Uncategorized December 30, 2021

Create the Illusion of Indoor Space………………………..

Having space within the home is important to most homeowners. If everything is too small and cluttered, it can make an otherwise charming home seem claustrophobic and unpleasant. With that said, adding space to your home can be a significant ordeal that comes with a lot of cost; at the very least, adding space means a major remodeling project even if you don’t have to make major modifications like taking out a wall.

It’s often possible to create the illusion of space without actually making modifications to the home, though. The available options will depend on the layout of your house and a few other factors, of course. If you want to make your home seem a lot more open without making major changes or sinking a lot of money into remodeling, here are a few ideas to get you started.

One easy way to make your rooms seem larger and create an illusion of indoor space is to lighten things up. Dark walls absorb light and make your room seem darker overall, which in turn creates the appearance that the room is smaller than it actually is. If you paint your walls and even the ceiling in lighter shades such as white, yellow, and light browns, then this will lighten up the whole room and make it seem a bit bigger overall.

Adding to this concept, eliminating a lot of the shadows in your room will also make things seem brighter and create your illusion of space. This includes large and dark shadows, obviously, but also smaller shadows such as those cast by popcorn ceilings and small tiles. That doesn’t mean everything has to be flat and covered in light to be effective, of course; large segments, shallow impressions, and similar concepts will allow you to add some contour and shadow to your rooms without ruining this effect.

Another great way to create an illusion of space in your rooms is to keep everything relatively low and unobtrusive in the center of your rooms. This gives the room a much more open look, letting the space flow freely and making it look like there’s more space than there actually is. This can be accomplished with furniture that lacks high peaks or complex designs that draw the eyes; keep everything attractive but favor minimalist designs over extreme complexity.

Of course, if everything’s at the same level then things are going to get boring pretty quickly. To combat this, put a few decorations on or near the walls so that they can draw the eyes of visitors. Not only does this make a room more appealing, but if someone’s line of sight is drawn to something on the far side of the room then it will help to create that illusion of space that you’re trying to achieve. The brain will register the items of interest as being farther than everything else, making it perceive additional distance even if your decorations or standing lamps are relatively close behind your furniture.

Clutter is the enemy of space. Even large rooms can seem small if you’ve got something scattered everywhere. If you’re trying to maximize the amount of space that a room appears to have, avoid over-decorating and keep clutter on your surfaces and walls to a minimum. This is especially important when it comes to plants and similar items, as it’s easy to overdo it, and those plants are just going to get bigger as time goes by.

If you’re not sure how best to create an illusion of space in your home, HomeKeepr can help. Using the HomeKeepr app you can connect with decorators and interior designers in your area that can maximize your apparent space without breaking the bank. If you need to actually increase the size of your rooms at some point you can find a contractor to help with that, too. Creating an account is free, so sign up today.

Home Repair December 16, 2021

Should I Keep My Radiators???????????????????

Radiators have been around for a long time and are a staple of many heating systems, especially in older homes. They often provide heat throughout the winter at a lower energy cost than some other heating options, since true to their name they allow heat to passively radiate into the surrounding air. Unfortunately, some older radiator systems can require a lot of maintenance to keep in service year after year and may not be the best at providing even heat in your home.

Because of this, some homeowners will consider getting rid of radiator systems even if they’re still in mostly good repair. If you’ve got one of these heating systems in your home, you might even have considered it yourself. Let’s look at the topic and see whether it’s a good idea to get rid of your system, or if you should keep it around for a bit longer.

What’s the pros and cons of radiator heat? While radiator systems aren’t as common as they used to be, there are definite advantages to using them in place of forced air or other heating options. With that said, there are some downsides to radiator heating as well. Here are some of the pros and cons to consider when trying to decide whether to keep your radiator system.

Pros:

  • Heat from a radiator is often more humid and comfortable because water isn’t removed from the air by blowing it over a heat sourceBetter room-by-room control than other heating options
  • The modularity of radiator systems makes it easy to replace individual radiators or other components without having to replace major sections of the system
  • Very little noise compared to other options

Cons:

  • Radiators typically require a lot of room, both for the radiator itself and space around it for safety purposes
  • Cleaning radiators can be difficult, especially around the elements
  • Poor maintenance can result in steep drops in heating efficiency, especially when compared to other heating types
  • Radiators are much slower to react to changes in the thermostat than other heating options

If you’re still on the fence, perhaps it’s time to look at your existing radiator system to see if it needs to be replaced.

There are a few things that you should look at when trying to evaluate how well your radiator system functions and whether it needs to be replaced as a result.

First, give your radiator a visual inspection and look for signs of damage, corrosion, or other potential indicators that there’s a problem with the radiator. Be sure to remove any radiator covers and similar items so that you can see the radiator clearly. Make note of anything that seems out of the ordinary, because even small cracks can cause large problems over time.

You should also shut a radiator off and then turn it back on when it’s cool, timing it to see how long it takes to get back up to temperature. If it seems to take an excessively long time, especially compared to past performance, then it might indicate that there’s a problem with the heating elements or other components. You should also listen to the radiator as it heats up to see if it appears to be louder than before or makes noises that you aren’t used to.

Keep track of the maintenance that you have to perform as well. Do you seem to be doing some tasks more often than you used to? Are there problems that you keep having to correct that didn’t used to be an issue? If maintenance is increasingly an issue, it may be time to make a replacement.

If you do decide to replace your radiator, you might simply go with an updated radiator system, or you could do a full swap for forced air. Regardless of what you choose, though, it has the potential to be a big job. If you need help with your radiator replacement, HomeKeepr can help. We can aid you in finding HVAC and heating pros in your area who can get your radiator replacement installed the right way. Sign up for a free account to get started!

Home Decor December 2, 2021

Stay Warm and Cozy Outside This Year!

Having a patio gives you a great place to hang out and enjoy the outdoors while you’re at home. Unfortunately, dropping temperatures often makes your patio all but uninhabitable once the fall and

winter months come around. Cooler weather doesn’t have to be the end of your time enjoying your patio, however; there are many options available that can extend your time on the patio, including patio heaters.

There are several things that set patio heaters apart from other outdoor heating options like fire pits. Because they’re designed to spread heat out over a larger area, a patio heater might be the ideal solution to keep your patio area usable well into the winter. If you think that one of these heaters might be the perfect addition to your outdoor space, here are a few things to consider to help make sure that you pick the perfect heater.

 

Patio heaters are designed to radiate heat outward, spreading heat over a larger area than you’d cover with a fire pit or other heat source that doesn’t have a cap or other barrier preventing heat from escaping upward. The amount of heat coverage provided by these heaters differs based on the type of heater, its size, and where it’s located on your patio. Some patio heaters include chimneys or other exhaust pipes to vent potentially harmful gases generated as their fuel burns, preventing those gases from being diverted outward by the same caps that redirect the heat.

Depending on your needs, you can find small patio heaters that can sit on top of a table or other surface, as well as larger free-standing units that sit on the patio floor itself. Most heaters include controls similar to what you see on indoor heaters, allowing you to change the amount of heat produced. This lets you adjust your heater for use when you just need to knock off a little chill or when you need to produce more heat on colder nights.

Though there are several different types of patio heaters; the most common varieties are electric, propane, natural gas, and wood-burning heaters. Here is a little information on each type:

  • Electric heaters are similar to some of the space heaters you might have used indoors, offering benefits such as portability and heat production without creating fuel exhaust. Unfortunately, these heaters are not as energy efficient as other types, and often do not produce as much heat.
  • Propane heaters connect to a propane tank like you would use with a propane grill. They produce more heat than many electric heaters and are still relatively portable, though they should not be used in covered or enclosed areas.
  • Natural gas heaters are the most energy-efficient and convenient patio heaters, connecting to your home’s existing natural gas line so that you don’t have to swap out tanks or perform other maintenance. These heaters are not portable at all, however, and need to be professionally installed to ensure that there are no gas leaks.
  • Wood-burning heaters are the cheapest patio heaters to operate, but they also require more cleaning and maintenance. They also require more work to light and put out and can be fire hazards if left unattended.

Picking the right heater for your patio area depends a lot on how your patio is laid out and whether portability and maintenance are major concerns for you. Electric and propane heaters are best for those who want to be able to move their heater around easily, and wood-burning heaters are a good option for those who want a heater that operates cheaply and don’t mind emptying out ash and coals to keep the heater clean.

 

Natural gas heaters are the best options for homes where there’s already a gas line installed, and you don’t mind having a permanent heating option in place. They do require professional installation, but HomeKeepr can help with that. Sign up for a free account today and connect with pros in your area that can get your gas heater installed safely. Courtesy of HomeKeeper for Pros

Morris CountyUnfinished BasementUpsizing June 17, 2021

Lumber Prices Are Dropping Fast

Lumber prices are falling quickly from record highs, and that may be happening at the right time for the new-home market. Home builder sentiment sank to its lowest level since August 2020, with builders blaming increasing material supply challenges for their outlook, according to a newly released report from the National Association of Home Builders. Builders said that declining availability for softwood lumber and other building materials is pushing builder sentiment down in June, at a time when buyer demand is surging.

Lumber prices have been increasing for months, prompting builders to raise their prices and, in some cases, to stop taking new orders due to the difficulty of pricing projects accurately during the course of construction.

But wood prices are coming down—and they’re falling fast. For example, futures for July delivery of lumber were $1,009.90 per thousand board feet, a 41% drop from the record of $1,711.20 reached in early May, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“The rapid decline suggests a bubble that has burst and the question is how low lumber prices will fall,” The Wall Street Journal reports. “Even after tumbling, lumber futures remain nearly three times what is typical for this time of year. Lumber producers and traders expect that prices will remain relatively high due to the strong housing market, but that the supply bottlenecks and frenzied buying that characterized the economy’s reopening and sent prices to multiples of the old all-time highs are winding down.”

During the run-up in lumber prices, some builders began hoarding lumber to shield themselves from any future gains and to ensure they didn’t run out of it during construction. Housing analysts predict the new-home market will see greater “shadow inventory” as businesses begin to sell their own stockpiles.

“I don’t think $1,000 lumber prices are the new normal,” Devin Stockfish, chief executive of Weyerhaeuser Co., a lumber producer, told investors last week at a conference. “But that being said, when you think about the amount of housing that we’re going to have to build in the U.S. over the next three, five, 10 years, that’s just a significant amount of demand for wood products.”

Source:
Lumber Prices Are Falling Fast, Turning Hoarders Into Sellers,” The Wall Street Journal (June 15, 2021) [Log-in required.] and “Rising Material Challenges, Declining Builder Sentiment,” National Association of Home Builders (June 15, 2021) https://magazine.realtor/daily-news/2021/06/16/lumber-prices-are-dropping-fast (June 16, 2021)
Home Decor March 1, 2021

TURNING A BEDROOM INTO A LUX BEDROOM

For most of us, our bedroom is little more than a place to sleep and relax. However, just because it’s always been that way doesn’t mean that we have to settle for drab and dreary.

One trend that’s gaining steam these days is converting your current bedroom into a luxury suite (or something comparable). If you want to live like you’re renting a room at the Ritz, then you want to follow these tips.

Compartmentalize Your Activities

Making your bedroom more functional is going to make it more luxurious. Add a gorgeous desk for working and a TV area for entertainment, and you’ll be living it up in no time.

Make it Chic

Choose a color palette that is both luxurious and classy. Silver and gold can seem tacky, so choose muted shades that complement each other.

Also, a brilliant and commanding headboard can instantly upgrade the look of your room without any other changes.

Light it Properly

Finally, make sure that you have the right light to show off your designs. If it’s too washed out or yellow, then it will look drab and run down. Switch to brilliant LEDs and see the difference.

Choose Your Accents Wisely

We already mentioned a headboard, but some elegant drapes can also make your room feel more royal. Being strategic with your furniture accessories is going to both keep you under budget and avoid doing too much with space.

Are you ready to lux your bedroom? You’ll be impressed by the results, and the feeling of decadence will make you more confident in your surroundings.

That’s it for now!

Carolyn

Home OfficeSingle Family HomeUpsizing February 26, 2021

UPSIZING YOUR HOME?…………………………………

Unfortunately, our homes don’t always grow with us. What may have initially worked fine for a single person, a young couple’s starter home, or a family with a newborn can quickly become too small as families expand and multiple generations live under one roof. Or post-pandemic, you may find yourself not having to commute anymore and need 2 home offices.

Remodeling and adding to your home is one option for creating more space, but it can be costly, and the size of your property may be prohibitive. That’s when moving to a bigger home becomes the best solution.

WHERE DO YOU NEED MORE SPACE?

The first thought when upsizing your home is to simply consider square footage, bedrooms, and bathrooms. But it’s important to take a more critical approach to how your space will actually be used. If you have younger children (or possibly more on the way), then focusing on bedrooms and bathrooms makes sense. But if your children are closer to heading off to college or starting their own families, it may be better to prioritize group spaces like the kitchen, dining room, living room, and outdoor space—it’ll pay off during the holidays or summer vacations when everyone is coming to visit for big gatherings.

MOVING OUTWARD

If you need more space, but don’t necessarily want a more expensive home, you can probably get a lot more house for your money if you move a little further from a city center. While the walkability and short commutes of a dense neighborhood or condo are hard to leave beyond, your lifestyle—and preferences for hosting Thanksgiving, barbecues, and birthdays—might mean that a spacious home in the suburbs makes the most sense. It’s your best option for upsizing while avoiding a heftier price tag.

That’s it for now,

Carolyn

DIYHome DecorHome OfficeHome RepairMorris CountySingle Family HomeTownhouseUnfinished Basement February 15, 2021

WHAT TO DO WITH THAT UNFINISHED BASEMENTS?………………………..

Although currently dimly lit and a little rough on the eyes, your unfinished basement still has a lot of potentials. With just a little love and the help of the following ideas, you can spice it up in no time and get some great use out of the space.

  1. Add a pop of color. Give your basement a whole different look without a big renovation by adding some color to space. Consider painting and sealing the floors, opening up the room by painting the rafters white or a light color, or creating a bold accent wall.
  2. Divide the space. Want to make your basement a multi-use room? Partition out the area by installing an inexpensive curtain system. This can be done either with a curtain track or a simple wire, some hooks, and curtains will suffice.
  3. Add foam mats. Whether you’d like to use the basement as a home gym to get a quick workout in or a place for the kids to play and rough house, adding some foam mats into the mix is a great and easy solution. They come in various colors and can quickly be picked up and tucked away if need be.
  4. Use a large rug. As an alternative to adding mats, find a large, eye-catching rug to be used as a focal point, and furnish the area around it.
  5. Add lighting. Basements often offer very little built-in lighting and few outlets around the room. Consider stringing café lighting across space from the rafters to give a nice ambiance and glow without any difficult electrical work.

That’s it for now!

Carolyn

ChathamChatham TwpCondoCondominiumMadison LivingMorris CountyMorris TwpMorristownTownhouse February 7, 2021

TOWNHOUSE VS. CONDO: WHICH SHOULD YOU BUY?

Whether it’s your first time buying or you just want to purchase something smaller, townhouses and condos are both great options. Check out the differences between the two to help aid you in your search!

Condominiums

Condominiums are similar to apartments in that you purchase an individual unit inside of a larger building, but not the property it sits on. This generally includes access to the building’s amenities, such as the clubhouse, pool, and gym. However, condo owners are not responsible for the upkeep and repair of these common areas. Because of the number of shared spaces, living in a condo often allows for meeting new people and building a strong sense of community. There is a fairly similar vetting process for loan approval as for a full-sized home; however, the lender will also look at the health of the condo association.

Townhouses

Those who purchase a townhome are generally purchasing the complete unit, both inside and out, including the land it sits on. This might also include the driveway, yard, or roof. Traditionally, these units are two- or three-stories tall and may also include common areas like pools and parks. Townhome owners pay a fee to a homeowners association every month and the loan process is the same as buying a full-sized home.

Which is the best choice?

Both townhomes and condos offer less maintenance than a traditional home and generally offer great shared areas. Your decision ultimately comes down to you and your family’s needs and wants. Things you’ll want to take into consideration include location, lifestyle, family growth, and price.

Morris County December 20, 2020

ORGANIC FOOD ON A BUDGET

Organic food usually tastes better and is better for you, but it can also be very expensive compared to non-organic products. Organic food can cost nearly 50 percent more, thanks to the extra labor required to produce it and consumers’ demand exceeding supply.

So how do you get tasty organic food without spending a ton of extra money? Follow these tips to get more bang for your buck.

Shop at farmers’ markets: You can get fresh organic produce for far less at a farmers’ market than you’d pay at the grocery store. It’ll taste just as good, and you’re getting your food straight from the source.

Choose seasonal produce: Out-of-season produce usually has to be imported, and that can really drive up the price. Focus your meals on in-season fruits and vegetables so that you don’t end up paying $6.00 for a pound of organic asparagus.

Shop more frequently, and plan your meals around bulk sales: The trick here is to only buy what’s needed for your meals, and to only plan for a week of meals at most. That way you’re less likely to throw food away, because you can use leftover produce for more meals before it goes bad.

Grow your own: A home vegetable garden will provide some extremely cheap organic produce, and gardening can also be a fun and rewarding hobby.

Morris County December 14, 2020

TOP TIPS FOR HOUSE HUNTING ONLINE

Hunting for a new home online is a great place to start your search, but it should not be your end all be all. Good listing agents are excellent at highlighting the best features of the home, but keep in mind there may be more than meets the eye. To make the most of your time and efforts and gather a well-rounded picture of home listings online, keep the following three things in mind.

  1. Stay up to date. When you start your search, make sure you find a site that pulls up-to-date listings directly from the multiple listing service (MLS) where real estate agents actively post their most current homes for sale. Many online resources update less often or fail to remove listings that are off the market, making it more difficult to sort through the clutter.
  2. Pictures can be deceiving. Real estate photographers are experts at showing a home in the best possible light. Many use tools and strategies to boost appeal, such as a fisheye lens to make areas look larger and creative editing to make colors and textures really pop. But, often listings will not contain photos of unappealing parts of the home, like small closets or outdated bathrooms.
  3. See it to believe it. Once you find what appears to be your dream home online, call up your real estate agent and schedule a showing. You want to take the opportunity to vet the home in person and explore every part of it before beginning the offer process. Your real estate agent will help you cover all your bases and will ask questions you may not have thought of.