3 Things You Didn’t Know About Zillow

For the prospective homeowner or home seller, Zillow is your digital best friend. As good as, if not better than, a personal realtor, Zillow tells you everything you want to know about the housing market in the area you’d like to move to. The difficulty comes when you start trying to narrow down your search. There’s more to it than finding homes for sale, however, and the discerning home purchaser would do well to use all its helpful facets during a home search.

Understanding The Icons

When you search for a zip code, you’ll be presented with a map of the area, plus a plethora of colored arrows and dollar amounts.

• Red arrows – homes currently for sale and their accompanying dollar amounts indicate their listing price.
• Blue arrows – potential listings that are either foreclosed or soon-to-be foreclosed upon.
• Purple arrows – rentals with the monthly rental amount displayed.
• Yellow arrows – recently sold homes and the price they went for
• White arrows – only visible when zoomed in upon the map, indicating homes not currently for sale and the amount Zillow estimates they are worth

Defining The Zestimate

When you select a home, it presents you with a Zestimate of the home’s value. According to Zillow’s website, this amount “is Zillow’s estimated market value for an individual home and is calculated for about 100 million homes nationwide. It is a starting point in determining a home’s value and is not an official appraisal.” Home searches should be aware that Zillow bases this value on reported facts about the house, so if the facts are incorrect or there has been a recent renovation not reported to the local tax assessor, the home value will not reflect that amount.

Along with a Zestimate, the site provides you with an estimated monthly mortgage based on the estimated value, a 30 year loan, a 4.125% interest rate, and a 20 % down payment.

Decrypting The Graphs

Each house with information available on the site also has a graph which shows up to 10 years of figures. One line on the graph shows the home’s value over time. Another line shows the average value of homes in the zip code. And another line shows the value of homes in the city. By comparing these lines, you can see which end of the spectrum the home lies in the area’s housing values and understand how its value has changed. If you join Zillow, making a free account, you can have access to their forecast feature which estimates whether the home will continue to rise or fall in value in the future.

Interior Decorating and Remodeling News Brought to You by BaseBoardRadiatorCover.com
Source: zillow.com/


Tips On Choosing And Framing Artwork For Your Home

Many homes aren’t in need of an extreme makeover, a drastic renovation, or a time-consuming remodel. Their interiors are just fine, pleasant, but often blank. How many walls in your home are bare simply because you don’t know what to put there? Sometimes, homeowners resort to tacking up a few pictures they find at a thrift store or random images they’ve been given just for lack of anything better to display. Real art is expensive, after all, and only rich people and museums can afford to buy it, right?

Of course not. There are many forms of art that are affordable and tasteful and perfect for a homeowner with refined or elegant tastes. Mark Leithauser, senior curator and director of design at the National Gallery of Art in Washington buys art for a living, and he had some tips for homeowners wondering how to tastefully display art in their homes.

Artwork Is Subjective
First of all, he urged people to remember, “Display of art is subjective,” and “There is no right or wrong way to do it.” That may come as a shock, especially from an art expert such as him. But unlike mathematics or grammar with all their rules, art in the end should be pleasing to you first, and the rest of the world second.

You May Already Own Artwork
“Most people have prints, drawings—things with mats and frames,” Leithauser said. “You start with your object, with what you own. You want the work of art to be the strongest possible thing.” So the art you hang might not be purchased at all. It might be something you already own. Pictures of family members, pictures from old books, photos of your ancestors, drawings by your children are all considered works of art.

Framing And Matting Prints
If you buy a print intending to frame it yourself, Leithauser warned that if you use a frame “that is stronger than the work of art, then you’ve detracted from the work of art.” Don’t think of a frame as a statement. Rather, it’s an enhancement of a picture. Sometimes you may choose to mat the artwork, which means there’s a border between it and the frame. Leithauser explained that you’ll want to stay away from a stark white mat. “Paintings get little cracks in them as they get older,” he said. “They look grungy, a little bit sad, a little bit dirty. They pop on a gray much better than on a stark, stark white.”

In the end, art is merely in the beholder’s eye. Don’t just buy a piece of art because someone told you it’s art. Buy things that appeal to your interests. After all, as Leithauser pointned out, “You live with what you like.”

Interior Decorating and Remodeling News Brought to You by BaseBoardRadiatorCover.com
Source: kdhnews.com/living/home_and_garden/getting-framed-add-elegance-class-to-home-by-displaying-art/article_da6a30ce-f11c-11e3-b3b6-0017a43b2370.html

Using Wood On Walls, Ceilings, And More

Ever wonder what you can do with wood besides put it on the floor? That’s actually just the tip of the iceburg when it comes to ways you can integrate the outdoors into your home. These days, homeowners are often eschewing carpet for the natural, clean look of wood for flooring, but they’re also using it as an interior design accent, a wall covering, a ceiling material, and a way to emphasize texture and scale.

Using Wood As An Accent

You don’t have to cover your walls or floor with wood to use it in a tasteful, pleasing way. In fact, wood can be used simply as an accent and you’ll still get the natural look homeowners love so much. Look for ways to integrate it in accent pieces, furniture, and even place settings. Reclaimed wood is a popular choice for those with an artistic bent.

Brian Patrick Flynn, an interior designer consulted for this year’s “Wood, Naturally” campaign, and other experts suggested several ways reclaimed wood could be used in interior design, explaining, “Upcycling wood found in barns and older buildings gives homeowners the chance to bring new life to beautifully aged wood.” Among other uses, homeowners might choose barn doors for a headboard or old fence planks for a nightstand or end table.

The interior designers also said, “Weathered wood has a unique quality that can really add character to a space. Leave the wood weathered or grayed, or you can refinish the wood for a polished look.”

Wooden Ceilings Or Walls
Homeowners rarely give a second thought to how their ceilings look, unless that ceiling is covered in wood. Using wood on the ceiling adds visual interest with its architectural detail, attracting the eye upward. Flynn said homeowners might use “wood trim, plank, decking, or even siding” as ceiling materials or just as decorative elements. Highlighting the ceiling this way makes it a “fifth wall,” rather than an invisible boundary.

Combining all wood ceilings and walls might be a little much (unless you’re going for a cabin-in-the-woods look) but doing a single wall in wood can add visual interest similar to covering only the ceiling in wood. Sandra Powell, interior design blogger, said, “Paneled walls and ceilings have been on trend for a while now, and are still going strong. Whether an appearance wall features stained or natural wood, it will add beauty, character, and personality to a room.” Stained wood creates an elegant feeling, while leaving it natural creates a more rustic, outdoorsy-look.

Wood With Scale And Texture
There isn’t just a single type of all-purpose wood. It comes in all different grains, colors, even fragrances (cedar is distinctly different from pine). The amount of wood you use and its texture can significantly impact its effect on the room. For instance, designers suggested using wood for molding, wainscoting, and trim to add dimension and scale. Wainscoting, for instance, points the eye upwards, making a small room feel taller. A large baseboard, on the other hand, grounds a room with high ceilings, giving a room with open concept more definition.

Interior Decorating and Remodeling News Brought to You by BaseBoardRadiatorCover.com
Source: lubbockonline.com/re-homes/2014-06-14/five-fresh-interior-design-trends-using-wood#.U6DjhPldU_U

What Do Interior Designers Do, Anyway?

Interior designers get a bad rap, at times, because some people believe their services are extra, unnecessary, excessive. They imagine only the rich and famous bother to hire such people and their expertise can be of little value to a normal American lifestyle. This image is false, however, because the true aim of interior designers is not to charge unearthly bills or rearrange expensive artwork, it’s to empower homeowners, making their houses into homes that reflect homeowners’ personalities.

Finding Inspiration
Homeowners should feel as though their dwellings are their sanctuaries. The best way to do this is to arrange it in a way that is conducive to your vision and your lifestyle. Tatum Brown Interiors suggests, “Before you begin a project, outline your preferences, color palette, inspirations and aspirations.” Even if you don’t believe some of what you put down has to do with interior design, jot it down anyways. It might serve as inspiration later on.

For more inspiration, try browsing through Pinterest or Houzz for pictures of your ideal home. Sometimes you’ll see styles that appeal to you but which you’d like to tweak to make your own. That’s where an interior designer comes in: keep those images close by and a designer will help you see how they can be incorporated into your home.

Matching Furniture And Decor
One thing interior designers really excel at is making a room feel whole, rather than mismatched. You can mix modern with antique and still get an attractive look, but it’s tricky. Designers use their expertise to make all the elements in a room feel like they were supposed to fit together.

Morgan Farrow, the senior designer for Tatum Brown Interiors, said, “We recommend avoiding a look where it appears that all of the furniture in a room came from a single source, just as we guide clients away from a mismatched look. Start with a vintage pieces and build from there, mixing in contemporary pieces or interesting fabrics to really bring the space to life in an updated way.”

Making Myriad Decisions
When you’re doing a full home design, there are hundreds of decisions to make. Neutral or bright? Wood or carpet? Pendant or recessed? Linoleum or tile? White or black? With all these choices come corresponding costs, challenges, texture changes, palette tweaks, and the average homeowner simply doesn’t have the time or expertise to ferret out the best solutions. For the busy homeowner, hiring an interior designer can be the answer they were looking for.

Interior Decorating and Remodeling News Brought to You by BaseBoardRadiatorCover.com
Source: dallas.culturemap.com/news/home-design/06-12-14-interior-design-tips-and-trends/

Phase Two of Renovation: Programming

There are several phases of the design process every homeowner must go through. First, they decide whether it’s worth it to renovate rather than move out. When they decide they want to stay (for a variety of reasons, including a desire to avoid breaking family rituals, a lack of homes for sale in the area, emotional ties to the current home, etc.) they enter the second phase of the design process: programming.

To Add Or Not To Add

Homeowners often jump to the conclusion that building an addition is the only solution to their problems. This is patently untrue, and can lead to far more hassle and spending than necessary. Ann Robinson and Annie Schwemmer, interior design contributors to Deseret News, said the point of programming is to make goals for your home, how you’d like it to function, and how you’d like it to support your family.

Room Utilization

One way to decide whether your home is functioning correctly is by identifying whether each room is serving a useful function. Schwemmer and Robinson said, “Every room in your house should be used at least once a day for something useful. Having square feet in your home that sit idle day after day is wasteful. Why heat, cool, clean and pay taxes on space that isn’t contributing to you or your family.”

Instead of adding on, families might find that they can repurpose space that is currently underutilized. Home offices are no longer as useful as they once were because of wireless wifi access throughout the home. If you still have an office and it isn’t frequently used, think about whether it can be changed to fit the needs of your family.

If you’re really just lacking a few feet in one room or another, you can do that—add two or three feet to a room—rather than adding a whole new area. It’s amazing what a difference a few feet can do to a kitchen, bathroom, or closet space. Schwemmer and Robinson gave the example, “Your kitchen may not have enough width to add that island you want . . . so a few feet could make all the difference.” The designers also said the best way to decide how to handle a renovation that adds space is by speaking with an architect.

Important Questions To Answer

Consider the future when you’re deciding how much room you need or how to use space you already have. Yes, the bedroom situation is tight, but how much longer do you have until the oldest leaves for college? How often do grandparents come to visit? Do you anticipate their needing to live with you in the future? What about your own health? It’s best to have the main appliances all on the main floor if you’re aging. What parts of your lifestyle are adversely affected by the current layout of your home? The answers to these and other questions will shape how your renovation should be implemented.

Interior Decorating and Remodeling News Brought to You by BaseBoardRadiatorCover.com
Source: deseretnews.com/article/865605146/Plan-your-home-remodels-with-your-life-in-mind.html

5 Home Renovation Apps You’ve Never Heard Of

There are some pretty popular apps for mobile devices these days. They help homeowners with their home search, they help renovators find good contractors, they help interior designers choose paint palettes. And there are so many more things smartphone owners can do if they only knew what was out there. Here are a few you’ve never heard of, but which you’ll never again live without.

MagicPlan (free)
All you need to do is snap a few pictures and you can have a quick floorplan of your home. You don’t have to move furniture, make measurements, or provide scale objects. Just stand in the center of each room, take a few pictures, and let MagicPlan do the rest.

Bunnings (free)
This company has several options of apps for homeowners to sift through. Casey Small, an interior design correspondent with a New Zealand design magazine, said, “The Paint Helper app assists with color choice and calculates the dimensions of your room to estimate how many liters of paint you will need.” Another Bunnings app, The Floor Helper, helps estimate the size of a room to be recarpeted and the cost of the various materials needed to do so.

Handyman DIY ($2.59)
The Handyman is like your own, personal contracting consultant who helps you with the plannign and implementation process of some basic DIY projects. Small said with it, “You can calculate measurements, estimate cost, create a project shopping list, and keep track of multiple jobs.” Their tutorials are comprehensive and provide links to YouTube videos which help you avoid making any mistakes.

Eden Garden Designer ($2.59)
You can do more than remodel your interior. This app helps you make the most of your landscaping, as well. Similar to MagicPlan, you can upload pictures of your garden and then look through their portfolio of outdoor areas for ideas of what you might implement in your own space. Small praised it, saying, “The animation is beautiful and the app is easy to use. You can also impress your friends with your botanical knowledge, with information available on all plants.”

iHandy Carpenter ($2.59)
It’s not free, but it could still save you money by saving you from having to purchase a slew of other tools. This single app includes a surface level, a plumb bob for vertical walls, a protractor for measuring angles up to 180 degrees, a ruler, and a bubble level bar. Who said iPhones are only good for surfing social media or playing games?

Using apps like these isn’t just smart, it’s savvy. Instead of spending money on more tools or time combing Google looking for renovation answers, you can save yourself the hassle of it all by downloading a few apps during your lunch break.

Interior Decorating and Remodeling News Brought to You by BaseBoardRadiatorCover.com
Source: stuff.co.nz/life-style/home-property/10150128/8-apps-that-will-change-your-home

Tips And Tricks For Renovating Condos

Potential condo renovators be warned: Renovating a condominium is not quite like renting a house. There are extra rules and regulations that will apply because the living space is part of a community which sets codes and policies enforced by a very strict Home Owner’s Association. That doesn’t mean you can’t renovate at all, it just means you need to do your research and be thoroughly knowledgeable about what the complex does and doesn’t allow.

What You Own And What You Don’t

First, as a condo owner, you own only the interior of your living space. You do not own or have the right to change the exterior, the plumbing, or the roof of the establishment. These things are collectively owned by all the complex residents.

Bruce Smith, interior design correspondent for the Santa Monica Mirror, explained that the strict conditions and covenants placed on condo owners by their HOA often discourage renovation. In fact, “Many builders don’t even do condo renovations,” according to Smith.

Many Condos Need Updates

However, many condos are from an earlier building period and are in desperate need of updating. Condo owners who are willing to tackle the intricacies of HOA rules can be greatly rewarded with a pleasant, modern living area. Los Angeles contract Gary Drake said, “So many condo owners need to bring their units into the 21st century. Many were built 20 years ago or more, sometimes not with the highest quality. It’s very rewarding to turn an outdated condo into a beautiful, modern unit.”

One family Drake worked with had their entire 2,600 sq ft, 2 bed, 2 1/2 bath interior gutted and renovated. Among other things, Drake was able to raise their ceilings, reconfigure the master bath so there was room for a new walk-in closet, and remove carpet to install new hardwood floors.

Restrictions To Look Out For

Smith said Drake related a long list of restrictions he’s had to grapple with during condo renovations. For instance, “Hours of work are usually confined to 8 am to 4:30 pm, with noisy construction not allowed before 10 am.” Another issue is what to do about crew parking. Condos are notorious for their limited parking space and construction workers often have to be shuttled in to avoid this problem.

Smith said Drake also found that, “Water shut-off hours are restricted to certain times; moving plumbing fixtures is sometimes prohibited; and soundproofing floors and walls is often difficult.” When desired renovations are allowed, there’s difficulty getting supplies where they need to go because of the lack of freight elevators or the presence of spiral staircases.

Advice From An Expert

For condo owners who plan on tackling a renovation, Drake suggested you study your HOA rules closely, asking for clarification if necessary. Alert the condo association to what you plan on doing, keep them updated, and get permission for the renovation in writing. It’s also polite to let your neighbors know and lessen the impact on them as much as possible.

Interior Decorating and Remodeling News Brought to You by BaseBoardRadiatorCover.com
Source: smmirror.com/articles/Santa-Monica/Renovating-Condos-The-Challenges–Rewards/40407