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Gutter Cleaning Tips and Tricks

10/29/2020

Gutter Cleaning Tips and Tricks

Maura Callan Bain

BHHS Towne Realty

Oct 29, 2020

Maura Callan Bain

There are some chores around the house that make you feel like you’ve really done something, giving you a sense of massive accomplishment and joy. Cleaning gutters isn’t one of them. Unfortunately, it’s a chore that still has to be done, whether it’s fulfilling or not. And if you’ve got to do a thing, you might as well do it right. That’s why we’ve got tips for better gutter cleaning.

Why Clean Your Gutters?

Your gutters are the most efficient way to move water running off of your roof to places far from the foundation of your home. This helps prevent problems like wet crawl spaces and foundation wash-out, among other issues. Going gutterless means opening your home to several different structural risks, so it’s better in the long run to just learn how to clean them properly.

Unfortunately, many people don’t realize this is a job that needs to be done regularly and one that gutter guards don’t make redundant. Yes, you read that right; if you have gutter guards, you still need to clean those gutters once or twice a year. The gutter guards help prevent large solids from settling in the gutters, but they themselves need to be cleaned off and any debris that has collected inside the gutter itself still needs to be washed away to prevent buildup.

How Do You Clean Gutters?

Cleaning gutters is pretty simple stuff, but a lot of people try to make it difficult. Your goal should be to get as much debris out of the gutter itself without sending much into the downspout, where clogs form readily and are difficult to dislodge. Follow this order for best success:

  • Work from the corners. Always remove debris from the corners and downspouts toward the center of the gutter. If you do it the other way, you risk moving material into the downspouts and creating logjams that are no fun to remove.
  • Scoop out the middle. Debris in the middle needs to be removed next, and remove as much as you can while you’re at it. Don’t count on flushing it down the downspout, since that can add to aforementioned logjams. Use your hand, a trowel, or one of many scoops made for gutter cleaning for this task and dump your debris into a bucket or drop it onto a tarp on the ground.
  • Check your elbows. Elbows are a great place for clogs to form, so check all the elbows in your downspout for trouble. If there is a clog, you may be able to clear it with a blast of water from your garden hose. Bigger blockages might need a power washer or plumber’s snake to break free.

Once you’ve cleaned your gutters out, run some water through them with your hose to make sure that they’re not leaking anywhere. This is the best time to repair them, since they’re fairly clean and will be much easier to manipulate. If you’ve got areas that are leaking, apply some sealant or replace the section, depending on the cause of the leak. This is also an excellent time to install some sort of gutter guard if you’ve got an interest in them. Remember that gutter guards still need to be cleaned, but tend to protect better against clogs, so they do still serve a purpose.

Do You Need a Gutter Pro?

If you’ve decided that tackling the gutters is far too much for you to handle, it’s ok. There’s a home pro who’s more than ready and willing to help! Just check in with your HomeKeepr community, where you can find a list of qualified home pros in your area. From there, it’s just a matter of choosing the home pro who will provide the service you’re seeking, from basic gutter cleaning to repair, replacement, or even installation of gutter guards. Your HomeKeepr family has your back!

Top Lighting Options for Your Kitchen

10/12/2020

Top Lighting Options for Your Kitchen

Maura Callan Bain

BHHS Towne Realty

Oct 12, 2020

Maura Callan Bain

Good lighting is important in many places in the home. When you’re working in the kitchen, though, having sufficient lighting to see what you’re doing is vital. Poor lighting in your kitchen can make cooking and other tasks a pain, especially if the lighting leaves shadows in areas that you use a lot. Fortunately, there are a number of options available when it comes to adding new lighting to your kitchen. Here are some of the best for you to consider.

Recessed Lighting

One popular lighting option for kitchens is recessed lighting. This is especially useful if you have relatively low ceilings, as you can have multiple light sources in the kitchen without having large fixtures hanging down. Recessed lighting can also be used to accent other lighting solutions as well, giving you more light where you need it while only taking up a small amount of space on the ceiling.

Under-Cabinet Lights

Cabinet space is a must-have in the kitchen, but if you have a lot of cabinets then they can actually block some light from reaching your countertops and stove. A great way to take care of this problem is to install under-cabinet lighting that can provide some extra light right where it’s needed. Similar lighting can also be placed under stove hoods or other overhead spaces to ensure that you have the light that you need in the parts of your kitchen that you use the most often.

Track Lighting

If your lighting needs change depending on what you’re doing in the kitchen, track lighting might be a good option for you to consider. As these lights are mounted on tracks and can be moved and turned as needed, they let you adjust the lighting to meet your current needs. While the concept of track lighting often brings to mind clunky light units that seem more like theater spotlights than a kitchen lighting solution, modern track lights for the kitchen can provide the light and adaptability you need while also creating some tasteful accents that match your personal style.

Oversized Light Fixtures

Sometimes you want more than just ensuring sufficient lighting in the kitchen. If you want to light things up while also contributing to the overall decorative look of your home, you might consider some oversized light fixtures to get the job done. These fixtures are designed to stand out and draw the eyes so that they become as much a part of your decorating style as a source of light for your kitchen area.

Pendant Lighting

Lighting can play a big part in your home’s look and feel, which is why there are so many different types of lighting fixtures available. If you have higher ceilings in your kitchen, you might consider installing pendant lighting to give you the light that you need while also adding a touch of elegance to your kitchen area. These fixtures are suspended from the ceiling by cables or pipes, bringing the light closer to where you’ll be working without the need for stronger bulbs or harsher light. There are a number of styles of pendant lights available to help you illuminate your kitchen while also customizing the overall look of your home.

Tube Lighting

A lot of people think that tube lighting is ugly and out of place in the home, but modern tube lights have come a long way from the fluorescent lights of old. Many of these lights have switched to LED lighting, providing more consistent lighting at a fraction of the energy cost. The tubes and enclosures themselves have also evolved, offering stylish accents that illuminate while still adding to the overall look of your home.

Installing Your Lights

Need to find a pro to help you get your kitchen lighting issues solved? It’s time to check out HomeKeepr. We can help you find the pros you need based on real recommendations from people you trust. Sign up for a free account today to get started.

Pantry Organization for Preppers

9/10/2020

Pantry Organization for Preppers

Maura Callan Bain

BHHS Towne Realty

Sep 10, 2020

Maura Callan Bain

With more people staying at home and avoiding crowds, a lot of homeowners are turning to home prepping as a way to cut back on trips to the store and avoid shortages. Unfortunately, many people find themselves overwhelmed. Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what to stock up on. And once the pantry is fully stocked and prepped, maintaining it, and finding what you need among all the other things, can be difficult. Organization is a key part of successful prepping, so if you want to have an effective pantry, here are a few organizational tips to keep in mind.

What Should You Store?

First things first: What should you store in your pantry? Obviously, you want things that are shelf-stable and will last a while. Pick up or prepare staples like canned vegetables, canned fruits, crushed tomatoes and dry goods like pasta, rice and beans. Add cooking supplies like cooking oil, flour and cornmeal, plus sweeteners like sugar and honey. Beyond that, round things out according to your family’s tastes. This is where you add your taco shells, your pasta sauces, cereals, popcorn, condiments and dressings, canned meats and anything else that you know your family uses regularly. If you have pets, you can also set aside a section of your pantry for pet food as well.

Organizing for Easy Access

When you start organizing your pantry, don’t just stick things wherever you can find a space for it. Take everything out, clean the area so that you’re starting fresh, then put things back in a reasonable and organized way. Group similar items, like different types of canned vegetables, together so that everything is easy to find. Avoid just shoving a bunch of things together to make more room, since that will cause confusion and make some of your items a lot harder to find when you’re looking for them.

Label Everything

Place labels on your shelves once you have everything organized so you’ll know what goes in any particular space in the pantry. That doesn’t mean that you have to micromanage and label each individual type of item, of course; create categories like “Jelly” and “Vegetables” to simply mark the general area where those items go. If you want to be really efficient with your labeling, take the time (or recruit family members to help) and place an easy-to-read sticker or label on the top or front of each item, and write the expiration date on it for reference.

Remember FIFO

Where a lot of people run into problems is rotating stocked items as new items are bought or made. Keep the FIFO principle in mind as you restock your pantry: First In, First Out. New items should always go to the back, allowing the older items in the front to be used first. As you take items out of the pantry, move up the items behind them so that they’re closer to the front and you have room to place things behind them later.

Shelving and Storage Additions

If you need to add shelving or other storage types to your pantry area, try to do so in a way that makes stocking and access easier. Standalone shelves that you can walk behind or rollout shelves that you can pull toward you make it a lot easier to place new items at the back, while sliding shelves or rotating units make it easy to reach stored items that otherwise might be hard to get to.

Emergency Storage

In general, your pantry should be filled with items that you’re actually going to use and that will be rotated out over time. If you really want to make sure that you’re good in case of a disaster, though, you can set aside a space for some additional emergency storage as well. Consider this sort of a “backup pantry” and focus on items with very long shelf lives such as freeze-dried rations, vacuum-sealed grains and bottled water. You should check expiration dates at least once or twice a year and move items about to expire to your main pantry, or use them for activities such as camping trips, hiking excursions or other adventures.

Building Out Your Pantry

Building a new pantry or adding onto an existing one can be tricky. Fortunately, HomeKeepr is here to help. Sign up for a free account today and to find pros based on recommendations from people you trust so that you can find the right person to give you the pantry of your dreams.

Is It Safe to Hire In-Home Workers?

8/31/2020

Is It Safe to Hire In-Home Workers?

Maura Callan Bain

BHHS Towne Realty

Aug 31, 2020

Maura Callan Bain

As a part of maintaining good social distance, many people are limiting who they bring into their homes. But this can lead to a bit of anxiety when you need to bring in some extra help to do jobs around the house. Plumbers, electricians and other contractors can’t do their jobs without access to your home’s internal space, but is it safe to bring workers inside when they also have to visit other homes and businesses as a part of their job?

Contractors want to keep themselves and their crew safe on the job, so almost any contractor you hire can be expected to follow appropriate safety protocols while in your home. With that said, there are things that you can do to help ensure that everyone remains safe when you have to bring in workers for necessary tasks around the house.

Necessary Questions

Before hiring a contractor or anyone to work inside your house, take a few moments to ask about their safety policies. You can ask about things such as whether they or their crew wear masks or ventilators when on the job or while dealing with customers. You can expect most contractors to have a safety and masking protocol in place, though it’s possible that you may encounter one or two who don’t want to take these precautions on the job. Asking them a few simple questions can help you identify those contractors and workers who will respect your desire to stay safe, and who will be careful the entire time that they’re in your home.

Cleaning and Sanitizing

Before contractors and in-home workers are scheduled to show up, take the time to clean up the area where they’ll be working and sanitize any surfaces that they’re likely to come into contact with. This makes it easier for them to do their jobs safely. It also demonstrates that you are willing to show others the same considerations that you wish to be shown as well. Some contractors will sanitize the areas they work in at the end of the day as a courtesy, but if they don’t, then you should carefully sanitize the area after any workers have left each day.

Need a Professional?

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Masking and Distancing

Ideally, any workers who are in your house will wear a mask or other protection while they are inside. At the same time, you and your family should put a mask on whenever you’re in the same part of the house where work is going on. Additionally, while you should stay away from work areas whenever possible, it’s important to maintain proper social distance from workers when you do have to go into that part of the house. If you need to talk to the contractor or other workers, be sure to do it from at least a 6-foot distance or take the conversation outside if the work is happening in an area where proper distance is difficult to maintain.

Post-Work Cleanup

Once work is wrapped up and the work crew is gone, be sure to check the work area to see if there is any additional cleanup needed. Most if not all of the cleaning should have been done by the workers while wrapping up, but it’s possible that some materials will remain that need to be disposed of. Wear gloves and a mask when handling any packing material or other items that were left behind by the work crew. You should also sanitize the entire work area unless you know for sure that the workers sanitized everything just before they left. While it may seem like extra work, it helps to ensure that there aren’t any contaminated surfaces left behind.

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Finding the Best Contractors

Myself and HomeKeepr is here to help you find the best contractors for the work you need who will respect your desire for safety in the home. Sign up for a free account today and start finding workers based on real recommendations from people you trust.

Shedding Some Light on Sheds

8/20/2020

Shedding Some Light on Sheds

Aug 20, 2020

Maura Callan Bain

There are a lot of reasons that you might want a shed on your property. Maybe you just want some extra storage space. Maybe you need a place to put your mower and gardening tools to keep them out of the weather. You might even want a shed to create a home office or other workspace that won’t require you to rearrange your entire home. Regardless of the reason you might want a shed, there are several options available for getting one.

How Big of a Shed Do You Need?

The first thing that you need to do is figure out just how much space you need for your shed. This will depend largely on what you plan to do with it, as a storage space for a push mower will obviously be smaller than an external office space or kids’ play area. Sheds are available in a wide range of sizes, so take the time to consider your needs and calculate your space requirements (including taking measurements of furniture, equipment or anything else that will take up a good bit of room) to figure out just how big of a shed you’ll actually need.

Building a Shed

One option that might appeal to DIYers is building your own shed. There are a number of plans available which can guide you through the building process or at least to give you a starting point for your own design. Keep in mind that building a shed isn’t for everyone, though; it’s a more complex build than some other around-the-house DIYs, so be prepared for that.

Shed Kits

Whether you’re looking for a slightly easier shed build or are trying to find a way to save a bit of money, shed kits are available that let you build a small shed from pre-made materials. In most cases these kits are for metal sheds, though some kits for sheds made of wood or other materials may be available from some retailers as well. These sheds tend to be on the smaller side and often use thinner materials, but they can go a long way toward meeting your basic storage needs.

Buying a Shed

Whether you need a bigger and sturdier shed or simply don’t have time to build one yourself, pre-constructed sheds are available from a number of hardware stores and other retailers. These sheds vary in size and design, going from basic square sheds to larger barn-like units that even contain loft space. In most cases these sheds are made of wood, though some other materials may be available as well. The price depends heavily on the materials used and the size of the shed, with some models potentially costing a few thousand dollars, but providing a significant amount of storage space or room to convert into an office space or playhouse.

Shed Delivery

For most shed options, having the shed delivered and set up for you is often possible. Delivery can typically be scheduled within a few days of purchase, or in some cases even on the same day. Any special considerations such as having a level area prepared for the shed should be discussed while arranging the delivery. If you want the shed placed on a concrete foundation, that will need to be in place before delivery. Even if you don’t opt for a full foundation, it may be beneficial to have a gravel bed or some other material spread out and ready for the shed to provide a more solid surface and prevent sinking or settling.

Need a Custom Shed?

If your needs aren’t met by kits or pre-constructed units, contractors are available to build a custom shed that meets your exact specifications. HomeKeepr can help you find the right contractor for the job. Sign up for a free account today to get started!

New Smart Home Devices That Will Change Your Life

8/3/2020

New Smart Home Devices That Will Change Your Life

Smart home devices are increasingly popular these days. With automation assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant making device control easy, many homeowners are looking for the perfect devices to pair with them. With so many new devices to choose from, it can be a bit intimidating trying to figure out exactly what you need for your home. To help you out, here are a few items that might fall outside of the usual “must haves” but will completely transform your home for the better.

NVIDIA Shield TV Player

There’s a good chance that you already have a streaming device like a Roku in your home, so why would you need another streaming player? Not only does the NVIDIA Shield have some pretty impressive processing and memory stats, but it’s also compatible with a wide range of devices, and it comes ready to integrate with everything via Google Assistant. You can stream game content using NVIDIA’s GeForce NOW service as well. If that wasn’t enough, it runs Android TV apps so it’s capable of adding streaming channels that may not be available on Roku.

TP-Link Kasa Smart Power Strip

A power strip might seem like an odd choice to add smart capabilities to, but it’s a must if you’re trying to be energy-conscious and reduce your carbon footprint (along with your electric bill). With six individually powered outlets and three USB ports, this smart power strip lets you control what is and isn’t getting power via voice commands through most major digital assistants. That makes it easy to turn plugged-in devices on and off while also letting you monitor energy consumption for each device remotely.

Kohler Moxie Showerhead

Bluetooth speakers are increasingly common these days, and there are already a few models that are designed for use in the bathroom. So what makes this speaker option different? Aside from the showerhead being designed by the fixture pros over at Kohler, the speaker itself is located right in the center of the showerhead, so you don’t have to worry about the sound of your shower overpowering some little speaker elsewhere in the room. The speaker is easy to remove for charging and transport and comes in multiple color options to make customizing the look of your shower that much easier.

Yale Smart Delivery Box

Porch thieves are increasingly a problem as more people order items online. This simple-looking box is designed to take care of that problem, however. When you receive a delivery, the driver simply needs to place the package inside the box and let the lid close. Once closed, the smart lock in the lid engages and no one can open the box until you personally disengage it. There’s even a version of the Smart Delivery Box that allows you to set the lock for multiple uses on days when you’re expecting several packages and need to be able to reset it without collecting your package after each delivery.

Brilliant Control

If you really want to step up your smart home game, consider installing the Brilliant Control. This Alexa-enabled touch controller can control your devices, supports in-home video chats and gives your home a futuristic look because the controller is mounted directly into a wall switch. As you add new devices to your network, you can add icons directly to the Brilliant Control’s display so that you can have direct control over them with a simple touch.

Smarten Up Your Home

While some smart home devices are as easy to set up as plugging them in and setting up an app on your smartphone, others like the Brilliant Control require a bit of wiring knowledge. If you need to get an electrician or smart home expert in to help you set things up, you can depend on HomeKeepr to help you. Sign up for a free account today and connect with the pro who will make your smart home dreams come true.

Title Insurance: What It Is, Why You Need It

7/30/2020

Title Insurance: What It Is, Why You Need It

Buying a home is fraught with all kinds of peril, from home inspections that go terribly awry to negotiations that seem to go on forever and hinge on every little detail. But once you’re through all of that, you’re basically in the clear, right? For some buyers and sellers, maybe not, but title insurance can smooth out the rest of the bumps.

What Is Title Insurance?

There are two types of title insurance: the kind designed for lenders and the kind designed for owners. If you’re buying a home with a mortgage, you’ll automatically have to pay for lender’s title insurance. It protects the bank if things go really haywire. Owner’s title insurance is often optional, but it’ll protect you as a buyer or seller should a title problem appear.

Title insurance starts with a title search, which is performed by an expert in examining titles and other real estate related documents. They comb through the historical records, looking at every transaction for clues that there might be a risk that someone could claim ownership of your current or future property. Usually titles are clean, meaning there’s no significant risk that you’ll be going to court to buy or sell the property, but once in a while there’s a title cloud.

Title clouds can include things like mechanics liens, improperly executed wills and estranged spouses who haven’t signed off on a sale at some point. The point of a title search, basically, is to uncover anyone who might be able to sue for ownership.

How Does Title Insurance Help?

Owner’s title insurance helps in a couple of ways. First, the thorough title search required by the underwriters ensures you absolutely can legally buy and sell the property without any hitches. That’s really important in securing your financial future. Second, the insurance itself helps make the title right if a cloud is discovered later by a different title search.

A few examples of how title insurance can fix a clouded title include:

  • Arranging the purchase of land to make the property whole. In areas where there are lots of older homes and structures that may have been built overlapping adjoining property, it’s not uncommon to see a clouded title involving a small strip of land the owner of the property long believed to be theirs. In these situations, the title insurance can help with the cost associated with suing for title to that strip of land, or buying it from a neighbor, to make the property whole.
  • Covering the expense of collecting the proper signatures and recording documents abandoning ownership rights. Sometimes heirs (or additional owners) are uncovered for properties that have long been thought to be done and dusted. It’s not an everyday thing, but when it happens, it can be very difficult to fix without a lot of help. For example, there might be an estranged spouse who still happens to be legally bound to the property, or a family member who had no idea they inherited part of an estate that was settled without their input.
  • Settling unpaid taxes, liens and other surprise debt. Title clouds aren’t that common, but they do happen, and when they do, unpaid debts are often the problem. That might be a mechanic’s lien that was forgotten about, back taxes that someone who inherited a property weren’t aware of or other sorts of assessments that no one has documentation on. When this happens, the situation will dictate whether the seller of the property has to pay the debt, but it’s the title insurance underwriters’ jobs to make sure that there’s no debt outstanding when a home is bought or sold.

Should You Get Title Insurance?

As with anything in the real estate market, you should consult with your real estate agent, mortgage lender and closing company or attorney before you refuse title insurance, but it can be your decision to reject it in many cases. For a small one-time fee, though, knowing that you’ll be covered should something unexpected crop up during your ownership is a great relief. Create a HomeKeepr account today to find all the home pros you could possibly need to help navigate difficult homeownership obstacles like title insurance with confidence!

Choosing Energy Efficient Windows

7/20/2020

Choosing Energy Efficient Windows

If eyes are the windows to the soul, then surely windows are the eyes of your house, right? Something like that, anyway. When it comes time to replace those windows, it’s important to make a carefully considered decision before pulling the trigger. Today’s modern windows come in a staggering number of designs, made from a lot of different materials, all with different ratings to help you better understand their performance.

Choosing the Best Windows for the Job

The good news is that there’s no one window that’s perfect for your home, so you’ll have plenty of options. There will probably be many different types and styles to choose from, with features that will help you improve your energy efficiency and keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Start by choosing the window style and cladding materials you want. Once you’ve settled on that, you’ll find yourself toe to toe with the NFRC label.

What’s on an NFRC Label?

The NFRC label is a useful sticker developed by the National Fenestration Rating Council to help you better understand what you’re getting from your window purchase. It contains lots of useful information, and if you know how to decode it, you can learn a lot about how your new windows will behave in all kinds of weather.

Here’s what you’ll see on the label:

  • U-Factor. The U-factor tells you how much heat your window will lose when compared to other windows. A lower number means that there’s less heat flow between the glass, with values as low as 0.30 for double-pane windows and 0.15 for triple-pane windows. This measurement is only for non-solar heat flow, so don’t hesitate to go for a low U-factor if your home relies on passive solar for heating.
  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). If you do have a passive solar home, this part of the label is going to be really important for you, because it shows how much solar radiation can pass through the window to be released into your home. A low SHGC rated window transmits a lot less radiation and is better at acting as a shade in the summer. High SHGC windows allow more radiation to pass through the glass, adding more heat to your home. Low SHGCs are excellent for super hot and sun-intense areas like the desert southwest, whereas high SHGCs are perfect for homes that don’t experience intense summer heat but might benefit from the extra heat being transferred indoors in the winter.
  • Visible Transmittance. Do you like lots of indoor light? Most people do, but it’s not perfect for every spot. That’s why windows have options! Visible transmittance refers to how much light visible to the human eye is allowed to pass into interior spaces. This rating ranges from 0 to 1, with 0 transmitting the least amount of light and 1 transmitting the most.
  • Air Leakage. Drafty windows are almost a feature of older homes with older windows, but they don’t have to be with tightly designed, properly installed new windows. A higher number indicates more air leakage, a lower one means less. This number is based on the windows being installed correctly, which is sometimes difficult for a homeowner to do on their own, so be sure to ask for advice to get the most value from your purchase.
  • Condensation Resistance. Condensation forms on a window when moist air hits window glass that’s significantly cooler. A high number tells you that your new windows are highly resistant to condensation. Although condensation is mainly a cosmetic issue, it can lead to longer term problems. So if that’s a major problem where you live, you’ll want to give this part of the label careful consideration.

What If I Need Help With My Windows?

Whether you just want to purchase windows or are looking for a pro to handle the entire job, you’re in luck! HomeKeepr is a community packed with people who can help you. From window distributors to installers and general contractors, the window experts you need are just a click away. Why not ask your real estate agent for a recommendation to help get your window journey started?

Accentuate the Positives: Highlight Your Home’s Best Features

7/18/2020

Accentuate the Positives: Highlight Your Home’s Best Features

Your home’s a looker, so why aren’t you doing all you can to point all the attention at its best features? Maybe you’re afraid that drawing so much attention to the details will leave your friends jealous, or maybe you just need some ideas for how to make those interesting details even more obvious. Either way, there are plenty of tricks you can use to accentuate the positives in your home.

Painting to Perfection

Paint is just one way to make your home’s best features shine, and there are all kinds of methods to make this happen. You don’t have to be a professional painter to get a lot of mileage out of some basic attention-getting paintwork, though hiring a pro can certainly help you get exactly the effect you’ve got in mind.

One easy way to catch the eye is to paint an accent wall, a wall or a section of a wall that’s a different color than the rest of the paint in a room. The accent wall’s location and color will really affect how well it does its job, but if you have a wall with a feature you want people to look at, it’s safe to assume that would make a good accent wall. In addition, painting the inside of a bookcase or alcove a different color than the main wall color can also get serious looks.

Another way to make paint an absolute neon sign is to use it to draw out the details in interior or exterior trim. If your millwork is relatively simple, a basic white can really grab attention. If there’s extra fancy trim involved, try using different colors to offset the trim’s different levels of detail.

Light It Up!

There’s no easier way to highlight something specific than by putting an actual spotlight on it. Got a great mantlepiece? Point a spotlight on it so you can really draw attention to it, especially after dark. Spotlights are great for art, murals, alcoves and other good features in your home. Just be aware of their location and proximity to things like windows that might make a spotlight a little less wow.

You could also install other accent lighting, such as LED strips, on the underside of a floating cabinet, around a particularly interesting mirror or trim piece or within a cutout in your room. This can bring a little more focus on the things you’re doing with that space. When in doubt, light it out… err… up.

Make Some Space

It may sound simple, but one of the best ways to draw attention to the great stuff in your house is to get rid of a bunch of other stuff in your house. When you have too many interesting things in one room, it gets visually overwhelming quickly! So instead of storing all your collectables in one exceptional built-in, for example, just pick a few of your best to display so you leave plenty of negative space for contrast.

Eliminating bulky furniture, excess accent pieces and even pictures can also help the eye move to the architectural details. There’s a lot to be said for decluttering if you really want your house to stand out. Keep pieces that mimic or have features or styling in common with what you want to accent, and move out those that seem to clash with the details in question.

Need a Little Help Finding the Positives?

Not everybody has an eye for details, but some people do it every day. If you’re struggling to figure out how to really put a point on the hand carved details in your woodwork or aren’t sure which wall should be your accent wall, you’re not alone. Log into HomeKeepr for help locating the best painters, interior designers and other home pros in your area.

Is It Time to Build an Indoor Play Space?

7/1/2020

Is It Time to Build an Indoor Play Space?

Play is important for kids. It’s especially important for kids to have active play as a part of their routines, since it builds imagination, physical coordination and other important developmental skills. Unfortunately, not everyone lives in places that are well suited for outdoor active play. Small yards, a lack of easy access to public playgrounds and excessively high summer temperatures can all lead to kids spending a lot more time inside than they would otherwise.

If your kids need more play in their lives and need an option that doesn’t involve going outside, it might be time to consider an indoor play space. Not only will this enable your kids to play regardless of the weather or other outside conditions, but it can also net you some serious “cool parent” points once it’s finished. There are a lot of possibilities for how you might tackle an indoor play space, of course, so here are a few ideas to get you started.

Climbing the Walls… Literally

There are many ways that you can add climbing options to an indoor play space. Climbing ropes, rock climbing wall units and even “trees” that are designed for climbing can help your kids have fun and burn off some of their pent-up energy. If you don’t want to go for one of these options, you could even add a smaller jungle gym or similar play structure. Regardless of what sort of climbing option you choose, the key to all of this is making sure that they are securely mounted so that nothing can come loose during a play session. Some added padding on the floor is also a good idea to help absorb any impacts in case your climbers decide to jump down instead of climbing all the way.

Bounce Around

Another fun option for bringing the outdoors inside is to place a small trampoline inside the play area. There’s a little more to this than simply putting a trampoline together, of course; the trampoline will need to be secured and it should have netting and other protective gear installed to prevent injuries during play. The end result offers a lot of fun, though. Just make sure that you choose a trampoline unit that’s small enough to easily fit indoors but big enough that your kid can actually bounce around inside of it. Most likely you’ll want to get a 6-foot or 8-foot trampoline at most.

Bringing the Outdoors Inside

There are a number of ways that you can bring elements of the outside indoors for the play area you build. You can create an indoor “treehouse” that captures the look and feel of outdoor play within an enclosed room. You could also add artificial grass in place of carpeting to give some or all of the room more of a feeling of being outside. Creative paint and lighting can make the room more fun while replicating some of the feel of playing under a bright blue sky, and adding multiple or large windows can let in some natural sunlight as well. You could even add popular outdoor options such as a sandbox to give even more ways to play; just make sure that you have a plan in place to clean up spilled sand.

Open the Imagination

You don’t have to dedicate a child’s play room to a single play option or theme. You could have multiple stations within the room including a block table, a play kitchen, car seats, an “outdoor” area and more. You could even forego some of these formal stations and simply provide ample space for play and extra storage to keep it organized. You know your kids, so design the play space that will fit them and their preferences the best.

Bringing It Indoors

From updating outlets for safety to adding custom construction or storage, there is a lot of work that you might need when designing an indoor play space. Fortunately, HomeKeepr is exactly what you need to find the contractors who will get the job done. Sign up for a free account today to connect with construction contractors, electricians and anyone else you might need to help make this dream come true for your kids.

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