Tag Archive: Maintenance repair and operations


PatioAround mid-winter, most of us begin pining for that casual, outdoor lifestyle that comes back with the sunshine and warm temperatures. While that’s not a reality many of us can enjoy quite yet, this is a great time to start planning those patio upgrades that will make lounging in the sunshine as cool and comfortable as we imagine.

Start by doing everything you can to bring the outdoors in with upgrades like larger windows, French doors, and window coverings such as Roman shades or plantation shutters that allow you to maximize light and sight lines. Then start planning how to bring the indoors out with patio furniture that’s sturdy and stylish enough to entice you out to the patio.

One of the most effective ways to add the perception of square footage to your home is to form an outdoor living space. To create that illusion, a patio cover is key. It adds months of access to your new outdoor space, and really helps to protect that new furniture.

There are many patio-cover options these days, and the right choice for you is dependent on what your outdoor lifestyle is really like.

Here are six great options to get you daydreaming about the sunny days to come:

Solid Shingles: This solid choice is just that-solid. Solid patio covers built as a simple addition over the patio use the same shingles the roof does and deliver a polished version of an outdoor living space. Gabled construction adds an architectural element to the home’s exterior, lending style and value. Solid patio covers are ideal if you entertain outdoors often or take family meals on the patio fairly regularly. If winter storage of your patio furniture is an issue, a solid patio cover is a great choice.

Solid Metal: All the same benefits apply here, but where the solid shingle look is great for more traditional architecture, we love the sophisticated look that a painted metal top can bring to a more contemporary or transitional home. It creates a real opportunity to expand square footage using fabrics, rugs and furnishings that look like they may belong inside. Thanks to the advancements in indoor/outdoor furnishings and materials, you can maintain the same palette on the patio that you have going on in your interior space.

Black and White PatioSolar Panels: Trending these days are eco-chic solar panel patio covers that let in a little light, but also collect energy. This obviously offers the most tangible return on your investment from the energy savings alone, but the forward thinking and contemporary styling are a definite upgrade when it comes time to sell your home.

Lattice: The open lattice look doesn’t offer all the cover of some other options, but the filtered sunshine and the chance to add a little green to the architecture with a climbing vine are almost instantly soothing. You can actually purchase open lattice patio covers already constructed in wood or aluminum. Make sure to opt for the aluminum if you’re considering that climbing vine. Otherwise, prepare for a bit more maintenance or to embrace a “weathered wood” aesthetic.

Wooden PatioRetractable: Our current favorite, retractable patio covers bring all the casual style of the open-lattice or pergola look along with some of the comfort and protection of a solid cover. The option to choose the fabric, pattern and color lets you take a little more control over the styling. A quick pull lets the sunshine in, and another gives you a little shade when the temperature climbs-versatility at your fingertips.

Shade sails: These are another great choice for more casual and contemporary outdoor spaces. They also let you bring in a playful splash of color to brighten up the garden area. Best of all, they’re super flexible-you can easily move them with the path of the sun, or to different areas of your outdoor space. It all depends on your mood, livability and entertaining needs.

Patio By WaterAre you considering one of these patio cover options? What are your top priorities in an outdoor living space?

Kerrie Kelly is the author of the DIY design book Home Décor: A Sunset Design Guide. Kerrie is an award-winning interior designer who writes on outdoor décor for Home Depot. Home Depot’s large selection of windows, including those for a patio, can be found at www.homedepot.com/b/Doors-Windows/N-5yc1vZaqih.

Kerrie Kelly, ASID, Realty Times Feature Writer 01/22/2015

Staging in Spring

Any home stager will tell you that “staging is staging” and the principles remain the same throughout the year—keep things clean, clutter free and colorful. But each season comes with its own brand of staging magic!

For spring, there are a number of things you can do both inside and outside to take advantage of the beautiful weather.

Barb Schwarz, creator of Homes Staging® and CEO of Stagedhomes.com, suggests adding splashes of color to your porch with potted flowers. She favors larger pots placed on each side of the front door bearing tulips or daisies with greenery in the middle.

Bringing spring colors into a home is just as easy, especially with accessories like throw pillows, area rugs, artwork, towels and bedspreads.

“Change accessories and the whole house changes,” Schwarz said. Swap-out decorative pillows on a sofa for a fresh, new look. “This year nature colors are really in; green is really big and hot orange is an accent that is strong.”

Designers recommend using other knickknacks that speak of spring, such as pears, eggs, sea shells, nature, leaf patterns in fabrics, wicker, real leather and rust metal as contrast.

Schwarz said it’s also a good idea to replace the drapery panels in a home or office. She recently changed a den from a daisy pattern in blue to cream plain panels that went from ceiling to the floor “and the whole room looked bigger and more elegant,” she said.

Of course, all rooms in the house are important and there are ways to liven up each one as the spring season blooms. You want the buyer to buy the whole house, not just one or two rooms staged, so it’s important to create a cohesive design.

Yet don’t forget your “great outdoors.” Clean up your yards, remove fallen leaves and dead plants, and trim bushes and hedges.

Indeed, spring brings more buyers so take advantage of all that the season has to offer.

Prudential Showcase Properties is an independently owned and operated broker member of BRER Affiliates, Inc. Prudential, the Prudential logo and the Rock symbol are registered service marks of Prudential Financial, Inc. and its related entities, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Used under license with no other affiliation with Prudential. Equal Housing Opportunity.

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Single-family home sales will continue strengthening, according to latest report from the Urban Land Institute (ULI).

The Real Estate Consensus Forecast, ULI’s semi-annual survey of the nation’s leading real estate economists and analysts, examined 26 economic and real estate indicators in the third quarter. The report predicted healthy estimates for single-family housing as compared to ULI’s March report.

“The predictions diverge from the previous forecast [from March] in that it is more optimistic regarding the single-family housing sector,” said ULI Executive Director Dean Schwanke.

According to the report, single-family housing starts are projected to increase by 145,000 units in 2013, while home prices are expected to rise 3.9%. Meanwhile, single-family home starts, which have been near record lows, are projected to increase from 530,000 in 2012 to 800,000 in 2014. All of these numbers show improvement from ULI’s March forecast.

“Finally, the single-family housing sector is experiencing a turnaround that is expected to continue,” said Schwanke. “The ULI Consensus Forecast from March projected a stabilizing housing market, and the most recent numbers have been strong, leading forecasters to be even more optimistic going forward.”

Prudential Showcase Properties is an independently
owned and operated broker member of BRER Affiliates LLC. Prudential, the
Prudential logo and the Rock symbol are registered service marks of Prudential
Financial, Inc. and its related entities, registered in many jurisdictions
worldwide. Used under license with no other affiliation with Prudential. Equal
Housing Opportunity.

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