News Feeds (RSS) $24m Waiheke estate auctioned today One of New Zealand's most expensive properties on the market goes under the hammer at midday today.Te Rere Cove, the Waiheke Island vineyard and residence developed at Church Bay by David Parkinson and wife Dee Crawford, has a six-bedroom... Fri, 19 Oct 2018 05:00:00 +1200 2018-10-19 05:00 +12:00 2018-10-19 06:00 +13:00 Snells Beach development offers best of bush and sea views Boathouse Bay's developers were right in thinking that creating a community of beachfront homes that didn't cost several million dollars would be popular. But they are surprised at the response as the project has advanced.Homes... Thu, 18 Oct 2018 15:28:15 +1200 2018-10-18 15:28 +12:00 2018-10-18 16:28 +13:00 Chinese phone, electronic giant opening first dedicated New Zealand store Giant Chinese-headquartered phone and consumer electronics business Mi is opening its first dedicated New Zealand store, picking Sylvia Park at Mt Wellington as its flagship operation.Xiaomi or Mi is said to be the fourth largest... Thu, 18 Oct 2018 05:00:00 +1200 2018-10-18 05:00 +12:00 2018-10-18 06:00 +13:00 Presale of Albany commercial units Units within a new warehouse and office industrial complex, being constructed by the North Shore owned and operated Matvin Group, are now available by pre-sale in the heart of Albany."The development comprises a total of 41 different... Wed, 17 Oct 2018 13:10:24 +1200 2018-10-17 13:10 +12:00 2018-10-17 14:10 +13:00 Tasman lodge alive with birdsong The five-star Resurgence luxury eco-lodge, close to Abel Tasman and Kahurangi National Parks, is for sale.The internationally acclaimed lodge, about an hour's drive from Nelson at 574 Riwaka Valley Rd, is being marketed by negotiation... Wed, 17 Oct 2018 13:04:32 +1200 2018-10-17 13:04 +12:00 2018-10-17 14:04 +13:00 Fully leased Albany industrial unit A fully leased modern industrial unit, with a high warehouse-to-office ratio, is for sale in Auckland's North Harbour Industrial Estate.Built to a high standard in the late 1990s, Unit A, 5 Airborne Rd, Albany , comprises a well-presented... Wed, 17 Oct 2018 13:00:56 +1200 2018-10-17 13:00 +12:00 2018-10-17 14:00 +13:00 International tenants at Mt Wellington A split-risk warehouse and office investment property in one of Auckland's most centrally located industrial precincts is for sale with two leases backed by listed international companies.The 5815sq m industrial facility at 88 Carbine... Wed, 17 Oct 2018 12:57:56 +1200 2018-10-17 12:57 +12:00 2018-10-17 13:57 +13:00 Nelson properties are good earners Two high-profile, national-brand tenanted commercial properties for sale in Nelson are expected to have broad appeal to investors or developers.Colliers International is marketing an 850sq m, split-risk retail property 28 Halifax... Wed, 17 Oct 2018 12:52:56 +1200 2018-10-17 12:52 +12:00 2018-10-17 13:52 +13:00 House due to be sold without buyers looking inside saved from mortgagee sale A Wellington home set to go to auction this week despite nobody being allowed onto the property has been saved from sale.The two-bedroom property in the suburb of Brooklyn was listed for mortgagee sale - but potential buyers were... Wed, 17 Oct 2018 11:37:08 +1200 2018-10-17 11:37 +12:00 2018-10-17 12:37 +13:00 Owner of $24m Waiheke vineyard estate receives pre-auction offer, but holds out The owner of a Waiheke Island vineyard and home valued at $24 million has received an offer before Friday's on-site midday auction - but he remains determined to test the market by still holding the event.David Parkinson of Te Rere... Wed, 17 Oct 2018 10:59:42 +1200 2018-10-17 10:59 +12:00 2018-10-17 11:59 +13:00 Home Improvement Fall Fixtures home maintenance winter Your Top 5 Fireplace Questions, Answered Ready for the snap, crackle and pop of a roaring fire? Here's everything you need to know. Tue, 16 Oct 2018 21:58:11 Z Steve Asbell <p>Fireplaces are one of the most sought-after home features, but using one can be intimidating, and you've probably got questions.</p> <p>Here's a quick guide to get you and your fire started <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">this fall</a>.</p> <h2>How do I use a wood-burning fireplace?</h2> <p>If a cave man can start a fire, so can you.</p> <p><strong>1. Get your chimney inspected<br /> </strong>Safety is your first priority! Have your fireplace and chimney inspected by a licensed professional. This is something you should do every year, before the first fire of the season.</p> <p><strong>2. Prepare the fireplace</strong><br /> Clean out any old ashes with a broom (make sure they're cool, of course). Check that the damper is open and working properly.</p> <p><strong>3. Gather and prep your wood</strong><br /> Use seasoned hardwood that has been split and dried for at least six months - preferably for a year. Seasoned hardwood logs should be dark and cracked at the ends, and they should make a hollow sound when knocked together.</p> <p>To construct a long-lasting fire, place a rolled-up ball of newspaper beneath the grates. Then lay pieces of narrow, finely split wood in a crisscross pattern on the grates.</p> <p>Finish the stack by securely resting one to three dry logs over the kindling.</p> <p><strong>4. Prime the flue</strong><br /> This step heats the cold air inside the flue so you don't get a backup of smoke. Before you light the fire, light a tightly rolled-up sheet of newspaper, and hold it toward the open damper. Keep it there for a minute or two until you see the smoke going up the flue.</p> <p><strong>5. Light it up!</strong><br /> Now you're ready to light your fire and enjoy.</p> <p>If the fire starts to go out, gently fan the flames with folded newspaper or use a poker to get the air flowing again. Add logs to the fire with tongs to provide more fuel.</p> <p>When the fire has gone out for the night, close the metal or glass doors before you <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">go to bed</a>.</p> <h2>Are fireplaces efficient?</h2> <p>It depends. Wood-burning fireplaces, for all their old-fashioned charm, are a wildly wasteful way to heat a house. Since heat rises upward, most of it escapes through the chimney, even when the fire has gone out for the night.</p> <p>Fireplaces located against an outside wall lose even more heat, since much of it is lost to the cold outdoor air.</p> <p>Solution? Only use your wood-burning fireplace for special occasions. If you don't plan on using your fireplace often, purchase an inflatable plug to add insulation.</p> <p>Gas fireplaces are more efficient, and the newest models are realistic enough to make you forget that you don't own any firewood. Switching to a gas insert is expensive, though, especially if you have to make changes to your chimney.</p> <p>If aesthetics are all that matter, use your fireplace to display lit candles.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter wp-image-229661" src="" alt="" width="800" height="800" /></p> <h2>Are fireplaces safe?</h2> <p>Fire is the very definition of unsafe, but that doesn't mean you can't safely enjoy your fireplace. You just have to maintain it and practice common sense:</p> <ul> <li>Keep flammable materials and objects away from the fireplace, and store firewood well away from the house.</li> <li>To keep embers from flying out and igniting your unread stack of magazines, use a mesh or metal screen when the fire is lit.</li> <li>Before lighting the first fire of the season, inspect your extinguishers, test your smoke detectors and review your family's evacuation routes.</li> <li>Continue to test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly.</li> <li>The glass doors, mesh screen and tools can be dangerously hot. If you have children, use a free-standing barrier to prevent burns.</li> </ul> <p>Wood-burning fireplaces produce smoke that can irritate or even damage your lungs, even with a properly functioning chimney. To keep smoke from filling your house, ensure that the damper is open, your home is ventilated, and the chimney has been inspected and cleared of obstructions.</p> <p>Carbon monoxide is produced by both gas and wood-burning fireplaces, and it's especially dangerous because it's invisible, silent and odorless. Use carbon monoxide detectors and inspect them regularly.</p> <h2>Why does my gas fireplace smell?</h2> <p>What you smell is an additive that's been included in the propane to help you detect gas leaks.</p> <p>Vent-free gas fireplaces typically come with an oxygen depletion sensor that will shut off the flame if too much carbon monoxide is detected, and vented fireplaces pull fumes away from the house.</p> <p>These <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">safety measures</a> aren't foolproof, however, so ensure that you have carbon monoxide detectors installed, and inspect them monthly by pressing the "Test" button.</p> <h2>How often should I clean my chimney?</h2> <p>A buildup of soot and creosote is more than unsightly: It can reduce airflow, cause smoke to back up and even create a fire risk.</p> <p>To avoid a chimney fire, have your fireplace and chimney inspected annually by a licensed professional. They will likely recommend a cleaning when the layer of residue is about 1/8 of an inch thick.</p> <p>To clean inside the fireplace, put on a dust mask, sweep out the ashes, and scrub the surfaces with a brush and dishwashing liquid.</p> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Quiz: What Does Your Dream Cabin Look Like?</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A Fireplace for Every Room</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">9 Tips for Achieving Maximum Coziness</a></li> </ul> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 0 2018-10-16 21:58 +00:00 2018-10-17 10:58 +13:00 Vinoptima receivership set to lead to sale of 100,000 litres of premium Gewürztraminer A vast "wine lake" of 100,000 litres of Gewürztraminer is currently waiting to be sold at a Poverty Bay vineyard, which has gone into receivership. Prominent vintner Nick Nobilo, who in 2000 founded the Vinoptima (Latin for best... Wed, 17 Oct 2018 06:38:47 +1200 2018-10-17 06:38 +12:00 2018-10-17 07:38 +13:00 It's a breeze in the city Being close enough to the Auckland Domain to go for a morning walk and having a balcony running the length of their apartment were big attractions when Jo Clayton and her husband bought this freehold Newmarket apartment four years... Wed, 17 Oct 2018 05:00:00 +1200 2018-10-17 05:00 +12:00 2018-10-17 06:00 +13:00 Look before you leap First-time renovators are everywhere. For some it will be once and never again. For others it will be the start of a profitable and satisfying journey up the property ladder. While renovations can bring you profit and/or the... Wed, 17 Oct 2018 05:00:00 +1200 2018-10-17 05:00 +12:00 2018-10-17 06:00 +13:00 Colonial charm at every turn Tucked away in the middle of lush, green countryside, the Coatesville villa Kate Holland shares with husband Jon and 3-year-old daughter Rylee is a genuine oasis, with loads of colonial-style charm."It's our dream home," says Kate... Wed, 17 Oct 2018 05:00:00 +1200 2018-10-17 05:00 +12:00 2018-10-17 06:00 +13:00 Mystery of history A random Sunday drive led Darryl and Jo Ward to the restored bungalow in Karaka they have called home for the past seven years. It's called Berwick House, apparently after a boarding school a former owner went to. But that's pretty... Wed, 17 Oct 2018 05:00:00 +1200 2018-10-17 05:00 +12:00 2018-10-17 06:00 +13:00 'Just desperate': Rental shortage hurting renters, Auckland mum says Papakura resident Dawn Robbie and her family know better than most how hard it can be to be a renter.Robbie earlier spent weeks going to viewings searching for a rental property only to end up in an "undrained swamp house" that... Wed, 17 Oct 2018 05:00:00 +1200 2018-10-17 05:00 +12:00 2018-10-17 06:00 +13:00 Salvation Army wants Government to spend $1b per subsiding renters to buy their own home The Government should adopt a new "KiwiBuy" scheme to help 50,000 Kiwis - who would otherwise be stuck in the rental market - buy their own homes over the next decade, the Salvation Army says.The scheme would work by having the... Wed, 17 Oct 2018 05:00:00 +1200 2018-10-17 05:00 +12:00 2018-10-17 06:00 +13:00 Government wants power to stop sale of big infrastructure to overseas buyers The Government is proposing to block the sale of big infrastructure assets to foreigners. Associate Finance Minister David Parker today announced the next phase of overseas investment rule reviews, following the house sale ban which... Tue, 16 Oct 2018 15:19:24 +1200 2018-10-16 15:19 +12:00 2018-10-16 16:19 +13:00 Local Focus: Auckland's urban sprawl gains pace south of the Bombays It's a pinch-me-and-wake-me-from-the-dream kind of scenario: Family homes on good-sized sections for $600,000 and businesses lined up to roll in and invest.Within the reach of Auckland.Anyone driving over the Bombay Hills will... Tue, 16 Oct 2018 14:00:00 +1200 2018-10-16 14:00 +12:00 2018-10-16 15:00 +13:00 Eviction day tomorrow ... Family of eight with nowhere to live hopes for stay of execution A Whanganui family is hoping not to be forced out of their four-bedroom rented villa in Aramoho tomorrow.Cayla and Conway Tait-Henara say they're scared and desperate because they have tried so hard to find another property to rent... Tue, 16 Oct 2018 13:40:28 +1200 2018-10-16 13:40 +12:00 2018-10-16 14:40 +13:00 Home Improvement entertaining Fall 9 Tips for Achieving Maximum Coziness Gray skies don't have to mean a drab indoor life. Mon, 15 Oct 2018 23:20:46 Z Callie Little <p>As fall continues and the days become shorter, it's too tempting to just hibernate until spring. But there is, indeed, joy to be found in the quieter months of the year.</p> <p>Perhaps it's a bit overdone to talk about <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the art of hygge</a>, that untranslatable Danish word that references the feeling of being ultra-cozy and content.</p> <p>The thing is, the Danes know how to thrive in winter. You might already know they're the happiest people on earth, but did you know a lot of them attribute their unseasonably sunny outlook to their home- and self-care habits?</p> <p>When it's cold and rainy out, you might hear the siren song of your favorite streaming service. Ahh, sweet, solitary binge-watching! But if you'd like a more satisfying way to spend a chilly evening, here are a few ideas to channel the Danes' wisdom and make an intentionally delightful day out of drab weather.</p> <h2>1. Set the mood</h2> <p>Candles are a key ingredient to a supremely comfortable atmosphere. Not only do they provide beautiful, soft lighting, but they also add warmth and scent to your space.</p> <p><strong>Tip:</strong> Choose seasonal scents to inspire celebration, or choose a summery scent, such as coconut and floral, to help combat the seasonal blues.</p> <h2>2. Bake something</h2> <p>Cake is central to the cozy experience. But it doesn't just begin when you eat the cake (or cookies or pie) - it begins when you buy the ingredients.</p> <p>Go to your favorite market, choose your ingredients carefully, and mix them with great care, taking your time to enjoy the task at hand. It's just a bonus that your baking will flood your space with delicious smells - and taste good too.</p> <p><strong>Tip:</strong> Call up a friend or family member whose recipes deserve appreciation, and ask if they could show you how to work out their spectacular skills. Baking together makes for a lovely afternoon, no matter the weather!</p> <h2>3. Add texture</h2> <p>Plush throws, sheepskins and cushions make for a much more <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">inviting space</a>. Cover your surfaces in as many luxurious fabrics and pillows as you can find and snuggle down.</p> <p><strong>Tip:</strong> Faux is just as fashionable as the real thing. If cost prohibits, find inexpensive alternatives.</p> <h2>4. Invite people over</h2> <p>Do you tend to hide from your friends as soon as October hits? Fight the urge to retreat, and invite your nearest and dearest (or those you want to know better) over to share your coziness. Bonus: Ask them to bring a bottle of your favorite autumnal beverage!</p> <p><strong>Tip:</strong> Low on funds but want to host a dinner party? Ask everyone to bring an ingredient for stew, and make it together.</p> <h2>5. Get out the board games</h2> <p>They gather dust all year, so make use of them now! For the minimalists among us, a deck of cards is a highly versatile recreational object to keep around. No one to play with? Try your hand at a game of solitaire - analog style.</p> <p><strong>Tip:</strong> Have long-distance friends and loved ones? There are many gaming apps that you can play from all over the world. Start up a game and maintain your connections year-round!</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-229648" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <h2>6. Perfect your hot drink game</h2> <p>Hot cocoa, hot toddies, apple cider, mulled wine - pick your poison. Whatever it is, find your own special recipe that is so delicious you can't wait to show it off. Then have those aforementioned friends over again!</p> <p><strong>Tip:</strong> Why, yes, you can put whiskey in those drinks. But it's usually a good idea to perfect a mocktail version, too, for friends who don't imbibe.</p> <h2>7. Embrace sweater weather</h2> <p>If you don't already have a favorite sweater, it's time to find one. It should be something that makes you feel at home when you slip it on. Cashmere, wool, mohair - anything will do. Whatever you choose, pair it with thick socks!</p> <p><strong>Tip:</strong> Start a knitting, crocheting or weaving circle, and make your own sweater over the course of the winter. It's easier to get through lengthy projects when you're sitting beside a friend - and it's a great excuse to get together every week, no matter the weather.</p> <h2>8. Curate your cold-outside playlist</h2> <p>Make yourself a mix of music that inspires you to do all those things that make you feel absolutely endeared to your space. Put it on shuffle, relax, repeat.</p> <p><strong>Tip:</strong> Instrumentals are classics for a reason - they can work as background for just about anything. When in doubt, most music services have pre-made playlists, some of which you can filter by mood.</p> <h2>9. Do seasonal activities</h2> <p>Making caramel apples? Check. Carving pumpkins? Check. Canning, puddle jumping, sledding, walking through string-light-wrapped neighborhoods? Check!</p> <p>Whatever your favorite seasonal treats might be, set some dates to make them happen and feel the magic of even the most blah weather wash over you.</p> <p><strong>Tip:</strong> This is a great way to involve kids in <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">seasonal celebration</a>. If you don't have children of your own, hosting a kid-friendly event (such as pumpkin painting) is a lovely way to connect with friends with little ones. Not a fan of cleaning up after the kids? Offer them a treat in exchange for cleaning up. Everybody wins.</p> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">How to Make the Most of 500 Square Feet: See How This City Renter Did It</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">4 Ways to Cozy Up Your Kitchen for Fall</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Quiz: What Does Your Dream Cabin Look Like?</a></li> </ul> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 0 2018-10-15 23:20 +00:00 2018-10-16 12:20 +13:00 COMMENT: Reform word games <p>Everyone is talking about residential rental reform at the moment - or are they? Here&#39;s what Auckland Property Investors Association vice president Peter Lewis has to say about it...&nbsp;</p> Fri, 12 Oct 2018 12:54:00 +1300 2018-10-12 12:54 +13:00 2018-10-12 12:54 +13:00 Unique Homes cabins Ski homes 9 Cozy Cabins for $300,000 or Less Don't just dream about cabin life - make it yours! Start here with these 9 budget-friendly beauties. Tue, 09 Oct 2018 13:32:42 Z Jamie Birdwell-Branson <p>A cabin is the perfect space to get away from it all, unplug the electronics, and enjoy the great outdoors with friends and family. But if you thought a cabin with exposed wooden beams and neighbors nowhere in sight wasn&#8217;t possibly in your budget - think again!</p> <p>Grab your flannel blanket and a cup of hot coffee, and peruse these 9 cozy cabins that will fit even a modest budget.</p> <h2>Adorable A-Frame by the lake</h2> <p>For sale: $234,900</p> <p>This A-frame cabin in <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Gore, Oklahoma,</a> has stellar views of crystal-clear Lake Tenkiller from the spacious back porch, and it's just down the road from direct water access. After a long day out on the lake, you'll enjoy the open-concept living and dining space, which has plenty of natural light from the French doors and the windows that stretch nearly up to the gable. Snuggle up with a book at the end of the day in one of the bedrooms or in the bonus sleeping loft upstairs.</p> <figure id="attachment_229537" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img class="wp-image-229537 size-full" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text"><em>Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing.</a></em></figcaption></figure> <p>See more <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Gore</a> homes for sale.</p> <h2>A cedar-sided hideaway</h2> <p>For sale: $259,000</p> <p>This storybook-like cabin in <a href=",mobile_type/193329021_zpid/0-300000_price/0-1246_mp/46.568656,-113.693304,46.441287,-113.862734_rect/12_zm/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Clinton, Montana,</a> is a stunner from the outside with cedar siding, a Juliet balcony, and a wraparound porch that&#8217;s perfect for looking out at the surrounding forest and that big Montana sky. Inside, the home has a spacious kitchen, 1 bedroom and space for another bed in a lofted area upstairs. The home is also equipped with a shop that has plenty of space to store winter toys.</p> <figure id="attachment_229588" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href=",mobile_type/193329021_zpid/0-300000_price/0-1246_mp/46.568656,-113.693304,46.441287,-113.862734_rect/12_zm/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img class="wp-image-229588 size-full" src="" alt="" width="800" height="450" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text"><em>Photo from <a href=",mobile_type/193329021_zpid/0-300000_price/0-1246_mp/46.568656,-113.693304,46.441287,-113.862734_rect/12_zm/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing.</a></em></figcaption></figure> <p>See more <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Clinton</a> homes for sale.</p> <h2>Spacious and secluded in Minnesota</h2> <p>For sale: $299,900</p> <p>When you picture a quintessential cabin in the woods, you might picture this home in <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Grand Marais, Minnesota</a>. Pine paneling, wood floors, a stone fireplace, and plenty of natural light coming through the floor-to-ceiling windows give this cabin a dazzling yet austere appearance. The cabin also has plenty of perks for outdoor enthusiasts, including a trail that leads directly to the lake, where you&#8217;ll find your own private dock as well as a fire-pit area.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter wp-image-229628" src="" alt="" width="800" height="450" /></p> <p>See more <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Grand Marais</a> homes for sale.</p> <h2>A modern A-Frame cabin</h2> <p>For sale: $200,000</p> <p>This Instagram-worthy A-frame in <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Intervale, New Hampshire,</a> is picture perfect on the outside, complete with cedar-shake siding and red-trimmed windows that give the home a pop of color against the surrounding greenery. Inside the charm continues, with wood-planked walls in the living space, a spacious master suite with a remodeled bath and an exposed wooden beam, and an upstairs loft to be used as an extra bedroom or a comfy reading nook.</p> <figure id="attachment_229590" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img class="wp-image-229590 size-full" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text"><em>Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing.</a></em></figcaption></figure> <p>See more <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Intervale</a> homes for sale.</p> <h2>A rustic home in Heber City</h2> <p>For sale: $264,900</p> <p>Located just a short drive from the amenities of Park City, and with private winter access to the Uinta National Forest for winter snowmobiling, this rustic cabin in <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Heber City, Utah,</a> has everything you need for staying and playing in the great outdoors. Wooden planks adorn the walls and ceilings throughout the cozy space, which has a master bedroom downstairs and an open loft with a balcony upstairs.</p> <figure id="attachment_229591" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img class="wp-image-229591 size-full" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text"><em>Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing.</a></em></figcaption></figure> <p>See more <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Heber City</a> homes for sale.</p> <h2>A Big Bear remodeled stunner</h2> <p>For sale: $299,900</p> <p>You certainly won&#8217;t be roughing it when you&#8217;re inside this glamorous cabin in <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Big Bear City, California</a>. The stylish and bold red front deck and wall of glass windows elegantly greet you from the road. And inside, the home has been completely remodeled, complete with granite countertops and new appliances in the kitchen, a large brick fireplace in the spacious living area, and wood-grain tile flooring throughout the home.</p> <figure id="attachment_229592" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img class="wp-image-229592 size-full" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text"><em>Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing.</a></em></figcaption></figure> <p>See more <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Big Bear City</a> homes for sale.</p> <h2>A provincial Peshastin cabin</h2> <p>For sale: $225,000</p> <p>The views don&#8217;t get much better than those from this adorable cabin in <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Peshastin, Washington</a>. Between the stunning views of nearby Wedge Mountain and the dense surrounding forest, this home gets you up close and personal with nature. Beyond the scenery, this cabin provides a cozy retreat from nature, with an upstairs sleeping loft (in addition to its master bedroom), an outdoor shower that&#8217;s perfect after those steamy summer hikes, and plenty of space to store skis or snowboards in the two outdoor sheds.</p> <figure id="attachment_229593" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img class="wp-image-229593 size-full" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text"><em>Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing.</a></em></figcaption></figure> <p>See more <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Peshastin</a> homes for sale.</p> <h2>Smoky Mountain views from every room</h2> <p>For sale: $289,000</p> <p>You can definitely smell that fresh mountain air from this roomy <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Townsend, Tennessee,</a> cabin, which has views of the Smoky Mountains from every room. With 3 beds and 2 baths, you can comfortably fit the whole family for a weekend of hiking, biking, or simply hanging out on the back porch with unbelievable mountain views. This home is perfect for relaxing, with a hot tub outside and a Jacuzzi tub inside.</p> <figure id="attachment_229597" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img class="wp-image-229597 size-full" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text"><em>Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing.</a></em></figcaption></figure> <p>See more <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Townsend</a> homes for sale.</p> <h2>A cathedral-like cabin</h2> <p>For sale: $230,000</p> <p>It may not get cold in Texas very often, but you'll have the urge to cuddle up around a fire by this cabin in <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Cleburne</a>. With cathedral-style ceilings, a covered porch, and a modern, spacious kitchen, you'll be set up to host friends and family throughout the year. Best of all, the home is located in a neighborhood known for its golf club, which is one of the best in Texas.</p> <figure id="attachment_229538" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img class="wp-image-229538 size-full" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text"><em>Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing.</a></em></figcaption></figure> <p>See more <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Cleburne</a> homes for sale.</p> <p><em>Top photo from Shutterstock.</em></p> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Quiz: What Does Your Dream Cabin Look Like?</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">3 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Cabin (and How to Find One!)</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">From Scraps to Sanctuary: A $700 A-Frame Cabin</a></li> </ul> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 21 2018-10-09 13:32 +00:00 2018-10-10 02:32 +13:00 Unique Homes cabins log cabins Ski homes 3 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Cabin (and How to Find One!) Ready to cozy up to your own slice of cabin bliss? Here's where to start. Tue, 09 Oct 2018 13:06:59 Z Britany Robinson <p>A cabin in the woods can be a fairy-tale retreat - a place to curl up with a good book or conquer the nearby skiing hot spots. While there are plenty of cabins you can rent for a weekend, owning one provides the flexibility to escape when the weather or mood is right.</p> <p>Here are three questions to ask yourself before making an offer on your cozy hideaway.</p> <h2>1. What kind of cabin do you want?</h2> <p>The word "cabin" can refer to a variety of structures. Most people think of a small wooden house in a remote location, but that's not always the case - you have options, and they're worth exploring.</p> <h3>Log cabins</h3> <p>This traditional cabin type begs to be enjoyed with hot cocoa and a crackling fire. If a log cabin is calling your name, you&#8217;ll need to decide on the type of wood, the log shape and the corner styles.</p> <p>Spruce logs are popular for their resistance to decay, and Scandinavian pine is often chosen for its density and tight grain.</p> <h3>A-frame cabins</h3> <p>With a simple, iconic design, these triangular charmers can accommodate a lofted sleeping area or vaulted ceilings, and the roof's steep slant prevents snow or leaf buildup.</p> <p>Thanks to minimalism and tiny living trends, A-frames are experiencing a comeback. They're hip and affordable - <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">this tiny A-frame</a> cost only $700 to construct, using mostly found materials.</p> <h3>Mobile cabins</h3> <p>If you're looking for mobility, a tiny cabin can be built on wheels for towing capability.</p> <p>Gastineau Log Homes has a <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Log Cabins 2 Go</a> line, featuring 400-square-foot structures that are factory-made and ready to roll on trailers. An even tinier option - the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Stanley model from Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses</a>, built on an 8-foot-by-2-foot trailer with a foldable front porch.</p> <h3>Prefabricated and modular cabins</h3> <p>Many companies offer catalogs of cost-effective cabin designs to choose from. The designs are typically customizable but simple enough to be factory-made and then transported to your site.</p> <h2>2. Where do you want to vacation?</h2> <p>Do you want to be on a lake or a river? Far from the summer crowds or near a bustling mountain town? To find your ideal spot, keep these three things in mind.</p> <h3>Travel time, family time</h3> <p>Consider how often you'd like to use your cabin and how far you're willing to travel to do so. Factor in holiday traffic - will you make it there for a three-day weekend without wasting most of your time on the road?</p> <p>And since <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">vacation homes</a> are often the place for families to gather, pick a location that's convenient for everyone - and one that offers activities all family members can enjoy.</p> <h3>Scenery</h3> <p>Cabins afford an opportunity to embrace the outdoors, so the setting is important. The window and porch views are going to play a prominent role in your relaxation time, so make sure you like what you see.</p> <p>If you're building your cabin, you'll want to plan your design and placement in harmony with the surrounding landscape. Log cabins are meant to look like they're a part of nature - not a disruption to it.</p> <h3>Maintenance</h3> <p>Remember that you won't always be around to shovel the driveway or mow the lawn. If offseason maintenance is a concern, make sure there's someone you can hire to look after your property when you're not there.</p> <h2>3. How much cabin can you afford?</h2> <p>Cabins might seem like a luxury, but with careful budgeting and lifestyle adjustments, you'll find they can be an affordable way to acquire property and vacation time.</p> <p>Budgeting for a cabin is just like budgeting for a home. The price tags vary widely, based on location, design, amenities and quality.</p> <p>Consider how much value you'll get for your money. If you're going to use it frequently, you won't need to rent vacation homes, which could save you money in the long run. And if you're going to rent it out, it could even make you money.</p> <p>But if your cabin could potentially sit there unused, collecting <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">maintenance to-dos</a> that you aren't around to complete, it can be a major financial drain.</p> <p>Speak with a financial adviser, and take plenty of time to assess pricing and location options before deciding if a second home is indeed within your budget.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-222183" src="" alt="" width="640" height="800" /></p> <h2>How to start your search</h2> <p>It's a little more of an art than a science, but there are a few tricks you can try to yield more relevant search results.</p> <h3>Start with location</h3> <p>Once you land on a location, search for it on <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow</a>. If you're looking in a remote area outside city limits, try searching in the county or ZIP code.</p> <p>You can also draw your own search boundaries on the map. If you're getting fewer results than you'd like, try drawing a circle that's bigger than the area you're looking in. That way, you'll see nearby listings too.</p> <h3>Narrow with filters</h3> <p>From here, it's all about filters. Set your filters to show for-sale homes within your price range.</p> <p>If your range is up to $300,000, try entering $350,000 to see homes where you might be able to negotiate the price. Consider Make Me Move listings, too, as these homeowners are motivated to sell, even though they haven't yet pulled the trigger.</p> <p>You can also set the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, but keep your options open when you're getting started.</p> <p>Under <strong>Home Type</strong>, consider checking <strong>Lots/Land</strong>. Some properties are categorized this way even though they have small structures on the property. And if you're considering building your own cabin, this will be an especially good option for you.</p> <h3>Explore keywords</h3> <p>If you're not seeing what you're after, or if you're getting pages upon pages of results, try playing around with <strong>Keywords</strong> under <strong>More</strong>. Try one keyword or phrase per search so you don't narrow your search results too much.</p> <p>Keep in mind that Zillow scans the entire listing for your keywords, so if you search "schools," you'll see tons of listings, because they all include nearby schools.</p> <p>Most often, the keywords are pulled from the listing descriptions that real estate agents wrote to upsell the house. Think like they would - if you were selling a cabin in your locale, what features would you highlight?</p> <p>Here are a few keywords to get you started: cabin, A-frame, getaway, cozy, woods, lakefront, river and rustic.</p> <p>Happy cabin hunting!</p> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Quiz: What Does Your Dream Cabin Look Like?</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Tour These Whimsical Cabins Made From Recycled Materials</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">How to Buy a Vacation Home in 5 Steps</a></li> </ul> <p><em>Originally published October 25, 2017.</em></p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 1 2018-10-09 13:06 +00:00 2018-10-10 02:06 +13:00 Unique Homes cabins Fall Quiz: What Does Your Dream Cabin Look Like? Tell us your favorite things, and we'll show you your perfect cabin. Mon, 08 Oct 2018 21:58:01 Z Callie Little <div class="riddle_target" style="margin: 0 auto; max-width: 100%; width: 640px;" data-rid-id="167853" data-fg="#0074E4" data-bg="#FFFFFF" data-auto-scroll="true"><script src=""></script><br /> <iframe style="width: 100%; height: 300px; border: 1px solid #cfcfcf;" title="Personality Test - What's Your Cabin Style?" src=""></p> <section> <h2>What's Your Cabin Style?</h2> <p>What's the ideal cabin anyway? Take this short quiz to find your perfect space for sipping, snoozing and slipping on your comfiest slippers.</p> </section> <section> <h2>Hobbit house</h2> <p>You're so down-to-earth that your ideal cabin is actually <em>in</em> the earth! Your whimsical, cozy taste is perfectly suited for creating a dreamy hillside hideaway. Others might call you a hermit, but you know that home is where the heart is, so why leave?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And hey, it's not messy - it's <em>lived-in, </em>and it's charming.</p> </section> <section> <h3>A-frame cabin</h3> <p>You're a true classic! The way you appreciate tradition infuses your life with a casual yet put-together sensibility. Comfort and function are equally important to you, which shows up in your home as much as it does your personal style. You're the kind of person who can blend in if you want to, but you also know that timeless style endures with a boldness all its own.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Don't be afraid to break the mold, but don't feel bad for sticking to the tried-and-true. It works for a reason!</p> </section> <section> <h3>Tiny cabin</h3> <p>Less is more! You're an analytical person who strives for order. After all, how can you enjoy peace of mind if you're surrounded by chaos? You know how to clear out what's no longer serving you and make way for what you truly need and desire. You're decisive, you know what you like, and you're not afraid to get your hands dirty.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There's nothing you can't accomplish with a little elbow grease and careful planning.</p> </section> <section> <h3>Mod cabin</h3> <p>Well, aren't you an interesting one. Where others paint white, you paint cyan, black and ecru. Understated? Maybe, but only in the boldest way. You're a unique personality with a taste for the road less traveled - especially if you're the one blazing the trail. It doesn't have to be expensive (although it often is), it just has to be unusual. Trends? Never. Timeless? Perhaps.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Totally you? Always.</p> </section> <section> <h2>What's your ideal sound system?</h2> </section> <section> <h3>Pick your perfect garden.</h3> </section> <section> <h3>What does your dream bed look like?</h3> </section> <section> <h3>Choose a beverage to sip on Sunday morning.</h3> </section> <section> <h3>What's your go-to autumnal accessory?</h3> </section> <section> <h3>Pick an accent wall.</h3> </section> <section> <h3>Who do you invite to your cabin-warming party?</h3> </section> <section> <h3>What kind of book do you curl up with on a chilly evening?</h3> </section> <section> <h3>The one kitchen item no cabin is complete without?</h3> </section> <section> <h3>Finally, choose your ultimate way to unwind.</h3> </section> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p></iframe></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Tour These Whimsical Cabins Made From Recycled Materials</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Quiz: What Type of Bar Should You Build in Your Home?</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">This California Cabin + Airstream Combo Is a Mid-Century Must-See</a></li> </ul> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 1 2018-10-08 21:58 +00:00 2018-10-09 10:58 +13:00 What “bad tenant” tales are really saying <p>Tales about nightmare tenants have been rife in the media of late but such stories are not new – so does the sudden deluge indicate that landlords have reached breaking point, Miriam Bell asks.</p> Tue, 09 Oct 2018 10:00:00 +1300 2018-10-09 10:00 +13:00 2018-10-09 10:00 +13:00 Tips & Advice Renting How to Make the Most of 500 Square Feet: See How This City Renter Did It Affordable? Check. Spacious? Not so much - but this renter packs the personality into an antique rental in the heart of Seattle. Fri, 05 Oct 2018 22:13:02 Z Callie Little <p>When Lola Simmons and boyfriend Garrett Moore began looking for an apartment in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood, they were hoping to spend around $1,400 on monthly rent. So when the pair found their dream spot for just over $1,000 a month in Seattle's infamously difficult rental market, they knew they'd struck gold.</p> <p>"I walked in, and after about two minutes, I said, 'Yep, I'll take it,'" says Simmons.</p> <p>From there, the process was easy, and the couple experienced little surprise throughout their move-in - besides an out-of-commission antique freight elevator on <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">move-in</a> day.</p> <p>We sat down with Simmons to discuss how she found the perfect rental and how she's made the cozy 500-square-foot space into a home over the past three years - including turning the walk-in closet into a bedroom.</p> <p><strong>How did you find this place?<br /> </strong>Garrett's good friends lived here, and they were moving out. We'd gone and looked at a bunch of low-income houses that were sketchy, smelly and small, and we just kind of stumbled upon this place. They were looking for someone to take over their lease.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-229554" src="" alt="" width="800" height="600" /></p> <p><strong>So after the lease was up, you renewed? Did the price change?<br /> </strong>Yeah. When we moved in, I think it was $1,050, and when we renewed the lease, it went up to $1,245. Now it's $1,270.</p> <p><strong>And what about utilities?<br /> </strong>They have a set rate included in the rent, which I thought was a unique way to do it. The only thing we pay for is electricity, which is about $40 every three months or so.</p> <p><strong>Other than it being a great deal, what else drew you to this place?<br /> </strong>I've always wanted to live in this building, ever since I moved to Capitol Hill. Everyone's lived in this building. It's kind of special.</p> <p>I think it's so cool that every apartment in this building is different. Each one has its own character. Even if you go into another one with the same layout, it's still totally different. Some flooring is different or the tile in the kitchen. It's really interesting.</p> <p>When the old building manager was here, he'd leave the doors unlocked for me so I could go into the empty apartments and look at the different layouts.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-229567" src="" alt="" width="800" height="600" /></p> <p><strong>It can be easy for a rental to look basic, but you've totally personalized yours. How did you make your space unique?<br /> </strong>I'm drawn to that '70s palette that's really saturated and drab, and also those really bright '80s colors. I've acquired a lot of stuff. I think as much as I'd like to be a minimalist, I like to have stuff.</p> <p>We've got a lot of <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">plants</a>, and I think tending to those is really fun. Learning about them, making it cozy for the cats - there's really nowhere in here they can't be.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-229552" src="" alt="" width="650" height="866" /></p> <p>Having a lot of music and books and colors everywhere was really something that I was working toward, and I just really love the junk stores, so I go and buy a bunch of stuff. It scratches the itch, you know?</p> <p>It's hard for me to understand why people would spend a ridiculous amount of money on stuff. I like to mismatch stuff and make it work. It's not as easy as buying straight from IKEA, but you're not going to find the same stuff in someone else's house. The thrill of the hunt is important to me.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-229553" src="" alt="" width="800" height="600" /></p> <p>Garrett has a lot of worldly things like instruments and things from his travels, and it definitely goes with my stuff, but it makes it feel more cultured.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-229550" src="" alt="" width="650" height="867" /></p> <p><strong>Other than sourcing interesting items, what's been your greatest challenge with your apartment?<br /> </strong>There have been a lot.</p> <p>The outlets. It's an old building - it was built in the early 1900s, and you have all these gadgets today. From our living room outlet, we run a cord into the closet, which is also the bedroom, so we can charge our phones at night.</p> <p>When we first moved in, the only outlet in the bathroom was the one attached to the light fixture. It was blown out when we first started living here, so I had to blow-dry my hair in the living room.</p> <p>When we moved in, I had a queen-size bed, and basically it was sandwiched in there with the edges coming up on the sides against the walls. We ended up getting a full-size bed, and it fits perfectly - exactly. I mean, if the bed was a quarter of an inch bigger it wouldn't fit.</p> <p>And then storage is a huge challenge - making it look like it's not just a bunch of stuff everywhere. We have a lot of under-the-bed storage. You have to get really creative.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-229551" src="" alt="" width="650" height="867" /></p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-229549" src="" alt="" width="800" height="600" /></p> <p><strong>So what do you want out of your next rental?<br /> </strong>I really want a bathroom that has a huge clawfoot tub with a lot of natural light. An actual-sized bedroom, to be able to walk on either side of the bed, maybe have a nightstand. And I just want a really big kitchen.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-229548" src="" alt="" width="800" height="600" /></p> <p><strong>Despite what it lacks in space and outlets, how do you feel about your apartment?<br /> </strong>My childhood was all over the place, and we moved around a lot, and I never had that sense of "home." We're entertaining the idea of moving to California because of the seasons - it gets kind of hard when it gets cold and gray.</p> <p>I'll be really sad to leave this apartment. It's honestly the first place I've lived that I've really, really loved.</p> <h2>Lola's tips for small-space living on a budget</h2> <h3>1. Live with a complementary partner</h3> <p>I think if you're going to live in a small space, you have to really have a plan about responsibilities, because they pile up. And he pretty much lets me have my way when it comes to design, which is good.</p> <h3>2. Get creative with storage solutions</h3> <p>A lot of that isn't stuff that comes to me right away, but I experiment by moving stuff around and asking if it's functional - is it in my way? Does it serve the purpose I'm looking for?</p> <p>It sometimes takes a long time. It's a lot of measuring and returning things, and it's not always easy, but I think it's rewarding. I feel really accomplished when something fits perfectly.</p> <h3>3. Let your space evolve</h3> <p>I'm not very patient whatsoever, but something I've learned is that when you don't have a large budget or you shop the way I do at secondhand stores, you have to be patient. You don't know what they're going to have.</p> <p>You also have to cycle things out. Our free pile in this building is great - I've gotten so many cool things from that.</p> <h3>4. Look for unique ways of acquiring items</h3> <p>I got a table from the free pile, and the top was really worn down, so I was going to sand it and restain it. But once I sanded it, I realized it was particle board, so I returned all those supplies and got paint. I also added a shelf below it to put my blankets in.</p> <p>I think repurposing things and making sure they fit with all your other stuff is the trick. There's a bunch of other shelves in here I painted the same color with the rest of the paint. They were different colors, and it looked kind of weird, so I but painted them orange.</p> <p>You work with what you have. I think it's really fun, because I like <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">DIY projects</a>. Being able to think of what you want and then create it with a really small amount of money is really pleasing to me.</p> <h3>5. Measure the benefits against the costs</h3> <p>Our security deposit was only about $300, so if we did want to repaint at any point, I might consider taking that hit. You want your space to look the way you want, you know? It's a lot of work, though, to paint a whole room, so I'd have to really think about it.</p> <p><em>Photos by Callie Little.</em></p> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Small Kitchen? Try These 9 Tips for Making the Most of Your Limited Space</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">&#8216;You&#8217;re Throwing Money Away&#8217; and Other Myths About Renting</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">3 Design Tricks That Will Make Your Small Space Feel Big</a></li> </ul> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 8 2018-10-05 22:13 +00:00 2018-10-06 11:13 +13:00 Unique Homes unique homes This Remarkable Home Is Anything but Square 1 1/2 bedrooms. 1 bathroom. And 0 straight lines. Fri, 05 Oct 2018 17:04:23 Z Melanie Moriarty <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Welcome to the Bloomhouse, a place where art and architecture collide. Nestled on 2 1/2 acres of land in the hills of Texas, this home is only about 10 minutes from downtown Austin - but feels a world (or a universe) away.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Bloomhouse's story began in the 1970s, when University of Texas architecture students Dalton Bloom and Charles Harker obtained a sprawling piece of land and set out to build a home that strayed from conventional design. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This sparked an 11-year artistic endeavor (complete with hippie communes and Mongolian yurts) that resulted in one remaining masterpiece: the Bloomhouse.</span></p> <p><img class="size-full wp-image-229401 aligncenter" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So, how exactly did this unique blend of organic form and texture become a home? </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">First, builders used rebar to erect a cage on a concrete-slab foundation. Then they welded the cage's steel bars, added plastic sheets, and covered it in two-part polyurethane foam to create a giant shell. Finally, they blanketed it with a layer of concrete stucco, inside and out.</span></p> <p><img class="size-full wp-image-229400 aligncenter" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It took 11 years to complete the Bloomhouse, and for good reason - every square inch required incredible attention to detail. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">You won't find a single straight line in the whole home. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">In fact, Harker actually used a pruning saw to handcarve the shape of the home into a free-flowing curve. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since he designed the Bloomhouse as a place for people to come together, Harker also sculpted plenty of seating areas to encourage conversation around every bend.</span></p> <p><img class="size-full wp-image-229402 aligncenter" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Over the years, the Bloomhouse has experienced its share of both owners and time in the limelight. Recently, the </span><a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Weird Homes Tour</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> featured the Bloomhouse's weird and wonderful design - Dave Neff, <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">the company's</a> CEO, is a huge fan of the home's story. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"[I] love that … the right owner came along to bring a work of art back from the brink," Neff says.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">That "right owner" has a name, and it's Dave Claunch. About a year and a half ago, Claunch purchased the Bloomhouse. Because the home sits on a lucrative 2 1/2 acres of land, Claunch was worried that someone would buy the property, tear it down and build something new instead.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Preserving it as a piece of art was my primary motivation," Claunch says. "I was drawn to it as an artistic piece of living sculpture."</span></p> <p><img class="size-full wp-image-229403 aligncenter" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Claunch has spent the past year and a half renovating the Bloomhouse. Since the space is so unusual, he's served as his own general contractor. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">From structural updates (like replacing the plumbing and moving the mechanical systems) to cosmetic updates (like installing LED lights and a wireless sound system throughout the home), it's been a lengthy process with an admirable long-term goal: to maintain the home for another 40-50 years. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"It's cool, it's unique," Claunch says. "There's nothing like it in the world."</span></p> <p><img class="size-full wp-image-229398 aligncenter" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Recently at a party, Claunch pulled up pictures of his newly renovated Bloomhouse. And in a twist of fate as unusual as the home's structure itself, another guest had some surprising news - she had once owned the Bloomhouse too. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Although its story spans decades, the Bloomhouse's mission has always remained the same: to unite people in a celebration of the unusual, to encourage a rare kinship with a physical space and to shed the conventions of everyday life, if only for a little while. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This home is currently available as a </span><a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener"><span style="font-weight: 400;">short-term rental</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.  </span></p> <p><b>Related: </b></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Modern Design Goes Green in This Park City Mountain Escape </span></a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Living in Beauty Without Excess: A Small Coastal Home With Views to Spare</span></a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span style="font-weight: 400;">From Scraps to Sanctuary: A $700 A-Frame Cabin</span></a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 1 2018-10-05 17:04 +00:00 2018-10-06 06:04 +13:00 Unique Homes A Farmhouse-Style Prefab That'll Make You Want to Ditch the Big City A deep farm sink, a light and bright interior, and clean lines earn this prefab the farmhouse-fan seal of approval. Tue, 02 Oct 2018 17:22:43 Z Jamie Birdwell-Branson <p>Whether you're the world's biggest Joanna Gaines fan or you just love clean, simple lines and no-fuss color schemes, it's pretty clear that the popularity of the farmhouse look won't be on the decline anytime soon.</p> <p>The Lulamae prefab home by <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Clayton Homes</a> is a celebration of all things farmhouse style, all housed within a tidy 1,832 square feet.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-229509" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <p>Inside, the home features all of the modern farmhouse hallmarks, including shiplap, a white and bright open concept living area, open shelving in the kitchen and distressed hardwood floors throughout.</p> <p>Pendant lights frame the spacious kitchen island that offers a sizable work space, and a wooden beam floats across the living room, giving the space a down-home, provincial feel.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-229510" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-229514" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <p>Other notable farm-style features include a sliding barn door that separates the master bedroom from the living space, as well as a deep free-standing tub in the master bath that gives you a view into the pasture (or maybe just the backyard) from a pair of sliding glass doors.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-229511" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <p>A large walk-in shower is half-framed with glass and features a large tile pattern that&#8217;s reminiscent of shiplap - perfect for relaxing after all those long walks out on your acreage (or jaunts around the neighborhood).</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-229512" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Lulamae is customizable and starts at a base price of $116,000.</p> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Modern Design Goes Green in This Park City Mountain Escape</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Childhood Dream Home Turned Dream Come True</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">How to Install a Shiplap Wall</a></li> </ul> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 13 2018-10-02 17:22 +00:00 2018-10-03 06:22 +13:00 Home Improvement Bathrooms home organization Renting 5 Expert Tips for Organizing Your Rental's Bathroom Psst ... you don't have to be neat to be organized! No, really. Dorothy the Organizer will tell you why. Tue, 02 Oct 2018 13:39:07 Z Catherine Sherman <p>For many renters, it&#8217;s easier to live out of a suitcase than face organization headaches head-on. But according to organization expert Dorothy Breininger, the process starts with debunking the myth that being organized means being neat.</p> <p>&#8220;Your stuff can be a jumble,&#8221; Breininger says. &#8220;Being organized is about finding what you need when you need it.&#8221;</p> <p>The key, she says, is to think about how you use a room. Breininger believes that <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">home organization</a> is highly personal and should cater to your lifestyle.</p> <p>For example, if you don&#8217;t use cotton balls, why do you need them in a jar next to the sink? If you don&#8217;t use washcloths every day, why keep a huge stack on a shelf?</p> <p>Check out Breininger&#8217;s five bathroom organization tricks below:</p> <h2>1. Hang out</h2> <p>&#8220;When it&#8217;s a <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">small apartment</a>, I love using over-the-door organizers with clear pockets,&#8221; Breininger says. &#8220;Traditionally they&#8217;re used for jewelry or shoes, but you can use them for all your little bathroom stuff, like hairbrushes and toothpaste.&#8221;</p> <h2>2. Get hooked</h2> <p>&#8220;I really like hooks for blow-dryers and curling irons,&#8221; Breininger says. &#8220;Even if you just put a nail in the wall, it&#8217;s an inexpensive space saver.&#8221;</p> <p>Get creative about where you put your hooks or nails too - place them inside cabinet doors to keep tangled cords out of sight.</p> <h2>3. Throw it in</h2> <p>&#8220;If you&#8217;re lucky enough to have <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">under-the-sink storage</a> or counter space, you can organize supplies in plastic drawers,&#8221; she says. &#8220;Figure out the different categories of products you use, and designate a drawer for each of them - nail supplies, dental hygiene, etc.&#8221;</p> <p>Breininger recommends not worrying about how stuff looks in the drawers.</p> <p>&#8220;You just need to get it into the right drawer,&#8221; she explains. &#8220;Being neat with everything is something different.&#8221;</p> <h2>4. Be lazy</h2> <p>Lazy Susans are ideal for organizing spices, but Breininger says this tool&#8217;s functionality doesn&#8217;t have to stop there.</p> <p>&#8220;Put your Lazy Susan under the bathroom sink,&#8221; she suggests. &#8220;Put everything from toilet bowl cleaner to hairspray on it. You can easily access everything because it spins.&#8221;</p> <h2>5. Look up</h2> <p>A bathroom wall - especially the space above the toilet - is prime real estate.</p> <p>&#8220;Over-the-toilet shelves are a good idea,&#8221; Breininger says. &#8220;Just ask yourself what you&#8217;re using them for - to store beauty supplies you never use, or to access stuff you use a lot?&#8221;</p> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Declutter Your Way to a More Organized, Intentional Home</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">10 Home Organization Woes (and How to Fix Them)</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">10 Ways to Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger</a></li> </ul> <p><em>Originally published January 22, 2015.</em></p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 1 2018-10-02 13:39 +00:00 2018-10-03 02:39 +13:00 Tips & Advice Fall home buying 5 Reasons to Buy a Home This Fall The days may be getting shorter, but the list of home-shopping benefits is getting longer. Mon, 01 Oct 2018 13:55:00 Z Brendon DeSimone <p>Real estate markets ebb and flow, just like the seasons. The spring market blooms right along with the flowers, but the fall market often dwindles with the leaves - and this slower pace could be good for buyers.</p> <p>If you&#8217;re in the market for a home, here are five reasons why fall can be a great time to buy.</p> <h2>1. Old inventory may mean deals</h2> <p>Sellers tend to put their homes on the market in the spring, often listing their homes too high right out of the gate. This could result in price reductions throughout the spring and summer months.</p> <p>These sellers have fewer chances to capture buyers after Labor Day. By October, you are likely to find desperate sellers and prices below a home&#8217;s market value.</p> <h2>2. Fewer buyers are competing</h2> <p>Families who want to be in a new home by the beginning of the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">school season</a> are no longer shopping at this point. That translates into less competition and more opportunities for buyers.</p> <p>You&#8217;ll likely notice fewer buyers at open houses, which could signal a great opportunity to make an offer.</p> <h2>3. Sellers want to close by the end of the year</h2> <p>While a home is where an owner lives and makes memories, it is also an investment - one with tax consequences.</p> <p>A home seller may want to take advantage of a gain or loss during this tax year, so you might find homeowners looking to make deals so they can close before December 31.</p> <p>Ask why the seller is selling, and look for listings that offer incentives to close before the end of the year.</p> <h2>4. The holidays motivate sellers</h2> <p>As the holidays approach, sellers are eager to close so they can move on to planning their parties and events.</p> <p>If a home has not sold by November, the seller is likely motivated to be done with the disruptions caused by listing a home for sale.</p> <h2>5. Harsher weather shows more flaws</h2> <p>The dreary fall and winter months tend to reveal flaws, making them a great time to see a home&#8217;s true colors.</p> <p>It&#8217;s better to see the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">home's flaws</a> before making the offer, instead of being surprised months after you close. In fact, the best time to do a <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">property inspection</a> is in the rain and snow, because any major issues are more likely to be exposed.</p> <p><em>Top photo from Shutterstock.</em></p> <p><strong>Related</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">How to Make a Competitive Offer Against All-Cash Home Buyers</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">5 Mortgage Misconceptions Set Straight</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">12 Tasks to Tackle Before Fall Arrives</a></li> </ul> <p><em>Originally published October 19, 2015.</em></p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 17 2018-10-01 13:55 +00:00 2018-10-02 02:55 +13:00 Unique Homes unique homes waterfront homes Whale Watch From Any of This Home's 3 Rooftop Decks What's better than a rooftop deck? Three of them. Each with its own sweeping view. Fri, 28 Sep 2018 17:24:17 Z Melanie Moriarty <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Olympic Mountains. The Strait of Georgia. The shoreline of Victoria, Canada. And maybe a pod of orcas, if you're lucky. You can see all of that (and much more) from one of this home's three rooftop decks. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Located on the rocky shores of San Juan Island, Washington, this coastal retreat has a unique connection to the land it occupies - the home is built directly into the hillside, so it gracefully descends the ground's natural slope.</span></p> <p><img class="size-full wp-image-229477 aligncenter" src="" alt="" width="800" height="450" /></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A team of architects from Seattle-based firm </span><a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Prentiss Balance Wickline</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> worked on the design. Dan Wickline, one of the architects on the project, drew inspiration from the island's stark natural beauty.  </span></p> <p><img class="size-full wp-image-229476 aligncenter" src="" alt="" width="800" height="450" /></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Rooted into a linear ravine on the site, the spaces of the house are composed in a series of stacked volumes climbing the terrain and aimed toward specific views," Wickline says.</span></p> <p><img class="size-full wp-image-229475 aligncenter" src="" alt="" width="800" height="450" /></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">These specific views can be admired from one of the grassy rooftop decks, from the floor-to-ceiling windows that line the water-facing walls or from one of the rectangular window clusters. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The strategically placed clusters create the sensation of total immersion in the rugged landscape - no matter which way you turn, a view awaits.   </span></p> <p><img class="size-full wp-image-229478 aligncenter" src="" alt="" width="800" height="450" /></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Inside, the design features a muted color palette inspired by the lush greens, earthy browns and serene grays of the Pacific Northwest. These subtle and somewhat restrained hues allow the home's simple, elevated aesthetic to really shine.</span></p> <p><img class="size-full wp-image-229474 aligncenter" src="" alt="" width="800" height="450" /></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">From every angle, the home resembles a work of art - fitting, considering it was actually designed for a painter. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The top-floor art studio overlooks the water, as does its clean, light-filled library. And if those views aren't enough to inspire creativity, there's always a rooftop deck or two nearby.</span></p> <p><img class="size-full wp-image-229479 aligncenter" src="" alt="" width="800" height="450" /></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"The grass roofs establish a new landscape, which at the same time nest and blend the house into the existing terrain," Wickline says.</span></p> <p><img class="size-full wp-image-229481 aligncenter" src="" alt="" width="800" height="450" /></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This delicate tug of war is a testament to the home's thoughtful design and a conflicting (yet romantic) notion: that a place perched so high above the horizon can still feel so deeply rooted in the earth.  </span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Photos by </span><a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Eirik Johnson</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></em></p> <p><b>Related:</b></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Living in Beauty Without Excess: A Small Coastal Home With Views to Spare</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Modern Design Goes Green in This Park City Mountain Escape </a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">From Scraps to Sanctuary: A $700 A-Frame Cabin</a></li> </ul> <h5></h5> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 2 2018-09-28 17:24 +00:00 2018-09-29 05:24 +12:00 Home Improvement Cleaning home maintenance The Truth About Toxic Mold (and How to Get Rid of It) Don't let the mold panic set in just yet - it might not be as bad as you think. Thu, 27 Sep 2018 20:19:14 Z Steve Asbell <p>Mold is everywhere. It grows on the sides of houses, it blackens surfaces like brick and concrete, and it thrives in the soil of your yard and garden.</p> <p>Indoors, mold lives in sink drains, shower grout, houseplant potting mix, kitchen sponges and anywhere else that moisture has a chance to settle. Are you hyperventilating yet?</p> <p>A little bit of mold is nothing to worry about, as long as you can identify the cause and promptly clean it up with a solution of bleach and water.</p> <p>But before we go any further, let's get this out of the way: Any mold, regardless of color, can make you feel sick, especially if you suffer from allergies or asthma. To be on the safe side, always wear a mask and rubber gloves when dealing with mold, and make sure that the space is well-ventilated.</p> <h2>Let&#8217;s get the facts straight</h2> <p>Also known as black mold, the infamous Stachybotrys chartarum is not toxic, but toxigenic, because it is capable of producing mycotoxins. Technicalities aside, this uncommon mold species is especially feared for its supposedly dangerous effects.</p> <p>You may have read an article about how toxic mold is "secretly making your family sick" or watched local news reporters announce that black mold was found in a restaurant inspection, making it feel as if the plague arrived overnight and could be headed to your place next.</p> <p>Some alternative health websites even call it "toxic mold syndrome" and warn of terrifying symptoms like memory loss or idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage.</p> <p>Officials at the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)</a>, however, say that "These case reports are rare, and a causal link between the presence of the toxigenic mold and these conditions has not been proven. … All molds should be treated the same with respect to potential health risks and removal."</p> <p>Stachybotrys chartarum is unusual among household molds, because it requires constant moisture to survive. So if your house is oozing moisture from a roof leak, broken pipe or outright poltergeist, black mold is the least of your worries. Time to <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">call a professional</a> and put an end to the drip before termites or wood rot threaten to put an end to your home's structure.</p> <p>Mold is often a symptom of a bigger problem, be it as minor as a dripping faucet or as major as, well, a missing roof.</p> <p>If you suspect that the slowly spreading black stain on your wall is the infamous black mold, don't bother wasting your time identifying the stuff. Scam artists abound, and the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Environmental Protection Agency</a> even says that "In most cases, if visible mold is present, sampling is unnecessary."</p> <p>There are no established standards for judging what is an acceptable amount of mold, and even the non-toxigenic types can cause allergic reactions and make your life miserable. Remove it.</p> <h2>How to prevent and remove mold</h2> <p>Mold needs three things to survive: Moisture, a growing surface and food (dirty stuff).</p> <p>The easiest way to prevent mold is to make sure that it never gets any moisture to begin with. Keep your house clean, dry and well-ventilated, especially in the bathroom wherever water collects, such as on <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">tile grout</a> or shower curtains. If your bathroom has gnats or a damp odor, look no further than your clogged sink drains - and be sure to wear some rubber gloves.</p> <p>To clean and remove mold on hard surfaces, the CDC recommends using a solution of no more than one cup of bleach to one gallon of water.</p> <p>To remove mold on exterior surfaces, use <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a pressure washer</a>, and make sure that everything is properly sealed.</p> <p>If mold is found on soft and porous surfaces, such as drywall, carpeting or furniture, it's best to dispose of the affected material before the mold spreads further or exacerbates your allergies.</p> <p>Flood-damaged homes with heavy mold infestations should be handled by professionals whenever possible. The <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Federal Emergency Management Agency</a> warns that "Infants, children, immune-compromised patients, pregnant women, individuals with existing respiratory conditions (allergies, multiple chemical sensitivity and asthma) and the elderly appear to be at higher risks for adverse health effects from mold."</p> <p>In addition, flood-damaged houses are often contaminated with chemicals and human waste, which are far more dangerous than the mold itself.</p> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Is Your Home Trying to Kill You?</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">How to Fix Ceiling Water Stains</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">What Kind of Bugs Are in Your House?</a></li> </ul> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 3 2018-09-27 20:19 +00:00 2018-09-28 08:19 +12:00 Home Improvement gardening 10 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Slugs and Snails If your garden is more super slime highway than bountiful harvest, this guide is for you. Wed, 26 Sep 2018 13:00:29 Z Steve Asbell <p>Despite their destructive habits and overall &#8220;ick&#8221; factor, snails and slugs are anything but formidable. In fact, there are so many creative ways to repel or kill them that you might have a hard time choosing just one.</p> <p>Commercial snail and slug killers work, but they're dangerous and can harm the &#8220;good&#8221; creatures in your garden. Save money with one of these easy home remedies instead.</p> <h2>1. Give them a bath</h2> <p>Every time you go out in the garden, bring a little bucket with a few drops of dish soap mixed in. Pick off any soft-bodied pests you see, throw them into the bath and dump out their remains the next day.</p> <p>The small amount of dish soap prevents snails, slugs and even caterpillars from escaping.</p> <h2>2. Get them drunk</h2> <p>If you're going to kill the slimy little guys, you might as well let them die drunk and happy.</p> <p>Set out saucers of stale beer, making sure that the pests can find their way over the ledge and into the dive bar. They'll be naturally drawn to the yeasty smell of the beer, then fall in and drown. Don't use this method if <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">pets</a> or young children are present.</p> <h2>3. Put out a tiny barbed wire fence</h2> <p>Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around vulnerable plants and walk away. It's like putting out a bed of microscopic razor blades and shards of glass, so snails and slugs will do their best to steer clear of the stuff.</p> <p>Use this trick sparingly, though, since it can slice away at &#8220;good&#8221; bugs and critters too.</p> <h2>4. Just add salt</h2> <p>It might not be the kindest or cleanest method, but salt really does kill slugs and snails by drying out the mucus coating their permeable bodies.</p> <p>Sprinkle a very small amount, since it doesn't take much to harm nearby plants. But if a slug is close enough to kill with salt, you'd be better off picking the thing off by hand.</p> <h2>5. Put out a banana trap</h2> <p>Choose this method if you'd rather not touch the snails and slugs at all.</p> <p>Leave a banana skin, grapefruit peel or melon rind out near affected plants at night, and dispose of the peel - critters and all - in the morning. Use a shovel to avoid getting slimed!</p> <h2>6. Tangle them up</h2> <p>If your <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">furry friend is shedding a lot</a>, put that hair to good use and spread it around the base of affected plants. The fur will stick to slugs&#8217; and snails&#8217; mucus coating and keep them from getting much farther.</p> <h2>7. Don't bring home hitchhikers</h2> <p>Slugs often enter the garden by hiding out on nursery plants. When purchasing, thoroughly inspect each plant, also checking the debris or dead leaves on the soil surface. Remove any snails, slugs and other stowaways.</p> <h2>8. Clean up dead leaves</h2> <p>Dead leaves in the garden are usually a good thing, because they provide a natural habitat for lots of little critters that benefit your soil and plants.</p> <p>But if you have a slug infestation, dead leaves have to go. Whether you throw them on the compost pile or bag them up just to play it safe, a <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">tidy garden</a> will at least help you get a handle on the snails and slugs.</p> <h2>9. Attract natural predators</h2> <p>Just as there are lots of ways to kill slugs and snails, there are lots of animals who will happily take them off your hands.</p> <p>Attract snail-eating frogs, toads, lizards and even snakes (most are harmless) by providing hiding places, like stones or logs in or near your garden. You might even choose to keep those dead leaves, if you're going this route.</p> <p>Include native plants, bird feeders and birdhouses to attract snail- and slug-eating <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">birds</a>. It takes a while to build up a diverse garden, but you'll have fewer pest problems in the long run.</p> <h2>10. Grow something else</h2> <p>It isn't what you want to hear, but if your garden is brimming with slugs and it seems like nothing can eliminate the slimy plague, consider growing plants they won't eat.</p> <p>Besides, a garden with big pest problems is a garden that is out of balance. Diversify!</p> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">How to Rid Your Yard of the Most Aggressive Weeds</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">What Kind of Bugs Are in Your House?</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">How to Grow a Spectacular Container Garden</a></li> </ul> <p><em>Originally published July 28, 2016.</em></p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 1 2018-09-26 13:00 +00:00 2018-09-27 01:00 +12:00 Home Improvement DIY home maintenance How to Fix Ceiling Water Stains Don't let those water stains hang over your head - a DIY fix is just a weekend away! Tue, 25 Sep 2018 13:50:17 Z John Gerard <p>A water stain on a ceiling is a foreboding sight. Not only is it ugly, but it also often means that something is actively leaking, and more damage may be hidden.</p> <p>But don't panic - fixing a water stain is pretty straightforward. If you follow this simple guide, you'll be ready to deal with any discoloration you find on your ceilings.</p> <h2>Find the source</h2> <p>First, check to see if there is any water on the floor below the stain. This will help determine if the leak is still in progress and how heavily it's leaking.</p> <p>If water is on the floor, you'll need to lay down towels or buckets to collect any remaining dripping water. Excessive water on your floor can stain carpets and buckle wood floors, so it's best to dry it as soon as possible.</p> <p>You might be tempted to repair floor damage at this time as well, but it's probably best to wait until after you've finished all of the work on the ceiling, including the painting. You wouldn't want to spill paint on a brand-new rug or on your new hardwood floors.</p> <figure id="attachment_3063" style="width: 801px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img class="wp-image-3063" src="" alt="A water-stained ceiling with two light fixtures set in it." width="801" height="534" /><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo from Shutterstock.</figcaption></figure> <h2>Stop the leak</h2> <p>Water leaks can be caused by worn gaskets or failed fittings. If your pipes appear dry but you suspect the leak still exists, try running water into the device above the stain. For example, fill up and drain your tub. That should be enough to expose the problem if it still exists.</p> <p>If you have a leak, you can either hire a plumber or attempt to repair it yourself. Most plumbing repairs are fairly simple and can be performed by most willing homeowners. Some older water stains may have been from a plumbing leak that was repaired years ago, but the stain itself was never properly addressed.</p> <figure id="attachment_3064" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img class="wp-image-3064" src="" alt="Flaking paint around a ceiling light fixture" width="800" height="533" /><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo from Shutterstock.</figcaption></figure> <h2>Fix the stain</h2> <p>Check to see if the ceiling is wet or just stained. Most water stains will be on the ceiling below a bathroom fixture.</p> <h3>If the ceiling is wet &#8230;</h3> <ol> <li>Poke a hole in the center of the water stain with a drill bit. Have a bucket on hand to catch additional water that's trapped behind the ceiling.</li> <li>Check for mold (see rookie tip below).</li> <li>Fix the plumbing issue or hire a professional. <strong> </strong></li> <li>Make sure the drywall and the joists in the ceiling are dry before patching the ceiling. Patching a drywall hole in a ceiling is a very challenging project for a beginner. If you don't feel confident in your joint compound skills, then it might be best to hire out this part of the repair.</li> <li>After the drywall patch is complete, apply two coats of primer and two coats of flat paint.</li> <li>Feather your painting to make sure it appropriately blends with the rest of your ceiling.</li> </ol> <p><strong>Rookie tip: </strong>Look for active mold growth in your ceiling space on the joists and on the back of the removed drywall paper. Mold grows readily in dark and damp places - and a wet ceiling space is an ideal environment. If you come across mold that you are unsure of, stop work immediately and call a professional.</p> <h3>If the ceiling is dry &#8230;</h3> <ol> <li>If it's not obvious where the stain is coming from, you can cut a hole in your ceiling with a drywall knife to expose the area above the stain. Look for wet or dripping pipes in that ceiling space. Slow, steady leaks from tubs or showers can sometimes occur intermittently.</li> <li>If you are sure you are working with an old stain and not an active problem, you do not need to cut into the ceiling. However, if you are concerned about mold, you may want to check.</li> <li>If you didn't replace any drywall, then use a blocking primer and your chosen paint color to hide the stain.</li> <li>After the drywall patch is complete, apply two coats of primer and two coats of flat paint.</li> </ol> <p><strong>Rookie tip:</strong> Oil-based primers will hide stains better than water-based primers, but they are much more difficult to work with and clean. Water-based primers don't hide stains as well and might require an extra coat, but brushes and rollers can typically be cleaned with soap and water.</p> <p>Water leaks are a real pain, but with a little drywall, primer and paint, you&#8217;ll be well on your way to a spotless ceiling.</p> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">How to Replace a Ceiling Fan</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">4 Things to Do Before Gutting a Home</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">7 Perfect Kitchen Upgrades for a New Look Without Remodeling</a></li> </ul> <p><em>Originally published October 5, 2016.</em></p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 8 2018-09-25 13:50 +00:00 2018-09-26 01:50 +12:00 Home Improvement home maintenance What Kind of Bugs Are in Your House? This guide to common household creepers will help you send pests packing - for good. Tue, 25 Sep 2018 09:20:12 Z Lidia Ryan <p>Pests are everywhere, and having a few in your home is pretty much inevitable. But knowledge is power when it comes to critters, says Dr. Nancy Troyano, director of technical education and training at <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Rentokil Pest Control</a>.</p> <p>When you know how to recognize and prevent an infestation, you can keep unwanted visitors at bay. The first step is learning which pests might become an issue for you.</p> <p>Here are the top pests to watch out for, according to Troyano.</p> <h2>Wood-destroying bugs</h2> <p>Termites and carpenter ants eat away at the foundation, and you have to <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">call a professional</a> to remove them. They&#8217;re usually hard to see, but you can still find evidence that they&#8217;re around.</p> <p>In the Northeast, subterranean termites build mud tubes that you can usually spot. Look for brown staining around the house, both inside and out, paying special attention to baseboards in the basement.</p> <p>Other hints are blistering paint, loose siding, and piles of droppings or what looks like sawdust.</p> <p>Homeowners in the Southwest and California should look out for drywood termites. They create colonies in the wood instead of the ground, and they need very little moisture. Watch for piles of droppings or swarms of termites flying out of the wood.</p> <h2>Cockroaches</h2> <p>Cockroaches are a big problem in crowded cities and apartment buildings. While they don't actually cause damage to a home, they're Troyano's pick for the second-worst pest type because they require professional extermination - and they're just gross.</p> <p>Cockroaches are attracted to food and garbage, and they&#8217;re usually brought in from the outside. Secondhand or rented furniture is a big culprit of cockroach infestations.</p> <p>The one &#8220;upside&#8221; to roaches is that they're big, so you will definitely know when you have a problem.</p> <h2>Nuisance pests</h2> <p>Most unwanted critters are pretty harmless - just annoying.</p> <p>After the Zika outbreaks, mosquitoes are generating more concern than in the past. Standing water creates a breeding ground for these pests, so try to minimize the water that collects around your home.</p> <p>Bed bugs are a big issue in cities, where it's easy for them to be brought in by furniture, clothes or people - and they&#8217;re notoriously hard to get rid of. <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Homeowners with pets</a> should also be wary of ticks and fleas.</p> <h2>Rodents</h2> <p>Bugs aren't the only unwelcome guests you may encounter - rodents are out there too.</p> <p>Bird feeders are a "mouse buffet," says Troyano, so keep an eye on those. Mice are also drawn inside to escape the cold, so homeowners in colder climates should make sure their homes are tightly sealed.</p> <p>Then there are our flying friends: bats. Bats are usually found in homes with attics or chimneys, because they like to hang out in dark, cavernous areas.</p> <p>You can easily lure out one or two bats, but if you have a big problem, you&#8217;ll want to call a professional. A word of warning about these winged creatures: They can carry rabies, so be careful with any DIY measures you undertake.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter wp-image-229438" src="" alt="" width="801" height="601" /></p> <h2>What to look for where you live</h2> <p>The types of pests you encounter largely depend on where you live.</p> <ul> <li>Tropical, humid places like Florida are breeding grounds for water-loving pests like mosquitoes.</li> <li>In wooded areas, you will find spiders, ants and beetles.</li> <li>In the desert, you have to worry about snakes and scorpions.</li> </ul> <p>The type of home will also determine the kinds of pests you get. Log cabins are the most pest-prone homes, attracting beetles, termites and bees, reports Troyano. And houses with vinyl siding or brick tend to be safer bets.</p> <p>Older homes are also a concern, because they are full of cracks and crevices where pests can enter or take up residence. Spiders and silverfish love these nooks.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">New construction homes</a> come with their own issues. When wooden beams are exposed to the elements during construction, they gather moisture, which attracts fungus beetles. These tiny beetles are very common and will go away on their own once the material dries - but that could take up to a year. The fungus beetle has been nicknamed the "new-house pest," says Troyano.</p> <h2>How to prevent pests</h2> <p>The good news is that most pests are easily lured out of the home.</p> <p>Troyano trains people on the biology and behavior of pests. So rather than putting down a pesticide, she says that you can &#8220;outsmart&#8221; the bugs. "If I have an ant problem, and I know what they like to eat, I will take away their food source," she explains.</p> <p>Don&#8217;t forget to think about how the critters are getting inside. Plants and trees can act as a super highway for pests. "I've watched ants walk along tree limbs into a home," Troyano says.</p> <p>Here are Troyano&#8217;s top tips for keeping your home free of unwelcome intruders:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Don't let them inside.</strong> <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Keep your house sealed up</a> nice and tight. Use window screens, seal window and door frames, and plug up other exterior entry points.</li> <li><strong>Keep your home&#8217;s exterior tidy.</strong> Mow grass regularly, trim shrubbery and trees to prevent branches from touching your home, and keep mulched beds away from the house.</li> <li><strong>Watch for water pools and drainage issues. </strong>You don&#8217;t want water pooling up by your home&#8217;s foundation. Make sure your gutters direct water away from the house. Similarly, you don't want hills sloping toward your house. You'll also want to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in your yard by keeping an eye on stagnant pools of water, like birdbaths.</li> <li><strong>Inspect your house inside and out. </strong>Regularly check for signs of pests.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">12 Tasks to Tackle Before Fall Arrives</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Is Your Home Trying to Kill You?</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">DIY: Fixing 3 Common Household Problems</a></li> </ul> <p><em>Originally published August 11, 2016.</em></p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 14 2018-09-25 09:20 +00:00 2018-09-25 21:20 +12:00 Home Improvement Cleaning DIY home maintenance How to Remove Stains From an Area Rug There are few things more unsightly than rug stains. Clean them up quickly with this easy guide. Tue, 25 Sep 2018 01:59:39 Z John Gerard <p>If you own an area rug, just accept that it won't remain pristine forever. Eventually someone will spill on it or a pet will relieve itself on it - and you'll need to clean it.</p> <p>Instead of running out and hiring a professional carpet cleaner right away, you can try to handle that stain yourself using this short guide.</p> <p><em><strong>Warning!</strong> Rugs come in various types of materials, and you should follow the manufacturer's recommended instructions for how to clean your specific product. The methods described in this guide, while mild, could potentially damage your rug if soap or water are not permitted on it. Check your rug's care tag before proceeding. When in doubt, contact your rug manufacturer or ask a professional carpet cleaner about how to clean your rug.</em></p> <figure style="width: 809px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="" alt="Craftsman style dining room with area rug." width="809" height="539" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing</a>.</figcaption></figure> <h2>Wet stains</h2> <p>The best time to clean wet stains is when they&#8217;re still moist in the carpet. If you let it dry, the stain can be much harder to get out. Follow the step-by-step directions below to remove a wet stain.</p> <ol> <li>Lift up the edge of the rug and place a folded bath towel or paper towels under the location of the stain. Fold the rug back into place over the towel.</li> <li>Take a second folded towel and place it over the top of the stain.</li> <li>Press down on the top towel, and the liquid stain will be pulled into the towels. <strong><em>Rookie tip: </em></strong>Do not perform this procedure with your best towels, as they will absorb some of the liquid that stained your carpet.</li> <li>Once most of the fluid is absorbed out of the rug and into the towels, fill a small sports bottle (or any bottle with a squirt top) with warm water and a small amount of laundry detergent.</li> <li>Hold the tip of the bottle over the stain and squirt the detergent and water mixture through the rug so that the bottom towel collects the fluid. This will help wash out or push through any discoloration. If necessary, use a stiff, plastic bristle brush to agitate the rug.</li> <li>If the rug appears sudsy from the detergent mixture, you can replace the detergent in your squirt bottle with warm water and repeat the process to remove the soap.</li> <li>If the stain appears to be removed, replace the wet towels with dry towels and allow the moisture to absorb into the towels overnight.</li> </ol> <p>Persistent stains may need to be removed professionally if this process didn't work for you.</p> <figure style="width: 803px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="" alt="Modern home with large beige area rug." width="803" height="535" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing</a>.</figcaption></figure> <h2>Solids</h2> <p>If your rug gets a stain from a goopy, runny or solid product, like baby food or pudding, you'll need to remove those solids before you try to remove the stain. For example, don&#8217;t take a cleaning brush to a mound of pudding on your carpet, since you'll end up driving that food further into it.</p> <ol> <li>Ideally, you should use a heavy-duty shop vacuum to pull up the spill. If you don't have one, use a wet paper towel or baby wipe to gently remove it.</li> <li>Be sure that as you vacuum, scoop or wipe up the solid, you are using an upward motion to avoid driving in any of the stain. <strong><em>Rookie tip: </em></strong>Don't use a regular home vacuum for this step, since the stain material can get caught up in the rotating vacuum brush and ruin your vacuum.</li> <li>Once most of the solids have been lifted off the surface of the carpet, you can follow the procedure for removing wet stains as described in the paragraph above.</li> </ol> <figure style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="" alt="Transitional living room with Greek key patterned area rug. " width="800" height="534" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing</a>.</figcaption></figure> <h2>Pet stains</h2> <p>Dog and cat stains can be very tricky to remove. You can easily address the visual evidence, but the smell can linger for quite some time. Even worse, some dogs and cats will re-mark their stains or the stains of other animals if they find those smelly spots.</p> <p>To clean pet stains, like cat or dog urine, you'll follow the same procedure for removing wet stains. However, you'll need to take an additional step to remove the odor.</p> <p>After cleaning your rug, apply a product specifically designed to treat pet odors. After one or two quick applications, you&#8217;ll eliminate the pet smell for good.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter wp-image-4795 size-full" src="" alt="Dog lying on a rug." width="800" height="600" /></p> <h2>Dry stains</h2> <p>Stains that have dried into the carpet can be considerably more difficult to remove. Whatever caused the stain might have bonded to the carpet fibers or chemically discolored the rug. Before calling a professional or getting rid of the rug entirely, try following these steps.</p> <ol> <li>Try soaking the stain using a warm water and detergent mixture, as described above.</li> <li>Once the stain has been soaked through with the detergent, gently agitate the area with a stiff, plastic bristle brush.</li> <li>If this technique is working, then rinse your rug through again with the detergent mixture, and repeat the process until the stain is gone.</li> </ol> <p>If the stain won't fully lift out, you may need to hire a professional carpet cleaner.</p> <figure style="width: 805px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="" alt="Modern Craftsman style kitchen with area rug." width="805" height="604" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing</a>.</figcaption></figure> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Spring Cleaning 101: Make It Fast, Easy and Effective</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The 9-to-5er&#8217;s Guide to Keeping Your House Clean</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">How to Win the War on Pet Hair</a></li> </ul> <p><em>Originally published November 16, 2016.</em></p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 4 2018-09-25 01:59 +00:00 2018-09-25 13:59 +12:00 Addressing tenancy law reform Tenancy law reform is a hot topic at the moment. Here’s some thoughts on the Government’s proposed changes from Kishan Lal of Clarke Group Property Management… Tue, 25 Sep 2018 08:00:00 +1300 2018-09-25 08:00 +13:00 2018-09-25 07:00 +12:00 Tips & Advice landlords legal issues Renting Tenant Troubles: Who Is Responsible for Problems in Your Rental? Who foots the bill when the maintenance issues roll in? It depends, so get to know your tenant rights. Fri, 21 Sep 2018 20:56:18 Z Jennifer Lyons <p>One of renting's major benefits is that you don&#8217;t have to worry about upkeep, maintenance and <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">expensive repairs</a>. So when things go bad - your dishwasher stops working, the roof is leaking or the bugs just won&#8217;t go away - your first call is usually your landlord.</p> <p>But how do you know what&#8217;s really their responsibility and what falls to you? And what do you do if they refuse to handle the repairs?</p> <p>Read on for the most common rental issues and how to get them fixed quickly.</p> <h2>Water damage &amp; mold</h2> <p>Easily one of the nastiest discoveries you can find in your home, <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">mold is a common problem</a> - especially in humid or rainy climates. And while most mold doesn&#8217;t cause health problems, some types can cause respiratory issues, headaches and allergy symptoms.</p> <p>Since there&#8217;s no easy way for the average tenant to know if the mold in their home is dangerous or not, it&#8217;s always best to ask your landlord to get rid of it.</p> <p>While there&#8217;s no federal law that dictates mold exposure limits in rental housing, some states and cities have put guidelines in place. But, even if your state doesn&#8217;t have specific mold regulations, your landlord is still responsible for providing safe, livable housing.</p> <p>In addition to requesting that your landlord remove the mold, make sure they find the source of the mold, whether it&#8217;s a leak in the roof or around the windows, failing plumbing, or a basement that&#8217;s not watertight. If the underlying water damage isn&#8217;t addressed, the mold will likely return.</p> <p>The one time a landlord may be able to reject your request for mold remediation is if they believe it&#8217;s a result of your behavior - if you don&#8217;t keep your home well-ventilated, don&#8217;t clean regularly or run a humidifier too much.</p> <h2>Broken appliances</h2> <p>Your landlord is responsible for keeping any appliances that came with the unit in good working order. They&#8217;re also required to do the preventive maintenance that keeps your appliances up and running, like replacing worn hoses or servicing the air conditioner.</p> <p>If you brought some of your own appliances, like a microwave or a washer and dryer, you&#8217;re typically responsible for repairing and replacing them.</p> <p>Perhaps the most important appliance your landlord is responsible for is your furnace. Local and state laws require landlords to provide adequate heating, so if you&#8217;re having trouble keeping your home warm, reach out to your landlord immediately.</p> <p>In some warm-weather states, landlords are also required to provide air conditioning. It may not be required in other states, but if your unit has air conditioning, your landlord is required to maintain it.</p> <h2>Pests</h2> <p>Remember when we said that landlords are required to provide tenants with a safe, livable space? That includes <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">pest-free living</a>, but there are a few more gray areas with pests than with other maintenance issues.</p> <p>Whether your landlord is responsible or not depends on a few factors, including the state you live in, the type of rental unit and the type of pest. For example, in some states (but not others), landlords are legally required to manage bedbug infestations, which are an increasingly common issue.</p> <p>In some states, landlords are responsible for all pest control, unless you're renting a single-family home and they can prove that the pests are a result of you not keeping your home clean.</p> <p>No matter where you live and what local and state regulations are, let your landlord know about any kind of pest as soon as possible. A good landlord should want to address these issues quickly to avoid having them spread to different units.</p> <h2>What if my landlord isn&#8217;t cooperating?</h2> <p>In a perfect world, your landlord would fix every problem, without issue, in a timely manner. But in the real world, that doesn&#8217;t always happen.</p> <p>Consider these tips for getting landlord repair issues handled quickly and completely:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Report even small issues.</strong> That tiny leak under your bathroom sink may not seem like a big deal now, but it could cause a serious mold problem down the road. Always let your landlord know about issues as soon as you notice them, before they can get worse.</li> <li><strong>Make repair requests in writing.</strong> Don&#8217;t make repair requests verbally. Instead, send them via email so you have a paper trail and documentation with a date and time stamp.</li> <li><strong>Always have <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">renters insurance</a>.</strong> It's an affordable way to protect your belongings in case of damage caused by landlord negligence, plus a variety of other issues. It&#8217;s typically very affordable and can be purchased online in a matter of minutes.</li> <li><strong>Reread your lease.</strong> You (hopefully!) read your lease when you first signed it, but if you&#8217;re having issues with your landlord refusing to do repairs, take another look at your lease paperwork and see what they - and you - have already agreed to.</li> <li><strong>Get help from a local tenants' rights organization.</strong> If your landlord isn&#8217;t addressing major repair issues, find a local tenants' rights organization on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website. They can help you identify local and state laws that apply to your situation and provide resources for additional assistance.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">&#8216;You&#8217;re Throwing Money Away&#8217; and Other Myths About Renting</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Top 5 Renting Nightmares and How to Face Them</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">How to Perform a Landlord Background Check</a></li> </ul> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 1 2018-09-21 20:56 +00:00 2018-09-22 08:56 +12:00 Unique Homes cabins unique homes Sleep Under the Stars in This Tiny Cabin Near a National Park This rustic desert cabin turns off-the-grid living on its head with chic interiors and a stargazing portal. Wed, 19 Sep 2018 18:29:20 Z Jamie Birdwell-Branson <p>When you think of off-the-grid living, you likely picture a no-frills cabin without a single cellphone service bar in sight. But the Folly cabin - located just minutes from Joshua Tree National Park - is anything but a bare-bones space.</p> <p>This rustic cabin, designed by Malek Alqadi, is minimalist-meets-cozy, with a rusted steel exterior and raw wood walls on the interior that contrast nicely next to a dark plaster.</p> <figure id="attachment_229358" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img class="wp-image-229358 size-full" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo by <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Sam Frost.</a></figcaption></figure> <p>The living space is small, but it has everything you need to take refuge from the surrounding desert, including a small but inviting kitchen, a dining area that can seat up to six, and a living room perfect for curling up and watching Netflix on the sectional.</p> <figure id="attachment_229360" style="width: 650px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img class="wp-image-229360 size-full" src="" alt="" width="650" height="975" /><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo by <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Sam Frost.</a></figcaption></figure> <figure id="attachment_229362" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img class="wp-image-229362 size-full" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo by <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Sam Frost.</a></figcaption></figure> <p>An industrial pipe staircase leads to the sleeping loft, and there are both indoor and outdoor bathing options available - including a soaking tub out on the deck.</p> <figure id="attachment_229361" style="width: 650px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img class="wp-image-229361 size-full" src="" alt="" width="650" height="975" /><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo by <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Sam Frost.</a></figcaption></figure> <figure id="attachment_229357" style="width: 650px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img class="wp-image-229357 size-full" src="" alt="" width="650" height="975" /><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo by <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Sam Frost.</a></figcaption></figure> <figure id="attachment_229356" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img class="wp-image-229356 size-full" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo by <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Nick Pacione.</a></figcaption></figure> <p>The real draw to the Folly cabin, however, is the stargazing portal, which is an open-air bedroom located in the second structure on the property. It features a queen bed that&#8217;s completely exposed to the elements and perfect for looking up at the uninhibited views of the night sky.</p> <figure id="attachment_229364" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img class="wp-image-229364 size-full" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo by <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Sam Frost.</a></figcaption></figure> <figure id="attachment_229355" style="width: 650px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img class="wp-image-229355 size-full" src="" alt="" width="650" height="974" /><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo by <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Nick Pacione.</a></figcaption></figure> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">&#8220;We created the Folly cabin from a 1954 homestead that was abandoned,&#8221; says the owner, Hillary Flur. &#8220;All these abandoned homesteads in Joshua Tree were becoming victims of vandalism. We wanted to bring this one back to life to create this whole new experience in Joshua Tree.&#8221;</span></p> <p>The Folly cabin marries the idea of off-the-grid living with technology, including solar panels, a grey-water system and smart-home technology.</p> <figure id="attachment_229366" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img class="wp-image-229366 size-full" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo by <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Sam Frost.</a></figcaption></figure> <p>&#8220;A &#8216;f<span style="font-weight: 400;">olly&#8217; refers to the 18th-century abandoned art pieces that were attached to different castles. They didn't have an exact purpose but were beautifully designed and made to have the reaction of, &#8216;What is this thing in the middle of nowhere?&#8217; Our cabin is very much a thing in the middle of nowhere,&#8221; says Flur. </span></p> <p>The Folly cabin is available to book on a nightly <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">basis</a>.</p> <h6><em>Top photo by <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Nick Pacione</a>.</em></h6> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Living in Beauty Without Excess: A Small Coastal Home With Views to Spare</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">From Scraps to Sanctuary: A $700 A-Frame Cabin</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Sleep Under the Stars in a Bubble Home</a></li> </ul> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 1 2018-09-19 18:29 +00:00 2018-09-20 06:29 +12:00 Home Improvement bars decorating entertaining Quiz: What Type of Bar Should You Build in Your Home? Will it be swanky and ornate or slickly modern? Perhaps a straw-thatched tiki bar or a replica English pub? Thu, 13 Sep 2018 13:00:56 Z Cat Overman <div class="riddle_target" style="margin: 0 auto; max-width: 100%; width: 640px;" data-rid-id="163522" data-fg="#0074E4" data-bg="#FFFFFF" data-auto-scroll="true"><script src=""></script><br /> <iframe style="width: 100%; height: 300px; border: 1px solid #cfcfcf;" title="Personality Test - Pick Your Favorite Things, And We'll Show You Your Perfect Home Bar" src=""></p> <section> <h2>Pick Your Favorite Things, And We&#8217;ll Show You Your Perfect Home Bar</h2> <p><span style="color: #222120;">Get ready to knock back a tasty beverage in the type of spot that suits you best.</span></p> </section> <section> <h2>Tiki</h2> <p>When it&#8217;s time to unwind, you reach for tropical fruits and fancy-faced mugs, then kick back and savor the island lifestyle. Bamboo, palms and string lights set the mood.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Learn how to </em><a href="" target="_blank"><em>build your bar</em></a><em>.</em></p> </section> <section> <h3>Swanky</h3> <p>You like your surroundings to be as elegant and sophisticated as you are, and your home bar is no exception. Hand-carved embellishments, intricate glasswork and marble counters will elevate your bar.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Learn how to </em><a href="" target="_blank"><em>build your bar</em></a><em>. </em></p> </section> <section> <h3>Pub</h3> <p>When it comes to unwinding, it&#8217;s hard to beat the atmosphere of a historic British watering hole. Set your pint of ale on the rich wood bar and nestle into the plush velvet chairs of your own home pub.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Learn how to </em><a href="" target="_blank"><em>build your bar</em></a><em>.</em></p> </section> <section> <h3>Modern</h3> <p>Fuss-free and sleek-lined, your home bar sets the scene for a low-key soiree. Think minimalist bar stools, unobtrusive recessed lighting and a neutral color palette.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em> Learn how to </em><a href="" target="_blank"><em>build your bar</em></a><em>.</em></p> </section> <section> <h2>Pick the sandwich you&#8217;d most like to sink your teeth into.</h2> </section> <section> <h3>Which chair would you pick to take a load off?</h3> </section> <section> <h3>Which dog would be your best friend?</h3> </section> <section> <h3>What would be in your ideal backyard?</h3> </section> <section> <h3>Which outerwear are you most likely to reach for?</h3> </section> <section> <h3>What would you turn your home&#8217;s spare room into (besides a bar)?</h3> </section> <section> <h3>Pick your ultimate getaway car.</h3> </section> <section> <h3>And, of course, pick your drink of choice.</h3> </section> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p></iframe></div> <h6><em>Top image (and pub bar result image) from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing</a>. Quiz opening image from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing</a>. </em><em>Quiz images from Shutterstock, except: library image from Getty Images; tiki bar result from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing</a>; swanky bar result from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing</a>; and modern bar result from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing</a>.</em></h6> <p><strong>Related</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Belly Up to Your Own Home Bar: Our How-to Guide</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Styling Bar Carts: 4 Irresistible Looks</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Repurpose Your Rope: 3 Decorative DIYs to Try</a></li> </ul> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 4 2018-09-13 13:00 +00:00 2018-09-14 01:00 +12:00 Home Improvement Cleaning home organization 10 Home Organization Woes (and How to Fix Them) No more excuses! Getting organized is easier than you think - we promise. Tue, 11 Sep 2018 13:31:21 Z DorothyTheOrganizer <p>A change in season calls for a fresh start, which means it&#8217;s the perfect time to rejuvenate your home organization strategy. Spoiler: It&#8217;s not as hard as you think!</p> <p>These stress-reducing tips will help you solve 10 of the most common home organization woes - simply and with minimal effort.</p> <h2>1. &#8220;I can't find it!&#8221;</h2> <p>Having too much stuff can make it hard to locate items you need. Favorite shirts get lost in a crowded closet, the perfect spatula hides in the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">overstuffed kitchen drawer</a>, and necessary tools float to the bottom of an unsorted toolbox.</p> <p>But getting organized may be easier than you think. Let's take those tools as an example. The garage can be one of the messiest places in the house, but this simple and easy starting point will help you get it under control.</p> <ol> <li>Hang a pegboard, and install some hooks.</li> <li>Using a marker, draw an outline around each tool to indicate its location.</li> </ol> <p>You&#8217;ll have a tool organization system that not only keeps you organized but also alerts you when the tools are missing. Plus, organizing is contagious - once you start, it spreads rapidly throughout the house.</p> <h2>2. &#8220;I left home without it (again).&#8221;</h2> <p>Have you ever walked out of the house and forgotten the birthday card for your friend? Left the set of directions to your niece's wedding on the printer? If only we could remind ourselves about these things before walking out the door.</p> <p>Whether the front door or mudroom is your jumping-off point each morning, you can set it up for total success. Create an organizing system with pockets that hang on the knob or over the door to hold items you&#8217;ll need before you leave for work, school or events.</p> <p>A simple door organizer usually costs under $15 either in stores or online.</p> <h2>3. &#8220;Did you wash my soccer uniform?&#8221;</h2> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">laundry room</a> is often the nemesis of an organized house. Here&#8217;s a laundry system that will restore household harmony and save you time: Get each family member their own laundry basket, and label it.</p> <p>Rather than placing the clean laundry on the stairs or couch and watching everyone walk by without picking up their clothes, ask them to pick up their personalized basket in the laundry room.</p> <p>There will be no lost items or mix-ups - and no more blaming you.</p> <figure id="attachment_207066" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img class="wp-image-207066 size-full" src="" alt="Courtesy of Zillow Digs." width="800" height="533" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing</a>.</figcaption></figure> <h2>4. &#8220;Do I have to do everything?&#8221;</h2> <p>The kitchen is the pulse point of most homes. It's a high-traffic area that everyone uses all through the day. We open our mail here, study for school here, use the computer here, pile our stuff here - plus, it's where the food is!</p> <p>Dedicate one part of the counter for daily routines, like a lunch-making station. Stock it with paper towels, wraps, baggies and a cutting board. You could also make a coffee and tea station, equipped with supplies like filters, strainers and sugar.</p> <p>If you create an organized space for your family to make their own lunches or coffee drinks, your life is easier. That's called delegation.</p> <h2>5. &#8220;Where&#8217;d I put the doctor&#8217;s phone number?&#8221;</h2> <p>Another tip for the kitchen is one that can save a life: a household manual, in either a physical or digital form. You can create this in just a few minutes, and it costs you nothing.</p> <p>Grab a binder and three-hole punch, and put all your vital information in the binder. This includes emergency contact info, the name of your family doctors and vet, school rosters, alarm codes, medications and dosages for the kids, caregiver names, the location of your wills - anything you&#8217;d need someone to know in an emergency.</p> <p>When you have a minute, make it digital. But start with step one: Simply gather important information in one place, and keep it contained.</p> <h2>6. &#8220;I can't corral these crazy cords!&#8221;</h2> <p>Phones, chargers, remotes and mismatched cords are always scattered throughout the house. The shortcut for pulling everything together? A central charging station.</p> <p>A charging station hides cords, keeps all electronic items together and can even blend in with your furniture.</p> <h2>7. &#8220;There are toys all over the place!&#8221;</h2> <p>Many parents&#8217; biggest home organization issue is the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">kids not picking up their toys</a>.</p> <p>The solution here might be as simple as teaching your children organization skills early on and making it easy for them to put things in their place.</p> <p>Here's one idea that will allow you to shift from frustration to elation:</p> <ol> <li>Use bins to hold the toys. Each bin should hold toys of the same type.</li> <li>Find a picture of the toys being stored in each particular bin. For example, if you have dolls and stuffed animals in one bin, attach a picture of dolls and stuffed animals to the front of it.</li> </ol> <figure id="attachment_224147" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img class="wp-image-224147" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing.</a></figcaption></figure> <h2>8. &#8220;Can you please clean up after yourself?&#8221;</h2> <p>Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone could clean up their own mess in at least one communal room? Does your bathroom come to mind? Make this a reality by creating a system that works fairly universally.</p> <p>Get each person in the house a toiletry caddy, just like at summer camp or in a college dorm. Put names on the caddies, and store them on shelves in the bathroom or, if space is really at a premium, ask folks to carry their caddies back and forth from their bedrooms.</p> <p>The bathroom stays organized, and there's an automatic tidying-up system built in after every visit.</p> <h2>9. &#8220;I have no place to relax.&#8221;</h2> <p>Clearing clutter can create a peaceful home - away from overstimulation and the demands of our external world.</p> <p>Take that idea to one room in particular: our bedrooms, which are meant to serve as a sanctuary. The piles of laundry, books and magazines living next to the bed nix any possibility of a calm and relaxing experience.</p> <p>You can start to create a peaceful space by:</p> <ul> <li>Getting rid of clothing you don&#8217;t need anymore. Box it and store it, sell it or donate it.</li> <li>Going through all the books on your bedside table (or floor) and selecting just one to read. Store the others in an alternate location. Keep just this month's magazines on your table, and either relocate, recycle or donate the rest.</li> </ul> <figure id="attachment_224148" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img class="wp-image-224148" src="" alt="" width="800" height="666" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing.</a></figcaption></figure> <h2>10. &#8220;I don't have time to get organized.&#8221;</h2> <p>One of the top reasons for not getting organized is lack of time. It seems we devote all the energy we have to work, family, school, volunteering and other commitments.</p> <p>While many of us dream about alphabetized folders and color-coded sheets and towels, the fact remains that there is often little time in the day to organize or even clean.</p> <p>The best way to manage this issue is to reduce - and then repeat after me.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Reduce.</strong> <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Eliminating clutter</a> is the number one thing we can do to create more time for ourselves. When there&#8217;s less clutter, we spend less time cleaning it, less time putting it back where it belongs and less space storing it. Take just 10 minutes today, and eliminate 10 items you no longer really need.</li> <li><strong>Repeat after me.</strong> Here&#8217;s a mantra for you: Avoid perfection at all costs. Don&#8217;t get too hung up on the details. Your home doesn&#8217;t need to be perfectly organized every day. Sometimes "good enough" is all you need.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">5 Organizing Secrets Only the Pros Know</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The 9-to-5er&#8217;s Guide to Keeping Your House Clean</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">3 Steps to Creating an Organized Entryway (Even If You Don&#8217;t Have the Space)</a></li> </ul> <p><em>Originally published January 10, 2018.</em></p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 17 2018-09-11 13:31 +00:00 2018-09-12 01:31 +12:00 Home Improvement entryways home organization 3 Steps to Creating an Organized Entryway (Even If You Don't Have the Space) With a little inspiration and organization, you can create an entryway that makes coming and going a breeze. Mon, 10 Sep 2018 13:00:43 Z Erica Sooter <p>Drop zones, mudrooms, utility rooms, entryways, "places to leave your stuff."</p> <p>Whatever you call them, these spaces are a spot to kick off your shoes, drop your keys and keep everything you&#8217;ll need for the next day right where you left it.</p> <p>But <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">without organization</a>, entryways can quickly become a clutter catch-all. Shoes usually end up piled in front of the door, and an array of backpacks, mail, dog leashes and knickknacks can quickly accumulate and crowd the space.</p> <p>A dedicated, organized and stylish drop zone for all of your daily needs - and to welcome your guests - is absolutely achievable, no matter the size or design of your living space.</p> <p>Try these tips to establish a functional entryway in a home of any size.</p> <figure id="attachment_187525" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img class="wp-image-187525" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing</a>.</figcaption></figure> <h2>1. Make a little room</h2> <p>Since it&#8217;s generally not possible to remodel or add on to a rental apartment, you must work with what you have.</p> <p>Try a narrow console table for tight hallways as a place to drop your keys or leave your outgoing mail.</p> <p>If <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">space is really tight</a> and all you have is the wall behind your door, hang hooks for coats and bags so they stay off the floor.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-220343" src="" alt="" width="650" height="975" /></p> <p>Another small-space trick: Temporarily remove your coat closet&#8217;s door, and add a stool or small bench inside as a place to sit and take off your shoes - and still have room for coats.</p> <p>If your apartment is inside a secure building, you may be able to leave out a basket or tray for shoes in the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shared hallway</a>.</p> <h2>2. Add functionality</h2> <p>A mirror can also go a long way in opening up and brightening tight areas by reflecting light and giving the illusion of more space.</p> <p>Retailers like IKEA sell pieces that can be modified to fit narrow spaces or hung on the wall. Measure your desired entryway space, and find furniture that will make the most of the room you have.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter wp-image-220347" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <p>A dedicated space for accessories also makes your drop zone a functional center. A devoted bowl or hook to hang your keys, a folder to sort your mail, and a basket to keep your shoes in really makes a difference in the flow of your day.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-220340" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <h2>3. Leave a message</h2> <p>Bump practicality up a notch by having a message center in your drop zone where you can pin important reminders or leave messages for family members. It&#8217;s a great way to keep everyone connected as they go in and out.</p> <p>A docking station to charge all your electronics can also be useful here. Look for compact and small accessories that will fit your space, yet serve the purpose you need.</p> <p>By customizing your drop zone with features you need that will fit your home, you&#8217;ll keep everything streamlined and accessible when you need it.</p> <p><strong>Related</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">First Impressions: Designing a Tidy and Stylish Entryway</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">10 Ways to Conquer Clutter and Simplify Your Life</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Small Kitchen? Try These 9 Tips for Making the Most of Your Limited Space</a></li> </ul> <p><em>Originally published December 3, 2015.</em></p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 4 2018-09-10 13:00 +00:00 2018-09-11 01:00 +12:00 Home Improvement home organization 5 Organizing Secrets Only the Pros Know Before you get overwhelmed by clutter, take a cue from the organization pros. Mon, 10 Sep 2018 12:55:04 Z DorothyTheOrganizer <p>We professional organizers have many secret tools and tips. And when our clients pay close attention and ask us questions, they obtain the magical key to unlock their clutter dilemma.</p> <p>But more often than not, amateur organizers often set out with the best of intentions. They see an idea in a magazine or the internet. They run to the store for organizing products they haven't completely considered. Suddenly, they find themselves at home opening their latest purchase and realizing this new gimmick isn't going to solve their organizing problem either.</p> <p>Does this sound familiar? Avoid clutter curveballs and organizing burnout with five secrets only the pros know.</p> <h2>1. Create the vision <em>before</em> you organize</h2> <p>How many times have you said to yourself &#8220;I'm going to <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">organize my closet</a>,&#8221; only to be left frustrated by the experience before you are halfway through?</p> <p>The solution here is to create your vision first, then organize. Visioning is a bit like planning. It's when you take the time to think things through before you begin doing the work.</p> <p>Before you dig into the closet, ask yourself some questions:</p> <ul> <li>How do I want to use this space in my closet?</li> <li>Will I store just this season's clothes here, or just those that fit me currently? Or will I use half for clothing and half for memorabilia storage?</li> <li>How's the lighting?</li> <li>Do I need a step stool to reach the shelves?</li> <li>Do I want to keep my hamper in the closet or move it to the bathroom?</li> </ul> <p>Take the time to write down your vision first and then - here's the secret bonus - get someone to help you.</p> <p>Having someone assist you is a secret the pros know well. Human behavior studies have shown that when two people (rather than one) are working on a project it gets done faster - not just because of the extra pair of hands, but because of the synergy between the two people.</p> <p>There's a flash of motivation that bounces off one person onto the other that gets us through these projects much more quickly.</p> <h2>2. Play hooky</h2> <p>No, not the skipping-work kind.</p> <p>Professional organizers know that getting organized doesn't necessarily mean having custom shelves built to clear the cluttered corners. We look for practical solutions with an aesthetic flair first. It&#8217;s not necessary to answer the organizing dilemma with an expensive or time-consuming project.</p> <p>My secret tip? I use hooks as my first line of defense. Here are a few places hooks come in handy and common items they can hold:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Bathrooms:</strong> blow dryers and curling irons</li> <li><strong>Kitchens:</strong> brooms, aprons and towels</li> <li><strong>Bedrooms:</strong> large hooks for backpacks and purses, small hooks for necklaces or belts</li> <li><strong>Home office:</strong> cords, headsets and chargers</li> </ul> <h2>3. Use really simple math</h2> <p>It's called the "subtraction method." You've heard of dividing your stuff into keep, sell and donate bins, but when the clutter seems overwhelming, I favor an easier approach with just one master box, which is what I call the "somewhere else" bin.</p> <p>With your intention set toward subtracting items from a particular room (rather than having to dust them and organize them again), start with one spot - say, the dining room table - and remove items that don't belong there, placing them into your bin.</p> <p>The pros use this secret strategy to help reduce both <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the clutter</a> and overall overwhelm. It's a great way to begin organizing a certain area, and you can return to the box later when you&#8217;re ready to deliver items back to their proper locations.</p> <h2>4. Create drop zones</h2> <p>A drop zone is a secret tip we use to give each family member a place for dropping their stuff.</p> <p>Every member of your household should have their own drop zone. For example, you can set up a table right inside the garage as your child's drop zone. When you pull into the garage, they&#8217;ll know to go directly to the table and drop off their sports uniform and backpack before entering the house.</p> <p>Do this for yourself for your own briefcase and gym bag too.</p> <h2>5. Shut down the distractions</h2> <p>One of the biggest reasons why my clients don't trust themselves to get organized is because of the distractions they face.</p> <p>If you can learn to master these distraction devils on your own, you are well on your way to making your organizing projects a simple and easy experience.</p> <p>Here are my secrets:</p> <h3>Ignore interruptions</h3> <p>When organizing, ignore the dings and rings that alert you to text or voicemail messages. One text can derail an entire morning reserved for organizing the kitchen cabinets.</p> <h3>Avoid diversions</h3> <p>Organizing means sifting through a bunch of stuff. But flipping through a book you meant to read, trying on a blouse to see if it still fits or researching a vacation destination when you come across the brochure - it all sends you down another path. If your intention is to organize, you must stay on task.</p> <h3>Dabble with discipline</h3> <p>The biggest complaint that we organizing pros hear from our clients is paper pileup. Paper (especially lists of things we wanted to do) can really send us into a tailspin.</p> <p>Remember: When tackling paper, you&#8217;re just <em>organizing</em> it - not <em>acting</em> on it. These are two very different actions. Your job is to collect like items together to make paying bills easier or sitting down to read more peaceful.</p> <h3>Outsmart the temptation</h3> <p>We all have a natural inclination to match the missing sock, reunite the pen cap with its pen or dig through the pantry to match the lid to its rightful water bottle.</p> <p>Trying to match up these long lost companions will <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">sabotage your organizing</a> momentum. Avoid the temptation to fall into the matchmaking process, and instead toss items into a clear bag and label it with a black marker. Store all the bags together in a "missing parts and pieces" box and move on. They are likely to be reunited down the road.</p> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Creating a Homework Station That Gets Top Marks</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">3 Steps to Creating an Organized Entryway (Even If You Don&#8217;t Have the Space)</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">10 Ways to Conquer Clutter and Simplify Your Life</a></li> </ul> <p><em>Originally published September 23, 2016.</em></p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 10 2018-09-10 12:55 +00:00 2018-09-11 00:55 +12:00 Rental WoF won't help affordability The Green Party is again calling for the introduction of a rental Warrant of Fitness (WoF). But NZ Property Investors Federation executive officer Andrew King is questioning that call... Sun, 09 Sep 2018 12:00:00 +1300 2018-09-09 12:00 +13:00 2018-09-09 11:00 +12:00 Home Improvement decorating Home offices home organization Creating a Homework Station That Gets Top Marks Good study habits are easier to build when you have a dedicated and attractive spot to hit the books. Fri, 07 Sep 2018 13:00:21 Z Kerrie Kelly <p>When was the last time your study station or workspace inspired you? For most people, the answer is, "Not recently."</p> <p>Whether you&#8217;re setting up a spot for young scholars to study or prepping an area for your work-from-home days, you can kick inspiration into high gear with home office solutions that will get your creative juices flowing again.</p> <h2>Window wonder</h2> <p>It's no secret that sunshine does the body good. Fix up a space near the window so you can soak up plenty of vitamin D while writing that term paper or pumping out price lists.</p> <p>Greenery looks great near a bright area, so a <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">potted plant</a> or two might help naturally bring your space to life.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-229284" src="" alt="" width="800" height="531" /></p> <h2>Arts and crafts</h2> <p>The age of DIY is upon us. Embrace the casual-cool vibes and create your very own home desk area.</p> <p>Need a semipermanent to-do list? Try using chalkboard paint to make yourself a giant notepad on a nearby cabinet or a framed chalkboard. Tired of the overdone corkboard for your sticky notes? Framed chicken wire with clothespins makes a more shabby-chic memo board.</p> <p>The possibilities really are endless for this type of style. Just don't let your <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">DIYing</a> get in the way of the tasks you originally sat down to do!</p> <figure id="attachment_181204" style="width: 500px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img class="wp-image-181204 size-full" src="" alt="arts" width="500" height="750" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing</a>.</figcaption></figure> <h2>Collaboration is key</h2> <p>For those less focus-intensive projects, investigate a collaborative workstation with several small spaces or a giant community table. This type of work environment has been popular among small companies and creative agencies for the purpose of bouncing around ideas.</p> <p>If you still want your own personal space, put a divider between you and the other desks for some extra privacy, and take it down when it's time to meet and discuss. You know what they say: Teamwork makes the dream work.</p> <figure id="attachment_181205" style="width: 550px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img class="wp-image-181205 size-full" src="" alt="collab sm" width="550" height="645" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing</a>.</figcaption></figure> <h2>A clear mind</h2> <p>While many of us would like to think we have complete control of our habit of logging onto Facebook or checking what else our calendar has in store for us, most of us really don't. And the greatest enabler of this sidetracked behavior is a <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">cluttered workspace</a>.</p> <p>Set the stage for a clean slate with a bright white desk and matching chair, a simple light fixture and an inspiring element. Keeping your workstation simple and clutter-free ensures you have a productive day - even if your homework is less than exhilarating.</p> <p>Whether you're up all night cramming for exams or prepping for a work presentation due first thing in the morning, you'll feel more focused and productive by incorporating any of these tips into your workstation.</p> <p>Now you should probably go get started on that long-overdue term paper, don't you think?</p> <p><strong>Related</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">10 Ways to Conquer Clutter and Simplify Your Life</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">3 Steps to Creating an Organized Entryway (Even If You Don&#8217;t Have the Space)</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">7 Ways to Self-Sabotage Your Organizing Efforts</a></li> </ul> <p><em>Originally published September 7, 2016.</em></p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 12 2018-09-07 13:00 +00:00 2018-09-08 01:00 +12:00 Unique Homes cabins Tudor unique homes Prep for 'Prost!' Season: 9 Bavarian-Style Homes to Inspire Your Oktoberfest Dust off your lederhosen and steins, because it's the most wunderbar time of the year! Thu, 06 Sep 2018 18:48:37 Z Jamie Birdwell-Branson <p>If you can&#8217;t make it to Munich for Oktoberfest, you can still enjoy a good beer at one of the American events happening all throughout the country in September.</p> <p>From Frankenmuth, Michigan, to Fredericksburg, Texas, you&#8217;re certain to find a spirited group of Germanophiles somewhere during the month celebrating all things Bavarian.</p> <p>To get inspired for Oktoberfest, check out these nine Bavarian-style homes for sale right here in the U.S.</p> <h2>A taste of Germany on the central coast</h2> <p>For sale: $795,000</p> <p>Nestled near the heart of downtown <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Solvang, California </a>- a central coast town with Danish roots - this traditional Tudor gets you all the charm of a Bavarian home with all the modern American finishings you&#8217;re accustomed to, like an updated kitchen with granite countertops and hardwood floors. The home also features a bocce court, a large 3-car garage and an elevator from the garage to the second floor.</p> <figure id="attachment_228692" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img class="wp-image-228692 size-full" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text"><em>Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing.</a></em></figcaption></figure> <p>See more <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Solvang</a> homes for sale.</p> <h2>A cozy Bavarian-style cabin</h2> <p>For sale: $399,000</p> <p>You&#8217;ll think you&#8217;ve transported yourself to the Bavarian Alps in this tiny cabin in <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Leavenworth, Washington</a>. Stunning views of the mountains await when you return from a day exploring downtown Leavenworth, which just so happens to be modeled after a traditional Bavarian village.</p> <figure id="attachment_228704" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img class="wp-image-228704 size-full" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text"><em>Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing.</a></em></figcaption></figure> <p>See more <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Leavenworth</a> homes for sale.</p> <h2>An old-world chalet</h2> <p>For sale: $345,000</p> <p>This <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Hague, New York,</a> home was designed to imitate a Bavarian-style ski chalet - and it doesn&#8217;t disappoint. With a classic gable roof, ornamental balusters on the sweeping back porch, and floor-to-ceiling windows in the large family room, this home is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the mountain views.</p> <figure id="attachment_228700" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img class="wp-image-228700 size-full" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text"><em>Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing.</a></em></figcaption></figure> <p>See more <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Hague</a> homes for sale.</p> <h2>A colorful German-inspired home</h2> <p>For sale: $329,900</p> <p>This stately <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Toledo, Ohio,</a> home features hallmarks of traditional German architecture, such as half-timbering and a light-colored facade, but it stands out with a playful yellow bay window in the front. Although it has mixed European influences, such as an Italian tiled roof and some medieval England-inspired stained glass, this house makes you think you&#8217;ve suddenly found yourself in the picturesque German countryside.</p> <figure id="attachment_228694" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img class="wp-image-228694 size-full" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text"><em>Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing.</a></em></figcaption></figure> <p>See more <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Toledo</a> homes for sale.</p> <h2>A (gingerbread) cookie-cutter home</h2> <p>For sale: $324,900</p> <p>It&#8217;s not hard to imagine drinking out of a stein and chowing down on some sauerkraut in this adorable <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Irons, Michigan,</a> cottage. Reminiscent of a traditional German gingerbread home, it features classic German half-timbering, decorative shutters and a colorfully outlined gable roof.</p> <figure id="attachment_228696" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img class="wp-image-228696 size-full" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text"><em>Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing.</a></em></figcaption></figure> <p>See more <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Irons</a> homes for sale.</p> <h2>A Bavarian stunner in the Elka Park mountains</h2> <p>For sale: $429,000</p> <p>A cross gable roof, a wraparound balcony trimmed with green balusters, and a Bavarian lodge-style feel inside make this <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Hunter, New York,</a> home truly unique. Top it off with unbelievable mountain views from nearly every spot in the home, and you&#8217;ve got a perfect spot to celebrate future Oktoberfests.</p> <figure id="attachment_228697" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img class="wp-image-228697 size-full" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text"><em>Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing.</a></em></figcaption></figure> <p>See more <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Hunter</a> homes for sale.</p> <h2>A perfectly German ski chalet</h2> <p>For sale: $258,000</p> <p>After a long day at the slopes, come home to this charming Bavarian-style ski chalet in <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Bartlett, New Hampshire</a>. Tucked away on a wooded lot near hiking trails, this whimsical home has plenty of space for weekend visitors and tons of quirky details, like heart cutouts on the decorative shutters.</p> <figure id="attachment_228699" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img class="wp-image-228699 size-full" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text"><em>Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing.</a></em></figcaption></figure> <p>See more <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Bartlett</a> homes for sale.</p> <h2>A Bavarian home fit for a Grimm&#8217;s fairy tale</h2> <p>For sale: $2.4 million</p> <p>This <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Saugatuck, Michigan,</a> home looks like it belongs in the pages of a fairy tale rather than a neighborhood near Lake Michigan. Interior designer Dale Metternich once called this house a home, which features classic German half-timbering, wooden shutters, and a stately interior that any royal family would feel right at home in.</p> <figure id="attachment_228702" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img class="wp-image-228702 size-full" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text"><em>Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing.</a></em></figcaption></figure> <p>See more <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Saugatuck</a> homes for sale.</p> <h2>An inviting Bavarian lake home</h2> <p>For sale: $589,900</p> <p>This <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Fenton, Michigan,</a> home is quiet and secluded with a location right on the lake. An A-frame roof over the front entrance, multiple storybook-like balconies, leaded windows and colorful half-timbering are just a few of the details that set this home apart.</p> <figure id="attachment_228695" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img class="wp-image-228695 size-full" src="" alt="" width="800" height="600" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text"><em>Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing.</a></em></figcaption></figure> <p>See more <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Fenton</a> homes for sale.</p> <h6><em>Top photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing</a>.</em></h6> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">From Scraps to Sanctuary: A $700 A-Frame Cabin</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Ski Homes 30 Minutes (or Less!) From a Chairlift</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A 200-Year-Old Log Cabin That&#8217;s Anything but Old-Fashioned</a></li> </ul> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 24 2018-09-06 18:48 +00:00 2018-09-07 06:48 +12:00 Unique Homes green homes tiny homes unique homes waterfront homes Living in Beauty Without Excess: A Small Coastal Home With Views to Spare This award-winning eco home puts the Pacific Northwest's natural beauty front and center. Wed, 05 Sep 2018 17:43:24 Z Moriah Simmons <p>On the remote southwest side of San Juan Island, away from the crush of summer tourists, this 715-square-foot, 1-bedroom home melds with the landscape to offer private coastal views.</p> <p>Completed in 2012 by noted Seattle firm <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Prentiss Balance Wickline</a>, this home displays the architects&#8217; devotion to "living in beauty without excess," which won this home the Honor Award at the 2013 NWAIA Design Awards.</p> <p>The home&#8217;s design suits the client's desire to enjoy the 5.3-acre site&#8217;s rugged solitude to the fullest. From this point overlooking the island's rocky coastline, you can see multiple straits, where whale-watching boats cruise, and beyond - the Olympic Mountains of Washington state.</p> <p>Careful placement of the home on the lot means the rolling hills and stone outcroppings act as a natural privacy barrier from neighboring residences, as well as insulation from winter weather.</p> <p>A living roof planted with native grasses creates the illusion that it is rising out of the landscape. The cedar siding is allowed to age naturally, like the driftwood on the shoreline below.</p> <p>This home is a year-round dwelling rather than a seasonal vacation spot, so efficiency is key to maintaining comfort in all weather. Thanks to 8-inch walls with formaldehyde-free insulation, a thickened roof, and triple glazing on all north-facing windows, the house retains heat even on the coldest days.</p> <p>The architects note that "solar gain in the winter is significant enough that the client almost never uses the radiant heaters or wood stove." An on-demand water heater allows for hot baths and showers without the energy output of a large standing tank.</p> <p>Inside the home, walls of windows give a feeling of spaciousness and continuity with the outside scenery. The focus is on clean lines and economy of space, so all of the comforts of a larger home are present without imposing on the smaller footprint.</p> <p>Storage is built into the walls where possible, and there is a minimal basement for additional storage and laundry.</p> <p>A wall of windows in the living room presents stunning views of the surrounding straits from the armchair or dining table. A wood stove in the corner is perfect for evening fireside reading on the couch. Floating bookshelves line the side wall for organization and a subtle play of color.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-229154" src="" alt="" width="800" height="532" /></p> <p>The kitchen features a long stretch of counter space above a bank of low cabinets. Cooking is easy with a full-size sink, a four-burner gas range, a wall oven and a refrigerator.</p> <p>The cozy bedroom windows allow sunrise wake-up calls, but they also have blinds for sleeping late in the plush queen-size bed. Floor-to-ceiling closets behind grain-matched wood doors fit an entire wardrobe.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-229155" src="" alt="" width="800" height="532" /></p> <p>The spacious bathroom has both a shower stall and a deep tub with windows overlooking the landscape.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-229160" src="" alt="" width="800" height="532" /></p> <p>The most remarkable aspect of this home's design is the way it spotlights the surrounding landscape in the lead role. Built with natural beauty and year-round comfort in mind, this house is the place to connect with the land in every season.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-229157" src="" alt="" width="800" height="530" /></p> <p><em>Photos by <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Adam Waldo.</a></em></p> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Modern Design Goes Green in This Park City Mountain Escape</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">From Scraps to Sanctuary: A $700 A-Frame Cabin</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Tiny House That Love Built</a></li> </ul> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 4 2018-09-05 17:43 +00:00 2018-09-06 05:43 +12:00 Home Improvement DIY home maintenance How to Repair a Damaged Shingle Roof repair doesn't have to be intimidating! Learn the basics with this quick guide. Wed, 05 Sep 2018 06:42:09 Z John Gerard <p>Every homeowner will most likely need to replace their roof. It's just a fact of life.</p> <p>Depending on the size of the roof and the roofing material, the replacement could cost several thousand dollars. But with some basic skills and routine roof maintenance, you can protect your roof and get the most for your money.</p> <h2>Roofing types</h2> <p>Most roofs in North America are some type of asphalt shingle product that gets nailed to the roof structure in overlapping patterns. The shingles are covered with a topcoat of mineral aggregate for durability.</p> <figure id="attachment_1250" style="width: 650px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img class=" wp-image-1250" src="" alt="XXX. Photo via XXX." width="650" height="434" /><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">A basic asphalt shingle roof.</figcaption></figure> <p>Usually these minerals have a color depending on the design of the product line. Below the shingles is a roofing paper, which acts as a moisture barrier between the plywood roof structure and the shingles.</p> <p>The plywood is secured to the frame of the roof. Older homes might have framing lumber instead of plywood.</p> <p>In addition to asphalt shingles, roofs can come in metal and clay, as well as a host of other material options. Many flat roofs will feature large rolls of asphalt that get installed with a propane torch to melt the rolls to layer below it. For this guide, however, we'll stick to the basic asphalt shingle.</p> <figure id="attachment_1251" style="width: 650px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img class="wp-image-1251" src="" alt="2 Roof Shingle" width="650" height="433" /><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">A single asphalt shingle.</figcaption></figure> <h2>Anatomy of a shingle</h2> <p>A lone shingle has a decorative lower half and a plain upper half. The decorative bottom half is the exposed portion of the shingle, and the plain upper portion is where the roofing nails get driven.</p> <p>On the backside of the shingle is a strip of tar. There is a plastic cover over it to keep it separated from the rest of the shingles in the package.</p> <figure id="attachment_1252" style="width: 650px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img class="wp-image-1252 " src="" alt="3 Back of Shingle" width="650" height="433" /><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Backside of a single asphalt shingle.</figcaption></figure> <p>When a shingle is placed on a roof, the top half gets nailed and covered with a second row of shingles in a running bond pattern so the seams don't align. This type of installation approach helps prevent water intrusion.</p> <figure id="attachment_1253" style="width: 650px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img class="wp-image-1253 " src="" alt="4 Shingles" width="650" height="433" /><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">An example of a running bond pattern with two asphalt shingles.</figcaption></figure> <h2>When to replace a roof</h2> <p>Over time, repeated exposure to the hot summers and cold winters will cause the shingles to expand and contract and eventually fail. This is the most likely cause for a missing shingle. Large storms, branches and even small animals can also cause damage.</p> <p>The best time to replace a shingle is in the warmer months of the year. The asphalt shingles have a strip of tar that melts in the sun's heat and bonds to the roof layers below it. You can replace a shingle roof in the winter if you have to, but it's much more common to wait until the weather improves.</p> <p>When replacing a shingle, be sure to remove any debris from the area, and check for other signs of wear and tear. Sometimes it&#8217;s hard to tell if there&#8217;s any water intrusion, damage or deterioration.</p> <p>Ultimately, if you're in doubt about the condition of your roof, hire a roofing professional to inspect it.</p> <h2>Buying a shingle</h2> <p>Asphalt shingles usually start at about $25 per 33 square feet. You&#8217;ll want to find a shingle that matches the rest of your roof. If you have a ladder and the ability, climb up to the roof and take a picture of your shingles. Then take this with you to the hardware store so you can pick a shingle that matches.</p> <p>If you aren&#8217;t able to climb a ladder, simply take a photo of the outside of your house and try to zoom in as close as possible on the roof. Either way, a picture will help you greatly when you are in the middle of a hardware store surrounded by shingles that all look similar.</p> <h2>How to repair your shingles</h2> <p>Before you start, be sure to adequately prepare to be on your roof: Secure your ladder, wear safety protective gear and have all your tools ready.</p> <p>And don&#8217;t forget to check the weather forecast! Never attempt to go up on your roof in bad weather.</p> <p>If you&#8217;re unsure if you are physically able to make a roof repair, call a professional. It&#8217;s always better to be on the safe side.</p> <p>Once you&#8217;ve made the necessary preparations, follow these steps.</p> <ol> <li>Lift up the front edge of the damaged shingle.</li> <li>Separate the tar strip from the shingle beneath it.</li> <li>Slide a flat crowbar under the shingle.</li> <li>Pop up the roofing nails holding the shingle down.</li> <li>Slide out the damaged shingle.</li> <li>Slide in the new shingle.</li> <li>Drive a roofing nail through the top half of the new shingle. If possible, try to align the nail near where the last nail was.</li> </ol> <figure id="attachment_1254" style="width: 650px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img class="wp-image-1254" src="" alt="5 Shingle Removal" width="650" height="433" /><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Sliding in and securing a single shingle.</figcaption></figure> <h2>DIY or call a professional?</h2> <p>If you aren't afraid of heights and understand the level of effort and safety risks involved (i.e., falling from heights), then replacing a shingle is doable for any DIYer. However, if your roof has any serious damage, it&#8217;s time to call in the professionals.</p> <p>A professional roofer can remove and replace an entire home's roof within a day or two. They're usually working with multiple people, so the job goes much faster.</p> <h6><em>Top photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing</a>.</em></h6> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Budget-Friendly Curb Appeal Boosters</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">4 Home Improvement Jobs You Should Always Hire Out</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">4 Things to Do Before Gutting a Home</a></li> </ul> <p><em>Originally published April 6, 2016.</em></p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 13 2018-09-05 06:42 +00:00 2018-09-05 18:42 +12:00 Unique Homes green homes modern unique homes Modern Design Goes Green in This Park City Mountain Escape With a passive-house design, this Park City stunner offers energy efficiency with a side of mountain views. Tue, 04 Sep 2018 22:42:26 Z Jamie Birdwell-Branson <p>Although the home on <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">635 Parkview Dr, Park City, Utah</a>, couldn't look more modern with its clean, angular lines and stacked appearance, it maintains a rustic, cabin-like feel that blends seamlessly into the forest.</p> <p>This austere display is, in large part, thanks to the dark cedar exterior that was designed to mimic the vertical lines of the surrounding pine trees.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-229145" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <p>Built just this year by Park City Design+Build, the home - aptly nicknamed the Treehaus - is state-of-the-art in every sense of the word. Its energy efficiency is said to be two to three times greater than nearly any other home in the world.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-229144" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-229141" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <p>The home&#8217;s interior is also something to brag about: Light oak floors, exposed beams and beautiful dark staircases dazzle in the abundant natural light that flows throughout the house.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-229134" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <p>The kitchen is especially impressive, with sleek white cabinets that contrast beautifully against a large dark island.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-229136" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-229135" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <p>The kitchen opens up to the living-dining area, which has plenty of space to entertain guests and sits right against a sliding glass door that leads out to the deck.</p> <p>From the deck area, gorgeous mountain views abound - perfect for soaking up that fresh mountain air.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-229133" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-229132" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-229138" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <p>The main suite upstairs is luxuriously complete with a steam shower in the bathroom and extra space that can be used as a home office or a nursery.</p> <p>The home is <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">listed for $1.1 million</a> by Corigan Kushma of <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">cityhomeCOLLECTIVE</a>.</p> <p><em>Photos courtesy of Kerri Fukui: <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Portfolio</a> | <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Instagram</a></em></p> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">This California Cabin + Airstream Combo Is a Mid-Century Must-See</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Tour These Whimsical Cabins Made From Recycled Materials</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Sleep Under the Stars in a Bubble Home</a></li> </ul> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 3 2018-09-04 22:42 +00:00 2018-09-05 10:42 +12:00 Home Improvement closets home organization Storage 4 Tricks for Sneaking Storage Into Small Spaces If you've ever wished you had just one more empty shelf or drawer, these tips are for you. Mon, 27 Aug 2018 16:53:42 Z DorothyTheOrganizer <p>Limited storage is often the lament of home dwellers everywhere, no matter how many square feet you&#8217;re working with. Whether it&#8217;s narrow closets or awkwardly sized cupboards, you&#8217;ve likely run into the dilemma of &#8220;What can I possibly store in this small space?&#8221;</p> <p>But those <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">small spaces</a> may not be so small after all - they may just need a little focused attention from you to create the optimal space you need.</p> <p>Try these organization tips to make the most of those small closets and storage spaces.</p> <div class="video-container"><iframe width="500" height="281" src=";enablejsonapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe></div> <h2>1. Think vertical</h2> <p>More often than not, you can double your available storage space by going up.</p> <p>Tall bookcases and shelving can be the answer to your organizing woes. Use this prime real estate to store cleansers, clothes or organized craft bins.</p> <h2>2. Look behind the door</h2> <p>Like those vertical spaces, doors are another opportunity for storage on the sly.</p> <p>Try a behind-the-door storage option with pockets or hooks. They can hold just about anything you can think of - jewelry, hair dryers, dog leashes, cosmetics, cleaning supplies and more.</p> <h2>3. Put it on wheels</h2> <p>This tip works particularly well for hard-to-reach storage spaces, like a slanted, poorly lit cupboard under the stairs.</p> <p>Store items on a wheeled moving dolly or in storage bins with wheels. This gives you easy access to the rolling storage piece - at your height, with room to move and view your belongings in plenty of light.</p> <h2>4. Embrace the caddy</h2> <p>Think back to your college or camp days - you likely had a small shower caddy to carry your toiletries to and from the bathroom. Why not try this at home?</p> <p>If multiple people use the same cramped bathroom, have everyone take out what they bring in. It allows each person to keep track of their favorite toiletries, and the bathroom stays more organized.</p> <h2>Bonus tip: Keep it simple</h2> <p>While these small-space <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">storage tricks</a> are useful, you&#8217;ll find that the best way to create more space in your home is to <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">simplify your life</a>.</p> <p>Start by making a quick list of what you value most in life. I call this "organizing by your values." When you set priorities in your own life, your home and belongings will reflect your choices, allowing you to eliminate the less important or less valued items.</p> <p>As part of this exercise, you may want to evaluate how you spend your time. Take a look at your commitments, from work to kids' activities to volunteer projects to friends who need favors.</p> <p>Evaluating your priorities (and possibly eliminating commitments that no longer make you happy) may just give you the extra time you need to review and organize those small spaces.</p> <p><strong>Related</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Roommate Relations: Making Smart Use of Shared Spaces</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">&#8216;Where Should I Keep My &#8230;?&#8217;: Solving the Ultimate Small Space Dilemmas</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">3 Design Tricks That Will Make Your Small Space Feel Big</a></li> </ul> <p><em>Originally published September 17, 2015.</em></p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 3 2018-08-27 16:53 +00:00 2018-08-28 04:53 +12:00 First Person Home Improvement Bathrooms decorating 10 Ways to Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger A little design magic can make even the tiniest bathroom feel spacious. Mon, 27 Aug 2018 13:30:58 Z Christina El Moussa <p>Small bathrooms aren&#8217;t the easiest spaces to work with. They&#8217;re usually cramped and crowded, with limited natural light and awkward layouts.</p> <p>Whether it&#8217;s your powder room or your apartment bathroom that&#8217;s cramping your style, here are a few tips for making any small bathroom seem bigger - no wall demolition required.</p> <h2>1. Brighten the room</h2> <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Bring in as much light</a> as possible. Light, bright rooms always feel more spacious than dark and drab ones.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Wall color.</strong> Paint the walls and ceiling the same light color to make the bathroom feel double its size. Multiple colors chop the room into different compartments, making it seem smaller.</li> <li><strong>Windows.</strong> If you have a window, use sheer window coverings to maximize the natural light.</li> <li><strong>Lighting.</strong> Install additional flush-mount wall or ceiling light fixtures to increase the light in the room.</li> </ul> <h2>2. Add mirrors</h2> <p>Install larger - and more - <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">mirrors</a> than you typically would in a bathroom. The reflected light will open your small space into one that feels more spacious.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228792" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <h2>3. Streamline storage</h2> <p>Keep all storage as flush with the walls as possible, because anything that sticks out will chop up the space and close it in. Install recessed shelving and medicine cabinets instead.</p> <h2>4. Eliminate clutter</h2> <p>Nothing crowds a space faster than <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">clutter</a>. A good rule of thumb: If you don't need it there, store it elsewhere. Pare what you keep in the bathroom down to the bare necessities.</p> <h2>5. Raise the bar</h2> <p>Raise your shower curtain bar all the way to the ceiling - it&#8217;ll draw your eyes up and make the ceiling seem taller, creating the illusion of a larger space.</p> <p>The same goes for any window treatments. Raising sheer curtain panels to the ceiling also creates the illusion of a larger window, making the small bathroom seem larger.</p> <h2>6. Hide the bathmat</h2> <p>Having a bathmat on the floor all the time can make your bathroom feel smaller. Put your bathmats away when you&#8217;re not using them to expose the flooring and make the space appear larger.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228793" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <h2>7. Install a sliding door</h2> <p>Swinging doors can take up almost half the room, depending on how small the space is. A sliding barn door or a pocket door won&#8217;t encroach on your bathroom&#8217;s already limited real estate.</p> <h2>8. Think pedestal sink</h2> <p>The added bulk of a full vanity takes up valuable space, so try a pedestal sink instead. You may not have a place for soaps or towels on the vanity, but there are plenty of wall-mounted solutions perfect for bathroom accessories.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228791" src="" alt="" width="640" height="963" /></p> <h2>9. Choose light-colored flooring</h2> <p>Even if your walls and ceiling are light and bright, a dark floor will negate their effect and close the space in. Keep the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">flooring</a> light to create a space with a bright and open flow.</p> <h2>10. Go frameless, clear and cohesive in the shower</h2> <p>Clear glass shower doors make the room appear larger, while frosted glass breaks up the space and makes it seem smaller. The same goes for a frame around the glass. A frame can make the area seem choppy rather than smooth and open.</p> <p>Additionally, install the same shower tile from floor to ceiling. The seamless look from top to bottom adds cohesion and openness.</p> <p>Just a few changes to your small bathroom can make dramatic differences in how open it feels. Once you&#8217;ve tried these tips and tricks in the bathroom, apply them throughout your home! It&#8217;s all about creating the illusion of space.</p> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">What NOT to Do When Remodeling Bathrooms</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Small Kitchen? Try These 9 Tips for Making the Most of Your Limited Space</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">9 Signs It&#8217;s Time to Update Your Bathroom</a></li> </ul> <p><em>Originally published October 18, 2017.</em></p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 30 2018-08-27 13:30 +00:00 2018-08-28 01:30 +12:00 Home Improvement decorating home organization Renting Storage 3 Design Tricks That Will Make Your Small Space Feel Big Low on square footage? Don't sweat it - a small space is an opportunity to get clever. Fri, 24 Aug 2018 15:26:09 Z Erica Sooter <p>Got a small space in your home that you&#8217;re not sure what to do with? Or is your cramped apartment forcing you to get creative with your furniture arrangements? You&#8217;re not alone.</p> <p>Make your small room or living area fit your needs with clever solutions that will streamline your life and maximize your space.</p> <h2>1. Thoughtful paint choices</h2> <p>Choosing the right paint color for your small room can instantly give the impression of more space. Traditional neutrals like white, cream and light gray are great choices, because they provide a clean and streamlined look that <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">makes the room feel brighter</a> and more expansive.</p> <p>Painting the ceiling white to draw the eye upward is an easy way to create visual openness overhead. You&#8217;ll have an airy and inviting space in no time.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter wp-image-228784" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></p> <p>On the other hand, if you want to play up the small-space vibe even more, go bold with dark colors. You can emphasize the smallness of a room by making a cozy, den-like atmosphere with colors like black, dark gray and navy.</p> <p>Whether you decide to go light or dark, adding paint to your small space will help you get the effect you&#8217;re going for, both quickly and affordably.</p> <h2>2. Savvy storage</h2> <p>Tight spaces don&#8217;t often come with great storage. But by incorporating creative and flexible storage solutions, you can <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">keep clutter out of sight</a> and keep everything you need handy.</p> <p>The kitchen is a great place to implement clever storage solutions:</p> <ul> <li>Create an adjustable cooking area with roll-away islands and pantries.</li> <li>Hang spices or wine glasses beneath your cupboards.</li> <li>Attach holders to the backs of cabinet doors to keep foil and cleaning supplies neatly out of sight.</li> </ul> <p>Don&#8217;t forget to look up! The ceiling is a great place to hang big items like bicycles, and you can add shelving high up in closets for rarely used items.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter wp-image-228783" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></p> <h2>3. Multitasking furniture</h2> <p>When you have limited floor space, it&#8217;s important to make your furniture work double duty. Choose pieces that have hidden storage and multiple functions or furniture that you can compact and store when not in use.</p> <p>If you can&#8217;t fit a dresser in your bedroom, try using drawers or crates under the bed for clothing and extra linens. A pouf or leather ottoman can easily transition from a seat to a footrest or side table.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Add function to your entryway</a> by employing a bench with storage inside to hide extra shoes, gloves and scarves. And if you have wall space to spare, hang a fold-down dining table.</p> <figure id="attachment_182001" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img class="wp-image-182001" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing</a>.</figcaption></figure> <p>Limited square footage doesn&#8217;t mean you have to sacrifice function and style. Small-space living is a great way to lead a simplified and streamlined life.</p> <p>With creative thinking, you can go from a cluttered, cramped mess to an organized and inviting space with room for all.</p> <p><strong>Related</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Small Kitchen? Try These 9 Tips for Making the Most of Your Limited Space</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Tiny House That Love Built</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">&#8216;Where Should I Keep My &#8230;?&#8217;: Solving the Ultimate Small Space Dilemmas</a></li> </ul> <p><em>Originally published August 19, 2015.</em></p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 21 2018-08-24 15:26 +00:00 2018-08-25 03:26 +12:00 Unique Homes cabins tiny homes unique homes From Scraps to Sanctuary: A $700 A-Frame Cabin This adorable cabin has humble roots - and a price tag worth bragging about. Thu, 23 Aug 2018 17:01:14 Z Melanie Moriarty <p><span style="font-weight: 400">To some, a pile of scrap wood might look like trash. But for Alla Ponomareva and Garrett Hohn, it was an opportunity to build something beautiful. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">On family land, the couple discovered some old window frames and spare lumber from a dilapidated structure on the property. Inspired by the debris, Alla remembered Derek &#8220;Deek&#8221; Diedricksen&#8217;s <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">online blueprint</a> for an 80-square-foot A-frame cabin - and realized they had much of the material to build it. </span></p> <p><img class="size-full wp-image-228679 aligncenter" src="" alt="A-frame cabin with two chairs outside" width="650" height="975" /></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">They constructed the base of the cabin inside their barn and moved it to the build site. The walls went up next, with their newly upcycled windows. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">Finally, the couple installed the cabin's most remarkable feature: the wing wall. This translucent wall lifts up to expand the cabin's living space and welcome the outdoors in.</span></p> <p><img class="size-full wp-image-228677 aligncenter" src="" alt="A-frame cabin with wing wall" width="800" height="533" /></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">The cabin has features designed to weather Montana's shifting seasons. A removable deck under the structure keeps the home elevated in summer and grounded in winter.</span></p> <p><img class="size-full wp-image-228678 aligncenter" src="" alt="A-frame cabin with raised platform foundation" width="650" height="975" /></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">A grand tour of the cabin doesn't take long, but it leaves a lasting impression. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">Outside, the cabin's stained tongue-and-groove plank walls almost blend in with their wooded surroundings. Inside, sunlight pours through the repurposed windows and glass wall, illuminating playful decor in shades of muted mint and coral.</span></p> <p><img class="size-full wp-image-228676 aligncenter" src="" alt="A-frame cabin with twin beds and kitchenette" width="800" height="533" /></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">Like many remote retreats, the cabin is intentionally rugged. It has a small kitchenette, but no running water or indoor bathroom. Instead, there's an outhouse and a solar shower just a short, scenic stroll away.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">Thanks to the cabin's off-grid location and seamless blend of indoor-outdoor living, it's the perfect spot to soak up sweeping views of the Milky Way. And the best part? You don't even have to get out of bed.</span></p> <p>Photos by <span style="font-weight: 400">Alla Ponomareva.</span></p> <p><strong>Related: </strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span style="font-weight: 400">The Tiny House That Love Built</span></a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span style="font-weight: 400">This Rockin&#8217; Tiny Home Actually Doubles as an Amp – House of the Week</span></a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span style="font-weight: 400">This School Bus Is a Tiny Home &#8230; to a Family of 6!</span></a></li> </ul> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 23 2018-08-23 17:01 +00:00 2018-08-24 05:01 +12:00 Tips & Advice landlords Renting How to Perform a Landlord Background Check Wait! Don't sign that lease just yet - a quick landlord check may change your mind. Thu, 23 Aug 2018 16:30:22 Z Jennifer Lyons <p>You&#8217;ve found the perfect new apartment or rental house. You love the neighborhood. Your application has been approved. You&#8217;re ready to sign on the dotted line, right?</p> <p>Not so fast. How much do you know about your soon-to-be landlord, property manager or property management company?</p> <p>There are lots of reasons why you should take the time to ask yourself, &#8220;Who is my landlord?&#8221; before you commit. Your rent payment is likely one of your biggest <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">monthly expenses</a>, and if you&#8217;re signing a lengthy lease, you should find out as much as you can about the person who owns and operates the place you&#8217;ll call home.</p> <p>Check out these five easy ways to check your landlord&#8217;s reputation before signing your lease.</p> <h2>1. Make Google your friend</h2> <p>The internet has a way of quickly uncovering all kinds of misdeeds, so start with a simple Google search of your landlord&#8217;s name or property management company, as well as the property address.</p> <p>Hell hath no fury like a renter scorned, so you&#8217;ll also want to peruse some of the many apartment and landlord review sites online that let tenants anonymously review their apartment complex, landlord or property management company.</p> <h2>2. Search public records</h2> <p>There&#8217;s a wealth of information about properties and landlords available via your local government agencies, and you&#8217;re usually able to check your landlord for free. Consider it your landlord background check!</p> <p>Your county courthouse should have ownership records searchable by address, so you can find out the legal name of the person or company that owns the property - it may not be your landlord directly.</p> <p>You can also search for code violations, foreclosure proceedings, evictions and small claims court settlements, all of which should be red flags for renters.</p> <h2>3. Get to know your (future) neighbors</h2> <p>If you&#8217;re moving into an apartment complex with multiple units, take a few minutes to walk around the grounds out of earshot of the landlord.</p> <p>If you see any tenants out and about, strike up a conversation about what it&#8217;s like to live there. Ask how long they&#8217;ve lived there - <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">renewed leases</a> are a good sign of a positive landlord-tenant relationship. Get a few pros and cons, ask how complaints are handled, and find out if they have any gripes about management.</p> <p>If you&#8217;re moving into a single-family home, ask the landlord if they&#8217;d mind you having a conversation with the current tenants.</p> <p>If you don't have access to any other tenants, find a neighborhood-specific blog or Facebook group to join. Tell people you&#8217;re thinking of moving into the area, and ask if they know anything about the property manager. In these hyperlocal groups, you&#8217;re likely to gain some invaluable insights for your landlord check.</p> <h2>4. Be the interviewer</h2> <p>Landlords ask you questions when you apply to live in their property, so why shouldn&#8217;t you ask them questions too?</p> <p>Ask them how they handle repair requests. Find out if the landlord lives on-site, nearby or even in a different state. Ask how the move-in and move-out process goes. Learn more about their process for requesting entry to your unit.</p> <p>They should be able to easily, clearly answer your questions and address all of your concerns.</p> <h2>5. Go with your gut</h2> <p>When in doubt, trust your instincts. If you experience any of the following:</p> <ul> <li>The price seems too low for the apartment size, amenities or neighborhood</li> <li>The <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">lease terms are unclear</a></li> <li>The landlord is hesitant to answer your questions</li> <li>The landlord tries to rush you through the rental process</li> </ul> <p>Think twice - and keep looking.</p> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Looking for a New Apartment? Here&#8217;s What You Need to Know</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">&#8216;You&#8217;re Throwing Money Away&#8217; and Other Myths About Renting</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">5 Things to Look for in a Rental Listing</a></li> </ul> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 11 2018-08-23 16:30 +00:00 2018-08-24 04:30 +12:00 A different system: the rental market in Scandinavia European rental models are often looked to as ones that New Zealand could learn from. That prompted Auckland Property Investors Association vice-president Peter Lewis to take a close look at Sweden's rental market. Wed, 22 Aug 2018 10:00:00 +1300 2018-08-22 10:00 +13:00 2018-08-22 09:00 +12:00 Home Improvement Fall gardening 8 Fall Gardening Chores You Shouldn't Skip Do you really need to rake? It depends! Check these tasks off your list before winter hits. Mon, 20 Aug 2018 17:35:24 Z Steve Asbell <p>The bad news is that it&#8217;s time to get your act together and clean up your garden before winter makes the task more difficult.</p> <p>But the good news? Fall garden chores don't have to be a pain.</p> <p>Whether you love or hate fall gardening chores, this checklist will help you make them easier.</p> <h2>1. Make a compost bin</h2> <p>Composting sounds like a lot of hard work, but it's actually a perfect solution for lazy gardeners.</p> <p>Have a bunch of weeds, grass clippings and branches to get rid of? Don't bother bagging it up and hauling it to the curb - just throw it in a pile, and mix it up every month or so. Then surround the pile with landscape timbers or chicken wire to keep everything from blowing all over the place.</p> <h2>2. Rake leaves - or don't</h2> <p>That's right, raking the leaves isn't always necessary. But before you proudly share this news with your significant other to try getting out of your chores, here&#8217;s the full story.</p> <p>Leaves in the front lawn are not desirable, especially when they blow into <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">neighboring lawns</a>. Leaves in the garden, on the other hand, are totally desirable and act as free mulch to protect roots and conserve moisture.</p> <p>Another caveat: The soil around rose bushes and other plants that are sensitive to diseases like powdery mildew should be kept clean and leaf-free to prevent infection.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter wp-image-185386" src="" alt="shutterstock_232950250" width="800" height="534" /></p> <h2>3. Collect fallen debris</h2> <p>We've all had a so-called trash tree at some point. You know, the Bradford pear that drops branches at the drop of a hat - or the Osage orange that bombs unsuspecting passersby with fruit.</p> <p>If you're one of the unfortunate souls with a messy tree, now is the time to collect all that debris for the year. Collect sticks and twigs, too, but once you&#8217;ve gathered them, leave them in the garden to serve as perches and homes for wildlife.</p> <h2>4. Mow the lawn</h2> <p>Cut the grass one last time, and mow it short to prevent diseases from spreading. Collect the grass clippings and add them to your compost pile.</p> <p>Now is also a good time to complete your edging and string-trimming chores.</p> <p>When you're done mowing, winterize your mower and other outdoor power tools by draining the gasoline so it doesn't become stale and gunk up your equipment next year.</p> <h2>5. Prune damaged branches</h2> <p>Fall is about using the anvil pruners rather than the hedge trimmers. <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Prune out any branches</a> that are diseased, damaged or dead so they won&#8217;t succumb to winds or the weight of snow and ice.</p> <p>If any arm-width branches meet those criteria, use a saw. If any large limbs or trees look as if they&#8217;ll break when loaded with ice, call a tree surgeon.</p> <p>Look at it this way: If there's anything that you think might fall to the ground on its own accord over the winter, remove it now.</p> <h2>6. Pull weeds</h2> <p>The last thing you want is a bunch of weeds spreading their seeds and taking over your garden in spring. <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Pull weeds</a> on a pleasant day when it&#8217;s above freezing and the soil is a little moist - this will make the weeds come up more easily.</p> <p>Since weeds have a tendency to shed their progeny all over the place, throw them on the compost pile or put them in trash bags.</p> <h2>7. Collect dead leaves</h2> <p>When cleaning and picking up indoors, you'd ideally leave things spotless. This is not the case in the garden, however, since seedpods, flowerheads and fruits add winter interest and provide food and shelter for wildlife.</p> <p>Still, any dead leaves or other less-useful debris can be collected and composted.</p> <h2>8. Mulch beds</h2> <p>Mulching isn't necessarily a cleanup task, but it is necessary nonetheless, because it protects the plants' roots over the winter and conserves moisture.</p> <p>All of those raked leaves you saved will make an excellent mulch for your flowerbeds, or you can purchase the bagged stuff.</p> <p>Use a 1-  to 2-inch-deep layer of mulch, and resist the temptation to use landscaping fabric. Doing so might prevent weeds, but it will also prevent the soil around your plants from accessing rainfall or beneficial organisms.</p> <p><strong>Related</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Best Houseplants for Low-Light Spaces</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">12 Tasks to Tackle Before Fall Arrives</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">How to Attract Birds to Your Yard (Hint: Don&#8217;t Just Wing It)</a></li> </ul> <p><em>Originally published October 15, 2015.</em></p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 1 2018-08-20 17:35 +00:00 2018-08-21 05:35 +12:00 Home Improvement DIY entertaining Fall Summer DIY Tabletop S'mores: The Easiest Way to Snack a Campfire Classic Year-Round No fire pit? No problem! Gather the gang 'round the tabletop - we're making s'mores. Sun, 19 Aug 2018 16:59:16 Z Cat Overman <p>This resourceful twist on everyone&#8217;s favorite fireside dessert is the ultimate interactive treat.</p> <p>Grab a few household items, gather some friends and family, and get toasty with these tabletop s&#8217;mores - right in your own backyard.</p> <div class="video-container"><iframe width="500" height="375" src=";enablejsonapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe></div> <p>1. Line a terra-cotta pot with foil.<img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-183529" src="" alt="1P0A8019" width="750" height="500" /></p> <p>2. Fill the pot with charcoal.<br /> <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-183530" src="" alt="1P0A8041" width="750" height="500" /></p> <p>3. Light it up. (But be careful!)<br /> <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-183532" src="" alt="1P0A8048" width="750" height="500" /></p> <p>4. Toast marshmallows over the flame. Golden brown or totally charred - it&#8217;s up to you!<br /> <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-183533" src="" alt="1P0A8146" width="750" height="500" /></p> <p>5. Assemble your s&#8217;more.<br /> <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-183534" src="" alt="1P0A8199" width="750" height="500" /></p> <p>6. Enjoy!<br /> <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-183527" src="" alt="1P0A8204" width="750" height="500" /></p> <p>With this gooey goody, you&#8217;ll be the toast of your next block party.</p> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank">DIY Backyard Fire Pit: Build It in Just 7 Easy Steps</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">With This DIY Sporting Goods Catch-All, Game Day Is No Sweat</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">How to Build Your Own Vertical Garden With Shipping Pallets</a></li> </ul> <p><em>Originally published September 15, 2015.</em></p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 24 2018-08-19 16:59 +00:00 2018-08-20 04:59 +12:00 Home Improvement Fall home maintenance 12 Tasks to Tackle Before Fall Arrives Cooler weather is nigh - prep your home for its arrival while it's still nice outside. Fri, 17 Aug 2018 15:10:43 Z See Jane Drill <p>The days are getting shorter, and the nights are getting cooler. The kids are trudging off to school again with their backpacks, and leaves are falling from the trees.</p> <p>Yep, it's official: Fall is here. Now&#8217;s the time to finish up any last-minute maintenance projects and get your home and yard ready.</p> <p>Take care of these 12 tasks to get your home clean, <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">warm and ready</a> for the cool days to come.</p> <h2>Exterior prep</h2> <h3>1. Fix cracks in concrete and asphalt</h3> <p>Depending on where you live, these may be the last weeks this year when it will be warm and sunny enough to repair driveway and sidewalk cracks.</p> <h3>2. Clean out the gutters</h3> <p>No one loves this job, but we all need to do it annually. A few hours of work can prevent big problems later on.</p> <p>While you're up on that ladder, visually inspect your roof for damaged shingles, flashing or vents. You can also inspect the chimney for any missing mortar and repair it by tuck-pointing, if needed.</p> <h3>3. Turn off outdoor plumbing</h3> <p>Drain outdoor faucets and sprinkler systems, and cover them to protect them from the freezing weather to come.</p> <h3>4. Start composting</h3> <p>If you don't already have compost bins, now&#8217;s the time to make or get some. All those <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">accumulated autumn leaves</a> will bring you gardening gold next summer!</p> <h3>5. Clean outdoor furniture and gardening tools</h3> <p>It may not yet be time to put them away, but go ahead and clean your outdoor furniture and gardening tools so they&#8217;re ready for storage over the winter.</p> <h3>6. Plant bulbs for spring-blooming flowers</h3> <p>Plant bulbs in October, as soon as the soil has cooled down, to reap big rewards next spring. If you&#8217;ve never planted bulbs before, select a spot in your yard that gets full sun during the day.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-205251" src="" alt="shutterstock_155900531" width="800" height="600" /></p> <h2>Interior prep</h2> <h3>7. Prepare your furnace for winter duty</h3> <p>If you didn't already do it last spring, consider getting your furnace professionally serviced in time for the cold season. At the minimum, though, visually inspect your furnace and replace the furnace filter before turning it on for the first time.</p> <h3>8. Clean the fireplace and chimney</h3> <p>Clean out the fireplace, inspect the flue, and ensure the doors and shields are sound. Have the chimney professionally swept if needed. Now&#8217;s also the time to stock up on firewood!</p> <h3>9. Keep the warm air inside and the cold air outside</h3> <p>Inspect your windows and doors. Check weatherstripping by opening a door, placing a piece of paper in the entryway and closing the door. The paper should not slide back and forth easily. If it does, the weather stripping isn't doing its job.</p> <p>Also, now&#8217;s the time to re-caulk around windows and door casings, if needed.</p> <h3>10. Light the way</h3> <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Bring as much light into your home</a> as you can for the colder, darker months. To accentuate natural light, clean your windows and blinds, especially in rooms that get a lot of sunlight.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228643" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <p>Add lighting to darker spaces with new lamps. And consider replacing traditional incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs.</p> <h3>11. Create a mudroom</h3> <p>Even if you don't have a dedicated mudroom in your home, now&#8217;s a good time to think about <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">organizing and stocking an entryway</a> that will serve as a "mudroom" area for cold and wet weather.</p> <p>Put down an indoor-outdoor rug to protect the floor. A fun and rewarding weekend project is to build a wooden shoe rack, coat rack or storage bench for your entryway.</p> <h3>12. Home safety check</h3> <p>Replace the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide monitors. A good way to remember to do this is to always replace the batteries when you change the clock for daylight saving time.</p> <p>Create a family fire escape plan, or review the one you already have. Put together an emergency preparedness kit so that you are ready for winter power outages.</p> <p>Once you finish with your autumn home checklist, you will be ready to enjoy the season in your warm, comfortable home.</p> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">This Checklist Is the Key to Taking Care of Your Home (Without the Stress)</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">4 Ways to Cozy Up Your Kitchen for Fall</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">9 Updates Your Home Needs Every 10 Years</a></li> </ul> <p><em>Originally published September 20, 2016.</em></p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 21 2018-08-17 15:10 +00:00 2018-08-18 03:10 +12:00 Unique Homes historic homes The Childhood Dream Home Turned Dream Come True After years of admiring the home's charming exterior, the owner made it her own. Wed, 15 Aug 2018 21:30:19 Z Melanie Moriarty <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When Rebecca Long Pyper fell in love with the charming Tudor on a quiet street in Idaho Falls, ID, she wasn't in the market to buy a home - in fact, she was barely old enough to drive.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As a high school student, she'd pass by the storybook home with gingerbread trim and tell her friends how much she adored it. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"I always thought it was darling," she says. "This is a love affair that goes back 20 years." </span></p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228446" src="" alt="black and white photo of historic home" width="800" height="571" /></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Although Pyper left her hometown with no plans to return, fate eventually led her back to Idaho Falls in 2012 - just as her childhood dream home went up for sale. She and her husband, Lonnie, made an offer.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The couple soon discovered their new home had been occupied by at least 15 different owners since 1936. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"I felt like our home was a throwaway home," she says. "Never a treasured home." But that was about to change.</span></p> <p><img class="size-full wp-image-228457 aligncenter" src="" alt="bright and cheerful yellow kitchen " width="800" height="533" /></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Pyper and her husband lovingly restored their home to its former glory - and then some. Throughout the house, they salvaged the original doors, hardwood floors and trim. They bumped the kitchen walls out 6 feet, but kept the windows the same size to welcome the sunshine in. </span></p> <p><img class="size-full wp-image-228460 aligncenter" src="" alt="bright dining room with gleaming hardwood floors" width="800" height="537" /></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The couple considered both the home's past and its future when restoring the hardwood floors. To keep the care low-maintenance, they opted to skip the staining and just sand the old red oak and fir floors by hand. And to preserve the history, they took their time with the job - it was an 80-hour labor of love. </span></p> <p><img class="size-full wp-image-228465 aligncenter" src="" alt="preppy olive green master bedroom" width="800" height="533" /></p> <p><img class="size-full wp-image-228464 aligncenter" src="" alt="cozy and preppy little girl's room " width="800" height="533" /></p> <p><img class="size-full wp-image-228466 aligncenter" src="" alt="classic little boys' room " width="800" height="533" /></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Pyper wanted the home to feel like a preppy cottage steeped in history and charm, so she filled its cozy rooms with bright patterns and bold colors, like the olive green walls and trim in the master bedroom. Every detail represents a thoughtful design decision intended to bring out the home's unique qualities. </span></p> <p><img class="size-full wp-image-228472 aligncenter" src="" alt="minimalist white bathroom" width="800" height="533" /></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Although years have passed since Pyper first fell for her home, it's a love affair that's only gotten better with time. And it doesn't show any signs of waning with the next generation. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"I think the thing I like the very best is our house has a soul, and I think my kids can feel that," Pyper says. "They are proud we saved a historic house &#8230; They love to share the story, too."</span></p> <h6><em>Photos by <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Casey James Photography</a>.</em></h6> <p><strong>Related</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">This Historic Connecticut Home Once Hosted a Dancing George Washington</span></a></li> <li><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">This Enchanting Mountaintop Cottage Embodies Coziness</span></a></li> <li><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">6 Millennial Pink Homes Proving This Color Is Here to Stay</span></a></li> </ul> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 24 2018-08-15 21:30 +00:00 2018-08-16 09:30 +12:00 Unique Homes fairy tale homes This Urban Castle's Magical Design Will Have You Spellbound This is one house everyone will want to be sorted into. Fri, 10 Aug 2018 23:49:54 Z Moriah Simmons <p>An urban castle in downtown Minneapolis has the Muggle world intrigued. "It's kind of gone viral nationally - even as far as London - with references to it being the &#8216;Harry Potter House,&#8217;" says <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Coldwell Banker Burnet&#8217;s Jeffrey Dewing</a>, the listing agent for the 4,547-square-foot home.</p> <p>Just steps across the light rail line from the US Bank stadium, this ivy-walled property is the only single-family home within a 12-block radius. It's in walking distance of restaurants, shopping, and great city parks. But central location is only the beginning of its charm.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228422" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></p> <p>Built in 1911, this property has a long, storied history. "At the turn of the century it was a blacksmith shop,&#8221; notes Dewing.</p> <p>&#8220;After that, it was used for a few different commercial uses,&#8221; he continues. &#8220;One of those was an electric company called Flash." On one of the building's outer walls, you can just make out a decades-old painted advertisement from when the building was home to Flash Electric Company.</p> <p>In the early 1980s, Sage and John Cowle converted the building into a residential and dance studio space, at the beginning of the revitalization of the Mississippi River waterfront in downtown. The Cowle family sold the building in 2002 to musician and restaurateur Jeff Arundel, whose extensive renovations have given it today's whimsical castle look.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228421" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></p> <p>&#8220;It&#8217;s one of those houses that every time you go to it you notice some new and unique detail," Dewing says.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228420" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></p> <p>Some of the enchanting fixtures include an elaborate central wrought-iron staircase, stained-glass inset arches, a flagstone foyer, and rustic fireplaces in the living room and master bedroom. "Paul Tierney, who&#8217;s local in Minneapolis, made all of the metal work by hand," says Dewing.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228427" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></p> <p>Every detail shows an artist&#8217;s personal touch: Several carved faces peep out from the home's intricate fixtures. A wooden face beams down from the staircase, and a metal face and hands point out from a downspout on the roof. An iron dragon sculpture keeps watch from the turret-topped entrance gate, as if waiting for a secret password.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228423" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></p> <p>"One of the things that&#8217;s wonderful about the property is all the outdoor space," says Dewing. Inside the cobblestone courtyard, a large mature tree shades the plantings below, and a porch juts out from the building to make space for a sitting area.</p> <p>The building's roof deck affords great views of sunsets and the skyline. There's ample room for patio furniture - possibly even an owlery.</p> <p>A window-lined first-floor hallway connects the house to a two-car garage. The kitchen boasts custom cabinets, and an island with bar-height counter, for mixing the most elaborate potions with ease.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228424" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <p>The master bathroom's deep green tilework serves as the perfect backdrop for a relaxing shower, or puzzling out a mysterious cipher.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228425" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></p> <p>Though it has served for years as a residence, this property also has great commercial potential, for the enterprising witch or wizard.</p> <p>Earlier this year, the property had been in talks to be purchased and made a brewery and taphouse.</p> <p>Even in current showings, the interest has been almost an even split between residential, mixed use, and commercial. &#8220;People have looked at it as a restaurant space, a wine bar, and a commercial office space,&#8221; says Dewing.</p> <p>This incredible urban castle is just waiting for the right people to harness its magic.</p> <h6><em>Photos by <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Spacecrafting Photography</a>.</em></h6> <p><strong>Related</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">This Hobbit House Will Have You Dreaming of Middle-Earth</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A Treehouse Trio for Grown-Ups </a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Snow White&#8217;s Cottage in the Woods</a></li> </ul> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 10 2018-08-10 23:49 +00:00 2018-08-11 11:49 +12:00 Unique Homes tiny homes The Tiny House That Love Built With thoughtful design and ingenious storage, 624 square feet goes a long way. Fri, 10 Aug 2018 21:55:55 Z Callie Little <p>While some couples might balk at the suggestion of designing just one room together, Lauren Shumaker and Scott Mooney are no ordinary pair. She's a construction engineer, he's an architect, and they're both wickedly creative. So much so that they collaborated to design an entirely unique dream home together.</p> <p>Oh, and it's only 624-square feet.</p> <p>The custom dwelling was built with the help of TaylorSmith Sustainable Construction in the enviable Richmond neighborhood of Portland, OR. Though the home is close to music venues, restaurants, and some of the best shopping in the city, what makes it so special is its clever design and sleek structural features.<br /> <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228409" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" />"We both lived in many compact-sized homes over the years, but they weren&#8217;t as well laid out as they could have been," says Shumaker. "We knew with simple tweaks in the design, we could make small-space living function well for both of us."</p> <p>The couple worked together to design a home that catered to their specific needs - for example, an integrated dog door leading to the bedroom.</p> <p>Built-in storage lines the outside of the house, providing ample space for outdoor equipment and bicycles, and generously sized windows wash every last inch of the home in natural light.<br /> <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228408" src="" alt="" width="650" height="975" />All that sunshine did end up including one slightly unpleasant and unforeseen aspect, however.</p> <p>"We opted to put a window in our shower enclosure for more light [and] air movement," Shumaker says, "but water accumulates on the ledge and if we had to do it over again, we would probably avoid putting a window in that location."</p> <p>You live, you build a custom compact home with your spouse, you learn. That's how that saying goes, right?</p> <h2>Less is more</h2> <p>Despite the singular design snafu, the home is a triumph for the couple. The personalized space allows them to live in a beautiful home that's truly their own.<br /> <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228403" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /><br /> <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228404" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" />&#8220;We&#8217;re interested in living simply, economically, and sustainably, so living in a small, well-designed space fit our lifestyle," Shumaker explains. "My partner and I love our new house. Functionally, it works great for both of us as there&#8217;s equal closet storage, it&#8217;s easy to clean, and compact yet has enough storage. Neither of us feels like we've had to make any compromises in our ability to live comfortably together."</p> <p>And something that helps to maintain that comfort? The classic "less is more" approach, according to Shumaker.<br /> <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228406" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" />"We've found paring down is always the best policy, and we continue to be diligent regarding what comes in the house,&#8221; she says. &#8220;While we were previously living together in a smaller space, we still found ourselves going through round after round of purging before we moved into the new house.</p> <p>&#8220;Fortunately, this enabled us to be thoughtful with what we introduced into our home, and now we&#8217;re happy to not have to worry about any additional clutter beyond what we use most frequently."</p> <p>Ask any aspiring home designer what romance looks like, and visions of tidying guru Marie Kondo and custom closet spaces would probably dance through their heads. If fairy tales were modernized, minimalism and clean design would surely be part of every couple&#8217;s happily-ever-after.</p> <p>But in our real world of endless dream house Pinterest boards and wistful home design shows, the Shumaker-Mooney family doesn't take their labor of love lightly.</p> <p>"We feel lucky to have been able to see this through,&#8221; Shumaker says. &#8220;We love how the process of designing and building this home brought us closer together as a couple, [and] being able to enjoy the space we put so much heart into is the icing on the cake."</p> <h6><em>Photos by <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Olivia Ashton Photography</a>.</em></h6> <p><strong>Related</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">This Rockin&#8217; Tiny Home Actually Doubles as an Amp</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Could You Live &#8216;Tiny&#8217;? See How a Seattle Couple Found Room for Their Dreams</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">This School Bus Is a Tiny Home &#8230; to a Family of 6!</a></li> </ul> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 14 2018-08-10 21:55 +00:00 2018-08-11 09:55 +12:00 How to profit from the new plan The Super City’s new Unitary Plan provides interesting reading for Auckland property owners. Could you be an “accidental investor”? Hamish Firth from Mt Hobson Group tells all. Mon, 06 Aug 2018 09:00:00 +1300 2018-08-06 09:00 +13:00 2018-08-06 08:00 +12:00 Tips & Advice home organization kitchens Renting Small Kitchen? Try These 9 Tips for Making the Most of Your Limited Space Transform your standard-issue rental kitchen with these tips. Fri, 03 Aug 2018 18:55:39 Z Callie Little <p>Is there some kind of law that requires rental apartments to supply no more than a single square of kitchen counter space to each unit?</p> <p>Between the white walls, scarce and often outdated cabinets, and a lack of amenities, it's rare to find a solid kitchen in the world of <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">yearlong leases</a>.</p> <p>But no good makeover starts with a beautiful subject, right?</p> <p>All you need to transform that bleak little kitchen into a well-designed, functional space is a bit of imagination, some basic home maintenance skills, and a few solid pieces.</p> <p>Here's where to begin.</p> <h2>Donate first</h2> <p>Before moving into your new space, make sure to get rid of all those things you don't need anymore.</p> <p>Have you actually used that discounted bundt pan in the past year or two? If not, donate to your favorite local charity shop. Someone else might get use out of it, and you'll be saving yourself from more clutter in your new home.</p> <h2>Think vertically</h2> <p>Vertical storage is a tried-and-true method of using space, and the kitchen holds some unique opportunities for making the most of it.</p> <p>Hanging pot racks, magnetic knife strips, mounted dish-drying racks installed above the sink, and rods with hooks for towels, aprons, small tools and oven mitts are all excellent ways to <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">keep clutter in its place</a> - and keep the surfaces and lower area of the room free.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228087" src="" alt="" width="800" height="645" /></p> <h2>Find beautiful cleaning tools</h2> <p>The ugly truth is that a lot of everyday items just make sense to keep out - but that doesn't mean they have to be such an eyesore.</p> <p>Skip the plastic and get yourself a classic wooden broom, natural fiber dish brush and a glass soap dispenser. These items don't cost much, but they add a softer look while also getting the job done.</p> <h2>Tap into change</h2> <p>Just because your place didn't come equipped with a dishwasher doesn't mean you have to suffer. Installing a quality faucet with a pull-down sprayer can make your chores less of a chore (and, as long as you swap it back before you move out, it shouldn't violate your rental agreement).</p> <p>Have space and the budget for something more? Portable dishwashers are a massive timesaver. From small countertop models to wheeled butcher-block-top options, there are sizes that fit into almost any space and require nothing more than your standard sink to function.</p> <h2>Live the island life</h2> <p>A kitchen island is a versatile tool for almost any space - even the tiniest micro apartments!</p> <p>Whether you choose a larger center-of-the-room-style piece or a small butcher-block number, these additions create more counter space and storage, all in one piece.</p> <p>Bonus: If your island has wheels, it can serve as a portable bar for your next party. (Hey, if we can call bingeing our favorite shows with a few of our closest friends a "party," so can you.)</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228088" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <h2>Light it up</h2> <p>Another timeless tip: Good lighting is everything.</p> <p>If your kitchen is dedicated to getting things done and starting your day, invest in cool lighting - the kind that washes everything in a bright, sunlit glow. A refreshing, cooler light wakes us up and creates an invigorating feeling.</p> <p>If you're more of a romantic and enjoy taking your time in the kitchen, keep relaxing, warm lighting around so that you can let the day melt away as you sip your merlot.</p> <p>For those who prefer a bit of both, app-enabled bulbs can customize the mood for any occasion, and some even use every color of the rainbow.</p> <h2>Think (temporarily) BIG</h2> <p>If there's one common complaint about renting, it's the stark white walls. Removable wallpaper adds a touch of personalization and won't break the bank - or at least, it doesn't have to.</p> <p>To keep costs low, stick to one accent wall. Finding a large-scale print will make the space feel larger, and layering a sizable mirror on top will maximize the look and any light.</p> <h2>Curate unique displays</h2> <p>One of the best ways to keep an assortment of oddly shaped kitchen items is to dedicate either one section of the room (think: the top 12 inches of the walls) or one wall to showing them off.</p> <p>Whether it&#8217;s your grandmother's antique creamer collection or the jumble of cookie cutters that won't fit into your drawers, <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">making them into a vignette</a> adds a layer of personalization to your space while also providing covert storage in plain sight. Easy-to-install hooks or some simple shelves are great ways to achieve this solution.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228091" src="" alt="" width="800" height="647" /></p> <h2>Keep it alive</h2> <p>Every room deserves a plant. Not only do they look good, but they also improve the quality of the air around them. If you don't have the floor or counter space to spare, a hanging plant will do the trick.</p> <p>No natural light in your kitchen? Or perhaps you're better at killing plants than keeping them green? No matter - there are plenty of realistic artificial plants these days, which means everyone can benefit from the organic shapes of ferns, succulents and the ever-popular fiddle-leaf figs.</p> <p>Have pets? Make sure to <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">check the toxicity of your plants</a> before choosing their placement.</p> <p>No matter how uniquely challenging your space might be, there are solutions waiting for you to find them.</p> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">&#8216;You&#8217;re Throwing Money Away&#8217; and Other Myths About Renting</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Top 5 Renting Nightmares and How to Face Them</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">&#8216;Where Should I Keep My&#8230;?&#8217;: Solving the Ultimate Small Space Dilemmas</a></li> </ul> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 13 2018-08-03 18:55 +00:00 2018-08-04 06:55 +12:00 Home Improvement Fixtures kitchens Kitchen Countertop Buying Guide: Meet the Main Players & Find Your Best Match Which countertop surface is right for you? It depends. This guide will walk you through it. Wed, 01 Aug 2018 18:03:55 Z John Gerard <p>Your kitchen is the heart of your home, which means your countertops have to be fit for the job.</p> <p>Sure, it&#8217;s nice if your countertops are stylish. But are they durable? Cost-effective? And will they ultimately suit your lifestyle?</p> <p>In this buying guide, you'll learn everything you need to know about popular countertop surfaces so you can make an informed choice.</p> <h2>Quartz countertops</h2> <p>Quartz countertops have become increasingly popular due to their solid stone-like appearance and even coloring. While quartz is a naturally occurring mineral, quartz countertops are actually manufactured from quartz particles mixed with a binding resin. Thus, the final color pattern is designed and not a product of nature.</p> <p><strong>Pros and cons</strong><br /> Quartz countertops have a lot of the benefits of a solid stone slab countertop, like granite, but there are some drawbacks you need to be aware of.</p> <p>Since quartz countertops contain a large amount of resin, they&#8217;re susceptible to heat damage. Placing a hot pot or pan on a quartz countertop can burn, melt or damage the surface.</p> <p>Unlike granite or marble, however, quartz is resistant to staining from liquids like red wine, and it doesn't require a sealant to keep it stain-free.</p> <p><strong>Budget</strong><br /> Quartz is made by different brands, and each brand has their own colors and product names. Quartz prices vary, but you can expect to pay a little less on average than granite - typically around $50 per square foot, with added costs for upgraded edge profiles.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228038" src="" alt="" width="800" height="523" /></p> <p><strong>Where to buy</strong><br /> You can shop for quartz at home improvement stores or granite and marble yards. Because it's manufactured and doesn't have natural color variations and vein, like marble or granite, you don't need to shop for it in slabs. Looking at small sample pieces is fine - what you see is what you get.</p> <p>Some of the brands will carry quartz with faux veining in it, so you might be able to see larger images of those particular products. For the most part, you can take samples home to your kitchen to get a better idea of what you like.</p> <p>A quartz countertop isn't a DIY-friendly option, but it does typically come with some sort of warranty. Be sure to shop around for the best price.</p> <p><strong>What to look for</strong><br /> Selecting the right quartz countertop really comes down to coordinating the color and edge options with your kitchen and personal taste.</p> <p>Both the light and dark color patterns are the most popular since they are fairly neutral. For edge profiles, a simple, beveled or eased edge will be the lowest cost option and will look fine in most homes.</p> <p>For a higher-end look, consider a more ornate edge profile that gives a more regal feel to the space.</p> <h2>Glass countertops</h2> <p>If you want a unique and modern look, consider a glass countertop. Glass countertops offer a multitude of designs, configurations and price points.</p> <h3>Recycled glass countertops</h3> <p><strong>Pros and cons</strong></p> <p>These manufactured countertops are made from broken shards of glass, which get embedded in a resin or concrete base. They come in a wide range of glass and base colors, but most commonly feature blue, green or brown glass pieces.</p> <p>Some versions are resistant to high heat, but others aren't, so be sure to check the product details for each product you consider.</p> <p><strong>Budget</strong></p> <p>The biggest advantage to this type of glass countertop is its affordability. Recycled glass countertops will range in price from around $75 to $100 per square foot. Expect to pay more for counters with concrete substrates.</p> <figure style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing.</a></figcaption></figure> <h3>Solid glass countertops</h3> <p><strong>Pros and cons</strong></p> <p>Solid glass countertops are manufactured individually for your unique application and feature a seamless look with blue or green hues. These countertops are much less common than recycled glass versions, due to both their higher price and stark appearance.</p> <p>Solid glass countertops can withstand high heat from pots and pans, and they can also be used as a cutting board. They clean up very easily with soap and water or glass cleaner.</p> <p>But, just like any piece of glass, they show dirt or smudges, so you will need to wipe them down more often than other countertop materials.</p> <p><strong>Budget</strong></p> <p>Since this type of countertop requires specialty equipment to manufacture, there aren't as many manufacturers making them. Consequently, you're going to pay quite a bit for this type of counter. Prices range from just over $100 to well over $300 per square foot.</p> <figure style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="" alt="" width="800" height="550" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing.</a></figcaption></figure> <p><strong>Where to buy</strong></p> <p>Because glass countertops are much rarer than granite or marble, you might have trouble finding a supplier. You won't be able to find glass countertops at your local home improvement store.</p> <p>The best way to shop for this particular product is to search online for the style, type and color you like. Visit the websites of the various brands you like, and then connect with their individual suppliers.</p> <p><strong>What to look for</strong></p> <p>Before you select a glass countertop for your home - either recycled or solid - make sure you see pictures of the same product in a similar installation. It's best to visit a showroom if you can.</p> <p>Seeing sample pieces in person is very helpful; this type of countertop is stark, and seeing how a large, bright countertop will affect a room is critical.</p> <h2>Marble countertops</h2> <p>Marble has an elegant appearance that elevates the feel of any kitchen. However, marble isn't always the best choice for some homes, nor is it the most affordable countertop option.</p> <figure style="width: 801px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="" alt="" width="801" height="535" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing.</a></figcaption></figure> <p><strong>Pros and cons</strong><br /> There are fewer marble color options compared to granite or quartz, but there is still a relatively large variety. Although most people seem to prefer the lighter options, like the Carrara or Calacatta, marble is not just a white stone.</p> <p>Marble is mined all around the world, and different regions produce different colors of slabs. You can find marble in cream, brown, green and dark hues, although darker colors are typically harder to find in a countertop slab compared to the lighter tones.</p> <p>Before you decide on marble as your countertop material, be aware that it stains fairly easily from acidic liquids, like red wine. You don't want to spend several thousand dollars on a countertop only to have an orange juice spill discolor it. Just be sure that marble is the right material for your kitchen habits and lifestyle.</p> <p><strong>Budget</strong><br /> Marble comes in a wide variety of prices, and it's typically quoted per square foot, so it's a good idea to know how much you'll need.</p> <p>Since marble is a natural product, every slab is unique. You can expect to pay anywhere from $75 per square foot up to several hundred dollars per square foot, depending on the features of the individual marble slab. If you want a thicker countertop or a more decorative edge, you'll pay more.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228036" src="" alt="" width="800" height="504" /></p> <h4><strong>Where to buy</strong></h4> <p>You need to shop for marble at a granite or stone yard. You're not going to find marble countertops at a home improvement store.</p> <p>Most granite suppliers will have some marble slabs for you to choose from, so you can start by checking with them first. It's best to know exactly what marble color you'd like before you start looking. That way, you can call the suppliers ahead of time to find out what they have in stock.</p> <p><strong>What to look for</strong><br /> When you are shopping for a marble countertop, look for a slab that&#8217;s not only attractive but also consistently colored throughout. Bright white marble with subtle veining is going to cost more than an asymmetrical slab with dark, multicolored veins.</p> <p>Most slabs will have veining to some extent. Be on the lookout for any yellowing or discoloration. If you find a slab that you really like, but it has some areas in it you don't love, you might be able to have the countertop patterns cut out around those areas for an additional cost.</p> <h2>Granite countertops</h2> <p>Granite is one of the most popular choices for kitchen countertops and for good reason. It's a beautiful, natural product that not only adds value to your home but also holds up well in daily use.</p> <p><strong>Pros and cons</strong><br /> Granite is a durable substance, so it doesn&#8217;t scratch easily and can handle a little wear and tear. It&#8217;s also resistant to heat, so you&#8217;re safe to put pots and pans on it.</p> <p>The drawback is that granite is porous, and if your countertop is sealed poorly, it can harbor stains and bacteria. Most granite countertops need to be sealed every year.</p> <p><strong>Budget</strong><br /> Granite comes in a wide variety of prices. It can vary from $45 per square foot up to around $100 per square foot, depending on the grade and color pattern.</p> <p>Two nearly identical pieces of granite can have different prices if one has a more even color pattern or simply looks more attractive than the other. And thicker granite is going to be more expensive than thinner granite.</p> <p>In terms of a total kitchen renovation cost, plan on budgeting around 10 percent of your material costs for a granite countertop. That base price usually includes measurement and installation costs and a basic edge profile. More ornate or wider edge profiles will also add to the cost.</p> <figure style="width: 801px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="" alt="" width="801" height="530" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing.</a></figcaption></figure> <p><strong>Where to buy</strong><br /> You can shop for granite countertops at all major home improvement stores, which have dozens of granite sample pieces to browse. However, you should also look at a granite or stone yard.</p> <p>Granite yards typically have a large warehouse with many different countertop slabs. You can pick out the exact slab of granite that will go in your kitchen. They may also have deals where they'll include a free under-mount sink with a countertop purchase.</p> <p><strong>What to look for</strong><br /> You shouldn't pick your granite countertop until you've picked your cabinets. You want a slab that will coordinate with everything else in your kitchen. To make that task easier, bring a small piece of a backsplash tile or kitchen cabinet door with you to see how it pairs with those items.</p> <p>Look at the entire granite slab before you place your order. If you find a slab you like, but it contains a vein or a color you don't like, the granite yard might be able to cut around that discoloration.</p> <h2>Concrete countertops</h2> <p>Unlike granite or marble, concrete countertops aren't cut from a slab and trimmed to order. Instead, concrete countertops are custom-made for each individual kitchen application, giving you near total control over the finished look.</p> <p><strong>Pros and cons</strong><br /> Because of its industrial vibe, concrete usually looks better in a city loft than a country kitchen. However, concrete countertops can be incorporated into any style if designed properly.</p> <p>Concrete colors are predominantly on the darker side of the color scale, with a few lighter options. Edge options may be more limited compared to granite or marble, depending on the supplier.</p> <p>One concrete&#8217;s big advantages is that you can make it whatever thickness you'd like. Standard granite and marble countertops are around 1 to 1.5 inches thick, but it's not uncommon to see concrete countertops 2 to 4 inches thick.</p> <p>However, once you start making your concrete countertop thicker than a standard 1.5 inches, you're adding a lot more weight. A 3-inch thick concrete countertop is like two granite countertops stacked on top of each other - that's a lot of weight.</p> <p>To handle the extra weight from the countertops, your kitchen cabinets might need to be reinforced. A countertop installer can make some recommendations for what's needed.</p> <p><strong>Budget</strong><br /> Concrete countertops run around $100 per square foot, depending on how thick you want them.</p> <p>Although the material costs are low for concrete (around $5 for an 80-pound bag), a significant portion of the cost is in labor - much more so than granite or marble.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228037" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></p> <p><strong>Build techniques</strong><br /> There are two basic approaches to building concrete countertops: off-site and in-place.</p> <p>The off-site method involves building a template of your countertops and molds. The molds are built off-site where the concrete is poured and polished.</p> <p>The in-place approach involves building a mold right on top of your floor cabinets and pouring the concrete right in your kitchen.</p> <p>The off-site method generally looks better and is significantly less intrusive and messy. But the in-place method doesn't give you as smooth of a finished surface, and most concrete countertop builders prefer the off-site method.</p> <p>Countertop options abound, and there&#8217;s no right or wrong answer. Just consider your lifestyle, budget and style, and you&#8217;re sure to make a choice that you&#8217;ll be pleased with for years to come.</p> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Sellers: Here&#8217;s How to Update Your Home With Looks Buyers Love</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Pro Tips for Making the Most of Your Kitchen Remodeling Budget</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Balancing Home Improvements With Big Price Tags</a></li> </ul> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 10 2018-08-01 18:03 +00:00 2018-08-02 06:03 +12:00 Unique Homes Colonial historic homes unique homes This Historic Connecticut Home Once Hosted a Dancing George Washington One of the oldest homes in Connecticut, this house has been a tavern, an arts guild and now a stylish family home. Tue, 31 Jul 2018 17:34:04 Z Jamie Birdwell-Branson <p>Built in 1680 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this center hall Colonial home on <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">1 Sill Lane, Old Lyme, CT</a>, is not only a living testament to early American architecture - it's also got a storied past of its own.</p> <p>The home once served as a storefront during the Revolutionary War and was largely used as the Peck Tavern throughout the second half of the 18th century and early part of the 19th century.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228009" src="" alt="" width="800" height="524" /></p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228016" src="" alt="" width="800" height="524" /></p> <p>It's even rumored that George Washington stopped by to dance in the former ballroom, which is now used as the master bedroom.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228018" src="" alt="" width="800" height="530" /></p> <p>The house was also once headquarters for the Old Lyme Guild, an organization started in the 1930s that exhibited and sold arts and crafts.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228011" src="" alt="" width="800" height="512" /></p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228012" src="" alt="" width="800" height="542" /></p> <p>For a period of time, there were even shops for cabinetmakers, bookbinders, metal workers, potters and weavers out in the barn.</p> <p>"Can you imagine the conversations that have happened in this house? That's something I like to think about," says the homeowner.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228020" src="" alt="" width="800" height="529" /></p> <p>In addition to its spectacular history, the home is also architecturally significant. Hand-hewn beamed ceilings and corner posts, original wide board floors, and rare double-arched paneling that was specific to the Connecticut River Valley in the 18<span style="font-size: 13.3333px;">th</span> century are just a few of the unique features in the home.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228010" src="" alt="" width="800" height="516" /></p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228019" src="" alt="" width="800" height="530" /></p> <p>Updated for modern living (yet still keeping the historical integrity), the home now has geothermal heating and cooling, a modern kitchen and updated bathrooms, as well as plenty of space for entertaining.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228013" src="" alt="" width="800" height="515" /></p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-228015" src="" alt="" width="800" height="518" /></p> <p>"It's been a wonderful house to be able to share with friends and family," says the homeowner.</p> <p>The home is <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">listed for $1.195 million</a> by William Pitt Sotheby's International Realty.</p> <p><em>Photos courtesy of Peter Harron.</em></p> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A 200-Year-Old Log Cabin That&#8217;s Anything but Old-Fashioned – House of the Week</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">This California Cabin + Airstream Combo Is a Mid-Century Must-See</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A Cool Twist on a Historic Ice House – House of the Week</a></li> </ul> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 8 2018-07-31 17:34 +00:00 2018-08-01 05:34 +12:00 Tips & Advice First Time Home Buyers home buying Renting 5 Expenses Homeowners Pay That Renters Don't Thinking about buying? Be sure to include these five items in your calculations. Mon, 30 Jul 2018 14:16:47 Z Sarah Pike <p>Homeownership may be a goal for some, but it&#8217;s not the right fit for many.</p> <p>Renters account for <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">37 percent</a> of all households in America - or just over 43.7 million homes, up more than 6.9 million since 2005. Even still, <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">more than half</a> of millennial and Gen Z renters consider buying, with 18 percent seriously considering it.</p> <p>Both lifestyles afford their fair share of pros and cons. So before you meet with a real estate agent, consider these five costs homeowners pay that renters don't - they could make you reconsider buying altogether.</p> <h2>1. Property taxes</h2> <p>As long as you own a home, you&#8217;ll pay property taxes. The typical U.S. homeowner pays <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">$2,110 per year</a> in property taxes, meaning they&#8217;re a significant - and ongoing - chunk of your budget.</p> <p>Factor this expense into the equation from the get-go to avoid surprises down the road. The property tax rates vary among states, so try a <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">mortgage calculator</a> to estimate costs in your area.</p> <h2>2. Homeowners insurance</h2> <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Homeowners insurance</a> protects you against losses and damage to your home caused by perils such as fires, storms or burglary. It also covers legal costs if someone is injured in your home or on your property.</p> <p>Homeowners insurance is almost always required in order to get a home loan. It costs an average of <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">$35 per month for every $100,000 of your home's value</a>.</p> <p>If you intend to purchase a condo, you'll need a condo insurance policy - separate from traditional homeowner's insurance - which costs an average of $100 to $400 a year.</p> <h2>3. Maintenance and repairs</h2> <p>Don't forget about those small repairs that you won't be calling your landlord about anymore. Notice a tear in your window screen? Can't get your toilet to stop running? What about those burned out light bulbs in your hallway? You get the idea.</p> <p>Maintenance costs can add <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">an additional $3,021</a> to the typical U.S. homeowner's annual bill. Of course, this amount increases as your home ages.</p> <p>And don&#8217;t forget about repairs. Conventional water heaters last about a decade, with a new one costing you between $500 to $1,500 on average. Air conditioning units don't typically last much longer than 15 years, and an asphalt shingle roof won't serve you too well after 20 years.</p> <h2>4. HOA fees</h2> <p>Sure, that monthly mortgage payment seems affordable, but don't forget to take homeowners association (HOA) fees into account.</p> <p>On average, <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">HOA fees cost anywhere from $200 to $400 per month.</a> They usually fund perks like your fitness center, neighborhood landscaping, community pool and other common areas.</p> <p>Such amenities are usually covered as a renter, but when you own your home, you're paying for these luxuries on top of your mortgage payment.</p> <h2>5. Utilities</h2> <p>When you're renting, it's common for your apartment or landlord to cover some costs. When you own your home, you're in charge of covering it all - water, electric, gas, internet and cable.</p> <p>While many factors determine how much you'll pay for utilities - like the size of your home and the climate you live in - the typical U.S. homeowner pays <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">$2,953 in utility costs</a> every year.</p> <p>Ultimately, renting might be more cost-effective in the end, depending on your lifestyle, location and financial situation. As long as you <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">crunch the numbers</a> and factor in these costs, you&#8217;ll make the right choice for your needs.</p> <p><strong>Related</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Hidden Costs of Homeownership Typically Top $9,000 a Year</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">5 Mortgage Misconceptions Set Straight</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">&#8216;You&#8217;re Throwing Money Away&#8217; and Other Myths About Renting</a></li> </ul> <p><em>Originally published August 18, 2015. Statistics updated July 2018.</em></p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 4 2018-07-30 14:16 +00:00 2018-07-31 02:16 +12:00 Unique Homes treehouses unique homes This Nashville Treehouse Will Drench You in Light – House of the Week With a dreamy bed, upcycled elements and original art, this Music City dwelling elevates tranquil living. Tue, 24 Jul 2018 20:42:16 Z Lindsay Cohen <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Somewhere in East Nashville - at the intersection of windows and woodwork - you'll find something wonderful.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">That's exactly what Sloane Southard and Emily Leonard Southard intended when they imagined a guesthouse on a tree-filled piece of land in the city they love. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Sloane and I designed it together, and he built it," said Emily, a painter and artist. "[Sloane] owns a home restoration company, called <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">The Standard Sash</a>, that specializes in windows, which is why we used so many salvaged windows in the design."</span></p> <figure id="attachment_227834" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img class="wp-image-227834 size-full" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo by <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Laura Dart</a>.</figcaption></figure> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Stunning vintage windows fill every wall of the tiny home, which is perched a few feet above the ground. There's a peekaboo skylight overlooking a vintage wrought-iron bed the couple picked up from the Nashville Flea Market. A plant hangs from above.</span></p> <figure id="attachment_227838" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img class="wp-image-227838 size-full" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo by <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Laura Dart</a>.</figcaption></figure> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Emily, <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">an artist</a> for more than 15 years</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">, filled the space with her work, including the floor murals.</span></p> <figure id="attachment_227839" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img class="wp-image-227839 size-full" src="" alt="" width="800" height="1200" /><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo by <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Laura Dart</a>.</figcaption></figure> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The duo added other vintage touches to the home they lovingly call <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">The Fox House</a>. There's a weathered turquoise trunk that serves as a coffee table and a Mid-Century Modern couch in the perfect shade of 1950s green. </span></p> <figure id="attachment_227837" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img class="wp-image-227837 size-full" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo by <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Laura Dart</a>.</figcaption></figure> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There's little more to the home beyond books, a patio and a writing desk. (Relaxation is the story you'll want to write here.)</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Outside, there's a hammock and string lights, which glow as the sun sets on the space. With deer, birds and squirrels for neighbors, you might catch a passing glimpse at a fawn grazing on some grass.</span></p> <figure id="attachment_227840" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img class="wp-image-227840 size-full" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo by <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Laura Dart</a>.</figcaption></figure> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The home is currently available as a <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">short-term rental</a></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. </span></p> <figure id="attachment_227833" style="width: 800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img class="wp-image-227833 size-full" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photo by <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Laura Dart</a>.</figcaption></figure> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Top image by <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Laura Dart</a>.</span></em></p> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A Treehouse Trio For Grown-Ups - House of the Week</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Tour These Whimsical Cabins Made From Recycled Materials</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Explore a Tiny, Tropical Treehouse in Hawaii</a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 6 2018-07-24 20:42 +00:00 2018-07-25 08:42 +12:00 Home Improvement DIY gardening How to Build Your Own Vertical Garden With Shipping Pallets Need some green in that small space? Grow up! This simple DIY will show you how. Mon, 23 Jul 2018 19:30:23 Z Steve Asbell <p>Take your green thumb to new heights (and small spaces!) with a vertical garden.</p> <p>This DIY is a great way to integrate a little greenery into any space, including an apartment or small porch.</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Supplies:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Two pallets</li> <li>Tarp</li> <li>Hammer</li> <li>Pry bar</li> <li>Gloves</li> <li>Safety goggles and ear protection</li> <li>Sanding blocks or sandpaper</li> <li>Paintbrush</li> <li>Water-based stain</li> <li>Water-based clear sealant</li> <li>Two 3 1/2-inch utility hinges</li> <li>Screws</li> <li>Landscape fabric</li> <li>Staple gun and staples</li> <li>Screwdriver or screw gun</li> <li>Scissors</li> <li>Organic potting mix</li> <li>Fertilizer</li> <li>Plants</li> </ul> <h2><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-227772" src="" alt="" width="800" height="450" /></h2> <p>A note on plant choice: Before you go wild at the garden center, consider your vertical garden&#8217;s placement.</p> <p>To grow most vegetables, herbs, succulents and annual flowers, you will need at least six hours of direct sunlight. A shady spot limits your choices, but you can still create a lush planting of <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shade-loving foliage plants</a>, begonias and coral bells.</p> <p>Many vegetables and annuals will only succeed in certain conditions, so read the tags to decide if they're right for this season. Finally, consider the potential size and habit of each plant before packing them into such a small space.</p> <h2>1. Source heat-treated pallets</h2> <p>Many pallets are treated with toxic chemicals, so look for the initials &#8220;HT&#8221; to select heat-treated pallets. The wood should also be hard, clean and relatively smooth.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-227773" src="" alt="" width="800" height="450" /></p> <h2>2. Add space by removing boards</h2> <p>Wearing ear and eye protection (it&#8217;s a loud process!), remove every other board with a pry bar. This will give plants sunlight and room to grow.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-227776" src="" alt="" width="800" height="450" /></p> <h2>3. Sand rough spots</h2> <p>Wearing gloves, remove any debris. Sand down the splinters and rough edges, hammering down or replacing any protruding nails.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-227777" src="" alt="" width="800" height="450" /></p> <h2>4. Apply waterproof stain</h2> <p>For a decorative finish, apply a water-based wood stain. Using a paintbrush, paint along the grain of the wood, and wipe off any excess stain with a rag.</p> <p>If you're growing vegetables or herbs, line the inside with plastic before planting. This will prevent chemicals from leaching into the potting mix.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-227778" src="" alt="" width="800" height="450" /></p> <p>Allow the stain to cure for at least 24 hours. Once dry, apply a layer of water-based clear sealant to protect the wood from the elements.</p> <h2>5. Connect pallets with hinges</h2> <p>Stack the two pallets together, ensuring that the bottom edges are level. Attach the hinges to the sides of the pallets with screws, placing them about one-third and two-thirds of the way down for stability.</p> <p>You may also choose to drill pilot holes first to prevent splitting.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-227779" src="" alt="" width="800" height="450" /></p> <h2>6. Cut landscape fabric</h2> <p>Since pallets come in all shapes and sizes, use the first sheet of landscape fabric to create a template. It should provide ample planting room, as well as about an inch of overlap for the stables.</p> <p>Once you've tested the template, cut the remaining sheets to the same size.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-227780" src="" alt="" width="800" height="450" /></p> <h2>7. Line pallets with fabric</h2> <p>Create a pocket by tucking the landscape fabric into the opening, and staple it in place along the outer edge. Repeat for the remaining pockets.</p> <p>If extra moisture retention is needed, include an extra layer of fabric.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-227781" src="" alt="" width="800" height="450" /></p> <h2>8. Add organic soil</h2> <p>Before adding potting mix, move the pallet garden to its final location, making sure that it will receive enough sunlight for the plants you've chosen.</p> <p>Fill each pocket about three-fourths of the way full with moisture-retentive potting mix. Set aside some potting mix so that you can add a layer after planting.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-227782" src="" alt="" width="800" height="450" /></p> <h2>9. Add fertilizer</h2> <p>If the potting mix doesn't already contain fertilizer, sprinkle fertilizer over the surface according to label instructions.</p> <h2>10. Add plants</h2> <p>Before planting, water each plant to keep their brittle roots from breaking. Then slip each plant's rootball out of the pot, soil and all. Gently tease apart the roots with your fingers, and nestle them into the potting mix, one by one.</p> <p>Since excess water will drip down to the lowest pockets, fill the upper pockets with drought-tolerant plants such as succulents, sedums, rosemary and lavender. In the lower pockets, incorporate thirstier plants like ferns, basil and mint.</p> <p>Once the plants have been arranged to your liking, cover with another layer of potting mix, and lightly sprinkle with water to help the mix settle around the roots.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-227783" src="" alt="" width="800" height="450" /></p> <h2>Caring for your vertical garden</h2> <p>Water the uppermost pocket every morning, allowing enough water to reach the other plants. You may need to water two to three times for thirstier varieties of herbs and vegetables, particularly on hot days.</p> <p>Feed plants once a week with a liquid fertilizer to replace any nutrients that leach out from the potting mix.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-227771" src="" alt="" width="800" height="450" /></p> <p>Now it's time to enjoy your vertical garden and its bounty.</p> <p>As plants outgrow their space, <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">transplant them</a> to the garden or larger containers. You may also choose to start from scratch each season, planting a whole new garden from seeds or transplants.</p> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Repurpose Your Rope: 3 Decorative DIYs to Try</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">How to Grow a Spectacular Container Garden</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Do&#8217;s and Don&#8217;ts of Summer Landscaping</a></li> </ul> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 1 2018-07-23 19:30 +00:00 2018-07-24 07:30 +12:00 Tips & Advice neighbors 7 Qualities of a Good Neighbor Win and woo your next-door friends with a little neighborly know-how. Thu, 19 Jul 2018 18:35:55 Z Steve Asbell <p>If you want good neighbors, you'll first have to become one yourself. Master these seven techniques, and even you (yes, you!) can win the approval of your entire neighborhood.</p> <h2>1. Good neighbors bring cookies</h2> <p>Whether you're new in town or haven't kept in touch, a delivery of freshly baked goods is a perfect way to break the ice and let neighbors know that you're thinking of them.</p> <p>If cookies can keep Santa returning year after year with a bag full of loot, then surely they can train your neighbors to do your bidding. Consider the following scenario.</p> <p>"Honey, somebody's robbing the neighbor's house again."<br /> "Wait, Janet. The ones who brought cookies yesterday?"<br /> "Exactly. This time I'll call the cops."</p> <h2>2. Good neighbors rarely gossip</h2> <p>If your neighbor seems to know the dirt on everyone within a two-block radius, you can count on them to keep tabs on your personal life as well.</p> <p>The next time Nosy Nellie gleefully describes the contents of the Rickenbacker's trash again, move the conversation along by refocusing the conversation on her. "So, what are you growing in <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">your garden</a> this year?"</p> <p>You aren't in high school anymore, so preserve relationships with your neighbors and avoid the gratuitous gab fests.</p> <h2>3. Good neighbors share phone numbers</h2> <p>For such a connected age, you should really question why you don't have your neighbors' phone numbers. After all, what if they receive your package by mistake? What if the house floods while you're on vacation? Worse yet, what if you need a babysitter?</p> <p>If you feel uncomfortable bringing it up, ask during one of your cookie deliveries (you are following rule number one, right?) or right before a trip. Jot down your name, number and email address on a piece of paper and ask if your neighbor is comfortable sharing theirs.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-227750" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <h2>4. Good neighbors help before they're asked</h2> <p>The neighbor who says, "Let me know if you need anything," probably isn't going to help whenever you actually need something. You, on the other hand, are a good neighbor and genuinely want to help out.</p> <p>To get ahead of the meaningless small talk, anticipate their needs. If they have kids and you're comfortable babysitting, tell them up front. If they're clearly struggling to mow <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the lawn</a> during a heat wave, ask for the best time to stop by with your lawnmower.</p> <h2>5. Good neighbors are tidy</h2> <p>Even if you lack self-respect, respect the sensitive tastes of others and clean up your act.</p> <p>Keep the ironic lawn ornaments to a minimum. Keep trash receptacles hidden in the side yard, or better yet, the garage.</p> <p>Whenever you've finished gardening or landscaping for the day, put away your tools and bags of unused mulch. Rake the leaves and clean up grass clippings and all the other stuff your dad used to bug you about.</p> <p>And if it's not too much trouble, pressure wash and <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">paint your house</a> periodically.</p> <h2>6. Good neighbors mow the lawn</h2> <p>An unkempt and weedy lawn is embarrassing for your neighbors, so it should be embarrassing for you as well. Keeping it mowed every week or two is a good start, but it will take more than that to win the approval of the locals.</p> <p>Trim the edge of your lawn regularly, fertilize on schedule and keep weeds to a minimum. Keep your foundation plantings simple, neatly trimmed and topped off with mulch.</p> <p>If your neighborhood allows it, go the no-lawn method by planting swaths of low-maintenance, drought-tolerant ground covers. Crucially, don't overdo it on the sprinklers - especially when it's raining.</p> <h2>7. Good neighbors communicate</h2> <p>That old &#8220;good fences make good neighbors&#8221; quote had to come up at some point, right? A good neighbor must respect boundaries. That said, they should also be crossed when the fences themselves start losing pickets and falling over in a storm.</p> <p>Even if it's technically their fence, you might not be happy with the shoddy workmanship and resentment that you'll have to live with when they get around to fixing it themselves.</p> <p>Address shared interests like fences, drainage ditches and troublesome trees ahead of time so that you can work out a plan that both parties can agree to.</p> <p>Oh, and don't forget to bring cookies.</p> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">When Selling a Home, the Neighbors Matter</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">6 Smart Ways to Build Home Equity</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">How to Choose the Right School: 6 Tips for Parents</a></li> </ul> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 5 2018-07-19 18:35 +00:00 2018-07-20 06:35 +12:00 Tips & Advice Moving neighbors 5 Ways to Get to Know Your Neighbors Whether you're a social butterfly or a homebody, getting friendly with the folks next door will make your new house feel like home. Thu, 19 Jul 2018 15:50:24 Z Jessica Rourk <p>Leaving friends and neighbors behind can be the toughest part of <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">moving to a new home</a>.</p> <p>These five tips will help you make connections and settle into your new community in no time.</p> <h2>1. Knock, knock</h2> <p>For an extrovert, walking over to a neighbor's home to say hello may feel like a no-brainer. But for more reserved personalities, this tried-and-true method usually requires a bit of a warmup.</p> <p>Start with a friendly wave as you drive by, then work your way up to a face-to-face introduction. Remember, timing is everything. You don't want to disturb your neighbors in the middle of dinner or while they're struggling to get a fussy toddler down for the night.</p> <p>Try to catch them when they're already outside, or aim for a weekend afternoon when everyone is much more likely to be relaxed and open to a brief, friendly chat.</p> <h2>2. Snail mail</h2> <p>Can't work up the nerve to knock on doors? In this age of electronic communication, a nice handwritten note can be a welcome surprise.</p> <p>Write a few lines for your closest neighbors, introducing yourself and inviting them over for a cup of coffee or cocktail at their convenience.</p> <p>Be sure to personalize each note by including a small conversation starter (e.g., the roses in front of your home are absolutely stunning! We're poodle lovers too!), then drop your letters at your neighbors' front door or in their mailbox.</p> <h2>3. Magic school bus</h2> <p>If you've got school-age children, accompany them to the bus stop for the first few days of class.</p> <p>You're likely to run into at least one other parent who can fill you in on both neighborhood and <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">school happenings</a> - and people love to talk about their kids, so you won't have to worry about awkward silences and finding common ground.</p> <p>Exchange contact info and invite the family over for some weekend fun.</p> <h2>4. Man's best friend</h2> <p>Our pets often are the friendliest members of the family, so let your four-legged companion break the ice for you.</p> <p>Dog parks are a natural spot for meeting new friends, both canine and human. You can also meet fellow pet lovers while walking your dog through your neighborhood - cleaning up any messes, of course.</p> <p>You can get recommendations for trails, vets and parks, as well as ask about any pet-themed meetups in the area.</p> <h2>5. Turn the page</h2> <p>Don't let the name fool you: Book clubs are as much about socializing as they are about reading.</p> <p>Check out your library or local bookstore for groups near you, or you can find one online. If possible, contact the host ahead of time to ask whether you should bring any refreshments (wine!), and come armed with a few key insights about the book and recommendations for the next session.</p> <p>Who knows? You could pick the next talk of the town.</p> <h2>Bonus: life of the party</h2> <p>Once you've made a few connections, team up to host a neighborhood block party. Volunteer to handle snacks and other logistics, and ask your more established neighbors to spread the word.</p> <p>Pick a seasonal theme - hot dogs and lemonade for <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">summer</a>, cookies and warm cider for fall - and spend an afternoon meeting new friends and getting the inside scoop on the best places to eat and play near your new home.</p> <p>Before you call it a day, pass the torch to another neighbor and make the block party a new tradition.</p> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">7 Qualities of a Good Neighbor</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">When Selling a Home, the Neighbors Matter</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">3 Things to Do When Your Neighbors List Their Home for Sale</a></li> </ul> <p><em>Originally published September 3, 2015.</em></p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 34 2018-07-19 15:50 +00:00 2018-07-20 03:50 +12:00 Tips & Advice home buying Moving relocation How to Choose the Right School: 6 Tips for Parents Find a school that makes the grade - all it takes is a little homework. Wed, 18 Jul 2018 16:22:29 Z Cheryl Reid-Simons <p>If you're a parent, buying or renting a new home isn't just about where you'll tuck the kids into bed at night - it's also about where you'll send them off to school in the morning.</p> <p>So, how can you be sure your dream house feeds into your child's dream school? You're going to have to do some homework.</p> <h2>1. Go beyond the numbers</h2> <p>Every state's education department publishes an online "report card" for each district and school. But just as you wouldn't buy a house based solely on square footage or listing photos, you shouldn't select a school just for its test scores and teacher-to-student ratios.</p> <p>Dr. Steve McCammon, chief operating officer at Schlechty Center, a nonprofit that helps school districts improve student engagement and learning, cautions that most reported test scores are for English and math. They don't provide insight into arts or music programs or how well a school teaches critical thinking skills.</p> <p>The right school isn't something you can determine based on any statistics, numbers or even reputation, says Andrew Rotherham, co-founder of Bellwether Education Partners and writer for the Eduwonk blog.</p> <p>"Don't go where the highest test scores are or where everybody else says you should go," he says. "Different kids want different things. Go to the school that fits your kid."</p> <p>Adds Rotherham: "The most important things are what does your kid need and what does the school do to meet those needs. Whether you're talking public, private or charter, you can find excellence and mediocrity in all of those sectors."</p> <h2>2. Take a school tour</h2> <p>Just as you'd look around potential homes before signing a contract, you'll want to do the same with potential schools. Call and arrange to tour the school and observe.</p> <p>"Be suspicious of any school that isn't into letting you visit," says Rotherham. Some schools may say visitors are too disruptive, but he calls that a cop-out. "With some fairly basic norms, you can have parents and other visitors around without disrupting learning."</p> <p>Sit in on a class or two and take notes. You want to see students who are genuinely engaged, not wasting time or bored. It's OK for a classroom to have lots of talk and movement if it's all directed toward a learning goal.</p> <p>Schools should be relatively noisy places. McCammon says, "If you go into a middle school, and you hear no noises, I would be concerned that the principal is more interested in keeping order than in making sure kids are learning."</p> <p>Observe how teachers and administrators interact with the students and vice versa. Do they display mutual respect? "You don't need to be an education expert," says Rotherham.</p> <p>See if student work is on display. "A good school is a school where, regardless of grade level, student work is everywhere," McCammon says. "It means that place is about kids and their work."</p> <p>Talk to kids, too - they're the subject matter experts on their school. And if you have friends with kids in schools you're considering, ask them what they like and don't like about their schools. Kids won't try to feed you a line. "They're pretty unfiltered," Rotherham says.</p> <p>Check out the physical space, suggests National PTA President Jim Accomando. However, don't get caught up on the building's age and overlook the quality of the programs going on inside.</p> <p>Look for signs that the school community takes pride in the facility. It might not be pristine, but trash on the floors or signs of rampant vandalism are red flags. If you see something that seems off or odd, ask if there's a plan to address it.</p> <h2>3. Check out the community</h2> <p>Go to a school board meeting for clues about the district. Are parents there because their children are being honored or their work is being showcased? Or are they there because of a problem? Likewise, attend a PTA or PTO meeting, and chat with the parents there. They are likely the most involved "outsiders" and can share school challenges and successes.</p> <p>Another consideration: the makeup of the students. Chances are, if you opt for a neighborhood school, you'll find a certain similarity between your kids and their classmates, because there are probably a lot of similarities between you and your neighbors. But a school that has a diverse student body offers a big benefit.</p> <p>"We live in a diverse society," Rotherham says. "If you want to prepare your kids for what their lives are going to be like in this country going forward, it's important for them to have experience with diverse groups."</p> <p>Even if your child's school isn't particularly diverse, avenues like sports and music give them a chance to interact with students from different backgrounds.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-224347" src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <h2>4. Think long term</h2> <p>Today's first-grader will be heading to middle school before you know it. Unless you plan on moving relatively soon, be aware of the middle and high schools in your district.</p> <p>"If you pick a house because you love the elementary school, you'd better be psyched by the middle school and high school," Rotherham says. "Or have some kind of a plan" for post-elementary years.</p> <p>Of course, there is such a thing as planning too far ahead. The music prodigy wowing your friends at her third-grade recorder performance may decide she hates band and wants to focus on soccer by the time she hits middle school. Rest assured: If upper-level schools in your prospective district are about kids doing great work, they'll likely be a good fit.</p> <h2>5. Watch for boundary issues</h2> <p>Pay attention to the boundaries of prospective school districts. The houses across the cul-de-sac could be in a different school service area or even a different school district. And boundaries often change. To be sure, call the school district and give them the specific address you're interested in.</p> <p>Don't assume you can fudge an address or get a waiver to enroll your children in a school or a district that doesn't match your address. Things that were allowed last year may not be this year. If an individual school or district is at capacity, they will get very picky about enrollment outside of the school assigned to your home, which can lead to heartbreak if you find yourself on the wrong side of that boundary line.</p> <h2>6. Look for a place where you feel welcome</h2> <p>Whatever involvement you put into your child's school will pay off, says Accomando. "If you can be engaged at school, you will understand the pulse of what's happening there."</p> <p>He also says that doesn't mean getting sucked into a huge commitment. "You can read in your child's first-grade class. You can hand out water at a fun run or contribute something for a teacher appreciation party at the high school. And when you do, walk the halls and see what's happening."</p> <p>McCammon says good schools should welcome parents as volunteers and visitors. "Look for evidence of parents feeling comfortable and engaging with the school," he says. The principal should be someone you feel comfortable talking with if there's a problem.</p> <p>No matter how welcoming the school, it's natural to have some butterflies on the first day in a new school. Just as it takes time for a new house to feel like home, it takes time for kids to settle into a new school.</p> <p>Once they've found their way to the restroom without asking directions, made some friends and gotten to know their teacher, they'll be comfortable with their new learning home. And your research will have been well worth the effort.</p> <h6><em>Photos courtesy of Shutterstock.</em></h6> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">5 Benefits of Apartment Living for Families</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Your Essential Moving Checklist</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">5 Tips for House Hunting With Kids</a></li> </ul> <p><em>Originally published January 17, 2018.</em></p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 10 2018-07-18 16:22 +00:00 2018-07-19 04:22 +12:00 Unique Homes tiny homes unique homes This Rockin' Tiny Home Actually Doubles as an Amp – House of the Week Impromptu jam sessions are no problem when your house was built to rock and roll (literally). Tue, 17 Jul 2018 22:16:02 Z Jamie Birdwell-Branson <p>The road home was a long one for Asha Mevlana, lead violinist for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra&#8217;s West Coast tour.</p> <p>After a breast cancer diagnosis 18 years ago, Mevlana quit her job in public relations and moved to Los Angeles to become a professional violinist.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-227699" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></p> <p>Mevlana not only successfully went into remission but also prospered in her music career, touring with acts like Dee Snider and Gnarls Barkley.</p> <p>After years on the road and storage units on each coast, Mevlana decided she was ready to downsize and plant roots somewhere unexpected: Fayetteville, AR.</p> <p>She made plans to build a <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">tiny house</a> in Arkansas on her brother's land. The build took only six weeks but produced spectacular results.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-227716" src="" alt="" width="800" height="557" /></p> <p>Mevlana's <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">tiny home</a> is separated into two pieces: a 400-square-foot main house and a 160-square-foot amplified trailer/studio/guesthouse on wheels that she can take <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">on the road</a>.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-227705" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-227700" src="" alt="" width="800" height="594" /></p> <p>A large deck, which often serves as a stage, joins the two structures, and the amplified trailer is fully operable, ready for use with any electric instrument.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-227721" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></p> <p>Other unique features of this musician's haven are a cranking bike wheel that raises and lowers a pot rack, recycled denim soundproofing in the music trailer, and a garage door that serves as a window feature in the main house.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-227717" src="" alt="" width="650" height="863" /></p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-227710" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-227708" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></p> <p>Mevlana said it's easy to embrace her minimalist lifestyle after all that she's been through over the years.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-227720" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-227712" src="" alt="" width="800" height="609" /></p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-227715" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></p> <p>"The experience with breast cancer really changed my life in so many ways, and one of those was life is not just about money and having things and collecting things," Mevlana said.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-227723" src="" alt="" width="800" height="534" /></p> <p><em>Photos by <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Erik Hecht</a>.</em></p> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">This School Bus Is a Tiny Home &#8230; to a Family of 6!</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">This Double Shipping Container Home Has Twice the Delight – House of the Week</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Tour These Whimsical Cabins Made From Recycled Materials</a></li> </ul> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 6 2018-07-17 22:16 +00:00 2018-07-18 10:16 +12:00 Tips & Advice neighbors open houses 3 Things to Do When Your Neighbors List Their Home for Sale The sign just went up next door. How does your neighbor's impending sale affect you? Mon, 16 Jul 2018 21:23:21 Z Brendon DeSimone <p>Most people think their real estate concerns end once they've closed on and moved into their new homes. But when a neighbor's house goes on the market, there can be some important implications for you.</p> <p>Here are some tips for staying real estate aware.</p> <h2>1. Document important disclosure items</h2> <p>For the most part, good fences make good neighbors. But sometimes the folks on the other side of the fence don't cooperate, and unresolved neighbor conflicts tend to arise when one of the homes goes on the market.</p> <p>Have a property line dispute? Or an issue with a broken fence and you want the new buyer to know about it? While sellers in most states have a duty to <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">disclose issues to potential buyers</a>, not all areas require this.</p> <p>Do your new neighbor-to-be a favor and alert the seller&#8217;s agent to anything the buyer needs to know about your neighbor&#8217;s property.</p> <h2>2. See things differently</h2> <p>Open houses allow buyers to spend some time exploring a home, but these events also present you with a chance to see your home from your neighbor's perspective.</p> <p>Once at a busy open house in San Francisco's Noe Valley neighborhood, an open house visitor made a somewhat obvious beeline for the back of the house. He immediately got on the phone and started talking with someone about where he was standing, giving orders to move left and right.</p> <p>It turned out this visitor lived in the home behind, and he was checking to see the neighbor's view into his home.</p> <p>The open house is your chance to check <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">your home's paint job</a> from the neighbor&#8217;s yard or simply to see your home from a different perspective.</p> <h2>3. Know and learn the market in real time</h2> <p>Typical sellers <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">claim and save their home online</a>, but they also keep searches going after the fact. Why? To keep tabs on the market, <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">see the comps</a> and have a real-time sense of what's happening nearby.</p> <p>Just like when you were a buyer, knowing about the area and types of homes in the market is a good move for any homeowner. Take a neighboring home for sale as an opportunity to see what the market bears. You can also learn about the latest trends in home design.</p> <p>Speaking to a real estate agent can keep you informed of changes to property taxes or how assessments are changing in your town. A smart real estate agent, working their listing, will be an incredible resource to would-be clients down the road. Leverage their experience when your neighbor sells.</p> <p>Take note when your neighbor goes to sell their home. It's not just a time to nose around, but to document, inspect or learn from the home sale. Some homes get listed once in a lifetime - take advantage of the opportunity.</p> <p><strong>Related</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">5 Ways to Get to Know Your Neighbors</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Making the Most of an Open House Visit</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Quiz: Should You Renovate Your Home or Sell?</a></li> </ul> <p><em>Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.</em></p> <p><em>Originally published October 31, 2016.</em></p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 4 2018-07-16 21:23 +00:00 2018-07-17 09:23 +12:00 Unique Homes unique homes Quiz: Which Perfect Pool Is Cool for the Summer? It's a battle of the backyards! Which poolside retreat has your vote? Mon, 16 Jul 2018 18:49:30 Z Jamie Birdwell-Branson <p>There&#8217;s nothing more refreshing than a dip in the pool during the dog days of summer. Whether you&#8217;re a floater, a diver or more of a poolside lounger, a pool is the best summer gathering spot for all your friends and family.</p> <p>So, grab your floaties, put on some sunscreen and get ready to take the plunge - it&#8217;s time to choose the pools where you&#8217;d most like to spend a scorching summer day!</p> <div class="riddle_target" style="margin: 0 auto; max-width: 100%; width: 640px;" data-rid-id="158672" data-fg="#0074E4" data-bg="#FFFFFF" data-auto-scroll="true"><script src=""></script><br /> <iframe style="width: 100%; height: 300px; border: 1px solid #cfcfcf;" title="Opinion Poll - Colonial retreat or posh garden pool?" src="" width="300" height="150"></p> <section> <h2>Colonial retreat or posh garden pool?</h2> </section> <section> <h2>Colonial retreat</h2> </section> <section> <h3>Posh garden pool</h3> </section> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p></iframe><em>Photos from Zillow listings: <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Colonial retreat</a>, <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">posh garden pool</a>.</em>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="riddle_target" style="margin: 0 auto; max-width: 100%; width: 640px;" data-rid-id="158676" data-fg="#0074E4" data-bg="#FFFFFF" data-auto-scroll="true"><script src=""></script><br /> <iframe style="width: 100%; height: 300px; border: 1px solid #cfcfcf;" title="Opinion Poll - Hamptons hideaway or spacious sanctuary?" src="" width="300" height="150"></p> <section> <h2>Hamptons hideaway or spacious sanctuary?</h2> </section> <section> <h2>Hamptons hideaway</h2> </section> <section> <h3>Spacious sanctuary</h3> </section> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p></iframe><em>Photos from Zillow listings: <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Hamptons hideaway</a>, <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">spacious sanctuary.</a></em>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="riddle_target" style="margin: 0 auto; max-width: 100%; width: 640px;" data-rid-id="158678" data-fg="#0074E4" data-bg="#FFFFFF" data-auto-scroll="true"><script src=""></script><br /> <iframe style="width: 100%; height: 300px; border: 1px solid #cfcfcf;" title="Opinion Poll - Coastal luxury or palatial paradise?" src="" width="300" height="150"></p> <section> <h2>Coastal luxury or palatial paradise?</h2> </section> <section> <h2>Coastal luxury</h2> </section> <section> <h3>Palatial paradise</h3> </section> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p></iframe><em>Photos from Zillow listings: <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">coastal luxury</a>, <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">palatial paradise.</a></em>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="riddle_target" style="margin: 0 auto; max-width: 100%; width: 640px;" data-rid-id="158683" data-fg="#0074E4" data-bg="#FFFFFF" data-auto-scroll="true"><script src=""></script><br /> <iframe style="width: 100%; height: 300px; border: 1px solid #cfcfcf;" title="Opinion Poll - Seaside stunner or lakefront lagoon?" src="" width="300" height="150"></p> <section> <h2>Seaside stunner or lakefront lagoon?</h2> </section> <section> <h2>Seaside stunner</h2> </section> <section> <h3>Lakefront lagoon</h3> </section> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p></iframe><em>Photos from Zillow listings: <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">seaside stunner</a>, <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">lakefront lagoon.</a></em>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="riddle_target" style="margin: 0 auto; max-width: 100%; width: 640px;" data-rid-id="158685" data-fg="#0074E4" data-bg="#FFFFFF" data-auto-scroll="true"><script src=""></script><br /> <iframe style="width: 100%; height: 300px; border: 1px solid #cfcfcf;" title="Opinion Poll - Mid-Century minimalist or historic harbor charmer?" src="" width="300" height="150"></p> <section> <h2>Mid-Century minimalist or historic harbor charmer?</h2> </section> <section> <h2>Mid-Century minimalist</h2> </section> <section> <h3>Historic harbor charmer</h3> </section> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p></iframe><em>Photos from Zillow listings: <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Mid-Century minimalist</a>, <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">historic harbor charmer.</a></em>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="riddle_target" style="margin: 0 auto; max-width: 100%; width: 640px;" data-rid-id="158688" data-fg="#0074E4" data-bg="#FFFFFF" data-auto-scroll="true"><script src=""></script><br /> <iframe style="width: 100%; height: 300px; border: 1px solid #cfcfcf;" title="Opinion Poll - Tropical waterfall resort or dreamy desert oasis?" src="" width="300" height="150"></p> <section> <h2>Tropical waterfall resort or dreamy desert oasis?</h2> </section> <section> <h2>Tropical waterfall resort</h2> </section> <section> <h3>Dreamy desert oasis</h3> </section> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p></iframe><em>Photos from Zillow listings: <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">tropical waterfall resort</a>, <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">dreamy desert oasis.</a></em></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Top featured photo from <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zillow listing</a>.</em></p> <p><strong>Related:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Summer Smackdown: Which Home Is Your Favorite?</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">13 Simple Steps to Prep Your Home for the Best Summer Ever</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Quiz: Which Summer Space Melts Your Heart?</a></li> </ul> <div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div> 88 2018-07-16 18:49 +00:00 2018-07-17 06:49 +12:00 Flawed rental policy not the answer Renters United's plan to "fix" New Zealand's "broken" rental laws is poorly thought out and will negatively affect everyone, NZ Property Investors Federation executive officer Andrew King argues... Fri, 13 Jul 2018 06:00:00 +1300 2018-07-13 06:00 +13:00 2018-07-13 05:00 +12:00 Tax working group agrees property fairly taxed Claims that rental property is undertaxed are based on flawed assumptions and the Tax Working Group agrees, the NZ Property Investors Federation says... Wed, 04 Jul 2018 10:00:00 +1300 2018-07-04 10:00 +13:00 2018-07-04 09:00 +12:00 Is vaping a new risk for landlords? With many cigarette smokers switching to vaping, does this pose a new risk for landlords? Dr Marewa Glover argues that it does not. Mon, 02 Jul 2018 11:00:00 +1300 2018-07-02 11:00 +13:00 2018-07-02 10:00 +12:00 Correct facts on tax & rental properties - NZPIF The NZ Property Investors Federation has produced research which shows that property investors pay their fair share of tax... Wed, 20 Jun 2018 11:00:00 +1300 2018-06-20 11:00 +13:00 2018-06-20 10:00 +12:00 'I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown': Retiree on battle with Ng&#257;ti Wh&#257;tua over demolished home Once she decided retirement village life was for her, Sandra Pearce, 76, chose an Eastcliffe place in Auckland's Or&#257;kei, bought three years ago for $780,000."I thought I'd treat myself. I just loved looking out every single... Tue, 19 Jun 2018 09:04:30 +1200 2018-06-19 09:04 +12:00 2018-06-19 09:04 +12:00 Affordable housing in Auckland now doable As a property lender, we believe a big part of our future will be backing affordable housing developments in Auckland thanks to the Unitary Plan which now makes them a lot more doable. Wed, 21 Mar 2018 12:00:00 +1300 2018-03-21 12:00 +13:00 2018-03-21 12:00 +13:00 National median reaches record high REINZ's October figures show price rises in every region apart from Auckland and Nelson. Wed, 15 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +1300 2017-11-15 00:00 +13:00 2017-11-15 00:00 +13:00 October results a mixed bag Harcourts figures for October show a housing market that is slowing down, but still positive for investors according to CEO Chris Kennedy. Tue, 14 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +1300 2017-11-14 00:00 +13:00 2017-11-14 00:00 +13:00 The Auckland housing crisis - not even half the numbers Auckland Housing Summit organiser, Leonie Freeman, crunches the city's housing numbers to get a progress report on solving the crisis... Tue, 19 Sep 2017 12:00:00 +1300 2017-09-19 12:00 +13:00 2017-09-19 11:00 +12:00 Rents a mixed bag across New Zealand Year on year growth in rental prices has varied across the regions but the median rent hasn't budged in the last six months, according to the latest Trade Me Property Rental Index. Tue, 25 Jul 2017 10:02:25 +1300 2017-07-25 10:02 +13:00 2017-07-25 09:02 +12:00 Combating Auckland's housing crisis The number of houses being built is the key to the problem and the solution of Auckland's housing shortage. Thu, 04 May 2017 06:00:00 +1300 2017-05-04 06:00 +13:00 2017-05-04 05:00 +12:00 Warning all landlords - compliance non-negotiable No longer will landlords and property management companies be able to get away with poor landlord behaviour. Wed, 03 May 2017 04:05:00 +1300 2017-05-03 04:05 +13:00 2017-05-03 03:05 +12:00 Regional auction watch: Strong demand for family home Bidding was fast and competitive for a large family home generating an income at a Rotorua auction. Wed, 29 Jun 2016 00:00:00 +1300 2016-06-29 00:00 +13:00 2016-06-28 23:00 +12:00 Hot and cold in regional auction A glimpse into the latest auction movements in Rotorua Full renovations paid off for one vendor as fierce bidding erupted to lay claim to a 4 bedroom house in Sunnybrook. A diverse group of about 15 Thu, 16 Jun 2016 00:00:00 +1300 2016-06-16 00:00 +13:00 2016-06-15 23:00 +12:00 Rotorua property auction delivers varying results The housing market in Rotorua might be pretty hot at the moment, but not all houses are selling. Fri, 10 Jun 2016 00:00:00 +1300 2016-06-10 00:00 +13:00 2016-06-09 23:00 +12:00 Open letter from John Lenihan and Jane Greensmith This is an open letter to the people of Auckland from myself John Lenihan and my wife Jane Greensmith, as today is our 20th wedding anniversary. Over these 20 years Jane and I have practiced as Architects Thu, 12 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +1300 2015-03-12 00:00 +13:00 2015-03-12 00:00 +13:00 A Labour win for landlords to celebrate It's not often property investors celebrate a Labour victory, but this time they can. Wed, 19 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +1300 2014-11-19 00:00 +13:00 2014-11-19 00:00 +13:00 Very little crystal clear with Govt's state housing plans Here’s a term property investors probably haven’t thought much about, but should start to take notice of. Sat, 25 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +1300 2014-10-25 00:00 +13:00 2014-10-25 00:00 +13:00 Landlords switch on to need for warm, dry properties Almost nine in 10 rental properties owned by property investors’ association members have been insulated, a new survey shows. Tue, 01 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +1300 2014-07-01 00:00 +13:00 2014-06-30 23:00 +12:00 Buyers getting creative: Harcourts First-home buyers are using creative lending solutions to get into the market, Harcourts says. Thu, 22 May 2014 00:00:00 +1300 2014-05-22 00:00 +13:00 2014-05-21 23:00 +12:00 LVR move likely to hit provinces hardest: QV Loan-to-value restrictions will be felt least in the cities with the hottest prices, QV said today as the organisation released its latest statistics. Thu, 07 Nov 2013 00:00:00 +1300 2013-11-07 00:00 +13:00 2013-11-07 00:00 +13:00 Regional first-home buyers acting fast: REINZ Activity is picking up in regional New Zealand ahead of the loan-to-value speed limit introduction at the end of the month, the Real Estate Institute says. Mon, 16 Sep 2013 00:00:00 +1300 2013-09-16 00:00 +13:00 2013-09-15 23:00 +12:00 Rent control policy questioned Rent controls proposed by Labour party leadership hopeful Grant Robertson have been panned by Act leader John Banks. Fri, 13 Sep 2013 00:00:00 +1300 2013-09-13 00:00 +13:00 2013-09-12 23:00 +12:00 Council eyes Plan profits Auckland Council wants to be able to take a slice of any increase in value of properties that have their zoning changing from low density to high density housing, or rural properties that are rezoned urban. Mon, 06 May 2013 00:00:00 +1300 2013-05-06 00:00 +13:00 2013-05-05 23:00 +12:00 OLLY NEWLAND: Capital gains tax is not the answer No matter how often the argument against a Capital Gains Tax is put forward, the subject is still popular among those who, it seems, fail to realise that implementing such a tax will solve nothing. The suggestion comes up again and again, and it has almost become an article of faith for ‘the left’ some of whom seem to imbue a Capital Gains Tax (CGT) with mythic powers to right all social wrongs. Thu, 14 Mar 2013 00:00:00 +1300 2013-03-14 00:00 +13:00 2013-03-14 00:00 +13:00 Will macroprudential tools get the right results? Macroprudential tools are a step closer, with the Reserve Bank this week releasing its consultation paper on the tactics it may soon use to tackle credit growth bubbles. Tue, 05 Mar 2013 00:00:00 +1300 2013-03-05 00:00 +13:00 2013-03-05 00:00 +13:00 Auckland growth inevitable It’s tempting to think there’s a bit of Nimbyism at play whenever there’s outrage at the idea of intensification of Auckland city. Thu, 21 Feb 2013 00:00:00 +1300 2013-02-21 00:00 +13:00 2013-02-21 00:00 +13:00 How much is your house worth? If you asked me to put a value on the house I live in, I’d probably find it pretty difficult. Tue, 19 Feb 2013 00:00:00 +1300 2013-02-19 00:00 +13:00 2013-02-19 00:00 +13:00 Survey reflects strong property market New Zealand’s property market is buzzing, according to the first BNZ-REINZ residential market survey for the year. Thu, 14 Feb 2013 00:00:00 +1300 2013-02-14 00:00 +13:00 2013-02-14 00:00 +13:00 Poker faces over housing One thing that is already becoming clear this year is that one of our biggest issues is housing. Tue, 05 Feb 2013 00:00:00 +1300 2013-02-05 00:00 +13:00 2013-02-05 00:00 +13:00 Schemes benefit a lucky few Something that both the Green and Labour housing affordability policies have in common is that they are great for those in a position to buy houses through them. They are less good for everyone else. Tue, 29 Jan 2013 00:00:00 +1300 2013-01-29 00:00 +13:00 2013-01-29 00:00 +13:00 Humiliation for Heatley When it comes to losing your job, having it happen at short notice and in the public eye are probably not conditions anyone desires. Wed, 23 Jan 2013 00:00:00 +1300 2013-01-23 00:00 +13:00 2013-01-23 00:00 +13:00 Short-term interest rates looking good If you have a mortgage, it’s probably one of those things that’s in the back of your mind: Is it time to lock in a fixed rate? Tue, 15 Jan 2013 00:00:00 +1300 2013-01-15 00:00 +13:00 2013-01-15 00:00 +13:00 Bach sales a barometer for economy At this time of the year plenty of time is spent pondering what lies ahead for the real estate market. Tue, 08 Jan 2013 00:00:00 +1300 2013-01-08 00:00 +13:00 2013-01-08 00:00 +13:00 Forget the malls for Boxing Day bargains It’s tis the season to be jolly – and hunting for housing bargains. Mon, 24 Dec 2012 00:00:00 +1300 2012-12-24 00:00 +13:00 2012-12-24 00:00 +13:00