieties, you can add them in to your landscaping or plant in window boxes and colorful pots. Choose a variety of flowers that bloom at different times, as well as a mix of heights, colors, and shapes.

  • Plant some trees. As trees grow, they appreciate in value providing fantastic ROI. Trees also provide privacy, which tops most buyers’ wish lists. Emerald Green Arborvitae are a great option for privacy, and are perfect for VT as they resist snow and ice damage. Other trees that thrive in VT include spruce trees and of course the sugar maple.
  • P: lockerdome.com

    P: lockerdome.com

    Create an outdoor living space. Pick out some stone pavers that complement your house and landscape to build a patio and/or fire pit. Permeable paving and fire pits rank high in outdoor elements that buyers desire. Learn how to lay a paver patio on Lowe’s website.

Our Top 5 Home Trends for 2016

Thinking about a home renovation project or just want to spice up your decor for the New Year? You want to be sure that the items and projects you invest in will stand the test of time, and are not dated fads of years past, especially if you are planning to put your house on the market.

Here are our top 5 favorite home trends for 2016:

  1. P: BHG

    P: BHG

    Mismatched Cabinets – Add interest to your kitchen by pairing 2 different cabinet styles, varying in color or texture. Think a light color on wall-mounted cabinets and a darker color on cabinets under the counter. Or choose 1 color for wall cabinets and a different color for an island.

  2. P: bostondesignguide.com

    P: bostondesignguide.com

    Statement Pendant – Change the look and feel of a room just by updating the light fixture. You can find pendant lights in a variety of shapes and sizes, from brightly colored lanterns to industrial style metal-shaded fixtures.

  3. Fireplaces – The fireplace is once again becoming the focal point of rooms. Don’t ignore
    P: HGTV

    P: HGTV

    this feature if you have it! Arrange your furniture to put the fireplace center stage. Have a non-working fireplace? No problem, you can still dress it up to make it shine. Fill it with candle holders of varying heights to cast a warm fire-like glow.

  4. Black Stainless Appliances – Instead of shiny new silver, it
    P: CNET

    P: CNET

    looks like sleek black stainless steel appliances will be the finish choice of the future.

  5. Mixed Materials – Create a truly unique space by combining a variety of styles like a rustic wood, sleek tile, shiny metals, and vintage finds.

P.S. Mason jars are so 2015, and word on the street is that the rustic chic look is on the way out.

The Importance of Home Staging

We here at The Weaver Team are strong believers in the power of staging – you only have one chance to make a first impression and it’s important to create a positive impact on buyers the moment they enter a room!

Unlike interior decorating that makes a home appeal to its homeowner’s unique tastes, home staging makes the home appeal to a variety of tastes. The goal is to draw the eye to the best features of the home, and improve any weaker elements.

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

The very first rule of staging is DECLUTTER! You want prospective buyers to see how much space your home offers, not how much stuff you have filled it with. Start by removing items you have no use for, if it’s been sitting in the basement unused for a year, it’s probably time to get rid of it. Separate items into piles to sell, donate, and store. If you don’t have a basement or garage to store items, rent a storage unit.

Updates as simple as rearranging furniture or adding new decor can make a world of difference. If you have very large furniture pieces, it’s best to remove them from a room all together to make the space look as large as possible. Also try floating furniture away from the walls and arrange sofas and chairs in conversational sets – this will open up the room.

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

In some cases, you may need to take it a step further with paint and/or installing new fixtures. You may be thinking, ‘What’s the point in painting when the new owner will just come in and paint on their own?’ Buyers are fickle, and most cannot see beyond a simple fix like paint, or even your personal decor. Remember – you want your home to appeal to a variety of buyers, and while you may love your elegant eggplant dining room, it may be a major turn off to buyers. Stick with neutral paints for your walls and update any brass fixtures that tend to make a home look dated.

Can’t get enough of home staging tips? Like us on Facebook – we post a Tuesday Tip every week!

Home Improvements: Get The Most Bang For Your Buck

P: hellopamevans.com

P: hellopamevans.com

When you purchase a new home you envision tons of ideas on how to make the space your own – from cosmetic improvements like painting and flooring to major renovations. But how do you prioritize your honey do list? Get the most value for your money by choosing projects that combine benefits, adding to your home’s style, comfort and energy efficiency. Here are our top 5:

Redecorate – Simply rearranging your furniture can dramatically change the feel of a room, making a smaller room feel open or a large room feel more intimate and cozy. A fresh coat of paint will make the walls look like new and window treatments will add a touch of luxury to your home.

Update Appliances – The kitchen is the heart the home, and a huge selling point … or detracting factor. Investing in new, Energy-Star appliances will give the space a fresh look and can also save you money on electric and water bills. Kitchen updates often return more than 100% of the cost.

P: HGTV

P: HGTV

Add a Backsplash – Backsplashes are a great solution to protect your walls from water damage, food stains and scratches and will give an updated look to your kitchen and/or bathrooms. There are so many different tile and stone styles to choose from or you can use other materials like faux tin ceiling and wine corks. Check out Pinterest for some great DIY ideas.

Install a Ceiling Fan – Not only will a ceiling fan cool rooms in the summer months, but if you reverse the spin direction, the fan blades will push warm air back down to reheat rooms during the winter. Ceiling fans come in all sorts of designs and colors so it should be no problem to find one to fit your style and give your cooling and heating systems a bit of a break.

Plant Perennials – Is your landscaping lacking? Boost your curb appeal with colorful plants and flowers like peonies, daffodils, lilacs, or hostas. Perennials will come back year after year, and often continue to grow, so you don’t have to buy replacement plants.