It’s Spring. You are looking around your house and you feel like you need a change. Something needs to be brighter or cleaner or “more today” and you don’t know what that something is but you know it’ time for a change. How about refreshing your powder room? It’s that small half bathroom that you and all your guests use. Aside from the kitchen, it’s the place usually everyone sees when they come over. Here’s the thing, it probably doesn’t need a complete gut job that could cost you your tax refund and then some. It may just need a refresh. And before you get exhausted just thinking about it, this stuff is easy to do yourself or inexpensive if you hire a handyman to do it for you (Need a referral? Just me know at firstname.lastname@example.org)
If the Walls Could Talk
Painting your walls is the single most impactful change any room can make and a good gallon of paint is less than $40. If your powder room is the sage green that was so popular years ago, it’s time to lighten and brighten. Going with a neutral color for your powder room is a wonderfully safe bet. Neutrals tend to be classic and you can easily refresh it from year to year by just changing out your towels and accessories. White is making a huge comeback. More so, white walls with a white vanity/sink. If you want a clean, crisp look, white is it. A popular favorite is Cloud White from Benjamin Moore. But grab those paint chips from your local paint store to see which white is right for you. Who knew white could come is so many shades?! And here’s a few tips about using those paint chips. Never just grab one of any color. Grab at least 4 of the same color and tape them together so you can get a bigger visual of the color and then tape that larger section to your wall. Move this enlarged sample from wall to wall around the room so you can see the color from all sides because natural and fixtures lighting as well as mirror reflection can change a color based on angles and shading. Not a fan of white? Want a color more warm for you and your guests? Grey is the new neutral and it comes in a wide array of hues which is great because you can find the perfect shade that flows with the colors in the rest of your home.
On the opposite end of the paint spectrum, a deep paint color can be bold and dramatic, especially in a small, windowless bathroom. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing this if you will be selling your home, but if the change is just for you, “go big or go home” may be your makeover motto. Try a navy – it goes with deep woods in your vanity or flooring or white sink and toilets.
Sink Into It
Before you go painting the walls, how’s your sink and/or vanity looking? If it’s the builder’s grade golden oak color wood cabinetry, we can bring that into “2016” so easily. Sure, you could swap it out for a terrific new cabinet. There are some great style options today with consoles that
have shelving and look more like nice furniture than the vanities of years gone by. But, if you are looking to keep costs low, a light sanding of the cabinetry and some paint can go a long way. Here white is the most popular choice. It’s timeless and cheerful. White walls and a white vanity can give a very polished look. White cabinets with pale gray or tan walls are something right out of the house magazines. Have you considered trying a bit of color on the cabinetry if the walls will be white or a pale neutral? Think gray or a deep chocolate color. A great idea would be a pale neutral and then simply paint the cabinetry a darker shade of that neutral – just go up three or four colors on it’s paint chip strip.
The finishing touch of a vanity makeover is the hardware. This is where you can go modern, traditional or whimsical, but please do me a favor and think outside the standard silver knob or no knob at all. Put your personal touch on the vanity with a great piece of hardware. It is a statement piece.
Mirror Mirror on the Wall…and everything else
Today, mirrors are considered an accessory so make it reflect your sense of style. If your mirror goes wall to wall and from sink to ceiling, frame it out with molding and watch your powder room suddenly have go from ho-hum to chic. You can check out HomeGoods or flea markets to find a unique mirror if you would rather hang one. Just remember, taller ceilings require a taller mirror.
I am not even going to go over lighting since we discussed that last week. But a great new thought is pendant lighting in the powder room if it has tall ceilings.
When thinking about what to hang on the walls of your powder room, my favorite cheat is to look at Pinterest or Houzz to see what the designers have done and then hit Pottery Barn or Home Depot to re-create something similar. Maybe it’s a simple shelf that has a basket, a cute little plant and a tchotchke of some sort. Enlarging a photo in a great fame always works. You can do one large picture and mat/frame it or arrange several like-kind pictures together to create your own collage wall. It’s as simple as printing out some of your favorite pictures from your smart phone. The pictures could be amazing views from your last vacation, sweet shots of the kids or your pet or even a cool close-up of a flower from your garden. Experiment and have fun with it. Remember, the little stuff is easy to change out from time to time.
That’s it for this week. This is totally a weekend warrior project that you can make happen. The powder room in your home may just need one or two of the ideas here to make a big impact. Send me pictures at email@example.com if you do decide to switch things up; I’d love to see them.
If you have any questions, please ask away! I am here for you and your home always.
The Coat Drive was a great success! Saturday’s coat drive at Three Springs Park in Westlake Village, brought in over 2200 pieces of winter clothes for the kids at Casa Pacifica. The sixth annual event was not only a big success, but the children and visitors who showed up were treated to hot chocolate and smoothies, supplied by Apollos Espresso and Shaved Ice, along with some winter activities. We had a great turnout during the four hour event. Many folks stayed to sled, play in the snow, created by Arctic Glacier, and enjoy the treats. It was a perfect SoCal winter day and at least in this case, the cool and cloudy weather worked perfectly for the winter theme. We can’t forget to send a big thank you out to the thirty volunteers that helped greet guests, collect items, sort and count clothing and help with the sledding area. Additionally we owe a giant debt of thanks to our sponsors, Zwaag Termite, Michael Lang Designs, and Costco and Macaroni Kids, who also helped with winter crafts. We could not have made this happen without them. The Ventura County Star ran a wonderful piece about the Coats for Casa event in which they quoted me. It reads in part.
‘We serve children that are abused and neglected and kids that are suffering from mental health challenges — kids that are at the deepest end of our system that really need all of our help,’ said Vicki Murphy, chief advancement officer of Casa Pacifica, a nonprofit that serves 585 individuals a day ranging from 6 to 21 years old. Saturday’s event was inspired by local residents Lydia Gable, who works for Keller Williams Realty, and Rick Winters, a financial adviser at Winters Financial Group. ‘We do a lot of business in the community, and it’s a nice way of giving back to the community,’ Gable said. ‘Casa Pacifica has done a tremendous job for kids. They help the kids that are in need and they are a good local resource for families to be able to rely on.’
I am so proud to be a part of this beautiful event every year especially knowing how many children and families it helps. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart and from all of us at Lydia Gable Realty Group for all who came by, volunteered and donated.
Making a List and Checking It Twice…
Have you ever thought of writing a real estate new year’s resolutions list? New Year’s Day is weeks away and most likely most of us are looking back at our year and deciding what goes on our 2016 New Year’s resolutions list. But as a homeowner or potential homeowner, you should also jot down some real estate new year’s resolutions. It’s a good idea to get your real estate ‘house’ in order. Not to mention you can’t get to where you want to go if you don’t make a decision to get there. So on that note, here are five good real estate new year’s resolutions that can help you manifest your home owners’ goals more quickly.
Jot down all five of these practical and some more enjoyable tips onto your New Year’s resolutions list for 2016 so you can see all your homeowners dreams realized this year.
- Annual Property Tax Assessment
This resolution can set you on a better financial path in the future. Maybe you are saving for a better home or want to make upgrades to your current home. Every little bit saved helps. So, if you are a homeowner and your home appraisal value has dropped even by a smidge this year, you be able to pay less for property tax by contesting your property tax assessment. Many realtors will even issue an annual reminder to clients to remind them to review their property tax. You may also not be aware that if you do discover that your property tax is too high vs. the current value, you may request a hearing date within a limited time frame. Call me for more information on this. Bottom line: put this on your must-do’s for 2016.
- Home Owner Insurance Discount
Now, still on the financial goals side of things…Did you make any major repairs or upgrades to your home this year? If so you may be able reap the benefits of this even if you don’t plan on listing the home for sale. Major repairs or improvements that you made to your home last year may qualify you for a discount on this year’s home owner’s insurance coverage. Be willing to do a little research and prove the costs of the repairs but this resolution can be well worth the effort. Don’t forget this one your list. Home owner’s insurance discount, resolution #2, 2016.
- Upgrades… Finally
Resolution #2 flows very nicely into this resolution which is… Resolve to make those “put off” home owner upgrades finally this year. As you can see, even if you don’t sell, it may definitely pay off in the way of discounts. But if you are planning to sell, do it now. Don’t wait until the last minute. Kitchens and bathrooms are the areas that will pay off most in the sale so be willing to make the investment. Granite countertops, spa showers and pedestal tubs. A 2014 article in U.S, News Money & World Report says there are definitely home improvements that will boost your home sale:
As the saying goes, “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.” When people drive up and first see your house, you want them to think of it immediately as a home that has been maintained and well cared for. “It’s you putting your best foot forward,” says Christy Biberich, owner of Christy B. Design in Los Angeles who appears on the HGTV show “Brother Vs. Brother.” “We do judge a book by its cover.”
- De-Clutter, De-Stress
Maybe you have no plans on selling just yet or perhaps you have even just moved in – whatever the reason, a cluttered home is not a happy home. Your home is supposed to be a sanctuary away from the hectic outside world so treat it as such. A blog on Luxury Simplified suggests starting with the most clutter-prone areas like closets. Says the writer:
Empty closets. These are the graveyards for all the belongings homeowners don’t know what to do with. Spacious closets are a coveted feature among buyers. Make yours appear larger by being uncluttered and well organized.
- Find a Real Estate Pro
As with any high stakes endeavor, a coach or mentor can determine success. So if you know that your dream home is your next goal but it’s a full one year away, use this time now, effectively. Research. Seek out your best team, now. A realtor can make all the difference between buying your dream home and simply buying any old house in price range. And to that I would say, look around your neighborhood. Look at potential dream homes. Go to open houses at home that you have deemed “dream homes” so you can decide if these houses are actually living up to the idea in your mind. Then find a real estate professional while you have the time to interview and decide. A top real estate agent can make all the difference!
- Find Your New Dream Home
A home is more than just a front door, a living room and a few bedrooms and bathrooms. There are several factors that can boost a home’s potential: different designs, commuting and proximity to local highways, luxury location, lot size, taxes, interior dimensions, façade and curb appeal. Take the time if you are so privileged to do so. Put “finding your dream home” on your resolutions list now and then take your time and search thoroughly.
Lastly from all of us at Lydia Gable Realty Group, a happy and safe holiday to all. My wish for you in 2016: All of your home owner new year’s resolutions come true and that all your dreams are realized right where you are – happy at heart and happy at home.
It’s holiday time again and when there are holidays, you can bet there are homeowners thinking up new holiday home decorating ideas. Some folks really embrace the idea of holiday decorating but for some, it’s not as easy either because of a lack of ideas or a lack of funds. But you don’t have to spend a ton of money nor does it have to be complicated. There are simple ways to decorate your home so that it reflects the joy of the season! With a few of the following tips, you can go from hum-drum to holiday happy in just minutes. Take a look at the following list of holiday home decorating ideas.
A Festive Centerpiece
An article on RealSimple offers some great tips. I particularly like the five-second centerpiece. The idea here is to use what you to make a gorgeous decoration with simplicity. It’s not only simple but it makes for an elegant centerpiece for any holiday party.
Mix clementines or oranges and peppermint balls in a single glass compote (or a grouping of three).
Holiday Garland for Decorating
Do you have columns at your entrance or maybe a trellis? This could work with both or even just a fence. Wrap the columns or drape the fence with white lights and green garland. The entrance is the perfect holiday starting point for decorating because guests will feel the holiday spirit as soon as they step on your property.
Hanukkah Holiday Decorating
Hanukkah is the first week in December this year. Decorating isn’t just for Christmas. If you celebrate Hanukkah and want to add some festive flavor to your home, SFGate has some ideas for you. One of the best ones involves window decorating. Says the piece:
Set up a raised platform on the sill of the central bow window during Hanukkah and cover it with a silver-and-blue velvet cloth. Place a large menorah — one that holds candles or a decorative menorah with powered lights — on the platform so its light is clearly visible through the window.
Holiday Home Decorating: Curb Appeal
Don’t forget holiday curb appeal – your mailbox can be covered in red bows and wreathes which is small decoration that packs a big punch. It’s just a simple way to add a touch of holiday decorating without doing too much and being called the Griswolds of the cul de sac. I also like the idea that Southern Living had which if done well can add such a classy touch. They decorated the window sill with a view varied vintage-looking Christmas lanterns. It’s the small touches really and that doesn’t cost much. You can paint some old lanterns you may already have or pick up a few interesting pieces at the local flea market. Says the article:
Arrange a grouping of festive lanterns at your entryway for quick-and-easy holiday style. Consider using flameless candles as a worry-free alternative to regular pillars.
The Smell of a Christmas Home Sale
Maybe you are putting your home up for sale, decorating might be a bit much. But you would be surprised how the smell of gingerbread cookies baking in the oven, hot apple cider, the smell of pine in the entrance or even a scented hot chocolate candle, can evoke the emotions of home. If you are staying in your home over the holidays and want to still enjoy the feeling of the festive season, but you don’t want to go overboard with decorating because you plan on listing it during the holiday season, don’t forget the smells of Christmas. It can make all the difference. A gorgeous homemade wreath on the door and the smells of Christmas past, could be just the added touches of staging you need.
The Home is the Hearth
Let’s be honest we all decorate for our guests and neighbors to enjoy. But don’t forget, your home is your hearth. When you walk in, it’s the place to leave all your cares from the outside world on the doormat. So set a tone that is comforting and even festive. Maybe you are from family this holiday year or perhaps you just moved into a new home. Turn on some holiday music, grab a few friends and family members and start decorating. It’s a fun way to bond with others but also a lovely way to make your house feel like the home you always dreamt it could be. You take such good care of your home, let it take care of you.
Oh and last but not least… A happy and safe holiday season from all of us here at Lydia Gable Realty Group. From my home to yours, I wish you joy and happy holiday home decorating!