Prep Your Home for Fall


Home Exterior

Cool breezes and colder months call for necessary upkeep. Now is a good time to be proactive about protecting your home against cooler temperatures. Follow these steps to prepare your home for fall.

 

Exterior

Roof – Inspect for missing, loose or damaged shingles. Make necessary repairs to keep cold air and precipitation out.

Gutters and Downspouts – Clear leaves and debris. Check alignment to ensure water can flow through and drains away from your home and foundation.

Plumbing – If you’ve noticed issues or leaks, get them checked. Winterize pipes that are exposed outdoors.

Trees – Inspect your property for damaged branches, and trim limbs at least 2 feet from your roofline.

 

Interior

Heat – Inspect furnace, water heater and air ducts. Fix any issues and replace air filters.

Windows – Check for cracks, gaps, damaged trim and broken glass. Caulk, weather strip and repair as needed; the same goes for doors.

Detectors – Test and replace batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that keep you safe.

Fire Extinguisher – Test your fire extinguisher and replace or recharge if necessary.

Backup – Have working flashlights and spare batteries for potential outages.

Attic – Check for moisture or leaks and repair immediately; same for basements, where necessary.

Design-Inspired Easter Eggs


Easter eggs painted by hand in blue color on light background

 

If you’re looking for a fun twist on classic egg decorating, these design-inspired Easter eggs are the perfect DIY weekend project — and if you’re lucky, delicious egg salad come Monday.

 

Gold Leaf — Paint boiled eggs evenly and let dry (try two coats of craft paint or spray paint for a smoother finish). Using a gold leaf kit, apply random strokes of glue for an abstract look, wrap egg in a sheet of gold leaf, rub away any excess and voila!

 

Contemporary — Boil cleaned avocado pits and skins to create your desired pink hue and mix black ink with 1/4 cup of water for the grey shade. Carefully dip boiled egg into one color and let dry before dipping into the second dye, overlapping for a graphic pattern effect.

 

Happy Easter rustic background with copy space. DIY dyed various shades of blue Easter eggs and vintage wooden picture frame mock up.

Ombré — Mix one color of dye and create different shades by leaving boiled eggs in colored water for different amounts of time. Start by dropping the first egg in for 30 seconds, try one minute for the next one, then a minute and a half for the third and so on until you achieve the variety of shades desired.

 

Pantone — Stand boiled eggs vertically in small cups of dye, type up and print labels on temporary tattoo paper (remember, text backwards) and apply to the white area. If perfectionism is your thing, match the color numbers using a chip book.

 

Marbled — Mix food coloring for desired palette of dyes, color boiled eggs and let dry. Blot egg with rubber cement and dip it into the dye for a second coat. Once it dries, gently wipe away rubber cement and repeat until you’ve reached your desired aesthetic.

 

Easter eggs

Wax-and-Dye — The traditional Ukranian pysanky technique calls for hollowed-out eggs, a kistka (styling tool for drawing with melted wax), dyes and beeswax. Use the kistka to draw a design with the heated wax and allow it to fully harden before dipping into dye for five to 10 minutes. After the egg has fully dried, carefully remove the wax, wipe clean and seal with shellac.

 

Keep in mind that despite their beauty, some designs require non-food safe materials and should not be consumed.

Not Your Average Pumpkins


It’s the time of year when pumpkin-filled porches are seen in every neighborhood anticipating the welcome of trick-or-treaters. Adorn your stoop with something different this Halloween and draw inspiration from these unique pumpkin decorating ideas.

 

Craft pumpkin painted white and decorated with pink flowers

Unicorn Dreams

Using a few basic craft supplies (think acrylic paint, clay, a hot glue gun), customize any pumpkin into the dreamy-eyed face of a sweet mystical creature or your favorite  pet.

 

beautiful painted pumpkins of white and gold color on halloween

Glitz & Glam

With a little glue or paint and a lot of glitter, have fun mixing designs and colors for pumpkins that sparkle.

 

Pumpkin with a beautiful autumn flower composition

Autumnal Bouquet

The easiest pumpkin you’ll ever carve requires slicing off the top, clearing the insides, inserting flowers and you have a pretty pumpkin bouquet — it even makes for the perfect centerpiece well into November.

 

Happy halloween! Pumpkins on white background.

Chalk It Up

With a coat or two of chalk paint, you can swap out Halloween messages and spooky silhouettes for days.

 

Halloween autumn display

Spray It Gold

A can of spray paint and a cardboard box are all you need to make simple, chic pumpkins in any color scheme — but isn’t everything prettier in gold?

 

Colorful pumpkin.Art background for Halloween concept,

Melted Magic

Just as it sounds, melt wax (or crayons) in your favorite color combinations for a unique work of art. A bit trickier than the rest, but worth the extra effort.

 

Black and rose cold colored pumpkins

Constellation Creation

Get creative with paint designs by doodling your favorite constellations and add a ribbon or two for good measure.

 

beautiful painted pumpkins of white and gold color on halloween

Gorgeous Gourds

Mix and match your favorite glitter and metallic paints for stylish, hand-crafted cuteness.

6 Design-Inspired DIY Easter Eggs


If you’re looking for a fun twist on classic egg decorating, these design-inspired Easter eggs are the perfect DIY weekend project — and if you’re lucky, delicious egg salad come Monday.

 

Ombré — Mix one color of dye and create different shades by leaving boiled eggs in colored water for different amounts of time. Start by dropping the first egg in for 30 seconds, try one minute for the next one, then a minute and a half for the third and so on until you achieve the variety of shades desired.

 

Happy Easter rustic background with copy space. DIY dyed various shades of blue Easter eggs and vintage wooden picture frame mock up.

 

Gold Leaf — Paint boiled eggs evenly and let dry (try two coats of craft paint or spray paint for a smoother finish). Using a gold leaf kit, apply random strokes of glue for an abstract look, wrap egg in a sheet of gold leaf, rub away any excess and voila!

102
Photo via The Blondilocks

Wax-and-Dye — The traditional Ukranian pysanky technique calls for hollowed-out eggs, a kistka (styling tool for drawing with melted wax), dyes and beeswax. Use the kistka to draw a design with the heated wax and allow it to fully harden before dipping into dye for five to 10 minutes. After the egg has fully dried, carefully remove the wax, wipe clean and seal with shellac.

 

Easter eggs

 

Contemporary — Boil cleaned avocado pits and skins to create your desired pink hue and mix black ink with 1/4 cup of water for the grey shade. Carefully dip boiled egg into one color and let dry before dipping into the second dye, overlapping for a graphic pattern effect.

dynamic_resize
Photo via Style at Home

Marbled — Mix food coloring for desired palette of dyes, color boiled eggs and let dry. Blot egg with rubber cement and dip it into the dye for a second coat. Once it dries, gently wipe away rubber cement and repeat until you’ve reached your desired aesthetic.

 

Easter eggs

 

Pantone — Stand boiled eggs vertically in small cups of dye, type up and print labels on temporary tattoo paper (remember, text backwards) and apply to the white area. If perfectionism is your thing, match the color numbers using a chip book.

pantone
Photo via Sweet Melissa’s Life

Note: Despite their beauty, some designs require non-food safe materials and should not be consumed.

How-To: Interior Lighting


Did you know that lighting is one of the most important elements in your home? When natural light isn’t available, due to lack of windows or time of day, the mood and brightness of your home is dictated by interior lighting. Additionally, light fixtures are a large part of design and personal style.

 

Following are a few tips to get the most out of your interior lighting:

 

Diversify

Use multiple sources for light so that the ambience is just right. Think about a mix of recessed ceiling lights, chandeliers, sconces, floor lamps, table lamps, and under mounted lighting solutions. A combination will throw light in different directions and create a more generalized glow.

 

listing_37
5730 County Road 471 | McKinney | $648,000

 

Focal Points

Use task lighting and directed light to highlight desks, plants, art, and unique decor.

 

listing_23
4428 Greenbrier Drive | Dallas | $1,750,000

 

Dimmers

Consider installing dimmers in entertaining spaces like dining areas, media rooms, and living areas. Being able to set the mood for a meal, movie or cozy night by the fire makes all the difference.

 

1457372482_470161-18media
6436 Sudbury Road | Plano – Kings Gate | $2,399,900

 

Read the Room

Different rooms call for different light fixture heights, sizes, and illuminations. For example, overhead lighting makes more sense in a kitchen than it does in a bedroom. Smaller lamps, sconces and delicate chandeliers are better suited in bedrooms than large living spaces.

 

23.jpg
5330 Pebblebrook Drive | Dallas – Russwood Acres | $1,569,000

 

Wattage

Always follow the instructions on your light fixture for maximum wattage, but don’t be afraid to take it down a notch. If the light fixture is more for decor than actual illumination, consider using low-wattage bulbs, which use less energy. Typical wattages range from 40 (for reading) to 80 (for putting on make up). However, utilizing multiple fixtures will allow for something in between.

 

1457730316_470596-20.jpg
4340 Shenandoah Street | University Park | $1,450,000

 

Decor

The fixtures you choose have a visual impact on your space. Make sure to keep the overall look and feel of the room in mind when selecting fixtures, but don’t be afraid to go bold. Statement floor lamps or chandeliers are the perfect way to add a punch of style with just one or two pieces.

 

1449697798_465363-14kit.jpg
3804 Villanova Street | University Park | $2,675,000

How to Invest: Home Remodel Trends


CM How to Invest Remodel lg

On April 1, the Texas Association of Realtors released the 2015 edition of their Texas Remodel Valuation Report. For those of you considering a remodel in your home, it’s time to tune in and listen up.

 

In this report, TAR outlines a most profitable home remodels based on recoup costs of more than 20 different projects in 2014. These are further broken down by profitability nationwide, marketwide, and in four Texas cities. Here’s a quick summary of the projects that will get you the most bang for your buck in the Texas region, Dallas, and nationwide:

 

Regionally:

Curb Appeal is King: Nationally and in Texas, projects that boost curb appeal have the best return on investment, or ROI. Replacing the entry door, garage door, siding, windows, and roofing all ranked highest on this list.

Practical Remodels: Projects that improve a home’s functionality or sustainability were among the most profitable for the second year in a row, significantly more so than upscale remodels and additions.

Increase Livable Square Footage and Sustainability: Basement remodels, wood deck additions, and backup power generators were also popular.

 

Dallas:

5 Most Profitable: Roofing replacement, vinyl window replacement, basement remodel, steel entry door replacement, garage door replacement

5 Least Profitable: Sunroom addition, home office remodel, fiberglass entry door replacement, upscale garage addition, upscale composite deck addition

 

Nationwide:

5 Most Profitable: Steel entry door replacement, stone veneer accent, midrange garage door replacement, siding replacement, and upscale garage door replacement

5 Least Profitable: Sunroom addition, home office addition, upscale master suite addition, upscale garage addition, midrange bathroom addition

Now Trending: Contrasting Cabinetry


One of the best parts about getting to look at pictures of houses all day is picking up on new trends. One of the hottest trends we’ve noticed over the last few months is contrasting cabinet colors. Islands have stepped into the spotlight and are being treated like their own element. No longer are they beholden to the color choices made for outer kitchen cabinetry.

 

This mix-matching shows up most often in brown and white, but we’re loving this new design trend no matter what color scheme it comes in. It adds a dynamic interest to a kitchen and allows homeowners and designers to step out of the box with cabinetry, an area in which most tend to play it safe.

 

Check out a few of the kitchens in which we’ve found this trend popping up around DFW, they may just inspire a weekend DIY in your home!

Now Trending: Contrasting Cabinetry^1066 Woodford Drive, Keller

Now Trending: Contrasting Cabinetry^6940 Hickory Hill Circle, Argyle

Now Trending: Contrasting Cabinetry^7204 Ripley St., McKinney

Now Trending: Contrasting Cabinetry^10715 Dixon Branch Drive, Dallas

Now Trending: Contrasting Cabinetry^9427 Monteleon Court, Dallas

Now Trending: Contrasting Cabinetry^1315 Sunset Ridge Circle, Cedar Hill

Now Trending: Contrasting Cabinetry^7022 Pasadena Ave., Dallas

Now Trending: Contrasting Cabinetry^4060 Chimney Rock Drive, Prosper

Now Trending: Contrasting Cabinetry^6838 Stefani Drive, Dallas

Now Trending: Contrasting Cabinetry^1122 Amy Drive, Allen

Interior Lighting: How To Do It Right


Did you know that lighting is one of the most important elements in your home? We’ve talked about the importance of natural light, but interior light is just as important. When natural light isn’t available, due to lack of windows or time of day, the mood and brightness of your home is dictated by interior lighting. Additionally, light fixtures are a large part of design and personal style. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your lighting:

 

1. Diversify: Use multiple sources for light so that the ambiance just right. Think about a mix of recessed ceiling lights, chandeliers, sconces, floor lamps, table lamps, and under mounted lighting solutions. A combination will throw light in different directions and create more generalized glow.

 

2. Focal Points: Use task lighting and directed light to highlight art, plants, dining tables, and unique decor.

 

3. Dimmers: Consider installing dimmers in entertaining spaces like dining rooms, media rooms, living rooms, and bedrooms. Being able to set the mood for a meal, movie, or cozy night by the fire makes a high difference.

 

4. Read the Room: Different rooms call for different lighting heights, sizes, and illuminations. For example, overhead lighting makes more sense in a kitchen than is does in a bedroom. Smaller lamps, sconces, and delicate chandeliers are better suited in bedrooms and bathrooms than large living spaces.

 

5. Which Watt?: Always follow the instructions on your light fixture for maximum wattage, but don’t be afraid to take it down a notch. If the light fixture is more for decor than actual illumination, consider using low-wattage bulbs, which use less energy. Typical wattages range from 40 (for reading) and 80 (for putting on make up), but this wattage can be achieved with multiple fixtures.

 

6. Decor: The fixtures you choose have an impact on your space visually as well. Make sure to keep the overall look and feel of the room in mind when selecting fixtures, but don’t be afraid to go bold. A statement floor lamp or chandelier is the perfect way to pack a big punch of style with just one piece of decor.

 

DFW homeowners clearly know the importance of interior lighting, just look at great examples found in our homes for sale. From modern to victorian and floor lamps to recessed lighting, there’s a lighting solution that will “brighten” your home and mood in just the right way.

Interior Lighting: How To Do It Right

^6838 Stefani Drive, DallasInterior Lighting: How To Do It Right

^9427 Monteleon Court, Dallas (For Lease)Interior Lighting: How To Do It Right

^1412 Teaberry Court, PlanoInterior Lighting: How To Do It Right

^12744 Hawktree Road, FriscoInterior Lighting: How To Do It Right

^2411 Laguna Lane, ArlingtonInterior Lighting: How To Do It Right

^6316 Caroline Drive, FriscoInterior Lighting: How To Do It Right

^12744 Hawktree Road, FriscoInterior Lighting: How To Do It Right

^1412 Teaberry Court, PlanoInterior Lighting: How To Do It Right

^1823 Canyon Court, AllenInterior Lighting: How To Do It Right

^5055 Addison Circle #204, AddisonInterior Lighting: How To Do It Right

^8000 Choctaw Lane, McKinneyInterior Lighting: How To Do It Right^7022 Pasadena Ave., Dallas

Images via Ebby.com & Shoot2Sell

Tackle Spring Clean 2015


CM Spring Cleaning lg

Daylight Savings Time is the perfect reminder that it’s time to get down and dirty for an annual spring cleaning. A good, deep clean puts everything back in order and restores peace of mind that your home is in tip-top shape once again.

 

Set aside some time, perhaps a long weekend, to knock out the spring cleaning list, organized by room, below. If you can enlist your family members or roommates for help, the work will be done before you know it! You can click below to enlarge the list and print it out.

Takle Spring Clean 2015

7 Ways to Stay Warmer This Winter


7 Ways to Stay Warmer This Winter

Although we’re experiencing a rise in temperatures recently in D-FW, we all know that, sadly, they are not here to stay. Winter will be with us for a few more months, and we want to make sure you and your home get the most out of it.

 

This time of year can be hard on efficiency and bills because cooler temperatures force the thermostat up and foggy days have us closing the blinds. Instead of giving in to higher bills, try out some of these techniques for a warmer winter at home.

 

1. Your Thermostat: If you have the funds and the ability, call an expert if the latter is not true, install a programmable thermostat. Programming your thermostat to let the temperature drop a bit while no one’s home and heat up when you return is an easy way to save a lot on heating bills. Also, remember that studies show that cooler temperatures make for a better night’s sleep.

 

2. Let the Light Shine: Draw back curtains and blinds during the day to allow the sun to come in. A sunny day, even a cold one, will heat up rooms a few degrees. At night, and in rooms that don’t get sunlight, keep curtains closed to keep more heat inside. If you’re home is particularly susceptible to heat loss, consider investing in insulated window dressings.

 

3. Fireplace Rules: While a fireplace may feel like a great way to keep warm, they are actually notoriously inefficient. Gas fireplaces can add significantly to your bills and both they and woodburning fires allow cold air to come in in other areas of your house. It is especially important that you keep the flue closed when the fireplace is not in use, otherwise it’s like opening a window.

 

4. Fan Flip: Ceiling fans don’t necessarily have or need to go off during colder months. If you flip the directional switch on your fan and turn it on a low speed it will push the hot air in your home, which naturally rises, back down. This trick is most beneficial in room with high or vaulted ceilings.

 

5. Mind the Gaps: Check your windows and doors for cracks, gaps and openings. Simply holding your hand up to the base of a window can reveal a strong current of air exchange. Replace any broken glass, framing, and caulk where necessary.

 

6. Close It Up: If you find yourself spending more time in some rooms than others, simply close doors to trap the heat. Additionally, if there are some rooms you never use, shut the door and vent to direct the heat where it needs to go and save on heating bills.

 

7. Add Layers: This means to your floors and to yourself. Rugs keep heat from escaping through the floors and will keep your feet warmer. If you’re really looking to save, stop worrying about heating the house and throw on a pair of fuzzy socks and a warm sweatshirt. Add blankets to your bed and bundle up instead of heating your entire home.