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Welcome to our blog! Here you will find information regarding market, local and Lakes Region information and events! Along with DIY projects and more! Come back often to see what's new and leave us a comment if there's something you'd like to see.

Fire Pit Safety and You!

"Unfanning" the Flames - Preventing Fire Pit Injuries

By Greg Barnhart

 

Outdoor living spaces have become a trend in homes. Whether one lives on the coast, has a glimpse of the ocean or enjoys the lake and mountain views, bringing the interior to the exterior is a common theme among homeowners. The result is a change in backyard landscaping that includes the wildly popular fire pit.

According to the American Society of Landscape Architects, the fire pit ranks No. 1 among a trio of top outdoor design features. A survey of members found fire pits at 75 percent, followed by lighting (67 percent) and wireless connectivity (66 percent). Fire pits have popped up at resort hotels, trendy restaurants and other public places, but it is their increased addition to private properties that has the National Fire Protection Association concerned.

“Summer outdoor parties are some of the best events of the year,” the association’s Web site states. "The warm balmy nights, food cooking on the grill, and friends and family spending quality time together in the backyard or around the pool create wonderful memories that last a lifetime". Although, in addition to exercising social distancing and wearing face masks during this pandemic to stay safe, hosting outdoor events also means there’s an increased risk of home fires. Fortunately, following some simple fire safety tips and guidelines can help ensure you and your guests stay safe.”

“Many people are burned the next day, when abandoned coals are still hot,” NBC News states in an article titled “Injuries from backyard fire pits on the rise, experts warn.” “Even if a parent is nearby, it can take just a few seconds for a serious accident to happen.”

Here are some safety tips:

  • Supervise children at all times and make sure they know to stay at least 10 feet from the fire pit.

  • Alert children when the fire pit is lit, when it is re-lit and when extinguished. Go over the rules with them every time to prevent them from getting burned.

  • Extinguish the fire pit properly and in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines.

“Fire pits can remain extremely hot into the next day,” the NBC News article states. “Be sure children are aware of this and supervised until all embers are burned and the temperature returns to normal. If someone suffers a moderate burn, use cool, not cold, water on the burn for 3-5 minutes, then cover with a clean dry cloth. For serious burns, go to the hospital right away.”

It is important to consider the location of a fire pit in proximity to the home, its surrounding vegetation and the neighbors. A good 25 feet from the home, is preferable, if possible, and 10 feet away from bushes and trees and the house next door is a sufficient. A fire pit never should be positioned on a covered patio or under branches, nor should it rest on grass or wood; it should be placed on concrete blocks or tile. In an abundance of caution, fill a bucket sand or water, or fill two with each, or – better yet – have a hose and gloves nearby in case of an emergency.

Fire pits are a fantastic addition to any homestead or rural backyard. They are attractive, inexpensive to use and help to extend the use of your yard through the fall and winter. But when you use a fire pit you are literally playing with fire! Careless misuse could not only set your own house ablaze, but also could spark a grass fire and endanger others nearby.

Baby Got Back(yard)! Maximize Your Outdoor Space

Here are some important considerations to make when planning your outdoor design.

By Julea Joseph

Now that stay-at-home orders have been relaxed, the backyard—which may have been used infrequently recently—has regained primacy as a home feature. So, baby, if you got back(yard), use it!

Recently, clients who I hadn’t worked with since 2011 approached me about updating their outdoor space. They wanted a new deck. Their current deck had no stairs, which didn’t allow them access to the rest of their yard.

Like this client, so many homeowners are rethinking how they can use their outdoor space and make it as usable as their indoor space. Here are a few tips to consider in unlocking the potential of a backyard:

1. Consider how you get access to your backyard. Which spaces on the interior of the home get you to the outside? Are there multiple options? A door from the breakfast area or family room? Can you easily walk around to the backyard from the front yard? These traffic patterns may determine how each usage area of your backyard is then planned out.

2. How do you want to use the space? My client had grand plans for her outdoor space: hot tub, firepit, gazebo, and dining/cooking. After you determine your wish list, you can then pinpoint areas in the backyard that will be best suited for those activities.

      

3. How big do these areas need to be? How you plan to use your backyard will determine the size of the space needed. This is important to consider when plotting out your landscape and ensuring you don’t overcrowd a space. If you want a fire pit area, the key element is the firepit. So, size that, and then take into account adding seating around it and safe distances from the heat and flames.

    

4. What surface hosts these activity spaces? Will you rely on grass, concrete, decking, paving stone? Determine your flooring or turf, and budget accordingly.

5. What are the existing assets or hindrances in your backyard? Do you want to incorporate that large tree in the middle of the yard as part of the design, or will it need to be removed? Do you want to take advantage of a great view? My client had a beautiful pond in her backyard and wanted to make sure that the gazebo she planned to build did not block her neighbors from the great view.

Have fun with your backyard! You can be inspired by your indoor space’s color theme, but don’t be at the mercy of it either. It’s OK to break that rule. There are oodles of ideas to inspire your patio design. Search online for inspiration. Keep a keen eye for ideas.

 

Julea Joseph is the owner and lead designer at Reinventing Space in Chicago. Visit her website and blog at Julea.com(link is external)

To buy or wait?

Whether you’re hearing about low interest rates or longing for more space, you might be wondering if this is a good time to buy. Here’s what you need to know.

From Zillow.com

Are You Missing Out if You Don't Buy Now?

Not necessarily. There are many factors to consider beyond the current shifts in the market.

Zillow economists predict that home prices will most likely decrease between 2-3% through the end of the year from pre-COVID levels and slowly recover by late 2021.

The predictions include two other possible scenarios: Prices decline as much as 4% and take longer to recover, or as little as 1% and recover more quickly. For example, a home priced at $250,000 in February 2020 could be priced between $2,500 and $10,000 lower, at least through the end of the year, according to the forecast.

Which scenario plays out depends on many things, including how quickly the market reopens and whether interested buyers can still afford to purchase a home.

What the forecast doesn’t change is whether buying now or in the foreseeable future is right for you. The decision to buy depends on your personal circumstances. Trying to time the market for the best deal is something even professional investors aren’t very good at.

According to Zillow economists, the current environment poses both opportunities and challenges.

New opportunities for buyers might be out there

If demand stays strong and the crisis passes relatively quickly — both big “ifs” at this moment — then we can probably expect price growth to accelerate like it was earlier this year. If that’s the case, it might be a good time for some buyers in some markets to get ahead of any growth in home prices. Other factors that could help buyers:

  • Mortgage interest rates are very low, which has the potential to significantly boost your buying power.

  • There could be less competition for the still-limited pool of homes for sale, with many people putting plans on hold and staying home.

  • Sellers may be more flexible on pricing and/or timing in order to close a sale, especially if letting their home stay on the market will cost them or delay their own plans.

But the challenges could be daunting

Even with the best forecasting, we can’t know for sure how things will unfold over the coming months. If the crisis persists and social-distancing and other behaviors last through the bulk of the year, home prices may fall somewhat in response to the lack of demand from buyers. It could make sense for some buyers to wait to see if the home they’re eyeing today is available at a lower price tomorrow. Additional considerations:

  • Inventory is already low, and it’s unlikely that many would-be sellers will list their homes right now. That could make it harder for you to find the right home.

  • Mortgage interest rates are low but volatile — and lenders are working through a flood of refinance applications. For would-be buyers who secured financing in early March, this may not be as big an issue. It’ll be a lot tougher if you have not yet started the mortgage process.

  • Logistical hurdles need to be addressed. It may be difficult to complete the sale on time if some of the connected businesses, such as appraisals, inspections and title services, are temporarily closed due to public health orders.

If you have the time and willingness to face the current challenges, now could present some interesting opportunities. But you should have a plan to ensure you can back off or reevaluate as the situation unfolds. If you’re risk-averse or don’t feel ready, you’re likely to be more comfortable waiting until the situation is more clear.

For the most up-to-date housing market analysis, data and commentary on how the market is responding to this situation, visit Zillow Research.

Top Home Bathroom Flooring Options

Freshome Team By Freshome Team in Flooring

Choosing the most suitable bathroom flooring can be daunting. You want your bathroom flooring to complement the rest of the home yet still withstand high moisture levels, humidity and heavy foot traffic. The sheer number of bathroom floor designs, colors, textures and material types further complicate the process. To help cut through the clutter, we’ve narrowed down the best flooring for bathroom areas as well as the pros and cons of each.

Best waterproof bathroom flooring options

There are many bathroom flooring options on the market today, with many of them claiming to be waterproof. But are they? Waterproof flooring means that no water or moisture will penetrate it no matter how long the floor is exposed. In genuinely waterproof flooring materials, the waterproofing product is baked in rather than just being used as a coating. By contrast, water-resistant floors are usually not resistant to moisture under the top layer of the floor. 

While the flooring material may be waterproof, the subfloor is usually not. As such, water can seep through cracks, between floorboards or along the wall and cause damage to the bathroom’s structure. Bathrooms often need a silicone sealant around bathtubs and toilets no matter what flooring type you choose. 

Waterproof bathroom flooring is easier to clean and maintain, but it also protects. Because water will always find its way down through cracks on the floor or in walls, this leakage can manifest itself in the form of damp ceilings or walls, especially if the bathroom is on an upper floor. As waterproof flooring is watertight, there’s little risk of leakage.

Waterproof vinyl flooring

Gone are the days when vinyl was perceived as flimsy or cheap. Today it is one of the most popular flooring options for its durability and comfort. Vinyl planks and tiles come in virtually any color and style imaginable.

Waterproof vinyl flooring’s core is reinforced by additional layers to enhance its rigidity. When shopping for waterproof vinyl flooring with rigid core construction, you are likely to come across wood plastic composite (WPC)and stone plastic composite (SPC).

As the name suggests, WPC incorporates fine sawdust or other wood-like materials, a thermoplastic resin, fiber and a foaming agent. Sometimes referred to as wood polymer composite, this type of flooring material is lightweight, resilient, warm and comfortable when you are standing for long periods.

SPC vinyl flooring material uses ground limestone, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and stabilizers. SPC is thinner, denser and heavier compared to WPC flooring. Due to its thin nature, there’s little padding underfoot, which makes it less comfortable.

Types of waterproof vinyl flooring for bathrooms

Waterproof vinyl planks are perhaps the most popular WPC vinyl flooring option on the market today. Made to mimic hardwood floors, they are available in several shapes and sizes.

Waterproof vinyl tile

The top surface of waterproof vinyl tiles is glazed, preventing moisture from seeping through it. Most mimic natural stone, but there are a few that look like wood.

Pros and cons of waterproof vinyl

Pros:

  • Affordability: Vinyl is relatively inexpensive as compared to other flooring options such as porcelain tile or hardwood.

  • Ease of installation: Because vinyl is lightweight, you can cut and adjust it to fit your bathroom floor exactly.

  • Waterproof: Vinyl floors are water-resistant, making them practical for bathrooms.

  • Versatility: Vinyl flooring is available in many shapes, textures and colors.

Cons:

  • Impossible to repair: Once damaged, vinyl flooring cannot be repaired. You have to replace the entire tile or plank.

  • Prone to wear and tear: Compared to other flooring materials such as hardwood that can last a lifetime, vinyl flooring has a maximum lifespan of about 20 years.

  • Tough to remove: If installed using a vinyl adhesive, vinyl floors are challenging to remove.

Porcelain and ceramic tile bathroom floors

From the appearance, it’s difficult to tell porcelain and ceramic tile apart. Both are made from a clay mixture that’s heated in a kiln. However, porcelain flooring is made of refined clay and is heated at higher temperatures making it denser and more durable than ceramic. Porcelain and ceramic are often the best tile for bathroom floors for durability and affordability.

Porcelain and ceramic planks

Technology has made it possible to achieve the appearance of a hardwood floor while maintaining the features of porcelain or ceramic floors through planks that mimic real wood.

Porcelain and ceramic tile

Homeowners are particularly fond of porcelain and ceramic tiles for their bathroom floors due to their versatility and durability. Porcelain tiles are harder, denser, tougher and less porous. On the downside, they are more expensive than ceramic tiles. Ceramic tiles are more affordable because they are less refined, but are also less durable.

Thin-gauged floor tiles

Gauged porcelain tiles (GPT) measure 36-by-36 inches or smaller. These tiles offer superior porcelain features that are only available from natural stone or marble. Gauged tiles are available in a wide range of styles, textures and colors.

Pros and cons of tile flooring

Pros:

  • Easy to maintain: Tile floorings are normally coated with liquid glass which protects them from stains.

  • Chemical and heat resistant: Tiles made of porcelain and ceramic do not corrode when exposed to chemical agents or extreme temperatures.

  • Diverse colors and styles: Tiles are available in a wide range of colors, patterns, sizes, styles and textures to fit most decor.

  • Durable:  Porcelain and ceramic tiles are rather long-lasting. And water-resistant.

 

Cons:

Hard surface: This type of flooring can be uncomfortable to stand on for long periods. Professional installation is required: Even slightly uneven tiles can result in breakage, so the installer needs to be skilled and knowledgeable. Cold: This type of floor getscold during colder months. Grout lines: It’s impossible to prevent grout lines entirely. Tiles need some maintenance to keep grout lines clean and mold-free.

Natural stone tiles

When used on your bathroom floor, natural stone tile adds warmth and depth to the bathroom. The tiles are uniquely textured and colored, and can be made of marble, granite, limestone, slate and travertine, among others.

Pros and cons of natural stone tile flooring

Pros:

  • Enhances your bathroom’s elegance: Natural stone flooring can be beautiful and enhance your decor.

  • Aesthetic value: While the tiles may be the same material, each has a different coloring or grain alignment, which adds depth and texture to the space.

  • Increases home resale value: Natural stone flooring is as expensive as it is unique, thus improving the home’s value.

  • Durability: Natural stone is long-lasting when compared to other flooring materials.

Cons:

  • Expensive: Compared to other flooring materials such as vinyl, natural stone is quite costly.

  • Uncomfortable: Like ceramic and porcelain tile, natural stone adapts to existing weather conditions. The floor could become uncomfortable to walk on in cold weather.

  • Difficult to maintain: Soaps and detergents can lead to floor discoloration.

  • Porous: Unlike glazed porcelain or ceramic tiles, natural stones are quite porous and prone to water damage.

Water-resistant laminate floors

Laminate flooring came up as an easy-to-install and more affordable option to hardwood flooring. Since its inception, laminate flooring has undergone tremendous improvements. Today, it is difficult to tell hardwood and laminate flooring apart. There are also laminate flooring styles that resemble natural stone, vinyl and even tiles.

Pros and cons of water-resistant laminate floors

Pros:

  • Easy to install: Laminate flooring is lightweight, so it’s easier to install and ideal for a DIY bathroom floor remodel.

  • Waterproof: Laminate flooring is water-resistant, especially when silicone-sealed around tubs and toilets.

  • Affordability: Laminate flooring is an affordable alternative to hardwood and other flooring types.

  • Durability: Waterproof laminate is long-lasting and practical for a high-traffic bathroom.

Cons:

  • Difficult to repair: While it is durable, laminate flooring has to be replaced when damaged.

  • Less versatile: As it is a relatively newer material, there are fewer options when it comes to design and style as compared to other flooring types.

  • Appearance: While laminate may mimic natural stone or hardwood, it can look less realistic up close.

Engineered wood floors

If you are keen on getting long-lasting hardwood floors for your bathroom, go for core engineered wood floors. Unlike traditional hardwood floors, core engineered wood has several layers, with the outermost layer being hardwood veneer. The inner layers are made of hardwood, fiberboard or plywood.

Pros and cons of rigid core engineered wood floors

Pros:

  • Water-resistant: Compared to traditional hardwood, engineered hardwood does a better job of reducing moisture problems.

  • Easy to install: Real wood flooring is rather difficult to install, unlike engineered wood flooring which can utilize click-lock installation.

  • Easy to clean and maintain: As engineered wood is coated with wood veneer, it is easy to clean and maintain, holding up well against dents, fading, scratches and stains.

Cons:

  • Price: Compared to conventional wood, tile vinyl and laminate, engineered wood is considerably more expensive.

  • Health concerns: Some people have allergic reactions to the adhesives used to bind the various layers of engineered wood together

  • Prone to damage: The outermost surface is not scratch-resistant and needs more care than other types of flooring.

  • Fewer chances of refinishing engineered wood: Unlike traditional wood flooring which you can re-sand numerous times, engineered wood cannot be sanded (or only once) due to its thin top layer of hardwood.

Frequently asked questions

What are some bathroom floor tiles for a high-use bathroom?
Porcelain tiles are great for high-use and high-traffic bathrooms as they are denser, harder and less porous than other types. Ceramic tiles have the same benefits as porcelain tiles but are more affordable. Vinyl is the most affordable option for a high-use bathroom.

What are the best cheap flooring ideas?
Laminate and vinyl are both affordable flooring options for a bathroom. Both come in various styles, designs and colors and are two of the more easily installed flooring types.

What are some small bathroom tile ideas?
A small bathroom should have small- or medium-sized tiles in neutral colors. It is not a good idea to install large tiles in small bathrooms. Apart from disrupting proportionality, large tiles may need to be cut off, resulting in waste, which can also interrupt any patterns. 

What are the best bathroom flooring ideas for households with kids?
Porcelain and ceramic flooring is great in a kid’s bathroom. These tiles are scratch-, stain- and water-resistant. They are also more durable than bathroom vinyl flooring and can withstand splashes from exuberant playing in tubs and sinks.

Get Ready for Father's Day!

When Is Father's Day in 2020? Here's Everything You Need to Know and how long you have to plan the perfect Father's Day for Dad.

By Editorial Assistant

Summer will be here before you know it, and along with it, a pretty important date for all the dads out there. You guessed it: We're talking about Father's Day. Although most sons and daughters don't need a specific date to celebrate the most important man in their life, every dad in the country does get his special day on the calendar. This year's celebrations might look a little different with our current social distancing situation, but you should still take the time to commemorate the day. If you're not able to dine together, maybe you can surprise him with a porch drop-off of some of his favorite Father's Day brunch recipes or even surprise him with a mail-order meat delivery so he can grill up his favorite meal.

It was never meant to be this way, but the annual holiday can surprisingly come with a considerable amount of stress when you're supposed to find the perfect Father's Day gift for the guy who insists he doesn't need anything. (And let's be honest, sometimes a Father's Day card alone just doesn't cut it.) You may now be wondering, "Well, when is Father's Day in 2020?" Here, we're telling you all you need to know about the holiday, including its history. 

WHEN IS FATHER'S DAY 2020, EXACTLY?

Before you start worrying about what to get your father for his day, you can relax a little, because there's still time to plan a Father's Day brunch or even put your crafty side to work with a DIY gift idea for dad. This year, Father's Day is on Sunday, June 21, 2020.

IS FATHER'S DAY ON THE SAME DATE EVERY YEAR?

Don't feel bad if this date is news to you; the celebration changes days year-to-year. If you ever forget, just remember that Father's Day always falls on the third Sunday in June, and then check the calendar accordingly. 

WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF FATHER'S DAY?

Unlike Mother's Day, which has pretty somber origins, Father's Day has relatively light roots—and was actually created by a woman. According to History.com, back in 1909, a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, "tried to establish an official equivalent to Mother’s Day for male parents." She went around to local businesses to gather support for her idea, and on June 19, 1910, the state of Washington celebrated the first-ever Father's Day.

Although the event inspired President Woodrow Wilson and President Calvin Coolidge to urge Americans to acknowledge a day for dads during their administrations, it still wasn't an official holiday. Unfortunately, the enthusiasm for the commemoration didn't last long. During the '20s and '30s, people tried to do away with both Mother's Day and Father's Day and replace them with Parents’ Day instead.

Then, during the Great Depression, retailers made a push to commercialize the holiday in an attempt to make money during dire financial times. And as World War II started, people began to use Father's Day as a way to pay respect to American troops.  

Finally, several decades later, on May 1, 1972, President Richard Nixon signed Proclamation 4127, which declared Father's Day as a national holiday, with the first official celebration on June 18, 1972. "Let each American make this Father's Day an occasion for renewal of the love and gratitude we bear to our fathers, increasing and enduring through all the years," he wrote in the document.

 

Jennifer Aldrich was the editorial assistant for CountryLiving.com.

Wolfeboro Independence Day Home & Business Decorating Contest

Now here's something to get excited about to celebrate our 244th Independence Day in Wolfeboro! �In�lieu of the parade being canceled and the fireworks postponed, a contest has been arranged for participating resident homeowners and�local businesses to show their patriotism in full view! Thanks to the partnering entities below, they've made this possible. For more information on how to get involved, please continue reading...

�� � �

Celebrate Independence Day in Wolfeboro by decorating your home or business. The Wolfeboro Area Chamber of Commerce, American Legion Post #18, and Wolfeboro Parks and Recreation have partnered to provide a little fun in light of this years unique circumstances.

We can all be a part of the celebration. Wolfeboro will shine with lots and lots of homes and businesses festively decorated in true Independence Day in Wolfeboro fashion.�

Participating businesses will also have their logo published on the map. This is a great opportunity to get some free advertising for your business.�

Prizes will be awarded for the viewer's choice of Best Decorated House and Best Decorated Business.�

Registration forms are available on the events page at�wolfeborochamber.com,�wolfeboronh.us/parks-recreation�and on social media linked from @WolfeboroNH and @Wolfeboroparksandrecreation. Contest Map will be available at those sites no later than July 1.

Thinking About Buying or Selling Your Home During This Pandemic?

Stop thinking and do it, it could be to your advantage! Here's why...

Courtesy of Keeping Current Matters

Every day that passes, people have a need to buy and sell homes. That doesn’t stop during the current pandemic. If you’ve had a major life change recently, whether with your job or your family situation, you may be in a position where you need to sell your home – and fast. While you probably feel like timing with the current pandemic isn’t on your side, making a move is still possible. Rest assured, with technology at your side and fewer sellers on the market in most areas, you can list your house and make it happen safely and effectively, especially when following the current COVID-19 guidelines set forth by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

You may have a new baby, a new employment situation, a parent who moved in with you, you just built a home that’s finally ready to move into, or some other major part of your life that has changed in recent weeks. Buyers have those needs too, so rest assured that someone is likely looking for a home just like yours. This year, delayed listings from the typically busy spring season will push into the summer months, so more competition will be coming to the market as the pandemic passes. Getting ahead of that wave now might be your biggest opportunity.

Bottom line, homes are still being bought and sold in the midst of this pandemic. If you need to sell your house and would like to know the current status in your local market, contact us to create a safe and effective plan that works for you and your family.

Check out our "Buyers & Sellers" tab at the top of this page for more information on how to go about it!

 

 

7 Tips and Tricks for Decorating a New Home

Please read the following article to get some terrific decorating ideas, tips and tricks from Rooms To Go.

One of the most exciting and possibly daunting parts of moving out on your own is decorating your first home. Amid all of the stress of packing, phone calls, bills and changing addresses, you also have to consider how you want your new place to look. This is an opportunity to discover your style of decorating.

1.) Prioritize Your Purchases

While decorating your first home, you'll probably find that you need a lot of new stuff. Compare the items you need now with those you could add to a wish list for the future. Begin by choosing furniture for the rooms where you spend the most time. Consider the areas you'll use the most:

  • Living Room: This is one of the busiest and most-used rooms of the house, so comfy seating is a must. Consider a simple yet stylish sofa set to save money and outfit the whole room.

  • Bedroom: After a long move, you'll need a good night's rest. A chic storage bed and a supportive mattress are essential items.

  • Kitchen: Hard work means big appetites, so one of the first rooms you'll unpack is the kitchen. A casual seating set is a great place to gather for your first meal in your new home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.) Get Creative With Decor

Once you have the perfect wall color, you can begin hanging artwork and decor that transforms your house into a home. Check out these suggestions for turning a blank wall into a showcase for your unique personality.

  • A favorite for rustic homes, a large clock completes your farmhouse-inspired kitchen.

  • Turn your hallway into a gallery with floral prints framed in dark wood or gold.

  • Give any room a bit of edge with an arrangement of photographs.

  • Collections of artwork look beautiful on a single wall or spread across rooms to carry a motif throughout.

 

3.) Make It Shine

Changing out light fixtures can completely transform your design. From a traditional chandelier in the foyer to modern floor lamps in the den, select coordinating fixtures or use a variety of styles for a cool, eclectic vibe. Make sure you have overhead lighting in addition to lamps so that you can brighten up the space for guests or relax with a subtle ambient glow.

4.) Feng Shui Your Way

Think about how you want to arrange your furniture to keep things inviting and comfortable. Consider who is using the room and how you need it to function. While a sprawling sectional provides seating for large families and for those who like to entertain, a loveseat with a coffee and end table trio is ideal for couples.

5.) Accents Are Everything

Accents are another wonderful way to make your new place your own. Take this chance to play with bold hues, quirky patterns and fun textures that reflect who you are. While many of your first purchases may be essentials, this is where you can get creative. Consider these stylish and functional first home ideas to personalize your space:

  • Try a set of nesting tables for a versatile option that you can move around the room or stack for storage.

  • Piles of  accent pillows in a variety of colors and materials adds character to your seating arrangement.

  • Poufs and ottomans serve as extra chairs, footrests and impromptu tables.

  • Store shoes, blankets and seasonal clothing in a storage bench in your entryway or at the foot of your bed.

6.) Creature Comforts

After a big move, it's natural to crave a sense of normalcy. Do you need to begin your day with a hot cup of joe? Consider installing a coffee bar in your kitchen using a rolling cart or a credenza. Is it important for you to feel polished before leaving the house? Designate a well-lit area of your bedroom for a chic vanity.

7.) A Fresh Start

Don't underestimate the power of a little greenery to refresh the atmosphere in your home. Fresh flowers are lovely, but they can be difficult to maintain in the flurry of post-move life. Try adding silk floral arrangements or lush shrubs in every room for a much-needed dose of nature all year long.

A Hearty Housewarming

You'll be all ready to host your housewarming party thanks to these home decorating ideas. Welcome friends and family to see your new place and celebrate the landmark occasion of moving into a new home. With these tips, you're sure to impress everybody, including yourself, with a design that's all your own.

Compliments of Rooms To Go

 

 

9 Easy-to-Ambitious DIY Projects to Improve Your Home

Be honest: When it comes to home projects, are you a handy hero or an aspiring amateur? No matter what your answer is, there’s something here for you. See Susan Kelleher's suggestions from easy to more advanced projects you can do yourself!

By Susan Kelleher

Whether you're looking for a small project or a new challenge, these improvements can enhance your space and potentially boost your home's value.

Beginner projects:

New faucets

Attention to detail is key for this project — you don’t want to flood your kitchen because you forgot to turn off the water valve — but no previous plumbing skills are required, and a shiny new faucet can generate a lot of day-to-day pleasure for a little effort. These instructions walk you through the steps to install a kitchen faucet (and the process is just the same for a bathroom sink). 

Light fixtures and switches

Few things can change the atmosphere of a room as quickly as lighting. Swapping out an old fixture for a new one — or an on-off switch for a dimmer — can provide a mood for any occasion.  Here’s an easy guide to change a light fixture. Switches use the same types of wires, so if you can swap a fixture, you can handle a switch.   

Fire pit

This is a great one to tackle with kids. Celebrate the finished product with a s’mores party. Plus, the sales price premium on homes with fire pits is 2.8%, according to a Zillow analysis of thousands of home listings and sales prices.* Build you own backyard fire pit in 7 easy steps.

Smart tech upgrade

There are countless smart home products you can choose from, and some require little more than changing a light bulb or plugging in a device. A few to consider:

Smart doorbell/camera: Installing one is similar to changing out a light switch. The process involves removing your old doorbell and connecting the device to your Wi-Fi.

Smart locks: Do you have a family member who is always losing their house key? Replacing a traditional door lock with a keyless entry you access using a touch pad or smartphone app is an easy solution. 

Smart home hub: Amazon, Google, Apple, Nest, Samsung and others offer smart home hubs, which allow you to interact with compatible devices through a central system. The hub itself is typically “plug and play” and easy to set up. But you may need to do some initial troubleshooting to get all of your devices connected.  

Smart lights: This project is as simple as buying and installing light bulbs. However, the upgrade requires coordination with a smart home system because each one has its own requirements and controls. If you already have a home system, be sure the lights you choose are compatible. If you’re thinking of buying a new system, keep in mind that it needs to work harmoniously with the products you already have.

Intermediate projects:

Cabinet refresh

Updating your kitchen doesn’t have to involve major renovations. You can create a whole new look by changing out the door and drawer pulls, painting your cabinets or removing cabinet doors to create an open-shelving effect. Or, if you have too much wall space and too few cabinets, you can easily install open shelving from scratch. An added bonus: Homes with open shelving sell for 4.2% more than expected. For cabinet tips and other ideas, here are seven ways to upgrade your kitchen without remodeling.

Barn door

Switching out a traditional swinging door or a closet slider for a barn door that glides on a rail can give your room a striking look, as well as open up space and change the furniture arranging possibilities. And your effort might pay off in other ways: Barn doors are associated with a 5% price premium. You’ll need a few tools, another pair of hands, and these step-by-step instructions which cover all the details of how to build and install your own sliding barn door

Advanced projects:

Board & batten

You may not be familiar with the term, but you’ve probably seen this classic design feature in a number of homes. Precision is required for this one, and that means you need the right tools, namely a measuring tape, a level and a miter saw. Also patience. But if you can imagine a 3D element atop your drywall, you’re ready to go, and this guide will walk you through each step of the process

Garden shed

If you have the know-how to build a garden shed, you can find any number of plans and tutorials online to suit your taste. And if you’re not quite up for that challenge, you can still improve the one you’ve got or buy a garden-variety one and make it your own. Start by imagining whether you need it for storage or extra work or living space, and go from there. Homes with a “she shed” are associated with a 3.6% price premium. Here’s some inspiration to create your own custom garden workspace

Heated floors

This is the kind of project you can tackle if you missed out on your real vocation and ended up in a desk job. Labor-intensive and requiring the confidence of an accomplished tradesperson (and some math skills), your success in warming your dwelling from the bottom up will make you a hero or heroine in your own home. This project is ideal if you already planned to replace the flooring in a room and have the opportunity to add a heating element in the process. Learn about the different types of radiant flooring and tips for DIY success. Homes with this feature sell for 4.9% more than expected.

 Whatever you decide to do, measure twice, cut once and have fun!

 

Susan Kelleher is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and writer. She joined Zillow in May 2018 as a senior writer on data and trends.

What is Memorial Day?

In the last days of Spring, all Americans commemorate those who died in the military service. Every year, we celebrate Memorial Day on the last Monday of May.

The history of Memorial Day goes back to the 19th century. People who lost their friends and relatives in the Civil War started to decorate the graves of their dead with flowers, wreaths, and flags. That is why the initial name of the holiday was Decoration Day.

After World War I, all Americans adopted this remembrance tradition of the Southern states and devoted it to all those who died in any military action. We are honoring men and women who gave their lives for our country up to now.

Today, people go to cemeteries to decorate the graves and pay homage to their dead. Typically, many Americans spend Memorial Day getting together with their family for a picnic, BBQ and/or sporting events. Although, this year may be a little different with social distancing and all.

What is the Difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day?

If you are one of those asking “is Memorial Day not for veterans?” it is time to learn the answer. Since a lot of us still confuse Veterans Day and Memorial Day, you should know the difference to avoid any misunderstanding.

These two holidays have different origins. The official observance of Memorial Day started in 1868 at Arlington National Cemetery where people decorated the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers with flowers. This tradition was extended to commemorate all military men and women who died in all American wars.

Veterans Day dates back to the early 20th century when Armistice Day was declared after World War I to honor the heroism of the American soldiers and their contribution to the world peace. After World War II, the name of the holiday was changed to “Veterans.” Ever since then Veterans Day is observed on November 11 to celebrate the veterans of all American wars.

What Do You Say To a Veteran on Memorial Day?

To express noble Memorial Day sentiments, you should remember that this is the time to commemorate those who gave their lives in service to our country. That is why you should not thank the living veterans on Memorial Day but show respect to their fallen comrades in arms, friends, and family.

We honor veterans on Veterans Day to express our gratitude and reverence for their service. On Memorial Day, we remember and grieve for those who died in wars. In such a way, we can deliberate on the price of war and pay tribute to those who paid in full.

So instead of looking for proper words to say to a veteran on Memorial Day, you should better visit a Veterans memorial or the USSAH National Cemetery and place flags and flowers on the graves, attend the Largest Memorial Day Parade and Concert, buy a poppy, or take part in the National Moment of Remembrance.

Do You Say Happy Memorial Day?

Over time people have adopted different attitudes to using a Memorial Day saying “Happy Memorial Day.”However, it might seem inappropriate to wish a day of bitter and painful memories to be happy. Since those of us who lost their loved ones in the wars can get genuinely fragile and emotional on Memorial Day, you should rather avoid using the word “happy.”

To be on the safe side, you can say things like “Have a nice day today” or “I hope you have a fine day today.” If you plan to honor a person whose relative died in the service, you can express your appreciation for their sacrifices in the following ways:

  • I remember and deeply appreciate the ultimate sacrifice [name of a fallen hero] made.

  • I share your tremendous loss and offer my deepest gratitude for [name of a fallen hero] service.

  • I hope you have a nice time with your family and good memories of [name of a fallen hero] to honor [his or her] sacrifice.

By Writology

 

Lastly, on Memorial Day, may we all stop and take a moment to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation to those who serve our country and to those that made the ultimate sacrifice!

Also, to honor health professionals, first responders and others who are putting their lives in harm’s way to help their neighbors and fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Thank you all for your service! Everyone be well and stay safe!