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Monday, July 21, 2014

2014 bathroom design ideas

Thinking about updating your current bathroom or are you building a home?
Other than the kitchen, the bath is a fun place to dress up and a gorgeous bath will add value to your home when you
decide to sell it some day.
Below are some great designs that may give you the inspiration you were looking for.
Call me anytime for more ideas Pat  919-469-6530.

11 Steps to a Dream Bathroom

Designing your dream bathroom calls for careful space planning, considering your needs and a sophisticated mix of materials, textures and proper lighting. Get expert tips for making your dream a reality.

Think Function First

A bathroom, like the kitchen, is one of the hardest-working spaces in the home. If it's not functional, everybody suffers. Keep all of its functions in mind when choosing the sink, tub, shower, toilet and other pieces. For instance, the bathroom is a workstation for preparing for the day so plenty of storage and access to outlets is key.

HGTV Dream Home 2011 Master Bathroom Tub

Make It Relaxing

But the best bathrooms aren't all about functionality, they're also a sanctuary — a spa-like space where you can relax and wash off the cares of the day.

Map the Space

Plumbing considerations will impact where you place the shower, toilet and tub. Yet, you also need to think like an industrial engineer when making a bathroom floor plan. Walk the space with your contractor and imagine the tasks required to get ready for the day. Consider the length of your arm's reach. Do you want to store objects in a vanity and, if so, would you mind bending over to retrieve them? The objects used most often, as a rule of thumb, should be closest at hand.

Contemporary White Bathroom

Plan for Little Luxuries

Consider what other functions you can incorporate into the bath with a little clever planning; perhaps you'd like a seat in the shower, a steam room or built-in storage for linens.

Coastal Vanity Unit

Choose a Motif

How do you want to feel when you're in the bathroom? Is it a formal space (consider a black-and-white scheme) or a casual area (try neutrals)? The motifs often associated with baths are water oriented, like this fish-themed powder room designed by Kate Ridder. Seashells, boats, piers, blue hues and sandy beach colors are also frequently used.

Reflect Your Favorite Style

But water themes aren't the only option, it's okay to think outside of the box. Choose a motif that relates to the area in which you live (city or country?), a style of architecture you love (classic English country or New England cottage?) or a style that you're personally attached to (bohemian or Asian?). Remember: A bathroom motif doesn't have to (and probably shouldn't) knock you over the head.

Know Your Surfaces

When selecting products for the bath, such as tile or marble, be sure that you know the inherent qualities and the drawbacks of each material. Will the marble or tile stand up to heavy wear? (Watch out for veins in marble, which often indicate weak points.) Do you want a polished floor or more of a honed look? Shiny floors may become slippery while natural materials may have a pitted surface that is more slip-resistant, but may also collect dirt.

Add Drama With Fixtures

Plumbing fixtures are the jewels of the bathroom because they're metallic and can add a dramatic effect to any space, just as jewelry can to an outfit. There are a plethora of finishes and styles offered by today's manufacturers, from brass to bronze and all metals in between. Keep in mind your motif and maintenance as you choose your bathroom fixtures. Elaborate gold fixtures probably won't jive with a beach-inspired bathroom and may also require more cleaning than you're up for.


Be Careful With Lighting

Choosing the correct lighting is critical in the bathroom, where mirrors are present and mood is important. Consider the appropriate task lighting for sink and shower areas. Keep in mind that fluorescent lighting casts a bluish tint, as opposed to the yellowish radiance of incandescent bulbs. Combine blue wall paint and blue-hued fluorescent lighting and you may look like Frankenstein's bride in the mirror.

Gorgeous Freestanding Tub in a Traditional Bathroom Emily Jenkins Followill Photography,

Mix Soft and Hard

Use small amounts of fabric to reduce the inherent harshness of many bathroom materials. Anything from towels and shower curtains to window treatments and small upholstered pieces, like a vanity stool, will bring a soft touch to a hard space.

Add a Touch of Mother Nature

Don't forget to incorporate plants and greenery in the bathroom. The asymmetrical nature of growing things (in design lingo this is called fractal) will help offset the bathroom's many right angles and straight lines.

Thinking of buying or selling a home this year?
Give me a call for some great advice and ideas.  Pat  919-469-6530.

Friday, March 21, 2014

20 great small backyard designs and ideas

I just bought a home with a very small backyard.
It has a 6ft tall privacy fence for my dog.
 I'm constantly searching for ideas to make this area look amazing and fun to use. 
Below are some great ideas from HGTV that I liked.
I think you might like them too.  Pat Hensley 

Small Yards, Big Designs

These makeovers transform tiny yards into beautiful and functional garden spaces.
Mixed Materials in Backyard Space DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

The key to making a big impact on a small footprint: design to scale. Here, a mix of wood and slate, married with plant materials of contrasting color but similar tones, creates four levels of interest in this small space.

Urban Patio

RMSer ozymndius created a cozy, fun and relaxing space in this small urban patio, painting the fence in warm hues that complement the cushions.

Asian Conifer and Bamboo Garden DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

This elegant small garden has been planted with dwarf and/or well-behaved conifers and other plants that won't grow to overwhelm the site.

A great design can rescue any space. Before its dazzling makeover, this inviting backyard was an underused, ramshackle landscape disaster.

Modern Backyard Garden DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Three clearly defined spaces — a dining area, lawn and plantings, and a woodland beyond — eke a lot of function out of a relatively small amount of urban real estate. This design by Sara Jane Rothwell features walls, screens, levels, pathways and trees, creating a relationship of horizontal surfaces in distinct areas of the yard.

Arching Pergola Above Walkway DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Designing the space around the rules of perspective — chiefly that parallel lines appear to converge to a \"vanishing point\" and objects in the distance appear smaller than those close by — can help make a small garden seem larger. Here, the pergola reinforces and frames the view, and the flower-filled container as a focal point in the middle distance draws the eye forward.

Diagonal Garden Path DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Creating a view along the diagonal of the property creates the illusion that the space is bigger than it looks. Here, the diagonal path with steps traces a zigzag line through the garden, providing areas to linger and enjoy the wide beds and colorful plantings.

Overlapping Deck Areas DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

The arrangement of elements — raised decks, walls and plantings — in this small garden breaks up an otherwise dull rectangular plot, and creates different spatial and textural effects.

The design-on-the-diagonal principle works on this tiny courtyard patio, where the tile pattern appears to elongate the dimensions.

Private Backyard Space DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

A combination of trees and shrubs behind trellis screens partially blocks the view and provides privacy from neighbors. The painted frame adds height and structure to what would otherwise feel like a small space.

Flower Bed DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

To grow fruits and veggies in a small yard, pitch out the concept of straight rows in one big garden, and cram your veggie garden in overlooked spaces or mix in with the landscaping, in raised beds and pots. Stonework or a bit of other hardscaping can turn the garden ornamental.

This lively, lush patio area replaces a bare space and two Adirondack chairs. Because two active dogs also share the landscape, attractive planters hold the more fragile plants. Want to make a small outdoor space more functional — and seem a lot bigger? Browse the makeovers in the following pages and get inspired.

Cozy Suburban Backyard Deck DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Space is at a premium in this urban garden, so designer Sam Joyce used the minimalist approach in this beautiful retreat. Built-in seating and just enough plants to make a statement keep the clutter down. Sam left room for additional chairs to be brought out from the house when necessary.

Open Backyard DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

The open space and minimal plantings in this backyard offer the flexibility to accommodate many uses.

outdoor room Jamie Durie New York

For a small urban courtyard space, Jamie Durie created a gathering spot for the entire apartment complex to enjoy. Bench seating is supplemented by lounge chairs that pop up out of the floor, providing plenty of space for viewing the movie screen.

deck with table wide 2

Creating a second level adds a new dimension to this small deck. A glass table and trim-line furniture occupy a small footprint.

Sketch Shows Foliage Texture, Shape DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Design tip: In this garden design plan the boundary walls are almost hidden by foliage. The zigzag edging of the deck increases the sense of space.

Wall Pots For Small Space DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Vertical planting increases the scale of a space. Here, trailing herbs and plants in wall pots give a Mediterranean look to this courtyard setting. Be careful when watering, since soil can stain the wall.

Patio Garden Pots with Flowers DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Here, the vertical plane takes on additional interest with wall planters, window boxes and pieces of lattice.

Small Containers Used in a Variety of Ways DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Design tip: Rather than use one or two large planters, scale down the size of your pots. Several small containers can be used in a smaller space, either on the wall or on garden shelves. Pots can dry out fast in the hot summer, so water often each day. Small pots can easily freeze in winter, so protect them from the bitter cold.

I hope you enjoyed these ideas and found some great ideas.
Thinking of buying or selling your home?
Contact me for a fast and confidential consultation.  919-469-6530

Monday, February 24, 2014

Home Staging Tips to get your home sold fast for the most money!

We all want to get the highest price for our homes when we sell.
Staging your home to sell is different than decorating your home for personal enjoyment.

When we stage your home for sale, we are trying to neutralize the spaces as much as possible so that the new homeowner can visualize themselves living there.

Below are some tricks of the trades along with photos to help explain
the home staging for sale process.
I hope you enjoy this.  Pat       

Check out these Designed to Sell staging tips and tricks that will give you the competitive edge when you put your house on the market.

Create a Balanced Space

To make a room appear bigger, paint it the same color as the adjacent room. If you have a small kitchen and dining room, a seamless look will make both rooms feel like one big space. Tip: If you want to give the illusion of more space, paint the walls the same color as your draperies. It will provide a seamless and sophisticated look.

Don't Overcrowd Rooms

Don't overcrowd a room with furniture that is too large for the space; it will only make the room appear small and cramped. However, don't leave a room too barren either. In a narrow space, shelves can add depth to make a room feel larger. Tip: Paint the backs of the shelves the same color as the walls to create an illusion of depth. When dressing a window, remember designer Monica Pedersen's formula for balance: For a large window in a large room, use large-patterned window treatments. A small pattern tends to disappear in a large room.

Upgrade With Eco-Friendly Materials

Use eco-friendly materials when upgrading your home for sale. Buyers are willing to pay more for a home that is considered green. If you're on a budget, consider cork flooring. It's extremely durable and costs about half the price of traditional hardwood flooring. Tip: Consider plastering your walls. Not only is it a big selling feature, it's an eco-friendly, natural material that resists dust and fingerprints. It also works great in damp environments (like bathrooms) because it soaks up moisture.

Repurpose Your Resources

Salvage old materials to save money. The Designed to Sell experts are always looking for ways to repurpose old junk. They've turned strips of hardwood flooring into a fence, cut down pieces of old laminate countertops to make shelves and made headboards out of just about anything, including old doors.

Create Serene Bedrooms

Create a relaxing setting with luxurious linens and soft colors that will make a potential homebuyer want to sit back and relax. Tip: If you don't have the money to buy a new bed, just get the frame then buy an inexpensive air mattress and dress it up with neutral-patterned bedding.

Make Awkward Spaces Functional

Make the most of an awkward space by giving it a function. The slanted ceilings in this attic bedroom created a hideaway nook with no real purpose. By adding wall-to-wall shelves and a desk, the area has immediately turned into a private office. This new space adds value to the home and is a feature potential buyers are sure to remember.

Update With Paint

Be sure to set out a floor plan with the dimensions of each room so buyers can see exactly what they're getting. This will also allow them to envision their furniture in the space. If your doors and casing look old and outdated, give them a fresh coat of sparkling white paint. It will make your whole house look cleaner and more contemporary.

Build a Memorable First Impression

Open stairways and foyers need to draw buyers up and in. Clear out the clutter and add a little color. Get rid of shabby apartment-grade window blinds; new window treatments are an easy and inexpensive fix that can change a room dramatically. Myth Buster: Floor-to-ceiling mirrors do not make a room look bigger — they only make a room look outdated. Tip: Evidence of pets is a turnoff to many buyers, so keep your critters under wraps.

Invest in Contemporary Appliances

If your kitchen appliances are outdated, invest in a new cooktop, stove or refrigerator. Studies show that sellers recoup every penny they spend on appliances. Tip: Stainless steel looks great in the kitchen and will help sell your house, but not when it's covered in fingerprints. An easy and eco-friendly way to keep stainless steel clean is to mix one part vinegar with one part water and wipe with a clean cloth.

Revamp the Kitchen

If you can't afford new cabinets, get new doors and drawer fronts, paint everything to match and add new hardware. Instead of replacing the entire dishwasher, you may be able to get a new front panel. Check with the manufacturer to see if they sell replacements for your model. If not, laminate paper can be used to re-cover the existing panel. Tip: When staging your kitchen for homebuyers, keep the countertops nice and clear. Just put out a few well-placed items and add fresh fruit or flowers for a punch of color.

Bathroom Open Shelves

Update Outdated Bathrooms

Consider having tacky, outdated bathroom tile re-glazed. It costs much less than replacements and can make your bathroom look brand new. Tip: To remove mold from grout, try a simple solution of bleach and water. If that doesn't work, try staining the grout.

floating shelves

Disband the Clutter

House hunters open bathroom cabinets. So, disband the clutter and clean out your cabinets. You want to show buyers storage, not a lack of storage. Storage sells houses — it always ranks high on a buyer’s priority list.

For more Home Staging tips to get your home Sold for the most money, go to my
website at 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

20 Ways to get more money for your home for sale

You can increase the sale price of your home by doing the right updates.
Below are some ideas I found on HGTV. 
They will work for any market.
I think you will enjoy these tips.

If you are thinking of selling your home soon, contact us at 919-280-4567 or

20 Ways to Add Value to Your Home

Experts share their brightest ideas for adding value to your home.

#20: Update the Home Office

Take care of business with a home office remodel. More and more often people are working out of their houses. It is not just a luxury, but a necessity. Turn an unused den or an old office into an inviting work sanctuary with new windows, a fresh coat of paint and built-in shelving, and you're sure to reap the rewards.

#19: Spring for a Sunroom

Anytime you can add square footage and living space to your home, it's a winner. Build a sunroom in the back of the house where you have less tree cover and more privacy. The result? A stunning addition that transforms the entire house. During the day, the room attracts sunlight, and in the evenings, it attracts guests.
Case Design/Remodeling, Inc.

#18: Create or Renovate a Master Suite

Master suites aren't really a luxury anymore — they are an expected feature. On average, 33 percent of house shoppers are more than likely to buy a home that has recently been renovated. If you can work within the footprint of a house, you're going to increase your return on investment. When buyers walk into a master suite, they want to see a cozy open space with a really nice closet. Also, always try to squeeze in every bit of storage you can.

#17: Add a Family Room

Add more space and square footage with a new family room. What people want these days are open floor plans, so create a bright new spot for the family. Also, everyone loves a fireplace.
Hamilton Snowber Architects

#16: Get a New Roof

A shabby roof leaves a first impression that the current homeowners do not take good care of the place. If the roof is plain, flat and turning green in the corners, people will look at it and see major problems that could be showing inside the house. It can really change the character and feel of the house, and the cost can be easy on the pocket. From a purely aesthetic standpoint, a new roof that is architecturally interesting can only be a plus.

#15: Liven Up the Landscaping

Your yard may be thirsty for a makeover. Turn your landscape into a destination hot spot with plenty of seating, elegant water features and lush plants. You could even add extra square footage for entertaining. Glamming up a not-so-hot yard is a good way to go!

kitchen islands breakfast table

#14: Invest In a Major Kitchen Remodel

Having the same old tired kitchen in a 1978 house is likely to stop a house from selling. If you have the yardage, extend your kitchen into the backyard. Size really matters when it comes to kitchens — the bigger the better! It won't be cheap, but it will be a great investment. It could be the difference between being able to sell your house or not in a tighter market.

guest bathroom shower toilet mirror

#13: Add Another Bath

There is no such thing as too many bathrooms. If your home has fewer faucets than beds, you might want to consider adding a bathroom. If you have only one bathroom upstairs, your guests have to go traipsing up the stairs and throughout your home. That could be uncomfortable for both parties. Why not use that unused space underneath the stairs? It's a great way to utilize space that would otherwise just be used for storage.

#12: Be Sure an Addition Blends

When building an addition, you want to make sure it blends and does not stick out like a sore thumb. Many additions look like a box that has been attached to the back of a house. Combining design elements of the original house and the addition can create a flawless makeover.

#11: Install New Windows

Installing new windows can be beneficial for more than one reason. On an average house, 30 percent of energy is lost through windows. They are not only important in terms of energy issues, but they are also a signal to a future buyer that the current homeowners have really taken good care of the house.
Pella Windows and Doors

#10: Refurbish the Basement

A lot of basements are plain, empty and unused spaces that rarely see any visitors. Why let all that space go to waste? Create an entertainment area that will \"wow\" your guests! Adding a fabulous bar area, seating and beautiful finishes will add character and value to your home.
Case Design
Wet Pets Inc.

#9: Add a Deck

There's nothing like relaxing on a deck in the summertime with a cool drink in your hand. If you don't already have one, build one! On average, when a homeowner adds a deck to a home, they are likely to recoup approximately 76 percent return on their investment. However, you don't want your deck to be too big or too small — it shouldn't be more than a third of your house. Most decks cost about $10,000, give or take. An appraiser's No. 1 rule is finding homes that are very similar within a mile away of your home, so matching your improvements to the homes in your neighborhood is very important.
Allen Albrecht Construction

#8: Do a Major Bath Remodel

Transform an ugly duckling into a swan of a master bath by finding more space — but not with an addition. Stealing space can be a better solution if you can find the extra square footage. Open up a closet to make more room, create separate his-and-her areas with separate sinks, or add a skylight to bring in valuable natural light. Updating tub and tile are also good ideas.
Case Design

#7: Paint, Paint, Paint

Don't be afraid of paint. It is one of the easiest and inexpensive things to do to dramatically change the look of your home. Here are some tips: If you are not sure about your color sense, bring in a professional color specialist to help. Also, think classic and neutral. A future buyer needs to be able to picture his or her things in the room, and too much personalization can prevent that. If your painting skills are below par, hire someone. In the end, it evens out because nothing is worse then a bad paint job. So fight your fear of commitment, and add a splash of color.
Andy Staszak Interior Design

#6: Add to the Attic

Renovate your attic. The space above a garage is often small, dusty and cramped space and sometimes rarely even used for storage. Why not turn it into a bedroom suite? The one pictured above is actually a two-bedroom suite. Add as many windows as possible for that precious natural light. Recessed windows, hardwood flooring, built-ins and custom seating are also great ways to add value.
Butler Brothers

#5: Build a Second Floor

Adding a second story can do more than just create square footage. It can bring balance to an uneven house. A flat roof over a garage can be an eyesore as well as a huge waste of space. You could solve both problems at the same time by adding on to the top of the garage. Use all that dead space to build a master suite or a reading room. You will not only add space, but you will also add tremendous curb appeal.
Case Design
McHale Landscape Design, Inc.
Interior Makeovers

#4: Keep Rooms Flexible

Does your home have a unique specialty room like this relaxing plant sanctuary/lounge room? No one's saying you need to give up your \"special place,\" but it's important to hold back a little. Too much customization can be a problem if you ever plan to sell your home, so try not to overdo it. Things like hardwood floors, wiring for cable, phone and DSL, and plenty of windows are good ways to customize while keeping the room versatile. Another idea is to make the space one that can easily be converted into a guest suite, studio, family room or a den.
Lawlor Architects
P & P Builders, LLC

#3: Revive the Kitchen

If you get creative and think about some small changes you can make in your kitchen, you won't have to spend a ton of money. Take down the rooster wallpaper and paint it a neutral color, for example. More and more buyers are expecting some standard items in a kitchen — things like stainless-steel appliances and hardware. Throw in new light fixtures and you've got a great-looking, updated space. Also, some people are looking for gourmet kitchens. Whether they can cook or not, a kitchen is a huge prospect for a buyer. Bottom line: kitchens sell houses, so investing in an improvement in this room is the way to go.

#2: Make Minor Bathroom Changes

Minor changes can be advantageous because they cost less and often net a greater return than the investment. If you have old tile or a dated tub, sink and toilet, consider replacing those items. If you keep the same layout there's not a lot of expense that has to go into it. Updating light fixtures, linens and accessories are easy ways to breathe new life into the space.

#1: Spruce Up the Siding

It may not be glamorous, but replacing siding is our No. 1 pick for home improvements that add value to your home. Here is your chance to make a great first impression in the real estate world. If your siding is in bad shape, your home is going to earn the title of fixer-upper. You can usually judge a book by its cover, so old siding sets the tone for expectations of what potential buyers will find inside the house. Try adding curb appeal and lower maintenance with composite siding. Cement board siding is efficient, it lasts, and it's no maintenance.
I hope you found these ideas helpful.
If you are thinking of selling your home soon, contact us at 919-280-4567 or