Home Improvements

The Right Kitchen Remodel Can Pay Off

Kitchen remodel
Kitchen Remodel Best Home Investment

Since functionally kitchens are multi-dimensional social environments in addition to cooking space a good kitchen today accommodates many people and tasks. “Open concept kitchen” is the hot new term since it expands the kitchen into the family room and allows for social interaction with everyone in the family room.
Probably the biggest design feature of today’s kitchen may be the center island. Peninsulas of the 1980’s and 90’s are old school news. One side of the island can have plenty of casual seating while the production side of the island can feature everything from sinks to a plain counter top work area.
Clean, sleek modern styling what is sheik today. Ornate, dark wood cabinets are passé. Simple painted white wood, light maple and, for eco-minded home owners, bamboo cabinets are the best.
Spend a fair amount of your budget on appliances. In the past, a plain refrigerator and basic stove will suffice. Now the fancier, the better – including even high-end “toys” like wine units, if possible.
Today’s variety of materials and price points for counter tops and backsplashes make these two areas the fashion statement in the kitchen. Give yourself permission to select something unusual, dramatic or colorful. Mix materials even. When it is time to “freshen up” your kitchen in 5-7 years. Change these two elements and you’ are creating a whole new look.
On a value budget? The same principles would apply. Figure out how to build a small kitchen island. When the cabinet layout works, install new doors, gift your kitchen with a fresh look with a new backsplash, or find some fun new quality hardware. What ever the budget, improve your kitchen and improve your life – you can have both!

5 Apps To Help You Choose The Perfect Paint Color

5 Apps To Help You Choose The Perfect Paint Color – Yes, there is an app for pretty much anything these days. There are apps that can help you choose the perfect paint color! Can you believe it? Here are just a few to check out…

Glidden on the Go: This free app is available for iphone and ipad

  • Browse the Glidden paint library
  • Expert design color themes
  • Select a color in a photograph and find the closet Glidden color
  • Every Glidden color will recommend two coordinating colors
  • A series of questions will help you decide the type of paint to choose as well as how much paint to purchase.

Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap Studio: This free app is available for iphone, ipad and ipod touch.

  • Take color inspiration from your own photo and chose matching colors
  • Search for specific colors or browse the paint library
  • Create a custom palette
  • Use the color adjuster to find the perfect lightness, saturation and hue
  • Find a Sherwin-Williams store

Valspar Connect: This is a free app available for iphone, ipad and ipod touch.

  • Connect to a trained Valspar Color Consultant—FREE
  • Connect by live video by selecting an appointment time and connect by the camera on your iphone or ipad
  • Live Audio and Photo: a consultant will provide consultation via audio after submitting a room photo
  • Submit a photo and a consultant will give advice via email within 3 days
  • Able to explore color, watch how-to videos, paint calculator and locate a Valspar retailer

Paint Tester: This is a free app available iphone, ipad and ipod touch.

  • Take a picture of your room and then use the paint bucket to apply colors you want to paint the room.
  • Try out accent walls

Wall Painter: This app is $0.99 and available for iphone and ipad.

  • Single touch to paint walls
  • Use pictures to find color inspiration
  • Post images to Facebook

20 Helpful Painting Tips

Painting can make a world of difference in  a room – as long as you do it right! Check out these 20 helpful painting tips to make sure you get the most out of your painting project.

  1. Go for the more expensive, better quality paint. Cheaper paint will need to be touched up more often, which negates any money you saved in the first place. The best quality paint has a higher percentage of titanium dioxide, which determines covering ability, and other additives that increase durability.

  2. Shine. Generally, the higher the gloss, the better the finish will stand up to stains, abrasions, and cleaning. Easier-to-wash satin or semigloss paints are good choices for bathrooms and kitchens. Use high-gloss paints for trim, cabinetry, and doors that are in perfect condition.

  3. Color. Light colors tend to open up a room, making it seem lighter and larger while dark hues can add depth and warmth. Before painting a room white, pay attention to how surrounding elements will reflect light and alter the color. For example, green furniture or carpeting might make white walls look light blue or green.

  4. Test before buying. Invest in some sample sizes of the paint color(s) you’re considering and try them out on small sections of the wall. Be sure to look at the color during different points in the day and under different lighting conditions to make sure you like it.

  5. Equipment. Brushes with long, dense bristles are best for latex/water-based paint (nylon) and oil-based paint (natural). A 2-inch angled sash brush, a 3-inch trim brush, and rollers are enough for most jobs.

  6. Prepare. Paint sticks better to and looks better on clean, dry, non-glossy surfaces. So, if you want the best results, do the prep work. Scrape off flaking paint, fill holes with spackling compound, and sand your walls before doing anything.

  7. Start at the top and work your way to the bottom of the wall for best results. That means start with the ceiling, move to any crown molding and/or trim around windows and doors, then the baseboards, and finally, paint the walls.

  8. Apply Painter’s Tape in no more than 8-10 inch sections at a time to be certain of a straight edge. Smooth the edges with a putty knife, wait until paint is dry to the touch, and remove the tape slowly at a 45-degree angle.

  9. Use High-Quality Brushes. Just as with choosing your paint, it’s important to invest in your brushes. High-quality brushes apply paint in a thick, smooth film. Examine a brush for a good taper, with bristles in the center slightly longer than those at the edge.

  10. Mix for uniform color. If you’re using more than one gallon of a certain color paint, mix all of it together in a larger bucket. This is the best way to make sure that all of the paint is the same color.

  11. Store extra paint successfully by adding a gasket between the cover and the can using a circle cut from a heavy-duty trash bag. Spray vegetable oil on one side of the bag and set it on the can with the lid on top of the plastic, then tap the lid to seat it in the well. Store the can upside down in a room that maintains a fairly consistent temperature.

  12. Primer first. Primer makes the best surface for paint and allows for the paint’s true color to shine through.

  13. Know how much you need. Professionals recommend one gallon of paint for every 400 square feet of wall/surface.

  14. Don’t save this for a rainy day. High humidity and moisture in the air prevents water-based paint from drying properly.

  15. Tape off doorknobs and other fixtures that you don’t want to get paint on before you start.

  16. Stop painting once an area is dry. Going over it again can leave marks and color streaks.

  17. Cover your floor with a drop cloth before starting to paint.

  18. Remove wall plates (over electrical outlets and light switches) before painting.

  19. Paint as much as you can with a roller and save the brush for small spots.

  20. Be patient. Don’t ruin the paint job by not allowing for things to dry completely before touching.

For more painting tips, check out this DIY Network article and this one from BHG.

 

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5 Affordable Ways To Spruce Up Your Bathroom

Whether you’re preparing to show and sell your home or just planning on having company over, you don’t want to be embarrassed about the look of your bathroom. Because the bathroom is typically one of the smallest rooms in the house, it doesn’t have to be expensive to update – and the bathroom is only second to the kitchen on return on your investment. From the National Association of Realtors ®, here are 5 ways to spruce up your bathroom inexpensively!

  1. Repaint. Giving any room a fresh coat of paint can totally transform the room and give it an updated look, but when choosing a paint color for your bathroom it’s important to coordinate with other elements in the room. Are the toilet, tub, and sink white or off-white? What’s the finish on the light fixtures and door knobs? Does your mirror have any color to it? Just as it is for any room in the home, it is important that the colors in your bathroom complement each other. *TIP: clean walls thoroughly with a washcloth before repainting; many beauty products leave residue on the walls that could cause problems with your new paint.

  2. New Flooring. Dirty, worn, or peeling flooring can be a major turnoff for potential homebuyers and guests. Again, because the bathroom is typically a small area, the cost of new flooring for the room and all necessary supplies won’t break the bank. Consider installing large tiles (it’s easier to clean than small tiles) or linoleum for a fresh look. *TIP: you can save more money by installing the new flooring yourself.

  3. Replace your shower curtains and curtain rod. Curtains need replaced fairly regularly, as they can accumulate mold and mildew if they aren’t properly cared for, but curtain rods should be replaced at some point as well. For the most part this is simply because things go out of style. Also, usual wear-and-tear often leaves curtain rods looking rusty and dinged up; if your curtain rod is out of style or a little worse for the wear, consider purchasing a nice, new rod to transform the look of your bathroom with relatively little effort.

  4. Upgrade your lighting. Many people tend to get ready for the day in the bathroom, so it’s very important that you have good lighting. Good lighting means that the room is well lit and that the light isn’t discolored for any reason. The National Association of Realtors ® says that bathrooms should have two different types of lighting: “ bright wall or ceiling light for regular use and a softer, warmer type of light, like a night light, to keep on when the bathroom is not in use”. *TIP: try replacing your lighting fixtures to update the look of the bathroom as well.

  5. Update the Vanity. Vanities experience wear-and-tear just like everything else in your bathroom. If your vanity is outdated or beat up, replacing it with something brand new can completely transform the look of the bathroom. Most home improvement stores have a variety of options for vanity and sink combinations for reasonable prices. If you’re not ready to purchase a new vanity, you can update the one you have by deep-cleaning it and possibly adding new paint.

Updating your bathroom can be easy and inexpensive with a few of these fixes and can bring about a whole new look. Implement a few of these tips and you’ll be ready in no time to show your house to potential buyers or guests!

Read the original article from realtor.com here.

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Hiring A Home Improvement Contractor

Home improvement projects tend to be ones that linger over time.  When your budget is tight, they get put on the back burner and aren’t seen as a necessity.  Because of this, there are a lot of contractors out there who are hungry for work; however, finding the right one for your project may be difficult.

Here are a few tips to remember in your process of finding the right home improvement contractor.

Ask for Referrals from Friends and Family

Personally asking your friends and family is probably the easiest way to find a home improvement contractor.  You will be able to hear their honest opinions and see the work of the contractor first-hand.

Using social media is also a really easy way to find a contractor.  Take your search to Facebook and ask for referrals and images of projects completed.  Who knows, you might find great options without having to look very hard.

Check the Contractor’s References

If a potential contractor has a list of references that is miles long, that is a good sign.  Depending on how long they’ve been in the business, they are bound to have a number of happy customers.  Contact a few of the references on the list to see how their home improvement projects went and if they were happy with the outcome.

Come to an Agreement

Come to an agreement with your contractor and have it in writing.  Having a formal agreement can prevent a big issue if something goes wrong down the road. For example, if the contractor doesn’t complete the project on time or doesn’t pay for supplies, then you will have a signed document to refer to that states whose responsibility it is to cover the fees.

When to Avoid a Home Improvement Contractor

The abundance of contactors is great for homeowners interested in improving their homes.  But how do you distinguish between the good and the bad?  If a contractor wants to skip the process of obtaining a permit, that’s a red flag.  Any major home improvement project legally requires a building permit, and inspectors will check the work throughout the process as well as at the end. Hiring a contractor who doesn’t want a permit just shows you that he doesn’t want his work inspected by someone else.

Also avoid a contractor who sought you out or demands to be paid in cash, this sounds like an obvious statement; however, when people are excited to improve their home, this isn’t something that is considered.  Ultimately, the most important thing you can do is use your best judgment; if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

Home improvement projects can bring a lot of value to your home.  It should be exciting and rewarding; so find a contractor you love to make your project a positive experience.

For more information on finding a home improvement contractor that you will love, visit here.

5 Landscaping Tips for Homeowners

The first thing potential buyers see when they’re searching for their dream home is the front yard. Even if the inside of your home is beautiful, the buyer could be turned off by the amount of landscaping work they will have to put in right when they move in. Here are five landscaping tips for you to give your home the best curb appeal.

Clean

This is one of the easiest ways to create curb appeal. Completely clear your yard of dead foliage and tree branches. If you have plants in large pots, scrub the pots clean until they shine. Remember, a little cleaning goes a long way and it has the potential to make a great first impression.

Mow and Water the Lawn

This should be one of the first item on your to-do list. Grass that is too long looks messy and unkept, and grass that is brown is not appealing to the eye. Do your best to water and mow your lawn regularly to get the best results. As long as there is a “For Sale” sign in your front lawn, there should be clean, trimmed grass.

Trim Trees and Bushes

Your home might have great landscaping already, it just needs to be cleaned up a bit. Keep the bushes and trees trimmed so they appear clean and well-kept, and don’t take away from the view of your house. You want the landscaping to complement, not be the focal point.

Plant Instant Color

Purchase flowers that you can plant in your front yard or that you can put in pots on the porch or sidewalk. Shoot for a splash of several colors that will complement your home. Adding small amounts of color will give your home the extra pop of curb appeal that it needs.

Touch Up the Mulch

This one small touch can turn your yard from dull to vibrant in just a matter of hours. The dark color of a fresh layer of mulch gives a great contrast against the bright flowers and green grass. It helps the pop of color from the flowers come to life.

Curb appeal can make or break a home. Completing easy landscaping projects can help you give the perfect first impression to a buyer by keeping the outside of your home just as beautiful as the inside.

For more tips on landscaping for your home, visit here.

Susan Rupert Group

Realtor, ABR, CRS, SRES, MCNE, e-PRO
Kissinger Bigatel & Brower

2300 South Atherton Street
State College, PA 16801
Mobile/Direct: 814-280-0364
Office: 814-234-4000 ext. 3213
Email: Susan@StateCollegePARealEstate.com

You have questions regarding our services? Please feel free to contact us.

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