Clever Ways to Add or Boost Attic Storage

 

When it comes to extra storage an attic is a wonderful place. There many different ways in which you can turn your attic into a place that provides loads of storage despite its sloped ceiling. So, take a look at the ideas below and hack your attic for boosting storage:

 

1. Design The Walk in Closet of Your Dreams Inside The Attic


Image via: attic works

2. Build Benches with Storage Drawers


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3. Install a Built in Bed With Storage Drawers and Shelves


Image via: simplicity in the south , houzz

4. Build a Bookcase in Place of The Stairway Railing


Image via: modern home tours , elephant buffet

5. Create Storage Inside a Knee Wall


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6. Build Modular Shelving Along The Walls


Image via: houzz

7. If You Want to Create a Bunk Room in The Attic Then Add Bookcases at The End of The Bunk Beds


Image via: thrifty decor chick

8. Install a Pull Out Wardrobe or Drawers in The Under-Eaves Space


Image via: jerosch , houzz

9. Build a Bookcase with a Bench and Create a Cozy Reading Nook That Can Store Your Books Too


Image via: freddy and petunia

10. Invest in Free Standing Storage Solutions Depending Upon The Size and Storage Requirement of Your Attic


Image via: houzz

4 Things First-Time Homebuyers Need to Know

My wife and I are hoping to be first-time home-buyers this year. We’ll likely blow our savings on the down payment and closing costs. What’s the best way to handle the costs for home renovations? Private loan? Just wait a year or two for our savings to replenish some? –Brian & Emily, Jersey City

Congratulations on your adventure into becoming homeowners.

Buying a home is likely the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, and it’s not always an easy one.

Low inventory has pushed home prices up in cities throughout the country, giving sellers an advantage. Homes sell fast, bidding wars break out and offers above the asking price are common.

All of this means that buyers need to be on their game and have their finances in order before entering the market.

Here’s what experts said first-time buyers need to know:

 

1. What you can actually afford

Before buyers start their house hunt, it’s important they know how much they can afford to spend.

“Start with a plan,” said Chantel Bonneau, a financial adviser at Northwestern Mutual. “Don’t let your imagination take over and don’t let what you see from friends’ houses drive your budget.”

Buyers should list out all of their monthly expenses. Don’t forget to include items like groceries, transportation, and discretionary spending, like gym memberships and nights out.

Related: Should real estate be part of my retirement plan?

A general rule of thumb is that housing costs shouldn’t take up more than 30% of your before-tax income.

But experts said that the percentage can vary, especially if you have other debts, like student loans or car payments.

Spending too much on monthly housing payments can leave homeowners house poor, and unable to afford other expenses — like saving for retirement.

“A home is not a good excuse to be reckless with the rest of your financial situation,” said Bonneau.

In competitive markets, it’s common for buyers to get pre-approved for financing to get a leg up. But experts said that just because a bank approves you for a certain amount, it doesn’t mean that’s what you should spend. Stick to a price limit you’re comfortable with.

 

2. You need a buffer

While it may be tempting to throw everything you’ve got at your offer to stay competitive, experts recommended having at least some money left over after you close on a home.

“If buying a house takes your checking account down to $1,000, it’s probably too expensive,” said Bonneau.

Experts advised having at least three to six months in savings the day you become homeowners. One reason is that you’ll need emergency savings now more than ever.

 

“You don’t want a flat tire or a deductible on a medical plan to throw you into financial turmoil,” said Bonneau. “When you are a homeowner, you have a lot more things that can go wrong.”

If a home purchase leaves you with no liquidity, it might be worth considering waiting to increase your savings or lowering your price point, advised Neil Krishnaswamy, a certified financial planner with Exencial Wealth Advisors.

homebuyers brian emily
Brian and Emily are looking to buy their first home.

3. The true cost of owning a home

The down payment tends to be the biggest financial hurdle to owning a home, but there are many other costs that pop up along the way: appraisal, origination, credit report and notary fees can all add up.

And the costs don’t stop just when the keys are handed over. There’s the move, new furniture and costs like lawn care and utility payments that former renters might not be used to paying.

“I don’t know if anyone truly understands the total cost of owning a home,” said Krishnaswamy. “Things just continually come up that you want to do, either buy something to fill a room or fix or improve something. Most people underestimate the cost.”

4. Renovations are not as seen on TV

Buying a fixer-up might allow you to snag a bigger home or afford one in a more desirable area, but experts warned there are huge risks.

“Know that it is always more expensive than what you are imagining … or what you see on TV,” said Bonneau.

If a home needs renovations, factor that into the total cost of buying, recommended Krishnaswamy.

A private loan is an option to finance the project, but can be difficult to secure, especially after just taking out a mortgage.

If your home appraises for more than you purchased it for, you could have the option of tapping your equity to help pay for renovations.

There are some mortgage options that include renovation expenses. For instance, 203k FHA loan allows homebuyers to finance the sale and rehabilitation on a single mortgage.

Another option is asking a friend or family member for a loan.

“If you are trying to secure the best low-rate loan, look at those closest to you, but be mindful of your relationship status if you can’t pay back the loan,” said Krishnaswamy.

Simple Steps to Secure Your Home Before You Go

If you are planning to go away for a week on vacation or on a business trip, one of the most important things you should do is ensure your home is safe while you are not there. Here are some simple but essential tips you can use to help you keep your property more secure while you are away.

 

 

Lock All the Doors and Windows

Preventing burglary starts with the basics. When you leave your home, make a final check of all the doors and windows to ensure they are shut and locked.

It won’t take more than a few minutes, but it will be the best protection for your home, and you’ll also have more peace of mind when you go away because you know that you locked up.

Arrange for a Neighbor to Visit

Arrange for a trusted neighbor to pop over to your home once every few days to clear up any mail. Stuffed letterboxes are one of the clearest signs that no one is home, and this can attract burglars.

The United States Postal Service offers a service where you can put a hold on your mail while you’re on vacation, and you can arrange this up to 30 days before you leave. Check whether it is available where you live by clicking here.

Your neighbor can also look for other problems such as water leaks which, left alone, could cause serious problems. And depending on how long you go away for, they might also be able to mow the lawn and trim the hedge so that it does not look like no one is home.

They might also agree to park their car in your driveway so it looks like someone is living there.

Set Up a Smart Alarm System

An alarm system can give you more peace of mind when you go away on a trip. Modern security systems are affordable and provide excellent security.

You might want to look for a system that not only includes an alarm but also includes an internet-connected camera so that you can actually watch the live feed of your home while you are away. Some systems can even send you a mobile alert when there is suspicious activity.

There are many systems to choose from, so learn more about security systems here and decide on the right option for your home.

Other Tips for a Safer Home

As well as the above, there are other steps you can take to secure your home while you are away. For example, you can invest in timer switches for your lights so that a light turns on every night and makes it look like you are in.

Also, don’t forget to lock up the garage. These can be tempting for thieves because security is often not as good, and burglars could also use tools from the garage to break into your home.

Finally, don’t advertise the fact that you’re away from home on social media. Thieves are smarter than ever, and if you are telling everyone that no one is home, this could be the perfect invitation.

Keep Your Home Safe While You’re Away

These are some of the most important steps to take while you are away from your home for any length of time. They are all simple, but they can really help to keep your home secure, and they can also give you more peace of mind so you can enjoy your trip more.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage and Roof Leaks?

By Margaret Heidenry

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Whether you’re dealing with a slow leak in the basement or a steady drip from a hole in the roof, water can wreak havoc on your home—and your bank account. Once the water recedes, one of the first questions you’ll have is whether your homeowners insurance covers water damage and roof leaks. Well, we have you covered with the answers below.

Is water damage covered?

In a word, yes! A standard homeowners insurance policy will cover water damage and roof leaks unless they’re the result of gross negligence on your part. Even if the roof leak is caused by a windstorm or a tree crashing through the shingles, you’re covered.

Roof leaks are typically covered if a windstorm damages a home and creates an “opening” in the roof, says Stacey A. Giulianti, a lawyer in Boca Raton, FL. Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover any “preventable” damage to a property, so the key here is determining if the leak is caused by a sudden and unexpected event. For example, rain that drips in through a pre-existing hole is generally not a covered loss, because the insurance company would likely say you should have fixed the hole.

If a broken or frozen pipe turns your basement into a swimming pool, you can file a claim with your homeowners insurance and the policy will cover damages. Of course, each policy’s terms may include specific coverages and exclusions, so always read the fine print.

When is water damage not covered?

Water damage due to sewage and drain backups generally requires additional insurance coverage beyond a standard policy, says Joe Vahey, vice president and product manager at Erie Insurance.

Say your rain gutters are clogged because you haven’t cleaned them. With nowhere to go, water flows down the sides of your home and pools around the foundation, causing interior water damage.

“This type of claim, known as seepage, is a maintenance issue and often isn’t covered under your home insurance policy,” says Vahey. That’s because the damage is due to neglect that could have been prevented through proper home maintenance. Damage caused by manufacturing defects in your roofing material or installation errors are also not covered.

Another type of water damage homeowners insurance policies specifically exclude is that from flooding caused by a natural disaster (e.g., a hurricane). But you can purchase a separate flood policy.

Flood insurance premiums are pricey, however, and depend on the risk of flooding in the area where your house is located as well as the value of the home and its contents, says Thomas J. Simeone of Simeone & Miller in Washington, DC.

How to protect yourself from hidden costs

According to a study by Erie Insurance, nearly 27% of homeowners mistakenly believe their insurance will pay for damage that occurs to their roof through normal wear and tear. So proper home maintenance (clean your gutters!) and routine inspection (check and maintain your roof!) can go a long way to ensure any pooling water and roof leaks are caught early and fixed. If left unchecked, bigger—and potentially damaging—problems are likely to occur.

9 innovative gadgets that will make cleaning your home so much easier

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Is anyone actually this happy when they vacuum? didesign021/Shutterstock

Like working out, cleaning often feels more rewarding after than during the act itself. In fact, studies have even shown a link between clutter and elevated stress levels.

So if you can’t motivate yourself to start, or if you’re overwhelmed from cleaning advice like this three-wave system or this decluttering how-to with a cult following, you’re not alone.

Thankfully, hands-free options exist, and they’ll let you reap all the benefits of cleaning without lifting a finger. From a $10 air purifier to high-tech robotic vacuums, there’s something for everyone on this list of home cleaning gadgets.


 

This bright ball of fur rolls around collecting dust and dirt, thanks to a feat of Japanese engineering.

this-bright-ball-of-fur-rolls-around-collecting-dust-and-dirt-thanks-to-a-feat-of-japanese-engineeringThese double as a fun pet toy. GadgetFlow

The Mocoro Robot Cleaning Ball will roll freely around your apartment or home, trapping dust and dirt in its microfiber fur as it goes. Powered by three AA batteries, the ball changes direction whenever it hits something in its path, so it won’t get stuck under a couch or cabinet. It also has an internal timer that stops it from moving after 15 minutes; to keep the robot going, simply give it a gentle nudge or kick.

Judging from online reviews, this cleaning ball will also double as a fun toy for your cat or dog. Luckily, its fur coat — the ball’s, not your pet’s — can be easily removed and is machine washable.

Mocoro Robot Cleaning Ball, $37.19


 

This robotic mop scrubs your floors while looking like the top half of a delicious macaron.

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It will also release soothing scents as it cleans. Amazon

Another adorable Japanese invention, the Mopet Robot Mop comes in brown or pink and is only 8 inches wide — perfect for squeezing in and out of those hard-to-reach spots around your home.

Despite its small size, this mop will run for six hours in convenient, ten-minute bursts. Like the Mocoro Cleaning Ball, this robot’s microfiber fur coat rids your floors of dust and dirt and can be easily removed and machine washed.

You can also use the included stickers to customize your Mopet, or add an essential oil to the robot’s aroma tray to diffuse soothing scents throughout your home.

Mopet Robot Mop, $37.19


 

This automatic self-cleaning litter box literally does the dirty work for you.

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Who wants to clean the litter box? RobotShop

Compared to dogs, cats are a great, low-maintenance option if you’re looking for a fluffy companion. Regardless, no one enjoys cleaning out litter boxes, much less having their house (or, in NYC, tiny apartment) reek of cat pee.

While this self-cleaning litter box doesn’t come cheap, its patented sifting process — which separates waste from clean litter — may be worth the splurge. All you have to do is empty the carbon-filtered (read: odor neutralizing) drawer and refill the litter about every seven to 10 days.

However, don’t just take my word for it: If you’re not convinced by its many reviews, the Litter-Robot also comes with a 90-day Money Back Guarantee, so you can see for yourself if it’s a worthwhile investment.

Litter-Robot II (Classic), $349


 

An affordable alternative to more high-end models, this robotic vacuum cleans your house in three different ways.

an-affordable-alternative-to-more-high-end-models-this-robotic-vacuum-cleans-your-house-in-three-different-ways

This guy has a pretty powerful vacuum. GearBest

With over 1,500 reviews and an average rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon, the ILIFE A4 Robot Vacuum Cleaner is designed to deep clean thin carpets, hardwood floors, and tile. Its three-step cleaning system consists of a powerful vacuum suction to pick up dirt, rotating blade brushes to clean carpet, and side brushes to dust hard-to-reach spots.

The A4 also has smart, infrared, and cliff sensors that allow it to dock and recharge automatically, navigate tight spaces, and avoid falling off ledges or stairs. On a full charge, the robot will run uninterrupted for two hours, leaving you free to kick back and relax.

ILIFE A4 Robot Vacuum Cleaner, $159.99


This high-performing robotic vacuum cleaner is designed to pick up pet fur and rid your home of allergens.

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Another great floor-cleaning option. Eufy

Like the ILIFE A4, the Eufy RoboVac 11 will deep clean your home at a price that won’t break the bank (at least compared to other models on the market). Unlike the ILIFE A4 however, the RoboVac has a HEPA-style filter that traps mold spores, dust mites, pet dander, and other microscopic allergens — making it the perfect option if you have pets or reoccurring allergies.

Just schedule one cleaning session per day, and this vacuum will use a combination of a rolling brush, side brushes, and powerful suction to clean your home for up to 1.5 continuous hours. Its low-profile design lets it clean where you can’t, its infrared sensors prevent it from colliding into furniture, and its self-charging feature lets you off the hook.

In fact, the RoboVac makes cleaning so easy and effortless, we’ve written about it once before.

Eufy RoboVac 11, $219.99


 

No list of hands-free home cleaning gadgets would be complete without a Roomba, and this model is a best-seller.

no-list-of-hands-free-home-cleaning-gadgets-would-be-complete-without-a-roomba-and-this-model-is-a-best-seller

No list is complete without the Roomba. Jonathan Chan/Reviewed.com

The Roomba has come a long way since its days as a DJ in Parks and Recreation. The number one best-seller of robotic vacuums in the US, iRobot has sold over 15 million robots worldwide since it launched its first model in 2002.

It’s easy to see why: The company’s top-selling model on Amazon, the Roomba 650 can automatically adjust to clean any floor type. With AeroVac™ Technology, its powerful vacuum will suck up everything from hair, to pet fur, to carpet fuzz, and more.

The Roomba 650 can also seamlessly weave around and under clutter and furniture, avoid falling off ledges, and automatically recharge between cleanings. Just preset the vacuum to clean your home up to seven times per week, and let the robot take care of the rest.

iRobot Roomba 650, $299.99


Specifically designed to pick up all types of hair, this high-end robotic vacuum has a special brush that quietly cleans your home.

specifically-designed-to-pick-up-all-types-of-hair-this-high-end-robotic-vacuum-has-a-special-brush-that-quietly-cleans-your-home

This is great if you have lots of hair around your home. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

There’s no doubt about it, Neato’s Botvac D85 robotic vacuum is an expensive investment.

What sets it apart from cheaper alternatives however, is its unmatched speed and efficiency. Using patented laser-guided technology, the Botvac D85 can scan any room and follow an optimized course — cleaning your home four times faster than most round models, even in the dark. Its precise edge cleaning side brushes and D-shape edges will also let it reach and clean the spots you can’t.

You can program the Botvac to clean your home daily or just push a button to have it clean one spot or multiple rooms on demand.

Neato Botvac D85, $499.99


Simple yet stylish, this small pouch offers a natural way to neutralize odors and absorb allergens from the air.

simple-yet-stylish-this-small-pouch-offers-a-natural-way-to-neutralize-odors-and-absorb-allergens-from-the-air

I was skeptical at first, too.Amazon

When I first found this small bag online last summer, I was more than just a little skeptical. But like the thousands of other pleasantly surprised customers on Amazon, I put a bag in my musty closet and woke up to find it significantly less smelly.

By no means can this pouch compare to an electronic air purifier, but it’s a fragrance-free, chemical-free, non-toxic, and extremely cheap alternative that actually works. The pouch’s bamboo charcoal composition allows it to absorb and remove unpleasant odors, allergens, and other harmful pollutants from the air. The key is to use it in small spaces like cars, closets, and bathrooms.

The best part is you can leave the bags out in the sun once a month to reactivate and reuse them for up to two years.

Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag, $9.95


 

Ideal for medium to large rooms, this 3-in-1 air purifier will remove odors, trap allergens, and kill airborne germs.

ideal-for-medium-to-large-rooms-this-3-in-1-air-purifier-will-remove-odors-trap-allergens-and-kill-airborne-germs

A life-changing gadget for anyone with allergies. Guardian Technologies

If you’re looking for a more high-tech air purifier that’s still reasonably priced, this Amazon best seller is probably your best bet. The Germ Guardian AC5000 features a True HEPA filter that captures 99.97% of dust and tiny allergens, recommended by doctors to reduce indoor exposure to allergy triggers.

The Germ Guardian also has a UV-C light that kills airborne bacteria, viruses, germs, and mold spores with titanium dioxide, as well as a charcoal filter that neutralizes odors.

GermGuardian AC5000E 3-in-1 Air Cleaning System, $124.11

WHEN TO BUY CHEAP FURNITURE, AND 9 OTHER HOUSEHOLD ESSENTIALS

Because we all love a sale.

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1 ~ OFFICE FURNITURE

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When To Buy: January

January is the ideal time to purchase office furniture because it will be on clearance. Not only do new furniture models debut in February, this is also the time when retailers target their bargains to entrepreneurs launching new businesses at the turn of the year.

2 ~ LINENS & BEDDING

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Best Time To Buy: February

While some may think February is a good time to binge on candy sales from Valentine’s Day (which it totally is), linens, towels and bedding are what you should be keeping an eye out for. With Presidents’ Day being February 19th, these items are always going to be on markdown at retailers like Bed, Bath and Beyond.

3 ~ LUGGAGE

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Best Time To Buy: March

March is commonly known as the best time to buy luggage. The reason they go on sale at this time is because they appeal to a broad range of buyers: business people, spring-breakers, adventure travelers, the cruise set, and upcoming graduates, according to Retailmenot.com.

4 ~ MATTRESSES

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Best Time To Buy: May

Memorial Day mattress sales are really a thing, according to CNBC. The retailers get their new models in, so the previous year’s mattresses are super cheap. Check out Casper, Overstock.com or Sleepy’s for popular styles.

5 ~ KITCHEN WARE

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Best Time To Buy: June

Saving on cookware and dishes are popular around June because it’s wedding season. But you don’t have to be tying the knot to get a good deal on household essentials.

6 ~ TOOLKITS

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Best Time To Buy: July

With Father’s Day just passing in June, July is a great time to capitalize on the toolkit sales from all home improvement stores, such as Home Depot and Lowe’s.

7 ~ LAPTOPS & DESKTOP COMPUTERS

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Best Time To Buy: August

August is back to school time for the kids, but everyone should be looking forward to it, especially if you’re in the market for a laptop or a desktop computer.

8 ~ AIRLINE TICKETS FOR HOLIDAY TRAVEL

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Best Time To Buy: September

September is a good month to buy many things, since retailers are trying to clear out space for the upcoming holiday season. And while it doesn’t take up any room on store shelves, cheap holiday airfare is the thing to keep an eye on during this month. The best time to purchase your flights are about eight weeks ahead of your trip, according to Cheapism.com.

9 ~ CAMPING GEAR

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Best Time To Buy: October

For all the outdoors lovers out there, October is your month to get a deal as it is the perfect weather for camping. The go-to places for sales, according to Today.com, L.L.Bean and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

10 ~ TVS

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Best Time To Buy: November

It’s no secret that the biggest shopping day for deals is Black Friday. So if you are willing to face the madness, this is the best time to go, Consumer Reports says.

Fearless DIYers in a “Flipped” Portland House

Name: Tim and Kelly Fischer
Location: SE Portland, Oregon
Size: 1,650 square feet
Years lived in: Owned 4 years

After making offers on six other houses in Portland’s competitive real estate market, Tim and Kelly and their nine-year-old twin daughters Isabelle and Olivia were thrilled to finally have a home to call their own. The house they bought had just been “flipped” in a style that wasn’t necessarily theirs, but the Fischers saw an opportunity to make the new space the perfect cozy home for their family.

Kelly has great style and is also a fearless DIY-er. She inherited these traits from her mom, who is a multi-talented designer, and the person Kelly calls “a constant inspiration.” The family got right to work removing a main wall of the home to create the open living area they desired. Kelly also took on electrical work in her new home, switching out unattractive light fixtures, and designed and constructed custom furniture and built-ins herself.

Kelly and Tim are avid world travelers, and mementos and photographs from their many trips are displayed throughout their home. “Seeing how the rest of the world lives helps us appreciate what we have, and gives us ideas on how to better utilize our space.” Their cozy Portland bungalow is filled with plants, vintage finds, Kelly’s handmade furniture, and souvenirs from their travels. It feels like a nice place to come home to after a long trip.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: We try to fill our home with eclectic pieces. Keeping it simple and neutral, so it’s easier to mix it up with smaller accessories. When we travel we bring back unique things to give our home character and meaning. We like it better when there’s a memory behind something.

Inspiration: Traveling — seeing how the rest of the world lives helps us appreciate what we have, and gives us ideas on how to better utilize our space. My mom has been doing this for years — she is a constant inspiration.

Favorite Element: Our bungalow is pretty tiny so we tore down a wall to create a more open-concept space between the dining and living room.

Biggest Challenge: We have a lot of trouble with our low ceilings and organizing our home to make it interesting, but keeping it low on clutter.

What Friends Say: “There’s always something interesting to look at — unique surprises in every room.”

Biggest Embarrassment: Our house was a flip, and the previous owner installed cheap carpet everywhere.

Proudest DIY: I have two! Our headboard my mom and I made from reclaimed cedar that was originally milled from my parents’ property. The other is the built-in shelving in our living room — I assembled and installed it
myself.

Biggest Indulgence: I’ve spent the most on good lighting, which is, admittedly, an addiction.

Best Advice: Decorating a home doesn’t have to be costly. If you have the resources and time to dig, you will be rewarded.

Dream Sources: If Emily Henderson outfitted my house, I might die.

Resources:

PAINT & COLORS
When we moved in everything was beige- which was fine, but not quite our style. We went with a few light grey shades from Sherwin Williams to keep it neutral and reflect our taste.
“Silverplate” by Sherwin Williams

 

ENTRY/HALLWAY
Industrial bar — Camas Antiques
Bar sign – Letters from Far Away Hood
Reclaimed cabinet – Homegoods
Rustic mirror – Brought back from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
MCM lamp – Thrift store find
Aiden etagere – World Market
Wood gallery frames – Pottery Barn

 

LIVING ROOM
Ektorp sofa — Ikea
Built-in shelving — Ikea Billy series
Square bar hairpin legs — Modern Legs
Framed watercolor city maps — Summit Ridge
MCM Chairs – Craigslist
Vintage kilim rug – Family heirloom
Sheepskins- Ikea
Throw Blanket- Seek & Swoon

 

 

DINING ROOM
Salt Chair — Design Within Reach
Walnut Dining Table- Craigslist
Faceted Lamp Base- Target
Wood Gallery Frames- Pottery Barn
Emery Linen/Cotton Drapes In Charcoal- Pottery Barn
Chandelier- Brought Back From Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Stereo Cabinet- Built By Me Using Reclaimed Cedar Siding And Vintage Peg Legs
Mcm Chair- Thrift Store Find

 

KITCHEN
Vintage Locker- Thrift Store Find
Butcher Block- Rescued From A Local Meat Market
Semi-Flushmount Lighting- The Rebuilding Center
Cloche Pendant- Restoration Hardware
Clock- Ikea

 

BEDROOM
Bentwood Pendant — West Elm
Bedside Lighting- Crate & Barrel
Mcm Walnut Dressers- Craigslist And Salvaged
Planter- Atelier Stella Ceramics
Geometric Shelves- My Mom Built Them Using Reclaimed Cedar Siding
Belgian Flax Linen Sheer Drapes In White- Pottery Barn
Mcm Table Lamp- Estate Sale Find
Crescent Mirror- Yard Sale Find
Throw Blanket- Seek & Swoon

 

BATHROOM
Framed Mirror- Ikea
Urban Barn Wall Sconce- Lamps Plus
Threshold Shower Curtain- Target
Stick Collection Painting- Riverluna

Thanks, Kelly and Tim!

 

5 OF THE BEST EXTERIOR HOUSE PAINT COLORS FOR SPRING

Goodbye, dark, primary shades — hello coastal colors and soft neutrals!

BY

Does your house need a facelift this spring? There’s nothing like a fresh coat of paint for instant curb appeal. Of course, a home’s exterior should reflect the style of the inhabitant (you!), but there are a few paint colors that are particularly pretty this time of year.

“It’s important to note that exterior paint color trends don’t shift as often as interior trends colors — exterior paint colors typically are chosen based on architectural style and geography,” says Dee Schlotter, senior color marketing manager at PPG Paints.

With that said, today’s homeowners seem to be ditching dark, primary hues in favor of cool coastal colors and soft neutrals that complement natural materials. Gray in particular is having a major moment because of its ability to blend into any setting, while still seeming sophisticated. First, a few things to consider when painting your house:

•The architecture. “When selecting color for the exterior of a home, rather than focus on what is “in” or “out,” look to colors that are appropriate for the architecture of the home and take into consideration the building materials used on the home,” says Andrea Magno, Benjamin Moore color and design expert.

•The surrounding houses. “I do recommend homeowners consider the neighborhood’s color palette to harmonize best with the environment,” says Sue Kim, Valspar color expert. “It’s best not to choose colors that are extreme, bright and bold to ensure they have a timeless exterior.”

•The power of neutrals. “When applied to exteriors, neutral color palettes can give a home a look of maturity, timelessness and integrity,” Schlotter says. Look for shades that are not too warm and not too cool.

Read on for five paint colors we’re loving this spring.

 

WHITE WITH BOLD ACCENTS

Courtesy of Benjamin Moore

You can’t go wrong with a classic. “To bring in accents of color that reflect your personal style or to add some personality to the exterior, use the front door as a colorful focal point,” Magno says. “Painting a house is a large project, so look to working on a smaller scale by painting a front door, which offers up the opportunity bring in a dash a color that can go a long way.”

Details: Benjamin Moore White Diamond OC-61, accented with Caliente AF-290 door and Harbor Haze 2136-60 shutters

 

BUTTERY YELLOW

PPG Paints

“Subtle yellows have the ability to breathe life into a home and can convey a friendly environment to guests,” Schlotter says. “A warm house is often perceived as more welcoming and family-oriented.” This buttery yellow will make guests feel instantly at home before they even step in the door. For contrast, opt for black shutters and white trim. But steer clear of overly bright yellows or neon shades, as they can easily clash or come off as aggressive and overpowering.

Details: PPG Paints Barely Butter PPG1205-3 house, accented with PPG Paints Blackhearth PPG1003-7 shutters and PPG Paints Sugar Soap PPG1084-1 trim

 

SKY BLUE

Courtesy of Benjamin Moore

“Working with colors inspired by the natural landscape creates an instant connection to the exterior of the home is always a good route to take, plus these colors will endure for years,” Magno says. “Also, the exterior of a house is a much larger scale than painting one room, so think about how a large amount of a color will look to avoid choosing a color that will be overly bright for the neighborhood.” Inspired by and named for the horizon, this pretty pastel blue (on the right) hits just the right now.

Details: Benjamin Moore Horizon OC-53 (right)

 

WARM GRAY AND GREEN

Gray is here to stay, Kim says. “I’ve noticed homeowners desire gray colors that complement their current exterior materials, such as stone or brick. I’ve seen a strong push for warm grays like 5006-2A Wet Pavement, which help balance the natural materials, as well as colorful neutrals like 5002-1B Smoke Infusion, which has a sense of sophistication.”

Details: Valspar 5002-1B Smoke Infusion, accented with 5008-3B Spearmint Shale and 7006-1 Wispy White trim

 

MOODY GRAY

Courtesy of Benjamin Moore

Don’t be afraid to go to the dark side, either. Just keep the trim and surrounding landscaping light and airy, as seen here.

Details: Benjamin Moore Iron Mountain 2134-30 accented with Secret AF-710 trim

The Quick Home Inspection Checklist: What to Look for When Buying a Home

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Whether you’re a first-time home buyer, or starting to look around for a new one, it always helps to know what to look for when buying a house. There are numerous red flags that can pop up while checking out a home, sometimes it’s the state of the foundation, other times it’s the quality of the appliances. To help you spot them, we’ve put together a few tips and a quick checklist to use when buying a home.

Before You Go House Hunting

 

Find a Real Estate Agent With High Ratings
Use real estate forums and directories, such as Zillow, to find agents with good reputations in your area. You may also consider hiring an Exclusive Buyer’s Agent, a real estate agent who specializes in working with home buyers, rather than sellers.

 

 

Look at the Local School Districts
If you plan to start a family, it’s good to know the quality of the local schools beforehand. There are numerous sites that track school performance, providing a relatively accurate picture of the quality of local schools:

Your Quick Home Inspection Checklist

During the initial home tour, you should mark down specific areas of the house that you want your inspector to examine more closely. Use the checklist below to guide you as you take a look through the house.

Exterior:

Roof/Attic:

o Are there shingles missing?
o Is there flashing and trim installed?
o Are there any signs of leaks?
o When will the roof need to be replaced?

Foundation:

o Are there visible cracks on the outside walls?
o Are there any trees near the foundation?

Yard:

o Does the drainage slope away from the house?
o Are there any soggy areas you can identify?
o Are the walkways and driveway in good condition?

Interior:

Appliances: (If included)

o Do the appliances appear to be well-maintained?
o What are the ages of the:

Refrigerator? ___
Dishwasher? ___
Oven? ___

o Are there any leaks under the sinks (bathrooms and kitchen)?

Structural Elements:

o Has there previously been a fire in the home?
o Do the walls show vertical or horizontal cracks?
o Are there any stains on the floors, walls or ceilings?

Ventilation and Sub-Systems:

o Does the house smell? Can you identify the source?
o Do the heating and AC systems appear to be working?
o Does the water heater produce enough hot water?
o Is there a working exhaust fan in the kitchen?

Miscellaneous:

Electrical:

o Do all the switches work?
o Is each outlet properly grounded?
o Do the ceiling fans work?
o Has the electrical panel been recalled?

Plumbing:

o Are there any unusual noises?
o Do the faucets and other fixtures have enough pressure?

Garage:

o Check all of the following elements for signs of damage or wear:

 Slab
 Walls
 Ceiling
 Vents
 Garage Door
 Lights
 Openers
 Windows
 Roof

 

After the Tour

Hire a Home Inspector
After you’ve toured the house, you’ll need to hire an inspector to give the house a more thorough inspection. Most real estate agents will recommend one to you, but you could also go out there and find one yourself.

 

 

Start by looking up inspectors near you using the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) directory, or your preferred local services platform, such as Angie’s list. You will want to find someone with three to five years of full-time experience, and who can also provide proof of licensing (requirements may vary by state) and insurance (both general liability and errors and omission coverage). These are the inspectors who will know what to look for when you’re buying a house.

 

 

Read Through the Inspection Report
The inspection should take no more than three or four hours, after which you will have a full report to pour over (an example of which can be found here). Any potential problems will be noted on the report – usually with pictures included. Bear in mind that any home is going to have issues. The key is to identify the costliest problems before signing, and using that information to either renegotiate the selling price or walk away.

The most common problems identified on a home inspection checklist include:

  • Faulty Wiring: Wires without wire nuts, open junction boxes.
  • Faulty Plumbing: Low water pressure, water stains on ceilings.
  • Poor Drainage: Soggy areas in the yard, leaks in basement.
  • Bad Gutters: Clogged gutters, basement dampness.
  • Foundation Flaws: Small cracks, sticking doors and windows.
  • Poor Maintenance: Chipped paint, worn shingles, cracked driveway.

All of these problems can be easily fixed with the right contractor, and shouldn’t be deal breakers. However, if any of the following problems are flagged in the report, you might want to have second or third thoughts:

  • The Roof Needs Replacing: The average cost of a roof replacement is $7,000.
  • The House Is in a Flood Zone: Use FEMA’s flood maps to determine if the home is at risk.
  • Major Foundation Issues: Hire a structural engineer to determine if those cracks are actually serious.
  • Aluminum Wiring: This type of wiring almost always needs to be replaced, a process that can cost thousands of dollars.

These are some of the most expensive repairs and conditions you will come across while house hunting. If any of these pop up during the course of your home inspection, be sure to consult with your real estate agent to see if the sellers can be convinced to pay for the repairs. For certain issues outside the home, such as flood zones, be prepared to pay for additional insurance coverage to mitigate your risk.

Don’t let those potential pitfalls deter you from making an offer on the home of your dreams. As long as you keep a checklist when buying a home, and heed the findings of your inspector, you’ll be able to make a fully informed decision.

Interior Design — Pretty Kitchen Makeover On A Budget

Designer Trish Johnston transforms a small family kitchen into a pretty space for a family with two little girls. See how she used glamorous finishes to add personality to every square foot.
Trish describes this bright and airy kitchen as a jewel box. To achieve this look, she painted the existing cabinetry in Benjamin Moore’s Cloud White (CC-40), replaced the countertops with a showstopping Calacatta marble and accessorized with brass and crystal hardware throughout. While the kitchen is small, Trish managed to fit an eat-in zone by extending the peninsula. A powdery shade of light blue on the cabinetry gives the space a dash of color, while an elegant patterned fabric on the blinds and upholstered stools offers an extra touch of opulence.

See the sources for this video here: https://houseandhome.com/video/tiny-k…