Category Archives: Home Decor & Design

Spring Cleaning Essentials

Tidying up may come with a snap of your finger in Disney’s “Mary Poppins” classic, but in the real world, household chores take a bit more effort. Nevertheless, it sure can feel good when the job is done. Springtime is the season when everything comes to life. It is the time we can finally emerge from the hibernation the harsh winter forced us into. Spring is the perfect time to open the windows, let in the fresh air, and rejuvenate your home back to a clean, happy, and efficient environment. Your spring cleaning checklist can seem like a long one, but you will be glad when you complete each task.
To get you started, here are a few chores you should not forget to include:

Lighten Up Your Space

Spring cleaning is when you should tend to things you normally wouldn’t think of, like your light fixtures. Dirty lamps and chandeliers can really affect the light in your home, making rooms look dim and less vibrant. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, dirty bulbs actually give off 30% less light than clean ones! Thoroughly dusting lamp shades, chandeliers, and ceiling fixtures throughout your home, and wiping off bulbs with a dry cloth can brighten up your space and give your home the true light you have been paying for. You should also carefully take down those grimy ceiling fixture bowls that have collected dust and bugs throughout the year and wash them in the sink using warm water and dish soap. After drying them off you will be surprised what a difference it makes! While you are at it, tend to your window treatments as well, wiping off blinds with a damp cloth and vacuuming dust from curtains and drapes.Lighten up your space by cleaning light fixtures

Tend to the Overlooked Areas

Routine cleaning throughout the year leaves many surfaces in your home untouched. During your spring cleaning, take the time to tend to these areas and get rid of the dirt and dust that may not be as visible. Make sure your checklist includes dusting or washing places like, above cabinets, under furniture, baseboards and walls, and air vent coverings. Try thinking of all the surfaces, floor to ceiling, that you haven’t touched throughout the year, and use this time to tend to those areas.Spring Cleaning

Making More Room

Getting rid of old and unused items is a big part of spring cleaning. This allows you to rid of unnecessary clutter, make room for new things, and get organized again. As you store away winter clothes and accessories and unpack spring and summer attire, sort through things and separate those items you can donate or toss from those you need to keep. If you have a hard time throwing things out, a good rule of thumb is—especially when it comes to clothing—if you haven’t worn or used the item within the last year, you probably will not use it in the future. And remember, the more you get rid of, the more space you will have to put new things! Spring Cleaning

Good luck and happy cleaning!

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Remodeling Costs & Resale Value

Remodeling projects are a great way to add value to your home, but not all projects produce the same return. If you are looking to add value to your home, it is important to know how much certain jobs cost and how much of that money you will get back when you sell the property. Remodeling Magazine recently came out with the 2014 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report which provides estimates for national averages and for local areas such as the Greater Louisville region. Below are some remodel projects with their average cost and value recouped in our local area. Our averages are generally at or above the national percentage of cost recouped.

Project: Attic Bedroom; Job Cost: $47,725; Resale Value: $32,968; % Recouped: 69.10% Project: Basement Remodel; Job Cost: $59,830; Resale Value: $38,218; % Recouped: 63.90% Project: Bathroom Remodel; Job Cost: $15,444; Resale Value: $8,479; % Recouped: 54.90% Project: Family Room Addition; Job Cost: $76,667; Resale Value: $45,600; % Recouped: 59.50% Project: Garage Addition; Job Cost: $48,619; Resale Value: $27,496; % Recouped: 56.60% Project: Garage Door Replacement; Job Cost: $1,468; Resale Value: $1,054; % Recouped: 72.00% Project: Major Kitchen Remodel; Job Cost: $52,836; Resale Value: $36,762; % Recouped: 69.60% Project: Minor Kitchen Remodel; Job Cost: $18,211; Resale Value: $13,625; % Recouped: 74.80% Project: Master Suite Addition; Job Cost: $99,369; Resale Value: $60,196; % Recouped: 61.00% Project: Home Office Remodel; Job Cost: $26,923; Resale Value: $8,582; % Recouped: 31.90% Project: Roofing Replacement; Job Cost: $16,591; Resale Value: $9,112; % Recouped: 54.90% 

The 2014 Home Improvement Expo

Home remodeling and renovationWith every new year comes new ideas and fresh motivation for change or accomplishment. This is the time to take a look at the things on your do-to list that you still haven’t gotten around to do, especially things around the house. If you are a homeowner looking to remodel or simply update your home, make plans to attend the Home Improvement Expo this weekend, January 10 – 12, 2014.

This Friday, Saturday, and Sunday homeowners from all over will come together at the Kentucky International Convention Center to visit with the most knowledgeable and experienced remodeling and building professionals. These experts will showcase the latest innovations and design trends for everything in the home from the smallest of details to the most expansive renovations. The home show will include things in all aspects of the home, inside and out, such as:

Home Improvement Expo

    • Countertops
    • Cabinetry
    • Home automation technology
    • Basement finishing
    • Sunrooms & Additions
    • Windows, doors, and roofs
    • Landscaping
    • Waterproofing & Insulation

…and MUCH more!!

Whether you are in the beginning stages of just considering, or simply wishing for, change around your home, or you have already started some remodeling projects the Home Improvement Expo is the perfect place to find inspiration and learn what it will take to bring your ideas to life.

Tickets to the show are $5 for adults, and admission for children under 18 is free. For more information, directions, and hours click here to visit the official home show website.

Houzz: The Social Site For Home Enthusiasts

Interior Design

Social media is a great way to connect, but sites like Facebook and Pinterest are packed full of all different kinds of people posting all different kinds of things. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a social site dedicated solely to real estate and home design? Good news! There is!

Houzz is similar to Pinterest where all kinds of home photos are posted by those with a passion for design and renovation. The site is related to Facebook as well as users can engage in discussions and conversations through forums or comments. The site’s name “Houzz” comes from a combination of “house” and “buzz” and has already attracted more than 15 million monthly users! The site is truly an outlet for passionate, proud, or aspiring homeowners to share their ideas, engage with others, and find inspiration for remodeling or design projects.

Luckily, the invitation has been extended to real estate professionals when, in March, Houzz launched a category specifically for those working in the field. Many real estate agents have found the site an excellent and unique way to connect with their clients, inspire them about homeownership, and help them better visualize the potential of properties. The wide collection of photos on Houzz includes many before and after images, displaying how remodeling and design can make such a drastic transformation. What a great way to help clients avoid being distracted by aesthetics!—an all too common problem for many home buyers. In addition to chatting on discussion forums, or collecting photos on Houzz to create “ideabooks” to share with clients, real estate agents can also use the site to showcase their own work by posting photos of homes they just listed, recently sold, helped stage, or anything that shows their real estate expertise and enthusiasm.

For anyone excited about home design, renovation, and exploring different styles and trends, Houzz is for you! Join today and let us know what you think!

Source: Tracey, Melissa Dittman. “Welcome to the Houzz.” Realtor Magazine. http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and design/feature/article/2013/09/welcome-houzz 

Keep Your Home Organized This School Year

The new school year is officially in full swing! Finally you have time during the day to get things done and maybe even enjoy some peace and quiet! But along with this daytime bliss, often comes afternoon chaos. The kids barge through the door like an out of control tornado, tossing backpacks and jackets onto the couch, kicking shoes off at the bottom of the stairs and in front of doors, and your kitchen counter is suddenly swimming in a pile of school handouts, graded papers, and homework assignments. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself looking around and asking, “What. Just. Happened?!”

Your home does not need to be a victim of this school year, with some creativity and some discipline you can maintain a tidy and organized home.

1. Create a Filing System for School Papers

School

Make a binder for each child you have in school, labeling it with their name and the school year or grade they are in. Use this binder to store any handouts sent home from school that you may need to reference throughout the year. For even better organization, use tabs to separate different groups. This binder can be used to collect things like:

– Course schedules
– Classroom rules
– School calendars
– Report cards and progress reports
– Newsletters
– Event flyers
– Lunchroom menus

3. Set Up Assigned Cubbies or Hooks

Kids get excited about having lockers at school because it’s a space of their own. Recreate this idea at home by designating an area for each child to store their backpacks, shoes, jackets, and lunchboxes and encourage them to decorate and personalize the space. A good rule is to have your kids put their stuff away before doing anything else. This will help control the mess and keep things from getting misplaced or lost.

4. Keep a Wall Calendar for Everyone to See78401094

From hurrying out the door in the morning to rushing to get the kids fed, bathed, and in bed at night it is so easy to forget things. Keep a weekly or monthly calendar on the wall that you will be sure to see every day. Use this calendar to record things like doctor appointments, sporting events, after-school activities, field trips, etc. This will help you stay prepared for upcoming occasions and ensure everyone is where they are supposed to be when they need to be.

2. Use Storage Bins to Collect Keepsakes

It is neat to see your student’s progress throughout the year, but putting every returned assignment up on the fridge or in a pile on the counter can create a serious clutter problem. Use a bin labeled with your child’s current grade to store returned assignments, artwork, projects, and awards after you’ve displayed them for the whole family see. Remember that you do not have to keep every single worksheet or quiz, just a few items that will be fun for you and your student to look back on.

With your already full and chaotic schedule, you may think there is simply no time for these organizational tasks. However, when done regularly, these responsibilities can become second nature to you and ultimately save you time.  As a good rule of thumb, when the kids are doing their homework, you do yours! Take the time each day to sort through anything the kids have brought home and put each item in their rightful place.

Five “Must-Do” Home Staging Techniques

To sell your home quickly, staging is a must! But you don’t have to spend a fortune to get your house showcase ready. These 5 simple tips can make a huge difference to buyers and may only cost you a can of paint and some elbow grease.

De-Clutter and Depersonalize72984037

During a showing home buyers are there to see your house, not your stuff. A cluttered home is a red flag to buyers that storage space is lacking and distracts buyers from actually seeing the home’s true space and potential. It is also important to remember that buyers are looking for a house that feels like home to them. Family pictures and other personalized items can make it difficult for buyers to picture the home as being their own. Many people have found renting a storage unit to store access furniture and clutter is worth every penny, given their house sold for a higher price and much quicker than expected.

Appeal to ALL Buyers With Gender- & Age-Neutral Décor

Staging Tip: Use gender and age neutral decor to appeal to all home buyers

When selling your home remember that you don’t know exactly who you are selling to. Keep things neutral and simple so the home will appeal to buyers whether they are male or female, a young bachelor or a retired couple. Think of how hotel rooms are decorated, neutral and clean. Paint the walls a soft, neutral hue and use simple bed coverings and curtains. Bold wall colors can be overwhelming and make a space appear smaller than it is, and patterns like floral or camouflage can be too strong and unappealing to certain buyers.

Use Furniture to Show Purpose and SpaceStaging Tip: In an open concept floor plan, use furniture to create separation to show purpose and space

When touring your home, potential buyers will be looking primarily at how they will be able to use the space and rooms. Clear all clutter and excess furniture and arrange furnishings to reflect how functional a space is. To avoid buyers becoming confused by extra rooms, give each room a clear purpose. For example, place a desk and bookshelf in a room to stage it as a home office. Open-concept layouts can also leave buyers puzzled when thinking about what to do with one large space. Group furniture to create sections; use couches and chairs to act as walls do and face them away from the dining table. Position furniture to make the traffic flow in a room practical and obvious.

Clean, Clean, & Then Clean Some More!

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Prospective buyers are going to look at every room up and down, right to left, inspecting places you wouldn’t expect. Polish your appliances, clean inside cabinets and drawers, dust ceiling fans, vents, and blinds, you should even make sure your dishwasher and washer and dryer are empty and clean. Whether you decide to clean yourself or hire professional help, a clean house is vital. It gives buyers the impression that the home has been well maintained and cared for.

Don’t Forget Curb AppealCurb Appeal

Just like many people judge a book by its cover, many buyers judge a house by its curb appeal.  It is their first impression of the home and determines what kind of attitude buyers will have when entering your house. Poor exterior appearance can cause a buyer to right off the bat become doubtful and incapable of having an open mind. Major landscaping is not always necessary, but the lawn should looked nicely manicured with a fresh mow, trimmed hedges, raked leaves, and swept porches, decks, and walkways. A coat of paint on the front door and porch railings can also get the home looking clean and new.

Top 10 Remodeling Projects

Remodeling projects yielding the greatest return on investment in the Kentucky and Southern IN market.  WINDOW REPLACEMENT (VINYL) Cost: $11,308; Resale Value: $6,752; Cost Recouped: 59.7% WINDOW REPLACEMENT (WOOD) Cost: $12,315; Resale Value: $7,297; Cost Recouped: 59.2% ATTIC BEDROOM Cost: $50,205; Resale Value: $36,473; Cost Recouped: 72.6% SIDING REPLACEMENT (VINYL) Cost: $11,363; Resale Value: $7,305; Cost Recouped: 64.3% DECK ADDITION (WOOD) Cost: $10,187; Resale Value: $6,755; Cost Recouped: 66.3% MAJOR KITCHEN REMODEL Cost: $56,916; Resale Value: $32,992; Cost Recouped: 58.0% MINOR KITCHEN REMODEL Cost: $19,575; Resale Value: $12,865; Cost Recouped: 65.7% BASEMENT REMODEL Cost: $61,767; Resale Value: $35,375; Cost Recouped: 57.3% GARAGE DOOR REPLACEMENT Cost: $1,501; Resale Value: $948; Cost Recouped: 63.1% ENTRY DOOR REPLACEMENT (STEEL) Cost: $1,211; Resale Value: $849; Cost Recouped: 70.1%  Source: Cost vs. Value Report 2012 by NAR and Remodeling magazine.  Semonin.com

Make Your Home the Talk of the Block!

4 Quick and Inexpensive Ways to Enhance Curb Appeal

‘Tis the season to go for a morning jog or afternoon stroll, sip iced tea on the front porch, mow the lawn and grow the garden, and teach the kids to ride their bikes. Warm weather has arrived and everyone is outside enjoying the fresh air, admiring the colors of spring, and—whether you like it or not—noticing the exterior appearance of your home.

Improving the outside look of your home doesn’t have to require a full-blown, expensive makeover. The easiest and slightest improvements can make a huge difference in your home’s curb appeal.

Front DoorPaint the front door.

Your front door is a major focal point of your home. Whether you use a bold red or a subtle blue, simply giving it a pop of color can make the entire house look fresh and vibrant.

HardwareUpgrade the hardware.

Old light fixtures and dull house numbers can make the entire house seem just that: old and dull. By replacing old hardware, or even sprucing up what you have with a little spray paint, your home can have a more polished look. Choose hardware of similar styles and colors to create a neat, uniform look.

Window BoxesInstall window boxes.

You don’t have to be a gardener to add flowers to your curb appeal. Window boxes offer a quick and easy way to add color and charm to your home’s exterior.

House lightsAdd illumination.

Lighting the outside of you home will give it a nighttime glow that will provide your home’s curb appeal with a welcoming and elegant ambiance  and also serve as a safety feature. This technique can spotlight certain features of your home’s exterior décor and add dimension. Adding this effect does not have to require complicated wiring or electrical work. Lining the shrubbery or the path to your front door with solar lights that simply stake into the ground is a quick and easy installation.

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