How to Sell a Home

When you sell your residence, you want to earn the best price for this. Throughout a buyers’ market, if sales are down and buyers need price concessions and other compromises out of sellers, this is sometimes a challenging task. You’ll increase your odds of landing the best possible cost, however, by following a few easy residential real estate guidelines. Sellers who dismiss those strategies run the possibility of selling their houses for much less than fair market value.

Establish the ideal price for your house after exploring comparable home sales. Just because you’d prefer to sell your four-bedroom ranch house for $250,000 doesn’t mean that buyers will be willing to pay that cost. This is particularly true if another four-bedroom ranches in your neighborhood have sold for $215,000. Establish rsquo & your house;s sales cost with your head, not your heart. Buyers don’t care what you paid for your house five decades ago. They just care that they can find a similar house for $50,000 less two blocks off.

Boost your home’s curb appeal. Many buyers won’t even seem at your home if its front yard is bare or unkempt. And if a few buyers are passing by without quitting, your probability of getting a reasonable market value price to your residence will plummet. Add a few flowers, shrubs and elegant lawn furniture to your front yard. Pick up all trash. Squeeze away dead leaves and pull weeds. You’ll get showings in case you’re doing.

Stage your house so that it looks its very best. This entails placing furniture so that rooms look as broad as possible. It also entails removing oversize or additional sofas, chairs or tables to create a house appear larger. If you stage your house, you’ll use artwork and floral structures to give it a warm feeling. You can stage your house on your own or hire an expert to do the task for you. This can be worth the cost and effort: You’ll attract more buyers in case your house looks larger, spacious and brighter.

Leave when possible buyers are touring your house. Buyers are often intimidated when they see houses where the owners are onsite. They don’t even feel comfy looking intently at cabinets, bathtubs and storage places, and they most definitely feel uncomfortable asking the difficult questions of the real estate agents. By hanging around throughout showings, you could chase off prospective buyers, again reducing your odds of nabbing a reasonable market value cost.

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Will Cork Float for Your Bathroom Floor?

There are a whole lot of aspects to consider when picking a material for the bathroom floor: cost, aesthetic, setup, maintenance, sustainability and much more. Cork is an material option for toilets. Even though it’s often used because of its natural mildew resistance, there are various opinions about its capacity to stand up to a wet environment. Here you’ll learn all about the pros, cons and price variables of cork flooring, to help you determine whether it is a fantastic fit for your toilet. Could this sleek, environmentally friendly material work for you?

Peter A. Sellar – Architectural Photographer

The basics: famous for its sustainability and relaxation, cork could be set up as a click-together floating flooring or as glue-down tiles. Both types are available in many different colors and patterns.

AJ Minite of Siena Flooring Designs enjoys using cork in the bathroom. “For toilet setups either click system or glue-down cork flooring is acceptable,” Minite says. “Our cork comes prefinished with three coats of water-based polyurethane, but for bathrooms we would recommend adding two coats after setup and also a bead of silicone around the perimeter to keep out excess water.”

Cost: Cork flooring ranges in cost from $3 to $12 per square foot on average. While installation could be a DIY project for those who have home improvement DIY experience, a professional setup can help seal up all the prospective seams and cracks round bathtubs, vanities and bathrooms. Professional setup can add about $3 to $5 per square foot.

Susan Corry Design

Benefits: Cork is full of air cells that make it naturally soft underfoot, so it is great for bare feet. Additionally, it is naturally resistant to moisture, mold, mildew and bacteria, and won’t feel cold (such as tile) underfoot. Despite its soft texture, it can be as durable as hardwood when finished correctly.

make certain your cork was approved to be used in a high-moisture space, and confirm all the intricacies of this warranty with your producer. Have your installer seal the cork with a low-VOC finish to ensure that no water can seep through seams or cracks.

Cork is water resistant but not waterproof. It functions well in toilets but can suffer damage when subjected to standing water for a long time. Cork floors can plump, warp and distort if water warms a seam.

Golden Rule Creative Remodel

Environmental effect: Cork flooring requires the gold. Made from the bark of the cork oak tree, it can be safely harvested approximately every 10 years without damaging the tree. Additionally, the cork develops back over time. Cork is also an superb option for a home environment, because it is antimicrobial, hypoallergenic, biodegradable and recyclable. Cork has excellent insulation properties too, ensuring minimal heat loss.

SD Austin LLC

Maintenance: Consider laying down a tub mat near your tub and shower to soak up any potential standing water after a shower or bath. Regular cleaning should take care of everyday maintenance. Normally, bamboo flooring includes a polyurethane topcoat that protects it from minor spills and wear and tear. This poly finish has to be reapplied every couple of years to guarantee that the flooring will remain impervious to moisture.

The Home Depot

Natural Plank Cork Flooring – $43.46

Are you a fan of bamboo floors in the bathroom? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

More: Discover the Unstoppable Benefits of Cork in the House

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Playing Homes Anywhere: TV

In the 1950s that a TV set was the greatest high tech in the house — and the sole means by which families can observe any kind of professionally produced audiovisual content in the house. Now you can watch such content on a TV, PC, laptop, tablet or mobile, or on a single device built to the interior of a vehicle. And the content flowing on those devices can now be seen on any other device — such as the TV.

Nowadays TV comes through each pipe and plays on each display, thanks to the net. This version of growing TV shows, and items that are like TV shows, on the Internet rather than through cable TV companies is gaining ground fast and threatening conventional business models for TV content creators.

In fact, one Silicon Valley giant recently amazed everyone with a brand new means to lower the cable.


Chromecast – $35

Google recently announced a new product known as Chromecast, which doesn’t look like much, doesn’t cost too much and doesn’t occupy much space in the already-crowded lineup of stuff linked to a TV.

In actuality, Chromecast looks like one of the cheap USB thumb drives for keeping files. Nonetheless, it is not USB. It plugs into your TV’s HDMI port. And it is not a thumb drive, but a streaming video “box” like the Apple TV or Roku 3.

The most crucial truth about Chromecast is that it is cheap. It costs about $35. This price point is inspiring fans to buy one for each TV in the home. The second truth is that it is simple to use. Plug it into your TV and press a button, and it works. The next truth is that it runs from Google’s Chrome browser on any telephone, tablet, laptop or desktop PC. When the Chromecast dongle and the device with the Chrome browser are both on the same house Wi-Fi network, they connect with each other. As soon as they’re linked, the content of any tab in the running browser can be sent into the TV.

By way of instance, you can bring in that tab Netflix, YouTube, Hulu or some range of current and future programs or solutions created for the Chromecast device. Once the material is sent, Chromecast switches to the HD version of it. Chromecast shows ordinary or pictures websites on your TV .

Firstly, it is possible to continue to use the device for some other items, such as for content connected to the TV show or film on the TV display.

Think about what Chromecast enables. Any device in the home can send just about anything onscreen to some TV using all the press of a button. Chromecast doesn’t always do more than the choices. However, it does what it will more cheaply, easily and professionally.


Apple TV – $99

If you’re an iPhone, iPad or Mac user, an alternative to Chromecast is Apple TV, which does more but is not quite as cheap or easy to set up. Apple TV is good at playing whatever’s on your Apple device or whatever you can find on iTunes.

Apple TV provides stations that Chromecast doesn’t, such as HBO Go, WatchESPN and MLB.TV, and includes most of the content resources that Chromecast will supply, such as Hulu, Netflix and YouTube. Unlike Chromecast, Apple TV comes with a tiny remote control. You can, however, take content from an Apple-made telephone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer and toss it on to the display by tapping on a button.

Another point to Think about is the past and the future. If you’re heavily invested in iTunes content, then Apple TV may make a lot of sense, since you won’t be able to watch those movies or shows on an alternative device. Apple is expected to sharply expand its offerings from the TV arena from the long run, so if you’re a fan of Apple products and think the company will provide great services and products in the long run, Apple TV may be a good selection.


Roku 3 – $99

A Roku 3 box is similar to Apple TV, grabbing content from the Web through your home’s Ethernet or Wi-Fi connections. It also supplies a comparable lineup of content resources, such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, Crackle, Vudu, HBO Go and hundreds more. One of the chief types of content that Roku provides that Chromecast and Apple TV do not is Amazon-based films and TV shows.

Like Apple TV, it is possible to mirror content from iOS or Android devices. You control a Roku device with an added remote control, which has a headphone jack for viewing TV without disturbing others.

More Options for Watching Content

Chromecast, Apple TV and Roku 3 are the top options for combining some cable content with most Internet content to get a great home entertainment experience. However, you need to know five things before you select one of these.
There are scores of other choices offering comparable functionality. You do not need any of these. A simple laptop with HDMI-out capability connected to a TV will give you everything that can be downloaded or streamed on the internet. Not one of these choices offers you all cable shows when they air. In fact, some of the very best and most popular shows currently in production, for example AMC’s Mad Men, can’t be seen live through these choices — you can view them live only with the associated cable subscription. In the very best case, you may have to wait a day.Although Roku along with other products let you subscribe to live TV events, like sports matches, these are subject to local blackouts — for instance, once the region staff is playing in the town. Live HD network programming is still available — are you sitting down? — using an antenna. (You can see what is available in your area on this website.) Each of the choices mean you can come across a device and installation with the level of convenience and flexibility that suits you best. It’s a great time to be a couch potato.

More: Check out the emerging virtual-reality house systems

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How to Find the Fair Market Value of a House

Finding the fair market value of your home isn’t a fast cut-and-dry process. Although professional advice from real estate agents is certainly an informed opinion, you might choose to research your house’s probable worth independently, particularly in the event that you believe that a broker is undervaluing your property. There are many ways to view the fair market value of your home, but frequently no one formula will work for each and every sale.

Contact a realtor who works an office near your home. If possible, identify a broker who has sold homes that are similar to yours in your community. It is more probable that these agents will have firsthand knowledge of your house’s style as well as the local real estate marketplace.

Ask the real estate agent to provide information. It’s possible that you might need to pay a small fee if you’re not likely to sell your home via the agent. Realtors can offer comparative market analyses (CMAs) that show recent sales within the previous six weeks and current list prices for similar properties.

Find extra information that can supplement the CMA supplied by your realtor. Recent property sales can be found recorded in local newspapers and real estate publications as well as Internet home-listing sites. Also, you may want to drive around your neighborhood and talk to homeowners who have submitted”For Sale” signs.

Determine the purchase price per square foot for similar properties in your neighborhood by dividing the list price or sale price by the house’s square footage. Multiply that price per square foot by the square footage of your own property to come up with a rough price estimate. Homes that were remodeled extensively because their construction might be priced more accurately by determining their square footage worth.

Use property tax assessments locally if properties comparable with your own cannot be located in your community. Find the averages of the recent sales and tax assessments in your community. Divide the sales average by the tax assessment average to come up with a tax assessment multiplier. Assessing your property’s tax assessment by that multiplier figure to ascertain another rough figure for your house’s worth.

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Watch a Maine House With a 240 Annual Energy Bill

Maine designer Riley Pratt estimates that the typical energy bill because of his home is significantly less than $20 each month. And that’s including the $10 a month he pays only to have support. To put that into perspective, the average homeowner in Maine spent2,949 on energy in 2009, according to the latest data offered in the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey.

How does Pratt achieve this at a state where temperatures regularly dip below 20 degrees in winter? By harnessing heat obtained from sunshine.

Pratt’s home, built and designed with his own coworkers at design firm GO Logic, is predicated on Passive House standards, which were created in Germany for assessing the energy efficiency of buildings.

at a Glance
Who lives here: Riley Pratt and his wife and toddler
Location: Belfast, Maine
Size: 1,500 square feet; 1 1/2 bathrooms


The home sits at a 3-acre field on a cresting hill about a mile out of Belfast, Maine. It is oriented with all the sun’s winter path in your mind to obtain the maximum warmth from it throughout those months.


A main principle of Passive House standards is a compact construction form. The goal in a cold climate is to decrease heat loss through the building’s shell, something that’s excellent for places like Maine.

It’s simple: Sun shines through the chimney, strikes a surface and warms it up. The home then traps that warmth inside with a virtually airtight design obtained through walls, a roof and even a floor that are superinsulated.

Here structural insulated panels (SIPs), made of thick foam sandwiched between 2 layers of OSB, cover a framework made of 2-by-4s. The roof is loose-fill cellulose (essentially chopped-up newspaper) to a depth of 2 feet, covered in a standing-seam roof to durability.

The exterior is fiber cement clapboard meant to reflect a conventional regional aesthetic, at a deep crimson that speaks to some common New England color palette.

The panels onto the roof in the middle are all for the solar hot-water system. A copper element within a vacuum tube absorbs heat from sunlight on cold days. The heat is exchanged and carried into the home to heat a 120-gallon hot-water tank.

Solar hot-water systems such as these cost approximately $10,000. Different tax incentives and rebates offered in numerous countries sometimes significantly offset the upfront cost to install them. Pratt says that the investment pays off in five to seven decades, based on usage.


Solar photovoltaic panels also help counter power prices. The home isn’t net zero, but it’s close. A frequent misconception is that solar photovoltaic panels directly power the home as well as the electronics inside. The sun shines and the computer works. A more prevalent setup works more like a credit system. The energy generated goes to cancel your bill as a power credit. With grid-tied systems like this, you don’t earn money generating energy rollover credits go into your account and accumulate on an yearly basis.

(Off-the-grid, standalone solar electrical systems require large batteries to store the sun’s energy once the sun is not shining. Batteries need to be replaced, they’re big, and they have a restricted number of life cycles of charge and discharge.)

Pratt points out that it’s possible for him to make the house internet zero, even though it’s not a lifestyle he would like to develop. “People play the sport,” he states. “Like hypermilers in their hybrid automobiles who never go more than 50 mph in order that they could get 100 miles a gallon at a Prius. If you don’t turn on supplemental heat rather than cook, then you can reach net zero easily. This approach isn’t for everyone. In GO Logic houses, you’re still able to live life as you would, without taking on an extreme way of life, and eat very little energy to maintain a comfortable internal environment.”


The home shell (which cost about $170 per square foot) essentially sits on a raft of polyurethane insulation beneath. A concrete slab was then put within the home envelope to help regulate the internal temperature. The slab may absorb a lot of heat before heating up, then loses it gradually, helping to regulate the internal temperature. “It states cool in the summer and stores heat in the winter,” Pratt says.

It’s essentially an airtight structure, with a ventilation system that’s constantly running. A “magic box,” as Pratt calls it, in the loft pulls fresh air in while exchanging heat that stays indoors. “Stale air goes out; new air comes from. The heat energy of the exhaust air is exchanged with that of the incoming air. The quantity of air in the home is refreshed about every two to three hours,” Pratt says.

The dining area, living area, kitchen, mudroom and powder room are on the ground floor. The kitchen is an Ikea foundation with custom ash details.


There are 3 bedrooms on the top floor. Locally sourced wood pine posts produce a hybrid- and stick-frame structure. The floor is just one layer of tongue and groove spruce.


To obtain Passive House certificate, the home had to pass a set of tests that determined how much energy it absorbs. (Just 4.750 BTUs per square foot for space heating are allowed per year.)

The certification procedure is a benchmark for energy intake, developed in Germany about 20 decades ago. It will be the standard in Europe for many building forms in the near future. In the U.S. just 13 houses have been certified to Passive House standards.


In a lot of ways the certificate is more strict than LEED certification, which is an accumulation of points made for things such as the selection of substances, the operation of the home, water conservation fixtures, the efficiency of the building shell, low-VOC paint, and careful preparation of the strategic structure and much more. (Pratt’s home is also LEED Platinum certified, the maximum rating.)

More: Architect’s Toolbox: Solar-Powered Design

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Access: 12 Bathroom Windows That Reveal Only the Views

Although the toilet is the most private room in a house, it’s lacking if it doesn’t have a window. Ideally a toilet window has a view and offers solitude, which may seem impossible but that can be achieved through different means (size and location of windows, coverings, orientation of this window and wall, articulation of exterior elements). This ideabook presents some baths with big windows which look upon enclosed courtyards or pocket gardens. These little exterior spaces, such as the internal courtyards I’ve championed before, create connections between outside and inside which are controlled enough to maintain ample solitude.

Renzo J Nakata Architects

This is the toilet that sparked me to find different examples and compose this ideabook. There’s a cohesion to the interior and outside spaces which is undeniable: the method by which in which the window fits above the bathtub and how the concrete-block-lined courtyard is all about precisely the same size as the bathtub. There’s solitude in the concrete wall, but somebody soaking in the bathtub still sees green above it and facing it.

Notice the track from the ceiling for a curtain in the shower, a way of preserving privacy in that alcove.

A pocket garden adjoining to the toilet also permits direct access, as this semiroofed space illustrates. The wood lining the walls shows how significant these surfaces are. Some folks might like the grey concrete of the prior case, for how plants pop from it, but others might prefer the colour and texture of wood.

Dirk Denison Architects

1 project with a profusion of little courtyards, a few of them serving baths, is that this dwelling in Marin County, California, designed by Chicago’s Dirk Denison Architects. The single-story, barrier-free plan has about 10 outdoor spaces of varying dimensions. Here we are taking a look at the master bathroom and its own pocket garden, which isn’t an inner courtyard, thus the wood fencing. (A shower and toilet on the other side of this mirror are also a part of the master bath.)

Although this house is a new construction, a toilet with a large view can be a part of a renovation. With the right fencing and plant (bamboo in this case), a wall can be opened and a private oasis generated just outdoors.

Dirk Denison Architects

An inner courtyard elsewhere in the house serves another toilet.

Dirk Denison Architects

Along with an enclosed, glass-walled shower in a different part of the house gives the feeling of showering outdoors but with the extreme privacy.

DeForest Architects

With bodily connections between baths and outside spaces via doors, like this glass slider, it is logical to continue architectural features between the spaces. The wood slats in this case are a really nice touch, tying the spaces together and providing an armature for shelves for soap and other things.

Eduarda Correa Arquitetura & Interiores

Based upon the climate, the connection between inside and outside can be even blurrier, such like this particular shower and bathtub sharing an outside space in Brazil. A courtyard such as this could also be enclosed in the elements (a glass or plastic roof above the structure) to allow it to be usable in different climates.

Cornerstone Architects

As mentioned already, a pocket garden can function a toilet as part of a renovation. 1 natural material choice is bamboo, a grass that grows like crazy and screens quite nicely.

Neumann Mendro Andrulaitis Architects LLP

This bathroom is comparable to previous ones with the outside space from the shower, but in addition, it features a skylight, another way of making a view (of the sky) and bringing in light.

Swatt | Miers Architects

Sometimes a skylight might be the only means to open up a toilet. In these cases location and size are significant. This one sits beneath the shower, projecting light down the wall and enabling glances upward when one soaks in the bathtub.

Architects Magnus

But if shaping an outdoor space or inner courtyard isn’t feasible, there is the option of using special surfaces to maintain privacy and give the look of character. This bathroom has resin glazing using a bud pattern for the exterior; around the other hand is planted bamboo, therefore real nature and its own picture coincide.

Dorman Architects

Last is a bathroom in Ireland where the window perfectly serves the adjoining tub. In this case solitude results from careful framing and sizing of the window.

Dorman Architects

And this is the opinion from this window, a beautiful scene to soak in while soaking.

Share your key view: Do you have a mini garden opinion off your tub? We’d love to see a photo.

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Have Your Open Kitchen and Close It Off

Allow me to say up front that at the great debate on open versus closed kitchens, I am firmly onto the open-plan team. I’ve helped dozens of layout clients tear down walls and open kitchens up to adjoining spaces, and demo day always brings enormous smiles as the homeowners obtain their first glimpse of what the newly opened-up kitchen is going to look and feel like.

However, after years of living with kitchens that are open, I realize there are many detractors amongst us. There are individuals who entertain and cook often and do not particularly like to have their own kitchen mess in open view of their guests. Some would rather not smell their dinner through the home long after it has been prepared and eaten. I propose that you can have your open-plan kitchen but use some suggestions to shut it off to conceal a mess, or to keep your guests from underfoot as you prepare your own feast.

Alan Mascord Design Associates Inc

Give Yourself Options

Consider installing a large sliding barn door or 2, to allow you the flexibility of having a spacious or closed kitchen. You can keep it available for everyday use — to delight in the open, expansive feel and circulation of light — while using the choice to close those doors if you want to keep children, pets out or visitors, or to conceal the prep mess while entertaining.

K.Marshall Design Inc..

Close off the part of the kitchen which sees the most action — like the area close to the primary sink or range. You can keep the rest of the kitchen, which perhaps doesn’t get overly cluttered, open and accessible to all.

diSalvo Interiors

If you want to have the ability to shut off the kitchen but still want to have an open atmosphere and light, put in a door made of a translucent material. You can close it to block out cooking scents or sounds without feeling entirely closed off from the rest of the home.

Allen Construction

These folding doors above the island are a brilliant way to produce a hybrid open-closed kitchen.

Bushman Dreyfus Architects

Visually Close It Away

That really is a cool option for a contemporary loft space. Metal mesh drapes installed on a monitor allow the kitchen to go from open to closed. The kitchen still has an open feel, but the drape can disguise any kitchen messes. It certainly discourages visitors from getting in the way while someone is elbow deep in meal prep, too.

Gast Architects

This kitchen combines closed and open in a means which allows the chef to still be a part of the party. A peninsula limits the circulation of traffic to the kitchen also creates more space for working cooking magic. Upper cabinets add to the partially enclosed effect.

Laidlaw Schultz architects

Raise Your Isle

If it’s not so much children or guests circulating to your kitchen area that disturbs you, but more a necessity to disguise meal-prep messes, consider increasing the far end of your island. It provides visitors a nice place to perch at as you work in the sink or cooktop, too.

Suyama Peterson Deguchi

Viewed from outside the kitchen, a raised island will obstruct the view to the kitchen work surfaces.

Loop Design

Insert a Half Wall

This kitchen opens to the adjacent dining area, but a half wall provides some separation. Additionally, it hides most of the work surfaces in the kitchen from perspective. This setup means someone can easily mingle together and serve guests without having the remains of their meal prep on full screen.

Vent the Smells

when you have an open-plan kitchen and cook often, I can not emphasize enough how important it is to put in a high quality, properly powered venting hood which vents to the outside. A recirculating blower simply will not cut it ; you need to receive the cooking smells up and out of your home.

Here is a guide to selecting and installing the correct vent hood to your kitchen.

Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects

Invest in Quieter Appliances

you desire your port hood to efficiently eliminate kitchen odors within a spacious kitchen, and you also want it to be quiet. Some port hoods and dishwashers are so loud when they are running, it’s like you are hanging out on a aircraft carrier once you are close to them. Great sound-dampened appliances are going to cost you more, but they’re worth it if you are dedicated to an open-plan concept and do not want to listen to excess blower sound.

Inform us : Can you prefer an open or closed kitchen? What are your tips for making it work for you?

See more kitchen design guides on

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Just-Right Realism in an Eclectic Family Home

Yes, this is my residence. I opted to include it not because I think that it’s perfect, but because it is an ongoing project that comes with lots of DIY, a sensible budget and one major remodeling project.

We purchased the house, in San Francisco’s Sunset District, in 1998, and it was a total dump. The linoleum was duct taped to the baseboards, the entire place was covered in white wall-to-wall and the garden has been empty except for weeds and puppy poop. We didn’t find until later we moved in that there was not any hot water in the kitchen. We paid $302,000 for it.

It was the height of this dot-com flourish, and we were actually being priced out of the housing market by the day. We purchased in a blind panic, and on the day we signed the paperwork, I cried my eyes out. It was definitely not my dream house.

We fixed it up as best we could with no money (we spent all of it buying the area), ripping out carpet, refinishing floors, and painting and replacing warped and mildewed doors. And then we lived in it pretty much as it had been for ten years, attempting to use decorating flair to cover for its own shortcomings. Additionally, we added two people to our family, making the place look even more compact compared to its 1,100 square feet.

Then, in 2011, we finally remodeled, opening up the entire first floor and gutting the kitchen entirely. The place is still little and imperfect. Nonetheless, it is our house, and also reflects our own life and personalities perfectly.

in a Glance
Who lives here: Me; my husband, Pete; our 6-year-old twins, Magnolia and Oliver; 5 chickens and 1 goldfish
Location: San Francisco
Size: 1,100 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 1 1/2 bathrooms
Next big project: Adding a separate room and toilet into the back of the garage

We knocked a wall down to open the kitchen into the living room. A table and a hanging globe light demarcate the dining room area between them. My dad painted the canvas about 1967. I discovered it in my mom’s garage, cleaned it up, repainted the frame and voilà. I discovered that the ’60s-age ladder chairs on the sidewalk first 1 morning — my best street find ever.

I wished to keep the color palette in the brand new kitchen fairly earthy and neutral so I could have plenty of vibrant accessories. Also, as soon as your living room looks to the kitchen, it is wonderful to keep it simple.

My inspiration for those stuff was a creek bed: timber, stone, water and forest (that’s the green you can view out both big windows in the last photograph). The countertops are Caesarstone; the top cabinets are quarter-sawn oak in a slab style. The lower ones are a color named Truffle, in a Shaker style.

Besides accessories, this is the sole wall color on the entire first floor. It is barely noticeable, but I think that it adds some warmth. The moment I painted it, the entire place seemed more “done.”

All these are custom shelves that I had our builder build. My inspiration was this photo from . I wanted a little flourish in an otherwise modern and clean-lined room.

The yellow sofa was an impulse purchase, and I love it. I love color in a large, white space. I had the cushions made from a Otomi embroidery I got in Mexico.

The carved Indian table is from a local import store, and the chairs were bought out of an early property office which was going out of business. I planned to re-cover them, but the black has sort of grown on me.

This attorney’s bookcase is in the same defunct property office. As it’s such a beautiful display case, I use it for knickknacks as much as for novels. The toughest things to choose in the entire remodel were that the sconces. I ordered and returned three places before I discovered these geometric milky glass ones.

I adore the look of old and new together. This is my collection of miniature modern chairs next to my collection of old etiquette and homemaking novels.

I covered the backs of those shelves with bits of Woods wallpaper using double-stick tape. The bookshelf looked too thick and dim in the first, and the paper helps lighten it up.

This is right across from the living room couch. More mixing of old and new. The mirror is out of my great-aunt; the photos are by San Francisco photographer Thomas Chang. The low console is from Ikea; it retains kids’ toys and games. The white basket is full of construction blocks.

A detail of the stuff on my console. I adore these yarn flowers, because they never expire! I’ve yellow ones in the bedroom.

Our house’s previous owner turned the linen closet to a water closet. For years we all had to walk across the hallway to wash our hands in the primary bathroom. Then we discovered this toilet-sink combo, and we finally have a fully working powder room. It also saves a ton of water.

I traded a buddy a little table with this bookcase. I then painted it that the brightest, reddest pink I could find after realizing that I have a lot of red, pink and turquoise in the art here.

Down the hallway, reverse the pink bookcase.

Our twins share a space so we can have this combination TV room, office and guest room in our bedroom. It also houses all our novels and also my husband’s closet. It is a very crowded room. A sleeper couch is a must-have for small houses.

The shelf above my desk (in the same third bedroom). There’s a magnetic strip below the shelf so that I can hang inspirational bits and ephemera.

Our small bathroom. There are not any windows, but there’s an opaque skylight for natural lighting. I hung a large full size mirror on the wall next to the sink to try to create a sense of space.

The kids’ room, courtesy of Ikea. The only way to get two 6-year-olds into a very small bedroom would be to utilize loft beds which can accommodate furniture underneath. In our case this means a dresser, a desk and a toy storage tower for each kid.

Most pictures of kids’ rooms allow me to sigh, because they are unrealistically neat and clutter free. The truth is, kids are natural collectors and hoarders. I openly acknowledge that this is as clear as this place gets.

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An Florida Bungalow Gets Brand-New Polish

Perhaps it had been the dune and the beach leading to the gulf. Perhaps it had been the warm gulf breezes. Perhaps it was just one of those beautiful Florida days with heavy blue skies and puffy white clouds. Whatever it was, I immediately fell in love with this wonderfully renovated bungalow on the Gulf of Mexico. Certainly part of my passion for this home comes in the narrative of its renovation.

Recently bought by only its fourth owner in the century since it was built, the house, now called Idlewild Cottage, had dropped into quite a lot of disrepair. Let’s face it, a century on Florida’s gulf coast can be demanding for any construction, particularly after the likes of the Tampa Bay Hurricane of 1921 came barreling through. In fact, since it was first built by Angel Cuesta (of Cuesta-Rey cigars) in 1919, Idlewild Cottage has witnessed its share of hurricanes.

But the home’s less-than-perfect condition didn’t deter the new owners. Having played on the beach in front of the home as a child, one of them couldn’t wait to undertake the renovation. And it would have been much cheaper to have torn down the house and built new. But renovating the old residence and keeping those memories alive was the right thing to do. As Ed and Julie, the owners, have said, people walk by and thank them for saving the house. Surely a cost can’t be placed on that — particularly as so several of these wonderful Florida bungalows have contributed to much bigger homes and condominium buildings.

So thanks to Ed, Julie, architect Andy Dohmen of Design Styles Architecture and builder Steve Perry of J.S. Perry & Co. for maintaining Idlewild Cottage secure for future generations to enjoy from the beach nearby.

J. S. Perry & Co., Inc..

The renovated porch is a great location for relaxing and enjoying the noises, scents and sights of the beach and the gulf waters. Having a salvaged brick floor and a tongue and groove timber ceiling, the porch is in keeping with the historic nature of the house. Electronically controlled roll-down displays keep this a fantastic spot for hanging out just about every single day of the year. And you can find speakers for when the party moves outside.

A large sliding glass door attracts light and views to the inside, and also the glass not only is impact resistant to withstand hurricanes, but it’s also turtle friendly. You seethis glass has a unique treatment that prevents the turtles from getting confused when they are migrating to put their eggs.

J. S. Perry & Co., Inc..

In the beach side of the house it’s apparent the remodeled home is a party of the Florida lifestyle. In the huge patio with an integrated spa to the porch area to stay from sunlight and rain, the home provides a range of outdoor spaces.

J. S. Perry & Co., Inc..

The rebuilt entry side shows off a number of the job’s sustainable features, from deep overhangs to shade the windows in the Florida sun to fiber cement siding to barrels to capture rainwater for irrigation. Actually, renovating the house to add sustainability was one of Ed and Julie’s requirements.

The upstairs master bedroom is a small room, just 12 feet square, with windows on three sides (you may see two of those sides ). With all those windows and the view from the gulf, the room is like an airplane cockpit, says Julie.

J. S. Perry & Co., Inc..

Just because it’s an old house doesn’t mean it has to live old. Several inside walls were eliminated, and an entirely new structure was installed to create an open living room. This wasn’t all that simple to perform. That gorgeous floor is the first timber, but the structure supporting it had to be rebuilt. Builder Steve Perry and his crew pulled up the flooring and rebuilt the structure, then relaid and refinished the flooring.

J. S. Perry & Co., Inc..

With built-in appliances, custom cabinetry and a glass tile backsplash, this kitchen is all about convenience and fashion. My favorite aspect of this kitchen other than the wine cooler, of course — is your colour palette. Soft grays and blues echo the sand and water just outside.

Before Photo

J. S. Perry & Co., Inc..

The house stays exactly the exact same dimensions and appears much as it did before the remodel. But don’t let that fool you. New siding, windows, roofing and a great deal of new framing create for a brand-new old residence.

Click photos for larger views

Before Photo

J. S. Perry & Co., Inc..

The original structure had sagging beams, rotted timber and termite damage and has been almost completely replaced.

Before Photo

J. S. Perry & Co., Inc..

The inside had a different kind of 3-D result: dark, damaged and obsolete. Now the inside is a celebration of light and relaxation.

Tall ceilings enable tall windows, which makes this room a excellent location for kicking off shoes, catching a drink and watching the gulf waters.

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Balloon Shades Float Into Fashion

Within the family of window treatments, the balloon color is the opulent, maybe not- so-distant cousin of the Roman colour. Substantial balloonlike puffs are made by inverting pleats in the fabric and repeating them several times across the expanse of a window, allowing the substance to scallop at the base.

The balloon color delivers on softness and texture, but it remains more of a decorative element than a practical one, as it requires fluffing and washing. Consider using balloon shades in rooms that are traditional in design and need little change in light to keep maintenance to a minimum.

Siemasko + Verbridge

Formal Balloon Shade

Every fantastic room deserves excellent window treatments. An arched window opening is the best setting for this very tailored balloon color with bottom bullion fringe.

Style suggestion: Should you desire an even more formal texture, decrease your balloon color farther. The more fabric that is exposed, the more appropriate the window therapy seems.

RSVP Design Services

Conventional and Casual

The accumulated top heading generates more of a flouncy look on this balloon colour. The imperfect scalloped bottom adds a relaxed note, while the fringe is just the ideal touch to complement the chandelier.

Style suggestion: Rather than fitting the fabric of the window treatment exactly to other upholstered pieces, coordinate over the general color palette for a more casual look.

Classic Symmetry

The perfect symmetry from the reversed pleats of the balloon colour has a more streamlined and classic appearance. The very best banding is an up-to-date strategy that ties from the yellow of the banquette fabric.

Style suggestion: Apply a contrasting band in a coordinating color to incorporate your general colour story throughout the space.

Harper Design from HarperCollins Publishers

Eclectic Edge

though balloon shades are very traditional in design, this set succeeds in creating a contemporary look. The geometric design of the fabric, together with the playful vertical ties, adds to the element of whimsy that’s often found in eclectic spaces.

Style suggestion: Save money by producing your own balloon color — vertically gather one, ordinary curtain from top to bottom with ribbon.

Cabell Design Studio

Dazzling Duo

A window behind the mattress may be awkward, but maybe not in this bedroom. A balloon color done in the exact same fabric as the swag over the mattress is the ideal mix.

Style suggestion: though the window is arched, the balloon valance has a straight top. Think about trying multiple techniques with these colors — there’s no exact formula, and what looks good may surprise you.

Jamie Herzlinger

Toilet Solution

You need both privacy and light in a bathroom. In this room, a dual balloon valance provides a spectacular example of two purposes within one layout. The rear balloon color is a sheer fabric that may offer solitude but let in light, while the forwards balloon color can block out light if needed.

Style suggestion: The longer inverted pleats you enhance your balloon color, the more fuller and more tasteful it becomes.


Camouflaged Treatment

This elegant balloon color, done in a complex toile fabric, disappears to the fitting wall covering. Repeating the design of the wall covering on the window therapy emphasizes the tiled bathtub opening and adjacent cabinetry, maybe not the colour.

Style suggestion: This effect works just as well with solid colors. Choose a fabric in a color similar to your paint colour to emphasize other architectural components in a space.

Kelly Mack Home

Playful Style

This balloon color is the ideal complement to this fun wallcovering. The balloon color design has a shirred (a couple of rows of gathering) top that enriches the fabric’s playfulness in the body of the window treatment.

Style suggestion: Contemplating making a fitting balloon valance for a topper into your shower curtain for a coordinated look.

Interior Styles, Inc..

Layered Lesson

Use your balloon shade for a background for additional treatments on the same window. Here we have a balloon color flanked by a set of drapery panels and finished off with a decorative valance — layering at its best!

Style suggestion: To get a slightly lighter appearance, consider forgoing the side drapery panels and letting the balloon color shine on its own.


Sheer balloon shades cover half of the window whilst filtering soft light to the space. Four symmetrical drapery panels offer additional texture and function along with the gathering of their bedskirt.

Style suggestion: If you put in the perpendicular lines of drapery panels into some window treatment ensemble, ceilings will look taller than they actually are.

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