April May 2016 Look At My Homes’ Homeowners Newsletter

Just click here for the complete issue of our April/May newsletter:  April May 2016

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270 Kindale Has Room to Spare Inside & Out

It also has a two-car garage connected to the house, a rarity in the Ellwood City area at this price point.

 

This four bedroom, one bath house sits on a spacious lot with mature landscaping, giving you lots of room for picnics, play and just relaxing and enjoying the surroundings, but the interior is the star of the show. The first floor features a large family room, eat-in dining room with built-in cabinetry, three bedrooms and a newer kitchen. The island between kitchen and dining room is perfect for serving or setting up a buffet when you have guests.

Casement windows let breezes through and plenty of closet space means you’ll never lack for storage. A large room on the second floor could be your master bedroom but is large enough for a pool table or media room. Plenty of outlets, recessed lighting and track lighting are just a few of the thoughtful details you’ll appreciate. Lots of windows means loads of natural light in every room, and the newer carpet and fresh paint make this house move-in ready.

270 Kindale Street also has a two-car garage connected to the house, a rarity in the Ellwood City area at this price point. The garage has a remote control door and pegboards all around to hang tools, craft supplies or sporting goods. The open rafter ceiling adds lots of overhead storage as well. Finally, an enclosed porch leads to the oversized yard.

Call Look At My Homes at 724-714-9758 or email Joey@lookatmyhomes.com to schedule a time to see this lovely home listed at just $93,000.

 

 

The Inexpensive Home Improvement Series: Kitchen Updates

Because the kitchen is one of the most used spaces in any home, it’s only natural to want it to be attractive and inviting. A fresh coat of paint is usually the first update homeowners use in their kitchens, but there are several other inexpensive options that can add drama and freshness to the space without dipping into your savings.

Add Extra Lighting

If your kitchen doesn’t have task lighting mounted under the cabinets to shine down on the countertops, you can add it for well under $100 if you opt for LED rope lighting or stick-on lights, sometimes called puck lights, that you simply add wherever you want some added brightness. LED rope lights can also add some dramatic lighting if you mount them along the baseboards under your cabinets for a soft glow. These are great if you want low lighting at night when you walk into the kitchen.

Replace a Dated Ceiling Fan

For years, ceiling fans were mounted in just about every room, but they can look dated and don’t really serve much purpose in a kitchen or over a dining table. Look for simple chandelier style lighting or sleek pendants for a modern look. Drum shades and sleek metallics are very popular right now. Pendants that are made of hand-blown glass can add pops of color.

Cheap Cabinet Updates

If you don’t have the budget to replace your kitchen cabinets, consider painting them either a bright white or a bright color, either of which will add a sense of light and spaciousness to any size kitchen. Changing out the cabinet hardware can also add a designer touch and costs only a few dollars per piece.

If you have a small kitchen, removing the doors on some of your upper cabinets can make a real difference by opening up the space. Just be sure you arrange whatever is in the exposed cabinets artfully arranged so that it looks purposeful and attractive, like a bookshelf display. Painting the back wall of the opened cabinets the same color as the walls or in a contrasting shade will add interest. If you aren’t ready to remove the doors completely, switch some out for doors with glass panels. You can choose clear glass or opt for frosted or pebbled glass to obscure the contents but still let the light through.

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Peel and stick sheets of tile make it easy to install a designer backsplash in your kitchen

Change or Add a Backsplash

Tiling an entire bathroom or kitchen can get expensive, but adding a backsplash doesn’t have to cost a lot because it’s a relatively small area. If you fall in love with an expensive, hand-painted tile, consider using just a few ornate ones interspersed with solid color tiles for a designer look. Today’s peel and stick backsplashes can mimic the look of expensive porcelain, stainless steel and more. This is also a great way to add an accent color that you can ground with matching curtains, table linens or appliances.

Choosing a few inexpensive upgrades for your kitchen can create a functional, beautiful living space that your family will love to gather in for everything from homework to family dinners. For less than $500, you can probably achieve at least two of the ideas mentioned here and convince guests that you spent a fortune on your “custom kitchen.”

The Inexpensive Home Improvement Series: Wainscoting

Sometimes you walk into a dining room or living room and you immediately notice that the room seems rich in detail. Other times you walk into a room and it may be filled with furniture and have some photos or artwork on the walls, but it just doesn’t have that special touch. One element that can make all the difference is something found on the walls – wainscoting.

Wainscoting is the addition of wood or painted panels on the walls to add depth and interest. There are a wide variety of styles from beadboard and flat panels to heavily embellished panels with ornate plasterwork. They are extremely popular because they break up the long, flat expanse of otherwise dull walls and add architectural interest to any room.

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Wainscoting America offers dozens of variations on the five most popular styles of wainscoting. Visit their website to order wainscoting for your Ellwood City home.

Historical Beauty

The origins of wainscoting are actually quite practical. In the 1500’s, many homes were damp and cold in the winter, so homeowners would put wood panels over the lower half of the walls to cover the damp plaster. When the wood became rotted, they simply replaced it. Over the centuries, wealthier homeowners began to make the wainscoting a decorative feature. By the 1800’s, wainscot paneling was more decorative than functional, adding elegance and beauty to rooms. During the height of its popularity in European homes, you could find elaborately carved and plastered wainscoting covered in gold leaf and even panels upholstered with satins and brocades.

Today’s Wainscoting

This charming country bathroom features beadboard wainscoting. It's one of the many features of this three bedroom house in Sewickley.
This charming country bathroom features beadboard wainscoting. It’s one of the many attractive features of this three bedroom house in Sewickley.

Today, most wainscot paneling is made of wood, fiberglass or plaster. The most popular style is beadboard, which features narrow grooves about a half inch thick running along the width of the panel. Today beadboard adds country chic to kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms. It’s also one of the easiest to install because each panel can easily be cut to fit and the repetition of the pattern makes it easy to match.

For a more formal living room or dining room, you can install raised panel wainscoting. This has evenly spaced panels with raised or beveled squares on each section. One way to add a splash of color to a room without making it too dark or overpowering is to paint just the inside of each square in a contrasting or richer color to accent the room’s décor.

Flat panel wainscoting also has evenly spaced squares, but they aren’t raised or beveled. Instead, slender slats of wood are placed over the wood panels to form the squares. This style is less expansive and more casual than raised panel styles.

If you’d like to install wainscoting in any of the rooms in your house, check out this easy wainscoting installation tutorial at Lowe’s. You’ll find all the supplies you need to do this at Lowe’s or any local home improvement store such as the Busy Beaver in Ellwood City, PA.

To learn more about the home pictured in this article or other homes available for purchase or rent in Ellwood City and the surrounding area, visit Look At My Homes.

March Outdoor Chores: Preparing Your Garden for Spring

Attractive landscaping is one of the most affordable ways you can add curb appeal to your home and create a beautiful retreat to relax in during the spring, summer and autumn. But to get the most from your lawn and garden, you need to prepare your property properly even before you have seedlings to plant. Pre-emergent weed treatments, fertilization and tilling of the soil will help you get ready for planting next month. If you’d prefer a professional touch, contact Mr. B’s Lawn Care by emailing Brian Bush at bush@amguard.us or calling Mr. B’s at 724-752-5551 to discuss your lawn care and landscaping needs.

If you’re still interested in doing it yourself, read on:

In most of Lawrence, Butler and Beaver Counties, we’re in what is considered Zone 6 for planting and gardening. This means in March, it’s time to begin thinking about prepping your lawn and garden for early planting and gardening. With this year’s particularly warm temperatures, it can even be tempting to start planting some spring flowers, but try to hold off for a while. The chance of a late frost is still very real, and the temperatures are supposed to dip below freezing more than once before Spring is here to stay.

potted flower

A few things you can do during March include:

  • Start seasonal vegetable seeds in small pots or paper cups for transplanting outside later. Put them in a sunny, southern window. You can start peppers and tomatoes this way so that they will mature earlier in your summer garden.
  • Add lime to the soil where you will be planting tomatoes and thoroughly blend it in so that it has a few weeks to break down into its usable form for optimum tomato growth and sweetness. Wait until after April 15th before planting tomatoes in order to avoid the danger of even a light frost.
  • Till up your flower beds to loosen the soil and add a pre-treatment for weed control (make sure the weed treatment is for floral gardens, not lawns. Lawn treatment may be too strong for flower gardens.
  • If you like to start your flowers from seeds, plant them now in flats or paper cups and keep them indoors in a sunny window. You can transplant them after the danger of frost is past.
  • Draw out a map of your garden and design the layout so that you have something to start with when you visit greenhouses looking for annuals and perennials. Without a general layout, you may end up buying too many or too few plants.
  • Now is the time to divide any perennials and transplant them. Dig up bulbs and use a trowel or spade to break them in two or into thirds and replant immediately.
  • In late March, if the weather is consistently well above frost temperatures, you can begin planting seeds for beets, turnips, carrots and other cool root vegetables.

Exterior 524 NewtonLook At My Homes currently has several homes for sale or rent that have large yards you can customize with your own style of gardening or landscaping. If you’ve always dreamed of having a house with enough space to grow your own vegetables, check out listings such as 524 Newton Avenue in Ellwood City, PA, which has a large, level lot you can transform this summer with perennials and annuals.

 

 

The Inexpensive Home Improvements Series: Crown Molding

Crown molding is one of the cheapest ways to add a bit of drama to any room. It’s also easy to install and doesn’t take long to put into place.

This month, Look At My Homes is starting a series of articles on ways to enhance your home’s beauty and value with inexpensive projects you can do on your own or with the help of your spouse or a friend. This week, we’ll be taking a look at crown molding, which can be used to transform an otherwise bland room into a beautiful focal point.

Crown Molding

Many of the homes on the market today were built in the 1970’s or later. These are often the tract style or ranch homes that have very few architectural details. Rooms were built with an eye toward practicality, affordability and a clean, modern look. These homes can lack personality, but with a few touches of your own such as crown molding and other trims you can add architectural detail and put your own stamp on each room.

crown molding in corner

Crown Molding: An Inexpensive Designer Touch

Crown molding is one of the cheapest ways to add a bit of drama to any room. It’s also easy to install and doesn’t take long to put into place.  It’s an easy weekend project for most homeowners; the main tools you’ll need are a miter saw and the help of a friend.

Adding crown molding to a room not only adds a decorative element to a room, it draws the eye upward, giving the illusion of added height. It also softens the edges of the room and can camouflage any minor problems such as uneven painting where the ceiling and walls meet.

Installing Crown Molding is Relatively Simple

If you aren’t sure whether you have the skills to install crown molding yourself, check out this handy tutorial on the HGTV website, “How to Install Crown Molding.” Be sure you read to the end of the instructions, particularly if the thought of using a miter saw intimidates you. Installing corner blocks is a great way to make installing crown molding even simpler by doing away with the miter saw. They also give you additional decorative options to add to the corners of your ceiling.

Without having to contend with windows, doors or other elements, you can transform a room from average to stunning with crown molding and corner blocks. There are stylish options from simple, colonial trim to elaborate, Baroque styles. You can also tie together the look of two or more rooms, such as a master bathroom and bedroom, by using the same style of crown molding from one room to the next.

With just a few tools and the price of crown molding and corner blocks, you can turn forgettable rooms into unforgettably stylish ones that truly reflect your style and frame your home’s furnishings beautifully.

 

Inexpensive Styling for Your Home

When decorating your home, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to create an attractive display on a credenza or coffee table. Look how this decorator (www.theevolutionofahome.wordpress.com) transformed everyday elements into a beautiful retro-vintage display:

It’s the most beautiful piece of furniture I’ve ever seen. And it’s all mine 😉

My credenza arrived on Wednesday after what seemed like a month long trek from Oregon to Alabama. Nearly…I purchased it on January 29, it shipped February 11, and it arrived February 24.

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I threw all this up here to take a pretty styled photo and ended up liking it just as it was. You may recognize the Target lamp, and that vase is Target too.

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A bit of vintage brass and a lot of scale here, with the tiny unicorn. I used to play the United States puzzle with my Grandfather. The turtle is sitting on a memory card game you probably played as a kid? Beautiful mid-century animal illustrations by Charley Harper.

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My favorite styling books and a little Gustav held up by some vintage walruses! There’s a lot of warm colors working here: creams…

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