Count Sheep Not Threads


beautiful bedroom interior

 

It’s estimated that a person will sleep for a third of his or her life. If you’re spending that much time in bed, you should make sure you like your sleeping conditions. Comfortable sheets are crucial for a good night of sleep, and many people don’t seek out the sheets that are best for them.

 

A common misconception is that higher thread counts mean better sheets. While thread count is important, there are other factors to consider when searching for the perfect sheets: the type of cotton, weave and finish, to name a few.

 

Bedroom Detail

 

Cost: When it comes to sheets, quality is better over quantity. More expensive sets of 200-thread count sheets will generally be higher quality than a cheaper set of 400-thread count.

 

Fiber: Evaluate the length of the sheet’s fiber: longer fibers are better than short and lend themselves to longer lifespans. In addition, Egyptian cotton isn’t a myth – it’s indeed an indication of the quality of the cotton. Make sure the label says 100% or pure Egyptian cotton, because sheets can be labeled “Egyptian” even if they only contain a small percentage of actual Egyptian cotton. Alternative options are Pima and Supima, cotton-poplin, cotton-polyester and even bamboo.

 

Finish: Sheets may contain bleaches, dyes or finishes to keep them from wrinkling. If you have sensitivities or allergies, steer clear and opt for 100% organic sheets.

 

Thread Count: Thread count is the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric. Additional threads can be woven in, thus, increasing the thread count. In general, a higher thread count will make the sheets denser. It’s recommended to get anything over 200, but anything higher than 400 isn’t necessarily worth it. The threads used to achieve these higher thread count sheets are often thinner so they can all fit.

 

Weave: Weave is the last thing you should pay attention to and is the determining factor in how the sheets feel and the lifespan. Common weaves are percale or sateen â€” percale features a cool, crisp feel, while sateen is softer and warmer. When it comes to weave, pick what feels best to you.

New Year, Cleaner Home


Teach kids to take some responsibility around the house

 

It’s a new year, and many of you likely made resolutions revolving around the home: lower energy bills, de-clutter, cook more, etc. One resolution you also may have made is to keep a cleaner home.

 

For those of you who clean your own home, this resolution can be a big undertaking.

 

If you’re particular about cleanliness, then you may be tempted to clean all the time. Realistically, nobody has time for that. It’s better to stick to a schedule.

 

This helpful home-cleaning guide suggests how often you should complete your regular chores. Follow this schedule and come next season, spring-cleaning won’t even be necessary.

 

Home-Cleaning-Schedule-copy

5 Kitchen Countertops Worth the Hype


Considering a kitchen remodel? Not all countertops are created equally.

 

With so many options on the market, it can be hard to decide what countertop material is right for your kitchen. While it may be tempting to choose a countertop based on aesthetic alone, it’s important to consider the durability, cost and maintenance before making a decision.

 

Here are some popular options and need-to-know details about each.

 

Granite

beautiful kitchen with lights off in new luxury home with island, pendant lights, and glass fronted cabinets, and view of dining room

Once only found in high-end kitchens, granite has made its way to the heart of more and more homes. This durable, natural stone comes in a vast array of colors such as beige, black, brown, red, white and green. Because of its porous nature, granite must be sealed on a yearly basis. Even when properly sealed, it’s important to wipe up oils, wines, acids and sodas immediately, as well as use a stone cleaner for routine cleaning.

Cost varies depending on color and complexity, but has become more affordable with granite’s increase in popularity.

 

Quartz

beautiful kitchen in new luxury home with island, pendant lights, and hardwood floors

Quartz, often resembling granite or marble, is an engineered mix of mineral and resin. This extremely durable, low-maintenance material is a great alternative for busy kitchens. Quartz is harder and less porous than granite, so it doesn’t require sealing or polishing. It comes in a variety of colors and patterns, and looks great in both traditional and contemporary kitchens. Quartz is scratch, stain, heat and acid-resistant.

Because quartz is manufactured, it doesn’t have natural color variations and vein. When shopping, looking at a small sample rather than a big slab will suffice.

 

Marble

Luxury industrial kitchen with a marble island

Marble is a timeless and stunning option for a traditional or contemporary kitchen and is usually the most expensive. Carrara and Calacatta marble are synonymous with luxury, and instantly give your kitchen an elegant look. However, marble is very porous and has a high probability of becoming stained. If you choose marble, it’s important to seal it frequently and properly. Also, be wary as chips and scratches may occur.

 

Wood

Modern Kitchen

Those opting for a warm, traditional cottage kitchen may gravitate toward butcher block-style wood countertops. These countertops require regular maintenance in order to maintain the wood’s natural beauty, so it’s recommended that you oil the surface with a mineral oil every four to six weeks. If not properly cared for, wood countertops will warp and crack.

On the plus side, properly sealed wood countertops are sanitary and you can cut directly on the surface without damaging knives. Wood is also heat-resistant, which means you can place hot pots and pans directly on the surface.

 

Laminate

Modern Kitchen

Laminate is perhaps the most cost-effective option available. Not only is it durable, it’s also low-maintenance. Laminate is a great selection for those on a budget, and it comes in far more options than the familiar wood copycat – both neutral and bright colors are available. Laminate countertops are water-resistant but susceptible to scratches and heat damage, so be sure to use cutting boards and trivets when preparing and serving food.

Make Your Guests Feel at Home


light soft pillow on beautiful bed cozy bedroom with sun light from window interior concept

 

The holiday season is just beginning, and there’s a good chance you may be hosting family or friends. Here are some quick tips that will make your guests feel extra special during their stay.

 

Cheat Sheet

Create a home cheat sheet that provides your guests with the Wi-Fi code, instructions to turn on the television, garage code, and anything else they may need. Be sure to include your address, landline number and any emergency contact information.

 

Spare Samples

Have tons of hotel freebies and sample products lying around the house? Put them all in a jar in the guest bathroom. Your guests will like the availability of extra products, especially if they may have forgotten something.

 

Lovely Florals

Placing fresh flowers or plants in the guest room adds brightness and freshness that anyone will appreciate. Bonus points if your foliage is festive!

 

Cozy Essentials

To create the ultimate retreat for your guests, put a basket in the corner with items that will make them extra comfortable. Think soft throw blankets, magazines, bottled water, snacks and a reading light.

 

Freshening Up

Be sure to leave extra towels and washcloths in the bathroom so guests will always have dry ones. An extra toothbrush is always a nice touch.

 

Clean Scents

Adding a candle or diffuser to the guest suite is always a good idea to make the area warm and inviting. It’s best to find neutral scents – think fresh linen or clean cotton. If you’re feeling extra fresh, a small bottle of room or linen spray is another great addition to the room.

 

Sweet Treats

A jar of candy canes is a festive and decorative way to offer your guests a midnight snack.

Brighten Your Winter Landscape


As temperatures drop, so often do our hopes of having full flowerbeds. But winter doesn’t have to be dull and bleak. When updating your landscape for wintertime, there are a variety of plants that enjoy cooler temps.

 

Whether using native Texas or non-native plants, here are five plants for adding color and texture to your winter garden.

 

Christmas Fern

Christmas Fern

This robust, glossy fern is a great option for a border or accent plant. Although it won’t flower, ferns are easy to grow and stable in the right conditions. The evergreen fronds grow in clusters that will increase in size over time.

 

Lonicera pericylmenum Latin name Honeysuckle

Coral Honeysuckle

Great for a fence or trellis, this high-climbing vine can often bloom sporadically in January and beyond, especially in a warm spot or on a south-facing wall. The beautiful clusters of red or coral flowers will attract hummingbirds and large butterflies, and it has glossy evergreen foliage.

 

Ornamental Winter Cabbage

Ornamental Cabbage and Kale

These low-maintenance fall and winter plants become more vibrant as temperatures drop. They provide unique texture to a landscape or flowerbed with their colorful foliage. Cabbage leaves are broad and flat while kale leaves are ruffled, and the plants cover a lot of space. Leaves can be cream, lavender, purple and bicolor green/white, and can survive several frosts.

 

Pansies

Pansies and Violas

A popular bedding choice for cooler temperatures, pansies and violas bloom continuously through fall and spring. The plants come in a variety of colors, such as yellow, purple, red, white and lavender, and also look great as a border or in containers.

 

Christmas holly bush

Winterberry

Also known as possum haw, winterberry is an iconic plant in the holly family with bright red or orange berries. When it loses its leaves, the berries are left behind and will last until spring. However, be cautious when planting this one: the berries are poisonous and should be kept away from children and pets. This holly is great for homemade wreaths during the holiday season.

Get Your Fireplace Winter-Ready


Cozy winter drink

 

Colder weather is here and it’s time to get your fireplace roaring again. Before you fill your home with the warmth and scent of a crackling fire, there are some precautions to take.

 

Check the Chimney

Have you called a chimney sweep recently? Experts recommend having your chimney cleaned once a year. A fireplace is only as good as its chimney, so inspect the exterior structure to make sure there are no issues.

 

Open the Flue

Ever started a fire and had the room fill with smoke? If you’re new to fireplaces, you may not realize that this happens when the flue is closed. Simply look up and reach for a chain or lever to open it up before you light the fire.

 

Vacuum

A quick vacuuming of the flue, smoke shelf and the surrounding hearth is the last step in preparation for fabulous fires in the coming months.

Strategic Pricing is Key


Suburban House

 

Strategic pricing is the key to selling your home at an attractive price in an acceptable amount of time. While many brokers will gladly list your home, the reality is if it is not properly priced your home may sit on the market month after month and actually help sell competing properties.

 

At Ebby Halliday Realtors, our Associates take pricing your property very seriously. Your Ebby Associate will utilize Multiple Listing Service data to create a competitive market analysis that estimates a market-value range for your home based on the recent action of buyers and sellers in your neighborhood. A few of the factors your Ebby Associate will consider when estimating your property’s market value:

 

Successfully Sold Homes
The selling price of recently purchased homes comparable to yours.

 

Competitive Properties for Sale
Since these homes are not yet sold, the market value is undetermined, but they are important, as buyers most likely will view and compare these properties with yours.

 

Pending Sales
Though they have not yet closed, homes under contract are a good indicator of value in the current market.

 

Failed to Sell
The listed price of these homes suggests what potential buyers will not pay.

 

If you’re curious about what your home is worth in North Texas’ competitive housing market, visit the award-winning ebby.com, where you’ll find just the right real estate professional for your needs.

Tips for Enhancing Your Master Retreat


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6614 Brookshire Drive | Preston Hollow

 

A home is an ever-evolving project. As our styles change and years go by, it’s easy to get the itch to update your home. Buyers and sellers alike often pay more attention to kitchens, master bathrooms, closets and outdoor spaces than they do to the vital space where they will usually spend more than a third of their 24 hours each day. If you’re looking for a change or wanting to fall back in love with your master bedroom, follow these tips.

 

Choice Spot

The bed should be set away from the room’s entrance to keep it out of the main circulation path. Place it in a spot so occupants can enjoy the best view — whether that’s inside (maybe toward a fireplace or favorite piece of art) or outdoors (with views of trees or water where possible). Personalize it by pairing the bed with a headboard and dressing it up with decorative pillows, a duvet and a throw.

 

Window Treatments

Minimal is the design mantra when it comes to much of the standard room décor today. But while no coverings in some rooms, such as kitchens and living rooms, allows for more light and views, some amount of treatment in a bedroom is needed to block outside light and provide privacy – think shutters, electric shades or curtains.

 

Right Lighting

Installing recessed cans is discouraged. They tend to chop up a ceiling and aren’t too attractive to look at while in bed. Task lighting from lamps on night tables or wall-mounted sconces are preferred.

 

Conceal or Banish Electronics

For years, scientists and health professionals have known about the danger of the blue light that comes from certain electronic equipment and how it adversely affects melatonin production. Homeowners might consider making the master bedroom an electronics-free zone, without TVs and other technology to help train the brain that the bedroom is primarily a place to sleep rather than stay awake.

 

Soothing Palette

Colors that are less bold are more restful. A palette of pale blues, greens, beiges, grays and whites create a calming environment. In addition, bedding in white and light creams make for a soothing sight to the eye.

 

Creature Comforts

If the room’s size allows, consider adding a chaise, chair and ottoman, and night tables. Also, a large area rug or wall-to-wall carpeting can help deaden noise and provide warmth underfoot. If the room is located so it opens directly to the outdoors, play this up. Real access to idyllic scenery can contribute to a sense of tranquility.

Add Beauty & Value to Your Home


1_Braewood

25 Braewood Place | $6,750,000 | The O’Gorman Group

 

Trees don’t ask for much — dirt, water, sunlight. Yet they provide many benefits for you and your home: They add beauty and value to your property, cut your energy bills with the shade they provide, serve as a home to wildlife, and improve the air you breathe.

 

2_Waller

10121 Waller Drive | $5,950,000 | Mary Poss

 

To get the full benefits from your trees, choose the right one and plant it in the right location. Planting a tree that sheds its leaves annually on the west side of your house provides cooling shade in the summer. In winter, after it loses its leaves, the same tree will let in sunlight that cuts heating bills.

 

3_Point de Vue

1901 Point De Vue Drive | $2,900,000 | The O’Toole LeVan Group

 

If you’re planting a new tree, think about its fully grown size and shape before you dig. Roots too close to your home could damage the foundation or block sewer lines. The wrong tree in the wrong place could actually lower your home’s appraised value.

 

4_Valencia

2022 Valencia Cove | $2,695,000 | The Marcontell & Gilchrest Group

 

To learn more about trees and how you can improve the environment while improving your property value, visit arborday.org, where you’ll find a wealth of useful information about trees. To learn more about the beautiful homes featured in this post, as well as all of the homes currently available for purchase in North Texas, visit the award-winning ebby.com.

Plan Your Tax-Free Weekend Shopping


School backpack and school supplies with chalkboard background. Education or back to school concept.

 

Tax-free weekend is days away, and just in time for back-to-school shopping. Are you ready?

 

This year’s Sales Tax Holiday will happen Friday, August 9, through midnight Sunday, August 11. But remember, the tax exemption is only available on certain items under $100. Computers and software are not tax-exempt.

 

Tax-free items include: 

• School supplies
• Art supplies
• School instructional materials
• Clothing and footwear less than $100 per item
• Backpacks

 

Shopping with Mom

 

The best ways to save money on tax-free weekend:

• Planning ahead
• Making a list of items you need
• Looking for the best sales in your area
• Checking for coupons (printable or online)
• Maximizing price match programs where available.

 

Good luck and happy shopping!