Archive for the ‘Interior Decorating’ 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.

Need More Kitchen Space? Amazing Space Saving Ideas You’ll Love

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Need More Kitchen Space_ Amazing Space Saving Ideas You'll Love | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamMost people dream of a spacious kitchen where they can cook with friends and throw the finest of dinner parties, but not everyone can have the ideal cooking space. Big houses are often fitted with an island and plenty of cupboard space but life in a small home or an apartment often comes with a much smaller kitchen. If your house in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region is a little bit too cozy, here are a few simple ways that you can find a bit more space without having to find a new place.

Purchase a Rolling Cart

One of the biggest parts of cooking comfortably in your kitchen is having the stretch-out space for preparation so that you can do all of the things that go into making a fancy meal at once. If counter space is at a premium, you might want to consider a roll away cart that you can use for those moments when you’re really in need of little more room in the kitchen. Whether you use it once in a while or every single day, a stylish cart is a great way to maximize space.  When the evening is over, the cart can simply be rolled away.

Get Creative with Your Storage

If you have a small kitchen, you’ve probably kept your pantry items to a minimum and scaled back your cooking accessories, but there are other means of storage besides the shelves. Instead, think about installing hooks or small racks above your counter so you can use your wall space for storage. You might even want to consider purchasing items that have magnets, or a knife rack that you can attach to your kitchen cupboard to avoid using the space a butcher block takes up.

Consider Installing a Lazy Susan

The biggest grievance associated with an undersized kitchen can sometimes be the massive storage space that is lost to the corner cabinet. Instead of having to push all of your kitchen items to the back of the cabinet where you’ll likely never use them again, consider a Lazy Susan. Whenever you need an item, you can simply spin the shelf instead of having to reach way in the back in the hopes of finding what you’re looking for.

Think of Your Dishware as an Accessory

It might seem like you should store all of your kitchen items in the kitchen, but there’s no reason you can’t get creative about things. If you have any side cabinets or closets where you can store less used items, like fancy dishware or a popcorn maker, you might want to place them there instead. You might even want to consider dressing up nearby cabinets or shelves with nice glassware or dishware so your fine items can reside somewhere outside of the kitchen!

If you’ve purchased Parkland County or Spruce Grove or Stony Plain real estate and you’re working with a cozy kitchen, it might seem like it’s cramping your style. However, simple measures like looking at your storage options and purchasing a roll away cart can make cooking a little bit simpler.

If you happen to have any home-related questions, I’m always happy to help! 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!

 

 

Carpet or Hardwood?

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Carpet or Hardwood? | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIf you are thinking of replacing the flooring in your Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton area home, you’re not alone!  Should you make the leap from your old wall-to-wall broadloom to the currently popular hardwood?  Should you replace all the carpeting or keep some in selected areas of your home?  Here are some points that might help you decide.

 

Carpet Pros

  • Warm, comfortable and insulating
  • Sound-absorbing (might therefore be a better choice in high-density living situations such as condos and the like)
  • Easier on the feet
  • Often less expensive to purchase, and easier, faster and cheaper to install
  • Can be installed anywhere in the home.
  • Many choices in colors, textures, fabrics

 Carpet Cons

  • Feels “dated” to many people.  Home buyers today are looking for modern finishing.
  • Carpet is seen as negative to indoor air quality.  Even frequent vacuuming doesn’t remove dust, dander, allergens. 
  • Professional carpet cleaning and shampooing can be expensive and disruptive.
  • Standard life is about 12 years before replacement needed.
  • Generally less accessible for wheelchairs and walkers, if aging in place or disabled family members are a consideration.

Hardwood Pros

  • Hard-surface flooring is currently popular and trendy.  Current thinking is that hardwood adds character and value to a home.  Seen as better for re-sale. 
  • Good for the planet:  wood is natural, sustainable, renewable.
  • When properly chosen, installed and maintained, will last a lifetime
  • Easily cleaned and maintained with vacuum and dust mop.  With felt protectors on the bottom of furniture pieces, easy for one person to move furniture for cleaning.
  • Excellent for those with allergies
  • Versatile decorative option; goes with everything.
  • Can be used “as is” or with an area rug on top to change the decorating or to add warmth and sound-absorption
  • Future flexibility: easy to install carpet or tile on top of hardwood (although why on earth would you?!)

Hardwood Cons

  • Noisy; not sound-deadening like carpet so sounds may echo.
  • Chilly on the feet, especially in winter.
  • New finishes do make hardwood more resistant to damage but not indestructible.  Care will still be required to prevent damage from dropped and dragged items, as well as from spilled liquids.  Most hardwoods can be re-finished and cost is comparable to replacing a carpet, but re-finishing usually takes longer than a carpet replacement.
  • Humidity levels need to be closely monitored.  In high humidity, improperly installed wood can expand and buckle.  Low humidity can result in splintering and breakage.
  • Can be expensive to purchase and install, especially if sub-floor required.
  • Can be slippery and therefore less safe for small children and seniors
  • Shows dirt readily.  Needs to be cleaned (vacuumed or swept and mopped) more often than carpet; at least every other day in high-use areas
  • May not be suitable for below-grade installation

A good article that compares the characteristics of carpet and hardwood is “Carpet vs. Hardwood – The Great Showdown”. 

A few other things to consider:

  • Many people are mixing up their flooring choices:  tile in kitchens and bathrooms for durability and ease of cleaning, hardwood in main-floor living areas for beauty, carpet in bedrooms for comfort.
  • Think about your lifestyle and how you use the spaces in your home.  Are shoes removed at the door, food consumed only in non-carpeted areas, pets house-trained?  If no, then carpets, which tend to get dirty faster and hold on to the dirt, might not be the best option for you.  Highly visible, high-traffic areas benefit from flooring that is durable and easy to clean and maintain.
  • Consider the kind of feel you want underfoot:  firm, glossy, sophisticated, or cozy, casual, barefoot-friendly.
  • When you replace the flooring, do it for your own use and pleasure but keep in mind that eventually you will leave your home.  Be aware that every change you make to your home will have an impact on its ultimate resale value and ease of selling, even if that sale is years in the future.

Let me help!  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

 

Pocket Offices: Family Central 2.0

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

A few weeks ago I posted a blog article called “Family Central” about carving out a family organization center somewhere in the family home to round up all the paper and paraphernalia associated with day to day family life.  Our lives in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton region just keep getting busier, don’t they?  And it seems to get harder all the time to keep track of schedules and corral all the clutter. 

A great article in the February 23, 2013 edition of the Edmonton Journal entitled “Tiny, perfect pocket officesconfirms the need for such a space in a family home and contains lots of valuable information and good tips about how to create and use these small but mighty work spaces.   Check it out! 

Looking for a home with something special?  Maybe I can help.  Call or text me 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

House Hunting Tips

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

 | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamHouse Hunting TipsWhether you are seriously in the market to buy a house in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or the Edmonton region, or just like to look at pictures and dream, you might find an article about the HGTV show House Hunters informative and entertaining.  

HGTV show inspires tips for real-life seekers(published in the July 28, 2012 edition of the Edmonton Journal, and other newspapers, as well as online) is a tongue-in-cheek commentary by columnist Mary Beth Breckenridge about her addiction to the TV show House Hunters, in which she notes that buyers seem to toss their common sense when viewing property for sale.  Here is what she advises would-be home purchasers:

“-Granite countertops do not make a kitchen. Yes, they’re lovely, but maybe you should open the drawers to make sure they don’t require the kind of force that dislocates elbows, and turn on the faucet to verify that the water flows in more than a trickle.  Oh, and by the way, there are other kinds of countertops. Very nice ones, in fact.

– Location, location, location. It didn’t become a real-estate cliché without good reason. You can replace carpet and reconfigure rooms, but that freeway noise? You’re stuck with it.

– For the love of God, price a couple of cans of paint before you reject a house over the blue in the baby’s room.

– You might want to think twice about going right from an efficiency apartment to a McMansion. Furniture costs money, you know.

– Five bedrooms for two people? Really?

– Two-storey great rooms look dramatic, but check the heating bills if you live in Minnesota.

– Don’t give the yard short shrift. It takes hours to knock down a wall but years to grow a tree.

– After a few months of two-hour commutes, you’re going to kick yourself for choosing the sparkly new Colonial on the outer reaches of exurbia over the fixer-upper 10 minutes from your job. Even if it does have hardwood floors and stainless steel appliances.

– And remember what I said about countertops? Ditto appliances.” 

So, what do you go for when you’re searching for new digs?  Are you one of those people who falls for something shiny, or can you look beyond what’s pretty (or, for that matter, what’s not so pretty) to find what’s practical?  Home stagers exist for a reason, and it’s the wise buyer who is able to resist their tricks!  Learn to distinguish what you absolutely must have from what would be nice to have.  Separate things that can be changed (paint color, counter tops, appliances, other decorative items) from those that can’t (street on which the home is built, its orientation on the property, other permanent construction details).  Do this and you’re sure to find the right home that you’ll be happy to live in for a long time.   (See also my blog article from April 5, 2012 entitled “That Perfect House”.)

Still a little confused about what to look for?  Let me help you.  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Don’t Get Hung Up On Picture Hanging!

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Don't Get Hung Up On Picture Hanging! | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamYou’ve moved into your great new home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or the Edmonton area.  The furniture is in place and you’re ready to add those personal decorative touches that will make this house reflect you in a unique way.

Most of us enjoy having artwork and family photos on the walls, but how many of us know the right way to place those items to show them off to their best advantage and to complement the other decorative elements in a space?  Some of the things we’re often guilty of is hanging artwork too high, or choosing artwork that is too big or too small in relation to the space it will be placed in, or the furniture it will be near.  There is an art to hanging art, and it’s more than banging a nail into a wall and then slapping a picture on the nail!

I’m sure you’ve visited homes where the artwork on the walls just feels right.  The colors and dimensions of the pieces work well with the room and its furnishings, and your eye is drawn again and again to the pieces.  That’s the design part of the project, and you can learn how to do it!  Here is a website that will help you to develop your artist’s eye:  28 Tips for Hanging Art

After you’ve decided what you want to hang, the science part of hanging stuff on walls enters the picture, so to speak!  Here are a few tips to give your artwork and photos gallery-like exposure:

Where?  Placement on the Wall:

How?  Attaching it to the Wall:

  • Most artwork will have hanging wire attached to the back with screw eyes that go about 1/3 of the way down from the top edge of the painting.  The wire should be at least 2” from the top edge of the painting when pulled tight, and it should be coiled tightly and neatly so it’s secure.  See How to Hang a Painting for very clear instructions along with photographs on how to use the wire and the vertical center of artwork to position it perfectly on your wall. 
  • But there are some picture hangers who prefer to use brackets instead of wire as they are less likely to slip out of level.  See How to Hang a Picture Frame: Skill Set.
  • See also How to Hang a Picture for even more detailed and specific directions.
  • Another good article is How to Hang Your Artwork and Not Screw It Up.

Lots of articles to read through, but also lots of great information to make you an expert picture hanger!

Still looking for that picture-perfect property?  Let me help!  Call me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here

 

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
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