Dana Claflin - ERA Key Realty Services



Posted by Dana Claflin on 5/14/2020

Photo by Halfpoint via Shutterstock

When it comes to conserving energy, homeowners wanting to go green often spare no expense. Here are a few ways to upgrade your home without lightening your wallet.

Smart Thermostat

A powerful method to control your power use while saving money on your air conditioning bills in the summer and heating bills each winter is by installing a smart thermostat. Utilizing a system that monitors the indoor and outdoor humidity and temperatures to adjust your system keeps your home on an even keel and your bills steady. Choose one with multiple sensors so that you don’t end up with hot spots or cold rooms around your home. You can adjust your thermostat manually, but the best way to make it smart is to connect it to a smartphone or voice-controlled device.

Motion Sensing Dimmers

You try your best, but there’s always one room where it seems the lights get left on more often than you’d like. The challenge is, it’s the same room that’s often empty most of the day, so no one even notices the lights burning. To combat this issue, replace the standard light switch with a sensing dimmer switch. That way, if someone’s in the room, the light turns on, but when there’s no one moving around, off it goes. And, when daylight comes in the windows, the sensor knows to keep the light off.

If you’re retrofitting an older home, replace pull-chain lights in basements and utility rooms with a motion-sensing light so that you never have to stumble around waving your arms in front of you trying to grab the string to the pull-chain.

Adjustable LEDs

On the subject of lights, Take it up (or down) a notch with a 3-way LED. The equivalent of a 60-watt bulb can adjust from soft, warm light to bright, daylight with built-in wireless technology at the sound of your voice when connected to your smartphone or smart home.

If you’re looking for ways to make your home appeal to a more energy-conscious set of buyers, try utilizing these inexpensive, smart home technologies.




Categories: Home improvement   homeowner  


Posted by Dana Claflin on 4/9/2020

Image by Alex Qian from Pexels


 

Even higher-end homes need renovation after so many years. Fashions go out of style and things get worn out. If money is not an object and the sky is the limit, you can do beautiful things with a remodel. However, if you are remodeling because you are ready to sell your home, it’s better to keep colors neutral and update carpets and flooring with easy to clean materials that will match several styles and colors. It is easier to sell a home when people can picture their personal items in the house, and they match with the current updated color scheme.

Full Kitchen Update

If it’s been some time since you updated the kitchen, start your remodel project there. Both bamboo flooring and natural stone are popular products that will last and that clean easily. Choose neutral colors if you are selling your home or go bold with your favorite colors if you are updating everything for yourself.

Update the appliances to energy-saving appliances. For a larger kitchen or a kitchen that you will be enlarging, consider a French door fridge with a double freezer drawer and a gas stove with six or eight burners and a double oven. If you must go with electric, consider a stovetop and purchase a double oven that is built into the wall. Add an island that also functions as a bar.

When looking at new cabinets, you might consider upper cabinets that go all the way up to the ceiling. However, keep in mind that the top shelves are harder to reach, especially for people who aren't vertically gifted. Light-colored woods, such as maple, are in and dark-colored woods are out. For the bottom cabinets, choose a set with drawers. Some manufacturers are making cabinets without drawers, which leads to a ton of wasted space and no place to store smaller items. While they may look great, they aren’t the best use of space.

Full Bathroom Update

If your bathrooms are small and cramped, consider enlarging them. Use adjoining closet space or add on to the house so that you can redesign the layout for the bedrooms and bathrooms. If you’re adding on, consider combining two small bedrooms into one large bedroom, den or office space with its own bathroom.

Choose natural stone tiles for the showers. They last for a long time, and if you choose neutral colors or even browns, they’ll match many color schemes and stay in fashion longer. Update the toilets to water-saving, high-pressure flush toilets. Update the vanities to something decorative instead of the typical square vanity with a single sink and cabinet, especially if you are enlarging your bathroom.

Consider adding a stand-alone shower in the master bathroom and adding a jetted tub. Large 5-foot showers with two or even three shower heads are popular. When you choose flooring, go with a natural stone tile that will withstand the humidity better. Add an exhaust fan with heat built into the fan. These are perfect for the winter months when the bathrooms always feel cooler than the rest of the house.




Categories: Home improvement  


Posted by Dana Claflin on 12/4/2019

Image by Breadmaker from Shutterstock

A fireplace is a cozy addition for a home that can add aesthetic value as well as warmth to your space. Whether you’re building new, retrofitting, or shopping for the perfect home there are options for most situations. You’ll find many design options as you start to shop but the initial consideration should be to determine a fuel source.

Wood fireplace

Wood-burning fireplaces offer the crackle of the fire, the fragrance of pitch, and the soft glow of coals. For some, there's nothing better than a perfectly lit wood fire. But along with the cozy flames and the perfect scent come some considerations. 

Potential for smoke: If the flue does not open correctly or if there is a blockage within the chimney, you may find smoke coming into your room instead of out the flue.

Chimney maintenance: The wood you burn and the temperature of your fire determines how clean your chimney stays. At least annually, have your chimney professional swept to remove the buildup of creosote that can cause house fires.

Ashes: You will need a plan for disposing of the ashes once the fire is out.

Natural gas

A fireplace that burns natural gas can either be open or closed. An open hearth appears to be the same as a wood-burning fireplace and requires a chimney. These are called "vented" fireplaces. You can easily convert a wood-burning fireplace to a vented gas fireplace if you have access to a gas line. 

An enclosed gas fireplace is a “ventless” unit. These require more intensive construction but are great to give you the “look” of an open fire without access to the flames. These can either operate on natural gas or propane.

Gel system

A gel fireplace doesn't require specialized installation. Canned gel burns in a special unit that does not need ventilation. Often available in modern, minimalist designs, these fireplaces do not need access to gas lines or electricity. They can be installed anywhere on any wall.

Electric

Outside of the gel unit, the most effortless option to incorporate is an electric fireplace. Rather than flame, they use heated coils to provide warmth and a fan to project the air into the room. They often include flickering lights and simulated flames. Electric fireplaces require no vents and can install anywhere within proximity to an electrical outlet.

No matter which fireplace you select, take care to install it properly and operate it by the manufacturer's instructions. If a fireplace is an important feature to you, make sure your real estate agent knows it's on your "must-have" list.





Posted by Dana Claflin on 10/24/2019

Once you have all the inspections and walk-throughs, sign all the paperwork, and get the keys, now what? Do you move in right away? Remodel? Upgrade? Just paint? Depending on your financial situation after the down-payment and closing costs, you might wonder if you will ever have enough to make some changes to your kitchen. While you save up for the big remodel, give your kitchen backsplash a makeover to see you through the waiting.

Consider one of these low-impact backsplash options

Stick on tiles: Whether you want the subway tile look, an impressive glass tiles mosaic, or standard square tiles, you can get the look for less with elegant peel and stick tile options. Apply SkinnyTile or Smart Tiles (available at DIY stores, specialty tile shops, and through online resources) to your walls. These stick-on tiles come in a vast variety of colors, textures, designs, and finishes from glass look to stone to wood. 

This technology gives you a three-dimensional appearance on a tile that is only 2mm thick. It resists humidity—allowing it to work well above the sink and dishwashers—and heat—so you can install it above your cooktop. These tiles stick onto drywall or over the top of existing tiles which makes your project even more straightforward. Although the manufacturer recommends grout when possible, it is not mandatory, so if the idea of having to grout puts you off, no worries here. All you need are readily available glass cutting tools.

Stick on wood: To give your kitchen a modern, farmhouse, or shabby chic vibe, consider all the options available with stick-on wood veneer products. Stikwood gives you access to a variety of finishes and stain colors. This real-wood veneer goes right on the wall and lets you unleash your creativity. You can find all the installation tools you need right at the Stikwood website or use what you already have.

Peel and stick planks from Plank and Millwork vertically or horizontally and you can cut them with a utility knife, although a miter saw gives you a more professional look. Create a decorative herringbone pattern or use whitewashed planks to make your kitchen appear historical.

Give your kitchen a shiplap-look with stick-on vinyl plank flooring. You will find extensive choices at your local flooring or DIY suppliers. The vinyl takes a beating and gives your wall the woodgrain texture you crave. Leave them natural, paint them white or try any other color you wish.

Once your project is complete, keep a few extras on hand in case you need to replace one or two tiles or planks. When you get ready to do your complete makeover, carefully remove your stick-on pieces and use them for another project.







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