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Design & Remodel

Going green in home design

‘Going green’ has been a popular buzz term for several years now, but what exactly does that mean when it comes to home design? Yes, we all know about natural cleaning solutions, natural health and beauty products, and organic foods, but there is so much more you can do in your home to help keep your family and the environment healthy.  
 
Research continues to evolve on the impact of home materials and chemicals on our health, and long gone are the days of using asbestos or formaldehyde in surfaces and glues. Paint and flooring companies are introducing more low-VOC options. VOCs are volatile organic compounds that can affect the air quality in your home and impact your health. Even when it comes to hardwood floors, oil-finished wood is gaining in popularity as an alternative to polyurethane finishes. Other sustainable flooring options include bamboo, cork, reclaimed wood, wool carpet, or recycled glass or stone tile. These options are better for your health when it comes to reducing chemicals in your home and have much less impact on the environment.
 
Another way to go green in your home is with energy efficient fixtures and appliances. A lot of the appliances you see now have energy star ratings; these ratings show impact on the environment in terms of energy the appliance uses. Look for the energy star logo when purchasing appliances so you can select options that keep your energy bill down. 
 
Plumbing fixtures are another area to look for energy efficiency. Low-flow toilets use less water, as do toilets with variable flush settings. Shower fixtures with technology that infuses air to the water coming out of the shower head give the feeling of higher flow, but actually use less water. Delta calls this technology H2Okinetic, and in addition to the droplet size, these fixtures also control the speed and movement of the water to control water usage. Another way to conserve water is to look for shower fixtures that have a pause setting.  This allows you to shut off the water flow while you wash or apply shampoo, cutting back on the amount of water that is wasted.
 
Going green in home design applies just as much to the exterior of your home as it does the interior. One of the best ways to make your home more energy efficient is with quality windows. Look for options that have Low-E glass to help eliminate the effect that outside air temperature has on the interior of your home. This coating also protects the color and finish of surfaces in your home such as curtains, furniture, and flooring which means they won’t have to be replaced as often.
 
Recycled and reclaimed materials have been trending for a while now and utilizing these products in your home is another way to go green. Recycled glass countertops and tile can be used in kitchens and bathrooms. Reclaimed wood can be used as flooring, or as an accent on walls, fireplaces, kitchen islands, etc. If you’re really feeling adventurous, scout out local antique shops or consignment shops to find furniture, accessories or other items that can be repurposed rather than always buying new. Or even when remodeling, consider donating cabinets, countertops or furniture to a local consignment shop or company like Habitat for Humanity or the Salvation Army. This all helps reduce waste in our landfills.
 
One final way to make your home greener is through electricity and lighting. LED lighting has come along way in the past few years, offering different brightness options and color temperatures.  You can even get vintage Edison style bulbs in LED now. LED lighting offers up to a 90% energy savings when compared to traditional incandescent lighting and emits very little heat. Solar energy is common in the West and is finally making its way into the Southeast. Adding solar panels to your home can help use the sun’s radiant heat to power your home and supplement your existing energy source. While this energy source can be expensive to set up, the savings in the long run on your wallet and the environment are well worth it.
 
When it comes to making your home more eco-friendly and energy efficient, there are endless options. You don’t have to go all out all at once, either. Even taking small steps like changing out frequently used plumbing fixtures and light bulbs throughout your home can make an impact. If you’re not sure where to start, just reach out to a local remodeler familiar with green design for some advice.
 
 


Sara Bagwell is a designer for Tracy Tesmer Design/Remodeling in Gainesville.








November 2019 column


Preparing for cooler weather

Summer seemed never-ending this year in North Georgia, but cooler weather is finally here. As the temperatures cool, power and gas bills typically do the opposite. Proactive planning and a few quick fixes around the home can prevent damage and save you a lot of money. Follow these simple steps to make sure your home stays warm and your wallet stays safe from unforeseen costs.
 
Step One: Prevent water damage. As water freezes it expands, and this scientific fact can be the cause of catastrophic damage to your home if proper steps are not taken to prevent it. Pipes can burst when water freezes inside them, or if pressure builds behind a chunk of ice. Flooding and water damage can and will occur if you do not follow these steps:
 
• Drain water from outdoor sprinkler systems
• Disconnect and store outdoor hoses
• Drain and cover any exterior faucets with foam insulation
• Insulate pipes that run through unheated areas of the home like the attic, basement or garage.
 
Clogged gutters can also be a source of severe water damage. Blockage due to snow, ice or fallen leaves can prevent water from draining correctly, causing it to seep into your roof or flood your home. If you don’t feel comfortable cleaning your gutters yourself, invest time to work with a trusted roofing professional or contractor to have your gutters cleaned and make sure your drainage system is functional. Another option is to install deeper gutters with leaf guards that help prevent costly build-up and issues.
 
Step Two: Clean the fireplace and chimney. Equally as important as preventing water damage, is preventing fire damage. Cozying up by the fire is a staple of enjoying the winter months. Before you warm up by the fireplace, remove any soot or debris that could catch fire. Taking the time to hire a professional to inspect and clean your chimney will keep you safe and warm all winter long.
 
Step Three: Check for leaks or drafts. When air escapes out of leaks or cracks, your heating system must work harder. If you want to prevent sky-high power bills this winter, you must ensure there is no unwanted air leakage in your home. Fixing this issue is fairly simple. Caulk can be used to seal openings around door frames, while weather stripping is best to use around windows. You might also consider a home energy audit or evaluation to better understand your home energy use and where improvements can be made.
 
Step Four: Have your HVAC system checked. Most people don’t think about maintenance on their heating and cooling systems until they have a problem. However, regular maintenance can help your system run smoothly and extend its lifespan. Call a local HVAC contractor to come out to inspect and service your unit before the cold of winter hits. It’s better to get ahead of any issues before your system goes out and you’re without heat in the middle of winter. Also, if you’re not already doing it, change your air filter regularly. This will also help your system run smoother for longer. If you can, invest in a higher quality air filter, especially if you have an older home or pets. 
 
Step five: Check emergency sensors. Make sure sensors in your home are working properly. This includes smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Before you start cooking more and building fires in your fireplace, inspect and test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are working properly. This will give you peace of mind whether you are at home or traveling this winter. Another thing to check is your security system. We don’t like to think about the possibility of any problems, but with the holidays approaching and people heading out of town, you want to know your home is safe while you are away. If you sense any issues with your system contact your security provider and have them inspect the system. 
 
Step Six: Find and fix any potential exterior hazards. As leaves start to fall and the weather gets cold and wet, broken driveways and walkways can become a hazard. Leaves and water can gather in cracks and crevices and create hidden slip or trip hazards. Inspect the walkways around your house, as well as your driveway. Repair or replace any cracks or broken pavers you see. If the damage is beyond repair, consider replacing the driveway or walkway. 
 
There are many things you can do to prep for colder weather this fall. All these steps are generally quick fixes and will give you peace of mind to enjoy time with family and friends this winter, rather than worry about your home.


October 2019 column

Here's how to remodel on a budget

Remodeling your home can help boost its value should you decide to sell down the road. Here are a few ideas to help you save in ways that don’t compromise on quality, when a tighter budget is in play.
Think about a partial remodel
 
You can make a room look new while saving money if you stick with some things that were original to the room, and/or replace key elements instead of the whole room. Painting existing walls is a well-known update. For your kitchen or bathroom for instance, consider painting the cabinetry instead of a complete replacement, if the cabinets are still in good shape.
 
Removing and updating handles and knobs for cabinet doors and drawers will help refresh a room. Also, update light fixtures. These types of items can immediately give you a fresh, updated space and cost less than a whole room remodel. Refinishing wood flooring is also a way to reuse existing materials to make an old room like new.
 
Use off-the-shelf dimensions
Save money by avoiding the high costs of custom-built materials. If you can do a little research to see what sizes are common to the things you’d like to change, you can save cash because it doesn’t have to be specially made. Cabinetry typically comes in off-the-shelf, semi-custom, and fully customized price points. However, you may have to relinquish some control over design specifics when choosing off-the-shelf.
 
Use design/build firm
Design/Remodeling firms fully manage remodeling projects from repairs to renovations. They help you save time by managing workers and schedules for you, and help you stay within your budget by giving you cost-effective ideas. 
 
These firms are also able to narrow down material choices for you to choose from that fit within your budget range, so you’re not endlessly searching or choosing outside of your budget. By discussing up front what your budget is, and choosing your priorities, this will help your remodeling team plan your project specifically for your style and your budget needs.
 
Don’t move the big stuff
If your budget is more limited, keeping the same or a similar layout can help reduce costs vs. the more expensive moving of plumbing or load-bearing walls. In many cases it’s possible to plan your remodel within the existing layout. Refreshing with updates can still make a room look dramatically different. You may even be able to upgrade materials, by saving in other areas.
 
Beware of amateurs
While some smaller projects can absolutely be done by watching YouTube instructional videos, some minor and all major home renovations should be completed by professionals who have years of experience and lots of expertise. Projects can be completed in a more timely way when done by those who have lots of experience. It can be emotionally and monetarily tolling to have to go back and re-do something that was done incorrectly the first time. 
 
Good contractors also come with guarantees or warranties, so that things can be fixed later if an issue arises. If you’re still looking to save money, hire the contractor, but find out what services they perform that cost more in order to plan wisely with your specific home or office’s needs. If you come upon an unexpected setback like mold, rot, or degrading pipes, it’s nice to already have knowledgeable professionals on hand to advise you on the most cost-effective solution. This is one corner you do not want to cut, as it could cost you much more later.
 
Make use of your resources
If you don’t have materials for reuse in your house, check out places like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, or even antique or consignment stores for furniture pieces that can be re-purposed into things like a kitchen island or bathroom vanity. Hunting for salvage materials may take more time than you’re able to spend, but it can be less expensive and give you a unique, personalized feature in your home.  Another place to look are builder surplus or overstock stores.
 
As you’re planning your remodel and considering how to budget wisely, remember that saving money in the short term can end up meaning more spent in the long run, if not done the right way. Remodel smartly by spending a few extra dollars to be sure something is done right the first time and know your options to make sure your project stays on budget.


September 2019 column

Don't overlook your home's outdoor space

Football season is in the air and the holidays will be here before we know it, so now is the time to evaluate what kind of space you have for entertaining. Most people just focus on the main area of their home: the living room and kitchen.  But why not think outside the box to other areas that could be used for gathering, like outdoor space.  Fall is the perfect time of year to utilize outdoor space for entertaining. Maybe you have an old deck or patio that is underutilized ... consider updating the space to make it more inviting.
 
Updating your outdoor living area is all the rage these days, including adding grilling and cooking stations, entertainment areas, and fire pits or fireplaces. 
 
There are so many options out there when it comes to updating your outdoor space. Decks tend to be high maintenance, especially in the South. So, if you have a deck that you’re not sure exactly what to do with or that’s in need of some TLC, why not consider converting it into a screened porch or sunroom? The space can be used more time out of the year and provides additional covered living space for when you’re running out of room for guests inside. In addition to providing protection from the elements, an enclosed space also protects your guests from pesky insects, like flies, gnats and mosquitoes.
 
Outdoor kitchens and grilling areas are also gaining in popularity.  On one hand, they provide everything needed for grilling in one convenient place and in easy reach, rather than having to make several trips in and out of the house. And on the other hand, they provide additional gathering area so the grill master doesn’t have to be isolated from the party or guests. A covered outdoor bar or kitchen is a great addition to nearly any backyard.

There are lots of material options out there for this type of space as well; you can either build the kitchen or bar out of brick or stone or there are lines of cabinetry specifically made for outdoors.   When you’re selecting materials like countertops, natural stones or stainless steel both work outside. For flooring, consider materials with a matte or honed finish and some texture to avoid slips. Porcelain tile, stone or brick pavers or even concrete all work well.
 
If you look on home improvement sites, you’ll see an abundance of outdoor fireplace or fire pit pictures. There are so many cool options and designs to bring these elements into your space and make them your own. If you already have a patio, covered porch, or sunroom adding a fireplace is not too difficult at all. 
 
First, decide where you want the structure, making sure not to block any great views or disrupt natural traffic patterns. Depending on your personal style and style of your home, a stone or brick fireplace could add just the rustic or modern touch your space needs. If you have an enclosed space like a sunroom, you have the option to go with gas; but with a patio or open-air deck, you’re best to go with wood-burning so you don’t have to keep re-igniting.
 
Fire pits are certainly a trend right now, and if you love being outdoors, I think it’s a trend with some staying power. When you search fire pit ideas online, you’ll see everything from a primitive hole in the ground lined with some stone and gravel surrounded by chairs to an elaborate recessed stone pit with built-in patio and seating around. Fire pits are a great place for gathering, hanging out on cool evenings or during fall and early winter months here in Georgia. 
 
Who doesn’t love toasted marshmallows or s’mores in the fall? If you’re thinking about re-doing an existing patio or building new, consider adding a fire element into the design for some added warmth and coziness.
 
When it comes to outdoor spaces, the options are endless. I encourage you to think about what you currently use your space for or hope to use the space for and go from there. Most people focus all their energy on the inside of their home but don’t forget about the outside, too. Not only does it give you more space for entertaining and hosting, but also some peaceful space to enjoy yourself. If you’re not sure where to start, start by consulting with a designer or contractor; they can help you come up with some ideas for your specific space.  Now go enjoy the outdoors!


August 2019 column

Now trending: remodeling bathrooms

As a design-build firm, we continue to see lots of clients looking to re-design and remodel bathrooms this year. From timeless materials to new cabinet colors and room layouts, clients are looking to update their bathroom spaces to make them both more beautiful and more functional.
 
One of the trends that we’re continuing to see from fixture manufacturers is matte finishes.  Whether it be matte black or matte gold (yes, gold is back!), these colors help bring a modern elegance to a space. With a light backdrop, stylish black fixtures are sleek and modern; and matte gold, also known as champagne bronze, is a far cry from the shiny brass most people are trying desperately to get away from. If you’re brave enough, you can even mix finishes; black and chrome work great together, while dark bronze and champagne together provide an updated traditional look.
 
Another trend we’re seeing is warmer wood accents. Of course, the most popular place we see this is in cabinetry; a stained finish on a modern door style gives a sleek, updated look. We also see wood accents in the form of teak in showers, including shower seats, stools, or bathmats. You can bring in the wood look in the form of floor tile, as well. With simple modern style on the rise, the preference is moving toward more natural finishes and materials with clean lines.
 
One thing I encourage clients to be open to are unique vanity mirrors and lighting. These items can really make a statement and help define the style of the space. There are practically an infinite number of options out there so look to a design professional to guide you to the correct size and look to balance your space. Gone are the plate-glass, builder-grade mirrors and in are mirrors that make a statement.  Also out are the matchy-matchy mirrors that are the same color as your vanity.
 
In terms of lighting, you don’t have to just stick to above-mirror vanity lights. There are single sconces, as well as pendants that can help frame your vanity area, and if you have a large enough space, don’t be afraid to bring in a small chandelier in the center of the room for something unique.
 
For tile, marble- and concrete-looks continue to be popular.  Marble is not recommended for bathrooms because of its porosity and high maintenance. But manufacturers have created porcelain tile that looks like marble so you can get the same elegant effect.  Porcelain tile manufacturers have also mastered re-creating the concrete look tile, for a more modern or industrial look. Again, these go back to the popularity of nature and incorporating natural, or natural-looking, materials.
 
Gray continues to be a popular color in 2019. Many lovely tones of gray pair nicely with light bathrooms and matte black accents.  Although, we’ve been seeing some of the colder grays decline, while warmer grays and taupes are on the rise. These warm grays can be used in tile choice, as well as cabinetry or wall color.  
 
More and more designers are including artful sinks in bathroom renovations. These sinks provide unique shapes and designs, adding a striking focal point in a small area, and this includes both vessel and undermount. Just like lighting and tile, there are many more great options for sinks out there. Kohler is especially great at creating beautiful pieces, whether that be a hand-painted vessel sink or a subtly patterned undermount sink. 
 
In addition to material trends, we also are seeing trends in terms of bathing needs. More and more people are removing their bulky garden or jetted tubs from their master bath and replacing them with large, tiled showers. I hear all the time from people who use their large tubs for storage or washing the family dog instead of actual baths. For those that do still enjoy taking a bath, they are replacing the old standard tubs with freestanding soaking tubs or air massage tubs. Air massage technology uses forced air to create a milder jacuzzi effect without the tubes and drainage of the old-style jets for a much more sanitary and easy-to-maintain system.
 
When it comes to a bathroom remodel, everyone’s style and needs are different. Some are looking for simply an updated, but still timeless, look while others need space that’s more functional. It’s ideal to work with a designer or design-build remodeler when re-doing a bathroom to maximize the space you have and come up with ideas that you maybe hadn’t considered.
 


July 2019 column

The importance of hiring the right contractor for your project

Hiring the right contractor can be a difficult task, but if you know the right questions to ask and red flags to look for, you’ll feel better prepared. Finding the best contractor can depend on a lot of factors, like what project you are looking to do, whether it be a large-scale renovation or just some light handyman work. It is also important to consider when you want the project completed and how much you’re willing to spend.
 
Once you decide on the general scope of the project and your budget, it’s time to start searching for and interviewing contractors.  Make sure you really take the time to do some research. Ask local friends and family for recommendations and search online for local professionals. A simple internet search will give you some great results to start with, but also check out sites like Houzz, or even Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram for pictures of projects and/or reviews.  
 
Once you find a contractor or two whose work you like, do more research on their specific companies. First of all, make sure they are licensed and insured. In the slight chance that something goes wrong, you want to make sure you are covered and not liable. Next, look for any accreditation, such as membership to trade organizations like NARI, NAHB, or NKBA, or even to general groups like the local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau.  Companies that join groups like these tend to show a higher level of professionalism and higher standard to their work in general.
 
The next step is to meet with the contractor or construction company in person. This initial consultation should be free. During this initial consultation, you will find out more about the company, their processes and standards, as well as what to expect in terms of your specific project and timeline.

This is also a great time to see how you get along with the contractor. This is important, especially if you are planning a large project, because you are going to be spending a considerable amount of time with this contractor or company, and you want to make sure you can work together.
 
One important conversation to have during this initial consultation is to discuss budget. It’s very important to be open and honest about your budget with a potential contractor. This helps determine if your project is feasible based on your budget or if you might need to consider completing your remodel in phases. Once you do decide on a budget and scope of work make sure you get a contract in writing. Never go with a verbal agreement or handshake on something as important as your home.
 
There are two important red flags to look for when hiring a contractor. First, make sure the contractor will pull the proper permits for your project, which also involves having inspections throughout the project. Of course, there are certain circumstances that do not require permitting, such as minor repair work or minor updates. But if your project includes any plumbing, electrical, or mechanical work, permits should be pulled.

The other red flag to look for are contractors who say they can do all the work themselves, especially on a large remodel project. When electrical, plumbing, drywall, painting, cabinets, etc. are all involved in your project, you want experts in each trade to be doing the work. It takes a lot of focus and time to become a specialist, and you want a team of people who really know what they are doing.
 
The final two considerations to make when hiring a contractor are timing and cost. Make sure you plan ahead for your remodeling project and don’t expect to be able to start tomorrow. The best contractors will have a back-log of work, especially in today’s market, so be extremely cautious of anyone who says they can start immediately. Also, when it comes to cost, if you are on a tight budget, try to think of things you may be able to do yourself, like demo or painting.  Remember, you get what you pay for. Be willing to spend a little more for the best quality work and materials.
 
There’s a lot that goes into hiring a contractor. Make sure you do your research; ask friends and family, look online and call around.  Trust me, it’s worth the extra effort to do your homework. Also, when it comes to the interview process, be up-front and don’t be afraid to ask questions about licensing, credentials, timing and budget. The more you do up-front, the smoother your project is likely to go.
 

June 2019 column

Moving vs. Remodeling - Deciding which is best for you

There are times when remodeling your home is the best option, and there are other times where moving is the best option to getting your dream home. The decision can be a difficult one so it’s important to consider all the factors.
 
Budget
The first thing you will want to consider is your budget. The money you are willing and able to spend can be a big deciding factor on whether you choose to purchase a new home or decide to remodel your existing home. Remodeling often requires cash, or a home equity or renovation loan requiring a higher down payment. If you don’t have as much money up front, looking for a new home loan may be easier. Make sure to research and evaluate all the options that are available to you when making your decision.
 
Space
Next, you will want to decide if more space or rooms is a priority. If your children are getting older and the home feels cramped, you may need some additional space that a remodel would provide. If you have kids and/or grandkids coming back home for holidays, maybe it’s time to convert a bonus room or unfinished basement into additional living and sleeping spaces. Alternately, if your property allows, you may consider an addition to gain more square footage. If your family is young and growing, moving to a larger home may make more sense so you have plenty of space to grow into without having to worry about the construction process.
 
Timeline
One aspect of this decision that many homeowners often forget to consider is the timeline. A kitchen remodel can mean going without access to important appliances for a few months, while a move can mean living out of boxes or in a temporary home for a time. If you are considering a remodel, make sure you are well prepared for the construction and temporary inconvenience.  If you are able, move to an area in your home away from where the work will be conducted.  If you are looking to move, consider all of the inconveniences this will cause as well, i.e. showing your home, home shopping, packing, and living out of boxes. You will have to decide which option is best for your family and situation.
 
ROI
Before you make your final decision, take the time to consider your return on investment. If you are remodeling for resale, find out how much a remodel can increase curb appeal, add much-needed square footage or updates that will help you sell your home for more.  Know that you will not likely get back a 100 percent return, but the return on the investment is not always monetary. If you are not thinking about moving right away, it is just as important to consider whether the investment will make your home more enjoyable and comfortable for you to live in, as well. Just make sure you are not putting so much money into your home that you are pricing your home out of your neighborhood for the future. If that is the case, moving may be the better option.
 
Real Estate Market
When considering whether to move or remodel, be sure to do research on the real estate market in both the area where you are selling and where you are looking to move. This will help you see what to prepare for, i.e. whether you might need to stay somewhere temporarily before you find your new home or if you can afford two house payments if you find your dream home before your current home sells. If you think it will be difficult to either sell your current home or find the right new home, then remodeling would be a better option.  
 
Emotional attachment
Finally, you will want to consider the relationship you have built with your neighbors, how much your location means to you and how emotionally attached you are to your home. Studies and research estimate that 70 percent of homeowners considering a remodel or move ultimately decide to stay and update their home. Are you willing to give up your property, neighborhood, or view? If not, remodeling is the best option so that the home you already own can become your dream home.
 
Everyone’s situation is different when it comes to whether you should move or remodel. Carefully consider all your options and what fits your family best. It’s also a great idea to get the opinions of a trusted design/build contractor or real estate agent in your area to help with the decision.

May 2019 column

Spring offers perfect opportunity for home improvement

The past couple of months we’ve focused on cleaning and organizing. But now it’s time to talk about updating your home.  When it comes to making updates, there are so many options out there, but which options will have the most impact?
 
Let’s start on the interior of your home. One of the best updates you can make to the interior of your home is new paint. If your home’s walls are tired or dated, freshen them up with a new color.  Color “trends” are typically short-lived, so make sure you pick out a color that is true to your style and personality. Whites and grays are not for everyone, and that’s OK!  There are an infinite number of options out there. I recommend using a premium grade paint, such as Benjamin Moore, PPG, or Sherwin Williams to get the best results. Cost will vary depending on whether you’re willing to do the work yourself or if you prefer to hire a professional. When painting the walls, don’t forget about trim and doors; chipped, yellowed, or dingy trim needs an update too.  This will help your home feeler fresher, brighter, and cleaner.
 
Other updates you can make to the interior of your home are new window and floor coverings.  Spring is a great time to switch out heavy curtains or blinds with something lighter and brighter. Cotton, linen, and silk are all great materials for curtains, and if you’re looking to block out light for sleeping, these can be found with blackout panels, as well. When it comes to floors, hardwoods or other wood-look materials continue to be the most popular.

If you want to add some warmth to your wood floors, consider adding or changing out a rug. A rug, along with other accessories, is the best places to bring in “trendy” patterns or colors since they can be changed out easily. You can go with lots of different materials for your rugs as well: wool, polyester, jute, or cotton, and don’t be afraid to mix up textures.
 
Furniture is another item that can use a fresh update in the spring. If your pieces are looking worn or outdated, consider replacing them with new pieces. There are so many great furniture stores out there for all budgets, and many offer sales this time of year. If you love the style and “bones” of your furniture, such as couches and chairs, another option is to have them re-upholstered. Re-upholstering allows you to pick out a new pattern and/or color for your room, but you don’t have to break in anything new.
 
In addition to the interior of your home, there are also many things you can do to update the exterior. Same as inside, painting can give your home a significant facelift. If it’s been 10 years or more since your home was painted last and you like the color, you may just consider a fresh coat.  Otherwise, if it’s time to repaint and you’re tired of the color, now is the time to change it up. Just make sure you get the necessary approvals from your HOA, if applicable. And when you’re painting the exterior, don’t forget the trim, as well. If you have vinyl siding that cannot be painted, a good pressure-washing will help clean and brighten up your home.
 
Changing up your front door can bring a new look to your home and add curb appeal. This could either mean replacing your door with a new one or painting your existing door a new, bold color. If you have trouble deciding what color to go with, talk with a local designer or visit Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams online and you can find recommendations as to what colors will coordinate with your existing color.
 
Lastly, now is the time to clean up your yard before the summer heat hits. New landscaping can help change the look of your home as well as give your home some major curb appeal. If you don’t have the budget for new plants, just weeding your yard, putting out new mulch or pine needles and pruning can have a big impact. You don’t want overgrown trees or bushes covering up your beautiful home.
 
When it comes to updating your home, the sky is the limit. Updates can range from new accessories to new paint to a completely re-designed exterior. Just don’t forget, for more time-consuming work or work beyond your skill set, reach out to a local professional for help.  It will save you both time and money in the long-run.
  

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