Blog :: 09-2016

10 Fall Home Improvement Tips

This article, written by Vicki Payne, gets you thinking of some important projects to consider. The cold months always seem to require some home alterations, especially when you're living in Vermont, known for its unpredictable weather. These tips can help you save money on your home heating bill as well as give a general face-lift to some things you might have ignored for too long. There's nothing worse than a disaster that could have been easily prevented with a little forethought.  

Now that summer gear has been stowed away, it's time to focus on fall home improvement projects. According to Vicki Payne, host of the For Your Home with Vicki Payne television show, autumn is the key time to evaluate your home exterior and prepare it for the harsh winter months ahead.

"With cooler fall weather comes the realization that your home will soon experience cold, snowy weather," says Payne, a nationally recognized home improvement expert on the country's longest running home and garden television show. "To get your house ready, start by giving your exterior a thorough review. Everything should be checked, cleaned up and made ready to handle Mother Nature when she comes blowing in within the next few months."

Payne recommends this checklist for exterior fall home improvement projects:

Tip #1 - Evaluate your roof. Look for missing or loose shingles, deterioration of asphalt shingles along with mold, algae or splitting of real wood shingles. If the roof is in poor shape, consider upgrading to a synthetic roof, like those from DaVinci Roofscapes®. The composite shake and slate products resist fire, impact, high winds, insects, and mold, making them an ideal long-term investment for a home.

Tip #2 - Clean your gutters. Get leaves and gunk out now so that gutters won't get backed up, clogged and frozen in the winter, causing ice formations. Gutters should be securely attached to the home and sloped for proper drainage. Also, check to make sure all downspouts are clean and connected.

Tip #3 - Check your siding and trim. Make sure there are no rotting boards or insect infestations in any wood exterior products. Determine if a new paint job is needed before the winter weather hits. Should these items need replacement, research man-made low-maintenance products, like James Hardie® fiber cement siding or Ply Gem® PVC trim as reliable replacement options for key exterior parts of the home.

Tip #4 - Evaluate the deck. If your deck has seen its last summer party, look at replacing it before the winter with either a Western Red Cedar deck or composite decking from TAMKO®. Both products stand up extremely well to all types of weather and will make you happy to step out onto the deck every time.

Tip #5 - Check the functionality of your garage door. You're in and out of your garage door many times each day. Make sure it's functioning properly and has strong air infiltration seals to help keep energy bills down. If you're ready for a new look or a harder-working garage door, consider the steel and aluminum options from Haas Door.

Tip #6 - Seal up the windows. Make sure your windows have strong weather-stripping in place with energy-efficient glass that is still working. If it's time to upgrade your windows, investigate those with ENERGY STAR® ratings to help keep your home warmer during the winter months.

Tip #7 - Consider a privacy window upgrade. Tired of closing blinds or shades to gain privacy in your bathroom or bedroom? Think about replacing key windows with decorative glass or acrylic block privacy windows. Available from Hy-Lite in both operable and fixed styles, these windows add a beautiful accent to a room while protecting your privacy.

Tip #8 - Check out your doors. As with windows, your entry doors should have weather stripping that's not worn out around the entire opening. This helps keep drafty cold air out of your house during winter months.

Tip #9 - Secure or replace railings. Loose or unstable railing systems can be dangerous. Check all balusters, handrails and elements of front and back rail systems to assure they're functioning properly. If it's time for a replacement, consider a new look by adding cable rails or glass balustrades from Fortress Railing Products.

Tip #10 - Spend time with your landscaping. Once the leaves have fallen, get out the rakes. Remove dead leaves and underbrush around the house and garden area before the snow falls. Re-mulch key landscaping areas. Trim back trees and bushes away from the house to get your home ready for winter snows.

"Home ownership means continually maintaining the exterior elements of a house," says Payne. "With its cooler weather, autumn is the ideal time to evaluate, upgrade and improve those key exterior elements to assure your home is ready for the winter months ahead."

To read the original article click here.

First-Rate Fall Foliage

If you live in Vermont, one of the best times of the year is fall. The scenery around you changes on a daily basis from deep greens to an assortment of warm colors. Looking out your window to a collage of yellow, red, and orange is enough to make anyone grateful that this is their home. Luckily, we know it and celebrate it through many harvest and foliage festivals throughout the season.

In our area, you'll find the Stowe Foliage Arts Festival taking place from October 7-9. And, while fall is amazing, every season in Vermont is beautiful from snowy peaks to refreshing dips in our lakes. Living here, you get the best of every season. Vermont is an ideal place to raise a family with numerous outdoor activities for everyone year round.

 

7 Easy Ways to Jazz Up Boring Walls

This article, written by Jaymi Naciri, highlights some easy, low-cost ways to spice up your home. From trim to large scale art there are plenty of ways to make a statement with your unique style. Vermont is home to many wonderful artists and craftsman who sell lovely pieces of decorative paintings, ornaments and much more that could add to the look you're going for. 

Big, blank walls can be boring and blah. Thankfully, there are quite a few ways you can jazz them up and bring in some snazzy style.

Crown Molding

If you're going to get technical, crown molding doesn't exactly go on the walls, but rather between the wall and the floor and the wall and the ceiling. But it can help transform a just so-so room into one that's elegant and that looks finished. It's a job that can be done on your own (we hear you can, anyway) as long as you have a saw and some mathematical ability to figure out mitered edges. Or you can hire a mathematician/contractor, like we do.

Trim, trim, and more trim

There are a thousand ways you can use trim to dress up your walls, from traditional chair moldings or classic wainscoting to something a little more unique and future-forward, and you can see just about that many here. Add in a healthy dose of color to create a bold and interesting look.

 

Wallpaper

Perhaps nothing gives you that instant pop like wallpaper. If you really want to make it interesting, choose something with pattern or texture, or both! One more tip: If you have odd angles or walls that aren't the same length, or you're just trying to create a little interest in a boring spot, you don't have to cover the whole thing. A strip may be all you need.

Painted feature wall

Painting a feature wall is a good way to pump up the design in a room, and also to dip a toe into the world of color without letting it take over your whole space. The best part: If you don't love it or you get tired of it quickly, you can paint over it and start fresh with a new hue!

"As soon as you paint this statement wall, THAT will be the new feature of your room," said Hill District Mums. "So forget about your expensive sofa, your brand new quirky rug or the amazing print you ordered online. Are you ready to make them the second most important things in the room? A feature wall is bigger than all the other pieces in a room. It is at your eye-level and normally a color that catches your eye."

Rustic reclaimed wood

Love the reclaimed look but don't have a barn handy? Or maybe you don't want to go to the hassle of picking out and purchasing wood, and especially having it installed. Artis Wall might have just solved your problem. This easily installed and removable product can help you create an accent wall in no time, with tacky strips that you simply peel off when you're ready for a whole new look.

A gallery wall

Framing family pictures and creating a wall of memories has long been popular. But you can give it a modern twist by having your photos printed on canvas. You choose the size, upload your pics (even from Facebook or Instagram), and pick from filters including black & white and sepia.

Large-scale art

Or maybe a gallery wall isn't for you, no matter what format you use. "Forget the gallery wall. What's hot is statement art," said POPSUGAR. "Large pieces -- over 5 feet -- were searched four times more than small art. These statement pieces, especially tightly cropped scenes, provide designers with the ‘wow' factor they used to seek from an eclectic mix of smaller works."

Sites like Overstock, art.com, and icanvas, where we found this large-scale abstract from Julian Spencer called, "Rain Clouds," offer an amazing amount of options and often have coupons for substantial discounts on their site (Rain Clouds is available in several different formats and sizes; this one is 40x60 and priced at $261 with a current 55% off promotion).

To read the original article click here. 

Create Big Appeal With Small Kitchens

When it comes to kitchens it often seems like the bigger the better. You need to have an island counter or so much cabinet space. In the real world, this isn't always possible. This article by the staff at Realty Times highlights some small changes you can try to make your little kitchen look bigger and more inviting.

Many people complain about small kitchens but tiny spaces aren't always to be dreaded. If you're selling your home and your kitchen is, well, compact, know that you can find ways to achieve big appeal with a little creativity.

Bring in the light.Sometimes small kitchens can be dark, making them feel even smaller. But if you remove the curtains from any windows in your small kitchen, it'll let light in and open up the area. Instead of curtains, you can use small blinds that are recessed inside the frame of the window. These are easy to clean and still provide some privacy even when the blinds are open.

De-Clutter the counter tops and the walls.Most people have a tendency to let kitchen clutter build up on the counter tops and walls. Removing items from the counters, kitchen table, and even off the walls will make the space feel bigger. Yes, I know these items on the counters are useful but when you're selling your home, a little inconvenience may help you receive a higher offer and you'll probably agree, that's worth it! Take the appliances and either store them in the kitchen cabinets or, if there isn't enough room, pack them up. You're moving soon, anyway.

Clearing off photos and miscellaneous papers that are stuck on your refrigerator door or kitchen walls will also help make your kitchen look bigger. If you're tight for space, mounted storage units can be added to your kitchen walls to free up limited counter-top space. But again, too many storage units, even the decorative kind, will give people a feeling like the walls are closing in on them. The same goes for hanging pot racks from the ceiling. Be sure to leave some open wall space and to use storage units that aren't completely solid. The open units, if the shelves aren't stuffed, will give a less closed-in feeling.

Opt for lighter and brighter wall color.Going with lighter colors tends to open up a room. Light and bright colors are also very inviting and friendly, making them a perfect choice for the kitchen. You can use a darker accent trim to create some contrast. You can also use decorations including floral arrangements or even some colorful kitchen appliances to add spice to the kitchen. 

Wall-mounted appliances and reduced counter-top depth.Wall-mounted or under-the-cabinets-mounted appliances can save valuable kitchen counter-top space. You might even have a way to wall-mount your kitchen faucet. In one small home design, the faucet was mounted to the wall, creating a very distinctive look. The counter-top was a standard 24 inches deep but elsewhere the counter-top was reduced just slightly down to 21 inches–very subtle and hardly noticeable but it allowed more floor space in a tiny kitchen.Small kitchens don't have to be an eyesore. Some even prefer less space because there's less to clean. If you know the audience you're marketing your home to, you can play up the home's best features–including, perhaps, a small, quaint, and simple kitchen.

To read the original article click here.

September Area Events

We all know what September means. School buses back on the road, cooler weather, and lots of great events on their way to the Waterbury, Stowe, and Burlington area! Don't believe us? Here are just a few: