Home Projects Under $300 Guests Will Notice

 

What can you afford that will make a big impression? There are plenty of ways to upgrade your home design with a small budget.

Guest post by Lauren White

Family is coming into town and you’re thinking, what have I done with this place? Will they notice that you’ve changed the furniture layout in the living room? Or that you updated to LED light bulbs? What can you afford that will make a big impression? There are plenty of ways to upgrade your home design with a small budget. For less than $300, you can have a plank wall, a brick fire pit and more.

Barn Doors
This door style is a classic trend and looks much more expensive than it usually is. Your guests will notice this practical upgrade, and it will improve the style and design of any space. Replace a bedroom or bathroom door with a barn door of any style for less than $300. If you have more room in your budget, you can replace bifold closet doors with bypass barn doors.

Plank Wall
A plank wall can instantly create a designer look in your home. It is a much-desired trend with two important barriers: real wood is heavy and expensive. Innovation in wood materials has changed the game, however. Laminate wood planks and shiplap can keep your cost between $200 and $300. You have as many options as with real wood, from color to grain, and the materials are easier to install.

Crown Molding
This seemingly minor detail can make a room feel more complete and polished. It breaks the “standard” appearance of walls and ceilings. You can have crown moldingin every room of your house for less than $300 if you put the work in yourself. Intimidated by the idea of getting all those edges, right? Materials like polystyrene and polyurethane are easier to work with than solid wood and cost as little as $1/sq. ft.

Water Filter
Guests won’t notice this detail at first, but they are certain to be impressed when you offer them a glass of water from your filtered tap. Clean tap water is harder to come by with every year. This investment goes beyond improving appearances and will benefit you every day. The best under-sink models range in cost from $75-$450.

Fire Pit Area
You can keep your costs extremely low with this feature by purchasing a pre-fab fire pit for $30-$100. However, for around $150-$300, you can build a gorgeous brick fire pit. Keep in mind that any old brick won’t do for the interior portion of your pit. Fire bricks should be used on the inside, as they are designed to withstand heat.

New Paint
Fresh paint is a classic way to switch up or improve your design. You have the option of creating new accent walls, brightening or darkening a space and harmonizing color schemes with your furniture and decor. With time, patience and trusty painter’s tape, you can paint the interior of your home for $200-$300.

It’s surprising how much you can accomplish with such a small budget. Rather than buy a new couch table or plate set, consider these noticeable home improvements. They’ll take less time and money and will have your guests thinking you’ve been hard at work.

Learn more about the costs provided above at HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide.

Lauren White is a freelance writer who enjoys reading, hiking and traveling. She can usually be found on an outdoor adventure with her boyfriend and little sister on the weekends.

References

https://www.homestratosphere.com/smart-home-remodeling-ideas-on-a-budget/
https://www.thisoldhouse.com/ideas/21-quick-and-easy-budget-upgrades
https://www.quickstepstyle.com/diy-home-projects/diy-accent-walls/
https://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/walls-and-ceilings/crown-molding-installation/#material
https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/water-filters/buying-guide
https://www.fixr.com/costs/fire-pit
https://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/painting/paint-a-home-interior/#DIY

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on December 7, 2017 at 3:27 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: backyard, curb appeal, decorating, Homeowners, projects, real estate | Tagged , , , , , , ,

How to Decorate Like a Christmas Elf on a Budget

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!! Break out that rubbermaid and dust off your ornaments because it’s time to decorate your home like the elf that I know you are. Here are five affordable and totally adorable ways to decorate your home with Christmas ornaments.

Christmas Shadow Box

Adding Christmas Cheer to your home couldn’t be more easy than this easy DIY Christmas Shadow Box idea.

 

Christmas Ornament Wreath

This project may look difficult but in just four easy steps you will be humming jingle bells. Learn how here.

Window Display

Show your neighbors that you are ready for a Holly Jolly Christmas with this simple hanging ornament idea.

In a Glass Vases

Remind your family it is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year with these easy Vase ideas.

As a Tree

Your guests will be rockin’ around the Christmas Tree when they see this adorable DIY Ornament Tree craft.

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on December 4, 2017 at 8:51 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Celebrate, decorating, holidays, interior decorating, real estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Homeowner’s Guide to Hosting Holiday Guests

As a new homeowner, there’s a good chance you’ll have the opportunity to host the Christmas festivities — after all, everyone will want to see your new place, so you’ll want it to look its best for the holidays.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry: Follow this simple game plan for adding decor to your new home and helping your guests settle in comfortably.

Dress Your Home in Holiday Style

Focus on decorating a few key areas in your home to create a warm, festive vibe. You don’t need — or want — to have decorations in every corner. Using too much decor will make your rooms feel smaller. Instead, make a few spots gorgeous with these tips:

  • Start at the front. Greet your guests with a beautiful wreath on the front door. Choose a pre-lit, battery-powered wreath so you don’t have to worry about extension cords — all you need to do is hang it up. Next, clean off your porch, clear your walkway, and add a holiday doormat. Finish with an easy “wow” factor, like a lawn figure of a nutcracker or snowman.
  • Trim the tree. Don’t worry about getting the tree decorated before your guests arrive. Instead, host a tree-trimming party as a fun holiday activity. Assemble your tree or place it in a stand with water the day of the party. Add lights and set out your ornaments. Then, break out the cookies and eggnog and enjoy a night of decorating with your guests.
  • Hang stockings with care. Decorate your mantel to make it a beautiful focal point. If you don’t have a fireplace, create your own focal point by using a bookcase or entertainment center. Bring the space to life by draping a pre-lit garland across it. Then, nestle a few similar items around the garland, such as a parade of nutcrackers, stuffed or wooden Santas, a Christmas village, a row of candles, or an arrangement of ornaments. Finish by hanging your stockings with stocking hooks or removable adhesive hooks.
  • Add decorations. A few places need a holiday twist: the dining table, the coffee table, and the kitchen island. While you don’t need to cover every surface, you do want to spread some holiday cheer here and there. Try something simple and quick like a glass bowl filled with ornaments, a tall jar of candy canes, or a lovely red poinsettia.

Get Ready for Guests

Treat your guests like you’d want to be treated. Once you’ve spread Christmas cheer around the house, take a few steps to get ready for company.

  • Clean the guest room. Declutter if you’ve put items in this rarely used room. Give it a good cleaning. If the bedding is clean but hasn’t been used in a while, toss the bedspread and pillow covers in the dryer on air-dry to fluff out any dust. Add a fun Christmas pillow to the bed, put out a basket of holiday goodies, and place a predecorated tabletop tree on the dresser.
  • Set up the sofa. Don’t have a guest room? If you’re pulling out the air mattress or sleeper sofa, make sure you’ve got extra bedding on hand. Vacuum underneath the sofa cushions to remove any dust or crumbs. Set aside an area for your guests to put their belongings.
  • Prep the bathroom. Arrange personal care items for your guests in a basket so that they’re easy to find. Show your guests where to locate clean towels and which towel bars they may use. Finally, add some festive elements to the bathroom with holiday-themed soap, air freshener, and hand towels.

Gathering with friends and family is the best part of the season. Once you’ve decorated the key places and made a welcoming spot for your guests, you can sit back and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.

 

Lea Schneider loves to decorate for the holidays. As a professional organizer, Lea provides tips on tackling your decorating tasks in an organized way. Lea also writes for The Home Depot. To find more Christmas decor options like the ones Lea talks about in this article, visit homedepot.com.

This article is editorial content that has been contributed to our site at our request and is published for the benefit of our readers. We have not been compensated for its placement.

Posted on December 1, 2017 at 8:54 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Celebrate, decorating, holidays, interior decorating, real estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How to Create Lasting Holiday Memories

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and we can’t think of a better season to make some special holiday memories with your loved ones! Knoxville, Tennessee, offers lots of holiday cheer for residents, and we all look forward to the annual traditions. Here are a few ideas for making holiday memories with your loved ones that will last a lifetime.

Ice Skating, Shopping, and Dining on Market Square

Market Square in Downtown Knoxville has always been a hub of activity, ever since its early days as a market where farmers could bring their produce to sell and trade. These days, it’s a great spot for dining, shopping, and people watching. During the winter holidays, Market Square is transformed with a giant ice-skating rink in the center. The rink, part of Knoxville’s Holidays on Ice festivities, opens November 24 and runs through January 7, 2018.

This is a great spot to create some special holiday memories! Maybe enjoy a little skating to work up an appetite for one of the great local eateries around the square. Or perhaps you’d like to cap off a day of holiday shopping with some ice-skating fun. Many shop windows around downtown Knoxville will be decorated in a peppermint theme as part of the Window Wonderland. There’s plenty to do and something for folks of all ages.

Holiday Lights Auto Tour

Many neighborhoods around Knoxville get all decked out for the holiday season, and this is a great opportunity to create some special holiday memories with your family and friends. Plan an evening for you and your loved ones to hop in the car and cruise around town to see all the outdoor holiday lighting and decorations.

Knoxville’s historic Sequoyah Hills neighborhood is always a great option for those really special decorations on a grand scale. West Hills is another neighborhood to visit for lovely light shows, and don’t forget Founders’ Park in Farragut for a truly magical twinkling light display.

Want to get an even closer look at some of the beautiful lights around the city? Take part in Knoxville’s Tour de Lights event on December 15. Decorate your bike with lights and tinsel and meet at Market Square for a ride through the historic 4th & Gill neighborhood.

Love Your Neighborhood

Another special way to create lasting holiday memories is by showing your neighborhood some love. Deliver baked goods to neighbors and maybe sing a carol or two. Or perhaps you could host a holiday drop-in and invite neighbors over for cookies and cocoa.

This is a wonderful way to get to know the folks in your community and introduce yourself to neighbors you haven’t met yet. It’s also a worthwhile opportunity to just get out of the house and explore the neighborhood as a family.

Give Back to the Community

The holiday season is a great time to give back to those folks in your community who might need a little help. Plus, taking the opportunity to give back as a family is a wonderful way to create some lasting holiday memories. Knoxville has a variety of nonprofit organizations that are always looking for volunteers. Consider volunteering at a local food pantry or maybe buying gifts for a family experiencing financial trouble. You can also help out at a local animal shelter.

These are just a few ideas for this season in Knoxville. Get together with your loved ones and see what you can come up with.

Posted on November 29, 2017 at 10:03 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Celebrate, decorating, family, holidays, real estate | Tagged , , , , , ,

Get Thanksgiving Holiday Prep Started Early

 

It’s time to pack up those spooky Halloween decorations and transition your home for the next fall holiday. Whether you’ll be hosting a family get-together or celebrating with friends, start planning now to ensure a stress- and disaster-free Turkey day. Here’s how to organize your party supplies and details for a beautiful feast this year.

Finalize Your Guest List

First things first, sit down with your friends and family to make a final decision on who you’ll be inviting over this year. Make and mail invitations now so your guests will have enough time to coordinate their own plans and get back with a timely RSVP.

 

Make a Menu or Hire a Caterer

Jot down recipes, shopping lists and cooking schedules today if you’re planning to make a home-cooked favorite or two this year. You’ll want to stock up on ingredients before your local grocery store sells out. If you’re not very kitchen-savvy, begin browsing local caterers’ menus before the best get booked.

While you’re at it, be sure to clear space in your pantry and fridge to hold the bounty of food before cooking day. If you have extra time, your oven and cookware supplies could probably use a nice cleaning.

Do a Walk-Through of Your Home

It’s important that you take your time as you pass through every room. Make note of anything unsightly that your guests might notice and take the next couple of weeks to fix scuffed paint spots, flickering lights or fraying furniture. Clear the coat closet and entryway, spruce up your post-feast lounging areas and prep guests rooms or kids’ areas as needed. Also take a good look at your dining space as you move on to the next tip.

Decide What You’ll Need to Rent or Buy

Can your dining room accommodate one long table for everyone or will you have to split up into two areas? Do you have enough chairs and table settings? Gather your own entertaining supplies and see if you can make-do or if you’ll need to buy or rent extras for this holiday season.

Plan Out Your Table(s)

This step is a bit early, but you can start visualizing the table or sketch it out on paper. Start planning an ideal seating chart, so couples aren’t awkwardly separated and family feuds aren’t reignited. You can make changes as RSVPs arrive.

Consider what your statement centerpiece will be this year as well as how you’ll be coordinating the plate settings and name cards to match. If you’re going with a nature-themed piece, it’s best to wait to order flowers now to prevent early wilting, but make sure to reserve one ahead of time with a local florist.

Start Decorating!

This is the most fun step of all and you can really let your style shine in any way you desire. Choose a general theme for the home and shop for matching decorations. Make sure you add some of this season’s classics, such as warm candles along the mantel or an inviting fall wreath on the front door.

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on November 8, 2017 at 9:44 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Celebrate, cleaning, cooking, decorating, interior decorating, real estate, staging, Thanksgiving | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Your Home’s November Honey-Do List

This month, we’re especially thankful for home. Home is where the family comes together, where we’re protected from the elements, and where love abounds. Your home’s November Honey-Do list will make sure your home is ready for the holidays, prepared for colder weather and loved inside and out.

1. Winterize your home – For most of the country, November is the time when we can no longer deny that the colder weather has settled in. Now is the time to winterize summer tools and appliances like air conditioner units, grills and lawn mowers. Bring garden hoses indoors and check your windows and doors for drafts.

2. Make a Turkey Game Plan – No coach would head to a big game without a game plan up his sleeve. Likewise, no chef should hit the kitchen without thinking through the menu and timeline first. Determine what menu items you can make ahead, decide what responsibilities you can delegate, and take an inventory of your pantry and china cabinet. Oh, and now’s the time to clean that oven, too.

3. Polish the Silver and Dust off the China – Thanksgiving is a special meal, which deserves the best of your entertaining arsenal. Because we don’t often use our special dishes year round, it’s smart to give them a good deep clean and polish before setting the table on Turkey Day.

4. Give your living room a refresh – With the holidays ahead, your living room is sure to get plenty of use. Give the space a refresh by changing out the window treatments for a new look.

5. Use some pest control – Rodents and other pests are opportunistic and seek warmer environments when the temperatures drop. Be sure that they don’t call your house their home by implementing these 5 surefire tricks to pest control.

6. Clear out the gutters – Avoid drainage problems and damage to your home’s foundation by clearing out the gutters before snow and ice wreaks havoc. Here is an easy how-to guide to cleaning rain gutters on your home.

7. Be ready for snow – Before the first winter storm, it’s a good idea to make sure your snow shovels and/or snow blower are in proper working order. Ready to invest in a snow blower after the brutal winter last year? Here is a buying guide from Home Depot that will help you make an educated purchase.

8. Start tackling the December to do list – The holiday to do list is notoriously the longest of the year. Get a head start by ordering your holiday cards, updating your address book, and making a gift wish list for each of your family members NOW. You can even start stringing twinkle lights on your shrubbery before the deep chill sets in. After all, the most important part of the holidays is taking the time to enjoy our family and friends.

Next month we’ll cover everything you’ll need to know to make your home holiday ready.  Until then, Happy Thanksgiving!

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on November 3, 2017 at 8:27 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: cleaning, curb appeal, decorating, Fixer Uppers, maintenance, organization, projects, real estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

13 Spook-Free Safety Tips to Keep Your Kids & Pets Safe this Halloween

Halloween is full of tricks, treats, ghoulish games, frightening frocks, cute costumes, glowing Jack O’ Lanterns, pumpkin packed parties, and of course spookiness! Unfortunately, all of the frightening fun has dangers lurking behind them. Whether you are a parent of two-legged loved ones or four-legged furry loved ones, it is critical to be aware of the true spookiness that is hiding behind all the ghostly fun. So I called upon two experts that have simple tips for a safe, scare-free Halloween to keep your children and pets safe.

First up are the experts in keeping your little pumpkins safe. They may have “boo” in their name, but there is nothing scary about Boo Boo Busters. As a leading professional childproofing service they know a thing or two about keeping your kids safe. Following, are Halloween safety tips for your pets from Dr. Anthony George, doctor of veterinary medicine and certified veterinary acupuncturist. He has been taking care of all kinds of pets for over 20 years and his tips are sure to keep you furry friends from howling at the moon.

Kid Halloween Safety Tips

1) Choking Hazards

As a good rule of thumb, a choking hazard could be considered as anything that can pass through a cardboard toilet paper roll holder unobstructed. So, taking that into consideration, look closely at all the items that you are putting out to display. From bats and ghosts to pumpkins you roast. Hazards lurk everywhere!

2) Flashlights

Child safe flashlights should have a child safe battery door on them that is secured by a screw to prevent removal of the battery, thus preventing a choking hazard. Use flashlights or electric candles to light up your pumpkin too, flames and kids don’t mix.

3) Halloween Lights

Look for Halloween light strings that have tamper resistant bulbs that can’t be removed easily and remember cords pose a strangulation hazard. All cords should be kept short and tight. Consider taking the excess that you might leave hanging and bind it up with a zip tie.

4) Pumpkin Carving

Remember to only use child safe cutting tools while carving pumpkins, even as an adult. Kids learn by watching you, so if you use real knives you must know that they will want to do the same. As soon as you turn around to grab something you forgot… little hands wander.

5) Costumes

As a kid it’s mandatory to dress up. Our job is to make sure dress up is safe. Costumes should never obstruct movement, never cause visual impairment and never pose a trip hazard. Stick to material that is form fitting. If it’s loose, baggy or long it could create a trip hazard. Avoid masks that can impair vision. Face painting is the safest mask.

6) Glow at Night

Make sure your child’s costume is visible or is is equipped with something that makes them visible. Glow sticks are great and kids love them, but remember, never hang anything around their little necks unless you are using a child safe breakaway lanyard. A couple glow sticks secured to shoes can be seen from a long way away. Flashlights are a good addition as well.

7) Halloween Treats

Remember to make sure you go through and check all the candy that you are keeping. The candy should be in name brand with sealed packages. For candy bars, be sure you cut them into small pieces that are easy to chew. This also helps to ensure it hasn’t been tampered with. Unfortunately, ghouls are sometimes disguised as regular people.

Pet Halloween Safety Tips

1) Pet Costumes

Yes, your pet looks absolutely adorable in that costume! Keep in mind, your fuzzy family member might not be as thrilled with the outfit. Feel free to get that amazing photo, but respect the fact that your pet may want to get out of those duds as soon as possible. Make sure the outfit is comfortable, and pay special attention to straps that may impinge upon the neck and areas where the extremities meet the body. Never leave a pet unaccompanied in a costume to avoid any “wardrobe malfunctions!”

2) NO chocolate

Most people know chocolate is toxic to their pets. Chocolate contains methyl xanthine, which can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from stomach upset to tremors, hyperthermia and seizures. At high doses, chocolate can lead to collapse and even death. Generally speaking, the darker and more concentrated the chocolate, the more dangerous it can be. There are helpful charts available (for instance, petMD.com) that can tell you what doses are dangerous for your pooch. If in doubt, always best to contact your veterinarian to see if treatment is indicated.

3) Sugar Free Danger

Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found commonly in sugar-free gum as well as other products, can be extremely toxic to dogs. When ingested, it can cause a significant release of insulin, which can lead to extremely low blood sugars. At high doses, it can also lead to liver failure. If your pup has ingested this substance, always best to contact your veterinarian as your pet may likely need treatment and supportive care.

4) Healthy Treat Dangers

If you’re offering healthy alternatives this Halloween, keep in mind that grapes and raisins can be extremely toxic to dogs. Some pets are more sensitive than others. In some animals, the toxin can lead to stomach upset initially, followed by kidney failure within 24 hours. It is always prudent to contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet has ingested these substances.

5) Burning Jack O’ Lanterns

Flames and Fur don’t mix. Just as you do for kids safety, consider replacing that Jack-O-Lantern candle with a flickering LED light.

6) Trick-or-Treating

During trick-or-treating it is best to keep your pet inside, safe from all of the scary costumes, noises and lights that might frighten your pooch or feline. You might even want to consider locking your sweet little pal in a room so they don’t get spooked and run out the door when your trick or treaters arrive.

Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services. www.northstarmoving.com

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on October 31, 2017 at 3:39 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Celebrate, community, decorating, Festivals, real estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

7 Ways to Extend Your Patio Season Year-Round

 

Outdoor living can be constrained due to seasonality, but it doesn’t have to be– especially if it means you’ll utilize your patio area longer! As the temperatures get cooler and the days get shorter, it becomes harder to create a space outdoors that is comfortable and inviting. Here are some tips on how to continue to enjoy your outdoor living space indefinitely.

1. Outdoor Heater

Perhaps the more obvious of cool weather accommodations, adding heat to your outdoor space will allow you and your guests to relax in fresh air with warmth. Whatever your budget may be, there’s a heater that will work for your space. Ranging from less than $100 to well over $1,000, they come in many varieties and power sources such as a table-top gas heater or a standing solar-powered heater.

Standing heaters are great for heating up a patio space, typically running off of propane or natural gas. Using natural gas is the more efficient of the two and you’ll never run out of fuel. You also have the option of an electric heater, that has a lower upfront cost and costs less to run than a gas-powered heater. If you’re looking for a cost effective and eco-friendly option, a solar-powered heater is just right for you–providing all the warmth from the sun’s energy.

2. Fire Pit

Creating a space with warmth is key, but adding that element with an extra emphasis on aesthetic appeal is a bonus. You can easily create your own using bricks or large rocks to create the pit or purchase one installed by professionals, depending on your budget. Similar to outdoors heaters, there are a variety of fuel source options. If open wood burning isn’t allowed, you can install a fire pit that is fueled by gas. One advantage is that you can fire up your pit in an instant.

Not only can fire pits add warmth and depth to your patio’s hardscaping, but it also creates a collaborative social atmosphere– there’s nothing more nostalgic than roasting marshmellows or telling scary stories around the flickering blaze of a real fire.

3. Coverage

There’s nothing that really outlines a space like adding coverage by way of roof or walls, such as a pergola. As LawnStarter says, “pergolas give that “room” feeling to an open space.” Adding in a pergola or retractable awning can definitely help curate a more suitable ambiance in the winter months. If you already have a covered patio, you can hang outdoor curtains to contain heat and to help keep out wind or rain. Hanging up curtains will also add a whimsical, potentially romantic look to your patio space, softening the corners and rigidness of hardscaping. With the selection of colors, patterns and styles, you won’t have to sacrifice your fashion sense to keep the patio warm!

4. Cozy Fabrics

Creating an extra comfortable outdoor space means adding textiles that will repel warmth from their materials. These textiles include getting cozy outdoor couches, warm blankets, and throw pillows—all items that you or guests can curl up on and into. A couch with cushy cushions and throw pillows sure beats your run-of-the-mill patio furniture. Have a stack of low-cost, but decorative, blankets on hand when additional warmth is needed.

5. Hot Tub or Spa

Relaxing in a steamy hot tub or in-ground spa feels great all year long, but in cold weather, the temperature difference can make it feel even better. Although, using it during the cool months may require a little preparation before stepping out into cold weather in a swimsuit. Keep snow and ice off the path to the tub and the top of your tub or the spa cover to make it accessible whenever you want to use it–plus, it will help keep heating costs down.

To experience ultimate luxury post jacuzzi bathing, keep a towel warmer next to the spa. It’s actually more practical than it sounds—a warm towel will keep your body temperature from dropping too quickly when you step from the tub.

6. Hot Beverages

Hot chocolate will always be the quintessential winter warm-up, why not be a bit more exciting? Take the time to create a personalized hot beverage that you, your family or guests can enjoy to help withstand the cool weather.

  • Warm Mulled Cider – Simmer apple cider with mulling spices, orange zest, and ginger. It smells as good as it tastes.
  • Mulled Wine With Cranberries – Simmer cranberry juice cocktail, cinnamon sticks and star anise for 15 minutes. Stir in the wine and cranberries and bring back to a simmer before serving.
  • Warm Hazelnut Toddy – Stir hot water into Frangelico and spoon that dollop of whipped cream onto the top.

7. Winter Grilling

Grilled meats and kabobs don’t only have to be a summer food item, enjoy summertime barbeque inspired flavors in the winter months by utilizing your grill. For that matter, grilling can be done year-round, all you have to do is keep a pathway cleared if you’re in a location that experiences snowfall. You might want to move the grill closer to the house for the winter to save yourself some steps when it’s really bitter out.

If and when the temperatures are below freezing, it can take twice as long to preheat the grill and cook your food. Keep the lid closed as much as possible when cooking, the more often you open it the longer it will take due to the release of heat.

When preparing your home for winter, whether it be indoor or outdoor maintenance – save the storage time and carry summertime outdoor living over into the cooler months using these tips!

Source: CB Blue Matter

Posted on October 30, 2017 at 2:50 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: backyard, decorating, real estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

8 Space Savers for a Small Bedroom

Not everyone is blessed with endless square footage and expansive master suites in their home. If you find yourself drowning in piles of clothes and surround by belongings, you’re not alone. Here are eight simple tricks to save space and maximize storage in a small bedroom.

1. Fold Out Furniture

Murphy beds and pull-out sofa beds have gotten bad reputations in the past for being clunky and old-fashioned. However, there are many new and stylish ways to integrate a convertible bed in today’s modern home designs, one of which is shown above. Also try installing a fold-out desk against a wall for a small workspace. It can work double-duty as a mini makeup vanity too.

2. Use Large Mirrors

Here’s one of the oldest tricks in the book: mirrors. Mirrors never fail to visually expand and enhance a small space. The effect is strongest when it covers the entire side of a room with floor-to-ceiling or wall-to-wall mirrors. If you have an unsightly open closet situation, you can resolve both problems by opting for mirrored doors to hide the clutter and add visual dimension.

Tip: Another strategy for making a small room feel bigger is to capitalize on as many natural light sources as possible. Not only is natural light beneficial for your health and well-being, it draws the eye outwards and beyond the corners of any small space. Reflect a window in a mirror to bring more light further into a room.

3. Underbed Space and Storage

A lot of potential is hidden in floor space, an area that’s often forgotten and unused in many bedrooms – big or small. If it isn’t already, prop your bed a foot or two above the floor with store-bought bed risers and voila! You’ve found more space. Don’t start cramming everything you can in your newly found space though. Being able to see beneath the bed will make a bulky bed feel light and airy. If you need more storage, purchase wide and shallow drawers that can easily slide under the bed. You can use this space to keep belongings dust-free and easily accessible.

4. Combine Your Nightstand and Dresser

Most people try to buy the smallest furniture pieces possible for a small bedroom, but in certain cases, one large item is much better than two small ones. With an oversized nightstand, you can eliminate the need for a big dresser and keep everything within arm’s reach of the bed. The surface can still hold bedside essentials while the space below can be used for clothing storage.

5. Outfit Your Headboard With Storage

Headboards with built-ins make the most of otherwise wasted space. Traditional tufted headboards are gorgeous in all their glory, but block the wall space above the bed from being used for anything else. You can pull out your headboard to create a ledge at the top or purchase a one with storage cubbies built in or around the panel. For the most storage, use a combination of both, as seen in this storage-savvy contemporary bedroom.

6. Utilize Open Wall Shelves

If you have cherished knick-knacks that you want to put on display but don’t have the surface area to spare, look to your blank walls. Just as easy as hanging a picture frame or piece of artwork, mounting vertical wooden boards is a simple solution for holding your favorite photos or books. In this modern New York bedroom, multiple rows of open shelves above a desk hold countless frames and pottery pieces without using a single inch of floor space.

7. Mount Wall Lighting

If you’re struggling to fit a table lamp on your nightstand, look to your walls once more for another space-saving solution. Wall-mounted lights with flexible arms can be pulled to wherever they’re needed most or they can lay flush against the wall when unused. Like lamps, wall lights are come in a variety of sizes and prices.

8. Look Behind the Door

Behind-the-door storage seems to have vanished largely from recent home design trends, but if you’re desperate for more space, look no further. You don’t have to confine yourself to classic over-the-door hooks; this space can also be used to hold shoes and coats; hats and scarves; and even makeup and bath supplies. Get creative and customize the back of your door to fit your storage needs.

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on October 24, 2017 at 8:41 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: appliances, decorating, Homeowners, organization, projects, real estate, remodeling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

6 New Countertop Ideas That Aren’t Granite

Not a fan of granite countertops? Here are 6 beautiful alternatives.

Guest Post By Andrea Davis

Granite’s durability and looks make it a popular investment for many homeowners. But there are other options aside from granite. Keep reading to learn more about six alternatives to granite countertops.

Butcher Block

Empty kitchen countertop

Butcher block countertops provide visual warmth to modern spaces, particularly those with white cabinetry. These countertops are also very cost-effective, especially compared to natural stone.

You’ll need to make oiling a regular part of your maintenance routine if you do install butcher block countertops. You’ll also need to use trivets or pot holders under hot pots and pans to avoid burning your counters.

Soapstone

Soapstone is a natural stone that’s easier to maintain than marble, but still requires more work than sealed granite. Soapstone is particularly vulnerable to liquids and acidic spills. Too much heat can also damage its appearance. Despite regular maintenance, soapstone is a beautiful alternative to granite.

Marble

Empty marble table with white brick wall background.

Marble is a natural stone that is considerably softer and more porous than most other stone options. If you don’t have a busy kitchen, marble can be a perfect material. For busy home chefs and homes with kids, marble may not be a good choice.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is a fun and incredibly durable countertop material. Unlike other countertops, ceramic tile isn’t prone to damage from liquids or heat. Ceramic tiles can stain and chip over time, but individual tiles are easy to replace. Tile is also extremely inexpensive, making it an ideal choice for budget-conscious homeowners.

Stainless Steel

Modern kitchen with stainless steel counters

Modern kitchen with stainless steel counters

Stainless steel’s sleek looks and durability make it the perfect material for modern or cooking-focused kitchens. You can wipe down stainless with a cloth, though special cleaner should be used from time to time as well. Stainless steel countertops can be expensive, but they’re perfect for design- or cooking-obsessed homeowners.

Quartz

Quartz, also called Caesarstone or Silestone, is a man-made stone that’s cost-effective and attractive in many spaces. Its uniform finish also appeals to many homeowners who feel that natural stone is too busy in terms of patterns. Quartz is easy to maintain and incredibly durable, making it the ideal choice for homeowners who use their kitchens regularly.

Andrea Davis is the editor at HomeAdvisor, which connects homeowners with home improvement professionals in their area for free. Connect with Andrea on Google+

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on October 23, 2017 at 10:00 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: appliances, cabinets, decorating, Homeowners, kitchens, projects, real estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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