Let's Talk Homz

It's time to talk homes - the whole spectrum. From remodels and re-dos, arranging to achieve simplicity, dreaming about spaces, protecting your biggest investment, the here and now of the real estate market and just plain getting inspired to better all things related to home - it's all gonna be here!

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My backyard is my own little summer oasis. It has to be! After all, in the summer months it’s a true extension of my little Cape Cod home. Often, when I have a visitor, they ask, “How do you get your pots to look so professional?” I didn’t know they looked professional, but OK - thank you!

Think it’s too late for this year because all your stuff is planted?! NO WAY - it’s the perfect time to try out something new because annuals are dirt cheap right now, and they’ll be even cheaper in a week. 

What’s my secret? It’s really no secret at all.

1. Don’t let something new scare you - Step outside of the same old things your mom used to plant every year so you plant every year. Walk around the flower shop and when you walk past something that makes you say, “Wow, that’s gorgeous” or “Hmm…That’s different”- GRAB IT! Put it in your cart and figure out what the heck you’ll plant with it later. The important thing is to get what you LOVE and you’ll love you pots.

2. Some sizes matter - Pay attention to the size of the plant, but don’t get fixated on the width and the mumbo jumbo about how far apart to plant it from something else. Rather, pay attention to the height. In your mix of new things you love, be mindful that you choose some that get tall, some that get 12’ or so, some short ones and yes, some that will drape over 1 or 2 sides of the pot. 

3. Arrange in pot before planting - When you get home with your herd of little lovelies, start grouping things together by gut feeling. What do you like together? Include at least 1 tall, 2-3 medium, 2-3 shorts and 1-2 draping depending upon the size of the pot(s). Actually set the individual potted plants in the large pot they’re going in. Put the tall one in the middle and go down in height as you move to the edge of the pot.  

4. Pack the pot! - Don’t be afraid to stuff the pot. Plant things as close together as you can and don’t leave huge gaps in between things. This is the key to full pots anytime before August! If it gets overgrown by August you can trim things back and/or pluck out the stuff that you decide you don’t like. 

5. Plant and enjoy! - Remove your arranged individual pots from the large pot. Set them aside in the same arrangement you had them in the large pot. Dig, loosen the root ball, insert into the hole, pack dirt tight around the plant. Continue until all are planted and water that sucker like crazy. Enjoy!

As a real estate agent, I’m constantly hearing myself tell clients who are prepping to sell their homes, “Focus on decluttering rather than remodeling.”
Inevitably, when the few days of decluttering done I hear them say, “My house looks great! Why didn’t I do this a long time ago so I could enjoy it??!!” The process can be relatively simple - just get tough with yourself, open the back end of your mini-van or SUV and prepare for a trip (or 2) to goodwill.
Where to start? Start with the room or spot that bugs you the most. For me - my son’s room which is overflowing with toys and trinkets. Then, on to a closet jam packed with luggage, clothes I don’t wear and ties my husband has had since we met 20 years ago. 
Beat the 4 common obstacles and love your house again!! :)
1. It’s a family heirloom
2. It was a gift!
3. I may use it some day
4. I paid a lot of money for it

Ok, May is here. The date on the calendar confirms it. The chill in the ND air does not.
Let us not, however, fall behind on spring freshening, cleaning and organizing so our homes are ready for an awesome summer. It doesn’t have to be a long drawn out affair - just take a few minutes a day to do something small between the soccer games, bike rides and glasses of wine. :)
First on my list yesterday was to remove my snow globes from the mantel - yup - they were STILL there! Second on my list was to remove my fake evergreen trees from the pots on my front steps - yup - they were still there! These few things took me less than 10 minutes and have helped me get out of my slump. Bring on spring in our homes and yards!!!  
Remember, when you do things to improve your home - no matter how little the improvement is - you are making a move toward protecting your investment. After all, your home is quite possibly the biggest and smartest investment you’ll make in your life! Improve it and feel better about it!
Check out other May ideas for a smooth running, fresh spring home from Houzz.com.
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For years, I’ve heard my mom say, “We really should do something with this kitchen.” The problem was - they just didn’t know what to do. There are soooo many options out there - where would they even start!? It seemed like a daunting task, but it’s easy when you break it down. Here’s how we moved from stuck to stunning:

1. Searched Houzz.com for photos of galley kitchens to see what others were doing out there in the way of small galley kitchens

2. Searched Houzz.com for photos of kitchens with wood floors because that’s the ONE thing we knew we were keeping.

3. From that search, we saved the photos that got a “Oh - I really like that” from my mom. Then we talked about what she liked about the kitchen in the photo.

4. From those photos and that conversation, it was clear that light color cabinets sparked “love that” feeling. (Cabinet color = done)

5. We then looked closer at backsplashes on photos to determine the type she liked best with light cabinets - sparkly/clear/glass/glam or rough/stone/neutral/natural. (Backsplash type = selected)

6. Next, we looked at countertops with light cabinets. What tickled her fancy with light cabinets? Dark/shiny/glitz or light/natural/neutral (countertop direction = done)

7. From there, we visited a store in search of cabinets, backsplash tile and countertop that fit the bill from the decisions made above. 

8. Last but certainly not least = paint color to pull everything together. Funny this came last when so many put it first. :) Put it last and get it right. Put it first and there’s a fight. ;)

Wow - don’t you want to jump right into this ever so cozy, but modern room?! When I see photos like this, I stick them a folder called “spaces I love”. I may never do anything with all these photos other than dream about what it would be like to live in that room and to have it as part of my home. 

I save all of these photos thinking that one day when we decide to build a new custom home, I’ll reference all of these photos and sort of build the home from the inside out. 

Here’s what I love about this room: Great spot for the giant TV - you hardly know it’s there. Very cool way to incorporate a modern look in a traditional style home. I LOVE the length of the windows too - can you imagine how much light they let in?

And those couches look like the perfect spot for a Sunday nap!