Archive for March, 2010

Mar 24 2010

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Furnish your Carriage House on a Budget

032G-0010 Carriage HouseBy building a carriage house plan from The House Plan Shop, you’ve added additional living space to your home, perfect for weekend guests, the in-laws or even rental property. The list below offers money saving tips to help you furnish your carriage house while creating comfortable accommodations without breaking the budget.

 

·         Survey the living space and determine what items you need. What furniture items do wish to have in each room? What size pieces do you need? How many beds do you need? What type of seating is necessary? A sofa or club chairs? Do you need a dining table or end tables?

·         Consider storage space. Often storage space is minimal in a carriage house so keep an eye out for items and furniture pieces that provide storage such as a trunk that could double as a coffee table or end tables that have drawers or doors with room to stash things inside. Likewise, watch for a sofa sleeper offering additional sleeping space for an extra guest or visitor while providing everyday seating.    

·         Don’t expect to find the perfect furnishings. Rather, look for things that you can improve or change to suit your needs. In some cases you’ll need to do a little hard work yourself, but it will be worth it. Consider a new slip cover and throw pillows for a couch. Repaint a nightstand or a bookshelf. Buy a trendy lampshade for an old lamp. Refurbish a dining table. Sand and stain a nightstand.

·         Look for items that can be used for something else. Can bookshelf work for linen storage? Will a portable microwave cart add cupboard space to the kitchen?

·         Visit eBay and other online stores. Items sold on these sites are often in good condition and are sold at a fraction of the retail price.

·         Check thrift stores and resell shops often. They are always receiving new items, so stop in frequently.

·         Check newspaper ads for auctions and estate sales. They are great places to find pieces of matching furniture at a low price such as a coffee table and two matching end tables or a bedroom set.

·         Visit yard sales and garage sales early. They best items and deals go quickly so get there early to find the best furniture pieces at a great price.

·         Take your stack of mix matched dishes out of the attic and give them a new home in the carriage house kitchen. If you don’t have your own stash of dishes, check with friends and family. Someone will have a variety of dishes they aren’t using and may be willing to get rid of them.

·         Remember to inspect any second hand items for mold and insects. Clean them thoroughly before refurbishing them or arranging them in the living quarters.

·         Consider buying new small appliances and new linens. These items are often on sale for reasonable prices at your favorite department store. You’ll have peace of mind knowing small electrics, like the toaster and blender, will last a while and you won’t have to worry about your guests having any type of allergies to the bed linens or bath towels.

 

Using a little creativity, imagination and ingenuity, you’ll have your carriage house or garage apartment neatly furnished in no time while keeping extra cash in your pocket.

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Mar 17 2010

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Attention Bike Riders: Bike Storage for your Garage

Bike StorageSpring is quickly approaching. Soon bike lovers will be dusting off their bikes and taking them for their first sunny ride. Whether you enjoy weekend bike rides with the kids or your friends or you plan to train for a bike race, now is the time to get ready. No one likes to hassle with getting their bike out of the garage, especially if that means you have to move boxes, toys, and the car to find it. Take some time to shop for a bike storage rack now. That way, when you are ready to ride, it will only take a minute or two to get your bike and start peddling.

 

Bike racks and storage systems are available in a range of sizes and styles accommodating one or more bikes in a safe manner. Some options include vertical poles to which the bikes are mounted saving precious floor space in your garage. Others offer hooks by which bikes hang from the ceiling. Your specific needs and the space available will determine the type of bike rack that will work best in your attached or detached garage.

 

Begin by determining how much garage space is available for bike storage and how many bikes you plan to store. Then, shop around for bike racks and storage devices to find out which ones will suit your needs and fit in the allotted space within your garage. Which ones are easy to use? Which ones offer the most safety and protection for the people, cars and other things in your garage? Do you want your kids to be able to access their bikes on their own? Is there ample room to open the garage door if you install a particular bike rack or storage system? Consider extra features that come with each bike storage system. Some come with hooks or shelves for storing helmets, shoes, water bottles and other gear. Is this something you need or want?

 

If you want to add bike storage to your attached or detached garage, you’ll have to so some research to find the one that works best for your specific needs. Check local bike shops, home improvement stores and biking websites for ideas and possibilities. 

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Mar 11 2010

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Staging your Home to Sell Faster

Filed under Selling Your Home

Selling Your HomeIf you are planning to build a new home, chances are you have to sell your current home. This can be very discouraging when everywhere you look there are houses for sale right now. Some are for sale with real estate companies while others are for sale by owner. How can you compete with so many houses on the market? The good news for you is that many sellers do a lousy job of presenting the home that is for sale.

 

Sometimes it’s the small things that count when trying to sell your home. Other times it is the extra effort you make and the extra muscle you put into selling your home that seals the deal. Below is a list of tips to help you stage your home to sell and make it stand out among the rest.

 

Clear the clutter: Get rid of anything you don’t need in a room or put it in storage. A modestly filled room looks larger and more inviting than a cluttered one. Furthermore, cluttered homes and sloppy surroundings can make a potential buyer question how well you’ve maintained your home over the years.

 

Remove personal items: Take time to remove personal effects and photos. When buyers view your home, they try to imagine themselves living there. If your home is filled with too many personal items, it makes it harder for potential buyers to imagine themselves living in the home.

 

Look outside: The first thing a potential buyer sees in the outside of your house, which instantly creates a first impression. Freshly cut grass, potted plants on the porch and swept sidewalks look inviting making the potential buyer more interested in seeing what is inside. On the other hand, poorly trimmed shrubs or dying grass can turn a buyer away before they ever make it through the front door.

 

Pay for a plan: Do a little research and find a home stager to visit your home. Pay them for their consulting services and then provide the muscle and elbow grease to make the changes and improvements they recommend.

 

Main rooms first: Take the professional stager’s suggestions and work on the important rooms first. Most buyers are especially interested in the kitchen, main living areas, master bedroom and master bath. These are the rooms you definitely want to tackle. But remember, the first thing potential buyers see is the entry, so this should space should be equally important. Once the main rooms and the entry are done, make a minor changes and adjustments to the secondary rooms.

 

Know your audience: Stage your home to attract the type of buyers that are shopping in your neighborhood. Your house should suit the demographic of buyers. If most buyers are families with children, keep all the bedrooms as bedrooms. However, if many of the buyers are singles or couples without kids, stage one of the bedrooms as a home office or exercise room.

 

Screen appeal verses curb appeal: In today’s market, most home buyers research homes online before viewing the home in person. If you plan to post your home online, it is crucial that the house is staged and looking its best inside and out before the photos are taken. And, don’t try to get by with a cheap camera. Even a great looking home can look undesirable in a bad photo. If you’re trying to appeal to online shoppers, the photos will determine if potential buyers take the next step…viewing the house in person. 

 

Staging your home will make it stand out among the rest of the homes for sale in your neighborhood. Use these handy tips to help you stage you home resulting in a faster sale for you.

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Mar 03 2010

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Spring is Near: Visit a Home and Garden Show

Home & Garden ShowWith spring right around the corner, many cities are holding Home and Garden shows. These shows are invaluable to homeowners as they present new products and services for homes and homeowners. Most shows cover everything inside and outside the home, and the best part is everything is under one roof. If there is a home and garden show coming to your area, The House Plan Shop recommends taking time to visit. These types of shows provide consumers with great buying opportunities, side-by-side comparisons between manufacturers and companies and competitive pricing on all services and products presented.

 

These are some of the things you might expect to find at your local show:

 

1.    Displays and booths exhibiting the latest in their fields:

·         Building products, tools and materials

·         Green products and energy efficient materials

·         Lawn and garden ideas, gadgets, products and gear

·         Interior design

·         Kitchen and baths

·         Pools and spas

2.    Seminars providing information about landscaping, energy efficiency, home design, green living, tax credits and much more.

3.    A wide variety of professionals willing to answer questions about gardening, landscaping, remodeling, building, interior design, organization and storage, and almost any other home-related questions you might have.

4.    Demonstrations on how to use new tools, install products, and choose the best products to satisfy your particular home and garden needs.

5.    Exhibits showcasing furniture, lighting, countertops and other home accessories.

6.    Experts giving pointers, tips and “how-tos” about everything from starting a flower or vegetable garden to operating a garage door or maintaining your new pool or hot tub.

7.    Professionals and companies marketing their home and garden services such as home landscaping, deck building and installation, painting, roof repairs, kitchen remodeling, power washing and more.

8.    Free samples, information and brochures from manufactures and exhibitors.

9.    Giveaways for everything from a gift card to a local hardware store to a free landscaping job for your own yard. Make sure to take time to register for drawings and giveaways. Someone is going to win; it might as well be you!

 

If you plan to attend a home and garden show near you, The House Plan Shop recommends checking ticket pricing and parking availability ahead of time. Sometimes discounted rates are available on weekdays as opposed to the busier weekend days. Also be sure to check the hours of the show as they may vary each day. Finally, attend the show with an open mind, plan to have fun and come home with new ideas for your home or the house you are planning to build.

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