Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Looking for a Simple Update? Here are 9 Unexpected Ways Paint Can Reboot Your Curb Appeal

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When it’s time to amp up your curb appeal, it’s easy to reach for your landscaper’s business card while overlooking the most affordable design remedy on the planet: the humble bucket of paint.
A simple splash of color can transform your home’s exterior and reboot your front yard, so rev up your imagination and try out one (or 9!) of these creative ideas.

#1 Turn Your Front Door Into a Work of Art

A gray stucco home with a pink and white stencil front door
Here’s a front door painted by L.A. artist Allison Cosmos, giving the focal point of this entryway a delightful touch of whimsy. While not everyone has the careful hand (and creative mind) of an artist, you can buy stencils from various online outlets, including the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, for a similar effect.
And Frank isn’t the only design genius to appreciate the stencil look. “I could see Martha Stewart doing something like this,” says Julie O’Brien, director of trade services for Urban Country Designs in Bethesda, Md. “The door will definitely stand out from the street.”

#2 Give Your Porch Swing a Pop of Color

So you’re looking for a way to make your front facade pop. Could the key could be your humble porch swing? It’s an unexpected spot to find a bold color, and can freshen up the look of your whole house with minimal effort.
Bright yellow porch swing on a brick front porch
“This yellow swing is a charmer,” says Annie Elliott, the boss of Bossy Color in Washington, D.C. The key, she says, is preparation. Take the time to sand the piece well and apply the appropriate primer. Elliott recommends Farrow & Ball’s outdoor paints and primer saying, “They last forever when applied correctly.”

#3 Create the Illusion of a Carpet on Your Steps

Gray and black painted concrete stairs
Is that a carpet running up a flight of exterior steps? Why no, it’s just painted to look that way using the clever application of concrete paint. “I think this is adorable,” says O’Brien. “It makes the whole first impression more interesting by drawing your eye upwards towards the house.”
Again, preparation is key to pulling off this look. Power-wash the steps and sand off any flaking paint before applying the concrete paint to ensure your work is long lasting. When using painter’s tape to create stripes, it’s best to remove it while the paint is still wet for the cleanest lines. And don’t let the tape sit too long in the sun or you’ll have gummy stripes left behind. Ick.

#4 Paint Your Porch Light

Green house siding with old silver porch light
Green house siding with new copper painted porch light
The before image shows a porch light in distress. The after depicts a work of crafty art rendered in copper. Or copper paint, at least. Using metallic paint to restore luster to an old porch light is a terrific idea for enhancing curb appeal. “I love how this homeowner used a coppery color, which looks terrific against the teal clapboard,” says Elliott.
The vibrant, metallic fixture brightens up the entire entry, even when the light is off. For a project like this, Elliott recommends Modern Masters, a high-end brand that specializes in quality metallic paint.

#5 Jazz Up Your House Number

Black house numbers on a piece of yellow painted wood
Don’t limit your house numbers to merely displaying your home’s address; let them tell passersby a bit about who lives there. This creative homeowner used fun accent colors and creatively arranged wood to show some personality through an otherwise perfunctory part of a home’s exterior.
The ways to inject color into your house numbers may be as numerable as the addresses in your city, but key to making the project work is proper placement. “With such a deep porch, this homeowner came up with a creative way to bring the house number front and center,” says Elliott. Be sure to pick a spot for your colorful house numbers that serves their greater purpose: getting the pizza guy to your front door with minimal confusion.
If you have your house numbers on your mailbox — or even if you don’t — consider painting the place where you get your “Bed, Bath & Beyond” coupons. Painting utilitarian objects that are seen and touched every day can change the way you feel about your home. Besides the mailbox, think about your doorknobs, handles, and hand railings.

#6 Stencil Your Concrete Porch Floor

Gray and white stenciled front porch with welcome mat
Wow, check out that chic new tile painted on the porch floor. Your neighbors will never believe it’s just paint until they step on it themselves. The homeowner who created this floor blogs as “Becky.” Becky first painted the porch floor gray and then used stencils to paint the white pattern. She used painter’s tape and a tape measure to keep the stencils straight and properly aligned.
“This clean, geometric pattern looks like tile, and limiting the palette to two colors ensures that the floor doesn’t appear too busy,” says Elliott.

#7 Decorate Your Shutters

A white house with red painted shutters with rosemaling
Shutters can be functional or decorative. And if they’re going to be decorative, why not make them seriously charming? These shutters feature Norwegian rosemaling, a decorative folk art. Fancy!
While uber-original shutters may not impress the Joneses in every middle-American subdivision, they can be the envy of the right neighborhood. If you live in a whimsical, colorful community, they could really turn the heads.
If your taste in shutter art runs more conservative, consider this bit of wisdom from Elliott: “A fresh coat of paint on faded shutters can be just the thing to brighten up the entire exterior of a house. I love deep blues and greens for shutters; they’re timeless and go with almost any material including wood, brick, and stone.”

#8 Go Bold With Accent Colors

Blue painted house with bright orange trim
If you have a “full light” exterior door, your door is mostly glass (now you know!). The fun thing about these doors is that the thin frame around the glass creates an opportunity to add a bold accent color without overpowering the whole front of the house. Cool, right?
“It adds a little punch to the space,” O’Brien says. Do the same thing with your window frames by adding thin lines of color in strategic locations of space, and you’ll have a porch that says, “Didn’t see that coming, did you?”

#9 Paint Your Garage Door

For many homeowners, it’s not the actual front door that welcomes them home every day — it’s the roaring, often drab-looking garage door. Why not put as much thought into where you park your ride as you do into where you welcome guests?
White house with bright red garage door
If your pad is mostly monochromatic like this one, include your garage doors among the elements that work together to make a bright accent color really pop — even if you’re not going all the way to the fire engine-red end of the color spectrum. “I suggest painting garage doors the trim color of the house or even staining them,” says Elliott. With a little colorful coordination, you can create a look that warmly welcomes you, regardless of whether you’re stepping or driving through the threshold.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending March 31, 2018

Climbing out of winter has taken more time than usual for much of the U.S., but house hunting should finally be taking center stage for many buyers. Quickly assessing what's available for sale will be key for buyers in what is sure to be another competitive selling season. Buyers and sellers must watch for further mortgage rate increases and volatile economic indicators like a jumpy stock market and chilly relations with international trade partners, which can cause shifts in local housing markets.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending March 31:
 • New Listings decreased 35.2% to 1,234
 • Pending Sales decreased 19.2% to 1,124
 • Inventory decreased 23.0% to 8,397

For the month of February:
 • Median Sales Price increased 12.7% to $250,000
 • Days on Market decreased 15.9% to 69
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 1.6% to 98.0%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 15.8% to 1.6

Publish Date: April 9, 2018 • All comparisons are to 2017
Information from Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The Rise of Luxury Shipping Container Homes

The humble shipping container. It gets crammed in side by side with hundreds of others and stacked a half-dozen high on a slow boat to the other side of the world. It’s perhaps the farthest thing from luxury in this, its natural state. Somewhere along the line, the idea of turning one of these plain steel structures into something that passes for habitability—the earliest patent was filed in 1965, and you can read about subsequent patents here—sparked. But could Christopher Betjemann, who first envisioned shipping containers as exhibition booths, have ever imagined them as luxury residences?

Perhaps not, but, thankfully, many other innovators have. While much of the growth of shipping container homes in recent years has been centered on tiny homes and ultra-affordability, the market for luxury container homes is also growing exponentially, all over the world.

Thomas A. Kligerman, partner at New York and San Francisco-based architectural firm Ike Kligerman Barkley, notes that sustainability is one of the main draws of today’s luxury container homes—which makes sense considering there are 20 million containers traveling on the oceans at any given time and “300 million unused shipping containers just sitting in landfills,” said CBS. Many are simply discarded after completing a trip because of the expense of sending them back to the originating country.

“Why not repurpose something rather than use resources to create new,” he interjected. Kligerman’s’s firm just completed a project using shipping containers that, while not exhibiting high design in and of itself, illustrates the luxury potential this type of building can provide. “We recently built a private hockey rink on a client’s 70-acre Maryland property,” he said. “While not necessarily luxurious—It is rarely warmer than 30 degrees inside—it is certainly a luxury to have your own hockey rink.”

For high-end buyers seeking to build a luxury home, price may not be the top concern, but the fact that shipping containers can dramatically slash building costs is certainly an advantage. “It’s definitely less expensive to buy abandoned or retired containers compared to traditional materials,” said Jeffrey Dungan of Jeffrey Dungan Architects. “They are also structurally sound and durable since they are made to withstand harsh weather at sea, homes can be built up to six stories tall without significant reinforcement, and they are quicker to build compared to conventional homes—Walls, floors, and ceilings are already built, so you just need to insulate. The first container home in Ireland was built in three days!”

Let’s take a trip around the world to see some of the most spectacular luxury container homes around.


Image result for the beach box amagansett new york
The Beach Box, Amagansett, New York The Beach Box, as it’s known, is one of the United States’ more famous container homes, as desirable and innovative as it was when it was first built in 2011. Constructed from six shipping containers, the Hamptons home measures about 2,000 square feet with four bedrooms, two-and-one-half baths, and 1,300 square feet of decking with a pool and roof deck, which opens up views of Napeague Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean. In addition to repurposing shipping containers, the home features certified sustainable materials including a white rubber roof, which is known to reduce energy costs, cypress siding, cedar decking, and bamboo fiber in the custom chef’s kitchen.
Image result for joshua tree residence
Joshua Tree Residence, Joshua Tree, CA Homes under construction don’t typically get the type of attention this shipping container home as received, but Joshua Tree Residence, located in the California desert, is not your average home. The 2,100-square-foot, three-bedroom residence is designed in a distinctive starburst shape with containers jutting out in every direction. Now completing the design phase with construction set to begin later this year, the home is from London architect James Whitaker, with inspiration provided from one of his previous designs, Hechingen Studio, a starburst-ish container office building intended to be built in Germany (but never realized). Painted bright white, the containers provide a distinct contrast to the rocky desert terrain, while the entire residence has been situated to take advantage of the landscape and provide privacy to residents.
Image result for Grillagh Water, Ireland
Grillagh Water, Ireland The first modern shipping container home to be designed and built in Ireland, this architectural marvel weaves together four 45-foot shipping containers in the primary structure, creating two large cantilevers that extend out. Smart siting allows the Northern Ireland home, which is located on the banks of the Grillagh River, to enjoy picturesque views of its stunning rural landscape. Built by Patrick Bradley Architects, the residence offers a uniquely sculptural feel within the modern framework of a shipping container home.
Image result for Graceville, Brisbane, Australia
Graceville, Brisbane, Australia The largest shipping container house of its kind in Australia, Graceville from Zeigler Build required 31 containers to achieve its 6,000 square feet. The three-story structure took six months to build, using ample glass and industrial touches to create a sprawling residence that makes a statement in a more traditional family neighborhood.
Image result for Incubo House, Costa Rica
Incubo House, Costa Rica Built in 2013 by Maria Jose Trejos, Incubo House is a feat of both architecture and sustainability. The residence comprises eight large containers and was constructed so as to permit views of the site’s original cedar tree from every room of the house. Mobile bamboo exterior panels provide additional eco-friendliness (and attractiveness), while renewable, reusable and recyclable materials throughout the home helped to lower both the cost and building timeline—by as much as 20 percent, according to the architects. This striking structure is not a residential building, but rather the visitor’s center of Devil’s Corner, Brown Brothers’ Apslawn, Tasmania winery. Cumulus Studio used timber-clad shipping containers that were carefully placed to maximize views and give visitors something entirely new to look at. This project won numerous architectural awards, including the Tasmanian Architecture Awards: Colin Philp Award for Commercial Architecture, and the Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture, and was recognized at the 2016 National Architecture Awards with a National Commendation for Commercial Architecture.

Article was originally published on March 12, 2018 by Coldwell Banker Global Luxury

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending March 24, 2018

In general, housing markets are performing rather well across the country and locally. While some measures may show year-over-year declines at times, the truth of the matter is that showings are plentiful, buyers are eagerly searching for homes to purchase and good properties are exchanging hands whether or not the overall inventory situation is less than favorable or mortgage rates go up a quarter percent.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending March 24:
 • New Listings decreased 1.9% to 1,586
 • Pending Sales decreased 12.4% to 1,197
 • Inventory decreased 23.2% to 8,290

For the month of February:
 • Median Sales Price increased 12.7% to $250,000
 • Days on Market decreased 15.9% to 69
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 1.6% to 98.0%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 15.8% to 1.6

Publish Date: April 2, 2018 • All comparisons are to 2017
Information originally published by Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Spruce Up the Half Bath for Guests!

Guest post by Michelle Lee, Houzz
Hosting family or friends is an equally exciting and stressful experience for all. Having a comfortable guest bathroom is key and you’ll want to deck it out with all the necessary supplies to avoid awkward run-ins, like guests asking for more toilet paper. Envision what you expect from hotel bathrooms and incorporate some of these must-have details to get a gleaming five-star review from your houseguests.
All about appearances. The first thing you should establish in your guest bathroom is a good look. Replace flickering and ill-placed lights with new sconces or vanity fixtures to create a warm and welcoming ambiance. Since this is also where your guests might be getting ready for the day or touching up in the evening, provide an adequately sized mirror. A full-length mirror is ideal, but if your room or budget doesn’t allow, look for an inexpensive over-the-door option.
Storage and supplies. It’s imperative to provide sufficient storage space and supplies for your houseguests. Load up your vanity with basics such as towels, tissues, soap, lotion, air fresheners, a first-aid kit and feminine supplies. If you’re hosting overnight guests, allow them their own storage space to lay out the toiletries they bring along. Empty a drawer or bring in a freestanding storage unit for their personal belongings.
A tidy toilet. Two of the most important items to include in any bathroom are plungers and toilet paper. Making sure these items are available will reduce potential awkwardness and embarrassment for both parties. There are many discreet plungers for sale today and you can store extra TP rolls in a stylish wire basket for a trendy look, as seen here.
Tip-top trash. Function is often sacrificed for style, but in the case of wastebaskets, practicality should reign above all. You’ll want to provide a large bin, preferably with a lid and empty it on a consistent basis. Hampers are also a nice touch to keep soiled linens out of sight. Be sure to replace them with new, fluffy towels regularly too.
Open up for overnighters. If you’re hosting long-term or overnight guests, a stock of toothbrushes, toothpaste and face washes will come in handy. Fresh towels and a hamper for dirty linens are also must-haves. For bonus points, pamper your guests with soft robes and slippers. If you have a finicky shower faucet system in your master bathroom that your guests have access to, leave a note explaining how to adjust the dials for a stress-free wash.

Originally posted by affiliate Coldwell Banker Burnet Blue Matter

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending February 24, 2018

We are in a bit of a residential real estate holding pattern thus far in 2018. While some regions have witnessed a welcome increase in pending sales, declines in metrics such as closed sales, new listings and inventory in national year-over-year comparisons are more common, and it may take until late summer or early fall to see evidence of a predicted increase in inventory. In the mean time, buyer interest has remained strong despite the usual supply challenge.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending February 24:
 • New Listings decreased 8.0% to 1,262
 • Pending Sales decreased 8.6% to 968
 • Inventory decreased 22.8% to 7,618

For the month of January:
 • Median Sales Price increased 9.7% to $244,000
 • Days on Market decreased 13.8% to 69
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 1.0% to 96.9%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 22.2% to 1.4

Publish Date: March 5, 2018 • All comparisons are to 2017
Data originally published by Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Looking to get more organized this spring?!? Here are 8 Creative Ways With Closets

Guest post by Kelsey Roadruck, Houzz
Closets are no longer limited to storing clothes, linens or random odds and ends. You can actually discover more living space and streamline storage for your lifestyle in these underutilized and overlooked places. Here are some inspiring examples of closet transformations including a home bar, gym and office.
Don’t think you have space for a home bar? Look again. Even the shallowest hall closet can be converted to a drink station. A happy hour hideaway is a very Prohibition era-esque concept, which is all the more reason to stock it with handsome decanters, glasses, intriguing bar tools and a few of your favorite bottles.
Meet your get fit goals by transforming your closet into a mini home gym. This long and narrow closet has a full workout wardrobe on the right and a lean exercise machine on the left. If your closet can’t accommodate a machine, you can still lay down a yoga mat and install a mirror for keeping your form in-check as you use the floor space for sit-ups, push-ups and the like.
If your productivity is lacking, a quiet home office might be what you need. This before-and-after proves that you don’t need a gigantic walk-in closet to make this idea work.
Simply remove the doors off of an unused closet, install a wide shelf if you can’t shimmy a desk in properly and voila! Chalkboard paint, a sconce and a few desk organizers are also featured in this compact home office.
A craft station is another creative alternative. In this closet, craft materials are organized in the carts with labeled drawers. An over-the-door organizer holds oodles of wrapping paper and stationery among other things. And the sturdy shelf is great for gift wrapping or writing letters. Make it your own by hanging inspirational wall art or photos.
Nooks are very popular on Houzz, especially those reinvented for reading. This alcove under the stairs was finished with warm wood paneling, a reading light and lots of cushions. If you don’t have enough space to actually sit down and read in your closet, use it as a little library for book storage instead.
Dress it up for a fab dressing room. New York Fashion Week just ended, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a runway of your own. This is an ultra glamorous example, but all you really need is a chair, mirror and vanity. You can also try this in a playroom for littles who like playing dress-up.
Rehabilitate the linen closet as a hospitality room. Use this space to hang bathrobes, store towels and display your favorite perfumes and lotions. This is especially useful for those who travel often or have a second home used for a weekend getaway. In addition to freshly laundered linens, you’ll find neatly pressed formal attire here with a weekender bag at the ready.
Prioritize zen by carving out a closet for reflection. Whether you’re religious or just need some peace and quiet, a small closet is a secure place to hole up in for 20 minutes and just be. Keep a floor pillow, pouf or soft area rug here for prayer, yoga or meditation. If you’re not working with a walk-in closet, you can still use a shallow closet as a shrine of spiritual objects or mementos that bring you joy.

Originally posted by affiliate Coldwell Banker Burnet Blue Matter