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 , , , , , ,

A Very Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner!

 

Get your game on with a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner! Thanksgiving dinner in Northern California can be more traditional than typical, as many locals will have wild game on their tables on November 23.

Target Your Turkey

Turkey hunting is not just a sport for people who live in the great Nor-Cal area. Once turkey season is open, the forests and ranges are alive with hunters looking for their Thanksgiving turkey. Turkey season is open November 11 to December 10.

Open Range to the Oven Range

Wild turkey is very different from a bird purchased at the grocery store. The breast is much smaller and the legs are longer. The taste is much the same, but if the turkey is old, it can be tough and gamy. Picking the right bird for your traditional Thanksgiving dinner is determined by your experience. Recognizing the difference between a young turkey and an old one is learned from trying to chew the wrong choice a few seasons. Hunters who are true sportsmen always eat the game they take; this is a standing rule here in the North State.

The Call of the Wild

Turkey hunters all have their favorite “call.” Some hunters can imitate a turkey with a certain whistle they do with their tongue. Most hunters prefer a store-bought turkey call. Once tested and found to be irresistible to turkeys, the call goes into the hunters gear and used for years after.

A Healthy Experience

Hunting for a turkey for the traditional Thanksgiving dinner table is for many people preferable to choosing one in the grocery store meat department. Wild turkeys have free range, they have had no hormones to plump them up, and unlike store bought turkeys, there are no additives. Yes, the ones at the store are guaranteed and there are hundreds to choose from. There’s no need to go out in the cold, sitting and calling for hours unless you truly do want a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

This year, it is estimated that over 20,000 hunters will try to bag their bird, but only 10,000 will be successful. There will still be lots of sales at the super market.

If you think you’d like the experience of going out in the woods, trying your talents on a turkey call, and choosing the right bird, make sure to get your hunting license first. You will also need an upland game bird stamp. Both can be purchased from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on November 20, 2017 at 11:22 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: cooking, real estate, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Smart Home Tech That Makes Holiday Hosting Easy

Save time, energy and frustration by using smart home tech the next time you host family and friends for a holiday meal!

Guest post by June Lawrence

Whether your holiday entertaining features casual cocktail parties, full-fare, sit-down meals, or an open house for friends and neighbors – you can save time, energy and frustration with the latest home tech solutions that make holiday hosting easy. Smart home automation trends have made steady inroads in domestic consumer goods, home automation, and wireless entertainment market sectors, with expectations to surge beyond $3 billion in 2017.

Basic smart home tech starts with voice-controlled devices, wireless sensors, and semi-artificial intelligence platforms changing the way we entertain, work, and interact. These can reduce and help with chores that eat up your time and energy when hosting during the holidays. Whether you are menu planning, grocery shopping, stocking the bar, notifying attendees, or cleaning, there’s an app – or smart gadget to the rescue.

Holiday Shopping Helpers

Holiday menu shopping has never been simpler with The Shopping Button. As you scrutinize the pantry, use the voice recognition and recording features to create your holiday grocery list on-the-go. If this year’s holiday feast and lavish delicacies are a budget-buster, use this gadget to save money by scanning barcodes at your local, premium marketplace. Then connect and download your selections online for price comparisons and fast order placement.

New low-profile robotic vacuum cleaners include many updated features. Precise control directly from your smartphone takes care of last-minute clean-up or tidying between guest functions. Not only can you clean low-pile carpet or hardwood floors with a preprogrammed, recurring schedule, these labor-saving vacuums also dock and clean themselves.

Preparing the Kitchen

Smart home and kitchen automation systems are possibly the greatest application of smart technology for worry-free holiday hosting. Kitchen appliances that mate with a wide array of on-demand applications monitor and provide continuous feedback while preparing holiday dishes and desserts.

Smart kitchen appliances equipped with on-board intelligence, high-powered thermometers, and digital sensors tell you when to stir, flip, or add ingredients – like the pantelligent. Cook fast or slow, but cook smart with pressure cookers and crock pots monitored and controlled via smartphone.

For those with a bigger budget, consider swapping outdated kitchen appliances for new, connected cooking versions. A smart home hub provides seamless connectivity for multiple appliances; such as refrigerators that automatically send restock messages and smart ovens for perfect holiday pies. According to HomeAdvisor, the national average cost for a home automation system is about $1,200.

Cooking the Main Dish

Presenting the perfect Thanksgiving turkey or a succulent Christmas ham can be worrisome. Consider a smart thermometer with presets for all types of meats and weights to take the anxiety out of over or undercooking the holiday bird. You’ll always know the temperature of your food and exactly when it’s done. The key is a Bluetooth connection to your phone and easy-to-use, icon-based apps.

Party Planning

Large parties, especially those held at an off-site venue, often require the same planning and coordination as small corporate events. Consider party planning appsthat feature automated email invitations; interactive, step-by-step mixology videos, and helpful reminders at every stage of your event planning timeline.

Serving Spirits

And not to worry, you can always keep the holiday cheer pouring with an Internet-connected wine cooler. Within 30 seconds, internal cameras will scan wine labels to correctly identify and chill each bottle independently and at the perfect temperature.

Even sensor-driven kitchen fixtures lend a helping hand with liquid refreshments. Taps that deliver steaming hot water on command or touchless faucets that turn off and on with hand gestures are quick plumbing installations that cost between $90 – $500.

Lighting Design

For the perfect finishing touch to a great holiday party complete the holiday ambiance with lighting. Consider installing the Phillips Smart Hue line of wireless and smart lightbulbs. Go from warm white exposure for casual conversation to a holiday-inspired scene for singing, dancing, and drinks. Smart lighting is also a great way to establish different moods throughout the home for an array of holiday entertaining or age groups.

Why spend the holidays frantically keeping up with all there is to do when smart home tech can lend an extra set of eyes, ears, and hands for trouble-free holiday hosting!

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

 

 

Posted on November 16, 2017 at 3:57 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: cooking, grill, real estate, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Trend Alert: 8 Colors to Try This Season

 

Now that October is here and it’s officially fall, breezy colors and summery decor will start to feel out of place. Make holiday houseguests and potential buyers feel at-home with the comfy, cozy and even cheerful shades of the season. Follow along as we uncover eight trendy colors that will last through the new year.

1. Pumpkin Spice

As everyone is lining up for their long-awaited pumpkin spice lattes, the hue also has a well-earned spot in home decor. It’s bold, exudes warmth and resembles the always festive holiday, Halloween. This color works well when painted on one wall, as shown above, or through accessories like rugs, pillows, and throws if you’re color shy. It pairs well with neutral colors and monochromatic palettes as it takes the spotlight in all of its seasonal glory.

2. Autumn Red

If you don’t use autumn red in autumn, when will you use it? Although it’s a dramatic shade, it can infuse any room with a fiery and fun vibe. It adds intense energy to contemporary and modern rooms while being a happy addition to any playful, eclectic space. Use it intentionally and sparingly in a room to enhance its overall effect.

 

3. Emerald Green

There’s so much to love about this deep shade of green. Unlike the previous colors that are more playful, emerald draws from its roots in Mother Nature to create a sense of calm in any space. Serving as the focus in this kitchen, emerald green cabinetry marries perfectly with blond wood tones and light countertops. Wouldn’t you like to spend all holiday season here?

4. Navy Blue

Even darker and more daring than emerald green, navy is a close cousin to black. If you’re not psyched about displaying the iconic holiday colors in your home, but still want to stay on the dark side of the spectrum, this shade of blue is perfect for you. Honoring its origin from the British Royal Navy, this color embodies ultimate elegance, sophistication and power. Bringing navy into your home this season can have surprisingly health benefits too. It’s been shown to have a calming effect on the human body by slowing heart rate and metabolism.

5. Wine

Often an overlooked shade of purple, wine would make a lovely addition to any home this fall. Following suit with the deep tones discussed above, it has the strongest effect when used sparsely, as seen in this Chicago bedroom. Purple has historically been a color of royalty and power. Its wine pigment is no different, conveying richness and seduction in every capacity.

6. Steel Gray

Gray is one of the most versatile hues on the spectrum and can easily be used all year-round. Having said that, it’s often hard to choose the right gray for the season. Light gray can be seen as a winter wonderland while charcoal can be hard to distinguish from black. Steel gray is a solid middle ground. It’s the star of the show in this contemporary London kitchen with its sharp, clean and defined lines.

7. Mustard Yellow

A hue that echoes the falling leaves soon to come, mustard yellow provides warmth and joy to any space. It plays well with other bold colors, like the bright blue sofa and TV stand in this eclectic living room. For year-round summer lovers, this color can also serve as a happy reminder of the sunny days and will brighten up any interior.

8. Brown to Beige

Brown is a classic fall color, but too much of it can make a home feel more like a cave. Instead, use brown as an accent color and brighten it up with a lovely beige tone. Add in some white decor for a gorgeous layered look, like you see in this Denver bedroom.

Posted on October 6, 2017 at 8:44 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Celebrate, color, curb appeal, decorating, interior decorating, real estate, summer, trends, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,