Top 5 Remodeling Trends for 2014

Home remodeling may have taken a backseat during the recession, but not anymore. According to a 2013 Hanley Wood survey, remodeling sales were up 10 percent compared to 2012, and 45 percent of remodelers surveyed expected another 10 percent growth in 2014.

Home remodeling is back in again, and with the desire to improve our homesteads come a bunch of new and exciting trends we’ll start seeing next year.

1. Modern Kitchens

According to data compiled by Hanley Wood and Remodeling Magazine, 61 percent of remodelers surveyed expect to complete kitchen remodels in 2014, more than any other room in the house. And, those remodels are expected to follow a new trend.

Not so long ago, remodeled kitchens had a rustic feel with warm paint colors and cabinetry, and wrought iron hardware and lighting. Now, modern is in, with white or gray cabinetry, simple countertops, glossy finishes and minimalist designs.  Appliances are more likely to be blended into the design or hidden away from view entirely to give the kitchen a sleeker appearance.

2. Brass Accents

Brass made a comeback at home-design and remodeling conventions this year and the trend is expected to pick up in 2014. While brass is nothing new, it has gotten a facelift. Highly polished, bright brass hardware and lighting is gone; rustic, dull and hammered brass is in. The new looks will be incorporated into kitchen and bathroom hardware as well as lighting and door hardware throughout the house.

3. Updated Bathrooms

from realtor.com

In the Hanley Wood survey, bathrooms came in second to the kitchen with 58 percent of remodelers planning to do bathroom remodels in 2014. As far as style, vintage bathrooms with wainscoting and claw-foot tubs won’t be as popular as resort-style bathrooms that feature amenities such as large walk-in showers with multiple shower heads, heated floors or towel racks, and jetted bathtubs. For coloring and style, glass tiles will be a popular feature as well as neutral and cool colors like ash gray, light blue and off-white.

4. Vibrant Colors

from realtor.com

While the kitchen may be getting the modern single-shade treatment next year, designers have a different idea for other rooms. Bright accent colors such as turquoise, yellow and orange that were popular in 2013 have a new twist; in 2014, they’ll be more of a focal point and even more vibrant with colors such as Green Flash, Lemon Zest, Nectarine and Rouge Red, according to Pantone, the international authority on color. Designers will start featuring vibrant accent walls, main paint colors and flooring throughout bedrooms and main living spaces.

5. Sustainable Materials

Going green is nothing new, but sustainability may get easier in 2014 remodels. According to Craig Webb, editor-in-chief of Remodeling Magazine, “Manufacturers and builders are constantly getting greener and greener in the way they source materials and put up homes.”  As a result, “Energy efficiency is becoming an assumption, not an add-on.” Next year, remodels will include more renewable materials such as bamboo, energy-efficient appliances and additional designs that incorporate the local climate.

This article was originally published by Angela Colley on realtor.com. To see the original article, click here.

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Historic or Modern: Which Home Would You Choose?

Which do you prefer: an older home with character or a newer design built for a contemporary lifestyle? To help you decide, we’ve found historic and modern gems for sale in cities across the country. Vote for your favorites by leaving a comment below!

Los Angeles

122 S Van Ness Ave, Los Angeles, CA
For sale: $2.949 million
Year built: 1917

from Zillow

from Zillow

This historic home boasting Mediterranean revival architecture is for sale in L.A.’s Mid-Wilshire neighborhood. From the exterior columns to the fixtures and moldings, everything has been meticulously restored to its original grandeur.

936 Milwood Ave, Venice, CA
For sale: $2.999 million
Year built: 2013

from Zillow

from Zillow

This new construction above has 3 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms enveloped in a sleek design. Tall windows and a glass stairwell create a sophisticated, spacious feel in the main living areas.

Chicago

47 E Division St, Chicago, IL
For sale: $2.299 million
Year built: 1886

from Zillow

from Zillow

This colorful brick row house is ideally located in the heart of Chicago’s Gold Coast. Dating back to 1886, the 4-bedroom has historical character as well as updated appliances and a luxurious walk-in closet.

323 W Evergreen Ave, Chicago, IL
For sale: $2.599 million
Year built: 2006

from Zillow

from Zillow

Also a 4-bedroom, this Chicago home was custom-built in 2006 with 14-foot ceilings, a mezzanine level overlooking the living and dining room, radiant-heated floors and a large back deck.

Boulder

1625 Pine St, Boulder, CO
For sale: $1.485 million
Year built: 1876

from Zillow

from Zillow

Boasting Victorian architecture, the historic Chauncey Stokes House has been well-preserved. Originally constructed in 1876, the home has had a few updates, but its storybook curb appeal remains.

1111 Jay St, Boulder, CO
For sale: $1.5 million
Year built: 2009

from Zillow

from Zillow

This contemporary home in the same price range is also for sale in Boulder. Skylights, extended roof eaves and a curved deck give the home architectural interest while staying current.

Portland

2537 NE 25th Ave, Portland, OR
For sale: $599,900
Year built: 1923

from Zillow

from Zillow

This Dutch colonial is for sale in the heart of the historic Irvington neighborhood. The home showcases 1920s architectural details and charm such as original moldings, multi-paned windows and a wood-burning fireplace.

6108 NE 45th Ave, Portland, OR
For sale: $599,000
Year built: 2009

from Zillow

from Zillow

At the other end of the design spectrum, this LEED Platinum-certified house has been called the greenest in Portland, according to the listing description. A heat recovery and ventilation system, reclaimed wood, weathering steel exterior and bamboo cabinetry are a few highlights.

This article was originally published by Catherine Sherman from Zillow Blog. See the original article here.

How to Find the Best Schools for Your Kids When You Move

Moving to a new area is never easy, but moving with kids in tow can be a real challenge. As a parent, you have to factor their education into your location choice, and that can get tricky when you’re searching in an unfamiliar area.

Work With Your Real Estate Agent

Your first conversation about schools should be with your real estate agent, who can provide information on local neighborhoods and the choice of schools your children might attend, whether public or private.

If you prefer private schools, you may have more flexibility picking the location of your new home, since you won’t have to find a place located within a particular school district’s boundaries.

If you want your kids in public schools, you’ll need to know the boundaries of school districts and their individual schools to narrow down your house hunt. However, Natalie Alchadeff, a Realtor® in Encino, CA, warns, “School districts may change their boundaries from time to time and you may find yourself in a district [or a neighborhood assigned to a particular school] you did not want to be in.” To be on the safe side, ask your real estate agent for a list of good schools in the area and then contact the school district office to make sure there are no plans to change boundary lines.

Research Online

Alchadeff recommends that, once you have an idea of the best schools, you should go online to do further research. The National Center for Education Statistics will give you data for each school district. GreatSchools, a national non-profit, provides ratings for each school as well as test scores, information on programs, and reviews covering teacher quality, parental involvement and principal leadership. Alchadeff says the site SchoolDigger.com, “givesyou school and district rankings and a comparison tool so you can compare the schools you are considering, side by side.”

For private schools, GreatSchoools and SchoolDigger provide some information, while the National Center for Education also has an online database that provides basic data such as grades taught, affiliations and student body make-up.

Visit Schools

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, set up times to meet with teachers, principals or administration staff.Alchadeff recommends asking questions to get a true feel for the school, such as:

  • What is the school’s disciplinary policy?
  • How does this school monitor students’ progress toward meeting grade-level standards?
  • Is free school busing available?
  • Is there an active parent organization?
  • How is technology used to support teaching and learning at this school?
  • What extracurricular opportunities are available for students?

When visiting private schools be sure to discuss entrance requirements. Some private schools require testing or that your child meet certain criteria before acceptance.

Plan Ahead

After you’ve narrowed down your choice of schools to one or two, look for housing inside the public school’s required boundaries or within an acceptable commuting distance for a private school.

Even if you’re set on a private-school education for your child, you may want to consider the quality of the public schools in the neighborhoods where you’ll be house hunting. Houses in high-ranking school districts often have a higher resale value than houses in lesser-ranking school districts.

By Angela Colley | Realtor.com | Source: http://www.realtor.com/advice/how-to-find-the-best-schools-for-your-kids/

2014 Kitchen Trend: Dramatic Black Counters

Last week, Zillow Digs’ Home Design Trend Report for 2014 revealed that black countertops, open shelves or glass-front cabinets, and darker paint tones will be popular with homeowners next year. This one-of-a-kind report depends on actual homeowners to identify trends and includes a survey of the Zillow Digs Board of Designers, a group of design experts from across the country.

To learn a few tips for incorporating black countertops into a home remodel, we asked Zillow Digs Board of Designers member and celebrity design consultant Adam Hunter of Los Angeles how homeowners can pull off this bold and sophisticated look.

Tip 1: Try a different finish

Hunter recommends experimenting with black stone that is “honed or has a leather finish for a wood grain effect.” Because full stone slabs can be expensive, homeowners can get a similar look with absolute granite that is just as beautiful. For a more daring look that will take you all the way back to the glamorous ‘20s, try black granite with white flecks.

Tip 2: Use the same materials in the laundry room

Photo Credit: DetailsADesignFirm

“Black counters are very conducive to laundry rooms,” Hunter says. So whether you’re on a budget and have extra materials, or looking to redo your whole house, try transitioning your black counters to the laundry room for a sophisticated and clean look that will create a cohesive theme throughout the home.

Tip 3: Accessorize to soften the look

Photo credit: Pelz Architecture

Hunter advises homeowners to be “careful with your accessories” and vary materials. Mix white pottery or ceramic fixtures with stainless steel, and use furniture pieces such as bar stools to soften the space for a more comfortable look. “Use fabric that incorporates stripes with a little black to tie everything together,” Hunter adds. This will bring “lightness and a little more color” to your space.

Tip 4: Experiment with grays and neutrals

Photo credit: Brian D. Patterson

“I believe a space that you should be clean in, should feel clean,” Hunter says. Try incorporating “dove grays or neutrals” for a beautiful soft look that will lighten the kitchen. Painted cabinets are also a great way to add warmth to the space. “For a big risk, you can always try black on black,” but Hunter warns that it’s not a look for everyone.

To learn more about 2014 kitchen remodeling trends, check out Zillow Digs Board of Designers member Kerrie Kelly’s tips for open shelves and glass-front cabinets.

With Zillow Digs, homeowners can find visual inspiration and understand the real cost of remodeling projects. To find inspiration for your next kitchen remodel, click here.

This article was originally published by Alexa Fiander on Zillow Blog. See the original article here.

Odd Moving Tips That Really Work

You’ve got the basics — cardboard boxes, newspaper, the phone number of a pizza place so you can feed the friends helping you move all your worldly goods. But do you have enough socks for the stemware?

Odd moving tips that really workAs with any major home project, there’s always someone out there with more experience and a host of clever ideas. Moving is no different. We’ve rounded up a list of some of our favorite quirky-but-useful tips to make trading one roof for another go a little bit smoother.

1. Footwear, Meet Stemware

About those socks and glasses . . . If you can double up and use some of your belongings to protect others, you cut down on space and moving supplies. Socks slipped around the wine glasses can help pad the delicate stems.

2. Plates on Plates

Instead of painstakingly wrapping each dinner dish in newsprint or bubble wrap, or purchasing those pre-packaged dishpacks, buy one cheap bag of Styrofoam plates. Alternate stacking the real plates with the disposables and — voila! — instant padding. Genius, right?

3. Make Like a Ghost

Worn sheets can be used as an extra layer of protection around your mattress, or any piece of furniture. You may not want to use that extra-fancy satin set, but old, cheap stand-bys can take a stain or risk a tear better than a mattress or sofa upholstery. Bonus: Like the socks, using sheets as packing material frees up more box space.

4. Pack in Color

Sure, you can painstakingly label every box. Or, just slap on some color. Buy color dots or several hues of duct tape, designate a specific color for each room, and stick the appropriate dot or tape on each box. The best part, we think, is the idea of making a legend that can keep track of all of your colors. That way, you won’t mistake the red for the den instead of the kitchen, and unpacking becomes a snap.

5. Use Your Wheels

Have wheelie bags? Use them for heavy things like books, especially if it’s a relatively smaller suitcase and not an Army-size duffel. You won’t be able to get away without ever having to lift the bag, such as in and out of a vehicle, but at least you’ll have a little extra help.

6. Bag Your Clothes

This tip may not work for every move, since some moving companies won’t touch any goods not packed in boxes. However, if such restrictions don’t pertain to you, break out the garbage bags. Pull one bag up around a cluster of your hanging clothes, and tie the open end by the hangers. One blogger bragged that she packed her entire closet in 15 minutes this way.

7. Take Pictures

The serving dishes fit in the dozen breakfront shelves like puzzle pieces now, but such a tight fit may be hard to replicate after everything has been removed to boxes. Pictures can act as an unpacking guide. Photos also protect your goods for insurance purposes — you’ll have proof should anything break or chip in transit.

8. Don’t Just Ditch the Fish

Some people might flush their goldfish, but some tanks are worth serious money and heart. Tanks contain their own ecosystems, including bacteria. Put the fish in a separate container, but keep some of the water the fish are accustomed to so you retain the original bacteria colony when you establish their new home in your new home.

9. Leave the Garage Empty

In the new digs, resist the temptation to pile boxes into the garage, or attic, or back closet, with a promise to get to them later. “Later” can last months. If a boxful of stuff is so unnecessary that a year could pass without needing the contents, maybe that’s a tip to ditch the contents before the move. Otherwise, you risk forgetting where you put important things, or end up parking the car outside all winter.

10. Unpack the TV Last

The desire to relax is strong. The coffee table pushed up against the sofa looks so inviting, but those boxes aren’t going to unpack themselves. Resist the urge to derail your momentum. Otherwise, those boxes will just stand over your head. Unpack the TV last, sink deeply into that comfy couch, and revel in the knowledge of a well-done moving job any pro would envy.

Published by Anne Miller on realtor.com.

This Modern Mountain Retreat Is Ideal Place to Unwind

Looking to get away this winter season? This modern retreat on Founders Ridge at Martis Camp in California’s High Sierra strikes us as an ideal place take in some fresh mountain air and unwind in front of a roaring fire.

from realtor.com

from realtor.com

Nestled among mature pines and rock outcroppings, the slanted-roof contemporary in Truckee, Calif., is a far cry from some of the massive mountain getaways found around the California-Nevada border. However, it’s hard not to like the coziness of this two-bedroom, two-bathroom home, which complements its summit setting perfectly with a mix of timbered hues, pitched beams and modern conveniences.

from realtor.com

from realtor.com

from realtor.com

from realtor.com

from realtor.com

from realtor.com

Inside, the sleek modern dwelling soaks up its rustic landscape though towering windows, while vaulted ceilings brighten wood-paneled spaces with a wealth of natural light.

from realtor.com

from realtor.com

Enjoying panoramic views of the Carson Range, the modern mountain retreat currently lists for $2.65 million.

from realtor.com

from realtor.com

from realtor.com

from realtor.com

Katie Tyler of Tahoe Mountain Resorts Real Estate is the listing agent.

This article was originally published by Neal J. Leitereg on realtor.com. See more photos and the original article here. 

8 Tips for Hanging Christmas Lights

Embellishing your yard with holiday lights is a cheery idea if you follow a few simple guidelines and precautions.
Christmas lights

Create a master plan

Look at your house from the street or take a photograph to make an overall plan. First, consider adding lights along eaves, pillars, posts, windows and doors to highlight architectural features. Next, look at bushes, trees, window boxes and planters. Finally, check out lighting for paths as well as stand-alone figures.

Find balance

“Everyone gravitates toward the roofline and they forget to balance it with something below,” says Mike Marlow of Holiday Bright Lights, a national chain that provides professional holiday lighting for homes and business. “It’s like interior design. You might have something on your room’s walls, but you need something on the shelves and the end tables too.”

Consider the backyard

Why should the front yard have all the fun? “We’re seeing people decorate behind the house,” Mike adds. “It makes sense because they see the backyard more than the front.”

Measure

Try to get a realistic measure of how many lights you’ll use. One way to determine lighting for trees is to multiply the height by the width and then double that figure to get the square footage.

Assess

Check to make sure your lights and cords are in good repair and rated for outdoor use. Read manufacturer recommendations to determine the number of lights you can safely string together. Never connect different types of lights on the same circuit or outlet.

Power up

Outdoor lights should be plugged into circuits protected by ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). To avoid running cords everywhere, try power stakes — portable devices that bring power where you need it.

Choose plastic

Trade in your hammer and nails for plastic clips that safely secure lighting to walls.

Stay safe

Work with a partner or hang a bucket with an S hook to your ladder to hold supplies. When possible, use an extension pole to keep your feet on the ground. Finally, don’t decorate trees that touch power lines.

In short, avoid the technique employed by Chevy Chase in this classic clip from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”

This article was originally published by Luann Brandsen on Zillow Blog. See it here.