Shawn Sullivan, Broker Associate, CRS's Blog
Even higher-end homes need renovation after so many years. Fashions go out of style and things get worn out. If money is not an object and the sky is the limit, you can do beautiful things with a remodel. However, if you are remodeling because you are ready to sell your home, it’s better to keep colors neutral and update carpets and flooring with easy to clean materials that will match several styles and colors. It is easier to sell a home when people can picture their personal items in the house, and they match with the current updated color scheme.
Full Kitchen Update
If it’s been some time since you updated the kitchen, start your remodel project there. Both bamboo flooring and natural stone are popular products that will last and that clean easily. Choose neutral colors if you are selling your home or go bold with your favorite colors if you are updating everything for yourself.
Update the appliances to energy-saving appliances. For a larger kitchen or a kitchen that you will be enlarging, consider a French door fridge with a double freezer drawer and a gas stove with six or eight burners and a double oven. If you must go with electric, consider a stovetop and purchase a double oven that is built into the wall. Add an island that also functions as a bar.
When looking at new cabinets, you might consider upper cabinets that go all the way up to the ceiling. However, keep in mind that the top shelves are harder to reach, especially for people who aren't vertically gifted. Light-colored woods, such as maple, are in and dark-colored woods are out. For the bottom cabinets, choose a set with drawers. Some manufacturers are making cabinets without drawers, which leads to a ton of wasted space and no place to store smaller items. While they may look great, they aren’t the best use of space.
Full Bathroom Update
If your bathrooms are small and cramped, consider enlarging them. Use adjoining closet space or add on to the house so that you can redesign the layout for the bedrooms and bathrooms. If you’re adding on, consider combining two small bedrooms into one large bedroom, den or office space with its own bathroom.
Choose natural stone tiles for the showers. They last for a long time, and if you choose neutral colors or even browns, they’ll match many color schemes and stay in fashion longer. Update the toilets to water-saving, high-pressure flush toilets. Update the vanities to something decorative instead of the typical square vanity with a single sink and cabinet, especially if you are enlarging your bathroom.
Consider adding a stand-alone shower in the master bathroom and adding a jetted tub. Large 5-foot showers with two or even three shower heads are popular. When you choose flooring, go with a natural stone tile that will withstand the humidity better. Add an exhaust fan with heat built into the fan. These are perfect for the winter months when the bathrooms always feel cooler than the rest of the house.
There's a certain nostalgia associated with genuine vintage tins -- not the replicas you find at today's one-dollar stores. Genuine vintage tins had real purpose, usually multiple ones, in fact. They did double duty as tubs to wash both children and laundry. Or, sometimes, they held both lunch food and school supplies.
Today, many of these vintage containers are worth far more than they were when originally produced, especially if you can find them in mint condition. These are the vintage containers meant to be safely preserved and stored away behind glass for future generations to enjoy. The others, however -- the ones that have gone rusty and bent, and the ones that have holes in the bottom or pieces rusted through -- these ones make perfect planters to lend your front porch and windowsills a twinge of nostalgia from days gone by. We've listed our best ideas for upcycling vintage tins like these into precious planters for your home.
Vintage Tin Cans
Back in the day, tin cans held medicine, spices, tobacco and oysters. In fact, there were few products that wouldn't fit inside a tin can. These types of vintage tins all had something in common: They were small. If you're planning to upcycle a vintage tin can into a planter, think succulents. Anything bigger will eventually need to be transplanted to prevent it from becoming root-bound. Burro's tail or hen-and-chicks work well in small containers. Simply drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage, use cactus soil for planting and be sure not to over water.
Vintage Biscuit Tins
Biscuit tins were bigger than traditional tin cans, and they came in every shape and size. A word of caution, however. If you come into ownership of a genuine biscuit tin, even one that's in questionable condition, have it appraised before turning it into a home for your spider plant. These tins are highly collectible and sought-after pieces of history.
Traditional biscuit tins are long and flat, meaning you'll want a plant that can thrive with somewhat shallow roots. Herbs such as basil and rosemary fit the bill. So do bonsai trees and pothos. Again, drill holes for drainage before planting.
Vintage Candy Tins
Traditionally, candy tins were bigger than both tin cans and biscuit tins, comparable in size to some of today's shoe boxes. Old candy tins held toffee and hard candies, among other confections, and they're the perfect size to upcycle into planters for Chinese evergreen or grape ivy.
Estate sales are tops for finding old, interesting tins that aren't in mint condition. These are the ones you want if you're going to turn them into fun and eclectic planters for your home. Keep them away from the elements, or spray them with several coats of sealer before placing your vintage tin planters outside.
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When it comes to hiding an AC, it's vital to maintain proper airflow. But you don't have to block airflow to remove an air conditioner from your line of sight. Check out these five creative ways to hide your AC.
A Hanging Garden
To make this project easy, pre-made lattice works just fine for a basic hanging garden. But if you're looking forward to a weekend project, go a little more advanced.
Nail six to eight 2X4s together into a grid, leaving space between them. Then simply encourage vines up the structure or hang potted plants on the slats.
You can also turn your grid into a 3D structure so that each compartment becomes a planter for herbs, succulents, flowers or whatever inspires you.
The exact design is up to you. Just keep two things in mind. First, you'll need to maintain it to prevent overgrowth that blocks airflow. And second, it should be easily removable. Or place it three to five feet from the unit so that a professional can service the AC when needed.
A Slatted Bench
So your AC unit is right in the middle of your outdoor entertainment space. Not to worry. You can build a beautiful deep, slatted bench that fits perfectly over the unit. Think up-side-down crate with a bottom that comes off like a lid and you have the perfect hide-away for an AC.
Stain the bench/cover to match your home or lawn furniture and no one will ever know. And because it doubles as a bench, you'll forget your AC is under there, at least when it's not running.
A Row of Hedges
If you can still maintain access to the unit, some AC units can be concealed by a row of hedges planted three to five feet away from the unit. You can place the hedges along one side or grow them all around.
A Bird Sanctuary
Simply adding a fence would be too ordinary, But combining a fence with a line of beautifully painted birdhouses can cover your AC and add character to your yard while giving local birds a safe and warm place to nest in the spring.
If you want to build the birdhouses from scratch, you can. Or you can head down to your local lawn and garden store to choose three to five you like. Then it's just a matter of using a nail and hammer to secure them to the fence.
Give it its Own House
If you want to have some fun and have a little more carpentry skill than the rest of us, create a miniature version of your home that you can place over the unit. It can't be a replica since it needs proper airflow, but by mimicking your home's style, the structure seems to fit right in. That AC will be an eyesore no more.
Love your yard and home with simple and creative tips like these. For more fresh DIY home maintenance and improvement ideas, follow our blog.