Lifestyle 26 June 2018
As Principal Real Estate Broker and owner of my real estate firm, I oftenmeet with the opportunity to help clients prepare to sell their homes. This is a unique opportunity in that it forces me to think about ways to make modifications and keep expenses down at the same time. The seller’s goal is to help a client make as much money as possible when they sell the client’s home. That requires being budget conscious. That’s where I come in!
If your home was built before the year 2000 and has not been updated yet, then you probably have a choppy floor plan highlighted by brass fixtures, a combined bathtub and shower in your master bathroom, laminate countertops in the kitchen, and linoleum flooring. You may even have chrome fixtures and those lovely shell shaped faux marble basins in your double vanity. Oh! Let’s not forget the infamous fluorescent light in the kitchen. My how things change with time!
It’s time to make a change. I always say create a budget before you do anything; otherwise, you could end up spending a lot more than intended which leads you to have an awesome new layout, but be mad because your bank account is a lot smaller than you intended.
Here are a few design tips that won’t break the bank, and they will make your home look amazing!
Next take a moment to layout what you’d like your home to look like. Do you want an open floor plan or do you just want new fixtures? Know your limits. If you’re not a D.I.Y. person, hire a professional. Don’t hire the first contractor that you meet. Interview them, ask questions, view their portfolio, contact their references, and find out their payment expectations. If they want their payment up front, consider another contractor. Also consider providing the supplies (i.e. paint and fixtures that you like). They seem to cost more when the contractor buys them for you.
Here are a few design tips that won’t break the bank, and they will make your home look amazing! Let’s start in the kitchen since this is the single most popular room to update.
The color this year is black or charcoal gray. Naturally, you don’t want to paint an entire room black or charcoal gray. However, an accent wall or blended design will be stunning. I’ve listed a few homes where black and white with a pop of color were the themes. I must say, it was breathtaking. Choose a color, making sure to carry it through to each room.
This doesn’t mean you paint every wall with your accent color. You may choose to purchase accent pieces in the same hue as the accent color. It’s a great way to make the color scheme flow and give your home a look of cohesion.
Add recessed lighting in the ceiling and lose that fluorescent light. Some refer to them as canned lights. Either way they’re inexpensive to purchase and install. After all, you already have the electricity in the ceiling. An alternative is the ever-attractive monorail lighting. Its central electric connector fits where the original light was. It is much like replacing a standard light with a ceiling fan. They’re amazing in that you have the flexibility to have a lot of smaller lights that follow the S shaped design, but you can add pendant lighting in the same fixture. This option alleviates the need to cut additional holes and run additional wiring to the fixture. Talk about a beautiful outcome without the expense!
Let’s take a look at your countertops. If you’re interested in replacing the countertops in the kitchen from laminate to something more modern, consider a natural stone product like granite. It’s a durable product that doesn’t scorch; however, it’s not an inexpensive purchase. An alternative would be the granite overlay. It gives you the look of granite without the expense. Be sure to update your sink and sink fixtures in the kitchen. Consider an under-mount sink and an all in one faucet. You know, the kind that converts to a vegetable sprayer with the push of a button. Be sure it complements the countertop.
If you feel your cabinets need to be updated, instead of replaced, consider a different stain or painting them. Then, update the pulls/handles to give a more streamlined appearance.
Replace the linoleum floor with luxury vinyl tile. Just like other flooring options, pricing is based on style. Luxury vinyl tile gives the flexibility to choose the style that suits your taste. It will give your kitchen an upgraded elegant look without the headache that the unsightly combination of hardwood flooring and water creates.
The seller’s goal is to help a client make as much money as possible when they sell the client’s home. That requires being budget conscious.
If your floor plan is choppy and you’d like a more open space, consider creating a pass through window between the kitchen and living room as opposed to tearing out an entire wall. Once you create the pass through window, you could add a bar top and voila…you have additional bar stool seating space!
Aside from color, lighting, and flooring there’s not much work to do in this room. You may opt for luxury vinyl tile instead of carpet. If there’s already hardwood flooring, be sure that it complements the flooring in the kitchen.
Usually there’s a wonderful ceiling fan in the living room. Consider alternative lighting like the recessed or canned lighting. Allow it to complement the ceiling fan. Remember, you can change out the ceiling fan globes and it will look like a new fan! Bring on the color!
The living room is a large room so choose a neutral tone so your accent color will pop.
Change the layout of the living room. Instead of the typical sofa, loveseat, end tables, and laps look – opt for removing the loveseat and keeping the sofa, two side chairs and a couple of accent lamps instead. It opens up the space but is still functional. You’ll be amazed by the subtle transformation.
Try to remain consistent with the cabinetry. Make sure that it is similar to what’s in the kitchen – color only. The bathroom is where you can get super creative with your cabinets and basins.
You can still update the countertops from laminate or cultured marble to granite or the granite overlay. As for the basin, you can get the square basin built into the cabinet or simply purchase an above mount basin. You can purchase the bowl style or the square style. Either way, the colors and designs available make them look more like art. Be sure to buy faucet fixtures that will complement the sink.
Update the lighting and make getting ready for the day exciting! Add dimmers for ambiance. While you’re at it, bring your Bluetooth speaker to enjoy relaxing sounds if you don’t already have an amazing surround sound system in your home.
If you’ve been dying for a jetted tub and you don’t have a large tub space, you can purchase jetted tubs in the standard bathtub size. It doesn’t have to be a garden tub style jetted tub. Install the rain shower-head in your shower.
I continue to remind you to replace any laminate or linoleum flooring with luxury vinyl tile. It’s great! It comes in various colors and textures. If you’re going to update the look/design, go for it!
Bedrooms are all about paint and flooring. Be sure to carry the colors from the kitchen and living room into the bedrooms. Consider removing excess pieces of furniture from the bedrooms, which will give you more space in the room. Use the closet! If you need to keep your chest-of-drawers, fit it into the closet.
Here are a few tips and hints.
Color: Black/Charcoal/Gray. Fixture coloring is typically Antique Bronze, Brushed Nickel, and Brushed Brass. Did you know that when home product stores make mistakes on orders, they discount the items? Oops paint may turn out to be just the color you needed. Countertops that are incorrectly measured when cut may be just what you’re looking for. Even amazing doors that were custom ordered and simply not what the customer expected are marked down. For example, I got an amazing Pella sliding glass door with blinds inside the glass for $300!!! It was a custom order for $1,800.
I hope that your home design efforts turn out to be amazing works for art!
It is one thing to read and another thing to understand what you are reading. Not only do you want to understand, but also remember what you've read. Otherwise, we can safely say that if we're not gaining anything from what we read, then it's a big waste of time.
Whatever you read, there are ways to do so in a more effective manner to help you understand better. Whether you are reading by choice, for an upcoming test, or work-related material, here are a few ways to help you improve your reading skills and retain that information.
Read with a Purpose
Never has there been a shortage of great books. So, someone recommended a great cookbook for you. You start going through it, but your mind is wandering. This doesn't mean the cookbook was an awful recommendation, but it does mean it doesn't suit nor fulfill your current needs or curiosity.
Maybe your purpose is more about launching a business. Maybe you're a busy mom and can't keep office hours, but there's something you can do from home to help bring in more money, so you want information about that. At that point, you won't benefit from a cookbook, but you could gain a lot of insight and find details here on how-to books about working from home. During this unprecedented year, millions have had to make the transition to work from home, and millions more are deciding to do that. Either way, it's not a transition that comes automatically or easily, but reading about it will inform you about what working from home entails.
When you pre-read it primes your brain when it's time to go over the full text. We pre-read by going over the subheadings, for instance, the table of contents, and skimming through some pages. This is especially useful when you have formal types of academic books. Pre-reading is a sort of warm-up exercise for your brain. It prepares your brain for the rest of the information that will come about and allows your brain to be better able to pick the most essential pieces of information you need from your chosen text.
Highlighting essential sentences or paragraphs is extremely helpful for retaining information. The problem, however, with highlighting is that we wind up highlighting way too much. This happens because we tend to highlight before we begin to understand. Before your pages become a neon of colored highlights, make sure that you only highlight what is essential to improve your understanding and not highlight the whole page.
You might think there have been no new ways to read, but even the ancient skill of reading comes up with innovative ways; enter speed reading. The standard slow process shouldn't affect your understanding, but it does kill your enthusiasm. The average adult goes through around 200 to 250 words per minute. A college student can read around 450 words, while a professor averages about 650 words per minute, to mention a few examples. The average speed reader can manage 1,500 words; quite a difference! Of course, the argument arises between quality and quantity. For avid readers, they want both quantity and quality, which leads us to the next point.
Life is too short to expect to gain knowledge from just one type of genre. Some basic outcomes of reading are to expand your mind, perceive situations and events differently, expose yourself to other viewpoints, and more. If you only stick to one author and one type of material, you are missing out on a great opportunity to learn new things.
Having said that, if there's a book you are simply not enjoying, remember that life is also too short to continue reading it. Simply, close it, put it away and maybe give it another go later on, or give it away. There is no shame or guilt in not liking a book; even if it's from a favorite author. It's pretty much clear that you won't gain anything from a book that you don't even enjoy, let alone expect to learn something from it.
If you're able to summarize what you have read, then you have understood. When you summarize, you are bringing up all the major points that enhance your understanding. You can easily do so chapter by chapter.
Take a good look at your life and what's going on in it. Accordingly, you'll choose the material that is much more suitable for your situation and circumstances. When you read a piece of information that you find beneficial, look for a way to apply it to your life. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge isn't all that beneficial. But the application of knowledge from a helpful book is what will help you and make your life more interesting and more meaningful.