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Posted by Maryann Clancy on 4/3/2020

Photo by Khiem Tran via Pixabay

Designing a home can be intimidating, especially if it's your first time. Maybe you were a design aficionado with the perfect dorm room, but designing a whole house seems intimidating.  Maybe you're worried you have no feel for design at all and will leave your room an empty canvas with one, central couch, an old packing box for a coffee table and your television and gaming system across from you. Maybe this isn't your first rodeo, and you're looking for a few quick tips to redesign a room in your house.  Either way, welcome!  Let's get started on our three essential design tips for new homeowners.

1) Choose your aesthetic first.

Consider whether you want your space to look modern, contemporary, traditional, urban or industrial, or classic. Deciding on the style of the public areas, such as the living room, bathrooms and dining room, is one of the most important decisions to make early on. By deciding on your design style, you can then search for furniture, lighting and accessories by keyword, making the design process far easier and ensuring that everything in your space will present harmoniously. 

2) Lay out each room according to its purpose.

A great deal of what makes a room fun and comfortable, beyond its aesthetic, is how convenient it is to live in. That means storing items where you'll need them and storing often-used items where they're easiest to reach.  It makes sense to purchase a seat with built-in storage for extra throws, for example, in your living room. In a kitchen, place utensils you'd often use while cooking -- large stirring spoons, ladles and tongs -- standing up in a jug rather than in a drawer you'll have to open and close. It can help to mentally run through a task and see how far you have to walk to reach important objects to decide where to place them.  You should also ensure that paths traveled frequently remain open, such as the path from the kitchen to the dining room.

By a similar token, "sitting rooms" can be used for a lot of different purposes. If you're a gaming family, consider making your gaming space central to the room, with a smaller seating area for chatting or reading. A family with small children might want to incorporate a play area.  Above all, remember that each room should serve you and your family's lives rather than solely serve your aesthetic.

3) Choose your paint color last of all.

Start by finding a piece or two of furniture you absolutely love in your design style. Then, design the rest of the room around what you've chosen, including your choice of paint, carpet and, if possible, flooring.  Keep in mind that there are thousands of paint colors in the world and it's very cheap and quick to change a paint color you're not fond of or that doesn't work as well as you thought it did; however, it's almost impossible to replace your furniture in the same way.  Therefore, start with your furniture and end the design process by choosing your paint.

 

Keep these design tips in mind and you will be well on your way to designing the perfect home!




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Posted by Maryann Clancy on 3/27/2020

Photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels

Outdoor garden structures can provide you with seating, shade and even a bit of shelter from the rain, depending on which type you choose. Although these structures serve a practical purpose, they’re available in a wide range of decorative styles and designs that can enhance your garden’s appearance. How do you know which type would work best for your property? Keep the following in mind when deciding on an outdoor garden structure.

Arbor 

Arbors act as entrances between different garden areas or entrances to your garden from your yard. These structures typically have an arch at the top and trellis walls that vines can grow on. While they have a relatively simple design compared to other garden structures, you can make them more elaborate with an intricate design, flowering vines or seating areas. In fact, you can set up a vertical garden with trumpet vines or other vines using your arbor. 

An arbor is an ideal option if you just want to set up a small structure with seating or if you want to highlight entrances to your garden or to different garden areas. 

Gazebo

Gazebos offer more space and shelter than arbors. Since they’re larger, these structures work well in between garden areas if enough room is available. They can also be placed closer to the edge of your garden or just outside of it, so that you still have a good view of your flowers, plants and trees. 

A gazebo typically has a roof, a floor, open sides and seating in a polygon or rounded shape. You can have built-in benches placed along the inner sides of your gazebo, or place your own luxurious chairs inside it for seating. Gazebos are a good option if you need a structure that holds more people and provides some shelter from rain overhead. 

Pergola 

Pergolas are outdoor garden structures that can be freestanding or built onto the side of your home, depending on the layout of your yard. These structures don’t have a roof, but they do have a series of beams that provide shade. Pergolas are known for having ornamental designs or cuts on the roof beams and on the columns that hold these structures in place. You can also add grapevines or other plants to the beams for decorative purposes and to add more shade.

With a larger pergola, you can add a table and chairs for dining, or have a porch swing and other seating installed. Pergolas are suitable options when you want a spacious and more open structure that still offers shade.





Posted by Maryann Clancy on 3/20/2020

Selling a home takes patience. Especially when youíre balancing your time between settling into your new home, and keeping up with your work and family life. So, when youíve finally gotten to the point of accepting an offer on your home, youíll probably breathe a sigh of relief--and you should!  However, there are still a few more things that will need to happen and a couple of things to consider before closing the deal on your home sale.

Contingencies on the purchase contract

A purchase contract typically includes contingency clauses that are designed to protect the interests of both the buyer and the seller. These clauses mean that the contract is contingent upon the actions being completed before it can be legally valid.

There are three main contingencies that will likely be included in the purchase contract before closing--inspection, financing, and appraisal.

Inspection contingency

The inspection contingency allows the buyer to have the home inspected by a professional before closing (the time should be specified within the contract, but the inspection should usually occur no more than two weeks after you accept the offer). A home inspection lets the buyer know what to expect in terms of repairs that the home needs now or will need in the near future.

Financing contingency

Since the vast majority of buyers will be purchasing their home through a loan, a financing contingency is included to allow the buyer time to secure their mortgage. Getting pre-qualified and pre-approved makes this process easier, but the buyer will still have to finalize and close on their mortgage before their financing is official.

This clause exists to protect the buyer in the event that their mortgage application is denied, ensuring that they arenít penalized.

Appraisal contingency

The third contingency most often found in purchase contracts is a home appraisal. The buyer will order an appraisal and then the appraiser will reach out to you to find a day to come and value your home.

If the home is then appraised at the amount agreed upon in your contract, this contingency is met. However, if the appraisal comes up lower than the purchase amount, the buyer can renegotiate the price.

Walkthrough and closing

Once the appraisal and inspection have been met and financing secured, the buyer will have a chance to do a final walkthrough of your home. The walkthrough usually occurs no more than two days prior to closing on the sale. A walkthrough allows the buyer view the home one last time to ensure that the condition of the home hasnít drastically changed since the home was inspected or appraised. So, make sure the buyer is aware of any changes you planned to make to the home before closing.

Now youíre ready to close on your home sale. Youíll receive a disclosure form to review (read it carefully!) and sign. Once closing is complete, ownership of the home is officially transferred to the buyer.

While the closing process does include several steps, itís important to be available and cooperative along the way to ensure a smooth sale and transition into your new home.





Posted by Maryann Clancy on 3/13/2020

Tackling projects around the house allows you to boost your skills, saves you money and ensures your home stays in peak condition -- usually. While DIY projects can be safe, successful and rewarding, there are some instances where you're better off leaving the work to a pro. From jobs that are dangerous to those that require specialty tools for success, the following projects can turn your DIY dreams into nightmares: 

Don't DIY these Home Projects: 

Roof Repairs and Heavy Tree Work

Both of these tasks take place off the ground and pose a significant risk of injury, even to those who have experience and are working with full teams. Taking down a large tree puts you and your home in jeopardy, while roof work is one of the leading causes of injuries for construction workers. Avoid these high-risk jobs and hire a pro with the equipment to work safely and well, even off the ground. 

Big Electric Projects

Most of us can swap out a light bulb or the fixture it belongs in, but more extensive and complicated repairs and upgrades require a pro. In some larger projects, you'll need to have the work approved and ensure that it is up to code (particularly true if you are repairing or readying a rental property). In others, the risk of injuring yourself is just too great. Even if you avoid injury, a single mistake in your work can lead to a fire hazard and put your home and family at risk. If you need specialized tools, have a job that requires a full inspection or that could result in a fire hazard, leave the work to a professional. 

Hazardous Material Mitigation

You may be able to scrape away that mold, remove smoke odors or strip the lead paint in your home, but it is generally a bad idea. Any project that exposes you or your home to environmental hazards needs to be done by a pro. You could injure yourself during the process -- and even if you escape injury, you could end up missing part of the pieces you intend to remove. In this case, you'll actually increase your family's exposure to dangerous mold, lead or asbestos. Leave these hazards to a pro for your own safety and well-being. 

Skip these projects and use your time, talent and tools to tackle just about anything else around the house -- you'll stay safe, save money and get the results you want. too. 

 

 




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Maryann Clancy on 3/6/2020

Image by Andy Giraud from Pixabay

Your backyard is just as much a part of your property as your kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms. And yet, you may not spend very much time enjoying the space when all is said and done. If you want to give yourself a reason to get out in the fresh air, you may have to invest in a few luxury items that will make the Great Outdoors worthwhile. 

Just Add Water 

The trickling of water can bring a sense of peace to residents and visitors alike. Displaying it near a dining table can make a meal, snack, or glass of wine that much more enjoyable, especially at the end of a difficult day. Look for fountains that fit the home's overall style. A more modern home may look better with a fountain of intricate stonework than a traditional two-tiered contraption.

You can also consider adding a rain garden to the yard (an indented area that collects runoff from the roof or driveway). Rain gardens are great for the environment and they're perfect for planting colorful flowers and attractive beautiful butterflies.

The Drama of Fire 

Permanent fire pits can be installed in the yard to add more character as well as functionality. These pits can be used year-round, giving warmth to chilly nights and even providing a chance to roast anything from hot dogs to marshmallows. (A fire pit should be placed away from the home, ideally on a patch of concrete or stone pavement.)

You can also purchase a quality grill, one with countertop and fridge space for more gourmet cook-outs. Even amateur home cooks can add a little flair to their burgers, sausages and chicken by giving everything just the right amount of char. 

Lights Above 

Industrial lighting strung over the backyard can give it an outdoor bistro vibe that's perfect for quiet nights and big gatherings alike. It's equally fitting for winter holidays as it is for summer festivities. Use ambient lighting throughout the main areas and task lighting to illuminate the paths and deck of the yard. 

Adding a cluster of lights above an outdoor bar can also be a way to create extra stations on your property. From the fire pit to the cooking station to the bar, you create a flow to the outdoors that will keep everyone having a great time. 

No matter how you spruce up your back yard, remember that there's no harm in investing in the area. If you're only using a small fraction of your property, you're missing out on everything you've worked so hard to build.  




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