Thursday, August 28, 2014

Weekend Happenings: Fair Alternative

For those of you who have decided against the MN State Fair this weekend, we offer you a couple alternatives.

Canterbury Park
1100 Canterbury Road
Shakopee, MN 55379
Sat.-Mon., Aug 3 - Sept 1
Sat. 6:30 pm
Sun. 12:45 pm
Mon. 12:45 pm
Cost:  $8 admission

It's a weekend of fun at Canterbury Park.  Start your weekend on Saturday with the Food Truck Festival.  Dig into the best Twin Cities mobile eats while experiencing the thrill of live horse racing.

Sunday it's the State Championship of Minnesota Racing! Watch as Minnesota's top Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses compete in a day of championship races as we celebrate the Minnesota breeding industry.

And on Labor Day is our biggest dachshund race day, with qualifiers and championship held on the same afternoon. 72 Dogs, 7 Races, 1 Champion!

Tomato Tasting
Tiny Diner
1024 E 38th St.
Sun., Aug 31
12:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Cost:  Free

The tomato. There is so much you can do with this fruit and you will have the chance to sample over 40 variations in all different shapes, sizes and colors at the Tomato Tasting. You’ll receive a Tasting Note Sheet so you can jot down your favorite varieties, including where to source those varieties for growing the following season.

But this event is more than just tasting of tomatoes and enjoying some live music. There will be educational opportunities as well.

Seed Sages, a seed saving and breeding endeavor based in the Twin Cities, is not just providing the fruit for the tasting, but also will be on-hand to offer seed saving workshops. In fact, seed from the many varieties of tomatoes at the tasting will be saved from growers and shared through Seed Savers Exchange and Seed Sages at the Farmhouse in south Minneapolis.  Source:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Beautiful Dining Rooms

All the experts say that gathering your family around the dining room table for a shared meal is one of the best predictors of your children avoiding drugs and alcohol, getting better grades, and overall succeeding in life.  Unfortunately, most families eat all their meals around the kitchen island in shifts because of working late, basketball practice, and violin lessons.

Compounding the problem of not eating together is that most people with a formal dining room don't use it in that way.  It becomes a home office, a homework station and a craft spot.  And while we are always advocating making your spaces multi-functional, at least one of the functions should be what the space was originally intended for!  If this is your problem, create some storage space in your formal dining room so that you can quickly stash all the papers when you want to sit down to a family meal.

If at all possible, try to start with at least one family meal a week.  Maybe for your family it's brunch on Saturday, Friday night supper, or an early breakfast on Sunday.  Just set a time and make it work.  This is a perfect time for family conversations, working on table manners and enjoying one another's company.  

And for inspiration, check out these gorgeous dining rooms.  You might want to invest in a new light fixture, some fresh paint and some new accent pieces to help make your formal dining room shine and make everyone want to be there.

Source:  Michelle Schwake for Stafford Family Realtors

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Weekly Market Update: August 25, 2014

Recent data would suggest that inflation is mostly under control, which hopefully indicates that the Federal Reserve will have enough room to comfortably maintain its accommodative monetary policy stance. So rather than losing momentum, the housing market has found even sturdier ground upon which it can sustain itself. With economic strength and increased consumer confidence, expectations of more inventory and more sales is not out of line.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending August 16:

• New Listings increased 3.3% to 1,697
• Pending Sales decreased 6.6% to 1,081
• Inventory increased 9.7% to 18,648

For the month of July:

• Median Sales Price increased 3.4% to $215,000
• Days on Market decreased 5.6% to 68
• Percent of Original List Price Received decreased 0.7% to 96.8%
• Months Supply of Inventory increased 15.8% to 4.4

Monday, August 25, 2014

Wood Look-a-Likes

We all love a beautiful wood finish of many parts of our homes.  Yet the reality is that wood finishes require a lot of maintenance.  Whether its wood siding, wood floors or wood shingles, they all require extensive care and are very susceptible to fire.

Luckily for us, there are many products that very closely mimic the look of wood but are much more durable and take a lot less maintenance.  Check out these products and see if you find something that you can use on your next home project.

Fiber Cement Siding

Siding made with cement and other inert binders is tougher, more fire-resistant, and requires a lot less maintenance than wood. Fiber-cement siding is textured to look like real wood, but the material is much more stable — it won’t contract and expand with changes in humidity (like wood), which helps exterior paint jobs last longer. You’ll pay $6 to $11 per square foot for fiber-cement siding, installed.
Fireproof "Wood"

For centuries, thick wood shingles (called shakes) have been the mark of quality construction. But shakes require regular maintenance, and their susceptibility to fire has diminished their use — some municipalities have even outlawed them. Look-alike products, such as these steel shingles, emulate the classic look of real wood yet offer maintenance-free durability and protection from fire. Interlocking steel shingles cost $4 to $8 per square foot, installed; up to $15 per square foot for steep, complex roofs.

That’s Vinyl Flooring? Really?

Yup, that’s vinyl. Digital reproduction technology makes these wood strip floors indistinguishable from real maple, oak, chestnut, and other woods. Plus, they’re water-resistant, never need refinishing, and have a lifetime warranty. Glue-down planks come 3-feet long and in 4-, 5-, and 6-inch widths; $3 to $5.50 per square foot.

Vinyl Shingles

Copycat vinyl shingles mimic real wood for a real good reason — they’re molded from real wood shingles, so grain patterns and texture are lifelike. They’re insect- and weather-resistant, come in many colors, and are virtually maintenance-free — they’ll never need the periodic refinishing that wood requires. They’re also about one-third the price of real wood shingle siding. You’ll pay $2 to $6 per square foot for vinyl shingles, installed.

Cabin Culture

Like the look of a backwoods retreat but prefer to live in the suburbs? Scrubbable, peelable wallpaper looks like chinked logs but without the Davy Crockett lifestyle (and the termites). The vinyl wallpaper is textured to enhance the look of real wood. You can get a 28-square-foot roll of pre-pasted paper for $35.99. Timber!

Classy Counter

Humble laminate countertops get a regal upgrade when made to look like rich black walnut — laminates use photo copies of real wood to reproduce color and grain patterns. High-tech edge finishes eliminate the seam lines that used to plague laminate countertops, completing the deception. Cost: $25 to $50 per square foot, including labor.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile with the look of real wood combines the best of both worlds — the toughness and waterproof properties of tile with beautiful natural grain patterns. Here, digital reproduction gives these copycat ceramic floor tiles the color and character of aged wine barrels. The tile is $2 to $15 per square foot; installation adds another $5 to $10 per square foot.

Going with the Grain

Want to stylize your wood? Grain-pattern stencils will get your DIY mojo workin’. Easier and faster than grain-patterning tools, big 24-inch-by-40.5-inch stencils ($59.95) cover lots of wall at a time. The stencil ends and sides are designed to create seamless patterns. Use wood-like colors or let your inner Warhol rip with reds, yellows, and blues.

Laminate Flooring

Low-maintenance laminate flooring comes in many colors and grain patterns. The top layer isn’t actual wood but a digital photo under a tough, clear plastic coating. Typically, laminate planks are floating floor systems that install right over old flooring without glue or nails, making them a good DIY project. Laminates cost $1 to $8 per square foot; pro installation adds $2 to $5 per square foot.

Elegant Garage Doors

Molded fiberglass garage doors capture the beauty of old-time carriage doors — without the warping and discoloration of real wood. Digital reproductions of grain patterns make fiberglass doors look like oak, cherry, mahogany, and many other woods. Although fiberglass garage doors cost about the same as real wood ($1,000 to $3,000 for a single-car door), you’ll spend a lot less time with upkeep and periodic maintenance.

Source:  Houselogic

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Rustic Decor

Last week we showed you how to bring a little glam into your home.  This week, we thought we'd head in the opposite direction and show you simple ways to incorporate a little rustic earthiness to your abode.  No need to go whole hog and redecorate your entire house.  As seen in many of these pictures, just a touch of rustic in an otherwise modern home can add a lot of appeal.

Love the ceilings, light fixtures and doors;) Sherri o
sherri o
Exposed beams and rough timber ceiling, along with a rustic table combine to make this room feel like it's been here for a long, long time.  Yet the space still feels light and current.

Modern Rustic Decor | Modern Interior Design and Decorating with Rustic Vibe and Shabby Chic ...
Rustic barn wood floors and natural stone combine effortlessly with modern furnishings for a great look.

DIY Rustic TV Console, I love this for as a table
A rustic wood console serves a thoroughly modern function.

I really want a huge mirror either in my dining room or in the bedroom! my god baby i think we'll have to be super rich for our dreamhome lol
This rustic mirror pairs perfectly with this all-white bedroom and chandelier.

like the hanging lanterns for bedroom maybe?  50 Rustic Bedroom Decorating Ideas
Reclaimed barn wood is used as paneling in this beautiful bedroom.

Chandelier in the kitchen - what an awesome idea!
tanyelle council
Yes, this picture could have easily gone on the Glam blog post last week, but look at the beautiful exposed beam and the old wooden goose in the background that bring a touch of earthiness to this luxurious room.

Wooden Slab Mud Room Bench - 40 Rustic Home Decor Ideas You Can Build Yourself
This bench is just cool.

The Lampade Bigger by Vicenza-based Orietta Marcon of Oggetti measures about 20 to 24 inches in diameter and is made from hand-finished linen fabric. Interested in something similar as a DIY project? See our sources and instructions below for making a 20-inch-sized lamp.
Simple muslin lampshades make these hanging lights look uber-chic.

Great Ideas to Decorate the Home
A birch log serving as a hand railing adds a touch of whimsy to this staircase.

Love, Love, LOVE this idea!! An every day Aluminum Pale for Bathroom Sink!
A galvanized pail serves as a sink in this eclectic bathroom.

Source:  Michelle Schwake for Stafford Family Realtors

Monday, August 18, 2014

Beyond Builder Grade

A newly built home can be great.  The design is usually open and inviting and there should be no huge maintenance issues.  But sometimes the finishes that the builder selects can be pretty...boring.  They tend to try to appeal to the masses but that leaves your home looking a little sterile or at least looking like every other house on your block.

Today we're going to show you some ways that you can upgrade and customize your builder grade home to make it more to your taste.  Take some ideas and see what you can accomplish in your home.




Can you believe this is the same kitchen?  The new homeowners kept the layout of the kitchen intact which saves a lot of money.  They installed new dark wood floors, replaced all the cabinetry, added granite countertops and new appliances.  They finished it off with a subway tile backsplash and a new coat of paint.  The renovated pristine white kitchen looks completely different and definitely more upscale.

How to Update your Cabinets Using Contact Paper

How to Update your Cabinets Using Contact Paper

This homeowner converted their builder grade upper kitchen cabinets to open shelving using a resurfacing kit.  The result is bright and open.

Can you believe this upgrade?!  Believe it or not, but these are the same cabinets refinished in a darker stain and with an added crown molding at the top.  New flooring and lighting helps complete the look.


Before pic of builder's grade bathroom

Nautical Bathroom Theme

The total transformation of this room was accomplished with very little work.  A new dark stain and satin nickle hardware transformed the vanity to look more modern.  A new lighting fixture, a coat of paint, and nautical decorations complete the transformation.

Builders mirror

bathroom vanity

Simply changing out a builder grade mirror did wonders for this bathroom.

This fun upgrade was accomplished by changing out the light fixture, adding trim to the mirror, painting the cabinets a beautiful cobalt blue, and upgrading the hardware.


DIY Staircase Makeover Before

DIY Staircase Makeover

What a difference removing the carpet makes.  This staircase went from drab to fab with this simple change.

Updated staircase @ Home Remodeling Ideas

Again, removing carpet changes the entire look of this staircase.  A dark stain applied to the rails finishes the look.

Stair Makeover removing carpet from stairs

Stair Makeover removing carpet from stairs

Modifying the last two steps and changing the banister gave this staircase a completely new look.

Trim and Moldings

Update your window trim

Builder grade trim tends to be on the small and skinny side.  Wide trim and detailed moldings make windows and rooms look more substantial and luxurious.

I so want to do this!  Add trim to builder grade windows.  Love how they did theirs.

Source:  Pinterest