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July
18

Furniture Arranging Tips for Every Room

Furniture Tips

No matter your style, arranging your furniture in just the right way can turn a house into a home. When you use furniture arranging tricks from top designers, your rooms will look more spacious and inviting. Our brokers know a thing or two about presenting your space to look its best!

We know: Sometimes, nothing less than more space will do. Most of the time, though, you can give any room in your home a new lease on life by applying the techniques of interior decorating. It's easier than you might think – and if you have an afternoon to spend, it can be a lot of fun.

Let's take a closer look at furniture arranging insights that make a difference:

  • Choose a Focal Point
    Every room should have a single focal point. The focal point is where attention naturally flows. It helps to put the rest of the room in the right context. Sometimes, the focal point is obvious, such as a large window or fireplace. Otherwise, you can create one yourself and arrange other items around it.

  • Create Conversation Areas
    Think about how the space is intended to be used and how you can make social engagement easier. This is especially important in shared areas like the living room and dining room. Seating should be planned so everyone can participate comfortably and easily without raising one's voice or moving around.

  • Look for Balance and Harmony
    Balance is a key element that helps determine whether, when all is said and done, the pieces you put in a space will look "right." It can be hard to see balance while you're working on it, so be sure to examine each furniture item in terms of its size and placement. This way, a room won't be "lopsided."

  • Consider the Flow of Foot Traffic
    A thoughtful approach to traffic flow is essential for enabling a space to be "lived in" in an organic way. There must be enough room between items for people to pass between them, and this becomes even more critical in areas with high traffic. Leave a couple of feet between tables and chairs, too.

  • Roll Out Rugs for Emphasis
    The unspoken rule of area rugs is that when a rug is used in a space, it should be large enough so all the seating in that space fits comfortably on the rug. There's some leeway here for larger pieces, where the back legs can sit on the room's flooring if necessary to balance the load.

  • Don't Underestimate the Coffee Table
    Unlike so many other items you might want to introduce into a space, bigger really is better when it comes to a coffee table. The coffee table is both aesthetic and functional. It acts as the natural focal point of the room and also serves as a social oasis, particularly when visitors drop in.

  • Space Your Tables Appropriately
    Wherever you have coffee tables or side tables, you should have seating and vice versa. No seat should be without access to a table. Tables should be placed at approximately arm's length. With side tables, a height comparable to nearby chair arms is best; for coffee tables, a bit lower than the nearest seating.

  • Use Light to Your Advantage
    Natural lighting has a stupendous ability to make a room seem larger. Trade heavy window coverings for lighter ones, and you'll not only get more light but make the room appear warmer and more calming. Mix up overhead lighting, floor lamps, table lamps, and sconces to avoid pools of darkness in a room.

  • Introduce Art into Your Space
    Artwork, mirrors, and sculptural items can all go on your walls. Of these, the special reflective qualities of mirrors are best for enlarging a space. Every item you hang on the wall should be in proportion to the furniture item it hangs over or near, with selections of wall space chosen strategically for best effect.

  • Avoid Furniture Against the Wall
    When you desire to make the most of every inch of space in your home, it's only natural you might feel the temptation to move furniture items up against the wall. Even in a smaller room, the overall effect of furnishings is enhanced by leaving a few inches between their feet and the nearest wall or walls.

  • Bring it All Together
    As you coordinate your space, work with one small part of the room at a time. Step back frequently to assess how things are coming together, but try not to worry. You may not be totally sure about what's going well (or not) until you are done. Once you have the full picture, always feel free to change your mind. It's your space, so enjoy it your way.

Contact us to learn more about your local real estate opportunities.

May
23

5 Tips for Creating a Reading Spot in Your Home

Home Tips

Reading is an excellent year-round activity for family members of all ages to enjoy. Plus, the Pacific Northwest is home to many local bookstores full of books to add to your summer reading list. While summer reading is certainly enjoyed outdoors, an indoor reading nook makes it so you can enjoy your new favorite novel even when it is raining. 

After you've stocked up on new reads, follow these tips for creating a cozy reading spot in your home. 

  1. Select a Quiet Spot with Minimal Distractions
    Most people prefer to read in a quiet, serene environment so that they can focus on their book and won't be distracted by typical household sounds. If you're worried that your home is lacking sufficient space for a designated reading space, one idea is to turn a closet into a reading nook by adding a built-in bench. Or, if you have an area that you aren't sure how to use, like a built-in seat or a storage area under your stairs, this is an excellent spot for your reading nook. Another option is to set up your reading nook outside. A deck, porch, or shade tree are excellent spots to transform into a reading nook. Once you find your ideal spot, decide how you want to store your books. Floating shelves, a designated bookcase, and a utility cart are all options for housing your reading materials. If you need to house your books in a different location than your reading nook, a metal utility card works especially well because you can roll the books to and from your nook and their permanent storage area. 

  2. Make Your Reading Nook Cozy and Comfortable
    A comfortable reading nook just begs you to spend hours curled up with your favorite book. Outfit the space with furniture and accessories that are pleasant to use, like overstuffed chairs, soft beanbags, a chaise lounge chair, a recliner, a love seat, a hammock, an egg chair, plush throw pillows, soft blankets, or comfy floor cushions. If your nook is outside, add a waterproof storage chest to conveniently store pillows, blankets, and cushions when you aren't using them. 

  3. Add Decor
    Your reading nook should incorporate decorative items that make you happy to use the space, like your favorite scented candle, fairy lights, fun photos or interesting artwork, wall decals, flowers, and plants. For an extra special literary twist, add elements from your favorite novels, such as wall art with quotes from a book you love. 

  4. Make Sure Your Space is Functional
    It isn't sufficient for your reading nook to merely look nice; it needs to include elements that ensure it's a terrific fit for your needs. For example, you might like to enjoy a hot cup of coffee and a snack while you read. You'll appreciate having a side table in your reading nook so that you're not trying to balance a tray on your lap while you read. Or, perhaps your reading nook is outside on your deck. When the weather is too hot, you find that the heat distracts you from your book. Consider adding a small tabletop fan so that you can quickly cool your reading space when the temperature inches upward. You should also confirm that you have ample lighting to illuminate your book so that you don't strain your eyes. A task lamp with soft light is an excellent addition that ensures you have sufficient illumination. There are even rechargeable task lamps available if your nook doesn't have an electric outlet that's easily accessible. 

  5. Banish Clutter from Your Reading Nook
    Not only does clutter make your reading nook less inviting, but it can distract you from your book. Make it a rule to never let clutter accumulate in your reading space by giving everything a home and always putting an item back where it belongs. If items still have a way of finding a spot in your reading nook, despite your best efforts, one option is to add a stylish bin or basket so that you can store the clutter out of sight until you're through reading and ready to put it away or dispose of it.

Want a home with more space for your books or for a larger reading nook? Or a home where you can enjoy your favorite hobbies year-round? Our brokers can help! Contact us today to begin your search! 

April
25

Where to Display Your Indoor Plants

Indoor Plant Tips

If you're searching for a simple way to add natural beauty to your home and freshen your air, houseplants are an essential addition to your home. Houseplants absorb carbon dioxide and add oxygen to your home's air, working to remove toxins from your home. Our brokers know that having indoor plants also makes your home more inviting and appealing to potential homebuyers.  

However, it can be a little tricky incorporating plants into your home's existing decor. You also need to consider any specific needs for your houseplant, like whether it prefers a sunny or dark space. Here are some of the best spots to display your indoor plants. 

  1. Hang Plants in Front of Your Windows
    Perhaps you're short on floor space or don't have a lot of surfaces to devote to your houseplants. It's possible to add plants to your home without them taking up a lot of surface space. Add a hook to your ceiling or a plant hanger to your wall to hang your plants in front of a window. This is an excellent option for plants that thrive in a sunny environment. Plants with lots of volume and overflowing leaves will also add texture and visual interest to your home. 
  1. Use a Plant as a Centerpiece
    Searching for a fresh look for your table's centerpiece? Turn a houseplant into your dining area's focal point! Make sure to display the plant in a lovely planter or vase that coordinates with the room's existing decor. Or, if you feel like the plant on its own isn't enough, situate it on a decorative lazy Susan or a gorgeous tabletop tray. 
  1. Place the Plant by Your Home's Front Door
    A houseplant is an excellent piece of decor for greeting guests. Not only do houseplants instantly create welcoming decor, but they help remove odors from the air so that your home smells its best. Consider incorporating houseplants into your foyer or entryway decor for the odor-busting benefits and to make potential guests feel peaceful and at ease when they enter the home. 
  1. Situate Plants Around Your Fireplace
    During periods when you don't plan on using your fireplace or if you have a non-functioning fireplace, your fireplace's hearth and mantle are terrific spots for your houseplants to call home. Since a fireplace already adds a cozy touch to your home, make the space even more tranquil with your houseplants. You can place small houseplants and succulents along the mantle. Larger plants placed in decorative planters can adorn the hearth. Consider adding in other nature-inspired pieces, like decorative stones, seashells, and woven baskets, to add more interest to the space. 
  1. Devote a Corner to Your Houseplants
    If you have a free corner that you don't know how to utilize, transform it into an area for your plants. A metal beverage cart fits comfortably in the corner and can coordinate with practically any type of decor. You can use it to hold multiple plants or integrate the plants with other decorative items. Or, add some floating shelves to your corner walls and use them for smaller houseplants and succulents. 
  1. Decorate Your Windowsills
    Add visual interest to your windowsills by using them to hold succulents and small planters and vases. An additional benefit of housing plants with a windowsill is that it can help a room appear larger. Windowsills are a great home for plants that need sunny conditions to thrive. 
  1. Adorn the Top of Your Cabinets
    Cabinets that don't extend to your kitchen ceiling are a convenient spot for housing additional decor; they're an even better spot if you want to ensure that your kids and pets won't have easy access to your houseplants. This is also a fantastic spot for plants with vines or a lot of leaves that you need room to spread out. 

Want a home with more room for your plants or extra space outside for gardening? Contact us today to start your home search!

October
25

Interior Design Trends to Try This Fall

Fall Interior Design The season of pumpkin spice, sweater weather, and apple-everything is here, and our brokers want to make sure you're ready for the fall interior design trends. Pumpkin décor is a forever favorite, but there are many other brilliant ways to dress your home for the season. Thankfully, the fall interior design trends for 2021 have something for everyone. We're talking layering, vintage décor, cozy autumnal shades, natural elements, and more. It's time to make your home feel festive and comforting. Here are the most prevalent home decor trends for you to experiment with this fall.

  • Cozy Fabrics and Natural Textures
    As the weather turns colder, ultra-soft fabrics are a must, and natural texture is a key trend for 2021. People are drawn to a sophisticated, chic, and cozy feel in their homes. Layering chunky knitted blankets and furry fabrics with velvets and other rich, textured fabrics will give your space a warm and welcoming fall vibe. 


  • Vintage Decor
    Vintage pieces and family heirlooms are definitely trending. As much as modern décor is adored, the pandemic seems to have promoted homeowners to turn to the past with their designs. They want accessories and furnishings with character and nostalgia. For some, this means dusting off old furniture, vases, candlesticks, and picture frames to bring a sense of security from the past. For others, it's all about breaking out their grandmother's 1940s colored glassware. Whatever antique pieces you have, mixing them with more contemporary pieces can go a long way to keep your space from getting too dated.


  • Nature-Inspired Colors
    Red, yellow, and orange are the conventional fall colors, but designers are increasingly gravitating towards other nature-inspired hues. These are warm, richer tones such as blues, deep greens, and browns. These colors signify renewal, hope, and freshness. You can use them to add a layer of character and sophistication to your living space without overpowering it. To make these colors feel appropriate for the season, use them in deeper shades and complement them with warm undertones. Line your dining room table with a navy blue runner and layer in a few pillows in forest green to set off the rest of your yellow and orange décor. Incorporating metal decorative accents is also a great way to provide a pop of color and add contrast to a design.


  • Emphasis on Nature and Natural Elements
    This fall presents a great opportunity to bring the outdoors inside. The pandemic has taught us how much better life is when we sit outside and connect to nature. The trend of creating fluidity between indoors and outdoors spaces is here to stay. This doesn't mean turning your home into a greenhouse, it's about incorporating natural fabrications and furnishings into your decor. You can also bring in some heard-wearing plants and maximize natural light.


  • Beyond the Open Floor Plan
    We hate to see this one go, but the open floor concept is becoming something of the past. The past year and a half have seen us use the spaces in our home much differently than before. We've realized that the open floor plan may be ideal for entertaining, but not so much for everyday life. Instead of having large open spaces where furniture floats, consider using room dividers and partitions to add versatility to your space. Create a home office, gym, or any other functional space.
  • Add Shapes
    Juxtaposition is big when it comes to the top fall interior décor trends of 2021. People are becoming more adventurous with their furnishings, where soft edges meet hard lines. This is more prominent in coffee tables, contemporary wall art, patterned rugs, and vases. Curved and shapely vessels and furniture tend to create quiet drama in neutral spaces and add a much-needed distraction from the angular lines of your other furnishings. Throw some shapes in to create contrast and draw the eye across the space.


  • Plaid and Stripes
    The two most useable patterns have united to create the perfect fall complement and add some interest into every corner of your home. You can jump onboard the plaid and stripes bandwagon by mixing the prints with your throws, bedding, cushions, and curtains. Go for black and white patterns mixed with red, coral, and brown accents. Patterned rugs are also great for layering under more neutral rugs to give them a bit of edge without it being overwhelming.

Planning to buy a new home this fall? We're here to help you find your dream home in the Pacific Northwest. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

August
23

Rainy Day DIY Projects

Rainy Day DIYDepending on your point of view, rainy days can be either the best or the worst. It's frustrating being stuck in the house with nothing to do. But with a little creativity, there are all kinds of activities you can participate in while waiting for the weather to clear - especially for new homeowners who are working to make their new house their own. Here are a few DIY projects that can help you pass the time and feel productive on a rainy day.

  • Build a Birdhouse
    This is a simple but rewarding project that you might even be able to get your kids to help you with. All you need are a few small wooden boards and some basic tools like a saw and a drill. Build the house, decorate it, and when the rain stops, hang it in the yard to give the local birds a place to hang their proverbial hats. Be aware: if you paint your birdhouse, sometimes the paint smell can keep birds away the first year. If you do choose to paint your birdhouse, go with light, muted colors that reflect heat rather than absorbing it and won't attract predators. And be sure to use non-toxic paint.

  • Make a Chalkboard Wall
    This one is much simpler than it looks. It doesn't require a large, unwieldy board or even the use of nails or screws. Rather, with a special kind of paint, you can give a wall or section of a wall in your house the look and feel of a chalkboard. Clean the wall thoroughly first, then apply a coat of chalkboard paint. Wait a couple of hours, then apply a second coat, then a third coat after another couple of hours. Let it dry for three days before marking it with chalk. Once the wall is ready, though, you can use it to make shopping lists, leave notes for family members, and more. Plus, you and the kids can use it for future rainy day activities, like playing tic-tac-toe or even just doodling. It's the rainy day gift that keeps on giving.

  • Change Knobs and Handles
    Look at your drawers and cabinets. Do you like the way the handles and knobs look? Maybe they're showing their age, or maybe they just don't fit with your aesthetic. The good news is, they're easy to remove and switch out for new ones. If you have the replacements handy, most likely, all you'll need is a screwdriver and maybe some new screws.

  • Do Some Odd Jobs
    There are probably plenty of small jobs around the house that you've meant to get to but just haven't had the time. Well, a rainy day is a perfect time. Take a screwdriver and tighten up that wobbly chair. Change the burnt-out bulb in your light fixture. Rearrange your pantry to make things easier to find. There are also several jobs that homeowners should perform periodically but most people tend to forget. A rainy day is a great opportunity to catch up. For instance, check your HVAC system's air filter and see if it's time to replace it. If the filter is white and translucent, it's still good. If it's dingy, gray, and opaque, then it's time for a new one. Another task that's relatively simple but a bit time-consuming is doing a deep clean of your dishwasher. Remove the bottom rack and do a quick clean of the drain on the bottom. Then, put a cup of vinegar on the top rack and run it through the cycle. Once it's done, sprinkle baking soda on the inside, and run it through a rinse cycle. When it's done, your dishwasher will not only be cleaner but function more efficiently.

  • Get Your Kids Involved
    Let's face it. The ones who are most likely to be bored on a rainy afternoon are your kids. You can let them sit and watch Netflix all day while you do home improvement tasks, or you can get them to help you. If they're old enough and responsible enough, take the opportunity to show them some basic DIY skills: how to use different tools safely, the importance of some of those odd jobs, etc. You can spend some time constructively and bond with your children at the same time. Then when the next rainy day rolls around, you've got a built-in helper for the next set of DIY tasks.

These are just a few things you can do on a rainy day to make your house feel more like home. Our brokers can get you set up in the perfect house to meet your needs. What you do with it after that is up to you. Contact us anytime, rain or shine, to learn more!

July
26

Interior Design Trends: Cottagecore Home Decor

Home Decor Tips

Part of homeownership is getting to redecorate your place and make it a reflection of your style. As you consider various trends to add to your home, you may come across one that is becoming more and more popular, known as cottagecore, which is a home decor journey to a cozier time. If the homes you are asking our brokers to show you are perfect for adding these design touches, you're on your way to having a cottagecore inspired home. Follow these tips below.

  • Take Inspiration From the Past
    As we mentioned before, cottagecore embraces simple living from the past. How you incorporate this blast from the past is completely up to you! Maybe you'll go all out with this decor style, and only use muted tones and wall art. Or maybe you prefer to just make your couch and blankets follow this style. Add antiques or just books and knick-knacks that have been in the family for a while. Your cottagecore inspired room provides a perfect setting to display them.
  • Embrace Simplicity
    Technology is all around us, and this design style offers a retreat from it. This could be part of the reason this trend is becoming so popular! Part of embracing cottagecore home decor means unplugging and highlighting simple living. When incorporating cottagecore interior design trends, necessary technology will often be hidden in various clever ways. That way your TV isn't a jarring addition next to your woven blankets and simple artwork. Stay away from the cold, sleek surfaces that are more popular in modern decor. Instead focus on incorporating elements such as wooden features, the natural textures of organic materials, and the cozy atmosphere they bring. 
  • Take Cues From Nature
    To embrace nature with your decor, the interior of the home should blend with your home's exterior. Accomplish this by using muted colors, natural materials, house plants, and fresh or dried flowers. One way to bring the outdoors into your decor is to possibly add in a small herb garden. Herb gardens are easy to add to your office or kitchen because they take up minimal space and don't require a large amount of upkeep. An indoor herb garden can provide just the right touch to a cozy kitchen. You'll also have delicious fresh herbs to take your cooking to a whole new level. 
  • Add Vintage Touches
    Part of embracing the past means that antiques are a huge part of this design style! Don't worry, though. You can obtain the vintage look without spending a huge amount of money on antiques. To get the look you're seeking, focus on lines, wooden frames, and natural textures. Consider a trip to your local antique shop and scope out options there that you can add to your current decor. Or look at upcycling your current furniture with different stains or upholstery. 
  • Have a DIY Attitude
    A cottagecore style means you can also highlight your crafty side! Show off your creations and use them as a part of your decor. Have you learned to embroider or sew and have pieces that would look good in your living room? Find a rustic frame and proudly hang it on your wall. It's not just arts and crafts you can display. Did you recently start a garden? Store your homegrown fruits and veggies in wire baskets on the kitchen counter. Not only do these methods add to the decor of your home, but it also helps highlight your interests and hobbies in a new way!

Our team can help you find a home for you to decorate with your favorite home decor style. Contact us when you're ready to start your search for a new home in the area.

July
19

What Outdoor Home Features Add Value

Home Features As our brokers will tell you, most homebuyers make up their minds about a home before they take a look inside. No matter how much money, time, and effort you put into styling your home's interior, it will be much harder to sell your house if the exterior does not charm potential buyers. First impressions are everything when it comes to real estate. A buyer is more likely to move on to the next home if your home's exterior is not well-kept and lacks features that offer recreational benefits.

As you prepare your home for the selling process, you may want to consider exterior upgrades that could add value to your home today and in the future. Find out which investments make the most sense with this list of popular outdoor home features that boost property value, marketability, and appeal.

  • New Siding
    For a very modest investment, you may find that refreshing the exterior of your home by repairing or restoring your siding will greatly improve the structure and appeal of your home. Consider pressure washing your siding to remove dirt and debris. If your siding has chipping paint, giving a fresh coat of paint can help create a welcoming curb appeal. If cleaning and resurfacing your siding is still not enough, a full siding replacement may be the most efficient and cost-effective way to improve the value of your home.


  • Outdoor Kitchen
    Installing an outdoor kitchen allows for entertaining on an ambitious level. Ultimately, it's important to ensure the space is completely functional. Think of a fully equipped outdoor kitchen with electricity, plumbing, gas, and a roof for shelter. Specialty appliances like burners, ovens, sinks, grills, wine coolers, refrigerators, dishwashers, icemakers, and pizza ovens add sophistication to the space.


  • Windows and Doors
    While outdoor home features that involve entertainment and recreation are a major selling feature, so are ones that add functionality and lifetime value to your home. Upgrades such as windows and doors are well worth your investment. Installing energy-efficient window panes is one way to add value to your home. Swapping your front door for a steel unit with casing, window panels, and new hardware is another great way to make an impressive entryway that sets the tone for the rest of the house. While you're at it, consider a new set of door hardware, doorbell, door knocker, lighting, and house numbers to complete the front door makeover.


  • Landscaping
    Luscious landscaping will increase your home's value and increase the chances of winning the hearts of your potential homebuyers before they even get inside your home. If your home's landscaping is outdated, overgrown, or just needs a refreshing new look, consider giving it a modern and clean look. Beautiful ways to boost your home's value include adding stone planters, installing a natural flagstone walkway, mulching, and planting various shrubbery, perennials, blooming annuals, and a sizeable tree.


  • Outdoor Lighting
    Lighting is one of those features that homeowners often forget when adding value to their home's exterior. Outdoor lighting deters burglars, ensures guests arrive at your door safely, and creates a magical ambiance in your yard. Opt for stylish, architectural lighting to highlight the features of your home, as well as carefully designed landscape lighting to allow for the shrubs, flowers, and trees to be enjoyed at night.


  • Firepit
    There's hardly a backyard that won't benefit from the warmth and functionality of a beautifully installed firepit. Even if you don't live in a cold climate, a firepit creates an outdoor oasis right in your backyard. It also provides a space to share stories and create delightful memories. And when it's time to sell your home, you will realize a 60 to 70% ROI on a permanent, gas-powered firepit. Be sure to check with local authorities and your HOA about any restrictions.


  • Deck or Backyard Patio
    Wooden decks and covered patios are some of the most appealing exterior renovation projects that are certain to add value to your home. These features provide the perfect setting to grill in the afternoon, sunbathe, entertain, and relax with the family in the evening. Most people prefer big yards with plenty of grass and landscaping, so a small patio is more desirable. Patios can be made from concrete, hardwood, tile, brick, or flagstones. 

Adding outdoor home features can vastly improve your ability to relax outside in your home, boost curb appeal, and increase your home's resale value. But it's important to research before starting any project. For more information on home improvement, contact us today.

June
29

Gutter Maintenance Tips for the Summer

Gutter Maintenance

Knocking out a few simple tasks this summer will help ensure you don't run into any unexpected problems caused by poor gutter maintenance. This may include leaks, damage to your insulation, siding damage, and more. Don't let this happen to you! Follow these simple tips, and you'll be ready for whatever Mother Nature brings. 

  1. Remove Collected Debris
    If it's been a while since you've performed any gutter maintenance, a lot of leaves, sticks, and other debris may have accumulated in there. Start by putting on a pair of thick gloves and pulling out debris by hand. This is the first step to ensuring water has a clear path to flow off of your roof and out the downspouts. This allows it to move safely away from your home, so it doesn't cause damage. 
  1. Check for Nests
    Birds often like to make their nests in gutters since it offers them a high perch that is relatively undisturbed. By summertime, the babies have usually flown away, making now a great time to remove the empty nests from your gutters. Just be sure to check carefully for any signs of life before pulling them out. If you notice babies are still living there, consider leaving them undisturbed and checking back in a few weeks. 
  1. Clean Off Your Gutters
    Now that you've removed the large items from your gutters, use a gentle abrasive cleaning product or soap and water along with a scrub brush to give the inside of your gutters a thorough cleaning. This will allow you to remove any moss, mold, or algae built up inside your gutters. If you notice areas where there's a lot of growth, pay attention. This could be a sign that you have a drainage problem. 
  1. Check for Damage
    Once your gutters are clean, you'll be able to tell if there are any damaged areas you need to address. Carefully check all of your gutters for holes that need to be filled, areas of rust, or anything that's sagging or askew. You can typically fix sagging gutters by pulling them upward using a pair of pliers. If you notice any sections of your gutter that are extremely rusty, consider replacing them. 
  1. Repair Any Leaks
    As you're checking for damage, there's a good chance you'll come across some leaks. This often happens when there are visible holes or areas that are buckling. You can also check for smaller leaks along the cracks and seams by using a hose to run water through the gutters. Watch out for any areas where water comes out before it reaches the downspout. You can effectively fix most gutter leaks with a waterproof sealant, like silicone caulking. Depending on the type of damage, you may also use some metal flashing and attach it using roofing cement. Once the repair has dried, run water through again to make sure it's sealed. If not, you'll want to call in a gutter professional to take care of the problem. 
  1. Visually Inspect Your Roof
    Since you're already up on a ladder, take a moment to visually inspect your roof. Keep an eye out for loose shingles, which can cause leaks. If your gutters haven't been maintained for a while, this may also cause water to pond on your roof, leading to additional problems. Catching issues early can help you get them fixed before they become a much bigger deal. For safety reasons, avoid getting up on the roof yourself. If you notice any potential issues, call a professional roofer to come out and take a look. 
  1. Install New Equipment
    If you've been thinking about installing new downspouts or gutters, the dry season is the perfect time to take on this project. You may also want to consider installing gutter covers. This upgrade prevents leaves and debris from falling into your gutters. While it will take some effort to install, you'll love how much it cuts down on your future gutter maintenance! 

Whether you're planning to stay in your home for the long term or you're thinking about moving soon, our brokers encourage you to keep up with basic maintenance tasks. This will help ensure your home maintains its current value and its curb appeal. 

We're here to help. Your dream home is waiting for you, so don't wait. Contact us today to discuss your goals and get started.

June
7

Upcycle Your Furniture With This Guide

Upcycle TipsUpcycling has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, with more people looking for ways to reuse materials and save money. It is a great way of transforming unloved, outdated, or unused pieces of furniture into something fresh, unique, and perfectly suited for your space. The good thing about upcycling is that no previous skills are required, and there are really no limits to what you can create. Upcycling is not just a cost-effective way of breathing new life into your old furniture, but it's also a great way to expand your creativity and reduce your impact on the environment. Our brokers have put together their top tips, which will help you create your ultimate upcycling adventure.

  1. Choose Your Furniture Piece
    The first step in your upcycling adventure is to choose what you want to upcycle and the purpose you want the improved piece to serve. You may have some old furniture lying about in the house that needs a new look, or maybe you've seen something in a thrift store or garage sale that would be perfect with a little creativity. Either way, you want to make sure the piece can easily be upcycled at just a fraction of the price if you bought it new.


  2. Make Sure the Piece is Structurally Sound
    It's important to look beyond the surface or the idea you have in mind when choosing a piece of furniture for your upcycling project. You don't want to spend time on something that will become useless or fall apart the next day. Look at the joints and structure of the piece before you buy or start the transformation. Good bones are important for extended use.


  3. Keep Your Eyes Peeled
    Be imaginative when you see old pieces. Almost every item can be an upcycling opportunity, no matter how it looks on the surface. Something might look ugly at first glance, but you have to look past the flaws to find the potential. 


  4. Plan Ahead
    Whether you're upcycling a small stool or a complete dining set, you can definitely help yourself by preparing ahead of time. Have an end goal for your project and ensure you have all the tools and supplies needed to do the job. Give your piece a quick wash, sand it down and wipe it to get a smooth surface and get the perfect finish. Paint might hide many problems, but if your furniture has dents, holes, peeling paint, or scratches, these will be visible when painted over.


  5. Don't Get Carried Away
    While it's exciting to get started on transforming your furniture, you'll end being frustrated if you bite off more than you can chew. Choose something simple, like a small table that needs painting, and don't rush.


  6. Paint and Make Perfect
    If you're not after that distressed furniture look, a fresh coat of paint can go a long way in breathing some new life into your furniture piece. If your piece looks old and dated, a little sanding and paint may be all that you need to achieve a unique and stylish addition to your home. Make sure you use good quality brushes that give good coverage and don't leave bristles in your work.


  7. Get That Distressed Look
    Old dressers, drawers, cabinets, or cupboards are ideal for distressed looks if that's your style. Sand down the furniture and use chalk paint for a matte or chalky finish. Chalk paints are also great for covering a dark stain. Once you've applied the paint, sand the surface for a distressed look that will add character to the piece. Target the areas that would see the most wear and tear, like the edges.


  8. Try Stenciling
    Stenciling is an easy step to full personalization. It's a way to get creative and add a personal touch to your furniture. You can find stencils online or designs yours if you have the right equipment. Use a stencil brush to stamp your creativity onto the furniture piece and add a coat of wax for protection. Don't worry if your work doesn't turn out as expected, you can always stencil or paint over it again.


  9. Don't Forget the Little Touches
    Perhaps you've decided to upcycle a piece of furniture that has knobs on it. Replacing the knobs with some creative pieces can make a huge difference to your piece. You can use anything from door knockers to big keys or just any piece that catches your fancy. And even though you're going to replace your knobs, it's good practice to remove the old ones to make sure your paint job is a clean and smooth as possible. It will also save time if the new ones are smaller and there's a space with no paint.

If you're planning to sell or buy in the area, our team can help make the process easier for you. Contact us today.

May
17

What You Need to Know Before Adding a Fireplace

Adding a FireplaceWhen you love your home, it's only natural to want to make it even better. Life in the beautiful Pacific Northwest almost demands the comfort only a fireplace can provide, but how do you know it's a good investment for your home? You don't hesitate to make simple changes, like a fresh coat of paint. When it comes to something as significant as adding a fireplace, however, there are several factors to consider before making a final decision. 

  1. Can it be done?
    Local building codes are full of restrictions relating to construction. Ceiling height and fireplace emissions will all impact the cost and plausibility of adding a fireplace to an existing structure. Fuel source also needs to be considered. Will you be using natural gas, propane, or wood? Wood must be stored safely away from the exterior wall of the house and must be kept dry. Is the house already equipped for gas or propane? A general contractor can best advise a homeowner on the feasibility of adding a fireplace and provide estimates of both cost and time for execution.
     
  2. What are you willing to spend?
    Your options run from about $1,400 for a ventless gas unit to a traditional wood-burning fireplace for $20,000 or more. The former requires a unit for about $400 and installation costs of about $1,000. The latter required extensive materials, a mason skilled in the specific work required, and other skilled laborers to complete the changes to the surrounding walls. Wood and natural gas are the most common fuel sources. When determining which is most economically sound, consider not only the cost of wood but also the cost of maintenance. An annual inspection service is not expensive but critical to safe operation. A gas fireplace may be the best decision, financially speaking, if it is an option. It's also much kinder to the environment and requires less maintenance than its wood-burning counterpart.
     
  3. What can you expect as a return on investment?
    Much depends on other homes in the area. The National Association of REALTORS® tells us that about 46% of homebuyers nationwide are willing to pay extra for a fireplace. But the median amount they are willing to pay is $1,200. That's not good news to a homeowner that spends $10,000 to $20,000 to add a fireplace. Another consideration is the cost of the fireplace relative to the value of the house. In a million-dollar home, a $10,000 feature is a far more acceptable price increase than in a less expensive model.

  4. Where will you locate the fireplace?
    You have a lot of options! Your first thought might be the traditional living room or den, but you may prefer a cozy space in your bedroom where you can curl up with a pillow and a good book. If you have a "dead" zone in your home, far from the central heat source that is uncomfortably cold, a fireplace can be a great solution. The current trend of outdoor living spaces creates a wealth of luxury opportunities. Even though the unit won't provide additional comfort to the house itself, it means extending entertainment options to an exciting new level. You can, however, expect the total installed cost to be comparable to an indoor fireplace. 

  5. Can you expect energy efficiency?
    The decisions you make regarding the type and location of the fireplace will affect the level of energy efficiency. The outdoor fireplace will do nothing to heat the home itself, for example. A well-placed unit will allow you to focus the energy to heat the home in the space being used instead of heating the entire house at once. The traditional fireplace sends more of its heat up the chimney than into the room. But a sealed unit uses outside air to heat and transfer warm air into the room. This reduces the energy demands made of the central furnace or heating system. The question would then be whether the decrease in utility bills for the central air system is greater than the cost of managing the fireplace. 

While chilly fall and winter nights are quite a ways away, if you plan on adding a fireplace, now is the time to start doing your research.

And if you're looking for a new home with a fireplace or getting your house ready to list, contact us for professional assistance. Our brokers are always ready to help. 

Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 09/29/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 09/29/2022. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of RMLS (last updated Thu 09/29/2022 12:50:32 AM EST) or Willamette Valley MLS (last updated Wed 09/28/2022 11:51:47 PM EST) or COAR/MLSCO (last updated Wed 09/28/2022 11:31:24 PM EST) or NWMLS (last updated Thu 09/29/2022 1:23:54 AM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Coldwell Banker Bain may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

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