Posts Tagged ‘interior decorating’

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.

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.

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!

 

 

Aging in Place

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

If the phrase “aging in place” is new to you, it probably won’t be for long!  I predict in the next few years, we’ll be hearing this phrase a lot.  How does it apply to those of us living in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton areas of Alberta?   

Aging in place means stayinAging in Place | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynamg in our homes as we get older, and adapting the home to meet our needs as we age.  For most of us, aging will bring about certain predictable physical changes, such as diminished eyesight and hearing or decreased mobility.  Some people will elect to move to accommodate these changes, whether to a one-level apartment-style condo or to some kind of retirement lodging.  But most of us want to stay in the familiar surroundings of our well-loved homes as long as we possibly can.  And that may mean renovating our homes to make them as functional as possible.  Other terms often used for homes that have been modified to accommodate special needs are “universal design” and “barrier-free  homes”. 

Many of the features of a typical modern home (such as an open floor plan, especially one where the main living areas – kitchen, living room, master suite, laundry room – are on the main floor) work well with the concept of aging in place.  Other features, such as hardwood flooring instead of wall-to-wall carpeting, and venetian blinds instead of draperies, are less successful.  Those hard surfaces often don’t help a home’s acoustics, and a hard and slippery floor can be treacherous for people who are unsteady on their feet. 

When we think about accommodations for seniors, things such as grab bars in the bathroom, walk-in bathtubs, stair lifts or even elevators may come to mind.  But there are many other simpler and cheaper changes that can have a huge effect on our comfort and safety.    

Eyesight and Lighting.  Adding more lamps and upping the wattage of light bulbs throughout one’s home can make a big difference in improving visual perception.  The most important areas needing better lighting are hallways and stairs.  Consider also changing the contrast between light and dark areas in a room in order to make things easier to see.  A monochromatic bathroom may be artistically beautiful, but if there isn’t a clear demarcation between the white tub and the light-colored floor, someone might have trouble judging where one ends and the other begins, resulting in a nasty fall.   

Furniture.  Consider replacing hard-edged glass coffee tables with dual-purpose softer-edged ottomans.  Consider also replacing squishy upholstered pieces with those that provide more support, making them easier to get into and out of.  Rearrange furniture so that there is plenty of room to maneuver around individual pieces (especially if wheelchairs and walkers will be used), but also place furniture in such a way that people will be sitting closer together and/or directly facing each other to aid hearing. 

FlooringCarpet is easy to walk on and safer if falling may be an issue.  But carpet may not be the best choice if walkers or wheelchairs will be used.  The best multi-purpose flooring may be non-slip tile throughout the home.  If tripping isn’t a concern, area rugs can add soft support as well as visual interest and contrast between dark and light.  Just be sure that the edges are well taped down. 

Monitoring and Assistance.  If you live alone, you probably have a support network of people to call in an emergency and you no doubt have a telephone or cell phone in easy reach at all times.  You may have an arrangement with family, friends or neighbors to check on you each day.  Perhaps you’ve considered a service such as Lifeline that connects you to 24-hour emergency monitoring via a bracelet or necklace style communicator.  While none of these things relate directly to home modifications, all of them contribute to keeping you in your home. 

The website SeniorResource.com contains a wealth of information about aging in place.  Particularly helpful is a Home Assessment chart that matches home modifications with a specific physical infirmity.  Most of the suggestions below are from that chart: 

Limited vision:

  • Edge of counters a different color than the top
  • Edge of each step is a color that stands out
  • Contrast colors between floor and walls
  • Stairs are well-lit
  • Increased wattage of light bulbs
  • Lights in all closets
  • Outside walkways and entrances are all well-lit
  • Stove controls clearly marked and easy to see
  • Stove has big numbers that can be seen from across the room
  • Stove uses different colors to tell which parts are hot
  • Under-cabinet lighting over kitchen counter

Hearing impairment:

  • Increased volume on phones
  • Smoke detectors have strobe lights
  • Furniture arranged to facilitate hearing
  • Soft surfaces to improve acoustics
  • Ultra-quiet dishwasher to reduce background noise

Balance and coordination problems:

  • Bath seat in tub or shower, or walk-in shower with pull-down seat
  • Bath tub with transfer bench
  • Temperature controlled shower and tub fixtures
  • Rounded counter edges
  • Grab bars near bath and toilet
  • Handrails extend beyond top and bottom of stairs
  • Stairway handrails on both sides
  • No stairs to bedroom or bathroom
  • Phone in bathroom

Limited reach:

  • Hand-held shower in bathroom
  • Electrical outlets are 27” above floor
  • Light switches at 42” instead of 48”
  • Cabinet shelves no more than 10” deep
  • Closet organizer or Lazy Susan to reach belongings
  • Closet rods pull down to comfortable level
  • Kitchen and closets have pull-down or pull-out shelving
  • Upper kitchen cabinets 48” from floor
  • Cook top has easy-to-reach controls at front
  • Microwave oven no higher than 48” above floor
  • Oven doors swing to the side
  • Side-by-side refrigerator
  • Lowered kitchen counter tops
  • Sink controls on the side
  • Front-loading washer and dryer

Poor hand and arm strength:

  • Automatic garage door opener
  • Easy to open and lock doors and screens
  • Cabinets and drawers have D-shape handles
  • Doors have lever handles
  • Counter tops smooth so heavy pans can slide across them
  • Heat resistant counter near microwave oven
  • Push button controls on appliances
  • Garbage disposal or trash compactor to reduce trash
  • Rocker light switches
  • Sinks with lever faucet handles
  • Special hardware to make drawers slide easily
  • Spray hose to fill pots on the stove
  • Dishwasher 8” from floor

Trouble bending:

  • Elevated toilet or toilet seat
  • Lower kitchen cabinets 6” above floor
  • Sink no more than 6” deep
  • Carpet is low pile and firm pad
  • Clutter and electric cords are out of pathways
  • Counter top that can be used while sitting
  • Doors are wide enough for a walker to get through

Trouble walking and climbing stairs:

  • Driveway smooth but not slippery
  • Floors are smooth and slip-resistant
  • Knee space under sinks; can sit while washing
  • Knee space under stove; can sit while cooking
  • No area rugs
  • Ramp to front door with handrails on both sides
  • Stairs have slip-resistant surface
  • Thresholds on entry doors no higher than ¼ inch.

Uses wheelchair:

  • Peep hole at low  height
  • Lower window sills especially for windows on the street
  • Hallways, doorways and closets wide enough for wheelchair.  Doorways 36″ wide with off-set hinges on doors
  • Appliances have controls at the front
  • Can use counters, sinks, stove top while sitting
  • Can wheel from car to front door and then inside; no steps
  • Ramp to front door with landings at top and bottom
  • Can wheel to bedroom, bathroom, kitchen
  • Pathways clutter-free
  • Enough floor space near doors to move wheelchair
  • Roll-in shower with multiple showerheads and/or way to transfer to tub
  • Space to transfer from wheelchair to toilet
  • See all above sections 

If you decide to remodel your current home, remember that you probably won’t have to make all of the modifications listed here.  Instead, focus on those of most benefit to your individual situation and make other changes as the need arises.  

Other resources:

See also this article by Mike Holmes:  “Renovate now so that you can live well later“.

Are you looking for a “universal design” home that will allow you to age in place?  I would be happy to help you find such a home!  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

 

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.

Family Central

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

 | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamFamily CentralDoes your Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton-area home have a special dedicated room or home office that functions as the “business hub” of your family’s activities?  Where the kids do their homework, mom and dad pay the bills, family members update schedules, store keys, phones, laptops and other important items that need to be grabbed before leaving the house?  No?  Well, you’re not alone in wishing for a magic solution to the problem of keeping everybody organized and the house clutter-free!  With today’s busy lifestyles, it’s no wonder that many people can’t find their dining room tables and kitchen counters under the daily avalanche of school papers, mail, newspapers and magazines, electronic devices and much more.

An article in the January 26, 2013 edition of the Edmonton Journal entitled “Building the perfect family hub” addresses the questions of what is needed to create a family organization center, how to find the space, and how to make it all work in even the smallest of homes. 

According to the article, the most important items needed in the center are a calendar for keeping track of everybody’s schedules, a message board (dry erase or corkboard) for posting and sharing information, a bin or section of corkboard for each family member’s own current information needs (such as school permission slips), and a power strip and shelf for charging electronic devices.  A work surface for homework and the like is also ideal, as well as a laptop or computer for checking email, doing research, etc. 

But where to put this?  A room such as the bonus room found in many of today’s newer homes or a mudroom would be great, but not necessary according to the authors of the article.  Instead, there are numerous other options, such as converting a pantry cupboard or small closet into a desktop with storage above, seating below.  Even a single kitchen cabinet can serve when space is really tight.  For some excellent visuals, take a look at my Pinterest board “Great Little SpacesThe key is defining the purpose for the space chosen as the family hub. 

If you are lucky enough to have a room-size space available, you can furnish it lavishly with a built-in desk and storage, or more economically with items from around the house or from garage sales – whatever will fit the budget and the needs of your family.   

This leads to the final aspect of such a center, making it work.  Again, let your own family’s needs be your guide.  Bright colors and an attractive space along with a firm commitment to use this area as THE spot for family business go a long way to keeping the rest of the house tidy and organized!  Check out the article for more details and ideas. 

Looking for just the right home to meet your family’s needs?  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here

10 Things I Hate About Your House!

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

A guest blog article from one of my clients who refers to herself as Ms. Cranky Pants:

10 Things I Hate About Your House! | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamSo, Barry took me to see your house in the region of Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, and Edmonton, and I just wanted to mention the things that made me go Ewww.

Odors

I know you think all those little room deodorizer thingies will hide the fact that you’re a smoker, but you can’t fool me.  I wish I didn’t know that you had fried fish with onions and garlic for dinner.  And seriously people, do you ever clean that stinky litter box?  Open a window, for crying out loud!

Dirt

Disgusting grime in the tub, sticky spots on the kitchen counter, dirty dishes in the sink, mystery stains on the carpet, something brown and nasty in the corners…  Yuck!  I’d hate to have the CSI folks go through here with their ultra-violet lights.  I’m not a clean freak but no way do I want to wallow in anybody else’s crud, thank you.  Soap and water and elbow grease are cheap – get busy!

Stuff everywhere

When I view homes, I try to imagine living in the rooms with all my belongings in place.  Kind of hard to do when your junk is clogging up the space, making the place feel smaller than it really is.  Plus, it’s a real turn-off to see personal things like your toothbrush, razor and soggy towels cluttering up the bathroom, for example.  You need to get rid of at least half the stuff in your house — and I don’t mean hide it in the closets or the garage because I’m looking in there!  Here’s a tip:  Visualize a nice hotel room before you move in and unpack – sparkly clean, neat and tidy, room to move around.  That’s what your home should look like for showings.

Damp basement and water stains

Oh boy, is this one a red flag.  If I can see the results of water leakage, I just know I’d be buying a boatload of trouble to take on this baby.  Maybe you’ve got a bad foundation, but it’s more likely that water from spring runoff or summer rains is getting in because 1) your landscaping and grading isn’t sloped adequately away from the house; 2) your eavestroughing needs some work, with rain gutters cleaned out and downspouts aimed well away from the house; 3) your underground drains are clogged; or 4) your sump pump, if you have one, isn’t working properly.

Evident lack of maintenance or upgrading, or unfinished or poorly done reno projects

Yeah, I know your house isn’t brand new so you don’t have all the latest fixtures and decorative doo-dads.  I don’t mind a house that’s used.  What I object to is a house that’s used up.  If you’ve lived in your house for longer than 10 years, then it’s time to fix it up.  That could mean repairing broken windows, tightening loose hinges, or replacing cabinet handles, switches and plug-ins, faucets and shower heads.  It might also mean fresh paint inside and outside (neutral colors, please!).  Maybe what’s needed is a new roof, new furnace and hot water heater, new flooring or new appliances.  It could even mean a professional renovation of kitchen and bathrooms.  Notice I said professional renovation.  Do it yourself only if you have the skills and tools to do it right.  Oh, and don’t wait till just before it’s time to sell to do those things.  Maintain and renovate on a yearly basis so you get to enjoy your investment.

Weird decorating

I counted 5 different wallpaper patterns and 4 different types of carpet and lino just on the main level, but the real clincher was the purple living room, black bedroom and the mustard yellow dining room with its psychedelic wall mural!  This may be what you like to live with, but I want my house to be a frame for my life, not a Halloween horror show.

Lack of light

Hard to see if there are great features in this house because it’s like a cave in here.  I respect people trying to save money and energy, but up the wattage on the light bulbs so prospective buyers can actually see what you’re selling.  Open those drapes and blinds.  Trim the shrubbery from in front of the windows.  Clean those dirty, foggy windows.

Poor curb appeal and unattractive yard

I don’t know about you but I make a little effort when I show my face in public.  Same thing applies to houses.  Like it or not, first impressions count.  If your front door is askew and the paint’s peeling, if your driveway and sidewalks are cracked, plants overgrown, lawn brown and patchy, and there’s trash everywhere, this tells me you don’t care.  So why should I even bother to enter the front door if what I’ll see on the inside is more of the same?  Show a little pride, folks!

Pets on the loose

Hey, I love animals but your big snarly pooch scared the whatsits out of me.  I came to see your house, not get mauled by Cujo.

Price too high

Of course I’d like a bargain, but I’m willing to pay what’s fair for a decent house.  If your house needs a little work… well, I can forgive quite a lot if the price is right.  But there’s plenty I won’t pay for.  I don’t care that you spent $20,000 on a fancy new hot tub and deck, or that you owe too much on your mortgage to reduce the price to what’s reasonable, or that you have to have a certain amount so you can move into a bigger and more expensive house.  Price your house right based on factors such as its location, age, condition, size and what similar homes in your area have sold for, and I just might make you an offer.

Barry has some great articles in this blog on home staging and getting your house ready to sell.  Take a look at these:

Be Your Own Home Stager

Thinking of Selling Your Home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain or Parkland County? 

Home Staging Starts With De-cluttering

Barry can help you find a great house, or sell your current one.  Call or text him at 780-910-9669, email him at barry@barryt.ca, or contact him 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.

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