Stamford CT

It's All About The Journey ... Welcome To Newfield!

If you ask any resident of Newfield what they like most about their neighborhood, most will comment on the winning combination of living in peaceful surroundings and having quick and easy access to schools, recreation, shopping, downtown and commuting. Apparently, they are not alone in that sentiment. According to “Areavibes.com†an internet website that tracks the livability of neighborhoods, Newfield was ranked #1 in Stamford.

puritan-poultry-farms puritan-poultry-farms-ad

Today Newfield is comprised primarily of medium to large single family homes on ½ acre to 1 acre lots, but the original history of the area has deep roots in farming. Newfield was home to Puritan Poultry Farms, Mortimer Hess Farm, and most notably, Woodacre Farms, a 144 acre dairy farm which operated in the 1930’s and early 1940’s. Atherton Holder, the owner of Woodacre Farms was well known for raising prize winning dairy cows that grazed on the verdant pastures. cowThe farm was sold in 1942 but continued operating as a dairy farm under the new name - Sterling Farms. In 1965 the officers of Hubbard Heights Golf Club dedicated their efforts to the eventual realization of another municipal golf course for the City of Stamford. Their determination led to the purchase of the property through the “Open Lands†program and Sterling Farms Golf Course opened in May of 1972 and often referred to as the "Public Country Club".

mortimer poultry farm

Sterling Farms is a recreational gem featuring a beautiful 18 hole golf course that has been ranked the #1 public course in Fairfield County, year after year. A driving range, putting green and 6 outdoor tennis courts complete the facilities with golf and tennis lessons available throughout the Summer.

sterling farms golf course sterling farms driving range

If you thought Sterling Farms was only for the sporting enthusiast, think again, because theatre lovers have a home there as well. The Sterling Barn Theatre (now Kweskin Theatre) opened on July 14, 1972. Originally operated by Stamford Parks and Recreation, the theatre has been managed since 1992 by Curtain Call, Inc. a nonprofit arts organization. Year-round productions and workshops are presented by and for area residents in the Kweskin and Dressing Room Theatres. The Kweskin Theatre offers a more traditional experience while the Dressing Room Theatre is more caberet-style, with table seating and the ability to enjoy a "picnic" meal and a bottle of wine while watching the show. In 2012, Curtain Call started “Shakespeare in the Parkâ€, an outdoor theatre experience where the audience can bring picnic baskets and lawn chairs to the “great lawn†and enjoy an evening under the stars with a production of one of Shakespeare’s classics.

shakespeare in the park sterling farms theatres

Whether finishing up a round of golf, tennis match or leaving a show, you can grab a bite to eat at the restaurant on the complex featuring a lower level geared for golfers to pull up their carts during play and traditional dining upstairs. A large outdoor deck provides beautiful views of the course and glimpses of Long Island Sound. They also have live music on weekends. In addition, The Clubhouse at Sterling - a Banquet Hall, can be rented out for private parties or meetings and features a large Dining Room, Bar Area and Enclosed Porch.

sterling farms banquet hall sterling farms zodys

If you enjoy living in peaceful surroundings but want to be close to conveniences and recreational pursuits, come take a look at the neighborhood of Newfield. It just may be the right fit for you!

 

Check out my recent sold listing at 48 Edward Place in the Newfield neighborhood

48 Edward Place

List Price: $559,000, Sales Price: $566,000

 

It's All About The Journey ... Downtown!

stamford downtown-this is the place

The Stamford Downtown has it's own special district knows as the Downtown Special Services District (DSSD) which is a Business Improvement District established in 1993 with the mission to “manage, enhance and promote the Downtown experience.†And what a job they’ve done - there is so much going on in this Downtown that it has its own website!

bedford st restaurants 2 restaurants1 bedford st restaurant restaurants 2

With such a wide array of dining options, I’ll begin with a section for the foodies out there. You will be sure to find something to please your palate with over 80 restaurants offering everything from burgers and shakes to cuisines from around the globe including Morocco, India, Spain and of course, Italy. It’s common to see people meandering along Bedford Street or Columbus Place, meeting for cocktails at one restaurant and strolling to another for dinner then dessert. During the summer, restaurateurs open their outdoor patios and the street feels like a bustling, small European city with cafe tables dotting the sidewalks from one end to the other.

avon theatre

Feel like dinner and a movie? You can catch a first run film on one of the 15 screens at either the Bow Ties Cinema Landmark or Bow Ties Cinema Majestic. For those with a more independent streak, head over to the Avon Theatre. The Avon Theatre Film Center is non-profit and member-supported. Its’ members are dedicated to presenting compelling independent, foreign, documentary and classic films. The Avon, itself a 1939 historic landmark, also holds special events that include forums for in-person, community dialogue with directors, actors and others in a “Main Street America†setting.

strand

rich forum palace theatre

If you enjoy live entertainment, The Stamford Center for the Arts offers two venues. The Palace Theatre, and the Rich Forum. The Palace is a local landmark with a long history starting with Mary Vuono, who operated the Strand Theatre next door and was its’ visionary. After successfully remodeling and expanding the Strand Theatre, Mary decided to purchase the building next door in 1920. The Palace theatre was born 7 years later in 1927. Dubbed “Connecticut’s most magnificent†when it first opened, the Palace continues to offer the best of entertainment from well-known music and comedy acts to international dance companies and theatrical productions. The Stamford Symphony also calls the Palace its home and holds many concerts throughout the year with highly acclaimed guest musicians and evenings dedicated to compositions from classical masters including Beethoven, Mozart and Tchaikovsky. The Rich Forum includes the smaller Truglia theatre and Leonhart Studio where you can be an audience member for tapings of televised shows including Crazy Talk, Maury Povich or Jerry Springer.

alive at five jazz up july

farmers market

Stamford Downtown holds many events scattered throughout the year. Some are yearly events, such as Repelling Santa and the Holiday Tree Lighting. Santa and guest repellers descend 22 stories from Stamford’s tallest building, Landmark Square, and then gather around Bedford Street for more holiday music and fun while waiting for the countdown to Stamford’s Holiday Tree lighting. A summer farmer’s market showcases the best of local produce, flowers, and baked goods and in the fall over 100 craftsmen and artisans pitch their tents to showcase items for sale at Arts and Crafts on Bedford. Of course how could I talk about Stamford Downtown events without mentioning the very successful summer concert series of Live at Five held every Thursdays for 8 weeks, and Jazz up July held every Wednesday evening in July where you can still bring a picnic dinner. Many well-known acts perform their stage shows to the enthusiastic crowds. These series have become so popular that many people travel statewide and from nearby New York to enjoy a balmy summer evening under the stars with food, drink and live music.

ubs parade

arts & craftsrepelling santa

 

Downtown Stamford also has the vibe of a college town with satellite campuses of the University of Connecticut and Sacred Heart University offering undergraduate and post graduate degrees in their respective Stamford locations. The UCONN Stamford campus was originally located on Scofield Town Road, the site of the current Scofield Magnet Middle School. In 1990 planning began for a UCONN campus located in the heart of downtown. The downtown campus opened in 1998 in a contemporary glass enclosed building at the former site of “Bloomingdalesâ€-a landmark of it’s own. The location allows students to gain valuable work experience with business leaders at many Fortune 500 corporations headquartered in the heart of downtown. Sacred Heart University came to downtown in May of 2013 where it launched graduate programs in Business, Arts & Science and Education. Classes are offered in the Landmark Square building.

uconn sacred heart

If all of this sounds great, you might wonder what the housing options are. A multitude of modern apartment complexes have been developed in recent years to accommodate the growing demand for housing. There are currently more than 30 apartment buildings from high rises to low rises providing a large variety of choices. Older, more established buildings will have fewer amenities but keep you in the thick of the action, while newer or luxury complexes can offer everything from media and billiard rooms to indoor/outdoor pools and rooftop terraces. Three of the many condominium complexes located downtown are The Biltmore, The Classic Condominiums and Trump Parc. These are all high rise buildings with varying price points and amenities that appeal to different buyers. There are also other high rise buildings and townhomes located within a few block radius.

So if you enjoy an urban lifestyle in a vibrant and bustling environment, come take a look at Stamford’s Downtown. It just might be the right fit for you!

It's All About the Journey ... Fireplaces - Cozy and Cost Effective

What’s more comforting than sitting in front of a roaring fire on a cold winter’s night? Fireplaces can instantly change the mood of a room, making it more cozy and romantic , and as a bonus may also give an extra source of heat. There are lots of choices to provide the glowing warmth of a fire, some that don’t require a chimney or flu.

Now that I’ve “sparked†your interest, let’s take a look at the broad category of indoor fireplaces.

 

WOOD BURNING

open hearth fireplace Traditional Open Hearth Typically made of stone or brick, these types of fireplaces have existed for centuries. You can feel the heat, smell the wood burning and hear it crackling. They are not as effective at heating the room as some of the more modern varieties. Also, if you don’t already have a fireplace, it will require a fair amount of construction to put in the opening and chimney for proper venting.

Enclosed Fireplaces enclosed fireplace These indoor fireplaces feature a large glass panel to view the fire as it burns. You have less heat escaping up the chimney and more entering the room. Enclosed fireplaces provide more warmth while still having the ambience of a wood burning fire.

fireplace insert Fireplace Inserts These are inserts that fit into your existing fireplace opening. They are enclosed, enabling you to easily turn an inefficient open hearth heating system in to one that is more fuel efficient.

Wood Burning Stoves wood burning stove Although not technically a fireplace, wood burning stoves are an alternative to burn wood for heating without needing a fireplace. It will, however, require a pipe to vent the smoke through the chimney to the outside. You will also need to install a noncombustible floor pad and wall surrounds.

pellet stove Pellet Stoves pellets for pellet stove

These stoves are generally small, and the bags of pellets are inexpensive and come in quantities that are about the size of a mulch bag, making them easy to store. They're also easy to operate; they on­ly require loading pellets and igniting the flame. Because the fire is contained in a heat box there is a minimum of smoke, which lessens the smell in your home and prevents the outside of the unit from heating up. Wood pellets are made from recycled materials and are heavily compressed, which reduces the moisture content. Dry fuel creates more heat, causing the pellets to burn hotter and cleaner than their wood counterparts. A word of caution - these stoves run on electricity, so if your power goes out, so does your stove.

 

GAS

direct vented gas fireplace Direct-Vented Built-in Fireplaces This gas fireplace can be vented through an existing or newly construction chimney or you can alternatively use a pipe to eliminate more costly changes in the house’s structure.

Ventless Built-in Fireplaces ventless gas fireplace Ventless built-in indoor fireplaces are the simplest to install as there is no need for a chimney or vent. However, though every effort is made to make it clean burning, it is possible that some contaminates from the gas will enter your home without a vented system.

 

ETHANOL

ethanol fireplace Fireplace Conversion If you have an existing fireplace, you can get an ethanol burning insert that will slide right in. Depending on your preference, there are options for a more traditional or modern appearance.

Wall mounted Fireplaces wall mounted fireplace 2 With this style, you can actually hang your fireplace on any wall that you choose, making it double as a heating source or a centerpiece of a room.

 

ELECTRIC

electric fireplace

Electric fireplaces are the most cost effective option on the market. They are easy to install and require no ventilation. Another added benefit - most allow you to turn the heating function on or off while maintaining the ambiance of a fireplace. Available in a traditional mantel surround or built within a media cabinet, they can be operated by remote control and some have different varieties of fire effects.

Doesn’t it sound nice to grab a glass of wine, curl up with a blanket and sit by the fire? With all the options out there, it’s possible for everyone to enjoy!

It's All About The Journey ... Choosing Kitchen Appliances – Consider the Current Cook and Potential Buyers!

What is a kitchen without it's appliances? After all, the primary function of a kitchen is for cooking and preparing meals, (unless you're my mother who once looked at an apartment in NYC and didn't realize there wasn't a kitchen!). Functionally obsolete appliances can turn the joy of cooking into the agony of defeat, they’re also one of the first things a buyer will notice about your kitchen. A little paint can refresh tired looking wood cabinets but there's no hiding that harvest gold range!

If your appliances could use an update, here are some tips on how to choose the right cooktop, fridge and more.

Cooktops – Gas, Electric or Induction

gas cooktop

The choice is personal, but the preferences are fierce! Gas is very popular because there is more control of the temperature settings. With gas you can turn the heat up or down immediately & with more precision, as opposed to electric units which adjust more slowly. When shopping for gas cooktops ask about BTU’s which is an energy measurement and is short for british thermal units, and variable control which addresses how long you can maintain “simmer†without the flame going out. Burner grates made of cast iron or metal allow for better heat transfer from the burner to the pan. Choices for fuel are either natural gas or propane, so if you are not in an area with gas available, propane is the way to go.

electric cooktop

Electric is the most common option - these are flat top models which tend to be the least expensive option and what you will find in most homes.

induction cooktop

Induction heat is a flat cooktop like electric that performs like fast-heating gas stoves and is gaining popularity in todays’ kitchen. With induction cooking you lose the least amount of heat from burner to pan. It’s also a time-saver because you can bring a pan of water to boiling faster than you can on a high performing BTU gas range top.

Range Hood

range hood

Any cooktop demands a proper ventilation system that will usher exhaust out of the kitchen. Recirculating fans may take out some of the cooking steam, but they don’t move out any heat. Exterior blowers and inline blowers provide high-performance ventilation. Noise levels can vary, if you hear the sound of suction (and not the motor running) this is a good thing. No one wants to turn on the range hood and think a Cessna is about to land in their kitchen.

Ovens

double wall oven gas range

Conventional ovens can be gas or electric (there are even dual energy range options where you have a gas cooktop and an electric oven). Styles vary from an all-in-one cooktop/oven range to wall mounted double or single oven units. Interior size is an important factor when shopping - you should make sure the Thanksgiving turkey is going to fit!

Convection ovens are often an option within a conventional oven (or sometimes microwave-we'll get to that later). They circulate heat with a fan to cook food faster and more evenly and will help you get dinner on the table faster than a traditional oven. The downside is you don’t get the standard bake/roast/broil settings.

Refrigerators/Freezers

french door with water in door top freezerbottom freezerside-by-side-fridge-freezer-gorenje-nrs-85557

Freestanding models slide into a space and generally protrude 6 to 7 inches beyond counter depth (a 24 inch depth is standard). Counter-depth units will look more like built-in units but be careful not to sacrifice form for function. Check out the interior cubic feet of storage for each unit.

As for configuration, French-door refrigerators (on top) with freezer drawer (on bottom) are very popular. They allow you to store pizza boxes, sheet cakes, deli trays, etc. that are difficult to fit into a side by side refrigerator. You can also choose the traditional freezer on the top/refrigerator on the bottom or a side-by-side option.

Another consideration is if you want a water/ice in the door dispenser. If you are focused on water purification, there are units that will accomplish this. Otherwise the systems simply pass water through a copper pipe in the unit and out your refrigerator door.

Microwaves

microwave built into cabinet

Microwaves can consume a lot of counter space. Microwaves built into the cabinetry are becoming very popular as well as microwave drawers which nestle among base cabinets and are very handy. Built-in microwaves over the range can also act as a venting mechanism. As mentioned above, there are many models that also have a convection oven cooking feature.

Dishwashers

dishwasherdishwasher drawers

Traditional dishwashers with doors that pull from the top down are the most popular style and they can be paneled to blend with the cabinetry for a seamless look. Drawer dishwashers are another trend on the rise because they are easier to load and can be installed at various heights, based on your needs. Because they can handle smaller loads, they are also more efficient.

This is another appliance where noise levels can vary. If you want to have a conversation while the dishwasher is running, make sure to check out the decibel level on the spec sheet to see how quietly it will operate.

Finishes

stainless appliances smudge-proof-feature.png.w960 black stainless appliances

Now that you’ve considered your appliances, think about finish. Stainless steel is still the most popular but now comes in more varieties than the traditional polished finish. Black stainless has a more muted tone and smudge free has a more brushed appearance. Both eliminate the common “finger prints†complaint when considering stainless steel appliances. Whatever look you prefer, stainless is still the most requested finish among buyers.

Energy Efficiency

energy star rating

Last but certainly not least, consider energy ratings when purchasing appliances. The higher the rating the more you will save on your electric bill and energy consumption. A factor any home owner will appreciate!

What time is dinner?

Comments

  1. Lillian Schaeffer on

    This is some great information, and I appreciate your point that convection ovens cook things faster and more evenly. My husband and I are going to be renovating our kitchen, so I'm trying to choose new appliances so we can plan around their sizes. I would love to have a convection oven for faster cooking, so I'll definitely look into that. Thanks for the great post!
    • James Bergman on

      I appreciate you going through the different cooktops. I personally think that it is a toss up between gas and induction heated units.They both heat up and cool fast. If anything induction cooktops would have an edge because they would be easier to use for simmering. However, gas does tend to be a little cheaper to use. In the end it all comes down to personal preference and the availability of gas.

      It’s All About The Journey … The Gang’s All Here!

      Family rooms are an integral part of any home whether the living room acts a multi-function space in a small home or apartment, or you have a separate family room in a sprawling abode, these are the spaces where everyone can gather and enjoy each other’s company. There are a few key elements every family room should have: ample and comfortable seating, attractive storage, somewhere to put your feet up - such as an ottoman, (which has a dual purpose for extra seating if space is tight and can provide possible storage) and great lighting - overhead lighting illuminates the space, but you will also need task lighting for reading, playing games, etc.

      The three main categories that will create a warm and welcoming family room are: a successful design plan, inexpensive updates and unique decorating ideas. By incorporating some of these elements into your space, everyone will want to kick their shoes off and stay awhile!

      Designing Your Family Room

      Open Family Room columns family rooms

      • Opening your family room to adjoining spaces so the room is visible, ultimately invites everyone in.

      • Define the open spaces by introducing some architectural elements such as arches, columns or you can use furniture as a divider.

      • Plan your home entertainment system early on in the design phase to ensure that all electrical wiring and any integrated systems meet your needs.

      • Create one major focal point within this space. Whether you install your large screen plasma TV on the fireplace wall or have windows overlooking a pretty outdoor space.

      • The furniture layout should be oriented toward the focal point of the space and feel cozy. Try to ignore the impulse to line your furniture pieces up against the wall thinking it creates more space. It doesn’t.

      • Keep traffic patterns in mind when planning a furniture layout. The ability to walk through the room without navigating through a maze of furniture is essential.

      Easy & Inexpensive Updates for Your Family Room

      winter family room summer family room

      • Swap out throw pillows. Add deep velvet fabric pillows, tapestry and rich colors in fall and winter, then you can swap these out for bright colored, cotton or canvas pillows in spring and summer.

      • Freshen up old furniture by adding cozy, beautiful throws and blankets in colder months. This not only gives color and texture but can hide rips and stains!

      • Let the sun shine in! Clean windows inside and out, add new curtains, swags or drapes. If privacy isn’t an issue, lose the blinds and sheers and let light pour in!

      Clever & Unique Family Room Ideas

      ottoman black frames hanging window rods

      • Get rid of clutter by adding multi-functional storage pieces. Think ottomans with hinged lids, coffee tables with drawers, photo boxes to hold odds and ends, which will fit beautifully in a bookcase.

      • Create the illusion of space and light by grouping a collection of mirrors with decorative frames.

      • Spray paint is your best friend! Take old, mismatched picture frames and give them a new life with a coat of flat black spray paint. The texture of each frame gives dimension while the monochromatic color gives your items the look of a collection, not clutter!

      • Swap out those energy draining bulbs with compact fluorescents or LEDs that create a soft light from your lamps without breaking your budget.

      • Raise your curtain rods, and extend them well past the windows! The illusion of huge windows is created by adding additional ‘framing’ around the ones you have

        Inviting, comfortable and relaxing!

        No wonder the gang’s all here -

        Is it Super Bowl Sunday already?

      It’s All About The Journey … Powder Rooms - Small Spaces Capable of Making a Big Statement!

      Powder rooms are intimate and private spaces that reflect the style of your home. They are also the great equalizers. No matter how large or small your home is, powder rooms (generally), are approximately the same size. Adding the right embellishments and detail provides another opportunity to show buyers you care about your home.

      Here are some considerations:

      Create a focal point

      powder room vanity

      Bath Before and After

      pedestal sink

      Your goal is to draw attention toward the sink area. One option is to apply a new paint finish to the existing cabinetry. This is usually more cost effective than changing out the whole vanity, sink and fixtures. Adding updated hardware can transform a standard cabinet to look like a custom vanity.

      If the budget allows, a new countertop and sink can update a vanity that is in good shape. A great way to cut costs is to purchase a leftover piece of quartz or stone from a local distributor for a new countertop. They often have popular remnants in neutral colors leftover from bigger projects. The entire installation process can be done for a fraction of the cost of an entirely new custom vanity.

      Adding a new sink – whether it’s a state-of-the-art vessel sink or an under mount sink or molded sink/counter combination can complete the entire design element.

      Pedestal sinks are another cost effective option. Be sure there is adequate storage for additional toiletries nearby.

       

      Flooring

      ceramic floor tile

      Ceramic or porcelain tiles as well as natural stone floors are always popular choices in a bathroom, but if you have existing wood flooring, it’s not necessary to change. A powder room receives less traffic, and a properly treated wood floor can be resistant to moisture penetration and less prone to scratches.

      half bath

      Embellishments

      A decorative framed mirror can serve to further accent the vanity. You can either purchase a new one, or a frame can be built around a wall mounted mirror using trim molding placed around the edges.

      framed mirror in powder room

      Just like any other space, lighting is critical. Changing out the fixture can add both style and mood to this intimate space (especially if you still have the old “Hollywood Lights†screaming 1970’s & 1980’s!). Consider sconces on either side of the mirror, or a light fixture above the mirror. If the only light source is on the ceiling, consider a stylish little chandelier.

      chandelier in powder room hollywood lights

      A fresh coat of paint on the walls goes a long way. Light and brightly colored walls are more reflective, making any space feel open and airy. Additionally, light colors amplify the effect of natural light. (which everyone loves!) The opposite can work as well, deep colors can give a rich and intimate feel to a small space.

      light paint powder room dark paint powder room

       

      Little Amenities Make a Big Impact

      Toilet tissue dispensers can be hung on the wall, but should be up to date. Other options are to place some rolls in a pretty container (like a basket) or a toilet tissue stand near the commode.

      Most people prefer to use hand cleanser out of a dispenser. A decorative dispenser is more sanitary and eliminates the mess of a bar of soap.

      Placing luxurious hand towels nearby, either on a shelf or in a basket on the sink will create a spa like environment.

      powder room accessories

      A pretty rug in front of the vanity, beautiful bath accessories and a special piece of artwork is all that is needed to complete the picture and provide a lasting impression.

      Toilet bowl brushes or plungers are not decorative accessories! Keep this little room clean and free of clutter. Store any necessary tools behind closed doors in an accessible location.

      A waste basket should be convenient but not the center of attention.

       

      A powder room can be a fun project to update! For a small space, it can make a big impact on buyers. Create something that will make you smile!

      It's All About the Journey ... Retreat to the Master Bedroom

      The chaos of the day has ended, all the your chores are finished and you’ve watched just enough TV to put you to sleep. It’s time to retreat to your private sanctuary, the Master Bedroom. Ah, the thought of a perfect, serene haven with everything just so, sounds enticing doesn’t it? You walk down the hall ready to snuggle up in your cozy lair, and the reality smacks you in the face. Where is my serene sanctuary?

      You’re not alone, Master Bedroom updates often take a back seat to other rooms, which becomes evident when it’s time to prepare your home to sell (kitchens and bathrooms usually get the most attention). The fact is buyers scrutinize the Master more so than any of the other bedrooms. “Does the closet have enough storage space? Will it fit my bed? Is there room for my double dressers? etc.â€

      Taking some time to make the most of this space will help create a restful environment your buyers will appreciate.

      Here are some ideas to help get you started:

      Paint the Walls

      gray paint master bedroom creamy master bedroom

      A cool and soothing color palette creates a relaxing atmosphere. Soft blues, greens and creamy whites give the bedroom a fresh and airy feel.

      Add Wall Decor

      wall art master bedroom

      Once you’ve got your walls painted, add some decorative accessories. Things like mirrors, wall accents and photos can add more character to your bedroom.

      Arrange Furniture

      When you walk into a bedroom, especially the Master, the bed should be one of the 1st things you see.

      Start with learning standard bed sizes, and which one will work in your plan. Other bedroom furniture comes in all kinds of sizes. Once you determine your room and bed dimensions, you can make good decisions about dressers, chests, nightstands and so on. Pay attention to scale and avoid over sized furniture that doesn’t fit the space. You want to make the bedroom feel airy and comfortable.

      The ancient Chinese method of Feng Shui helps to balance our homes. Following some simple feng shui strategies can turn your chaotic and uninspiring bedroom into the serene sanctuary of your dreams.

      feng shui bed

      If you have a large Bedroom or a Master Suite

      Benches and/or chairs

      bench at bottom of bed

      Add a bench at the foot of your bed; it’s a perfect spot for putting on your shoes and socks without disturbing a freshly made bed.

      Small, comfortable upholstered chairs provide an added dimension to a bedroom. It is easy to overlook this element, but it shows the bedroom can become a nice retreat from the rest of the household.

      Whatever the size, make sure you don't overcrowd the space - as in all rooms, less is more.

      Lighting

      chandelier in master bedroom

      As with any space, lighting plays an important role in delivering the desired atmosphere. After all, it’s hard to have a romantic environment with a fluorescent light flickering overhead. Consider adding a ceiling fan as well. Despite the fact that some people say ceiling fans are unfashionable, many home buyers appreciate their energy savings.

      Upgraded Electronics

      wall mounted tv

      Wall mounted TV’s are a popular feature, and can help your space to appear larger, especially if your bedroom is on the smaller side.

      Luxury

      luxurious pillows

      A touch of luxury gives the master bedroom refined elegance that can bring a soothing note to the space. Sumptuous bedding, plush pillows and a beautiful chandelier all add luxury, which can be quite serene.

      Combine Masculine and Feminine Details

      clean line master bedroom

      Neutral palettes and clean lines are appealing to all. Stay away from window coverings and bed coverings that scream “I am woman hear me roar†or “It’s a man’s worldâ€! Both individuals need to feel comfortable and that the environment suits them.

      Closets

      organized closet

      A master Bedroom with a walk-in closet is always the most preferred option but organizing a smaller closet can also have a dramatic effect. Good wall closets include: Spaces for long and short hanging items, several open shelves of varying heights, a bank of drawers (optional), a spot for shoes, places to hang ties and belts, and to stow handkerchiefs and scarfs. The most important thing to remember on closets is that your buyer will remember what they see. Try to keep hangers all the same with space in between and floors free of clutter. A general rule is that you should only have shelves filled to approximately 1/3 of their height.

      These tips can transform your Master Bedroom into the oasis you’ve always envisioned and create a retreat buyers will remember.

      Sweet dreams!

       

       

       

       

      It's All About the Journey ... Treat Yourself to a Spa Day!

      With downtime at a premium, it’s no surprise that people are investing in luxurious amenities to enjoy in the comfort of their own home. Perhaps the most common of these upgrades is the inclusion of a spa-like master bath.

      Hydrotherapy, steam, light, heat, and aroma can create an experience at home that can compete with the world’s best spas. However, with so many options, it can be hard to decide where to start and what to pick. Here are a few ideas for creating your own spa Master Bath.

      LUXURY SHOWER

      spa steam shower

      A Steam Shower is one of the most enjoyable ways to de-stress and can be partnered with aromatherapy, chromatherapy (the science of the light spectrum’s improvements and positive effects on tissue and body systems). Additional massage elements can be incorporated into the shower through body sprays and jets that can be added to shower walls and operated independently or in conjunction with other shower heads. Overhead rainfall showers are also a popular additional to a luxury shower.

      EXTRA-LARGE BATHTUB

      built in whirlpool tubs free standing tub

      If adding space in the shower isn’t enough, adding an extra-large bathtub will surely do the trick. Serving as your own private oasis after a long day, homeowners can’t go wrong with this added feature. There are two schools of thought on this. Freestanding tubs are all the rage today and can certainly create a peaceful, quiet soaking experience but built-in Modern-day therapy tubs are also a popular option. Many luxury therapy tubs include other health enhancing features like massage, hydrotherapy, or aromatherapy.

      HEATED FLOORS AND TOWEL RACKS

      heated towel rack

      Heated towel warmers and/or heated floors are a great addition. These features ensure that the relaxation doesn’t end once you leave your shower and tub, and your comfort is never disrupted by cold floors or chilly towels. Both add a luxury touch to a spa bath.

      CALMING COLOR PALETTE

      paint palette

      Since the master bath is a space that is supposed to offer serenity and calming factors, a soft neutral color palette will surely set the tone. Warm or cool neutrals are both popular. Warm palettes provide a more zen, organic feel, while cool palettes enhance light and airy spaces.

      DOUBLE SINKS

      double vanities with square sinksvessel sinks two pedestal sinks separate vanities

      This can be accomplished with a double vanity or two separate sink areas. Quartz or stone surrounds and the sleek appearance of an under mount sink in square or rectangular shapes add a modern touch. Vessel sinks or large pedestal sinks are other popular options.

      RAISE THE HEIGHT

      Newer toilet and vanities are a little taller now for added comfort. Be sure to check out the difference when you visit your local home supply store.

      LUXURY CAN COME IN SMALL PACKAGES

      shower spa

      plush bath towels bath accessories

      Not every house has room for a sprawling master bath, but luxury can come in small packages, too. Glass fixed shower panels, floating vanities, and larger, light colored tile floors can open up a smaller bath. Adding pampering shower features such as: hand held plumbing fixtures, built in niches or a shower bench can elevate the spa experience.

      Plush towels, specialty bath soaps and salts, and a large candle are quick, inexpensive accessories that add a feeling of luxury.

      By incorporating some of these elements in your own Master Bath, the spa bath of your dreams could be the one you wake up to every day!

      It's All About the Journey ... Finishing off - In the Basement!

      Finishing a basement can bring you a double bonus. It provides additional living space for a fraction of the cost of an addition to the house - the walls are already there, electrical and plumbing lines are easily accessible, and no additional foundation supports are necessary to start construction. Also, a well-finished basement can add value to your house when you go to sell it – just don’t expect to get back all the money that went into it.

      finished basement

      The average basement remodel recoups about 69% of the original cost, according to the “2015 Remodeling Impact Report†from the National Association of Realtors. As with most remodeling projects, rarely does anyone get a 100% return on their investment. Improvements should be done to both enhance your lifestyle and to increase your homes’ selling potential.

      Finished basements are particularly conducive for use as media rooms, music rooms, a home office or a recreation room. In all of these spaces, separation from the main living areas can be a plus!

      Before you get started on your renovation, here are several things you need to know:

      Know the Code

      code book

      It would be great to convert unused space to additional living space, but does your basement meet the building code requirements for livable space? You must be in compliance with codes for ceiling height, and egress windows and/or doors. It's also time to check with your local municipality to see if you'll be required to get any permits. This is particularly important if you're planning plumbing, heating and electrical work, which most likely will need to be inspected.

      Keep It Dry

      02lg-basement-waterproofing-pump

      Check for any water issues in your basement before beginning the planning process. Obvious signs are pools of water or drips coming through the below-grade walls or around windows and the bilco door. Check outside to make sure the ground is graded away from your foundation. Also look for cracks in your foundation walls and repair that damage if necessary. If there is a continuing water issue, there are a number of remedies available - from sump pumps to perimeter French drainage systems.

      Ceiling Heights/Options

      drop ceiling Drywall_ceiling_basement

      As mentioned above, ALWAYS get necessary permits and know the building codes before you start a basement renovation (even if your contractor says it might not be necessary - it will become necessary when it's time to sell). If you have concerns about ceiling height, consider installing a drywall ceiling rather than a drop ceiling. Drywall ceilings will give you a few more inches of headroom. Costs are comparable. Inserting plastic access panels into a drywall ceiling will provide easier access to valves in the pipes above.

      A drop or suspended ceiling offers a way to both conceal and provide access to electrical and plumbing lines via the removable tiles. These ceilings will reduce the amount of overhead space available, so keep that in mind when planning.

       

      Egress Windows and Doors

      basement egress window basement egress door

      Basement living space requires emergency escape and rescue openings. Whether it is an egress window or an egress door, it has to open to the outside and open easily without the use of keys or tools. It must also follow code requirements for the height and width of basement egress windows.

      Keep Out the Cold

      basement-insulation-fiberglass-foam

      Even after taking care of any moisture issues, your basement can become a damp place. Check with your contractor to see if you'll need to add a vapor barrier to the walls and/or floors prior to framing and finishing off these surfaces. You may also choose an insulation that includes a vapor barrier on both sides. Adding insulation will not only help control the temperature inside your basement, it may also add another layer of moisture control. Other options include a spray foam insulation. Be sure to check code requirements for this type.

       

      Recessed Lighting

      recessed_soffit_lighting

      Recessed lighting in a basement is a good option because it doesn’t take up valuable overhead space that a light fixture would. It’s also easy to install if you decide to opt for a drop ceiling.

       

      The Utility Room is Not for Finishing

      mechanical room basement

      Any space housing an HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) unit or units and water heaters need to remain clear, open, unfinished and ventilated. These spaces have specific code requirements for spacing and framing, plus you'll need access for inspection and/or repairs.

      A finished basement can be terrific “found space†but before you start daydreaming about all its’ potential, make sure your basement is a good candidate for renovation - if not, there’s nothing wrong with extra storage!

       

      It's All About The Journey ... Spring Market 4-1-1

      Are you thinking of becoming a

      Spring Success Story?

       

      lack of inventory

      The 2016 spring market's biggest challenge for the real estate industry seems to be the lack of available housing inventory for sale. Here are a few experts and their thoughts on the subject:

      David Crowe, Chief Economist for the National Association of Home Builders:

      “Many sellers may not have an absolute decision as to whether to buy an existing home or a new home. So the low inventory of existing homes is locking them in place.â€

      Ralph McLaughlin, Chief Economist with Trulia:

      “We are in a time of short supply, which is great news for sellers because they will likely be faced with multiple offers due to the little inventory out there…Buyers will be up against a lot of other people and against a short supply of existing homes.â€

      Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist with NAR:

      “First-time buyers in high demand areas continue to encounter instances where their offer is trumped by cash buyers and investors. Without a much-needed boost in new and existing-homes for sale in their price range, their path to homeownership will remain an uphill climb.â€

      Fitch Ratings:

      “One important issue that has restrained sales and starts is inventory. On an absolute basis, inventory has not expanded as much as in past recoveries, leading to less selection for buyers. This is especially true for existing home sales but is evident for new home construction as well. When it comes to U.S. housing inventory, more is better."

      Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist for Realtor.com:

      “The increase in sales is resulting in continued tighter-than-tight supply-measured by NAR to be four months in January. For you non-economists out there, that metric measures the number of months it would take to sell the current inventory of available homes, at the current pace. Got it? Six to seven months’ worth of homes on the market is considered normal; four months is cray-cray.â€

      It could be the perfect time for you to get in on the action-Spring market is in full swing now-don't wait too long!

      Courtesy of KCM