connie vallone

7 Hot Home Trends That Make Your Home Work for You

In Curb appeal, Home Buying, Home buying in West Houston, Home Design Trends, Home Improvement, Home Maintenance, Home Selling, Home Staging, Home Values, Houston Real Estate, Sellers, Selling Your Home, West Houston Real Estate, West Houston REALTOR Connie Vallone on December 15, 2017 at 11:00 am

Today’s home improvement trends show that we like our houses to work harder and smarter for the money we spend maintaining and improving their value.We no longer want bigger; instead, we want space that’s flexible, efficient, and brings order to chaos.

  • We no longer want bigger; instead, we want space that’s flexible, efficient, and brings order to chaos.
  • We’re watching our wattage with monitors and meters, and guarding our weekends with maintenance-free exteriors.

Here’s a look at seven hot home improvement trends that improve the way we live with our homes

Trend #1: Maintenance-Free Siding

We continue to choose maintenance-free siding that lives as long as we do, but with a lot less upkeep. But more and more we’re opting for fiber-cement siding, one of the fastest-growing segments of the siding market. It’s a combination of cement, sand, and cellulosic fibers that looks like wood but won’t rot, combust, or succumb to termites and other wood-boring insects.

At $5 to $11 per sq. ft., installed, fiber-cement siding is more expensive than paint-grade wood, vinyl, and aluminum siding. Still, it’s a solid investment. If you should decide to sell your house, you’ll recover 83% of the project cost, according to the “Remodeling Impact Report” from the National Association of REALTORS®.

Maintenance is limited to a cleaning and some caulking each spring. Repaint every seven to 15 years. Wood requires repainting every four to seven years.

Trend #2: Convertible Spaces

Forget “museum rooms” we use twice a year (dining rooms and living rooms) and embrace convertible spaces that change with our whims.

Foldaway walls turn a private study into an easy-flow party space. Walls can consist of fancy, glass panels ($600 to $1,600 per linear ft., depending on the system); or they can be simple vinyl-covered accordions  ($1,230 for 7 ft. by 10 ft.). PortablePartions.com sells walls on wheels ($775 for approximately 7 ft. by 7 ft.).

A Murphy bed pulls down from an armoire-looking wall unit and turns any room into a guest room. Prices, including installation and cabinetry, range from $2,000 (twin with main cabinet) to more than $5,000 (California king with main and side units). Just search online for sellers.

And don’t forget area rugs that easily define, and redefine, open spaces.

Trend #3: A Laundry Room of Your Own

Humankind advanced when the laundry room arose from the basement to a louvered closet on the second floor where clothes live. Now, we’re taking another step forward by granting washday a room of its own.

If you’re thinking of remodeling, turn a mudroom or extra bedroom into a dedicated laundry room big enough to house the washer and dryer, hang hand-washables, and store bulk boxes of detergent.

Look for spaces that already have plumbing hookups or are adjacent to rooms with running water to save on plumbing costs.

Related: 10 Tips for Saving Energy in the Laundry Room

Trend #4: Souped-Up Kitchens

Although houses are trending smaller, kitchens are getting bigger, according to the American Institute of Architects’ Home Design Trends Survey.

Kitchen remodels open the space, perhaps incorporating lonely dining rooms, and feature recycling centers, large pantries, and recharging stations.

Oversized and high-priced commercial appliances — did we ever fire up six burners at once? — are yielding to family-sized, mid-range models that recover at least one cabinet for storage.

Since the entire family now helps prepare dinner, double prep sinks have evolved into dual-prep islands with lots of counter space and pull-out drawers.

Related: Kitchen Remodeling Decisions You’ll Never Regret

Trend #5: Energy Diets

We’re wrestling with an energy disorder: We’re binging on electronics — cell phones, iPads, Blackberries, laptops — then crash dieting by installing LED fixtures and turning the thermostat to 68 degrees.

Are we ahead of the energy game? Only the energy monitors and meters know for sure.

These new tracking devices can gauge electricity usage of individual electronics ($20 to $30) or monitor whole house energy ($100 to $250). The TED 5000 Energy Monitor ($240) supplies real-time feedback that you can view remotely and graph by the second, minute, hour, day, and month.

Trend #6: Love That Storage

As we bow to the new god of declutter, storage has become the holy grail.

We’re not talking about more baskets we can trip over in the night; we’re imagining and discovering built-in storage in unlikely spaces– under stairs, over doors, beneath floors.

Under-appreciated nooks that once displayed antique desks are growing into built-ins for books and collections. Slap on some doors, and you can hide office supplies and buckets of Legos.

Giant master suites, with floor space to land a 747, are being divided to conquer clutter with more walk-in closets.

Related: 7 Clever Solutions to Maximize Your Home’s Storage Space

Trend #7: Home Offices Come Out of the Closet

Flexible work schedules, mobile communications, and entrepreneurial zeal are relocating us from the office downtown to home.

Laptops and wireless connections let us telecommute from anywhere in the house, but we still want a dedicated space (preferably with a door) for files, supplies, and printers.

Spare bedrooms are becoming home offices and family room niches are morphing into working nooks. After a weekend of de-cluttering, basements and attics are reborn as work centers.

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Do you have real estate questions?   Contact Connie Vallone at (713) 249-4177 or connie@knowsrealestate.com or visit www.houstonenergycorridorhomes.com  or www.vallonehomes.com.

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The Right Way to Keep Your Poinsettias Happy This Season

In Curb appeal, Home Buying, Home buying in West Houston, Home Design Trends, Home Improvement, Home Maintenance, Home Selling, Home Staging, Houston Real Estate, Selling Your Home, Texas, West Houston Real Estate, West Houston REALTOR Connie Vallone on December 6, 2017 at 12:17 pm

Poinsettia is the brilliant Christmas plant that, with a little love, will bloom long after the ho-ho-hos have faded.

And if you want it to re-bloom for next year, we’ve got tips for that, too (but fair warning: that’s a lot harder to do). Here’s how to care for poinsettias during the season (and beyond):

First, Buy a Healthy Poinsettia

Inspect poinsettias carefully before you buy a plant. A healthy plant looks like this:

  • Dark green foliage before color develops.
  • Bracts (colored leaves) completely colored without green perimeters.
  • Lush and filled with leaves, not yellow and sparsely covered.
  • Balanced from all sides.
  • Displayed naked without plastic sleeves that can cause plants to droop. Cover the plant only when transporting in temperatures below 50 degrees.
  • 2.5 times taller than its diameter.

Be Careful Taking It Home (Poinsettias Hate Cold)

Poinsettias originated in Mexico and don’t like the cold, even for a few minutes. So make sure you wrap the plant before driving it home, and then keep it away from hot and cold drafts, such as heating registers and drafty windows, which can make leaves drop.

Follow These 4 Tips to Care for Poinsettias at Home

1. Display your poinsettia in indirect light for about 6 hours per day.

2. High temperatures will shorten the poinsettia’s life. Keep room temperatures at 60 to 70 degrees during the day; around 55 degrees in the evening. You might have to move the plant around to expose it to optimal temperatures, like keeping it in the kitchen by day and in the mudroom by night.

3. Water when the soil is dry to the touch. If you keep the plant in foil, puncture the bottom to allow water to drain and prevent root rot. Empty drip trays after watering. Be careful not to over-water, which can cause wilting and leaf loss.

4. Feed blooming poinsettias every 2 to 3 weeks with a water-soluble plant food; water monthly after blooming.

Follow These Steps to Make It Re-Bloom

Coaxing a poinsettia to re-bloom each year is an exhausting process. Each month from January to December you have to snip or repot; move to the dark or move to the light; water or not water — you’ll get a migraine just thinking about it.

Since a new 6-inch poinsettia costs a ten-spot, you’re better off buying a new crop each year and spending your time and energy on other gardening delights.

But if you’re a waste-not person, here’s a look at what you can do to coax your poinsettia to bloom again next year.

January-May: Give your plant plenty of sun and enough water to stay moist, but not soggy. Fertilize every 2 weeks. In early April, prune to 6-8 inches tall.

June: Repot with fresh soil and move your poinsettia outdoors where it can get 6-8 hours of direct sunlight. Fertilize weekly until early fall. If you put the plant on a patio, give it shade during the hottest part of the day. If you place the pot in a flower garden, lift and turn it weekly so roots don’t grow into the ground and become shocked when you return the plant indoors in September.

Late July: Pinch off the top of the plant and 2-3 leaves on each stem to prevent the poinsettia from getting leggy.

September: Bring the poinsettia indoors when nighttime temperatures fall into the 50s. Place in a sunny window, and water when dry to the touch. Fertilize weekly.

October 1 to Thanksgiving: To force the bracts to color, the plant must be kept in uninterrupted darkness from 5 p.m. to about 8 a.m., and then returned to bright sun for the rest of the day. There should be a 7-10-degree difference between the dark and light environments: optimally, 65-70 degrees at night, and 70-80 degrees in the day. Fertilize weekly.

Thanksgiving: When the bracts begin to color, suspend the dark-light routine, and keep the plant moist and in a sunny spot for 6-8 hours daily. After full color has been achieved (congratulations!), stop fertilizing and move the poinsettia to wherever it will be admired most.

 

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Do you have real estate questions?   Contact Connie Vallone at (713) 249-4177 or connie@knowsrealestate.com or visit www.houstonenergycorridorhomes.com  or www.vallonehomes.com.

FOR SALE! 1037 W 23rd Street, Houston, TX 77008 – MLS# 47439593

In Home Buying, Home buying in West Houston, Home Selling, Houston Real Estate, Relocate to Houston, Relocate to Texas, Selling Your Home, West Houston Real Estate on November 28, 2017 at 9:56 am

FOR SALE! 1037 W 23rd Street, Houston, TX 77008 – MLS# 47439593

Stunning corner townhouse with private driveway and large gated side yard. Quality finishes and upgrades through out. Chefs dream island kitchen opens to living dining areas with beautiful oak hard wood floors, stacked stone fireplace and balcony views. Huge master retreat with over sized walk in closet plus two more bedrooms with their own en suites. Plus a study/exercise area. Tons of storage! Rare corner lot with beautiful custom deck and privacy fence and still plenty of green space behind wrought iron fence.

HAR Link: http://www.har.com/1037-w-23rd-street/sale_47439593

If you are interested in buying or selling real estate in West Houston, please contact Connie Vallone with First Market Realty, Inc at 713 249 4177, connie@knowsrealestate.com   or visit www.houstonenergycorridorhomes.com  or www.vallonehomes.com .