Tag Archives: design

6 Apartment Upgrades That Landlords Hate (Bye-Bye, Security Deposit)

When you move into a place, it’s normal to want to make it your own, by hanging pictures or even painting an accent wall cherry red. But when you’re renting, you’d best remember: Any changes you make may be reversed by your landlord once you move out and with your money. That’s why renters have to walk a fine line between making themselves feel at home and making changes that will cost them their security deposit.

“If you decide to paint the walls while you are there, you must return them to their original color or the landlord is within their rights to use the deposit to pay for it themselves,” says Trent Zachmann of Renters Warehouse. He explains that many landlords treat modifications or improvements and accidental damages the same when it comes to taking money from your security deposit. “An owner can withhold all or part of the deposit to correct either type of issue,” he says.

But all is not lost: Sometimes modifications can be made with the owner’s approval. Just make sure you’re 100% clear about the stipulations of your lease before you pick up a paintbrush or hammer. Straight from the mouths of landlords, here’s a list of upgrades tenants have attempted that they hate—and will use your security deposit to fix.

1. Painting

This is the No. 1 alteration that landlords complain about.

Annmarie Bhola, a landlord in New York City, understands that for first-time renters especially, there’s an excitement with moving into a new home. And, to many, that means breaking out the paint.

“To feel at home, a fresh coat of personality-defining color is the icing on the cake,” she says. “That’s all cool, but know that if you paint the walls hot pink, it will be coming out of the security deposit! That was one of the most memorable colors I’ve had to repaint.”

Atlanta landlord Bruce Ailion describes creative painting projects as his biggest headache.

“You would think a tenant would pick a neutral color and have a professional paint,” he laments. “Instead they paint purple or black, get paint on the ceiling, on the trim, on the door knobs and outlets. Some will paint around the bed and pictures. It’s a mess.”

2. Hanging pictures

After repainting, filling in holes in drywall is one of the most common issues landlords have to deal with after a tenant moves out.

“Everyone likes to put up pictures, and fortunately new technologies have brought about alternative, less destructive hanging methods, which is great,” says Bhola. So then why don’t more people think to use Command strips instead of nails? “Nine out of 10 times, I always have to fill in the holes and bust out the spare bucket of paint.”

3. Installing window treatments

We know: Those white plastic vertical blinds are so ugly. Your impulse to put up a curtain rod or Roman shades is completely normal. But the holes you have to drill into the wall to mount the window treatments, like those for your pictures, will require patching once you move out. Landlords fume every time they see big screw marks around the window frame.

“Repairing the holes ends up being expensive and time-consuming,” says Zachmann. If you must hang curtains, use large Command hooks that adhere to the wall and don’t leave any stickiness behind.

4. Mounting a TV

What’s worse than hammering nails into the drywall to hang pictures or curtains? Drilling holes in the wall to mount your flat-screen TV.

“The screws have to go directly into the center of studs,” says Brian Davis, director of education at real estate service company SparkRental. “At best, the renter will have screwed 10 to 20 holes into the wall. At worst, the TV will crash to the floor [because it wasn’t mounted correctly], possibly injure someone, shatter the TV, and take a chunk of the wall down with it.” He recommends that renters use a TV stand.

5. Gardening

You would think that planting a few tulips would delight a landlord. But that’s not necessarily the case.

“As a landlord, I want the most maintenance-free rental as possible,” says Atlanta-area property owner and real estate writer Laura Agadoni. “In some cases, I pay for a landscaping service, but I would not want to keep up a garden.”

So, don’t make any changes to the landscaping without the landlord’s written permission. And if you do, don’t be surprised if your security deposit is used to return the yard to its previous state.

6. Updating appliances

If you’re not a fan of that noisy old refrigerator in your rental, it’s perfectly fine to swap it out with a new one of your own so long as you talk it over with your landlord first, and then reconnect the old one after you move out.

“What’s never acceptable is swapping out an appliance, throwing the old one away, and then taking the new one with you when you move out, leaving a gaping hole where there was once an appliance,” says Davis.

So if there’s something you’d like to update, just ask your landlord about it first. You never know.

“What some landlords will allow may be different than what other landlords allow,” says New York City broker Eric D. Rosen. “In some cases, it might even be possible that a landlord will share the cost.”

Article originally found on realtor.com

Fool-Proof Paint Colors That Will Sell Your Home

Selling a home with an electric, lime green living room in 2017 is going to be more difficult than you originally anticipated. In fact, your home might sit stagnant on the market for quite some time. The reality is that paint color packs a serious punch in the real estate game.

So, which colors are going to sell your home?

Armed with results from Zillow’s 2017 Paint Color Analysis, we’re dishing on the hues to use and the hues to lose before putting your house on the market. (Hint: Lime green didn’t make the list.)

The Front Door: Navy

Jacob Snavely

For a killer curb appeal and a lasting first impression, coat your front door in a neat, navy blue! This versatile, timeless shade looks beautiful with any exterior color. Bonus? Zillow reports that navy doors sold for $1,500+ more than any other hues on the market.

The Kitchen: Gray-Blue

Michael Hunter Photography

Zillow reports that homes with kitchens outfitted in soft, blue or gray hues often sold for a $1809.00 premium.

The Living Room: Warm Browns

Jenny Norris

Traditional beige, oatmeal and soft taupe reign supreme in living spaces for 2017. Zillow reports homes with warm brown living room walls sold for $1,900+ more than expected.

The Bedroom: Cerulean

Photographer: Christina Wedge

The report reveals that lively blues, such as cerulean or cadet blue, grants homes with a $1,856 premium.

The Bathroom: Pale Blue

Stacey Brandford

Fresh, clean and soothing – pale blue is the best-selling hue for the washroom. Not convinced in the power of paint yet? Zillow reports that light blue bathrooms sold for $5,000+ more (!!) than expected.

The Dining Room: Slate

Chipper Hatter

A sophisticated slate-blue hue for dining room walls will sell homes for more money. Zillow reports that slate dining rooms sold for nearly $2,000 more than plain, white dining rooms.

The Exterior: Greige

Light gray and warm beige marry to create the modern-day classic: greige. Zillow reports that greige-colored homes are outselling their brown or tan counterparts by $3,496.

Courtesy of zillow.com

10 Sneaky Ways to Make Your Kitchen Look Expensive

There’s no denying that the kitchen has become the focal point of the modern home, the place where the outsize influence of the Food Network and HGTV converge. Prospective buyers want to imagine themselves gathered there among friends, sipping wine and nibbling on hors d’oeuvres with ease—or perhaps preparing a family meal while the kids pitch in as little sous-chefs.

But achieving that dream kitchen is also one of the most expensive home remodeling projects you can possibly undertake. If your taste trends more toward Veuve Clicquot on a budget that’s solidly PBR, never fear: We’ve got some sneaky tricks to give your kitchen a fancy upgrade on the cheap.

1. Choose a luxurious color palette (and play with texture)

pctune up

“These work best and convey a really luxe vibe,” she says.  “Look at the branding colors of luxury designers—they are mostly lightly muted and off the primary color.” She favors charcoal, cream, and champagne over harsher black, white, silver, or gold.

And consider texture when you’re planning your palette.

“You want to vary the texture to vary the complexity and make the design more layered and high-end,” says Hoffmann. “Choose two or three very close colors and play with texture instead—think white, a cream, and a very, very light natural beige as your colors, and then create visual interest by incorporating lots of texture in the room as your accent.”

Think of varying high-gloss, matte, and distressed finishes, and using raised patterns.

2. Reinvent tired cabinets with new hardware

If new cabinets aren’t in the cards, take your kitchen from outdated to outstanding with new hardware. Replace all door pulls, handles, and even hinges with fancy pieces in unexpected hues (we love these gorgeous handmade pieces by House of Antique Hardware). Just make sure to choose pieces that fit the holes in your cabinets, since traditional spackle or caulk can shrink. (If you can’t fit existing holes, pros recommend using a nonshrinking wood putty or auto body filler, but you’ll need to sand the work surface first.)

And don’t be afraid to mix metals, says Maize Jacobs-Brichford, a designer and project manager at Brynn Olsen Design Group in Chicago, who favors clean, traditional lines in unlacquered brass or polished nickel.

“Even if your sink or lighting is chrome, your hardware can still go brass,” she says.

3. Paint (or add glass doors to) your cabinets

pctune up

When it comes to tired old cabinets (particularly the stalwart oak cabinets of the ’80s), a good coat of paint can hide all manner of sins, according to Hoffmann.

“Enough already!” she exclaims. The old cabinets “are aging your space!”

We like Ace Hardware’s Cabinet, Door & Trim Paint, a semigloss alkyd enamel paint that promises a smooth finish. If you’re a clumsy DIY painter (are those brush strokes?), hire a pro.

Hoffmann also claims it’s “fairly easy” to cut out the front of existing cabinets and put in glass for an open, modern look. We’re not so sure, so if you’re at all in doubt, leave it to a trusted contractor or handyman. (Tutorials for this type of upgrade abound on the internet; we like this one from HGTV.)

4. Put your best stems forward

Invest a little in new stemware. If you have a bit of cash to spend, splurge on a gorgeous open shelf (or consider glass-front cabinets) to display pretty colored or textured glass, like these from Epitome Home.

5. Update the light fixtures

“Even if you don’t have the budget to change out some of the bigger architectural features, updating your fixtures can be a big change,” says Jacobs-Brichford. “When in doubt, go with a globe fixture with polished nickel or brass details to keep it simple but chic.”

Hoffmann also swears by dimmable lighting.

“Get an electrician to put your lights on a dimmer, and instantly upgrade the feel of your kitchen, especially at night or when entertaining,” she says.

And finally, don’t forget about task lighting—particularly under-cabinet lights. Battery-powered LED lights are inexpensive and couldn’t be easier to install (in many cases, you just stick them on using removable adhesive). Position them under cabinets in the areas where you typically spend the most time.

6.  Recast the backsplash

After cabinets, a backsplash makes the biggest statement in a kitchen. This is one place you want to splurge, pros say.

“It’s a great place to showcase your personal style and taste,” says Hoffmann, who favors monochromatic trends like concrete, herringbone, and subway tile.

If you’re on a budget, reinvigorate your backsplash without mortar by using a simpler, adhesive-based product like SimpleMat.

7. Upgrade your view

pctune up

Hoffmann swears by window appliqués to fake a great view outside a kitchen window. These also add visual interest if the area isn’t conducive to traditional window treatments, she says. Another great trick? Hang ferns or other flowers outside your windows to give the illusion of lush, verdant space. Hoffmann also likes to add herb gardens to the counter space, over the sink, or just outside windows.

8.  Paint the countertops

Innovative new products from companies like Giani Granite and Rust-Oleum let you paint (yes, paint!) your dingy old wood or laminate countertops if new granite or slab isn’t in the budget. You can go for a textured imitation stone look, or keep things cohesive with a simple solid color.

9.  Incorporate fruit

pctune up

Bring life to a kitchen with a driftwood bowl filled with a bright fruit or vegetables; Jacobs-Brichford likes lemons, artichokes, or green apples.

“They can usually sit out for two weeks—much longer than the life span of flowers,” she says. (Fake fruit is fine in a pinch, though designers prefer the real thing.) If you’re staging your home to sell, consider adding fruit to your kitchen to give it an attractively livable feel.

10.  Add fragrance

“Stop burning hideous, noxious, cheap candles,” says Hoffmann. “They are toxic and smell cheap to anyone who knows better when they enter your house. If you’re spending $20 a month on candles, that’s $240 a year.  Purchase a lightly scented luxury Culti diffuser instead, and get a couple of flameless candles. Your space will smell more expensive, elegant, and subtle.”

The (admittedly pricey) diffuser uses perfume-grade oils, gives off a more understated scent than traditional candles, and lasts an entire year.

Post courtesy of realtor.com

What Is Transitional Style? The Type of Decor Everyone Can Agree On

With so many decor styles out there, it can be hard to stick with just one. Modern, rustic, shabby chic, traditional—deciding on the vibe you want for your home can be downright confusing. But here’s the great thing about interior design: Many of these styles overlap, and can actually work really well together. The design world uses the term “transitional style” to describe the type of design that melds two different aesthetics—modern and traditional—into the same room. So how can you bring transitional style into your home? Our experts break it down for you.

Defining transitional style

The key to achieving this style is balance. Transitional style welcomes disparate styles—the traditional and the modern, the feminine and the masculine—in the same space. It’s a classic, clean look that’s reinvigorated by mixing in contemporary furniture, rugs, and accessories, according to Ellie Thompson, CEO of Venyou, an online platform that lists private homes and estates for events. An angular, modern dining table surrounded by traditional upholstered chairs is a typical example of transitional design. A rule of thumb: You want the decor to be inviting and accessible, not veering too far into one trend or another.

contemporary-dining-room

Photo by Ashley Campbell Interior Design—A modern marble table is paired with more relaxed, upholstered dining chairs.

As with any design style, there are unofficial rules to get the look. You can best achieve the mix-and-match transitional style in your home by choosing pieces that follow these guidelines.

Element No. 1: Beige is your friend

Neutral tones are the hallmark of transitional style, according to Thompson. Go for an unsaturated palette of white, cream, beige, tan, gray, or light brown. A simple neutral backdrop for the walls, flooring, cabinets, and large furniture will make the room feel timeless.

Element No. 2: Mix textures

Transitional style embraces different materials that have the same color but that give texture to the space. “Whether it be stone, wood, or leather, transitional style isn’t married to one type of material,” says Thompson. “Using a couple different textures will help you achieve an elegant but modern look.” She suggests incorporating such textures as chrome, gold, wood, glass, fabric, and faux fur into every room of your home.

Element No. 3: Use antiques strategically

Balance out an otherwise contemporary room with an antique statement piece. This will give the room depth and show off your curating skills. “Nothing makes a room feel more modern,” says interior designer Mark Cutler of Los Angeles. “The more sleek the space, the more rustic and worn the antique should be,” he says.

Element No. 4: Use bold accents sparingly

“Don’t overdo it!” says Thompson. Keep it simple by picking a couple loud pieces that accent the room but don’t clutter it. Patterns are used sparingly and tend toward geometrics. “And window treatments will be simple, with sleek lines instead of fussy or complex designs,” says Griffin.

transitional-living-room

Photo by Martha O’Hara Interiors—Yellow accessories in a transitional living room add interest but don’t overpower.

Element No. 5: A contemporary rug is a must

Transitional furnishings will almost always be partnered with a contemporary rug—think solid, geometric or animal prints—rather than a traditional rug that’s floral, paisley, or oriental, says Griffin. “This is a simple way to touch on transitional style that doesn’t require a complete redesign of your home.”

Element No. 6: Choose modern art that makes a statement

“Keep it big and bold for a greater impact, instead of hanging lots of smaller pieces,” says Griffin. Art should have a contemporary look, in terms of style and colors—abstract works, graphic prints, and photography are best.

Element No. 7: Rely on classic lines

Stick to furniture, tables, and beds that have a sophisticated shape with simple, sophisticated lines, as opposed to pieces that are rounded and ornate. Transitional furniture will be comfortable but boast straighter lines.

“Square off everything,” says Tracy Kay Griffin, lead designer at Express Homebuyers. That means that in choosing a traditional element, you avoid curves and ornate detail, and make sure it has straighter lines, to minimize detail. “For example, doorknobs could be straight levers as opposed to round knobs, and sinks may have a rectangular shape.”

The transitional aesthetic requires the seamless marrying of several traditional pieces with true contemporary pieces. Essentially, this means that your home should be a sophisticated yet livable home, full of beloved items and sensible furniture that can last a lifetime.

Post courtesy of realtor.com.

 

Designing Your Dream Home

Everyone wants their dream home, but if you have to build it from the ground up things can get a little overwhelming. The process of building a home is a major project, and there are a million and one little details to consider. There are also many different people you have to coordinate with when taking on this project, such as a design team, architect, builder and contractor.

To assist you with the beginning steps, we’ve spoken to some construction professionals and laid out their advice to help you along the way.

Research is Key

Google should be your best friend in the beginning stages of building your home. You should be researching people, reviews, ideas, pictures and any specific details that will need to be decided early on! If you find an architect or builder you really like, ask them for advice on a design team or other construction professionals. The process goes much smoother if your varied workers all get along and can work together. If you don’t know where to begin, look up reviews! The best way to tell if you are going to like someone you hire is to ask to see their current work, or even talk to one of their current clients!

Start researching layout and design early on. Colors and tile specifics can come later, but in your first meeting with your architect, you want to have some kind of idea for what you want. It’s easy to do this by making a mood board of different rooms and homes you like, that way your architect can get a feel for what you’re looking for. If you want very specific rooms or major features, it’s best to decide this early on because sometimes it can change the entire layout of a house. Even small advice to your architect can be incredibly useful, such as I have a big family so we need a lot of storage for groceries.

You are paying your team a large sum of money to build your dream home, so don’t be afraid to make it clear what you want or more specifically what you don’t want.

Be as Involved as Possible

Some people go wrong in assuming it will just all come together at the end, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Make sure you are constantly communicating with each member of your team, and make sure they are communicating with each other! Be present and collaborate with your team to ensure the home is going to be built exactly the way you want, or finding a viable solution for issues that may prevent that.

Don’t be afraid to arrange meetings with members of your team individually, or together. You should be communicating with members on your team at least once per week! However, be sure not to overstep your boundaries and hover. One of the worst things you can do for this process is to be overbearing and too controlling. Although you have a vision, you also have to trust that the contractors on your team know what they’re doing. Make sure each member knows what you want, then take a step back and let them do the work.

Be Patient

                The process can be a long and grueling one, but don’t lose sight of the end result. If you truly want to build your dream home from the ground up, you have to give it time. Members of your team are most likely not solely committing to your projects and they have other clients simultaneously. Although it’s good to make sure your home is getting the time it deserves and you paid for, don’t be upset if the workers are not present 24/7. Don’t be fooled- this is not ‘Extreme House Makeover.’ Also be patient with the beginning stages of the process. If you don’t know exactly what you want, it can take time and multiple meetings to get your vision completely sketched out.

Always Keep Track of Your Budget

It’s always smart to establish your set budget at the beginning of the project, but more likely than not, people end up exceeding that budget than more than they would’ve liked. This is your dream home, so you have to understand that doesn’t come at a cheap price tag. One of the best things you can do for the budget is to break it down as much as possible from the beginning.

Lay out every expense there will be and every salary or base fee you will need to cover for workers, then set aside two more pools of money. The first pool of money should have a good chunk of change, and should sit there as an “in case of emergency” budget. Some people overstretch their bank accounts building the home, then don’t account for what happens if something goes wrong. It’s always smart to factor in a potential for error, because it is there if you need it, or you benefit from extra money at the end of the project. The second pool of money should be an “extra” pile. Throughout the process there is going to be things you want, or features you need that you didn’t account for originally. This “extra” budget helps to fund these last minute changes.

It is so important to establish the budget with each member of your team from the very beginning! Sometimes contractors can rope you in with a base fee, but then the end bill is much higher than you anticipated. Be on the same page with each one of your team members, so there are no surprises at the end. If money is an issue sometimes contractors will leave mid-project, then you are left with a mess.

Make it Fun

It is a very exciting thing to be designing your entire home yourself. It can get very stressful when decisions need to be made quickly, but stick to your vision. When you know your color palette, decorating and furnishing can be very fun! Keep in mind shapes and colors that might be in trend at the time! At the end of every day though, you can rest easy knowing this is your dream home.

3 Fresh Home Design Looks for the New Year

Metallics like copper and rose gold made a big splash in 2016. So what does 2017 have in store for us?

2016 was a great year for interior design. So many trends were influenced by new innovations and technology; beautiful colors took new form; unique silhouettes filled every room of the home; and textures and fabrics breathed life into otherwise traditional furnishings.

But it’s a new year, and time for new looks. Here’s a peek at three current trends that will have the interior design world buzzing in 2017.

Va-va velvet

For years, the design industry has been buzzing about texture, and how plush or sinuous fabrics flip a design on its head for a totally unique effect. In 2017, the texture trend continues with the rise of velvet.

trends_velvet-b530d0

Velvet is a classic fabric that periodically enjoys a new surge of popularity. This year, we see velvet used on every furniture piece imaginable, from ottomans to dining room chairs to the smallest fringed detail.

This trend is all about adding just the right amount of ‘ooh la la’ to any space, without diving too deep into luxury.

Get the look:

  • Jewel-toned velvet fabrics add a luxe look to any piece of furniture. Cover an ottoman or desk chair with this sophisticated upholstery for an elegant boost.
  • Create a masculine setting by pairing navy velvet dining chairs with a rich wood table and metallic place settings.
  • Add glamour to a master suite with velvet drapes. Hues like rich emerald green or soft blush add just the right touch of sophistication, without overwhelming the space.

Darling denim

Everyone loves a great pair of jeans, so it’s no mystery why the design world is falling for denim fabrics, motifs, and patterns for home interiors.

Channeling indigo hues and a perfectly worn-in feel, the denim trend of 2017 offers approachability to furnishings, finishes, and fabrics alike.

Taking cues from the velvet trend, denim-like fabric can be found on ottomans, window coverings, bed linens, and area rugs, offering a simple yet sophisticated take on everyone’s favorite fabric.

Get the look:

  • Dip your toe into the denim look with a duvet cover or area rug. These larger linens make a huge impact on your space without being too permanent.
  • Denim hues go well with metallic finishes. Adding this hue to a bathroom space via hand towels or a beautiful rug will make your polished nickel hardware “pop,” or give your favorite brass faucet a modern feel.

Stripe story

Designers use stripes as a “neutral” element to anchor a space with clean lines and bold colors. In 2017, stripes will be used as a statement-maker all on their own.

trends_striped-a9b6c1

With a bold brushstroke down the middle of a wingback chair, or as a reimagined wallpaper pattern, the single stripe is the new must-know print. Stripes, whether a simple pinstripe or graphic configuration, can be worked into any space, from uber-modern to tailored and traditional.

Get the look:

  • Get graphic with a single bold stripe down the back of a wingback chair for added flair without the commitment to a full stripe pattern.
  • A beautiful pinstripe-patterned wall covering adds impact without crowding a room’s design. Add this easy look to a powder bathroom for an instant style boost.

 

Post courtesy of zillow.com

Attract Tenants with Design Elements

Photo credit: Photographee.eu / shutterstock.com

Design elements are very crucial when it comes to attracting tenants to a property. As a manager, you should choose the right design element which will save money for both the developers as well as making tenants feel comfortable when living in a given condo or apartment. Good design element will attract more tenants which will make the property developers make more money down the line. The choice of the design for any apartment or condo should be geared towards increasing the comfort of the tenants as well as saving money for the property developer.

Among flooring options available wood tend to be a great idea for condos or apartments. Carpets will wear out with time and they will require to be replaced. This is unlike a case of wood flooring which will require refinishing and it continues to serve. As a property owner, you might consider restricting pets in your rental property. This is simply because pets will tend to damage the flooring hence making the maintenance cost go high.

If you have a staircase in your property, then going for a spiral staircase instead of traditional stair cases will do you great favor. The spiral stair case will tend to occupy less space hence make the room spacious for your tenants. The spiral staircase is also easier to install. This makes it easy for you to save on the installation cost as well as adding more beauty to your rental property.

Adding tiles in bathrooms and kitchens is a great idea. It will serve both tenants and managers of the property. For example, it will add aesthetic appeal for tenants. For the part of property owners, it will reduce maintenance cost because tiles are resistant to moisture and grout which can necessitate repairs which will cost the property owners more. Tiles will tend to reduce effects of spills in kitchens and bathrooms because they are easy to clean each time there is a spill.

Including a dryer and washer in each unit add value to the property. People will like to save time, instead of tenants waiting for hours in the common washer areas; they will prefer a property where each unit is fitted with a washer and dryer where they can carry out laundry anytime they will feel like.

Wood flooring will work well in the living room, but in the bedrooms carpets will work well. This is because carpets are warm and comfortable in a bedroom. You need to wash the carpets regularly so that they will always remain clean. You can use steam cleaning or any other method according to the manufacturer’s recommendation.