Pumpkin Spice Fall Decor

Pumpkin Spice Fall Decor

Get the most out of fall’s favorite accessory for your home.

The celebrated pumpkin spice latte is back in stores for the season. Jump on this fall trend by adding small but impactful touches to your home for a cozy and nostalgic fall.

Decor

Bring in fall colors to warm up your home. Incorporate deep reds, burnt orange, and rich pumpkin shades to usher in the fall spirit.

Add pumpkins in new and exciting ways, such as adding a table runner with Cinderella pumpkins and crystal wine glasses to draw in a warm ambiance. Add mini pumpkins of various colors to your tablescape as place settings, and use calligraphy to write each name on their appropriate pumpkin place holder.

A pumpkin spice painted front door is particularly effective for curb appeal. Or imagine sipping a pumpkin spice latte on a velvet burnt orange chaise lounge. If this seems far-fetched, start smaller and decorate your furniture with rich orange throw pillows or cushions with various textures.

Scent

When scenting your home, be careful to use only natural scents that won’t offend visitors with chemical sensitivities. For an easy stove-top aroma, add 1 cup water, a dash of vanilla extract and several dashes of pumpkin pie spice. Heat on low or place in open crockpot for a lingering pumpkin spice latte scent that will make your home cozy in an instant.

You can also create an aroma using your essential oil diffuser. If you don’t have a dedicated diffuser, you can add 1-2 drops to a light bulb when not in use. As the light warms up, the aroma will diffuse your pumpkin spice scent.

In a glass bottle, combine:
20 drops cinnamon essential oil
20 drops ginger essential oil
20 drops nutmeg essential oil
15 drops clove bud essential oil
5 drops cardamom essential oil

Taste

To create your own pumpkin spice latte, combine the following ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl:

1 cup milk product of choice
2 tblsp of pumpkin puree
¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice, plus more for the topping
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 tblsp sugar or sweetener of choice

Microwave 1-2 minutes or heat on the stove until the milk is hot. Then, whisk vigorously until the milk mixture is foamy. Pour the ¼ cup strong brewed coffee or hot espresso into your mug and add the milk mixture. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with more pumpkin pie spice.

Recipe courtesy of the Food Network.


No air conditioning? Beat the heat indoors with these 8 tips.

 

Not everybody in the Pacific Northwest has air conditioning, but there are ways to keep your home cool during the hottest days of summer. 

1) Utilize window treatments. Blinds and heavy blackout curtains keep the summer heat out while your fans work hard to keep you cool.

2) Close off unused rooms. Closing the doors will keep any cool air from entering, keeping it in the spaces you use the most.

3) Hack an A/C unit. Put a bowl of ice or an ice pack behind a fan to imitate a cool sea breeze.

4) Switch the bed up. Change your sheets to cotton and try a new buckwheat pillow. Buckwheat pillows don’t retain your body heat, keeping you cooler.

5) Go backwards. Set your ceiling fans rotating counter clockwise for optimum airflow.

6) Control your body temperature. Cave men survived without air conditioning, and you can too! Just remember, it doesn’t matter what the room temperature is, focus on controlling your body temperature. Consume cool drinks and apply a cool cloth at the back of your neck and on your wrists.

7) Outsmart your windows. Generate a cooling pressure current by opening the upper section of windows on the side of your home that falls downwind and simultaneously have the lower section of windows open on the side of your home that is upwind. You can increase the flow by placing a fan on the window pulling in air and a fan (backwards) on the downwind window pushing hot air out of the home. Hack an even cooler breeze by wetting a bedsheet and hanging it in front of the window bringing in a breeze.

8) Invest in window films. They work like blinds and reject up to 70% of the sun’s solar energy while also reducing glare.

Article courtesy ot Huffington Post.


Summer Home Staging Tips

 

Show off your home to potential buyers by embracing the longer hours and warmer weather, both indoors and outdoors. Make these simple tweaks to your home and stand out above the rest on the market this summer.

Outdoors:

Add curb appeal 

Give your house number a new stance. Painting your address on pots or planters can be a great way to show off your home in a modern way. If your tired concrete slab is showing age and is a little too worn for wear, try replacing with a sleek modern look in slate tile.

Lights, camera, outdoors!    

Highlight your backyard with unconventional outdoor lighting tricks to enhance the enjoyment. Utilize the ambiance and warmth of a fireside glow. Hardware and outdoor stores now sell up-lighting which can be placed under large potted plants to showcase your favorite blooms. Switch out standard small sconces with impactful colorful lamps. Tiny ‘fairy lights’ in mason jars are a good way to add subtle artsy ambiance to any backyard dining spot.

Play up water features

Backyard doesn’t boast a pool? Show how buyers can beat the summer heat by upgrading your outdoor oasis with a cooling/misting system under any porch, pergola or umbrella. Help visitors imagine relaxing in their new backyard with a good book, or soaking up the rays by creating a lounging area. You can even surround this outdoor hangout space with surround sound faux stone speakers for a natural look that rocks all night long.

Indoors:

Discourage dingy light

Bring light indoors by removing heavy winter drapes and if needed, use drawn back lightweight and light-colored curtains. Switch out throw pillows (both inside and out) for lighter and brighter colors.

Declutter

It is exceedingly important to declutter if your children are home on summer break. Make sure to utilize hidden storage to the fullest potential to keep clutter from view. Box up family pictures and mementos on the fireplace, it deserves a new summer look too. If wood burning, switch out logs in the fireplace with tall candles at various heights and add a large floral arrangement or colorful wreath above the hearth to bring a touch of the outdoors, in.

Don’t be a summer Scrooge 

If you have it, don’t skimp on air-conditioning come open house day. Although you may not be in the home during a showing, it’s important to keep the air at a comfortable level. Fill the sink with ice cubes and fill it with summer refreshments that encourage potential buyers to linger in the home longer.

Sources: HGTV.com and thebalance.com.


Using Portable Gardens for Curb Appeal

To make your home more attractive to buyers, plant fresh flowers, hang wreaths on doors, or put plants in containers to take your garden with you when you sell your home!

Containers can accent your home’s personality – use washtubs for a farmhouse look or colorful fired pottery for a bohemian vibe. They’re the perfect solution for styling an entry or walkway.

If you’re lucky enough to have a sizable front porch, use potted plants and furnishings to create a simple but inviting outdoor room. Add a comfortable bench or chairs to create a picturesque conversation nook.

For exterior design on a dime, install a pre-fabricated arbor or trellis to give form to your yard and complement your plantings.

Follow these easy tips to ensure your potted gardens thrive:

Pick the right container. A confined space means substituting what the plants would get if they were in the ground. You need to have enough space for plants to grow and proper drainage holes so your plants don’t become sodden.

Use fresh potting soil. Good potting soil doesn’t clump and allows roots to spread. It contains nutrients to give plants a good head start.

Group plants according to sun and water needs. A mix of cascading plants, tall leafy plants and various flowers make a beautiful composition. You can even mix in edibles like veggies and herbs, but make sure all the plants in one container require the same amount of sun and water.

Water frequently. Container gardens dry out quickly, especially smaller pots. Check that the container is draining properly and you don’t have to worry about overwatering. Water daily in warm weather.

Bigger is better. Larger containers hold more soil, allow plants to grow larger, offer more room for variety and require less frequent watering.


Sell your Home for More Money

Drastically increase the amount of money you make on the sale of your home with these eight easy tips.

1) Price it below market value.
List your home below the current market value; maybe even as much as 5-10%. As a homeowner, you may be reluctant to try this approach, but the results may surprise you. This can be highly effective, create a sense of urgency and drive in even more offers and buyers than you ever imagined.

2) Brighten up the bedroom.
Bring in as much natural light into the room as possible. If you can’t remember the last time you cleaned the windows in your house, now is the time–inside and out! Replace any burnt out light bulbs and bring in an extra lamp or two.

3) Clean out the closets.
Open up the closet doors, pull everything out, and get rid of 50% of the clutter. If winter has passed, pack away all of your winter clothes. When a buyer opens up the closet doors, they see the available closet space, and not an unorganized, overstocked storage area.

4) Paint the front door.
Don’t let an old, weathered door be a buyer’s focal point. Painting the front door can make a home feel more welcoming. By carefully choosing the right color, you can unexpectedly make your house stand out from the rest.

5) Enhance the landscaping.
To help give your home a boost in curb appeal, spruce up the landscaping around the front of your home. By carefully planning and doing your homework, you can achieve a nice upgrade on a small budget.

6) Stain the deck and driveway.
Staining your deck and driveway is a cost effective way to prolong the life of an area that takes a beating from the weather and heavy foot traffic. It will let the buyer know your home is properly maintained.

7) Paint the walls a neutral color.
Don’t let the color of your walls be the focal point of a room. It will be easier for a buyer to relate to a neutral wall color, and they won’t be distracted by a room that is bold or too loud.

8) Make kitchen improvements.
Kitchen improvements can yield high returns if done properly. Popular upgrades include resurfacing or replacing kitchen cabinets, adding a new backsplash, or replacing outdated countertops.

Article courtesy of garrettsrealty.com


Spring Home Staging Tips to Sell your Home

SpringHomeStagingTips

 

Spring brings the promise of a fresh start. It provides many opportunities for home staging and is a time when many buyers hone in on a home. Make your home attractive to buyers with these spring staging tips.

Fresh flowers for vibrant color

Flowers are an integral part of spring and should be added both indoors and outdoors. Freshly-cut flowers in reflective glass vases add an instant spring feeling to a home. Botanical prints and colors in yellow or light-green shades also give rooms a spring-like feel. Create bright flowerbeds to brighten landscapes and add curb appeal. Display floral paintings and décor to help spruce up properties for the season.

Natural scents

Scents have a great emotional impact on people, so it is important to integrate them into the home. Choose fragrances that evoke fresh and clean energy with aromatherapy diffusers, natural potpourri or candles. Citrus (orange, lemon, grapefruit), vanilla, lavender, and freshly-cut lilac flowers are good choices. Stay away from strong synthetic smells that might bother those with chemical sensitivities.

Cleaning is essential

Every inch of the home should tell buyers that it is in tip-top shape. Windows should be thoroughly cleaned, cobwebs removed, and musty odors banished. Declutter (inside and outside) to make the property airy, light, and spacious. Avoid putting junk into closets, as prospective buyers will think the property doesn’t have enough storage.

Spruce up the back door

The back door should be as beautiful as the front to give potential buyers the same cheerful feeling they got when they first entered the home. Containers of potted bulbs on the back steps, deck table, or grassy areas near the house can be used to add color to spaces that have not fully grown in. Display a spring-themed welcome sign or door mat for a cheery touch.

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Are You Making It Work?

A father answers a #GoodToAsk question from a real estate agent that leaves him thankful for his first home but ready for his second.


Spring Maintenance 101: Home Recovery from Winter Weather

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With spring almost here, it’s time to get outside (inside too!) and make sure every corner of your home is in tip-top shape. Here’s a checklist of tasks to tackle in the coming days and weeks.

Inside the House:

• Check the basement for water damage: Water can seep in through foundation cracks and other exterior crevices. Check the basement for a musty smell, water stains, and damp surfaces. If you find signs of water damage, walk around your house and check for cracks and crevices in the foundation.

• Inspect and repair sump pump: Test your sump pump and clean out any debris. If your pump runs on electricity, it’s smart to have a backup, battery-powered system for it. In the event of a power outage, you don’t want your sump pit to overflow.

• Clean air-conditioner and HVAC filters: In-wall air conditioners are pretty straightforward: Pull the filter out of the unit and spray it down. For HVAC systems, turn off the system; then locate the service panel to find the filter. If it’s reusable, rinse it, dry it and put it back. If not, replace it.

• Clean dryer vent and exhaust ducts: Unplug the clothes dryer, disconnect the hose from the vent in the back of the dryer, and clean out lint from both the hose and the vent using your vacuum cleaner’s crevice tool.

Outside the House:

• Check for signs of termites and other pests: Get outside and check for telltale signs of termites, which can cause serious damage to your home’s infrastructure. If you see insect wings, mud tubes or damage to wood on or around your home, contact a termite professional for an evaluation.

• Inspect and repair siding and peeling paint: Take a walk around the house to assess the entire exterior. Fix or replace damaged siding (or call in a pro to handle it). Strip peeling paint and replace it with a new coat.

Man cleaning the gutter• Clean gutters and downspouts: Time to get up on a sturdy ladder and clean the gutter system that runs along the perimeter of your roof. Gutters are there to catch water runoff from the roof, but they also catch leaves and other debris that lead to clogs. Also, make sure downspouts are positioned correctly,  to direct water away from your house. They should point about six feet away from the side of the house.

• Locate and fix roof damage: While you’re up near the roof, check for loose or buckling shingles and replace them. If you’re uncomfortable, hire an expert to climb up to get a better look.

• Fix cracked pavement: Winter’s elements can wreak havoc on concrete. Head to your local home improvement center to buy a concrete repair system.

• Check for window damage and replace caulking: Check windows from the outside to determine whether there’s any damage to the caulking, which seals out water, air and other elements. If any of it is loose or peeling, remove it and replenish with fresh caulk.

• Repair and seal the deck: Assess the damage your wooden deck has sustained throughout the winter (snow, ice, rain, cold temperatures). Locate and repair loose nails and screws, loose boards and wobbly stairs and railings. Hose down the deck, let it dry and then protect with a stain or sealer.

Article courtesy of ApartmentTherapy.com


Winterize Your Home

 

Spending a weekend or two on maintenance can prevent expensive home repairs and alert you to developing problems before they become serious. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for the winter season.

Clean Gutters

It’s imperative that your gutters are ready for the heavy workout they’ll receive from winter rains. Most homeowners in the Northwest will need to clean their gutters several times during the fall, because the leaves won’t be finished coming down until the first big winter rain or snowstorm.

Have your furnace checked and tuned up.

Schedule a fall appointment promptly to get your furnace ready for winter (it’s a good idea to have a biannual HVAC service contract so that fall and spring tune-ups are automatic). Find out what items are on your HVAC professional’s fall checklist and ask questions about any maintenance. The service should include checking fuel connections, burner combustion, and the heat exchanger.

Check your furnace filters monthly and change them whenever they’re dirty. Inspect and vacuum out the floor grates and return duct regularly, especially if you have children or pets.

Combat moss on the roof. 

Fall is the time to apply moss-killing granules or liquid solution to your rooftop. Be sure to buy the granules that are made especially for roofs, not those for lawns. Lawn granules contain iron, which will rust on your roof and make a mess. For even distribution, apply roof granules in a bead along each side of the roof ridge rather than sprinkling them all over; the first big rain wets the granules and spreads the moss-killing agent uniformly over the roof.

Check weatherstripping and caulk on doors and windows.

Walk around outside and examine the areas where window, door, and corner trim meets the siding; caulk any gaps. Open doors and check the condition of the weatherstripping. If the doors are drafty or the old weatherstripping foam is crumbling, remove it and apply new weatherstripping.

Disconnect hoses and winterize your lawn irrigation system.

These steps are important anywhere you experience freezing temperatures—keeping water from freezing in pipes prevents potentially expensive repairs.

If you have a lawn irrigation system, make sure all the water has drained from the system before the first freeze. Depending on the type of system you’ve installed, this may require the assistance of a professional. A pro charges $50 to $150 to winterize an irrigation system.

Visit your crawl space in January.

This is where moisture and drainage problems can cause the most damage. Because the summer is often so dry in the Northwest, standing water typically doesn’t show up in a crawl space until January or so, when the soil has been fully re-saturated. If you have standing water, try to pinpoint whether it’s coming from pipes inside the house or from water flowing in through cracks in the foundation.

Prune trees. 

Contact with trees is bad for roofs and siding; friction and trapped moisture shorten the lifespan of building materials. All major pruning should be done in winter, when trees are dormant.

Article courtesy of houselogic.com


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