Archive for the ‘Home decor’ Category

16 Tips to Cozy Up Your Spruce Grove Home

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

16 Tips to Cozy Up Your Spruce Grove Home | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County real estate | Barry TwynamOur unseasonably mild winter in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton region might have you wanting to fling open the windows to let in the bright sunshine and spring-like air, but not so fast! Experience reminds us there is still plenty of winter left, along with the need to keep your home warm and cozy.

Sure, you can crank up the thermostat, put on a warm sweater and brew multiple cups of hot chocolate, but why not try a few of these strategies to make your home snug and welcoming?

  1. No fireplace? No problem! Electric baseboard heaters have been around for years, but today wall mounted electric fireplaces available at stores such as the Home Depot, Lowe’s, Costco, Canadian Tire, even Amazon can provide wonderful ambiance and warmth in any room for a reasonable price. Or, for instant pretend warmth, turn on the fire log channel on your TV, or put on a fire DVD!
  2. During the day when the sun is shining, open curtains wide to let in the heat and light. Make sure your windows are sparkly clean to let in every drop!
  3. Seal air leaks in your home at doors and windows (check your weather stripping), as well as plug-ins on outside walls, the basement where cement meets wood frame, kitchen hood vent, etc.
  4. Block drafts during the cold winter nights by covering windows with double-insulated blinds or insulated drapes. Warm up the room in a surprising way by covering a whole wall in curtains. You won’t have to break the bank to do this either; Ikea has tons of brightly colored and patterned panels for very little money.
  5. Darker walls in a charcoal gray or a chocolate brown create a cozy, cave-like atmosphere. (Surprisingly, darker walls seem cooler in the summer too.) Or, paint your walls in soothing blues, greens, grays and beiges.
  6. Soften up your home with furniture upholstered in touchable fabrics such as chenille. Position the furniture away from outside walls, if you can. Add pillows in bright warm colors and faux fur throws to make your spaces inviting and welcoming. Add more softness with a big fuzzy rug and textured wall hangings. And a big furry cat to cuddle up with, if you’re so inclined!
  7. Put blankets on display using a quilt rack. No need to buy an expensive blanket display rack; an old wooden ladder will do.
  8. Bed cold? Switch to flannel sheets during the winter, and add an extra blanket or a down comforter. Use an old-fashioned hot water bottle or an electric heating pad to warm up the bed in the evening.
  9. Lots of light! Turn on table lamps with the newer LED bulbs that now come in warm hues reminiscent of soft incandescent light bulbs. Hang strings of light for glow and warmth. Light the candles too.
  10. Run your ceiling fans on the “winter” setting. This reverses the fans to move the warm air that has risen to the ceiling down into the room where its warmth is needed.
  11. Use the oven! Bake bread and cookies, roast a chicken, cook a casserole! Add warmth and a wonderful aroma. Or fake the warmth and homely goodness by simmering something sweet-smelling on the stove top.
  12. Books add comfort and character to any room. Good for acoustics too. Create a reading nook with a comfy chair, a big fluffy afghan and a good reading lamp.
  13. Dry winter air often makes a room feel chilly. Run your humidifier to add moisture and warmth.
  14. Lots of green plants and fresh flowers for increased oxygen and moisture will lend a soothing air and make your home cleaner too.
  15. Hang art that pleases you and display family photos.
  16. Soft soothing music!

 

If you’re looking to sell your home in the winter, a warm friendly atmosphere appeals to buyers!
Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Smartphone Apps for DIYers 2.0

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Smartphone Apps for DIYers 2.0 | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamWay back in June 2011 I posted a blog article about smartphone apps for do-it-yourself home owners in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region.  Three and a half years are a lifetime in tech terms but surprisingly, most of the apps I described in the article are not only still available but are even better than before.

Everybody who has a smartphone knows there are 1000s of apps out there for every possible topic. Where to find the best ones for DIYers? Start with LifeHacker’s article How to Make Your Smartphone the Most Important Tool in Your Toolbox. Then, take a look at these great articles that review the latest and greatest apps.

Home Improvement

Better Homes & Gardens: Don’t DIY Without These 9 Apps
Bob Vila: 5 Top Tool Apps for Your iPhone
Popular Mechanics: The 10 Best Apps for DIYers
Tom’s Guide: 10 Best Home Improvement and DIY Apps
Top 13 Best Android Apps for DIY Projects and Home Remodel Repair

Home Décor

Chatelaine: Six Must-have Smartphone Apps for Home Decorating and Renos
Huffington Post: 21 iPhone, iPad and Android Apps for Decorating, Home Repair, DIY and Crafts
Remodelista: The 12 Best Apps for Remodelers

Gardening and Landscaping

Best Android Apps for Gardening and Landscaping
Best Landscape Design Apps – iPad, iPhone & Android
The Dirt Farmer: 20 Smartphone Apps for the Plant Lover
NY Times: 20 Smartphone Apps for the Home and Garden
Top 5 Gardening and Landscaping iPhone Apps

Let me know what you think of these apps. Better yet, let me know if you find a great app that isn’t on any of these lists and I’ll happily share it with everybody else! Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Let There Be Light: Enhance Your Home’s Look and Boost Its Resale Value with These Home Lighting Tips

Friday, September 12th, 2014

Let There Be Light: Enhance Your Home's Look and Boost Its Resale Value with These Home Lighting Tips | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIf you’re selling your home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or the Edmonton region, it’s important to ensure that you make it look appealing to buyers. Increasing your home’s appeal will make buyers more likely to put down an offer – and can even boost the final selling price. Even something as simple as lighting can increase your home’s resale value. Take advantage of these lighting tips to make your home sale quick and profitable.

Outdoor Lighting: It’s All About Curb Appeal

Use outdoor lighting to enhance your home’s appearance and create an alluring atmosphere. Adding lighting to landscaped areas creates interesting contrasts of light and shadow that will catch your buyers’ eyes. You can add emphasis to landscaping by using uplighting for trees and shrubbery. Adding mood lighting to a patio area makes it appear more welcoming. Lighting dark areas of your property is also a good security measure, and it may prevent someone from slipping or falling. Individual solar lights can be installed along a walkway for safety and to improve the appearance of the property.

Entryway Lighting: First Impressions Count

The first impression anyone has of your home is when they walk through the front door. One of the easiest ways to increase the value of your home and add to its appeal is by making simple cosmetic changes to the interior. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to give your home a fresh, new look. A chandelier in a large foyer makes a dramatic impression. It can be simple or elaborate, depending on your decor. An entryway table with a decorative lamp and soft lighting is also a nice touch.

Kitchen Lighting: Practicality is Key

Kitchens usually have plenty of overhead lighting, but not enough light for specific tasks like cutting or washing food. Direct lighting in specific areas makes it easier to see when preparing food, which makes your kitchen more functional. Fluorescent lighting is easy to install underneath kitchen cabinets, giving your kitchen the practical lighting it needs.

Ceiling Fans: Lighting With Style

Ceiling fans with installed light fixtures can be placed in any room and are easy to install. The vast array of styles makes it easy to find ceiling fans that complement your home’s decor. Not only do they provide more light, but they also increase the airflow through your home.

Lighting Living Spaces: Use Full Spectrum Bulbs for a Richer Environment

The living room or family room is where families spend a lot of their leisure time. Overhead lighting is a good choice for entertaining, but if you want an atmosphere that’s more relaxing, you can use lamps containing full spectrum bulbs. Full spectrum light bulbs are bulbs that mimic the appearance of natural light. Dimmer switches in the living areas are perfect for times when a lot of light isn’t necessary. When selling your home, show it off to its advantage by taking advantage of natural light, especially if you have a nice view.

Lighting for Dark Areas: Soft Lights Add Nuance

If you don’t already have them, install dimmer switches in your bedrooms to achieve a comforting, relaxing appearance. Use soft lighting in bedside lamps. Softer lights can make dark areas of your home feel more cozy and inviting. You can buy decorative night lights to add atmosphere to a darkened hallway.

The proper lighting has the ability to transform any living space and make it more appealing. With the right lighting in every room, you can make your home more appealing to buyers – and you might even sell it for a higher price.

I am always available to answer questions you may have about enhancing the resale value of your home.  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Your Pet-Friendly Home

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Your Pet-Friendly Home | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIs there a dog or cat living in your Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton area home?  According to a 2008 Ipsos-Reid survey as reported in the Canadian Veterinary Journal, roughly 56% of Canadian households have a dog or a cat as a pet.

Animals make their presence known in your home, and not in a good way, through scratches on walls, floors and furniture, stains on carpets, dander and allergens in the air, and various unsavory odors.  But there are ways to keep your house in good shape and all residents happy with a few smart and relatively inexpensive adjustments.  The most important advice is to choose the right materials and work with your animal’s natural instincts and needs.

Keep it clean!  Home and pet, that is.

  • First, vacuum often.  It’s a basic fact of life that dogs and cats shed.  Invest in a decent vacuum cleaner, preferably with HEPA filter, and plan on going over carpets and upholstery about twice a week or more.
  • Reduce the amount of clutter in your rooms.  Each object you remove from a room means one less object that gets covered in dust, dander and pet hair.
  • An item that is well worth the cost is a HEPA furnace filter which removes huge quantities of dust, dander and allergens from the air.
  • Use enzyme cleaners such as Nature’s Miracle Stain and Odour Remover when dealing with pet messes.
  • You might also want to purchase some special furniture covers designed with pets in mind.  (See these Pet Protector Covers available from Sears Canada).  Easier to wash these than to shampoo the furniture.
  • Keep your pet clean and well-groomed.  This means regular brushing, nail-clipping, bathing and the like.  If you can remove some of the hair and the oil and dirt it holds before it ends up on your floors and furniture, your house will be cleaner.  Trimmed nails are less likely to scratch floors or snag upholstery. 

It’s the nature of the beast!  Work with your pets’ natural inclinations to mold their behavior to what’s acceptable.  Your dog, for example, wants to please you so will tell you when he wants out and will also adapt readily to his own bed or crate.  Supply a clean litter box and a scratching post for your cat and watch her take to them.  If you find your animal jumping on the couch to look out the window, consider moving that couch away from the window and possibly installing a platform that bolts to the window sill to accommodate your pet’s preference.

Choose the right fabrics.  If you have pets, you already know to stay away from silk and velvet.  If you’re shopping for new furniture, consider something like Crypton or UltraSuede, which are wonderfully stain-resistant and durable.  Leather will scratch, but it is easy to clean and long-lasting.  Forget the dry-clean-only bedding and opt for washable everything because you know your pet will end up on your bed at some point.

Get rid of fabric altogether, where you can.  Replace draperies with wood blinds, for example.

Choose the right flooring.  Carpet and pets are a bad combination.  Carpet soaks up “accidents”, absorbs odors, and traps hair and dander – yuck!  If possible, consider replacing wall-to-wall carpeting in your home with any of the variety of hard-surface flooring on the market today, and bonus! these choices are very fashionable at the moment.  The best option for a pet-proof home is ceramic tile because it’s pretty much impervious to anything your pet can do!  Other easy to clean and durable alternatives include painted concrete, brick, high-end linoleum, or hardwood (but be aware that big dogs can scratch wood).

Neutrals work best.  Dramatic color schemes will show dirt, hair, and wear and tear more than colors such as gray, taupe and cream.  Luckily, neutrals are in style now for everything from paint on the walls to furniture, carpets and counter tops.  If you’re planning to re-paint, remember to choose a washable satin finish, and look for low or no-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints.  Both you and your pet will benefit from not breathing toxic fumes.

Consider some of these specialty products and home renovations:

  • Disguised litter box, partially covered and resembling furniture.  Keep the odor down by placing in a well-ventilated area if you can, and by cleaning it frequently.  The litter box might even be located in a separate room, such as a garage or utility space, with access through a secret cat door hidden inside a cabinet.
  • Built-in bench with removable cover next to an outside door:  Provides convenient seating for people to put on and remove shoes, and the inside provides storage for pet toys, balls, leashes, etc.
  • Indoor pet retreat or special mudroom could be a corner or even a whole room located by an outside back door.  Automatic feeders and drinking fountains and even doggy showers are often features of these spaces.  Some have lockable exterior access doors designed for your pet to go inside and out.  Most have specialty storage for all pet-related items such as food, chew toys, towels, etc.
  • Heated floors.  Good for animals and people!
  • Cat ramps are a series of shelves resembling stairs running up a wall to just below the ceiling where they meet a longer shelf where cats can run or recline.
  • Portable pet stairs to help small animals access furniture.
  • A doggy overlook is a square opening on the second floor allowing your dog to stick his head through to keep watch on his owners below.
  • Outdoor dog and cat runs.
  • For more ideas like these, see my Pinterest board “Pets and Your Home”.

What special things do you do in your home to accommodate your pets while keeping your home clean and stylish?  I’d love to hear from you.  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

Spring Decor Ideas

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

If you’re looking for free and current decorating ideas applicable to Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton area, look no further than the Edmonton Journal’s Homes & Design magazine.  The Summer 2013 issue is now available at edmontonjournal.com/homesdesign.  Some of the topics in this issue:

  • Spruce up your patio with the latest decor ideas, including some 60s Mad Men inspired looks
  • Learn all about “cottage style”
  • Furniture in bright colors is back.  Learn how to integrate this look into your home
  • Grow your own food this summer with gardening tips that anybody can follow
  • Quartz or granite?  Replace your counter tops with the finish that’s best for you

If you like what you see in this online magazine, sign up to be notified when the next issue is posted, and happy decorating!

 

 

Be Your Own Home Stager

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Be Your Own Home Stager |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThe phrase “Dress for Success” has a different meaning in real estate than it does in other businesses.  You know that before you put your Stony Plain, Spruce Grove, Parkland County or Edmonton area home on the market, it’s important to clean it thoroughly, get rid of clutter, and make minor repairs.  But these days, in order to sell your home in the shortest amount of time and for the best price, that’s not going far enough.  The next step is home staging.

What is home staging?

Home staging is literally setting a scene and creating a mood – transforming an ordinary house into an attractive, welcoming home that any potential buyer might envision himself living in.   The key is universal appeal.

Secrets of home staging

Home staging doesn’t mean erasing all evidence of the people living in the house, but it’s important to remember that how you live in your home and how you sell your home are two very different things

Differences show up in the number and type of things on display, the size of furniture and how it’s arranged, and in the general state of cleanliness and tidiness.  This is one situation where “good enough” probably isn’t!  A perfectly staged home is going to resemble more a suite in a 4-star hotel – before a guest unpacks! – than the homes most of us grew up in or currently live in.  With that in mind, here are a few things to know about home staging.

Update.  The simplest and least costly upgrades, besides paint, include light fixtures, taps and faucets, door and cabinet hardware, switches and switch plates, and drapery and window treatments.

Be Your Own Home Stager |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam Neutralize.  Neutral colors for walls and floor coverings are best.  People must be able to visualize themselves and their own possessions in the home so the decorating must serve only as a backdrop.  Neutralize also means keeping things generic:  “middle-of-the-road” décor, furnishings and accessories.

Clean.  Really, really clean; mother-in-law clean; brand-new-home clean….!

Edit People must be able to see the space, not the stuff in the space.  Corners must be visible, rooms must appear to be open and airy, closets need to look spacious and unfilled, and so on.  This may mean that typical home sellers have to dispose of or pack up for off-site storage 30% to 80% of their possessions.  For example, your kitchen counter should be as close to cleared off as you can make it, with maybe just a coffee maker and toaster to suggest its functionality.  In the bathroom, remove all personal care items, cosmetics and the like from the counter, leaving perhaps just a fresh container of liquid soap next to the sink.  And so on.  Tip Take a photo of a room in your house.  Chances are the “too much” factor will be more evident in a picture.

Depersonalize:  Small numbers of family photos, personal memorabilia and items connected to hobbies are fine.  What isn’t fine is anything that detracts from a potential buyer seeing himself in the space.  People don’t want to look at your toothbrush or razor in the bathroom, dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, or piles of clothing on the laundry room floor, for example.  In other words, the place must not look used.

Tidy:  Whatever items are left after possessions have been edited need to be arranged as neatly as possible.  This means not only things readily visible but also everything in closets, drawers, cabinets and other storage spaces in every area of the house, including the garage and outdoors.   As always, the point is to make spaces appear as roomy and functional as possible.

 SensBe Your Own Home Stager |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twyname it.  I’ve heard that 75% of the buyer’s decision is affected by the first 5 seconds through the front door.  Sight and smell are going to be the most important senses in that first impression, and their impact is instantaneous.  Never underestimate the effect of the sight and smell of fresh flowers!

 Light it.  Remember that home staging is about creating a mood.  Warm and bright will sell your home.

Suggest.  Of all the “secrets” of home staging, this is the most important.  Suggest a feeling of hominess and coziness by arranging a few pieces of furniture, such as a pair of modest loveseats and a couple of smallish tables and lamps, in an appealing vignette which will make the buyer want to be a part of it.  Add some accessories such as colorful cushions, a throw in a soft fabric, a couple of classic books or a tea service or a potted plant on a side table with a lamp turned on.  Keep the number and size of items small to trick the eye into maximizing the proportions of the room.  The phrase “less is more” is the very essence of home staging, employing subtlety, simplicity, refinement and classic design.  Everything in a space is there to highlight the best features of the space.  Tip Visit a store like Ikea and study the room vignettes.  These are perfect examples of home staging.

Be Your Own Home Stager |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamAccessorize.  Besides basic furniture appropriate to a given room, professional home stagers add a variety of accessories to hint at feelings or activities associated with that space.  For example:

  • in the kitchen: a large bowl of fresh, colorful fruit; an open cookbook; a new matched set of tea towels and oven mitts
  • in the bathroom: new clean towels tied with ribbons on the side of the tub; a spa basket of scented soaps and lotions on the counter; a small tray of scented candles
  • in the bedroom: new bedcovering and extra pillows; a simple swag of fabric draped above the windows; a small ottoman with an afghan throw; small bedside tables with lamps turned on
  • in the living room: mirrors; potted plants or silk flowers; area and throw rugs; a display of unusual knickknacks in a grouping of 1, 3 or 5 items
  • on the patio or deck: a small patio table and a pair of chairs, with perhaps a potted plant on the table, to suggest a conversational grouping

While all of this may seem like a lot of work, most sellers who take the trouble to stage their homes really do see a better price within a shorter time frame.

 Ready to sell your Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton-area home?  Contact me here, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or phone me at 780-910-9669.

Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
© Copyright 2011, Real Estate Websites by Redman Technologies Inc. | Privacy Policy | Sitemap
The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton
MLS® MLS REALTOR® Realtor
Trademarks used under license from CREA