Source: Greater Fairfield County CMLS, HOUSES Sold = Single Family, Multi-Family, Condo/Co-Op
As I’ve mentioned in the past, my kitchen is the heartbeat of my home. I spend the majority of my day there as I find I like to work from my kitchen table. My kitchen has a wall of windows that open up to my backyard and, on top of that, we vaulted the ceiling and added two oversized skylights. It’s just a light, bright, large wonderful room that is a pleasure to be in.
We designed our kitchen with much thought, intent and purpose. We expanded it’s size by taking out the wall between it and what was a dining room. We filled it with custom cabinetry for storage and gave ourselves yards of counter space for food preparation. The only thing we were unable to fit in from our original wish list was a built in desk and, truthfully, in retrospect, I am so glad it didn’t work out. We didn’t need it and it would have been one more space for me to clutter up.
Now, seven years later, I still love how my kitchen turned out and we use every square inch of it every single day.
All that said, there are those days when I look across it, with my expansive counter space piled high with clutter and I think, “Do I really need this much space?” I mean, let’s face it, it’s human nature to fill the space we have. If I had less space, would I have less clutter and therefore less work cleaning?
I am not sure.
I recently found an ideabook from Houzz that sings the praises of a well designed smaller kitchen. I have to admit, some of the kitchens in that ideabook look pretty nice and some of them offer more than enough counter space to make a family meal. Truthfully, for all the yards of counter space I gave myself, I really only use the same small 3 ft. area for food prep. The rest of it seems to just collect all the stuff that comes into the house with which we don’t know what to do.
So, if you are redesigning your kitchen and you’re thinking of re-sale value, perhaps you don’t have to worry about size as much as you should focus on utility and design. Some of the kitchens pictured in the ideabook look so good I completely ignored their petite work space.
It seems people are using chalkboard paint wherever and whenever they can.
I remember hosting an open house for another Realtor about four years ago and the house was just gorgeous. It really was well done. So much so, that I featured it as one of my Gems.
Now, four years ago we were in the pre-chalkboard-paint-craze days and this impeccably styled house had a kitchen fridge that had been painted entirely in black chalkboard paint…every square inch, handles and all. If you click the Gem link above, you can see it in one of the pictures. It doesn’t look so out of place now, but at the time it was a complete stand out.
Every single visitor to the open house that day had the exact same comment, “This house is so gorgeous…but what’s up with that awful black fridge?”
None of us, myself included, could understand what that fridge was suppose to be and why it resided in what was otherwise a beautifully designed home.
When the listing Realtor called me to see how the open house went, I reported all the comments made by visitors and I casually mentioned that the fridge was “not well received”. She huffed at me and said it was painted in chalkboard paint and it was absolutely “the latest of the latest” in trends. I remember laughing to myself that it may be “the latest of the latest” in trends, but “ugly is still ugly”.
I guess she had the last laugh because that refrigerator was well ahead of it’s time!
As a Realtor, when I preview homes, it is now not uncommon to see entire walls painted in the black chalkboard paint and festooned with sweet, cute doodles, all probably done by the homeowner or a stager with the hopes of making the house seem approachable. As my husband calls it, “aspirational living at it’s best”. In other words, people will buy a house that provides them with the attributes for how they see themselves living vs. how they actually live. Who the heck has time to make sweet doodles on a chalkboard in their kitchen? My family is lucky if they get food and clean clothes, let alone sweet doodles on the family communication organizing center (aka the chalkboard)!
I must admit, now that black chalk paint is so widespread, I am still not embracing the trend.
What happens when you tire of the trend? How is that stuff covered up or removed anyway? I can’t imagine it’s an easy process.
But more importantly, while you are using the chalkboard in your home, what the heck happens to all the chalk dust it creates? Seriously. Remember chalk dust from school (for those of us who had chalk boards instead of dry-erase or smartboards)? The chalk got everywhere! Where does all the chalk dust go in your house? Does it cover all your surfaces? Does it float in the air ad infinitum? Does it go to reside permanently in your child’s tender young lungs? Whatever the answer is, I don’t want to find out!
I have enough problems with dust bunnies and I don’t need to add chalk dust to the problem!
I never bought into the chalkboard paint trend and I guess I never will…one woman’s opinion!
Just something so great about this front door color that I wanted to share it…
Casual AND elegant.
Love it…don’t know why…just do.
Have a great Monday!
You can look at many other pretty front door colors I have featured
I have found a new source for real estate transfers. The Daily Voice for each town includes transfers. When you land on the real estate page for any particular town, scroll down to the bottom and you will see the transfers. I tried to get a link directly to the transfers, but they do not provide one. Happy snooping!
We were all sitting in the family room, with a nice cozy fire in the fireplace, watching a marathon session of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and having some pizza. Our typical Friday night ritual.
My husband got up and went into the kitchen to get something to drink and came back in and asked if I had reset the furnace.
Why, in heaven’s name, he thinks I would reset the furnace in 12° weather is beyond me, but he was obviously asking for a reason. He said the rest of the house, outside the reach of our cozy fire, was quite cold.
Now, in our house, if I say I feel cold, it’s usually just me. BUT, when my husband says HE feels cold, it means there is a real problem, either with him or the furnace.
After some prodding and probing of the thermostat and furnace, it was determined that the furnace was not turning on.
Arrgggghhhh, nothing ruins a Friday night faster than no heat on a 12° night.
Well, I got up and found our fuel service emergency number and called the help hotline. It’s moments like this that reinforces how smart it is to put a furnace service plan in place! The nice operator guaranteed that someone would be over in the next couple hours.
As I hung up the phone, I said to my husband that I hoped the technician would be able to identify our house.
The plaque is lovely, but buried under four feet of snow and, at the moment, COMPLETELY useless.
It got me thinking that perhaps we should add the house number to our front porch as well. At that moment, while the 12° temperature was slowly invading my home, I wanted nothing to impede the service tech from finding my house!
Luckily, the technician arrived within the hour and, coincidently, he’s the tech that usually does our annual furnace cleaning as well, so he knew exactly where he was going.
He fixed the furnace within 10 minutes (a broken relay circuit) and was on his way to the next unfortunate family that also lost their heat. All at no cost to us, because we have a furnace service plan
So, how does all this relate to selling your house?
Take a step back and make sure your house number is easily identified and not blocked from view in any way.
If your house is on the market, you want to be sure that buyers can find you!
Maybe people are looking forward to sprucing up their houses for resale? Maybe people are stuck inside with all the snow outside and are tired of looking at their knotty pine walls? Whatever the reason…knotty pine is a hot topic here at Gem of the Week!
I have shown that you can beautifully paint your knotty pine, just as I personally did. And I have shown that you can use color and room accessories to maximize the appearance of your natural knotty pine. Whether you chose painting your pine or nurturing your natural knotty, if you like it, then it’s a great choice.
One thing I have recently run across and will now throw into the knotty-pine-treatment choice set is pickled pine. Pickling involves a light wash of a lightly colored stain over the wood so you somewhat change its appearance, but underneath the colorwash you still see the natural markings of the wood. It could be a great alternative for people who don’t want to cover up the natural marking of the wood with paint, but also want to considerbly lighten the color up from its natural state.
If done properly, pickling can create quite a dramatic and contemporary effect.
Here are a couple of examples:
As I mentioned, in all my rental houses, I use Ikea cabinets and couldn’t be happier with them. They look good, they stand up to renters and if something happened to them, they’d be cost effective to replace.
Now, in my own home where I personally live, I went the custom cabinet route. I have a very large kitchen and have a ton of cabinetry. Our contractor at the time recommended that we custom order from a company in Vermont that hand-makes each cabinet according to your kitchen’s specs and then, when the entire selection of cabinetry you ordered is complete, they ship them to you en masse and you have your contractor install them.
The contractor called this type of cabinetry a “little secret”. You see where we live it is quite fashionable (and very expensive, which I suppose is what makes it fashionable) to have a carpenter come to your house and handcraft the cabinets right at your home. Custom built-ins in the truest sense of the word! The cabinets I have are of the exact same quality and made to my exact request, but they cost a fraction of the price of having a carpenter come to your house and do it right on site.
My cabinets are gorgeous solid cherry wood. The drawers are tongue and groove construction. The “mechanicals”, the drawer slides and door hinges are first rate…self-closing drawers, hidden, silent door hinges and custom additions such as a wooden knife drawer and graduated in-drawer spice rack. A deluxe and custom experience if ever there was one! All at a fraction of the cost.
What’s the catch, you ask? Pure and simple…timing. My cabinets took a little over three months to merely construct. They then had to be shipped down to me from Vermont on a big box truck and then my contractor had to install them. For me, waiting three months was a-ok because there was so much else to do in my house, the kitchen wasn’t going to be done immediately any way. It actually worked to my advantage. The cabinets makers worked in Vermont while my contractor worked on the rest of the house in Connecticut. Less mess, less workers getting in each other’s way and an overall great experience.
In the interim of ordering the cabinets, we changed contractors on the project for myriad reasons. When the cabinets were delivered, the new contractor was on the case and helped the guys remove them from the truck. After they were all brought into the house, my contractor, actually a Master Carpenter by trade, sheepishly asked me about the cost of the cabinets. I showed him the bill of sale the truck driver had just handed me and my contractor’s eyes widened. He couldn’t believe they cost so little. He told me he thought he might start ordering them for some of his other jobs. He, as a Master Carpenter, was one of the guys that built the cabinets right at the home…the “expensive” cabinets. To say he might start buying them himself was quite a testimony to the quality of the craftsmanship. Seven years later, my cabinets look and work just as well as they did the day they arrived. I could not be happier.
Having cabinets that were exactly as I wanted them was important to me and worth the extra cost in my budget. Had this “little secret” from Vermont not presented itself, I would have had the cabinets made by a carpenter on premises for a lot more money. My kitchen is the epicenter of my house and my husband and I agreed early on in our renovation process that it should reap the lion share of the renovation budget.
If you are going to re-do your kitchen, either for yourself or re-sale, take a look at this ideabook from Houzz that explains cabinet construction and some of the aspects of custom vs. pre-made.