10 Landscaping Mistakes to Avoid

With winter comes hope and optimism that if you put the effort into it, you’ll have a beautiful yard come spring.  And you should, if you shun the following design blunders.


Lush Landscape


1. Plant Only Evergreens: We all like green. After all, that’s the color of money. But in your landscaping, it gets tedious. Shop for perennials that bloom in different seasons to add pops of color to your garden and shower the garden with different textures.

2. Dismiss a Basic Color Scheme: Experts suggest including just three harmonizing colors in your landscape instead of going for the rainbow effect.

3. Let Hedges Go: When these bushes hide your home and block the view through the windows, you need to prune or even remove the hedge.

4. Sow Invasive Species: People don’t always know they’ve planted invasive species because some retailers actually sell them. Do your own due diligence by searching on the internet for invasive plants in your area before going shopping.

5. Plant Too Much: Don’t crowd your landscaping by including too many trees and plants. Remember most of them grow out as well as up, so allow for that. When you squeeze plants in too close together, they have to fight for sunlight, water and nutrients and not everyone will make it.

6. Over or Under Fertilizing the Lawn: Giving your grass too much nourishment burns it, while not enough fertilizer also damages your lawn. Find out which products protect and preserve and then adhere to a regular feeding schedule.

7. Countless Pots and Yard Décor: Items that don’t come from nature like signs, statues and decorative pots can easily overwhelm a yard. You want the focus to be live plants and grass and decorations to just be an accent.

8. Not Limiting Hardscaping Materials: Bricks, pavers and stones should complement your house, front door and roof. Hardscapes also need to emphasize the growth in your yard, not overshadow it.

9. Ignoring Your Zone: Not all plants grow well in all locations. Everyone lives in their own hardiness zone. Don’t be tempted by photos in catalogs or on the Internet to buy flowers or seeds that won’t survive your climate.

10. Allow Weeds to Run Wild: Stop these pests before they germinate if you can by applying a pre-emergent. Otherwise, pull them so they don’t take water and food away from the good vegetation.


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10 Landscaping Mistakes to Avoid was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

Designers We Adore: Our Conversation with Live Simply

Live SimplyA bona fide professional organizer and simplified living expert, Annie Traurig’s Live Simply blog and business teach the importance of clarifying priorities, acting with intention, and creating a space for beauty, laughter, and ease. We sat down with Annie to chat about the importance of creating balance, how to live simply, and the biggest mistake she sees people make when organizing their homes.

Describe your design style for us in three words:
Fresh, Light, and Simplified (had to).

Sounds like our idea of a perfect space! How have you incorporated your design style into your own home?
My living room/office is a space I love to spend time in and is an area I think best encapsulates the ‘Live Simply’ methodology: each and every piece, from the custom-finish sofa to the titles on my bookcase and the few carefully selected antique or new décor items, are ones that have been chosen with the utmost intention. They are items whose presence makes me happy and whose functionality keeps me focused and efficient. And since the desk area is Live Simply HQ, you know it’s uber organized.

Staying focused and efficient can be tough, especially in a small space. How do you come up with unique and creative ways to stay organized?
My work with my clients causes me to continually rethink systems, strategies, and products. What works for one client may not work for another. Coming up with those individually tailored solutions is the challenge that keeps me on my game.

With having to be creative and tailor solutions to each client, what would you say has been your favorite project to-date?
My work brings me so much joy and fulfillment that choosing a favorite is like choosing from children. I would say it’s much less about the stuff than it is about the people; my favorite projects have been the ones with clients who are massively positive, motivated, and open to change. The transformations I’ve been able to achieve with those kinds of people blow us both away, I think.

Live Simply


Live Simply

If you could swap houses with any other blogger or designer, who would you choose and why?
Here’s me flunking this answer: I wouldn’t swap with anyone. To live simply is to love, need and benefit from exactly what you have, and trust that whatever you need or really want in the future you’ll be able to obtain. I wouldn’t want anything I didn’t expressly choose or seek out that would help me be my best self. That said, I adore the work of Jillian Harris, The Cross Interior Design, and Leo Parrella to name just a few; my buds Katie Hackworth of H2H Design + Build here in Seattle, as well as Leah Steen are both crazy talented ladies whose work I am always in awe of.

We understand that for a lot of people, ongoing organization can be incredibly overwhelming. What is the most common mistake you see people make when they try to organize their home?
I would say that the most common mistake people make is simply not making the time for organizing and editing and not calling in the appropriate resources to make it happen. Too many people live with disorder and chaos for far too long before they finally (if at all) decide to make turning their space into their sanctuary a priority. It does take time, but I can tell you that the longer you postpone the process of implementing the necessary systems, clarifying your priorities, and editing your belongings, the longer it will take.

Clients must be so grateful to have an expert like you come in and help with the process. What’s the best note or comment you’ve received from a client or blog reader?
When anyone, reader or client, tells you that your work has changed their life for the better—nothing tops that. When they tell me I caused them to see their stuff and space in a whole new light, and, mostly, when they tell me that I am responsible for their life being simpler, easier, and more joyful, I feel my purpose being put to use and my life being of real worth. And I’m pretty sure that’s like, the ultimate feeling around here.

Live Simply

Let’s talk about your dream space. If you could purchase any home from Redfin.com, which would you choose and why?
Zooey Deschanel’s digs are calling out to me. That screened-in porch area? The marble-trimmed tub? The dining room, alone! Tiles to die for, a window seat, and a dose of strong, classic color, all in one room? Somebody snatch it up!


Looks like you aren’t the only one who loved Zooey’s digs — somebody took your advice and DID snatch up the home just a couple of weeks ago. Speaking of home buying, what’s the one piece of advice you’d give to someone who just purchased their first home?
I know the desire to have everything put away and ‘be moved in already!’ is there and it’s so strong, but resist hurried shoving! Where it lands, it will likely stay (for decades; trust me!) and so you want to make sure you really take the time to think about what and where and how you’re putting things. A first home is a fresh start and a new beginning. Commit to living a simplified, organized life and it will be a pattern that sustains itself, whether it’s your first house or your fifth.

Live Simply

Have a design or organization question for Live Simply by Annie? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, G+ or in the comments below!

The post Designers We Adore: Our Conversation with Live Simply appeared first on Redfin Real Estate Blog.

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Designers We Adore: Our Conversation with Live Simply was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

“Where Should I Keep My…?”: Solving the Ultimate Small Space Dilemmas

When you’re renting, square footage is something to be savored, not squandered. It’s hard enough finding a home for your everyday must-haves, let alone bulky, infrequently used, or offseason items like snowshoes,  pool toys, and holiday decorations.

Whatever your hobby or collection, there’s an organizational hack to help you store it. Here are some clever storage tricks for six of the toughest, bulkiest space-takers you may own.

Offseason wardrobe

Tuck those bulky winter sweaters (or shorts and flip-flops) in plastic bins under your bed. If your bed’s too close to the ground, lift it up with sturdy wood blocks. Even a few extra inches create enough space for a sizable storage container.

If elevating the bed isn’t an option, maximize your closet space with a few sets of cascading hangers. Put blouses on one set and T-shirts on another, and you’ll most likely double your closet space.

Extra linens

Extra pillows, comforters, and bedsheets are great for guests, but not so great for your small space. Try vacuum storage bags – stack your items inside, and use your vacuum cleaner to remove the air. Your items will shrink significantly so you can store them under your bed or on a shelf.

Shoe collection

A burgeoning shoe collection can take on a life of its own if not properly corralled. Take it back to dorm-room days with an over-the-door shoe organizer. These college favorites are popular for a reason – they store a dozen pairs of shoes or more, plus scarves, baseball caps, belts, and chunky necklaces.


Bikes can be one of the most difficult belongings to stash, especially if you don’t have a deck or basement. Try installing a strong hook in the wall, and hang your bike by the front tire. Pro: It’s a great way to get the bike off the floor. Con: It still protrudes into the room.

For a less invasive option, hang your bike flush against the wall – like you’re hanging a piece of art. The hardware can be as simple as two wooden dowels that support the bike’s horizontal bar. )(Just make sure you anchor the supports in the wall’s studs so they can hold the weight.)

Exercise equipment

An inflatable exercise ball is a great workout aid – and a real space suck. You could always deflate it, but the hassle probably isn’t worth it. So, why not get creative and make it a usable piece of furniture?

Repurpose medium or large exercise balls as dining room chairs, and store them under the dining table when you’re done.

No room for a dining table? The bike trick applies here, too. Install a couple of dowels high up on the wall, and set the ball there until you’re ready for a crunch session.

Decorations and keepsakes

Have a collection of things you just can’t get rid of? Maybe old photo albums, holiday decorations, or crafting supplies? Strategically placed shelves are your storage lifesaver when seeking space for infrequently used items.

There’s often a wealth of unused space above and behind your hung clothing in bedroom and hallway closets. While shelves in these locations may require a footstool or flashlight to access, it won’t matter if you only need the items a few times a year.

Top photo from Zillow listing.


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“Where Should I Keep My…?”: Solving the Ultimate Small Space Dilemmas was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

3 Design Tricks That Will Make Your Small Space Feel Big

Do you have a small space in your home that you’re unsure what to do with? Or is your cramped apartment forcing you to be creative in your living arrangements? You’re not alone.

Make your small room or living area fit your needs with clever solutions that will streamline your life and maximize your space.

Paint can work wonders

Choosing the right paint color for your small room can instantly give the impression of more space or emphasize it’s cozy feel. Traditional neutrals like whites, creams and light grays are a great choice because they provide a clean and streamlined look, while making the room feel brighter and more expansive.

Painting the ceiling white to draw the eye upward is an easy way to create visual openness overhead. You’ll have an airy and inviting space in no time.

paint it white
Courtesy of Orlando Soria.

Conversely, if you want to play up the small space vibe even more, go bold with dark colors. It’s a fun and unique design choice to emphasize the smallness of a room by making a cozy den-like atmosphere with colors like black, dark gray and navy.

paint it black
Courtesy of Allison Lind.

Whether you decide to go light or dark, adding paint to your small space will help you get the effect you are going for in a quick and budget-friendly way.

Savvy storage

With tight spaces, there isn’t always room for all the storage needed for belongings, clothing, office supplies and more. By incorporating creative and flexible storage solutions, you can easily keep clutter out of sight, while still keeping everything you need handy.

For example, the kitchen is a great place to implement clever storage. Roll-away islands and pantries create an adjustable cooking area to fit your needs.

kitchen storage
Courtesy of Sandra Bird.

Add storage by using the space beneath your cabinets for hanging spices or wine glasses, and attaching holders to the backs of cabinet doors to keep foil and cleaning supplies neatly out of sight.

Don’t forget about uncommon spaces like ceilings for hanging items like bicycles out of the way, or adding shelving high up in closets for rarely used items.

Multi-tasking furniture

When you have limited floor space, it’s important to make your furniture work double duty. Choose pieces that have hidden storage and multiple functions, or can be compacted and stored when not in use.

Photo from Zillow listing.

If you can’t fit a dresser in your bedroom, try using drawers or crates under the bed for clothing and extra linens. A pouf or leather ottoman can easily transition from a seat to a footrest or side table.

Add function to your entryway by employing a bench with storage inside to hide extra shoes, gloves, and scarves. And if you have wall space to spare, hang a fold-down dining table.

folding table
Photo from Zillow listing.

Using modular pieces that can serve different purposes or fold out of the way frees up room to make your space comfortable and livable for you and your guests.

Limited square footage doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice function and style. Small space living is a great way to lead a simplified and streamlined life. With creative thinking, you can go from a cluttered, cramped mess to an organized and inviting space with room for all.

Top image from Zillow listing.


Originally published August 19, 2015.

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3 Design Tricks That Will Make Your Small Space Feel Big was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

Designers We Adore: Our Conversation with DIY Huntress

DIY HuntressA PhD student by day and decor enthusiast by night, Sam Raimondi of DIY Huntress knows exactly what it takes to be creative and design-savvy on a DIY budget. We sat down with Sam to get her thoughts on design trends, the celebrity she wishes would follow her on Instagram, and the number one piece of advice she would give to a new homebuyer.

Describe your design style for us in three words:
My design style can be summed up as an eclectic lovechild of modern, rustic, and comfort.

Love it! What about your favorite room in your house?
While it isn’t necessarily a “room,” per say, my outdoor living space in my backyard is hands down my favorite room in my home. My backyard serves as a multipurpose area; it’s a yoga zen garden, puppy playpen, BBQ dream spot, and a space for me to create and build new projects.

Speaking of creating and building new projects, how do you find inspiration and continuously come up with so many new ideas?
I am often inspired by things I see in stores or on TV. I love seeing things I can’t afford and saying, “I can make that!”, and it’s even more fun to tell people later, “I made that!” It’s so rewarding to create your own projects. The more you create, the easier it is to become inspired by everyday occurrences.

It sounds like you always have something in the works! After creating so many different things, what would you say has been your favorite DIY project to-date? 
I’m a PhD student on a tight budget, so I love affordable, easy projects. I recently created these succulent planters from an old pallet I had laying around, which was so much fun to create and it was FREE! I get to stare at my cute succulents every day now.

DIY Huntress

We love that you took something old and made it new again! Speaking of upcycling and refreshing things from the past, are there any design trends from the last few decades that you think will come back in style?
Well, we already have the modern 60s furniture back in style, the eclectic patterns from the 70s, and open concept trends from the 80s, so I wouldn’t be surprised if some 90s themes such as floral patterns and damask walls start making a comeback.

DIY Huntress

Floral patterns and damask walls – you heard it here first! If you could swap houses with any other blogger or designer, who would you choose and why?
Hands down, Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s “Fixer Upper.” Have you seen that home!? My goodness. It’s cozy and rustic, but also feels clean and modern. I would never leave my home if I lived there!

DIY Huntress

Just like Chip and Joanna, we know you have some big fans, too! What’s the best note or comment you’ve received from a reader?
The best notes I’ve received from readers are the projects that are hashtagged with #diyhuntress or shared with me via email and social media. The best compliment I can get is knowing that my projects are inspiring other people to go out there and make things on their own! I love seeing the ways in which my readers put their own creative spin on my project tutorials (especially when they swear they aren’t creative!).


Okay, let’s fangirl out for a minute. Name one person or celebrity who you wish followed you on Instagram:
Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters is my main man. He’s a no nonsense, talented, and chill dude with a passion for spreading his artwork and making it easily accessible to the masses. What’s not to like about him!?

If you could purchase any home currently on the market from Redfin, which would you choose and why?
As we always hear, location is important when buying a home. My boyfriend was born and raised in Montauk, New York. When we met almost seven years ago, he introduced me to the town and it was love at first sight. If we’re talking specifics, there are homes listed on Redfin in Montauk that are beach-chic and cozy. This is the type of home I would love to see myself living in!

Montauk real estate

What’s the number one piece of advice you would give to someone who just purchased their first home?
I always think it’s important to remind people that a starter home doesn’t need to look like it’s straight out of an HGTV magazine—take time to find the things you want to change about the home to make it feel like it’s yours! Start small; update the paint, refinish the floors, replace that old backsplash with a new tile backsplash. Little projects go a long way! Before you know it, your home will be yours and you’ll be even more proud to call it yours because YOU were the one who did all of the work!

DIY Huntress

Have a design or DIY question for Sam of DIY Huntress? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, G+ or in the comments below!

The post Designers We Adore: Our Conversation with DIY Huntress appeared first on Redfin Real Estate Blog.

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Designers We Adore: Our Conversation with DIY Huntress was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

Plan Now to Cash In on Homeowner Tax Benefits Next Year

In the rush to file taxes each year, many homeowners are more focused on meeting the deadline than understanding their deductions — especially if it’s their first year as a homeowner.

Now that this year’s tax deadline has passed and you have some time to think, here are some tips on fine-tuning your strategy for next year.

Defining homeowner tax deductions

A tax deduction reduces your taxable income so you pay tax on less income. If you own your primary residence, the IRS allows you to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes you paid throughout the year for which you’re filing.

This deduction happens on Schedule A of your IRS tax returns. You then carry this deduction over to the front of your tax return, which is called Form 1040, and subtract the deduction from your gross income to arrive at a new, lower income, which you’re actually taxed on.

Simply put: Being taxed on income that’s been reduced by deductions means you pay less taxes.

Exactly what can I deduct as a homeowner?

Your property taxes are deducted from your income using line 6 of Schedule A, and this can include all property taxes paid during the filing year.

If your mortgage payments include your real estate taxes, you can deduct only the amount your lender actually paid to your county assessor that year (rather than the amount your lender collected from you to pay taxes).

If you bought the home in the year for which you’re filing, your line 6 deduction can also include any pro-rated property taxes you paid on your final closing statement, so keep that statement in your tax files.

Your mortgage interest is deducted from your income using lines 10 and 11 of Schedule A. Line 10 is to deduct mortgage interest paid to your lender, who will send you a 1098 form showing how much mortgage interest you paid them during the tax year. Think of a 1098 like a W2, but instead of showing how much you made, it shows how much mortgage interest you paid. If you refinanced from one lender to another during the year, you’ll get 1098 forms from each of them, and can deduct interest paid on both.

If you bought the home in the year for which you’re filing, your line 10 deduction can also include any pro-rated mortgage interest, “discount” fees, or “origination” fees you paid on your final closing statement, so keep that statement in your tax files, too.

Line 11 is to deduct mortgage interest paid to a private lender that didn’t issue a 1098. In these cases, the IRS requires you to write that recipient’s identifying number and address on the dotted lines next to line 11. If the recipient is an individual, the identifying number is their social security number. If it’s an entity, it’s their employer identification number.

What does my tax benefit look like after deductions?

Suppose you were a single home buyer earning $ 90,000 per year and buying a $ 300,000 home with 20 percent down using a 30-year fixed rate of 3.75 percent.

This would give you a total housing payment of $ 1,478, which is comprised of $ 1,111 mortgage payment, $ 300 property taxes, and $ 67 insurance. A full year of mortgage interest would be about $ 9,000, and a full year of property tax would be about $ 3,600. These two deductions reduce your taxable income by about $ 12,600.

To quickly calculate your estimated tax savings, you can multiply $ 12,600 by your estimated tax rate of about 28 percent. The result is $ 3,528, meaning you’ll pay about this much less in taxes because of your homeowner deductions.

If you convert this to a monthly figure of $ 294 and subtract it from your total housing payment of $ 1,478, it reduces your after-tax housing cost to $ 1,184.

These are only illustrative estimates. You should consult a tax professional for precise figures specific to your situation.

Will mortgage interest deductions be eliminated soon?

Every year, politicians debate the relevance of homeowner tax deductions, and the most recent is a bill introduced in March 2015 to reduce the benefits of the mortgage interest deduction.

There is no timeline for the fate of this bill, and unless the tax code changes, it’s best to focus on current rules for mortgage interest deductions.


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Plan Now to Cash In on Homeowner Tax Benefits Next Year was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

5 Real Estate Safety Tips For Home Sellers

by Joe Manausa 

If you are planning on putting your home up for sale, whether on your own as a “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO), or through the services of a professional real estate broker, I encourage you to consider the issue of safety.

When I entered the real estate industry 24 years ago, this was just not an issue. Perhaps I was young (and in shape), but I just don’t think criminals had targeted homes,  home sellers, and real estate agents.

But you just can’t avoid the reports that you see nationally. Real estate agents meeting “buyers” alone at otherwise un-occupied homes have resulted in rapes, murders, theft, and vandalism. In today’s real estate market where values have declined and there is not as much equity in a home, it’s like adding insult to injury (or actually vice-versa) to add a horrific crime to an already difficult situation.

Fortunately, there are some steps a home seller can take to reduce the chances of harm to themselves or their property when they decide to sell their home.

Real Estate Safety Tips

  1. real-estate-safetyUnderstand The Plan – You can minimalize risk by understanding the plan. Identify who will be responsible for showing the home (you, your agent, the buyer’s agent) and how they will obtain access. DO NOT USE A HIDE-A-KEY or even a combination lock-box, as you have no idea who ultimately knows the code. Personally, I wouldn’t want the combination to my front door known beyond my immediate family members.
  2. Put Your Home On A Schedule – Whether you go it alone and sell your house “For Sale By Owner” or you hire a real estate company to sell your home, you should understand the plan for access to your home. On the one hand, you need to make access as easy as possible so that you can get buyers to see your home (when their schedules allow), but on the other hand, do not make it as simple as “just stopping by.” There must be a controlled access plan to reduce the risk of somebody taking advantage of your desire to sell your home.
  3. Secure Valuables And Drugs – I know of two stories (and several rumors) of real estate agents in Tallahassee who have stolen prescription medication from homes during an open house or showings. Now add to that all the stories I have not heard about prospective buyers doing the same and you can see this is not an infrequent occurrence. I suspect that theft occurs daily in real estate showings around the Country, so a homeowner needs to take basic precautions when the home hits the market. Secure your valuables, and secure your prescription medications. If strangers are going to be in your home, make sure it is secure.
  4. Control Access To Your Home – Joe Manausa Real Estate considers personal safety an important issue. There have been too many stories of single agents being raped, robbed, and even murdered after they agreed to meet unknown prospective home buyers at properties. Our policy is to meet all prospective buyers first at our office in order to get to know them and to identify them to our office staff before leaving the office. If you are a homeowner selling alone, you need to consider personal safety too when you develop your home selling plan. Will you let just anybody knock on the door and come in? Big Mistake (and not just because of safety). We know that open houses produce less than 1% of home sales in the US (where the buyer of a specific home was found through an open house of that same home). That means that somebody knocking on your door has less than a 1% likelihood of buying it, so do you really want to let them in? Good real estate agents qualify buyers before taking them to your home, shouldn’t you do the same? My advice, don’t let your desire to sell your home cloud your judgment on who should obtain access.
  5. Never Show Your Home Alone – Real estate agents work alone with buyers all the time. But we have a system that reduces most of the risk (as mentioned above about meeting buyers first at our office). Unless you personally know the person asking to see your home, make sure you qualify them first, and then schedule them to see your home when you and somebody else will be there. If you are single, get a friend to help you. If you live with somebody else, make sure two or more people are there to receive any visit or showing of somebody who is unknown to you. Don’t let them stroll through the house alone, rather guide them through the home and ask them questions (this will also help promote a sale of your property).

It is sad that we have evolved to a point where an article like this is needed, but please heed my advice. You can sell your home and for the most part “enjoy the process,” but a little preparation is necessary. If you would like to know more about selling a home, I have prepared a resource page on the Tallahassee real estate website. It contains 51 different articles on selling a home, and you can find it at the following link:The Definitive Resource On How To Sell A House

Joe Manausa, MBA is a 24 year veteran of real estate brokerage in the State of Florida and has owned and managed his own company since 1992. He is a daily blogger with content that focuses on real estate analytics and providing his clients with a tactical advantage in today’s challenging market.

5 Real Estate Safety Tips For Home Sellers was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

8 Budget-Friendly Farmhouses For Sale

A farmhouse occupies a special place in the American psyche. The word alone conjures up images of a simpler time — well before screens, sprawl, lengthy commutes, and the general stress of modern life took over. A time, perhaps, when an old-fashioned apple pie was a treat and not something your Paleo friends would avoid like the plague.

While we might be far from those halcyon days, there’s something inherently appealing about classic farmhouses. These eight affordable homes for sale in Luzerne, PA, Wisdom, MT, and other bucolic settings have captured our hearts and imaginations.

farm houses for sale in Luzerne, PA

Fields of dreams: $ 275,000, 229 Thompson 1 Road, Luzerne, PA 18709

Rolling hills create a beautiful backdrop for this hobby farm. The four-bedroom home has down-to-earth curb appeal (if there was a curb to be found on the 14-acre property), with solid brick construction and a modest porch. You’d never guess from the unassuming exterior that inside you’d find such incredible features as a grand staircase, wide-planked floors, and exposed beams. In addition to this endearing residence, you’ll get a bonus milk house and a large equipment building.

farmhouses for sale in Edinboro PA

Country charm: $ 275,000, 8520 Pageville Road, Edinboro, PA 16412

Built in 1849, this four-bedroom home looks as if it came from the pages of an old-fashioned storybook. The exterior is accented with timeless dark green shutters, a roomy porch, and wide front steps. Around the incredibly expansive grounds — it totals 44.17 acres — you’ll find a beautiful, rustic 12-stall barn. Though picturesque, it’s a working property, with a grain and tack room, hayloft, training paddock, and three pastures. Maybe it’s time to get those ponies you wished for as a kid?

farmhouses for sale in Wisdom, MT

Big Sky beauty: $ 249,000, 1900 Steel Creek Road, Wisdom, MT 59761

The Montana countryside is essentially like living in a painting. You’re completely surrounded by jaw-dropping scenery, whether it’s the simple beauty of a blue sky or majestic mountains. So, first things first, don’t even bother hanging curtains in this one-bedroom, one-bathroom cabin. Second, don’t mistake the low bedroom count for lack of space. The home has a loft that can accommodate up to six people. And if those guests start to test your patience, send them out to experience nearby activities such as skiing, fishing, and, if you’re so inclined, hunting. Third, with more than 20 acres to call your own, you could expand this energy-efficient home as you see fit. Or just soak it all in: There are heated floors, a wood-burning stove, Jacuzzi tub, and a self-draining water system that sounds very unsexy but does prevent pipes from freezing.

farm houses for sale in Hazel Green AL

Southern comfort: $ 219,000, 3228 Bobo Section Road, Hazel Green, AL 35750

Down in Alabama, luxury and the country lifestyle combine in this custom three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom house. What else can you say about a home that boasts a porch that overlooks a pond, and a master bath with a Jacuzzi? Actually, there’s a lot more to say. The rooms are huge, which gives you maximum flexibility when it comes to decorating and redecorating. Nooks, a few angled walls, a fireplace, and moldings add a little architectural interest. Outside, the sweeping green space offers up a relaxing view, which is best enjoyed from the comfort of the porch swing.

farmhouses for sale in Marshfield

A barn of ones own: $ 199,900, 4446 Brinkley Road, Marshfield, MO 65706

Don’t be fooled by the unusual exterior — the interior of this three-bedroom farmhouse includes a great room with a soaring ceiling and character-filled exposed wood beams. Yet this home’s quirky façade adds much of the appeal, along with wood floors and simple decor throughout the first floor. The bedrooms and bathrooms have some personality for sure, with windows that overlook the huge 10-acre wooded property. An ideal property for those who are far handier than the rest of us, the home comes with a metal horse barn, a large shop, metal machine barn, and a potting shed.

farmhouses for sale in Wellington KY

Remotely rustic: $ 179,900, 5503 Highway 1693, Wellington, KY 40387

Built in 2007, this three-bedroom home has the charm and character of an older home. We admire thoughtful features such as the corncrib door, hand-hewn floors, and a geothermal heating/cooling combo system. But with additional features such as the promise of “no visible neighbors,” “3-foot-thick walls,” and a distance of 300 feet from the nearest road, you’re guaranteed peace and quiet here.

farmhouses for sale in Polkton NC

Classic Colonial Revival: $ 180,000, 8597 Ansonville Polkton Road, Polkton, NC 28135

A wraparound porch is a sought-after feature that’s very hard to find — and this home also comes with 6.75 acres. Just take a long drive up the tree-lined gravel driveway to this grand four-bedroom, two-bathroom home. Though it was originally built in 1900, the house has been updated with granite countertops, custom cabinetry, and stone showers with seats. The home’s historic charm still shines through, with wood columns, decorative moldings, and built-in storage in the dining room. We bet there are some hardwood floors underneath all that wall-to-wall carpet too.

farmhouses for sale in Albion PA

Sweet home Pennsylvania: $ 114,900, 14880 Tracy Keepville, Albion, PA 16401

This farmhouse in small-town Pennsylvania (Albion’s population: 1,616) is surrounded by 5 acres. The four-bedroom Amish-built home was made to last and features an adaptable, classic design. If a farming career appeals to you, several outbuildings are on-site to accommodate your needs.

Do you live in a farmhouse? What’s your favorite aspect of country-style living? Share in the comments!

Trulia’s Blog

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8 Budget-Friendly Farmhouses For Sale was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

Three New Year’s Resolutions for Your Pets

I’m not sure if anyone has ever polled New Year’s resolutions to determine the most popular life-changing declarations made annually, but I imagine losing weight, exercising more, and breaking bad habits top the list.

When it comes to our feline and canine fur kids, the same sentiments probably apply. Here are three resolutions to help your pets put their best paw forward in 2016.

Rev up the exercise routine

More than 50 percent of dogs and cats are overweight, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. Fortunately, a lifestyle change such as exercising more is something that pet parents can do together with their pets for their mutual benefit.shutterstock_254078350

Exercise is key to optimal health for both cats and dogs. Most dogs benefit from several good walks each day. In the winter weather, rather than take them on shorter walks, increase the number of outings for the day to help keep them in shape.

One way to stay active in cold weather is to take your dog for a walk in a pet-friendly indoor mall. You’ll both stay warm and dry, and you can window shop at the same time.

Treadmills are also a great way to exercise, and doggie treadmills replicate the same benefits for dogs. Different makes and models are available, so be sure to do your research to ensure you are buying the right size for your pet.

For cat owners, it’s easy to rev up a feline exercise routine with a laser toy. But remember that laser play is not a fair game because cats don’t actually get to catch anything. So reward them with a yummy treat – as long as it’s a low-calorie type. And be sure to deduct treat calories from your cat’s daily food allowance.

Short games with a wand toy cats can chase are a great form of exercise, too. For cats that like to play fetch, throw the toys as far as you can so that they really have to move to retrieve them. If you live in a two-story home, consider throwing the toys down the stairs to make it a real cardio workout.

A game of about 10 minutes will be enough to hold your cat’s attention. Try to introduce playtime twice a day. Daily exercise offers felines mental and physical stimulation. All the members of the household, including the kids, can step in and take charge of playtime.

Cats can also be trained to walk on a leash. If you live in an apartment building, simply going for walks down the hall will give your cat a nice workout.

Stop chewing things around the home

When dogs are bored, they can get into trouble, chewing and destroying furniture, shoes, and other items around the home, such as the TV remote control.

There are lots of wonderful toys to keep dogs engaged when they’re home alone. To distract your pooch, fill a hard rubber toy with peanut butter – just make sure it’s low fat and doesn’t contain Xylitol (an artificial sweetener that is poisonous for pets).

Puzzle games are available for both cats and dogs to keep them engaged. Or consider creating a treasure hunt for your pet by hiding favorite toys, along with some treats, in different parts of the home so your pet has to work to sniff them out.

Quit scratching furniture

It’s important to remember that scratching is normal feline behavior. Apart from sharpening their claws, cats also scratch to mark their territory, exercise, and reduce stress.

The key is to get them to scratch in appropriate places, such as scratching pads and posts. Remember that cats often scratch after napping. The routine is snooze, stretch, scratch. So place a scratching post or pad near your cat’s favorite snooze zone.

You can never have too make scratchers in the home. The more you have, the more likely your cat will gravitate to them and leave your furniture and interior woodwork alone.

When introducing a new scratcher, put a little catnip on it and scratch with your fingers while your cat is watching you. Your feline will instinctively copy what you have just done.

Making good on all three resolutions will be a win-win for you and your pets.


Tips & Advice – Zillow Porchlight | Real Estate News, Advice and Inspiration

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Three New Year’s Resolutions for Your Pets was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

5 Retro Decorating Trends That Deserve a Comeback

Some home decor looks are just too good to let go. The boldly colored kitchen cabinets of the ’50s are taking on a sophisticated modern look. The late ’80s country kitchen look is enjoying new life – minus the gingham frills and bonneted goose motif – in today’s farmhouse chic trend, and mid-century design has taken over the home furnishing offerings of retailers at every price point. Rattan furniture and velvet upholstery, both popular in the ’70s, are showing up in designer collections again.

Our pick for the decor trend  most deserving of a second chance? The brightly colored bathroom fixtures (and sometimes even matching tile) that became popular beginning in the 1930s, and evolved from cool pastels to the much-maligned avocado and harvest gold hues of the 1970s. We’re not seeing these offered new yet, but salvage stores are a great resource if you simply must have a mint green or bubble-gum pink sink for your bathroom renovation.

Photo from Zillow listing.

Here are some of the blast-from-the-past home decor looks designers are happy to have deja vu over.

’50s-style dens

We are loving the reemergence of the den or the basement as a gathering space. Instead of having family and friends centered around a 50-inch television in the living room, we’re seeing people move toward intimate areas like listening rooms for their favorite vinyls, or casual seating in the den with headphones and their iPads. This setup is more conducive for connecting and catching up, or simply taking time for one’s self – think wood paneling, updated and re-imagined bean bags in designer fabrics, and high-quality retro audio sound.

– Kerrie Kelly, Kerrie Kelly Design Lab

Photo by Brian Kellogg.

Macrame textile art

Macrame from the ’60s and ’70s, but with a whole new twist. I love the beautiful heavy knotted textile hangings as art, or the thin delicate hangings for room screens. [They can hold] hanging flower vases and even light fixtures. This time it’s all about texture with a Scandinavian vibe.

Susan M. Jamieson, ASID, Bridget Beari Designs, Inc.

Conversation pits

We want big living rooms with circular, sunken conversation pits. They need custom built-in sofas, space-age floating fireplaces hanging in the middle, and plush shag carpeting deep enough to swallow your foot. Give us this dedicated zone for hanging out with friends and family, a space that isn’t centered around a TV screen. Give us bold colors and wild graphic patterns on pillows. And, most importantly, give us a live-in housekeeper, because those shag carpets are a nightmare to keep clean.

– Chris Stout-Hazard, ROGER+CHRIS

Photo from Zillow listing.

The home design trend from the past I’d love to see make a comeback is the conversation pit. Our technology age has created a digital life and physical separation. The classic conversation pit promotes togetherness and community. The conversational pit arrangement organically encourages people to face each other with comfortable deep seating. It also can be an advantage in design strategy, with a flexibility to promote a stylish streamlined modern feel or a casual bohemian aesthetic. Inspiring our clients to ditch the television and engage with family and friends is part of our design practice, creating space as experience.

– Elena Frampton, Frampton Co.

Timelessly practical kitchen features

Two of our favorite features making a comeback lately are banquette seating and library ladders, especially in the kitchen. A lot of our projects are in the city, where space is at a premium. Banquette seating works great in a tight space, plus it creates additional storage opportunities under the bench. Same goes for the ladder: It’s all about space. If you don’t have to haul out a clunky ladder to access everything out of reach, you can double your kitchen’s storage capacity with cabinets or shelves that go all the way up to the ceiling.

– Jeff Pelletier,  Board & Vellum

Photo from Zillow listing.

Brass hardware and fixtures

Used in smaller doses like pull handles and faucets with a more sleek and modern shape, [brass hardware and fixtures] can really up your design game in a cool classy way. My favorite bathroom look right now is dark navy cabinets with Carrera marble quartz counters, oversized white sinks, and printed cement floor tile incorporated with brass pull handles and faucets.

– Christina El Moussa, HGTV’s “Flip or Flop” and SuccessPath

Photo from Zillow listing.

Top image from Zillow listing.


Home Improvement – Zillow Porchlight

Featured East Metro Atlanta Homes

5 Retro Decorating Trends That Deserve a Comeback was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home