5 Tips for Renovating Your Home Smartly

Over time, we’ve undertaken quite a few renovations to our 1920s home: The kitchen, master bath, laundry room, and walk-in closet have all had complete remodels.  But there’s always a bit of stress involved in planning a renovation, and it’s easy to get too close to a project and not see the potential mistakes.

This guest post offers a few suggestions on avoiding some of the pitfalls that can derail a renovation.

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

5 Tips for Renovating Your Home Smartly

Is it time to renovate your home?  Maybe you’re looking to make your property more comfortable for your family – or you’re planning to sell it soon. But, if not properly planned, renovations can actually wind up hurting your home’s value. 

Here are a few tips for keeping your renovation on the smart track.

1.  Tackle The Structural Flaws

If your home has any mechanical or structural issues, these should be fixed first. Whether you’re planning to stick around for a while or you are going to sell, correcting any structural issues should be included in your renovation plans.

Repairing structural issues may mean that you will need to move out of your home in the short-term. And you might need to remove your belongings from the property while it’s being worked on.

But it’s very easy to put items into storage, through companies like SMARTBOX Solutions, Inc.

Even small structural flaws, when left unchecked, can become massive problems further down the line. And, if you’re planning to sell anytime soon, dealing with structural flaws needs to be a priority now or they could become obstacles later when you’re in the process of selling the property.  

2.  Don’t Overbuild For The Neighborhood

You’ve probably heard this advice before, but it bears repeating since overbuilding still happens.  After all, we all want our homes to look amazing. But, if you live in a modest neighborhood, this can easily backfire.

If you have the biggest home, or the nicest one, it could actually prove to be a problem when you sell it. It’s important to make your home comfortable and attractive, just don’t go over the top. Stick to the general color scheme, styles, and features that are in line with the rest of your neighborhood.

3.  Think About What Your Family Needs

Practicality is a priority. When you think about what your home needs, look at what really bothers you about the property. Prioritizing your practical needs in your home will make it more comfortable for you and your family. 

Once the practical aspects have been dealt with, you can build your aesthetic around them.

Addressing the practical at the outset of your renovation is going to make a big difference to your quality of life. For example, if you make some green home improvements, like insulation, it will save you a lot of money in the long run.

4.  Assess Your Property From The Outside

Whether or not you are planning on selling, curb appeal is vital.  It gives visitors or potential buyers their first impression of your home. If you’re planning a renovation, you may be focused on what you will gain as far as your indoor living space.  But it always pays to consider what the renovation will look like from the street. 

5.  Consider Your Home’s Existing Architectural Style

One of the most sure-fire ways to turn a well-intentioned renovation into an unfortunate white elephant is to choose an aesthetic that doesn’t flow well with your home’s existing architectural style.  Unless you plan to completely change your home’s aesthetic, it’s usually wise to strike a healthy balance between your home’s existing style and what you want from the renovation you are planning.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

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Refreshing A Vintage Dollhouse

Once Upon A Time, a little girl was gifted a charming Bavarian dollhouse by her grandmother.  It came with hand-painted furniture and tiny dolls dressed in traditional Bavarian costumes.

Vintage Dora Kuhn dollhouse and furniture with vintage dolls

The dollhouse gradually fell out of favor as the girl grew.  It was stored for decades in places like basements and attics, never seeing the light of day.  But the dollhouse never really left the girl’s heart.

Then a pandemic swept across the land.  The girl, now a woman of some years (the actual number of years will not be revealed here), finally found she had the time to bestow some love and attention upon the aging dollhouse.

So today you’re invited to leave reality behind for a moment and come along on a tour of a refreshed vintage dollhouse.

But first . . .

A Little History

Affiliate link are used in this post.  For more on my affiliate links, please see this page.

It didn’t take much searching to find that my dollhouse and its furniture were made in Germany by the Dora Kuhn company.  Dora Kuhn’s father began making toy furniture in 1911.

I learned that my dollhouse is also called a “room box.” It and the furniture were likely made in the 1960s, and all the pieces are hand painted.

My dollhouse measures about 20″ X 13″ X 8″  but I was surprised to learn that the company made several sizes of room boxes and furniture.  Some of them look almost exactly like mine in photos, but they are actually much smaller.

This informative blog post covers the company’s interesting history, and it contains some great photos of various Dora Kuhn pieces.

 

Old Doll House, New Goals

My main objective with the dollhouse was to make it usable for my little niece so that she can enjoy it when she visits.  But, since this dollhouse does have some value, I want to preserve all of its original features.

Am I worried that my niece might damage it?  No. The pieces have been pretty durable so far and, when she is able to visit us again, she’ll only be playing with it on occasion.  (Since it’s really just a one-room cabin, I expect her interest in it to be fleeting anyway.)

What Goes And What Stays

When I first brought the dollhouse out of our attic space, where it had been stored for the past 12 years or so, I was expecting it to look worse.  But it was in surprisingly good shape.

The topcoat of varnish on the furniture pieces and on the room box itself had developed a patina, but that just added to the charm.  I simply gave the pieces a thorough and careful cleaning.

However, as expected, fabric items did not fare as well over the decades.  The doll costumes were beginning to fray, and attempts to clean and repair them would no doubt result in further damage.

Vintage German dollhouse dolls

Uncleaned, these decades-old fabrics potentially harbor mold and mildew.  So it just doesn’t work for my niece to play with these dolls.  I don’t yet know if they have any value other than sentimental, but for the moment they will be safely stashed away.

The curtains and bed cushions are in fairly decent shape, but the bed cushions are stuffed with something.  It feels like either sawdust or something that has disintegrated into sawdust.  So washing the bedding is probably not a great idea.

Vintage Dora Kuhn dollhouse and furniture

I decided to carefully remove the curtains and store them and the bedding somewhere safe.

The Fun Begins!

Even as a child, I wasn’t crazy about the red and white checkered fabric anyway.  So off I went to the fabric store to find some fun new bedding and curtain fabrics.

The Bed

I’ve always adored this four-post covered bed.  But, as far as I can remember, the bed didn’t come with a mattress.

So I cut a piece of foam and covered it with fabric for a fitted sheet.

Dora Kuhn Dollhouse bed

I made two pillows with the same fabric.  The bed is topped with a quilt made with a coordinating, reversible quilted fabric.

Dora Kuhn dollhouse bed

 

Vintage Dora Kuhn dollhouse bed

Table, Chairs, and Curtains

I made curtains and a table runner with the same fabric as the fitted sheet.

Vintage Dora Kuhn dollhouse and furniture

I tried to make sure the new curtains didn’t cover too much of the hand-painted window shutters.

 

The Crib

The tiny crib doll was easy to clean, so she could stay with the dollhouse.  I made some simple bedding for her crib.

Vintage Dora Kuhn dollhouse crib

The Dresser

I didn’t do anything to the dresser but stock it with a few little decor items for my niece to use if she wants.

Vintage Dora Kuhn dollhouse dresser

A tiny clock hangs on wall above it.

Vintage Dora Kuhn dollhouse clock

The Wardrobe

I wondered about the stylized lettering painted on the wardrobe front.  I thought it might be artist initials.

Vintage Dora Kuhn dollhouse wardrobe

But, according to the website I mentioned above, it stands for “Jesus His Savior” and, on the opposite door, “Maria is the Mother of Jesus.”

The wardrobe doors are beautifully painted on the inside.  But the actual cabinets were bare and boring.

Vintage Dora Kuhn dollhouse wardrobe

I still had some pages from a child’s book leftover from my Storybook House project, so I measured and cut an interesting background from a book page to use as “wallpaper.”

Vintage dollhouse wardrobe

I simply pressed it snugly into place in the wardrobe without using any adhesive.  I want to be able to remove it later to keep the wardrobe original.

Then I stocked the wardrobe with a few blankets I made from fabric scraps and a tiny broom that I made myself.

vintage dollhouse wardrobe

After finding this post for guidance, the broom took me about ten minutes to make, and I could use items I already had on hand.

DIY dollhouse broom

The Exterior

I learned that no two Dora Kuhn dollhouses are exactly alike.  For example, the painted exterior trees are slightly different on each one.

Vintage Dora Kuhn dollhouse
Dollhouse side
German dollhouse exterior
Dollhouse back

A Sweet Little Cabin

Lots of furniture is crammed into this little one-room cabin, but it’s a cheerful place.

Vintage German dollhouse and furniture

 

Vintage German dollhouse and furniture

 

Vintage German dollhouse and furniture

 

Vintage Dora Kuhn dollhouse and furniture

Now it just needs . . .

New Occupants

Someone has to take care of that baby and fit the storybook vibe of this place, and these two dolls will do nicely.

Madame Alexander dolls with vintage German dollhouse

Some time back, I stumbled upon one of these these two Madame Alexander McDonald’s Happy Meal dolls on Etsy and the other one at a local vintage sale.  I didn’t pay much for either of them.  These Little Red Riding Hood and Peter Pan dolls are newer and cleaner than the vintage German dolls they replace – and less precious.  So my niece can play with them without any worries.

Right now, they are still getting to know their new home, and they are finding that caring for a baby is a lot of work.  So they’re having a little coffee break.

Madame Alexander dolls with vintage German dollhouse

It’s been fun bringing my old dollhouse back into the daylight and learning things about it that I hadn’t known in all these years.  Now it’s time to go rearrange the furniture!

Sources

Vintage dollhouse furniture by Dora Kuhn and others does show up fairly regularly on Etsy – and the affordable and sweet Madame Alexander McDonald’s Happy Meal Dolls are plentiful at the moment.

The actual dollhouses and room boxes by Dora Kuhn, in all their charming sizes, are a bit trickier to find on Etsy, but they do come up on occasion.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

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4 Issues You Might Encounter With Your Home After A Storm

I live in a rainy part of the country, so I’ve dealt firsthand with the ugly reality of basement floods, damp drywall, and roof leaks.  But they have all been learning experiences, and now I have a pretty good idea of what to look out for and how to avoid these kinds of misadventures in the future.

So, since it’s storm season, I thought I’d pass along this helpful post from a guest writer with a few suggestions for identifying damage to our homes after a storm.

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

4 Issues You Might Encounter With Your Home After A Storm

You might think that when a storm is over, so too are your troubles.  But sometimes it’s later that you begin to notice a storm’s impact on your home.  After a snow storm, for instance, it’s often the melting snow that can cause flooding problems. 

Here are some of the issues that you need to be prepared for and the potential solutions you should keep in mind. 

1.  Roof Damage

First, you should always check your roof for potential damage after a heavy storm.  You can often spot missing or loose shingles and other damage from the ground, but sometimes it’s a good idea to have a licensed professional access your roof for a closer look. 

It’s vital that you identify any issues here and take care of them as quickly as possible. A problem with the roof can lead to further issues – including dampness and decay in the home.  It may even allow pests to get inside your home. If you suspect you have roof damage, it’s a good idea to speak to a few contractors before settling on the right team for repairs. 

2.  Flooding 

In the days after the storm, you could wake up to find that your home is flooded. Even saturated ground water outside of your home can be a massive issue. It can mean that water is pressing against your home’s foundation after building up on the surface. 

This can lead to problems with damp and water in places like the basement or crawl space.

Look for any misdirected downspouts that might be leading water towards your foundation instead of away from it.

You should make sure that your sump pump is working. Remember, many insurance companies won’t even consider a flooding claim if there wasn’t a working sump pump on the property. 

3.  Cluttered Gutters

When the cold wind blows, everything goes up in the air. This can include broken tree branches, leaves, dirt, and rubbish. All of these things can be washed down into the gutters by heavy rain.

Clogged gutters can lead to water damage.  They can also smell bad – and this can be an irritating issue. You might need professional gutter cleaners to fix this problem for you. They’ll be able to eliminate issues here without delay and ensure that your gutters are in good working order. You could also think about installing a gutter guard. They are budget-friendly and the perfect way to protect your gutters in a storm. 

4.  Heat Loss 

Finally, it can take a storm to reveal that there are serious issues with your home’s heat retention.  Identifying possible sources of heat loss is important because wasted heat means wasted money.  But it’s also important because gaps that let heat out might also be letting moisture in during a storm.   

If during a storm your home didn’t stay as warm as you would have liked or might have expected, it could be an issue with your heating systems. Perhaps you need to think about calling an HVAC specialist to check this out.

But it might also be a sign that the insulation in your home is poor. There could be gaps between the doors and even cracks in the walls. If so, you should think about taking the time to make repairs. It could also be an issue with your windows, and you might need to think about replacing or upgrading these. 

After every storm, it’s a good idea to spend a little time looking for the problems mentioned above.  It’s best to catch these problems while they are still small or, better yet, stop them from occurring in the first place by keeping your home’s systems in good working order.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

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5 Ideas To Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal

I love to walk nice neighborhoods and get inspiration from the beautiful homes that I see.  Looking at them always gets me thinking of ways to improve my own home’s curb appeal.  Sometimes small changes can make a huge difference – like rerouting a front walkway to enhance a home’s symmetry.  Or adding window shutters to give a home a more traditional vibe.

So I thought it would be fun to share this post, brought to me by a guest writer, with a few more suggestions for adding curb appeal to our properties.

The following is a contributed post. For more information on my contributed posts, please see this page.

5 Ideas To Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Do you ever look at the front of your home and wonder what steps you can take to improve it? Your home’s curb appeal is important for a variety of reasons. It is the all-important first impression that neighbors and guests have of your home.  And, if you’re thinking of selling, curb appeal is a crucial element in attracting buyers.  After all, if the street view of your house is not appealing, many potential buyers won’t bother coming inside to see the rest of it.

Here are some of the best ways to add curb appeal to your home. 

1. Define The Property With A Border

Adding a border to your property in the form of an attractive fence or retaining wall can help define the boundaries of your property and make it look neat and contained.  Even doing something as simple as placing stones around the edge of your property can make a difference.

Believe it or not, this can have a tremendous impact and catch the attention of anyone looking at your home. It gives your home a little more texture and character too. You’ll just need to make sure that you are taking the right steps to maintain the border and keep it tidy and weed free. 

2.  Add More Color

Consider adding more color to your home exterior. One of the ways to do this is to add some tropical plants around the outside of your home. Seek out plants with unique texture and color.  If you research online, you’ll find that certain tropical plants will grow in a variety of climates, including colder temperatures.  

 

Front doors are important too.  Add a coat of fresh paint to your front door in an eye-catching color and then choose plants and flowers that coordinate with the door color.  If you are planning to sell your home, it pays to research currently popular color themes and choose colors that are likely to appeal to most buyers.

3.  Choose A Unique Feature

A water feature can create a wonderful aesthetic in your garden. Some water features, such as terraced ponds, can be quite expensive to install and maintain.  Yet they are very rewarding.  Others, like birdbaths and small fountains, are much easier to create and care for.  Just do the research and be honest with yourself about how much time and money you are prepared to devote to a water feature.  

Other features, such as trellises, oversized pots, statues, and gazebos, can also add impact and character to your garden.

4.  Improve The Driveway 

Next, you might want to think about improving your property’s driveway. The driveway takes up a massive surface area of the property, so it does make sense to focus on this. You might also find that your driveway has seen better days. Perhaps there are a few cracks and potholes due to extended use. If that’s the case, then a repair could be the right decision. Alternatively, you could opt for a brand new driveway. 

Your options here aren’t as limited as you might think. You can make a lot of fantastic changes depending on the material that you use. For instance, you could use river rock to create a mosaic. If you’re not sure how to achieve this type of effect, speak to a contractor. They should be able to help you with the right choices here. Be aware that you still need to think practically. The driveway has to be strong enough for both cars and foot traffic. 

5.  Improve The Garage Door

Perhaps even more so than front doors, garage doors make an important first impression with your home.  You might think that garage door options are limited, but actually there are many design options available.  And adding a system so that your garage door opens automatically will make your home look like a contemporary dream. 

We hope this helps you understand some of the best ways that you can improve the curb appeal of your home. By taking these steps, you can have a tremendous impact on the value of your property and the impression that it makes on anyone who comes to see it. 

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
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From Ugly to Snuggly: Repurposing A Sweater Into Pillow Covers

All winter, we’ve been using our covered front porch as a safe place to visit with a few people at a time.  We also sometimes use it just for ourselves – to sip coffee or cocktails and feel like we are getting out of the house.  We fire up our small tabletop heat lamp and, if we have visitors, we bring out comfortable, appropriately distanced seating and a few small tables.

The bench is always on the porch, and during the holidays we had a couple of festive throw pillows on it.

The large pillow is actually from our sofa, so I didn’t want to keep it outside indefinitely.  And it was time to change the look.  I wanted comfy, warm-looking pillows that could transition from winter to early spring.

I wanted to make pillow covers that looked knitted.  I’d been meaning to find a used sweater to repurpose, but I ended up using this sweater – which was on clearance for $12 at a local chain store.

In the title, I referred to it as ugly, but that wasn’t fair.  It would look nice on the right person, it’s simply not my style.

But style is not why I bought it.  I chose it for the texture and also for the blocks of color.

 

Creating The Pillow Covers

I started by ripping all the seams of the sweater apart and placing the fabric flat so I could see what I was working with.

I cut two 17-inch squares from the sweater pieces and stitched them on to cotton muslin squares cut to the same size.  The muslin served as a lining for the sweater squares.  It stabilized the knit fabric and gave it some heft and support.

Once the two sweater squares were lined with the muslin, I used them to sew a simple pillow cover for a 16-inch pillow.

Mistakes Made and Lessons Learned

I had enough scraps left to cover a small rectangular pillow, but this time I didn’t take the step of attaching the sweater fabric to a muslin lining first.

This was a mistake, and this pillow cover doesn’t look as good as the first one.  I learned that the lining really does matter when working with a knit sweater fabric.

 

But what about the sleeves?  I saved the sleeves of the sweater, and I’m going use them to make wine gift bags.

Snuggly Pillow Covers At Last

The pillows help my front porch decor make the leap from holiday to winter and early spring.

I have a variety of looks now – not only with color combinations but also with texture since I intentionally used some of the sweater fabric inside-out.

 

 

 

The Promise Of Spring

I’ve decided that paperwhites are not just for the holidays.  The bulbs are sprouting well under the protection of our porch, so now they serve as an optimistic little reminder that spring is just around the corner.

A New Porch Goodie

One thing I gave Chris for Christmas is this little Sanag Portable Bluetooth Speaker.

It makes our porch visits more festive, and I’m looking forward to using it on our back patio and on camping trips as well.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
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Four Essential Tasks For Your Lawn Care Calendar

I’m starting to set a few gardening goals for the year ahead, and one area that I’d like to improve on a bit is lawn care.  We do try to keep our lawn care natural, removing weeds by hand rather than using chemicals.  But it’s been years since we’ve aerated our lawn, and that task alone can make it so much healthier.

So I was happy to see this post, sent to me by a guest writer, with lawn care tasks to add to our garden maintenance calendars.

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

Four Essential Tasks For Your Lawn Care Calendar

A lush green lawn can be a wonderful place to enjoy family activities.  But keeping your lawn green and healthy requires more care than you might think. You need to mow it during the growing season and water it in the summer, but what else does your lawn require to keep it looking good?

At different times of the year, there are certain jobs that you should be doing if you want your lawn to be as healthy as possible. The weather and the temperature can affect the state of your lawn, so you have to be careful about the way that you’re treating it. Here are some key tasks to add to your lawn care calendar to keep it green.

Mowing

Mowing your lawn keeps it the right length so it looks good and the grass grows healthy. During the winter months, you probably won’t be mowing your lawn, but by spring it will be time to get the mower out again.

When you first start cutting your lawn, only give it a small trim to help get the growth going. As spring progresses into summer, you might find that you need to mow the grass more frequently if you want to keep it the right length. You can lower the cutting height of your mower as the grass begins to grow more.

Fertilizing and Seeding

Giving your lawn a helping hand to grow is smart, especially if your lawn has bare patches.  After you’ve started mowing your lawn at the beginning of spring, you might want to consider a fertilizer to promote growth. Spring can also be a good time to overseed your lawn to fill in any bare patches.

Continuing to apply fertilizer in late spring and early summer will help your lawn to be healthier as growth picks up and you need to start caring for the grass more. If the weather becomes dry or hot, watering your lawn might also be necessary.

Aerating

A compacted surface can mean your lawn isn’t getting the nutrients or moisture that it needs. Aerating your lawn prevents the soil from becoming compacted.  You should start thinking about this task in the summer if the surface soil under your lawn is hard, and you might continue to do it throughout the summer. If it feels like a bit too much work, you can get someone else to do it for you. The cost of lawn aeration is well worth it if it’s going to save you a lot of time, especially if you have a larger lawn. It also means you don’t have to have your own aeration tools.

Weeding and Debris Clearing

Weeds and debris on your lawn can prevent it from thriving. Make sure you pay attention to weeds as your lawn starts to grow in the spring so you can remove them. Weed killers can be used, but keep in mind that your family, pets, and wildlife will be using the lawn.  So look for products that will be kind to your lawn and the environment.  

As leaves start to fall later in the year, you should be clearing them from your lawn. Any debris piling up can cause health problems for your grass.

Keep up with your lawn care throughout the year by putting these essential tasks on your calendar.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

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Turning Your Garden Into A Wildlife Sanctuary

I like to do whatever I can to make my garden a friendly place for our local wildlife.  Surprisingly, this doesn’t really seem to add to my gardening workload, it just creates a slightly different kind of workload.  The reward is a healthy, vibrant garden that everyone can enjoy – even the butterflies.

So I was happy to see this post, written by a guest writer, with a few tips for making our gardens wildlife-friendly.

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

Turning Your Garden Into A Wildlife Sanctuary

Gardening for wildlife is a trend that is becoming increasingly popular as more people are discovering the impact that their gardens have on local wildlife.

It’s easier than you might think to transform your garden into a healthier part of your local ecosystem. Here, we’re going to look at some ways that you can support your local biodiversity.

Go Wild

If you’re not too fond of spending days out in the garden keeping it nice and neat, then one easy gardening tip you could follow is to let it get a little more untamed. Rather than planting exotic flowers that need plenty of care and attention, you could instead simply spread a pack of local mixed wildflower seeds. Aside from being easy to care for since they’re suited to your climate, they’re also great supporters of the local species of pollinators. These pollinators support all plant life, so it is crucial we all pitch in to help them.

Welcome Our Winged Guests

There are few things quite as satisfying as seeing a red-breasted robin hopping along your garden fence or waking up to songbirds in the air. However, you’re not going to find many of them near your home unless you give them a reason to stop by. Bird feeders are a great start, but birds tend to stop longer where there are safe sources of water, so you can attract them if you learn how to make a DIY bird bath . Keeping the water elevated keeps ground pests like rats from taking advantage, too.

Give Them A Place To Stop

Local flowers can attract all manner of pollinators to your garden, but not all pollinators have hives to return to. Solitary bees are a lot more common than you might think and, though they do play an important role in pollinating, they’re not as likely to come to your garden unless you have a place for them to stay. You can provide just the place they need by building your own bee hotel. These are specially made structures that can essentially give them a safe place to winter and build their nests.

 

Multi-Task With A Compost Bin

You might already be aware of just how making your own DIY compost bin can help you take better care of your plants, but did you know that they’re great for local critters as well? Part of the composting process relies on things like worms and insect larvae that eat the organic matter and leave behind compost as waste. These prey creatures then attract things like birds, hedgehogs, and frogs that will keep coming back for the food. Just make sure to position it far enough from your house so that you don’t find yourself with some new house guests.

Humans use a lot of space for their gardens. That’s space that we have taken from local ecosystems, so there are some who believe that we have a responsibility to give back in what small ways we can. If you’re of that belief, the above tips could help you.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Dressing Room Remodel
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Decorating and Holidays
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Garden Design
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5 Ideas For Making Your Back Yard More Enjoyable

Hopefully some day in the not-too-distant future, we will be able to safely enjoy outdoor entertaining again in our back yards.  But in the meantime, many of us are using our back yards as safe and peaceful havens.

This post, brought to me by a guest writer, has some excellent suggestions for making our back yards more enjoyable for entertaining – and for ourselves.

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

5 Ideas For Making Your Back Yard More Enjoyable

There’s no denying that most people enjoy spending time outdoors during the warmer months of the year. The summer months are excellent for hosting social events like barbecues, pool parties, and more.  

Your home’s back yard can also be an excellent place to simply relax, unwind, and enjoy some solitude from the world. But what if your back yard needs a little improvement?

Check out these inspirational ideas to get you started:

1. Gazebo

While it’s great to soak up the sun during the warmer months of the year, you’ll still wish to have some shade during the hottest days. One way to achieve that goal and simultaneously make your garden Insta-worthy is by getting a gazebo installed.

You can have a freestanding gazebo near your house or in the middle of your garden. Or, you might want a gazebo attached to one of your garden walls. Apart from providing shade from the sun, gazebos are good shelters during sudden showers on a summer’s day.

2. Swimming Pool

If you have a large garden, you might balk at the thought of having to maintain it all. What if there were a way to cut down on the amount of lawn you’d need to maintain while also providing a place to frolic and enjoy social time with your family and friends?

The solution, of course, is a swimming pool. Your new pool design can incorporate any kind of layout that meets your needs. You could even include a separate spa area.

3. Deck

Do you wish you had an area outside your back door that was level, aesthetically pleasing, and suitably sized for outdoor furniture? If the answer is yes, you should consider having a decked area installed.

A deck is typically made from treated timber and is sometimes known as “decking.” You can further beautify your deck area with recessed LED lights, some charming plants and flowers in pots, and even a pergola.

4. Hot Tub

If a swimming pool isn’t something you’d use enough, perhaps what you should instead consider is having a hot tub installed. Hot tubs allow people to relax and unwind, and some models with powerful jets (i.e., Jacuzzis) that will even massage your body as you sit in them.

Did you know that you can use hot tubs throughout the year – not just in the summer months? It might seem like a strange concept, but it can be great relaxing in a hot tub and enjoying a clear sky in winter! 

5. Playsets and Play Houses

If the kids are happy, the adults are happy. And then everyone has a good time. 

You could have a natural wood playset installed in your back yard and incorporate a treehouse. Consider what your child’s changing needs might be as the years progress – and perhaps even consider how, after your child outgrows it, you might be able to repurpose that play house into something you can use for yourself.

Playsets come in various configurations; the only things that might limit what you can do are your imagination and your budget!

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Dressing Room Remodel
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel

 

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Tips For Deciding Whether To Move Or Remodel

I’ve finally come to the realization that no house is perfect.  Over the years, we’ve made improvements, large and small, to our home to make it fit our wishes and needs.  After all, we love our home.  Still, there are things about it that we can’t change.  So sometimes I wonder where we will be in ten years.

I’m sure just about everyone feels the same way, which is why this guest post is so intriguing.

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

Tips For Deciding Whether To Move Or Remodel

It’s inevitable that at some point that your home won’t suit you anymore. Maybe you need another bedroom to accommodate a growing family or a home business, or maybe you need to move closer to work or elderly parents. If you love your home, it can be hard to move. But should you move, or should you improve what you have? 

And how do you know if you need to do either of these things?  

You might need to improve your home or move if you are experiencing any of the following scenarios:

Your Home Feels Like It’s Shrinking Or Growing

You might find yourself in one of these two extremes:

Either you feel as though every cupboard is bursting at the seams and you are constantly tripping over toys and clutter; or

You feel like you have endless rooms that you never use, and you resent having to keep them clean. 

If your house feels too big, it might be time to downsize and find a smaller house for sale. If you need more room, could you convert an attic space or garage into an extra room to use as a gym or home office? Could you build an extension to extend your kitchen or build an extra bedroom? Could a garden room work as a home office? 

You Spend Your Free Time Scrolling Property Websites

Sure, there’s no harm in looking. But if you find that a quick glance at what’s out there soon turns into an hour of studying floorplans and checking what your commute would be like, then you aren’t just looking.  Maybe it’s time to book some viewings.

If you just like looking at property websites, then see what the homes you look at have in common. Is there anything you could take as inspiration for your own home? 

You Aren’t Cleaning And Tidying As Much As You Used To

You used to keep your home clean and tidy, but you’re letting things slide and finding yourself having to do last-minute tidying if you have guests coming. Maybe you have a list of DIY projects that is only getting longer because it somehow doesn’t seem important. This all could mean that you’ve fallen out of love with your home. 

Maybe you don’t want to live there anymore, or maybe you just need to make a change to help you fall back in love with your home. How can you make it easier to keep things clean? Maybe you just need a better system of organizing – or maybe you need to treat yourself to regular visits from a cleaning service.

“The Problem With My House Is . . . “

Are you always telling anyone who will listen about all the problems with your house? No house is perfect, but if your list of gripes is getting longer than the reasons you love your house, it might be time for a change. If you can’t stop telling people that your house is too far away from your work, your kitchen is too small to cook in, your home is too far away from where your friends live, or that you hate having to work at the kitchen table, then you need a change. 

Your home might have been perfect when you bought it, but maybe your needs have changed now. Whatever challenges you have with your home, ask yourself if they are fixable.  If the kitchen is too small, could you extend it – or change out your cabinets to give you more storage space? If you bought the house before you learned to drive, but you now own a car, is there room to build a garage? 

Some problems aren’t fixable.  If the problem is distance from work, friends, or family, then it might be time to sell. 

You’ve Stopped Throwing Dinner Parties

If you usually love to entertain but lately don’t feel good about having people come over, then you might have outgrown your house. Maybe you don’t feel your place is fit for entertaining anymore, or you don’t have room to fit in all your friends anymore. Maybe you find yourself eating out every night because you just don’t enjoy being at home as much as you used to. 

This isn’t a reason to move. Instead, you can make some home improvements. Redecorating the dining room could kickstart your passion for entertaining and remind you why you loved to host in the first place. 

You Are Daydreaming About Adding To Your Home

If you love your home but need something else from it, an extension can be a good solution. A side-return extension is one of the common options, where you expand your kitchen to fill the passage space at the side of your house. 

 

Whether you are in desperate need of an extension like this, or a bigger extension or loft conversion to give you a bigger kitchen, a home office, or an extra bedroom, the first step is to find out if you would be able to get construction permits.   

If you’re not able to get get the permits you need, you may need to rethink your addition – or it might be time to move to a house that better suits your needs.   

You Start Buying Things For Your Next Place

When you first moved into your house, you adored it and couldn’t stop buying things for it. Maybe it was new curtains for the living room, fluffy new towels, or endless potted plants. Maybe recently, you’ve stopped buying those kinds of things for your home. Instead, you’re still picking up all kinds of little homeware treats, like picture frames or new bedding, but never taking them out of their packaging. Instead, you’ve tucked them away, saving them for a house that you don’t have yet. 

Ask yourself why you think the things you’re buying aren’t for your current house. Buying things that don’t fit your current style could just mean that it’s time to shake up your decor, rather than move. 

 

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Dressing Room Remodel
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel

 

Exploring