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Last week, I touched briefly on various things that you can do around your home to improve the summertime staging of it when it comes time to sell. One of those suggestions was to “Light up Your Yard”. While that is a fabulous idea to improve your home’s visibility for potential home buyers, it is just a plain old good idea for any home. Its summer! As Canadians, we try to get outside as much as possible during the few short months that we can. Landscape lighting helps everyone to able to enjoy the outside world that little bit longer, so in my books landscape lighting is a DIY project worth tackling any day.

Don’t you think?
 

WAYS TO INCORPORATE LANDSCAPE LIGHTING

  • Spotlights:

    The prize tree in your front yard only adds to the property value when you can see it. Adding spotlights in your yard, whether it be pointed at a specimen tree, statue or just pointed towards the house, ensures that any items that you want to feature will be spotlighted day or night. You went to all the effort to make your home nice. It deserves to be spotlighted!

 

Light in the night (Castelldefels)

Light in the night (Castelldefels) (Photo credit: jcarlosn)

  • Pathway illumination:

Whether it be yourself, your invited guests or the neighbours from across the way, having the pathways on your property illuminated at night will help to ensure that everyone safely makes their way around your yard. No more stumbling into flower beds or stubbing toes against rock wall edges, when you can gently and painlessly see every step of the way.
 

Arielouie landscape lighting

  • Floodlit specimens:

Sometimes the bright glare of a spotlight doesn’t really do justice to the subtleties of the specimens in your yard. Maybe you want to illuminate a pool or pond from within. Perhaps using the interplay between light and shadows is what you are looking for within the garden beds. Whatever you are looking for in the subtleties of your yard can sometimes be attained by a few well placed lights to soften your nighttime landscape. In that case, a floodlight might be your best option.

 

  • General Purpose Lighting:

General purpose lighting often has more to do with function than anything, but it is an integral part of your home’s decor none the less. I am talking about lights beside doors to help you slip your key into the lock and lights above the garage, to help direct your vehicle safely home at night. They can be plain, ornate or whatever decorative addition that compliments the rest of your home’s decor, but this functional lighting is a must for any house.

 

    • Solar Lights:

      The cheapest and simplest way to add lighting in your yard is by tucking in a few solar lights where desired. They can be placed anywhere where sunlight reaches, with no need for electricity. Add one or add one hundred. The choice is yours! There are a wide range of solar lights available, at many department stores, big box chains and sometimes even the corner store. All you have to decide is what material you want them made of (plastic, metal or glass) and what colour fits your needs. You are only limited by your imagination.

    •  

    • LED Lights:

      Let’s face it. Sometimes solar just isn’t practical. You might want to brighten a dark hollow that never sees the light of the sun. A solar light doesn’t help there. So while LED lights may run a little more money, sometimes that is worth it. Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are powered by electricity, hence are more reliable, plus they are often brighter than their solar counterparts. You can put them along pathways, use them as spotlights or floodlights, plus you can slip them into a pond or pool. Of course you might want the help of a lightscaping company to help with the intricacies of some of these jobs, but the DIYers among you might tackle that project on their own.

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Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Today is the day that lovers stare deep into each other’s eyes and are transported to another dimension. If they are lucky enough, all that googly eyeing can even lead to another room, hopefully the bedroom. With lust in a lover’s heart, the door is kicked open, only to find…

A Messy Bedroom! (*Image from http://ow.ly/94mLW)

And romance screeches to a halt!

Now that is no way to create a warm and inviting bedroom retreat for lovers, or anyone else for that matter. If you want love to sizzle in the bedroom, then perhaps you should put a little effort into its appearance before stepping in the door.

 

5 SUGGESTIONS TO MAKE YOUR BEDROOM SIZZLE THIS VALENTINE’S DAY

  • If you want to invite someone into your bedroom this Valentine’s Day, why not start with a little decluttering first. You wouldn’t show your house to strangers all cluttered with old magazines, dirty piles of laundry or mystery unmentionables, so why expect that a lover or even YOU should want to escape into a bedroom that has forgotten what its floor is made of. Toss the garbage. Put away the laundry and organize those unmentionables. Decluttering is always the first step in making any space inviting and your bedroom is no different.
  • Turn the lights down low for that romantic feel. You can do that by installing a dimmer switch to create an ambience  that oozes passion. Lighting candles always ups the romance factor, but so too would a chandelier over the bed. Don’t forget about the harsh light of morning after a late night of loving. Investing in blackout curtains could mean a few more minutes or hours of cuddling the next morning.
  • When we think of passion, it is always hot, hot, hot, but not if the floor feels like ice! Short of ripping up the flooring to install ambient heat, there are other ways to keep the warmth alive in your bedroom. A thick underpad underneath a deep carpet adds a touch of luxury that anyone can appreciate. If carpeting isn’t in the budget, then look at what an area rug can do for you. You would be amazed at the perks of a posh rug on your aching toes and how that just might make the rest of you come alive too!
  • While you can appreciate a luxurious floor, what do your walls add to your bedroom? Your bedroom is your retreat and you should colour it like that. If you are looking for passion between the sheets, red on the walls might just add some oomph to your love life. If you want a calming retreat to escape to for some much-needed sleep though, then perhaps calming blues, greens or lavender will suit you better. A bolder coloured accent wall can serve as the perfect place for your headboard. A lighter shade from the walls on the ceiling can create a cozier niche to rest your head. Most importantly though, a fresh coat of paint will make you feel more like stepping into your bedroom retreat at the end of the day.
  • If you have made it in the door, adjusted your lighting for love and are ready to slip between the sheets, Stop! What shape are your sheets in? If you want to feel like a king or queen, your bedding can be an important step. Thread-count might mean little to you on the packaging, but when you slide between the sheet, you will feel the difference that decent linens make. The higher the thread count, the denser and softer the sheets feel. They also last that much longer, so do yourself a favour and  invest in yourself and your sleep. A few extra pillows, a warm duvet, plus silk, flannel or down can make all the difference when creating that inviting haven in your bedroom. You are worth it!

And now the rest is up to you. Here’s hoping that your bedroom heats up this Valentine’s Day!

Another home Sold In the Neighbourhood! And that despite a market that is always affected by fluctuations in the local economy, job availability and world markets that are being rocked fiercely from one day to the next. Are you thinking about making a change in your residence this year? Perhaps upgrading, downsizing or just relocating for work? Do you know some of the tricks to ensure that your home sells, when you go to put it on the market? Here are a few suggestions for you;

5 EASY UPDATES TO SELL YOUR HOME

    • We all know that a fresh coat of paint goes a long way to updating a home, but have you thought about updating some of your taps to make your kitchen or bath shine? For a relatively small sum, you can install new faucets in your house to give a sleek modern look. That grungy, dripping tap just screams dated, but with a few twists of a wrench, you can pop in a subtle wow factor to your kitchen. And by the way, KITCHENS SELL HOUSES!

Source: sarahklassen.com via Mary on Pinterest

    • Another relatively cheap upgrade in the kitchen is the addition of new hardware to cupboards and drawers. Forget dated brass and throw out the worn plastic! New hardware in the kitchen can completely transform the look of old cabinets without the expense of renovating the whole kitchen. If you want to showcase your kitchen, but can’t afford the big budget reno, then hardware is the way to go!
  • While you are switching out hardware, take a look around at other areas of your home that might have a tired feel to them.If cleaning the bugs out of the 70s glass globe over your kitchen table just doesn’t feel like quite enough, head over to the lighting store for a look at what is new in lighting.You might be surprised by how different a room feels with a change in light fixutre.For the price of a new light fixture, you might even find a few extra buyers that want to cozy up to your home for good!
  • You might have been dreaming about a new backsplash for a while, but if you haven’t gotten around to this easy upgrade already, now is definitely the time to do it. With the wide range of materials and colours available, this straightforward project can punch up the pizzazz in your kitchen. The clean lines of a fresh backsplash will draw the eye of any potential new buyer, so think about it today. It can be as easy as just behind the stove, to a whole accent wall, but a quick sale will make it all worthwhile.
  • Thinking outside of the kitchen and almost outside the house, another relatively easy upgrade is to your front door. As that is the first thing that any potential home buyer sees when walking into your home, you just simply can’t ignore it. Making the investment to update your old front door to a new steel door or at the very least painting your existing door puts your home’s best face forward. A steel door can improve energy efficiency and security, as well as the overall look of your facade, but an eye-popping colourful entrance way can’t be beat either.

Source: flickr.com via Stephanie on Pinterest

Looking for that perfect new home can be an exciting time, but it can also be a lot of work. Before you head out to hit a handful of open houses or follow your real estate agent around town, you should think about what you are looking for in a new home. Location is always key, but there are lots of other factors to keep in mind before you even step over the threshold of a house. So today I offer you a few tips on what to keep in mind when you are house hunting;

7 TIPS FOR HOUSE HUNTERS

  1. Look beyond the picture: While real estate agents usually suggest people depersonalize a home before putting it on the market, some folks just can’t bear to part with their family portraits. The challenge then is for you to see beyond the photos and picture yourself living in this house and making it a home of your own. Remember though that on moving day,  your new home will be a blank canvas for you to fill with your own memories.
  2. Put on your rose-coloured glasses: Or green, blue or gray goggles when looking at a home’s decor. Wall colour might make you cringe when you are poking around in a house that is for sale, but its a relatively easy and cheap thing to change.  Just because the bathroom is magenta, doesn’t mean you  have to live with that forever if you buy the house. Trendy colours change seasonally, so this is the perfect time to decorate the house of your dreams with your own colour palette.
  3. Count your blessings: And the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in the house. Be realistic about your needs and start by looking at homes that fit your requirements. If you can’t live without two bathrooms, then only look at homes that have at least two of them already. Same thing goes for bedrooms. If you are a family of three, then perhaps six bedrooms is a bit overkill. Major home renovations can be costly and unless you are willing and able to undertake them, save yourself the hassle of even considering it.
  4. Get down to the nitty-gritty: You have needs and one of them will be storage. While you are poking around bedrooms, bathrooms and the basement, check for it. Does the home have sufficient linen closets, bedroom closets and general storage for all of your stuff? Where are you going to put the hockey equipment, Christmas decorations and towels for the guest bedroom? These factors can sometimes be overlooked in the excitement of viewing houses, but you will be glad that you checked beforehand on moving day.
  5. Shine a light on: Because in the depths of winter you will really notice how bright or dreary the lighting in a house truly is. Does the house have large or small windows? Does it have any southern exposure? Are there overhead lights or will you have to buy a small army of lamps to illuminate the corners of the home? Some of these factors can be accommodated for, but if your collection of precious cacti require high lighting to survive, you better think about what they will have on offer if you make the house your home. Perhaps that perfect house would be suited for the vampires down the road instead.
  6. Touch wood: Or is it more like mop linoleum? What are you willing to live with, or not live without, as far as flooring goes? Carpet warms a floor, but isn’t always best for furry animals that shed or those with allergies. Linoleum can get dated and dirty in a hurry. Is there money in your budget to refinish wood floors  that have seen better days? My suggestion is to inspect every house from top to bottom and weigh its pros and cons before committing to anything.
  7. From earth to sky: And everything in between; you need to poke into it all. Check the roof and figure out when it was replaced last, with an eye to your budget if the shingles seem a little worn. Head to the basement and knock on the furnace. Furnace replacement can be a pricey endeavour, but can improve overall heating and cooling costs for operating a home. While you are at it, check on the hot water heater, humidifier, as well as the air conditioner unit, if the house has one. You can even get an idea as to the insulation of a home by feeling the temperature of the walls or quickly peering behind an exterior switch plate to see what that reveals (hopefully lots of R20 value).

Welcome to In Your Neighbourhood!

Allow me to introduce myself. The name is Jim. You want to know more? Well, check out my "About Me" page! Don't forget to take a peek at my "Local London Listings" while you are here too! I update it regularly. Enjoy your visit and drop me a line to let me know you were in the neighbourhood!

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