Tag - real estate in texas

Staging and Style

See Inside a Listing Styled by a Former White House Decorator

Submitted by TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

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Photos Contributed by TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

As President Obama’s time in office neared its last months in 2016, their future home outside the White House was a frequent guessing game in celebrity real estate media. Most of the rumors were that the Obamas were buying a new family home in Hawaii, Palm Springs, New York City, Washington, D.C., or would be going back to their former home in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. They ended up buying for $8.1 million the home they had been renting – an 8,200-square-foot home in Washington, D.C.’s Kalorama neighborhood.

Whether the Obamas stay in Washington after their youngest daughter, Sasha, graduates from high school is uncertain but one thing is likely. The former First Family’s favorite interior decorator has portable skills and will most likely follow them from home to home well into the future. With Michelle’s penchant for taupes and beiges, it’s likely the Kalorama home will be next on the list for Michael S. Smith, decorator to the stars.

Now close friends, in 2008 Smith was called upon to redecorate the new President’s private quarters in the White House, and after he and Smith’s partner James Costos raised millions for Barack Obama’s re-election, Costos was named the Ambassador to Spain. The Obamas visited the couple in Spain and also stayed with them at their home in Rancho Mirage’s Thunderbird Heights. It was this visit that sparked baseless rumors that the Obamas were house shopping in Palm Springs.

Presidents aren’t the only celebrity clients in Michael S. Smith’s client inventory. He has also designed for Steven Spielberg, George Clooney, Cindy Crawford, Dustin Hoffman and Harrison Ford. Smith is known for his talent at blending historic elements with contemporary and has met with much praise for his work at the White House.

Recently a marvelous beach house came on the market in Newport Beach, California, also decorated by Smith. Opening directly onto the dunes with the Pacific Ocean lapping on the sand and exposed to some of the world’s most striking sunsets, the house was built in 1988 by Marmol Radziner in collaboration with Michael Smith Interiors. The 2,814-square-foot, two-story house optimizes the sweeping views of dunes, sand and ocean. Consisting of four bedrooms and four baths split between the two floors, the upper master suite also has a large private sun deck with panoramic views of the coastline to Catalina Island. Ideal for entertaining and stay-over guests, the open floor plan invites conversation and the oceanside glass doors that vanish into the walls give seamless access to the terrace and well-outfitted outdoor kitchen. The indoor kitchen, which includes Viking and SubZero, has a large island overlooking the living room with its high ceilings and fireplace with the dining room and another fireplace to the right including a wine and coffee bar. The two downstairs bedrooms can also be closed off and turned into a private suite for extended guest stays. Priced at $6.35 million, Tim Carr of Villa Real Estate in Newport Beach, California is the listing agent.

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Visit TopTenRealEstateDeals.com for more historic, celebrity and spectacular homes and real estate news.

Staging and Style

8 Home Projects with a High ROI

Image2Article Submitted by Fixr.com

With warmer weather and longer days, summer is the ideal time of year to take on a project in or around your home. Many contractors and other pros often find this time of year a little slower, as many homeowners are waiting until fall to tackle big interior projects, which means that you’ll have an easier time finding the right person for the job.

These eight projects are designed to add value to your home, without breaking the bank at the same time. Tackling them now will make your home more comfortable for the coming months, while ensuring that you can get maximum ROI when the time comes to sell.

 

1. Fix Window Leaks

Air gap around your windows could be driving your air conditioning bill up higher than it needs to be this summer. Old or leaking windows can cause you to lose as much as 20% of the energy you use to heat and cool your home, which can also make it less comfortable as well.

There are two ways to fix window leaks: installing new replacement windows, or installing weatherstripping around your existing windows. While both will help you save money on your energy bills, replacement windows will also help you recoup about 73.9% ROI at time of resale.

Cost: Weatherstripping your windows costs around $168 on average, while replacement windows cost between $650 and $1,500.

Money Saving Tips: Get an energy audit done on your home before you start replacing windows. You may find that only a few need to be replaced, while the rest can be caulked or weatherstripped to save.

2. Basement Remodel

Remodeling your basement is a great way to increase your existing living space, without the hassle or expense of a major addition. Basements are often cooler in the hot summer months than the rest of the home, so remodeling can help you gain more usable living areas during this time of year. A basement remodel featuring things like waterproofing or french drain installations can also recoup you about 70% at time of resale.

Cost: A full basement remodel including a new bathroom can cost around $50,000. However, waterproofing costs around $5,000, while installing a new set of stairs costs around $1,000 to $2,000.

Money Saving Tips: Simply waterproofing your basement will help make the area livable, allowing you to simply paint the concrete walls and floors, and begin furnishing the room for less.

3. Bathroom Remodel

Bathrooms are among the most frequently used rooms in the home. During the humid summer months, older bathrooms can often become home to things like mold and mildew, which makes now the best time to start remodeling. A bathroom remodel, including all new fixtures, shower, and ceramic tile can recoup you around 64.8% at time of resale, while making your home healthier and more functional at the same time.

Cost: A full scale bathroom remodel costs around $18,000. However, there are many components that can be done for less, such as installing a new bathroom fan to help dry out the room for $350 – $400 or putting in a new mirror for $120 – $150.

Money Saving Tips: Cosmetic updates to an otherwise functional bathroom can save you a lot of money. Simply painting the walls or replacing the sink and faucet can give your bathroom a facelift for less.

4. Add Attic Insulation

Another way to help lower energy costs this summer is to add some insulation to your attic. Most homes are underinsulated, particularly in this area, which can contribute to higher energy costs. Insulating your attic will make your home more comfortable, while saving you money on your AC bill this summer. Best of all, attic insulation recoups a whopping 107% at time of resale.

Cost: The cost to insulate an attic is around $400 for fiberglass insulation.

Money Saving Tips: Purchase the highest R-value you can find for your climate, and you’ll save even more on your energy bills year round.

Image35. Build a New Deck

Enjoy more time spent outdoors this summer on a new wood deck. Decks increase your usable outdoor space, make entertaining easier, and have a rate of return at around 71.5%. Start this project early in the summer to make the most of your new space before fall.

Cost: The average cost to build a new deck is around $10,630.

Money Saving Tips: If you have an existing deck, consider having it repaired, rather than replacing it. Often pressure washing and staining a deck, while replacing some of the boards can help extend its life.

6. Replace Your Roof 

After a long winter filled with ice dams, your roof may be in poor condition and in need of replacement. Don’t wait until summer storms send water pouring in through your ceiling; have your roof taken care of at the start of the season to ensure that it’s in good condition for the rain to come. A new roof will help you recoup about 68.8% at time of resale as well.

Cost: The average cost of a new roof replacement is around $6,000.

Money Saving Tips: If the majority of your roof is in good condition, you may want to opt for a partial replacement or roof repair to save money.

7. Replace Your Siding 

Siding is just as important as your roof when it comes to both protecting your home from the elements, and to giving it its curb appeal. The nicer weather of the summer makes this the ideal time of year to take care of this important project. Replacing your siding can recoup you as much as 76.4% at time of resale. Replacing your siding can also help you take care of other issues such as rotting fascia, and can improve the appearance of your home at the same time.

Cost: The average cost of replacing your siding is around $7,510 for vinyl siding.

Money Saving Tips: If your siding is in decent condition, consider making repairs to those areas that require it, and painting the entire exterior to give it a fresh look for less.

8. Universal Bathroom Design 

Universal design is one of the newest trends that’s recouping costs in a big way. In many cases, universal design costs less than a complete bathroom remodel, but can make your home easier to sell because it appeals to a wider group of people. Take on the project this summer when plumbers aren’t as busy to get the job done faster. This type of project also recoups about 68.4% at time of resale.

Cost: The average cost of universal bathroom design is around $9,000.

Money Saving Tips: Many things in a universal bathroom can be installed DIY for less, including lever handles on faucets and a universal height toilet.

To find out more about projects you can tackle around your home, be sure to visit the Cost Guides.

Staging and Style

Watercolors on Walls? You Bet!

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Want to make a bigger statement with a wall? Watercolor wallpaper can add some pizzazz and wispiness to an otherwise blah wall in the home.

Pinterest called watercolor wallpaper one of the hottest trends that emerged from its home design survey in the U.K., in which the site analyzed user data from May 2016 to May 2017 to see the most popular “pins.” More homeowners seem to want to know more about watercolor wallpaper, as it was among one of the most pinned trends in home design.

It can be chic with an abstract design in one or two colors. It can add a soft colorful dimension to a wall.

But instead of leaving this job to a DIY job channeling your old grade-school watercolor skills, you can now get the effect in wallpaper to get your design just right.

Check out some pins about it at Pinterest.

Here are some photos from Houzz showing off some watercolor wallpaper:

Staging and Style

5 Ideas to Increase the Value of a Basement

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Photo courtesy Shannon Dittmann

Article Submitted by Fixr.com

The basement doesn’t just have to be a space to throw all of that extra storage. Show it as usable space, and it may even help you increase the value of the home. Basement remodels typically recoup about 70 percent of their costs at time of resale, which can add a tremendous amount of value to your home.

Making it the coolest room in the house may not be too difficult either. After all, basements tend to stay cooler during the summer months, making this an ideal place for the family to hang out when the weather heats up outside.

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Photo courtesy Shannon Dittmann

1. Create an In-Home Theater

Basements not only are typically cooler than the rest of the home, but they’re also usually darker. For that reason, they’re an excellent place to add a theater to watch movies on those hot summer nights. Best of all, you don’t have to do a complete basement remodel, with costs around $50,000, to gain this space. A TV mount costs around $250, while built in seating costs around $840 – $1,680. (Just be sure for safety to completely waterproof the room before running wires through the basement.)

2. Make a Children’s Play Area

Basements are often neglected areas of the home, used primarily for storage and not much else. So why not turn your unused basement space into a new playroom for your kids?

Start with the staircase. Most basements have only partially finished staircases so installing a new one will help make the space more comfortable as well as safer. Next, ensure that you have egress windows installed, and that the basement is fully waterproofed. From there, you can carpet the floors to make the space more comfortable, and move your children’s toys downstairs to make more space in their rooms.

3. Create an Adult Entertainment Space

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Photo courtesy Shannon Dittmann

If you love to entertain, consider building a bar into your basement. Basements are already the ideal place to install a wine cellar, so why not take it a step further and put in an entertainment area and bar for parties as well? Basements that walkout onto patios can be the ideal place for summer entertaining, giving guests a way to get in out of the heat or a summer rainstorm. Consider putting in a tile floor to give the room a finished look and keep the floors easy to clean. Match the bar countertop to the color of the floors for a fresh, stylish appearance.

4. Create a Garden Utility Room

If you spend any time out in the garden, you probably know about the dirt, tools, and pots that accompany this hobby. Basements are a great place to install a utility sink and counter, and to store all of your garden paraphernalia. Installing a french drain and a hose will make cleanup a snap, while shelving placed just beneath the windows will give your plants a place to sprout before you take them outside for the summer.

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Photo courtesy Shannon Dittmann

5. Create a New Family Room

Family rooms often get even more use than the more formal living room, so family rooms in a cooler basement can get a lot of use during the summer months. Basements finished as family rooms may be coveted by homebuyers too, giving you the maximum return on investment. This includes not only tiling or carpeting the floors, but also putting up drywall to complete the walls as well. Consider adding a suspended acoustic ceiling to help insulate the basement from the sounds above, while making the rooms more attractive at the same time.

To find out more about projects to tackle around the home, be sure to visit the Cost Guides.

Staging and Style

Hot Home Trend to Watch: The Two-Toned Kitchen

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Two-toned colored kitchens are gaining popularity this year. White and gray painted cabinets are dominating kitchen color schemes, according to the 2017 Kitchen & Bath Design Trends survey conducted by the National Kitchen and Bath Association.

Particularly gray-toned kitchen cabinets are seeing a surge in popularity lately.

 

 

 

Other colors are getting mixed in too, adding a little more pizzazz to kitchen design. For example, the surrounding kitchen cabinets may be white and then the center island may feature gray cabinets. Or, white cabinets may be on the top and then gray cabinets on the bottom.

 

 

Other materials are getting mixed in the kitchen too.  The combinations, however, are mostly muted and simple. “Clean lines with no fussy moldings or trims,” one NKBA survey respondent said. “White kitchens are never going away, but I’ve recommended mixed countertop materials, mixed cabinet colors and frequently use lots of light/dark materials for contrast.”

 

 

 

That said, for the more daring, blue or black-toned cabinets as well as high-gloss finishes are gaining popularity in kitchen designs too, according to NKBA’s survey.