Well said…

statement door quote CH

As I mentioned, we were recently sprucing up one of our rental houses for its next tenant.

The house we were sprucing happens to be my sweet little cape with the cheery apple-green door. I love that door. Of all the doors I own, it’s my absolute favorite and that includes my own house that I live in. The green color came out exactly as I had hoped…which, unfortunately, is not always the case with me :-(

This particular house has a door in the front (it’s apple-green) and a much-more-often-used door at the side of the house next to the driveway and garage. That door is painted white.

As I was at the house getting it ready and before I found my super-duper Landlord secret weapon, I was quite dismayed at the all grimy fingerprints on the white paint on this much-used side door. I mentioned to my husband that we should paint the door apple-green too so it would hide the dirty fingerprints.

His immediately looked at me as if I were crazy and said, “No, THAT would be weird. It will take away from the front door. When you have such a unique color at the front of the house, all the other doors must remain white. Only one statement door per house or it’ll start to look weird.”

The guy is a genius, one of the many reasons I love him. Until he said it, it didn’t occur to me that the two doors would compete. Why do I always miss the obvious?

In any event, words of decorating wisdom from a very unlikely source…

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Weekly Sales Snapshot – 4/18/14




Source: Greater Fairfield County CMLS,  HOUSES Sold = Single Family, Multi-Family, Condo/Co-Op

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A very proud wife…

I know this is a blog about real estate, but, as a proud wife, I am focusing on a very [accurately] flattering write-up about my husband’s radio station.

WXPK, The Peak, 107.1…whatever you want to call it, is a truly well done radio station. I listen to it all day, every day. You may think I am biased (perhaps I am), but according to the write-up at the link listed below, I am not the only one who thinks it’s the best station in the tri-state area.

peak logoFor background, 10 years ago, my then-boyfriend-now-husband was the second person hired at the not-yet-on-air-station. The first person hired was a salesperson who was charged with selling what was, at the time, an undeveloped radio concept. My husband, Chris, was hired as the Program Director to give him something to sell. It was a true blank slate if ever there was one! As any person faced with one knows, blank slates are both liberating and completely scary all at the same time.

Chris immediately set to developing a personality for the station through its music selections, on-air voices and promotional sweepers announcing the station. All I remember from that period of time were the long work hours for my then-boyfriend and a lot of discussion on what The Peak could and should be. Let’s face it, radio is a ruthless business. One misstep and your fans immediately push the proverbial (and literal) button. Prior to listening to The Peak, I was a ruthless station changer myself. One blah song or annoying DJ comment and I was out of there fast and on to the next station.

My husband will be the first to interject that his best stroke of luck, by far, were the few talented veteran radio people who saw the potential for this little station and joined the team early on. DJ Jimmy Fink (a very well known radio guy from my own radio listening days of youth!), Music Director and DJ Rob Arrow and the late Caroline Corley all jumped in feet first. They probably didn’t really know what they were jumping into at the time, but they just knew they wanted to be part of it. Whatever it was. A truly talented group if ever there was one!

Today, this very same group of folks [with the exception of Caroline, may she rest in peace, who was replaced on-air by her very own protege, the young and very talented Chris Rodriguez, aka "Coach"] have all made this the #1 local station among adults aged 25-54.

The Peak is such a trusted old friend now, it’s hard to remember when it was just an idea and conversation.

Imagine that…the New York tri-state area is the biggest listening market in the ENTIRE country and my very own husband has created something so popular within its own backyard.Chris

This is just my own moment of deference and respect for my husband Chris. He’s quick to deflect attention and lay the laurels of success at everyone else’s feet (one of the 10 million reasons I married him). BUT, as far as I am concerned, he created this station and lead it to the #1 place it is today. Yes, with help from many talented people, but he was the one steering the ship. That’s a bigger job than he will ever allow himself to take credit for.

Now, how do I wrap this back around to real estate?

Hmmm, well, if you’ve just moved to the area and are looking to find a group of people that you’d like to hang out with and get to know, tune into The Peak. I promise you will not be disappointed.

FInd the very flattering article here.

If you are out of the tri-state area and would like to hear The Peak, please click here.

The above reflects the opinion of one very proud wife. If anyone wants to argue share numbers, popularity quotients and all that I have asserted above, please feel to call me directly. I will be happy to tell you EXACTLY what I think of your opinion ;-)
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Chalkboard Paint…One woman’s opinion…Part 2

chalkboard bedroom

I recently wrote a post about the use of chalkboard paint. I talked about how it’s all the rage and yet, I simply do not get the concept.

My biggest concern with it is the erased chalk residue left behind in the air and on surfaces. When you erase chalk, it doesn’t disappear, it merely redistributes, in a smaller form, elsewhere.

As a mom, my first concern was that the newly distributed chalk dust would make a beeline for my son’s lungs.

As a homemaker, yes, I used the archaic word homemaker because I couldn’t think of another one (cut me some slack it’s 7:30am)…but I digress…as a homemaker, it’s hard enough for me to keep my house even remotely clean, adding chalk dust to mix would certainly throw me over the proverbial house-cleaning edge.

Well, as I was reading my mid-week newsletter from Houzz, I happened upon a ranch redesign As the owner of a ranch (and I am looking to make it bigger) I read anything I can about the subject.

As I was reading the article, I came across a picture [above] of the bedroom of the 10-year-old resident of the house. It was painted ENTIRELY in chalkboard paint.

Does it look cool? Absolutely.

Is it a big chalk dust festival? Probably.

All I have to say is, that’s a brave mom that lives in that house.

Chalkboard paint is still not going to happen at my house…one woman’s opinion (again).

Image: Sarah Greenman



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Little things that make a BIG difference – Shower Curtains

shower curtainRecently I have been showing a lot of vacant houses. Not for any particular reason, it’s just sort of a random coincidence that they are empty. Some of the houses have been vacant rentals and some have been houses for sale where the owner has already moved out.

Either way, the one thing that is certain is there is a particular starkness or a “emotional coldness” to an empty house.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that when a bathroom is “vacant”, it doesn’t feel as clean. I have no idea why, but that’s just MY overall impression. Now, new construction doesn’t feel that way, but a vacant house that was once lived in most often does.

Even if it has been cleaned from stem to stern, there still maybe a lingering film of soap scum that won’t come off the tiles. Or, maybe the tub isn’t as glossy as it once was after years of cleaning. Whatever it is, I just always feel like I can “sense” the prior person living in the house and that’s just not ideal.

I think one way to warm things up and distract from the sense of the prior inhabitant, is to put up a fresh clean shower curtain. Perhaps something bright and fun if the bathroom is primarily white. Or, maybe something clean and neutral if the bathroom fixtures have color. Whatever it is, it should be clean and crisp and new.

Also, if you can, make it fabric. Fabric lends an elegance to the situation. But even if it is plastic, just make it brand new.

The objective is to deflect the eye from the imperfections of the bath. When there is nothing but blank fixtures, it is human nature to concentrate on them. If there’s a fun, splashy shower curtain, people viewing the home won’t focus so hard on what’s not perfect.

Remember the old adage that “Kitchens and bathrooms sell a house”? Believe me, it’s true!

So, if you have a house on the market for sale or rent and it’s vacant, put up a nice shower curtain, it may just bring the needed panache you need to get the deal done.

Image: Garnet Hill



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Which front door color to pick?

Pick them all!

(This reminds me of the bus on the Partridge Family)

color block door

You can look at many other pretty front door colors I have featured



herehereherehereherehereherehereherehereherehereherehere & here

Image: Claire Bock Design



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Sunday snooping time! They paid how much for that house?!?

I am including Patch.com as a source for property transfers (by town) this week. Originally I did not want to use this as a source because the pages don’t always load properly. I use a Macbook Air and my browser is Chrome and unfortunately the way the real estate sales are coded, the pages appear blank on my computer. If I want to see the pages, I have to switch browsers to Safari. If you pull up the pages and nothing appears, switching browsers may do the trick. Good luck and happy snooping!









The Master ListDarien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Stamford, Westport, Wilton

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I am very happy to report that it’s BEACH STICKER time!

Around here, if you don’t get a beach sticker, then you are out of luck going to the beach! Don’t wait until it’s too late, click on the links below for your town and register.

Don’t forget your sunblock!August 31, 2004  6:36 PM


Stickers    Beach Hours & Rules


Stickers    Beach Hours & Rules


No info available, check with Fairfield for eligibility there.


Stickers    Beach Hours & Rules


Stickers    Beach Hours & Rules


No info available, check with surrounding towns for eligibility there.

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Weekly Sales Snapshot – 4/11/14



Source: Greater Fairfield County CMLS,  HOUSES Sold = Single Family, Multi-Family, Condo/Co-Op

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Hmmm, I am thinking of a new countertop…what do I choose?

counter compare

While I was showing my new tenant around her new home, I realized we would have to replace the counters in the kitchen soon.

At the time we bought the house, we gutted the original 1955 kitchen (plywood cabinets and all) and installed pretty, white, cottage-y cabinets, wood flooring and a smokey gray laminate countertop.

We installed a laminate counter because 1) we were spending a ton of money on the house and felt the need to conserve money in some places and 2) we were new to the landlord business and just weren’t sure what to expect when it came to tenants treating counters with respect. We figured it was better to learn that lesson on laminate than on granite.

So, we chose a nice neutral smokey gray laminate to hide any potential stains and it looked very appropriate for a rental. Not deluxe, but definitely clean, usable and appropriate.

Well, five years later, I have to say those counters held up and our tenants have been very kind to them. They technically don’t need to be replaced, but I think the place would benefit from a countertop upgrade. The laminate definitely makes the place feel a bit lower in rental value and the dark color in the picture makes the place feel way more somber than it really is.

What to choose? Granite? Some of these “newer” stone-like substances like caeserstone or quartz? I am just not sure.

I think I am leaning away from granite. I have granite at my house and, while I like it and the way it looks, it is not as resilient as I had thought. We have a few chips along the edge and they are quite costly to repair. We naively repaired the first one…$250 for a chip that was HALF the size of a pencil eraser…but then we decided to get over ourselves and left the rest of the chips as they appeared. We don’t have a ton of chips, just two or three and you can’t even really see them, but I don’t need to deplete my son’s college fund repairing a few random countertop chips. And, all I have to say is, the term “hard as granite” is a fallacy. Granite countertops can chip and crack…trust me I speak from personal experience!

But back to the original question, “What to choose?” I think I am leaning toward quartz because I like the clean bright look and I think that kitchen could use a bit of “brightening”, but I will have to do my research on the”resiliency” of different counter choices. Let’s face it at the end of the day, it’s still a rental house that will hopefully see many renters over the course of the years and resiliency is the name of the game.

I quite like the look of the kitchen above on the right. I found it on the blog Hooked on Houses. It features the kitchen of another blog writer that I like to read, Maria Killam of Colour Me Happy. It’s such a nice, bright, happy kitchen. I am not sure my kitchen will look quite so elegantly clean, but I think a new countertop such as that above will get me closer to the look.

After I do my research, I will let you know what I find.

If you are thinking of selling your house, take a step back and assess your countertops. Would you benefit from an upgrade too?

Image: Hooked on Houses


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