Pull-outs Create an Inexpensive Upgrade

Sometimes it’s the small changes that can transform the functionality of a kitchen. When your cabinets are organized and easily accessible, you can save both space and time. One amenity found in most modern kitchens is pull-out cabinet shelves. No more hunting for and retrieving items formerly lost in the back recesses of cabinets.
Almost any cabinet can be retrofitted with pull-out cabinetry shelving to create a high-end upgrade that’s easy on the budget, saving homeowners thousands of dollars by keeping the existing kitchen cabinets. The exteriors can be refinished and the inside repurposed to be a more efficient use of space.
Cabinets were originally designed to store the essential items used in the daily preparation of meals. Over time, kitchen gadgets became more plentiful, and shelves became repositories for smaller, once-a-year appliances, such as bread machines, pasta makers, coffee bean grinders, and so on.
To make items in the cabinets more accessible – if not more in demand — many homeowners have retrofitted cabinets with pull-out shelving and other custom features.
In general, most cabinets can be upgraded by removing the existing adjustable shelves and installing pull-out shelving. Most pull-outs come with gliding hardware and can hold up to 100 pounds.
Pull—out shelving is also being used in bathrooms, linen closets, laundry rooms, offices and workshops. Prices will vary, depending on size, style and material used for the project. Wire baskets can be priced as low as $15 to $20 per basket. In an average-size kitchen, solid wood pull—outs range between $500 and $750, plus installation.
But more and more homeowners are making the investment. Not only do pull-outs drastically reduce back aches, the number of items forever lost at the back of the cabinet is eliminated.


Model Home Tips Reduce Selling Time

What do model homes have that an occupied home doesn’t have? A lack of clutter ranks high on the list. When it comes to selling a home, applying “model home” techniques can lead to quicker sale and possibly a higher selling price.
Scientists consider sight to be the fastest—acting and most powerful sense, with eyes taking in around 10 million pieces of information every second. With our eyes capable of assimilating so much information in a short time, the visual “first impression” of a home is critical. A house on the market must look appealing from every angle, and getting that “model home” look on the inside takes planning and care.
Since the inside of the home is likely to have the greatest impact on a buying decision, performing a walk-through from the buyer’s perspective is important. A walk-through will provide ideas for highlighting the homes’ strengths, as well as indicate areas that need improvement. If there are repairs that need to be made, such as wall or window cracks, they need to be attended to first. Fresh paint should also be applied, with warm, earthy colors working well on most walls. Accents of deeper, brighter colors can be introduced and used sparingly on outside doors and accessories. Decisions about replacing floor coverings can be made, and new carpeting or tile can be added inexpensively for a look that says “move—in ready.”
Sellers may also want to consider investing in a professional cleaning service before listing a home. According to one national survey done in 2011, a $290 cleaning investment gave an approximate $2,000 price increase. Spotless floor and window surfaces make the interior of the home shine.
Next, the home should be mercilessly de—cluttered. As many personal items as possible should be removed, to be replaced by items that are few, simple and classic. Personal items that need to remain must be organized, bundled and relegated to a small area in a drawer or cabinet.
The strategic placement of furnishings in every room will lead to a feeling of roominess throughout. For example, smaller couches or a pair of love seats can open up a living room that was filled with overstuffed sofas and chairs. The sparing use of artwork on the walls will also draw attention upwards and add a feeling of depth to a room.
When it comes to sound, barking dogs should be neither seen nor heard. Hearing is second only to sight in terms of speed, with ears processing one million pieces of information every second. If outside sounds, such as loud street noise, are distracting, windows should be kept shut and a low, pleasing sound track considered.
Our sense of smell is often linked to memory or emotion, so unpleasant smells in a home need to be eliminated. A thorough cleaning can help, but smells that are left behind should not be medicinal or chemical. Scent diffusers can provide a light, pleasant overlay of scent, but overpowering candles or room- fresheners should be avoided. If smoking or pet odors persist, drapes and carpets should be dry cleaned or steam cleaned.
The potential buyer’s sense of touch will be engaged when they open doors, drawers and cabinets. Eliminating squeaks and creaks, and tightening doorknobs and cabinet pulls will give a home a solid, maintained feel.
Yard and landscaping should also be reviewed, with more buyers focusing attention on outdoor living space. Landscaping should be maintained according to the season, with some colorful annuals added if possible, along with filled planters or other ornamental accents. Lawns should be groomed, shrubs trimmed and dead or dying trees or bushes removed.
One of the last things many sellers consider is signage, but it can make a difference. Having large, identifiable address numbers on a home will make it easy for buyers to find. And small, discrete signs inside, alerting buyers to features they might not otherwise notice, such as remote—control window coverings, may provide all the help a buyer needs to say yes.


Looks Like Wood, Wears Like Tile

What looks like wood, but cleans up like ceramic tile? Wood tile, of course. For decades, homeowners have chosen wood floors over other coverings, including carpeting, because of the rich look of wood, as well as its durability and ease of care. With the availability of wood-look ceramic tile, however, some homeowners are making another transition, and incorporating this new tile design into many areas throughout the home.
What are some of the advantages of wood-look tile? Just as ceramic floors can stand up to heavy traffic, so do wood-look tiles. These tiles are resistant to fire, moisture, stains and are almost immune to damage from shoes, high heels, dropped pots or pets.
Because of their ability to stand up to moisture, homeowners who are interested in experimenting often begin by adding tiles in kitchens or bathrooms. But as the tiles become more sophisticated-looking, designers and residents are choosing them for living rooms and great rooms as well, in part because of the many varieties of styles and colors now available.
Wood—look ceramic “planks” can be purchased in widths of 6, 8, 12 inches or more, simulating wide-plank wood floors. Colors and grains abound, and tiles are made to emulate almost every type of wood, including chestnut, maple, oak, mahogany and teak. Some tiles even come with an aged or “distressed” look to create an old-fashioned style. Other tiles can create a sleek and contemporary feel with the use of tiles that look like narrow wood strips in dark colors. The tiles can be placed in fashion similar to traditional hardwood flooring patterns or can be used to create unique patterns of color and design.
In almost all cases, “wood” ceramic tile is less expensive than hardwood flooring. There is a range of pricing, but tiles can be purchased from under $2 a square foot to $7 per square foot. As with other tile, it is a good idea to purchase extra tiles when laying out a floor, for use in case of errors or mishaps. These tiles can be found in home improvement stores as well as on—line.
The choice of grouts is an important consideration to make sure wood-look tiles appear natural-looking. While some installers have suggested that these tiles can be laid without grout, most professionals disagree, noting that no matter how tight the tiles butt up against each other, there is always the opportunity for dirt, debris and water to enter between them.
To keep grout lines to a minimum, allowing for the most natural look, any grout purchased should be fine-sanded grout.
When it comes to installation, some homeowners prefer the do—it—yourself method, while others prefer to have the tiles professionally installed. A tile-cutter is an essential tool for the project, but anyone who has laid ceramic tile in the past will have little difficulty laying wood-look ceramic tile.
In addition to kitchen and bathroom floors, homeowners are also finding use for these tiles on the walls, especially in shower stalls and bathroom enclosures.