Home DecorHome DIYHome Style June 15, 2023

Curb Appeal: A Fresh Facade Makes a Statement By: Jennifer McGuire

Curb Appeal: A Fresh Facade Makes a Statement

Maybe your perfect house was “new” a few years ago and it’s time for a refresh, or perhaps you’re just ready to mix things up a bit. Whatever your motivation for a mini home makeover, it’s always smart to begin by focusing on the facade. Go beyond a fancy mailbox or a seasonal wreath and check out these signature upgrades for considerable curb appeal.

It’s the Little Things

Maintaining the strongest and most attractive qualities of your home should be a priority. So before making any major alterations, take a good look at your front yard, walkway and facade, and figure out what could use some reimagination. Are the doorknobs losing their sheen? Could your off-white front door use a boldly hued coat of paint? And there’s no need to stop there – adding a graphic rug, piece of cozy porch furniture or tasteful planters are simple yet surprisingly effective ways to alter the front yard vibe.

Add a Splash of Color

Speaking of greenery, a quick online search of gorgeous home exteriors almost always includes those with pert and perfect plant life. Dressing your home with its own corsage is a simple and often lasting way to beautify it. You don’t need a botanical wonderland like the gardening enthusiast down the street, but manicured landscaping can make all the difference. Spruce things up by planting shrubs and perennials instead of annuals and zone-picky florals. Select bushes that will fill empty spaces, trees that will accent your home’s peaks and native flowers that will add a dash of pizazz.

It’ll Be Worth It

Now for the big stuff. Even if you ignore all the above and prefer a more minimalist landscape design, maintaining a clean, presentable front is of utmost importance and ensures your home will always be a welcome sight. If you’re short on time, consider hiring a landscaper for routine lawn and yard maintenance. You can also make the exterior more enticing by pressure-washing the driveway, front walk and patio, using either a professional service or buying or renting a power washer. Your brick, wood or stone will thank you.

Let It Shine

Why not highlight your home’s new style with landscape lighting? Check your local home improvement store for street posts, mountable lamps, and garden or walkway lights. While abundant lighting is the natural answer to nighttime, don’t overdo it – you don’t want to rival your hometown stadium, do you? Depending on the size, prices range from $10 per item and up, so do your research to find a great outdoor lighting business near you, or get into the DIY mood to set up your home for a show at dusk.

Making small updates and investments will ensure your home looks, feels and is well taken care of. Go ahead and use these tips, and if you continue to challenge yourself to improve your home’s first excellent impression, your neighbors may feel challenged to match it!


Home DecorHome DIYHome StyleLifestyle June 15, 2023

Wallpaper With Personality By: Jennifer McGuire

Wallpaper With Personality

Wallpaper is back. And you’ll be glad it is – with all the exciting new colors, patterns and textures available to choose from. Today, stylish wallpaper is being used in small spaces, such as powder rooms and mudrooms, or as a beautiful accent, providing pops of color that brighten up an area or give it a more customized look.

Wallpaper choices range from traditional floral patterns to modern art deco designs, with patterns ranging from subdued to bold. Today’s wallpaper is also much easier to apply and remove, so you can create a big impact without the hassle and mess. So, where do you begin? It depends on the look you’re going for.

Create Visual Interest With Texture

If your space needs some personality, textured wallpaper may be the answer. Its three-dimensional design mimics just about any material, giving the room an unexpected visual element. Faux stone or wood adds rustic charm. Floral or scroll patterns evoke an antique or vintage vibe. Many textured papers are even paintable, so if you ever want to change things up, you can give your walls new life with a coat of paint.

Add a Touch of Glow With Metallics

For a glamorous feel, metallic wallpaper is an elegant choice. Your space will sparkle with movement as gold, silver and black elements reflect the light. Some metallic papers are also textured, producing shadowed accents that add depth and intrigue.

Soften Up With Fabric

Fabric or textile wall coverings are among the oldest types of wall decoration and can complement a bedroom’s soft furnishings, giving it a luxurious feel. Found in both manmade and natural fibers, the paper mimics velvet, silk, linen or cotton. These materials are also breathable and porous, making them less susceptible to mold spores. However, keep in mind that fabric wallpaper can be affected by moisture and extreme heat.

Go Green With Naturals

Newer wall treatments made from environmentally friendly, natural products such as bamboo or grass cloth have increased in popularity. Certain brands are handcrafted and create quite a conversation piece, capitalizing on the material’s innate color and texture variations.

Wow Them With a Mural

On a feature wall, a mural makes a bold a statement. It can help bring the beauty of the outdoors inside, transforming a room with dramatic floral arrangements, sweeping landscapes, lush forests and a variety of other picturesque nature-inspired scenes.

Find Your Inner Child With DIY Options

If you’re looking to create a playful, interactive space, coloring wallpaper is just the ticket. It’s not only an ideal addition to a child’s room, but also adds a fun element to any entertaining space. Just like coloring books, this wallpaper comes in a plethora of themes and can be minimal or highly detailed in design. Most often in peel-and-stick form, you can easily remove it, apply a new pattern and start all over again. Just be sure to take pictures of your masterpiece before tearing it down.

Feeling timid about jumping on the wallpaper bandwagon? Consider starting with a small project. Give your lamps some personality by applying wallpaper around the edges of the shades. Wallpaper the top of a side table that isn’t getting much use. Or paper the back wall of a bookcase or curio cabinet to introduce surprise depth. No matter the project, wallpaper has the unique ability to create a space in your home that’s every bit as distinctive as you are.

Home DecorHome DIYHome Style June 15, 2023

Guest Room Tips for the Warmest of Welcomes By: Jennifer McGuire

Guest Room Tips for the Warmest of Welcomes

Opening your house to guests is one of the many joys of being a homeowner. You can make guests feel welcomed and comfortable by following these simple tips.

Create the Ultimate “Flex” Room

Flexibility is key in getting the most out of your guest quarters. If you host frequently, the room will likely be used by a wide variety of people – from your high school bestie visiting with her kids on spring break to Great Auntie Edna who’s there for the holidays to your nephew who’s in town to tour college campuses. If you expect to holiday children or multiple guests at the same time, consider investing in bunk beds or at least twin beds to offer several possible combinations of sleeping arrangements. The important thing is to plan ahead and anticipate who you may be hosting. Keep this in mind when decorating the space as well. Selecting a neutral color palette (step away from that ruffled, hot pink comforter!) will ensure that everyone feels content in their home away from home.

Add Some Local Flavor

Showcase your local community by displaying the highlights or most popular features of your city. Display a coffee table book about its history or attractions. Framed postcards or other artwork that show the best and coolest spots around town will not only dress up the space, but also give visitors a little taste of what they might see and do during their stay. Go one step further and stock the dresser drawer with brochures or travel magazines they can browse through to gather ideas about an itinerary for their vacation.

Walk a Mile in Their Shoes

Want to really understand what your visitors might need? Spend a night in your guest room with suitcase in tow, and you’ll discover all sorts of little niceties that would make a difference to your guests: handy hooks for wet towels, extra blankets in the bureau, plenty of empty hangers in the closet, a convenient luggage rack, drink coasters for the nightstand, an alarm clock or even a collection of short stories for nighttime reading. Endeavoring to understand their needs from their perspective will help you play the role of the perfect host.

Feel confident when you lay out the welcome mat that those who cross your threshold will enjoy the time spent in your home. Refer to these tips when preparing for overnight guests and you’ll be sure to win points as a first-rate host.

BuyingMovingSelling June 15, 2023

Long Distance Moves: What To Know By: Gustavo Gonzalez

Long Distance Moves: What To Know

Guest post written by Chief of Organized Living & NorthStar Moving Company Co-Founder Laura McHolm

We often get asked: what moves are considered long distance moves? Long distance moves are any move that crosses a state line. They can also be called interstate moves.

If you are one of the millions of Americans seeking a life change by moving to a new state, Coldwell Banker’s Move Meter is an excellent resource to determine what state is a fit for you. Simply fill in where you live and where you are considering moving to and the Move Meter will use data to compare key factors such as taxes, schools, home prices and overall quality of life!

Once you decide on the new state you are moving to and are ready to move, here are the elements to be aware of and consider when moving long distance:




Factors that affect the price of long distance moves

  • How far are you moving?
  • When are you moving? Think of it like airplane tickets, the busier the time, the more expensive the ticket. Usually, moving companies are the busiest at the end of the month and in the summer.
  • How much stuff are you moving?
  • Will you pack yourself? Or, is the moving company packing for you?

Consolidated shipping

Instead of sending a giant semi truck across the state line with only your belongings onboard, check to see if your moving company can consolidate your long distance move with other clients’ shipments. This method of consolidated shipping allows everyone to receive the lowest rate for long distance moves.

If you need to move quickly, or have a large amount of items to move, you can always pay full price for an entire truck.

Delivery windows

Sometimes for long distance moves, moving companies give a delivery window and not an exact arrival date. They know conditions like weather and road closures can often slow down the moving truck. And, if your belongings are part of a consolidated shipment, it takes time for the movers to pick up and deliver other clients’ shipments along the way.

Accessorial charges

Does your move involve any extra circumstances like flights of stairs? An elevator? Will the truck have to park far from your front door? By the way, the moving lingo for “extra circumstances” is “accessorial charges”.


Will your belongings need to be in the moving company’s storage while you’re getting your new place ready?

Best money saving tip

The best way to truly save on the cost of your move is to choose a moving company based on their reputation. Make sure they have provided stellar service to their clients for years.



Laura McHolm is a home organization, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.   www.northstarmoving.com

BuyingLifestyle June 15, 2023

Score a Hole in One When Choosing a Golf Course Home By: Jennifer McGuire

Score a Hole in One When Choosing a Golf Course Home

Buying a house on the links means more than just enjoying acres of lush greens, sparkling ponds and well-manicured hills in your own backyard. There are other important factors to take into consideration before making the decision to join a golf course community.


Remember that the beautiful surroundings come with their own unique inhabitants – from birds and turtles to more exotic, reptilian wildlife in some cases. Think about whether this strikes you as an enchanting feature that will serve as a source of constant entertainment, or a potential nuisance.

Extra Fees

In addition to homeownership, many golf communities come with mandatory greens upkeep fees for which residents are responsible. That perfectly landscaped lawn you get to enjoy may come at a significant price. So make sure you understand any associated fees or homeowner association costs up front.


The house’s proximity to the course will obviously determine the amount of privacy and quiet you can expect. Visit the home at different times of day to check out the traffic flow, and investigate details such as what time of day the mowing is generally done. Consider whether early-bird games will be an intolerable, noisy disruption to your alfresco breakfasts, if landscaping work done later in the day will regularly disturb your poolside yoga session, or if the occasional golf ball in your yard will be a happy surprise or a cause for consternation and nagging concern.


If you’re an avid player, then of course you’ll be more than happy to take full advantage of the perks associated with being in a golf community. As a paying member, you will likely have your choice of tee times and be able to enjoy discounted rates, invitations to tournaments and other great benefits. Also consider whether the activities offered throughout the year by the clubhouse are events you can appreciate. If you don’t intend on participating in the barbecues, buffet dinners and other planned gatherings intended to fill your social calendar, then the additional clubhouse fee will not be worth your while. The rules and requirements of every neighborhood differ, so be certain to review the ins and outs with your agent.

While living in a golf community brings with it an undeniable sense of prestige and security, there are other features that need to be carefully evaluated when house hunting. Considering these factors will help you find the golf course community home that’s perfect for your lifestyle.

Home DecorHome DIYHome StyleLifestyle June 15, 2023

Staycation Innovation – Make Home the Only Place You Want to Be By: Jennifer McGuire

Staycation Innovation – Make Home the Only Place You Want to Be

If your own backyard is likely to be your leisure-time destination this summer, you may as well daydream some plans to amp things up out there. Ponder these fun and fabulous ideas that just might get your wheels turning and help make your home the best getaway of all.

Alfresco Pizzeria

Patio kitchens have already impressively elevated the concept of cooking outdoors by incorporating sinks, refrigerators, warming drawers and even wine coolers. Consider a novel component that will really kick things up a notch. If you love crispy brick-oven pizza, what better way for you and the family to enjoy a piping hot slice than in the fresh air and under a twinkling canopy of stars? Conduct some online research and sketch a few layout options that make sense for your space. With a touch of imagination and an investment in a bit of creative masonry, you and the whole troop could soon be sinking your teeth into an alfresco-prepared, pepperoni-covered creation that deliciously celebrates the season.

Tranquility Space

The peacefulness of a water feature is the perfect addition to a budding backyard oasis, and an ideal focal point that complements both small and larger spaces. Wonderfully delightful options include waterfalls and fountains that produce the pleasant sound of trickling water, vibrant koi fish for visual appeal, or the addition of native plants and flowers to attract wildlife such as chirping birds and frogs. Be the architect of your very own happy place. Add a hammock or stylish swing chair to the tableau and you’ve just found your new favorite book nook – so you can tackle that summer reading list in blissful comfort.

Gaming Arena

Whenever the family is gathered for some quality time together, a little lively competition can go a long way. Any number of nifty games can be set up and enjoyed right on your own lawn. A rousing round of bocce ball, croquet or even traditional cornhole will be enough to liven things up at home and get everyone joining in the fun. The key is to create a dedicated recreation space. For something like classic horseshoes, for instance, you can jazz things up by incorporating special features like retaining walls and backstops to make the arena feel official, and bordering landscaping to help separate the area as a designated gaming spot. Once you’re all set up, choose your teams carefully and let the tournament begin!

Entertainment Hub

If you envision whiling away the lazy days of summer poolside or out on the patio, rest assured that you won’t have to give up your favorite technologies at the same time. It’s possible to sing along to the musical hits of the 80s and even binge watch that hot new drama everyone’s talking about as you kick back and enjoy the great outdoors. Wireless connectivity has become increasingly advanced, including hidden speakers and waterproof flat screen TVs that offer perfect sound and image quality while seamlessly blending in with your natural outside space. Introduce such high-tech conveniences to your out-of-doors living area and benefit from the very best of both worlds.

As you can see, there’s no need to wander very far to make the most of the season. If you’re feeling inclined to give the yard a little tender loving upgrade, the ultimate summer vacation may be just a few steps away – right out your own back door.

Home DecorHome DIYHome Style June 15, 2023

Stylish Illumination to Brighten Your Home By: Jennifer McGuire

Stylish Illumination to Brighten Your Home

Lighting has come a long way since the days of an ordinary square of frosted glass adorning the center of the ceiling. With an almost unlimited range of options, interior lighting today is creative, versatile and every bit as important as the furniture you choose.

Inside the home, light serves to helpfully illuminate the spaces where we work and play, but it also creates an overall mood. Successful lighting design involves more than simply tucking a few extra lamps into dark corners. Whether you are planning illumination for a remodel or supplementing your current array, here are a few points to keep in mind.

Let’s Be Practical

Fixtures should be bright and focused for cooking, desk work, reading, grooming, crafts and games, while general illumination should allow for ease with cleaning and other practical housekeeping tasks. Motion-sensor staircase and nightlights add an extra measure of safety.

A Matter of Attraction

Place the light where you’d like to direct focus. Use a spot or up-light to draw attention to a particularly attractive architectural feature, sculpture or large potted plant. A framed photograph or painting can be showcased using a mounted picture light from above.

Set the Mood

Dimmer switches alter the ambiance easily and dramatically, turning general illumination and task lights into party lighting. Nearly every fixture and room can benefit from this simple hardware adjustment. And while high-wattage overhead bulbs are ideal for playrooms or workspaces, they’re not particularly flattering. Select softer, warm-tone bulbs for dining room fixtures and chandeliers.

Variety and Versatility

Rooms that serve multiple purposes will require a number of different light sources. A kitchen island requires plenty of light for food prep and homework, but a softer glow is in order when it doubles as a bar or buffet when you’re entertaining. Versatile, USB-chargeable LED lamps can be moved around where light is needed most – from room to room or even to brighten up the patio or porch.

Accentuate the Positive

Add a bit of drama with a touch of neon, a draped light rope, a sprinkling of twinkle lights or a set of shelving lights to artistically display a special collection. Explore the unexpected – install a colorful paper lantern in a powder room or an elegant chandelier in the guest bedroom. Make an older fixture or sconce feel new again with a distinctive bulb choice. Edison bulbs have lately been having a moment, but flame-tipped, spiral, vintage diamond shapes and even amber glow bulbs can be transformative.

The Art of the Matter

Sculptural lighting has emerged as a novel way to add some character as well – a striking work of art with a practical purpose. Spindly pendant lights, funky Art Deco sconces and styles that incorporate industrial metal accents are brilliant choices to spice things up in an otherwise conservative space.

Make a Statement

Fixtures with oversized shades or in an unusual shape can become a focal point in a main living area like a family room or even a smaller space such as an office or library. New styles range from futuristic to retro 70s cool, and custom designs can incorporate antiques, found objects, art glass or metalwork.

Efficiency Is Key

Acknowledging the importance of energy efficiency, LED bulbs and fixtures are now available in a multitude of sizes, styles and brightness levels.  And with the latest in smart home technology, a single panel or remote for your entire property can manage indoor and outdoor illumination, automatic on-off, window coverings, vacation lights and much more.

Lighting can run the gamut from sophisticated and modern to traditional or romantic – and should always be uplifting and inspiring. Careful attention to illumination will enhance the comfort and overall feel of your home for both family and guests. It’s limited only by your imagination to make it brilliant!

Uncategorized June 14, 2023

Tips for Summertime Outdoor Living By: Jennifer McGuire

Tips for Summertime Outdoor Living

Outdoor living is as important as indoor space, especially in the summertime. Everything in your backyard — whether it’s a fire pit, dining area or theater — should be part of a well-planned, integrated design. Here are a few outdoor accessories that will turn your backyard into another room of your house.

Fire Pits

Fire pits add a warm touch to an outdoor area and can serve as a focal point in landscape design, especially if you live in an area that gets cool at night. You can choose from wood-burning, propane, gel fuel and natural gas fire pits, many of which double as an outdoor coffee table when not lit. If space is a consideration, go with a tabletop model.

Outdoor Kitchen and Bar

Your outdoor kitchen should have everything the chef needs to prepare a backyard feast, starting with a gas, charcoal or hibachi grill. Also consider adding a smoker, warming drawer, stove top and pizza oven, depending on your favored cuisine. For those who like a few beverages by the pool, consider an outdoor bar complete with a mini fridge, sink, ice maker, beer tap, wine chiller, and of course, a blender for margaritas. And don’t forget to make sure the area is well-lit for those evenings of entertaining.

Dining Areas

What good is it to eat and drink outside without a dining area? Make sure it has comfortable chairs with durable cushions and a table for dining with an expansive umbrella for shade and shelter. Styles vary widely, from Mediterranean to Japanese, Victorian, country kitchen and cabana designs, or with whatever stylistic flourishes tickle your fancy. Not interested in contemporary outdoor sets? Comb local thrift shops and flea markets for mismatched country kitchen furniture or bring an elegant dining set outside under a covered awning for a fresh new take on outdoor dining.

Backyard Theater

The next best thing to a drive-in, a backyard theater can entertain family and friends. For a well-designed movie-viewing experience, make sure you have a video projector, a free-standing portable screen, and to top it all off, a popcorn machine. Another outdoor viewing option is a self-contained outdoor TV, which come in nearly every size and incorporate heavy-duty construction, making them resistant to temperature and weather. Some also are resistant to rain.

For more backyard design ideas, check out Pinterest and enjoy outdoor living this summer!