Joseph D. Federico's Blog
What do you picture when someone says 'laundry'? Is it piles of dirty clothes, sock singles lost to some undisclosed dimension, a moldy smell and lost hours? Or is it shrugging on a warm shirt straight from the dryer, lemon scent and the zen of folding: a little pocket of peace and quiet on a hectic, cold day?
People who fit into the latter category aren't from Stepford. Chances are, they've made the deliberate choice to craft a laundry room the way they design other rooms in their house: for their comfort, convenience, and in the case of the laundry room, for utility and ease of use.
Often a key component to creating a harmonious space is to minimize clutter. Check out these three tips for creating a clutterless, clean, and welcoming workspace!
Incorporate Drying Racks
Drying delicates can create a lot of clutter! Where do you put the stand-up drying rack? Where to put it when you've folded it away?
Solve that problem in a snap by making fold-away drying racks part of your interior design straightaway. You can easily purchase or create cabinet-style drying racks like these:
The bars swing down for ease of use, but when you release them, they snap upright to keep your drying clothes out of the way. Centsational Style shows you how to make your own here.
Alternately, you can incorporate rails on which to hang your clothing from hangers right in the laundry room, for things that are best dried while hanging, or just to store clothing that's clean and ready to wear. These rails are best incorporated under cabinets or a ledge that may not be in use.
Even small spaces can make use of this trick. Try creating a hanging bar, made simply from two thick, leather straps and a copper rod (or metal rod of your choosing). It looks incredibly upscale but would cost very little to make. Just fix two, 3-4 inch leather straps to a ledge or underneath weight-baring cabinets, then slide the rod through.
If you're feeling crafty, you might also consider making an old ladder into a drying rack for a farmhouse feel.
Keep Your Laundry Basket Space in Mind
Keep laundry baskets out of the way by creating drawers or shelving space for them. If you're staging a house, buy baskets that fit so that these drawers' purpose is clear to potential buyers -- and so no one has to hunt for the right-sized baskets later on.
You can also create a laundry basket holder of your own from freestanding shelving units if you don't have built-in drawers or have trouble finding a fitting that will work for your space.
Feeling crafty? Here's a great article on how to create a do-it-yourself mobile laundry basket holder.
Keep Your Ironing Board Out of the Way
Your ironing board can take up a lot of space if you keep it set up, and it can be a challenge to yank it forward out of a nook or wrestle it down from a high spot if you keep it folded.
Consider hanging it up on coat hooks. Be sure to hang it so that the cloth of the board (where you'd grip it to lift) is at shoulder height, making it easy to set down and hook back up.
You can make one of these from scratch using these instructions from The Inspired Hive, but you can just as easily purchase one and unscrew any extraneous hooks before hanging it.
Employ these space-saving tactics and your laundry room will be a calm, peaceful, and orderly oasis!
Insulation keeps you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer by reducing either heat coming in or escaping from your home. You might think that adequately insulating a home would be part of the home-building process. But since many new homebuyers don't consider insulation when buying, many home builders only meet bare minimum standards. Fortunately, you can add insulation yourself.
Where Do You Need More Insulation?
Ceilings and attics are a great place to start. But you also need insulation inside your outer walls. Insulating an un-air conditioned crawlspace or basement can also reduce that air from impacting your home environment. And insulation around pipes reduces the risk of cracking in cold weather.
You'll likely only need insulation on interior walls if your goal is to reduce the sound that travels through the home. If you need insulation inside your walls, interior or exterior, it's best to contact a professional.
How to Install Installation on Your Pipes
You don't have to cover all of the pipe to make a difference. But the more you cover, the less the risk.
The best way to insulate pipes is with foam insulators. These are made to fit most pipes and easy to install. For this project, you just need foam insulators and a utility knife to cut them and duct tape for the corners and oddly-shaped pipes.
Step one: Locate at-risk pipes. Size them up and cut foam pieces to match your measurements.
Step two: Find the opening in the insulator and slide it around the pipe, using several insulators end-to-end to cover the whole pipe. *Pro tip* If the insulators don't fit snuggly or are oddly shaped, unfold insulators and use duct tape to hold them together.
How to Install Insulation in the Attic or Basement
To keep it simple, we'll share how to install roll insulation. Blow insulation is a more involved project so you may want to hire a professional.
*Pro tip* Don't unroll your insulation until you get it into the area where you'll staple it. It will expand--a lot.
Step one: Put on your mask and work gloves. Touching insulation directly or breathing it into your lungs or throat will be an itchy experience you'll want to avoid.
Step two: Cut the insulation into manageable sections. *Pro Tip* Lay the 2X4 on top of the rolled out insulation to press it down for a smoother cut.
Step three: Using your staple gun, affix the insulation to the rafters, walls and other surfaces on the outside of the building. If your basement has stone walls with no beams, you won't be able to staple insulation there. Use duct tape instead to cover the area.
For more tips and tricks to improve your space with simple DIY projects, follow our blog.
4 Improvements That Increase the Value of Your Home
Home improvement projects add useability, beauty and convenience to your house, and those characteristics make the house more desirable to potential buyers. If you’re considering a home improvement project, here are four that will increase the value of your home.
1. An Addition Increases Square Footage
One of the most impactful home improvements you can make is putting on an addition. Whether a family room, bedroom or home office, an addition adds useable square footage to your house -- and extra space is something that every prospective homebuyer can appreciate.
While not a perfect measure because value varies with the type of room, you can roughly estimate how much value an addition would have by multiplying the average sale price per square foot in your neighborhood by how many square feet an addition is.
2. A Finished Basement Increases Useable Space
A cheaper alternative to installing an addition, finishing a basement is relatively easy and likewise increases useable space.
Exactly what constitutes a finished basement can vary. You might simply want some shelves, carpeting and a few games, or you may want a full in-law apartment that’s complete with a bathroom and kitchenette. However you finish your home’s basement, though, the project will add value because anything is more useful than undeveloped storage space.
3. A Complete Kitchen Remodel
If you’re tired of cooking in an outdated kitchen, remodeling your kitchen will improve your day-to-day experience and let you recoup some of your investment. You probably won’t get the full cost of a kitchen remodel back when you sell your home, but you can regain most of the improvement’s cost if you’re wise in the changes that you make. Additionally, a remodeled kitchen can help sell your house faster if you’re in a slow real estate market.
4. A Master Bathroom Remodel
A house’s master bathroom is usually one of the three main rooms that potential homebuyers look at (with the kitchen and master bedroom being the other two). Thus, a master bathroom remodel is an improvement project that many will appreciate and be willing to pay for.
When you remodel a master bathroom, consider what high-end aesthetics and luxury features would add the most perceived value from someone else’s perspective. Then, pick the ones you think will have the biggest benefit and that you personally like.
Ask a Real Estate Agent
For help deciding how to approach any of these home improvement projects, get in touch with one of our real estate agents. We’re professionals who every day see what attracts prospective homebuyers, and we’d be glad to help you design an improvement that will add true value to your home.
If you're getting ready to sell your home, you're likely looking for relatively affordable upgrades that will give your home the most pizzazz. Taking the time to spruce up your property is a smart idea, but it really pays to be strategic. Because while buyers should be able to recognize a home with good bones, it's all too easy to gravitate towards a property that successfully highlight its strengths. We'll give you a few tips to get the best returns on each investment.
While it may be tempting to paint the walls a vibrant purple or install funky door knobs throughout the home, experts caution restraint. Theoretically, these tactics can help your home stand out in the minds of exhausted home buyers, but they can also alienate them.
If you're going to paint, choose a neutral, warm color that will inspire potential homeowners to picture themselves using and enjoying each room. If you're staging the home, choose one decor style and try to incorporate small touches throughout. For example, if you want a modern look, opt for sleek fixtures that catch the light. If you're going for French Country, look for crafts that will add color to a corner. You can express your personality and attract multiple bids on your home at the same time.
Learn the Ropes
There are subtle patterns that govern how buyers search for homes in different neighborhoods. Whether your area is full of millennials with young families or retired couples with a pension, sellers should have a good idea of what's important to the prospective homeowner.
So if you know that laundry rooms are in high demand, you can make an effort to make yours look as welcoming as possible. Or if you have plenty of garage space, now is a good time to show how it can fit everything from boxes to sporting equipment. If you're working on a limited budget, this is the best way to prioritize each upgrade so you get the most out of it.
Talking to a real estate agent can usually give you a better idea of how you can tweak your home without jeopardizing your profit margins. The only time it's ever recommended for sellers to splurge is if their home has experienced dramatic growth. If property values have risen a lot over the past few years, you can consider larger renovations that will attract affluent buyers who are desperate to make an offer.
You love the new house that you just purchased. Yet, you're already thinking of upgrades that you want to make to your new place. That or you've started looking at the walls, decor and furniture in your current home and came away feeling bland. If you're not careful, you could create a long list of home upgrades.
Make major home upgrades without breaking the bank
To get what you want, prioritize home upgrades. This doesn't mean that you scratch anything off your upgrade list. It means that you consider important factors before you start making home improvements. To begin, ask yourself:
Determine which upgrades are absolutely necessary - Assess the conditions or parts of your house that are out of compliance with local housing codes. These upgrades are a must. Price electricians, plumbers and contractors who specialize in the fields that these improvements are needed in. Move these home upgrades to the top of your wish list.
Spot declining areas - As you walk through your house, you may spot areas that,although still meeting housing codes, are starting to decline. Curling roof shingles, a light coating of water on the basement floor following a hard rain and uneven hardwood floor panels are signs of decay. After you get your entire house up to code, repair and upgrade these areas.
Time is valuable - Consider how much time you have to not only start, but to also finish, home upgrades. This one gets the best handy person. It's easy to tell yourself that you can add a new bedroom to your home, install a new tub and faucets in your master bathroom and upgrade the cabinetry in your kitchen, all within six months. Then, your job gets demanding, family visits and you volunteer for a project at church. Before you know it, you've got a hole in your bathroom floor and have started taking showers in the guest bathroom.Think about how much time you have to take on home upgrades before you start them.
Review your budget - Get honest about the amount of money you have to spend on home upgrades. Money doesn't magically fall out of the sky. Look at your current expenses, vacation plans and other personal items that you'd like to purchase.If you're budget doesn't allow for immediate major home upgrades, make small upgrades. For example, you could paint your house walls and hang new mirrors in the bathroom and hallways. You could also place decorative throw rugs on the floor and add new floral centerpieces to coffee and end tables.
Home upgrades don't have to be expensive. They certainly don't have to put you in debt. To stay debt free while making home improvements, pace yourself. Think about it. If you expect to live in your home for three or more years, you could implement one to two major upgrades a year. Implement smaller upgrades over a weekend. At the end of three years, you may be delighted with upgrades you've made to your home.