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Fall Home Improvements

by Scott Zeller
 

143

 

4 Early Fall Home Improvement Musts

 

When it’s summertime, homeowners are usually too distracted by the lure of beaches and festivals to focus on home improvement projects. By the time the fall season arrives, there’s usually a long list of things to do.

When it’s summertime, homeowners are usually too distracted by the lure of beaches and festivals to focus on home improvement projects. By the time the fall season arrives, there’s usually a long list of things that you want to do at your home. The pressure to fix up your house can be overwhelming, so start by focusing on these four fall home improvement musts.

Give Your Rooms a Fresh Coat of Paint

Temperatures can reach 90 or 100 degrees in Philadelphia during the summer, so it’s usually too hot to embark on a home painting project. But when the fall season arrives, the weather gets cooler and it’s the perfect time to get some painting done. Pick out the two or three rooms in your home where you spend the most time and add a fresh coat of paint to the walls in new colors. If you have a porch that has become weathered over the summer, give it a new look with a couple of coats of exterior paint.

Home Improvement. Ladder paint can and paint roller near a wall of yellow colour. 3d illustration

New Lighting Fixtures

You probably don’t pay much attention to the condition and appearance of your lighting fixtures until you start to spend more time indoors in the fall and winter. You’ll significantly improve the appearance of your home by simply changing the lighting fixtures in your living room, dining room, and bedrooms. Get slightly brighter bulbs to brighten up your rooms. Also, remember that it starts to get dark earlier in the fall, so make sure that your outdoor lights are fully functional and the bulbs are replaced to last throughout the season.

Lighting Fixtures

Image Source: StockSnap.io

Garage or Basement Cleanup

One smart fall home improvement project to take on is a thorough garage or basement cleanup. Sweep away the grass trimmings, soil, and dirt that you may have tracked in after a long summer of yard work. Take the time to organize your tools and supplies that are in storage in boxes, drawers, and bins. Toss empty bottles and expired products. If the floor has seen better days, apply epoxy-coating — it will give your garage or basement a clean, fresh look. Also, hire someone to do a routine check of your heating system, plumbing, and other units that are located in the garage or basement before the winter.

Garage Tools

Image Source: StockSnap.io

Apply Weather Seal or Replace Old Windows

If you have old windows in your home (a common trait of Philadelphia homes that were built in the 1800s and early 20th century), apply weather seal to them to save on your energy bills. Old wooden windows often leave a crack at the bottom where cold drafts get into your house, so add adhesive weather stripping. Also, gently sand and put a fresh coat of paint on frames that look worn down. This may also be the year that you’ll want to invest in a new set of energy efficient vertical slider windows with vinyl frames to replace your old wooden ones.

Windows

Image Source: StockSnap.io

Get in gear early in the season by taking on these relatively simple but practical fall home improvement projects. They will help you to enjoy your Philly home more this fall and also save some money as you head into the winter season.

Main Image Source: StockSnap.io

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Kitchen Organization

by Scott Zeller
 

387

 

8 Genius Ways to Organize Your Kitchen

 

Clear out the clutter and tidy up your kitchen with tips from our friends at HomeAdvisor

The following is a guest post from Andrea Davis of HomeAdvisor

The kitchen is one of the most difficult places in the home to keep clean and organized. Between your dishes, utensils and cooking appliances, you have lots of oddly shaped and bulky items to store. If you find yourself overwhelmed by all the stuff in your kitchen, or maybe just need a more efficient way of storing and organizing, consider these genius ways to tidy up your kitchen.

#1 Group Similar Items Together

Grouping items together according to their use is a sensible way to organize your kitchen. Categorizing similar items makes it easier for you and your guests to find things quickly.

#2 Use Baskets to Store Commonly Used Items

Searching for commonly used kitchen items is frustrating. Rather than storing them in random cabinets, use a simple wicker basket to corral and hold popular items. It looks nicer than just stacking utensils on the counter and it’s more organized than stashing them in available cabinets.

#3 Install Slide-Out Pantry Drawers

There’s nothing worse than having to pull everything out of a drawer or cabinet to reach something you’re looking for. Rather than shuffling with all of that mess, install slide-out pantry drawers or cabinets. Now, when you need a spice or are looking for specific dry goods, you can slide the entire cabinet out.

#4 Use Open Shelving

There’s nothing wrong with showing off some of the items you own, like your formal dinnerware or antique teapots. The only challenge you’ll face is keeping it all straight and tidy on your shelves. Installing an open shelving solution will help you organize everyday kitchen items and bring an open, airy energy to your kitchen. As an added benefit, you won’t have to open drawers and doors to find the items you’re looking for.

#5 Explore Alternative Storage

Traditional kitchen storage is great, but sometimes alternatives are just as functional. Consider storing extra kitchen items in wooden crates, baskets and other containers. Do you have a movable kitchen island with space underneath? Use woven baskets to hold your plates and bowls below.

#6 Don’t Waste Space

If you’re struggling to find space to organize all of your cutlery, plates and other utensils, consider high-shelf storage. Remember to only store rarely used items, like your fine china or fondue pot, on high shelves.

#7 Cut Down When Necessary

The kitchen is one of the most popular places in the home to display knick-knacks. If your assortment of collectibles has outgrown your space, the easiest way to organize is to eliminate what you can’t put out on display. This cuts down on clutter and opens up the visuals of your kitchen.

Conclusion

These are just a few simple ways to improve the organization of your kitchen. Now you can enjoy less frustrating meal preparation and less overwhelming visuals.

Lindsay is the the Director of Media Engagement for Coldwell Banker Real Estate and manages the brand’s media and social media department. She is also a licensed real estate professional. In 2017 & 2018, she was named a top 20 social influencer in the real estate industry in the annual Swanepoel 200 power rankings.

Lindsay lives in Livingston, NJ with her college sweetheart and now husband Joe and rwelcomed another Joe into her life as she became a mom in June 2016.

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Water Efficient Gardening

by Scott Zeller
 

233

 

Ditch the Sprinkler with These Water-Efficient Landscaping Ideas

 

From efficient plants to water-smart landscaping, your lawn can certainly do its part to improve water efficiency.

Ready for a shock? The average US household guzzles down 320 gallons of water a day—that’s about nine full bath tubs’ worth of liquid! And about 30 percent of that gets dumped out straight on the lawn. Conventional water sprinklers are so inefficient that about half of all the water they use is totally wasted.

No wonder we’re witnessing record-level droughts. Though a lot of the US has recovered from the catastrophic drought conditions we saw a few years ago, globally, we’re not in the clear. According to the NOAA, almost every continent on the US has been impacted by dry conditions this year. Kenya, in particular, is suffering right now from a record-setting drought, which has been devastating to local farmers and wildlife alike. That’s a pretty big issue to be up against, but fortunately, we can all play a small part in conserving water—right in our own backyards. From efficient plants to water-smart landscaping, your lawn can certainly do its part to keep waste at bay. Read on to find out how.

Mulch the Eco-friendly Way

Mulching bed around the house and bushes, wheelbarrel along with a showel.

Many new gardeners assume that mulching is just for appearances—but did you know it does a lot more for your beds than covering up the dirt? Mulch not only roots out troublesome weeds, it conserves moisture in the soil. A layer of it around plants more closely mirrors natural conditions, since forested areas are typically topped with nutrient-rich plant debris. Inside this mixture of twigs, bark, and leaves are beneficial microbes that subsist off the decaying matter. As these organisms break down organic material, transforming it into soil, they give off a sticky, almost glue-like substance that holds the topsoil together so that it has a crumbly texture. Soil with this texture holds in water much more effectively than other consistencies. Mulching with organic materials like leaves or pine needles kicks off this natural process, so that the soil is less likely to dry out—and it also forms a protective layer that keeps water from evaporating as fast.

Forget the Landscaping—Go for Hardscaping

A professional landscaping job with stone path and stone steps.

Turf is overrated, at least where water conservation is concerned. Hardscaping, the collective name for stone features used to landscape a garden or exterior area, gets points for being drought-tolerant—and when used properly, can really add some modern verve to your lawn. A terraced backyard, for instance, uses stone boundary walls to create multiple tiers—which can then be topped by native plants or beds of pebbles.

Other options? If you have a smaller lawn, try extending your paved patio out further from the back door. Leave openings for attractive beds that provide a peak of color, without being too hard on your water profile. Or add a “dry creek bed” finished with appealing native stones and pebbles—as a bonus, permeable paving like this helps collect rainfall and return it to the soil. Curved paths, steps, and stacked retaining walls all offer notes of interest in the hardscaped yard. And the best part? You’ll never forget to water them!

Spruce Up Your Beds with Ornamental Grasses and Succulents

Cortaderia selloana Grass in the Park Citadel in Barcelona, Spain. The Park is also called Ciutadella Park. Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia

Most lawns are pretty thirsty—experts recommend giving your grass about one to two inches of water a week, which is about two-thirds of a gallon for every square foot. That means that if you’ve got quite a bit of turf on your hands, your lawn could be practically guzzling water!

The alternatives take a little more planning—and a designer’s eye—but they’re definitely worth it when you weigh your water footprint. In particular, native ornamental grasses make for a pretty stunning display. Try pairing two species at varying heights for a more polished look. These work well along a fence or border wall, or in place of less drought-tolerant shrubs against your house or beside an entryway. You should try to pick varieties that are native to your area. If you need help with that, the National Wildlife Federation’s Native Plant Finder can help you identify some that will work.

Succulent gardens also make a nice addition to the water-efficient home. There are a number of desert-hailing plants, such as Yucca, Agave, Sempervivum, Delosperma, Opuntia, and Sedum, that can survive extremely low temps. These species require very little water—in fact, if you live in a rainier part of the country, you may want to cover them occasionally to prevent overwatering. Likewise, you may need to mix coarse sand or pumice to give them the consistency they like. According to the Alliance for Water Efficiency, xeriscaped areas in Las Vegas saved the city 39 percent of its annual summer water consumption, so these kinds of improvements definitely have a lasting effect.

When You Do Water, Do It Wisely

Detail of a working lawn sprinkler head watering colorful flower in the garden.

No matter how hardy the plant, most species need a little supplemental watering every once and awhile, especially during the driest parts of the year. Certain techniques definitely are more water-efficient than others, however. For instance, never water your garden during the hottest part of the day. Not only will the water evaporate more quickly, meaning your plants don’t get the good soak they deserve, if the sunlight is very intense, the reflection from the water droplets could damage the leaves.

Likewise, you can adopt practices that will minimize runoff as well. For instance, a short watering—say one to four minutes—three to four times in a day is much more efficient than a long soak. If you must have the sprinkler, turn it off after a rain or in the winter, when most plants are dormant.  Investigate a water-saving smart irrigation system. Using your input, such as your soil type, area, and sun exposure, these WiFi-connected sprinkler controllers are able to create a customized watering schedule that delivers just the right amount of irrigation— no more, no less. Many can even access weather reports to automatically cancel watering if it’s just rained. And the EPA estimates that products labeled with its WaterSense efficiency rating save an average 9,000 gallons of water per household annually. That’s a lot of water for one little change! With updates like these, the future of our water table is right in your hands.

About the Writer

ErinHS
Erin Vaughan is a blogger, gardener and aspiring homeowner.  She currently resides in Austin, TX where she writes full time for Modernize, with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.

Alexandra is the Manager of Social Media & Content for Coldwell Banker Real Estate, LLC. She lives in Hoboken, NJ and loves taking advantage of the many local perks (read: dogs EVERYWHERE) and proximity to Manhattan. Her idea of relaxing is perusing the aisles of Sephora and proofreading copy. No, really.

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Displaying blog entries 1-3 of 3

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The Scott Zeller Team
Coldwell Banker Snow and Wall
1980 Old Fort Parkway
Murfreesboro TN 37129
Mobile: 615-479-4776
Business: 615-893-1130
Fax: 615-893-3246

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