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October
3

DIY a Barn Door With These 7 Steps

Barn Door Tips

Barn doors look lovely in country chic homes and even in some cottage-style houses. They work well as closet doors, pantry doors, and even as laundry room doors. While there are plenty of pre-made barn doors for sale, making your own barn door is a fun project — and a great way to personalize your new home! Follow these steps from our real estate agents to make your own barn door.

  1. Purchase and Mount the Hardware
    Your barn door will need a track to slide on. Visit a home improvement store, and look for a barn door track in your preferred style. You want it to be at least 4 inches wider than the door opening. Follow the instructions on the package to mount the garage door. Screw it directly into the wall studs for maximum security.

  2. Measure and Cut the Vertical Boards
    To determine the width of your door, measure the door opening and add 4 inches. Measure the height of your door, start at the track, and measure down to the floor. Subtract 1/2 inch so the door has plenty of clearance over the floor.

    With these measurements in hand, start cutting your boards down to size. For a simple barn door, it is easiest to use 1 x 6" pine shiplap boards. They are inexpensive and take stain well. If your door width is not a multiple of 6, then you will need to cut one or more boards width-wise. 

  3. Cut the Horizontal Boards
    In addition to your vertical boards, you will need three boards to stretch horizontally across the door. Cut these as long as your door is wide.

  4. Sand Everything
    Once your boards are cut down to length, sand them well. Start with coarse sandpaper, such as 50- or 60-grit. Then, go over the boards again with a fine, 100-grit sandpaper. You can sand the boards as smoothly as you like. Leave them a little rougher for a more rustic look, but be sure there are no patches rough enough to cause splinters.

  5. Assemble Your Door
    Lay your sanded, vertical boards out on the floor, side by side, in the shape of your final door. Then, lay the horizontal boards across them. One horizontal board should go across the top and another across the bottom. The third should stretch across the middle. Measure to make sure it is properly placed. 

    Have someone help you hold the boards in place as you drive screws through the horizontal boards, down into the vertical boards.

  6. Stain the Door
    The great thing about making your own barn door is that it can be any color you like. Choose a stain you love. Apply it according to the instructions on the tub or can. Usually, you have to apply the stain, wipe off the excess, and let it dry for a day before handling the project again.

  7. Mount the Hardware
    This is the final step. Once your stained door is dry, mount the sliders to the top of the door. Usually, they will hook over the door, and you'll secure them with a couple of screws.

    When the hardware is in place, have a friend or family member help you lift the door and hook the sliders over the wall-mounted hardware. Slide the door from side to side, step back, and admire your good work.

With these instructions, you'll have a DIY barn door to be proud of. If you're still looking for the perfect home for your barn door, contact us. We'll help you find incredible Sarasota homes for sale and Bradenton homes for sale in your style.

June
27

7 Steps for Organizing Your Pantry

pantry tips

People often say that the kitchen is the heart of the home. But the pantry is a close contender! As the place where you store your snacks and cooking ingredients, your pantry deserves to be an organized, efficient space. You'll love being able to open the door and find what you need in an instant without having to search multiple shelves. So, how do you go about organizing a pantry? Our real estate agents have broken this task down into seven steps, which are presented below.

  1. Sort Through Everything
    Before you start putting items into place, pull everything out of your pantry. Sort through your items, throwing away products that have expired. If there are foods you know that you'll never use, donate them or give them to friends.

    With the extras gone, make a list of the products that remain. If there are items you use regularly but don't have on hand right now, make a trip to the store to purchase them. Then, add them to your list.

  2. Categorize Your Items
    Look down your list, and start dividing your items into categories. Good categories to include are spices and seasonings, pasta and dried goods, canned goods, baking ingredients, and sauces. Once you've categorized your list, move your actual items into piles based on how you categorized them on paper.

  3. Transfer Open Items Into Clear Containers
    It's hard to maintain an organized pantry with a bunch of half-empty bags and boxes. Plus, opened boxes attract pests. So, invest in some clear containers and empty those boxes and bags into them.

    There are lots of good brands that make clear, plastic, and glass pantry containers. Pick containers that are stackable and easy for you to open.

  4. Label Your Containers
    Even if you can see into the clear containers, labels make things more clear. You'll also have an easier time figuring out what you need to buy to fill empty containers. If you have a label maker or can borrow one from a friend, that's awesome. Otherwise, you can make your own labels by writing, with markers, on white stickers.

  5. Line Your Shelves
    Before you put your containers back into the pantry, use a stick-on shelf liner to line your shelves. Our agents have seen this in some Bradenton homes for sale and Sarasota homes for sale, and it really does make pantries easy to clean. Choose a cute pattern or a solid color that matches your pantry walls. The shelf liner should come with application instructions on the package.

  6. Organize Your Shelves
    Decide on a shelf for each category of items. You'll want to put items you use more often on shelves close to eye level. Those that you use less often can go further down where you have to bend to reach them. For example, if you only bake a few times a year, your baking items can likely go on the bottom shelf.

  7. Add a Few Extras
    Once all your food is back in the pantry, it is time to add a few extras to help keep the space more organized. Consider mounting a marker board on the pantry door. You can use this to keep track of your shopping list. Find a bag holder to mount to the pantry door, too. This will give you somewhere convenient to stick plastic bags when you get home. Add any other extras you think may come in handy, too.

If you spend the weekend organizing your pantry, you'll save so much time when you cook and snack later on. Contact us if you're still looking for the perfect home — and pantry — to call your own.

June
20

Add These Features to Your Pool

Pool Tips for Summer

Having a pool gives you a quick, enjoyable way to cool off in the summer. We've seen so many lovely Bradenton homes for sale and Sarasota homes for sale with pools. If you buy a home with a pool, you should know there are plenty of ways to customize your pool and pool area, making it feel more like your own. Here are a few features to think about adding.

  • Slides
    A slide can be an awesome addition to your pool. People often think of slides as being for kids, but there are models large enough for adults to use, too. A straight slide gives you the perfect way to make a splash with your entrance. A longer, spiral slide can be fun for older, more independent kids to play on. Keep in mind that water slides are usually only recommended for deeper pools since landing in shallow water can be dangerous.

  • Bubblers
    If you want to create a peaceful, relaxing environment in your pool, consider adding a bubbler to one corner. The gentle bubbles that emerge will mander through the water before rising to the surface and gently popping. Surround this corner of your pool with plants, and you have the perfect little resting spot.

  • Spillways
    A spillway is basically like an artificial waterfall built into one wall of the pool. It's typically mounted a foot or two above the water level so the water can come tumbling out and land in the pool. The sound of the tumbling water adds to your ambiance, and it can be fun to splash around under the spillway.

  • LED Lighting
    Swimming at night can be much more fun with LED lights in your pool. Most of these lights are color-changing. You can set them to rotate through colors every few minutes, or you can select a color for them to remain all night. Imagine lighting your pool up blue and red for Independence Day or green for St. Patrick's Day. LED lights are also energy-efficient, so you can feel good about this eco-friendly pool addition.

  • A Fountain
    If your pool has more of a classic look, you may want to add a fountain to its design. You can find fountains that feature sculptures of everything from fish to Greek gods. Pick one that coordinates with the rest of your landscape as a way of making your pool feel like a more integrated part of the yard.

  • Natural Rock Waterfalls
    Many pool companies will come to add natural rock waterfalls to the edges of pools. They can create a unique pile of rocks and hide a pump inside them. Water will tumble down over the rocks, creating a peaceful experience. You may want to have some built-in seats added near the waterfall so you can enjoy a close-up view more often.

  • Outdoor Shower
    Hygiene is important, even when you're in your own private pool. Showering before you get in the pool can help conserve the chlorine and keep the pH levels in check. Showering after you get out of the pool can rinse the chlorine off your skin, so you don't feel too dry. There are plenty of freestanding pool showers that can be installed just outside or next to the pool. You and your guests can then rinse off quickly while dressed in your bathing suits.

With the right features, your pool will become one of your favorite parts of your home. If you're still looking for the perfect Florida home with a pool, our real estate agents can help. Contact us to learn more about our services.

May
16

Simple Ways to Transform Your Backsplash

Backsplash Tips

Changing up your backsplash is a quick but powerful way to update the look of your kitchen. While there are certainly premium materials available, there are also many inexpensive ways to transform your backsplash. Here are a few simple methods our real estate agents recommend for updating your backsplash.

  • Paint Your Backsplash
    Don't have the money for new materials for your backsplash? A can of paint may be your answer. You can paint over the existing backsplash, or if you're particularly crafty, use a stencil and paint to update the tile with a patterned appearance.

  • Use Peel-and-Stick Tile
    If you want the look of tile but don't have the money or the skill set to install tile and grout, you can more easily get the look you want with peel-and-stick tile. It goes on over your existing backsplash, is easy for anyone to install, and can be removed easily, too, if you decide to change your kitchen's look again later on down the road.

  • Achieve a Classic Look with Beadboard
    Beadboard is a fairly inexpensive material that is easy to install yourself and lends itself well to the country kitchen look that is popular in Sarasota homes for sale. Keep it white for a traditional look, or paint it a coordinating color to make it blend in with the rest of your kitchen. You can also vary your look by deciding whether to install it with the grooves vertical, as it is traditionally installed, or horizontal for a more modern look.

  • Use Wooden Boards or Paneling
    If you like the traditional kitchen look that is trending now but don't like the look of beadboard, you can achieve a similar mood with painted wooden paneling. Wooden plank backsplashes have become popular and can even be achieved by mounting vinyl hardwood-look flooring to the wall for an easy-to-clean backsplash.

  • Install Pressed Tin Tiles
    Another popular look in Bradenton homes for sale lately is pressed tin tile backsplashes. You can get real tin ceiling tiles, or there are also stick-on vinyl alternatives that are easier to cut and install. The metallic designs of these tiles make beautiful and interesting backsplashes and a modern twist on a traditional look.

  • Mount Faux Brick
    Exposed brick is always a popular look, and you can achieve the look with the help of faux brick. A faux brick backsplash is trendy and classy, but if you're mounting it in areas that will be prone to grease splatters, look for a surface finish that will be easy to clean.

If you want a new look for your kitchen, your backsplash is a great place to start. It's especially good if you're updating your home to sell it, as the backsplash is an overall small square footage and will give you plenty of bang for your buck. For more suggestions of easy ways to get your home ready to sell, contact us today.

May
17

How to Pick the Perfect Houseplants

Houseplant Tips

One of the best parts of buying a new house is giving it those personal touches that help turn it into a home. Our estate agents can help you find Bradenton homes for sale, but only you can make that home your own. One simple and rewarding touch you can add to any home is houseplants. What kind should you have, though? Here are a few things to consider when selecting houseplants.

  1. Benefits
    Think about what benefits you want. For instance, if you want to reduce stress, go with a lavender plant. Its scent has a calming effect and can improve sleep. Maybe you're looking to make your air more breathable. In that case, peace lilies and English ivy absorb toxins to improve indoor air quality. Or you might want to add a splash of color to your decor. If so, coleus comes in various bright shades, including purple, orange, and red. Gardon croton has leaves of red, yellow, green, and copper. And bromeliads bloom in red, orange, yellow, and pink. There are many other houseplants with myriad other benefits. Do some research and find out which ones best suit your needs.

  2. Environment
    Consider where your houseplants will be kept and what their needs are. How much sunlight does it need? What temperature range does it thrive in? Does it need a dry environment or a humid one? If you're looking for a plant for your bathroom, for instance, you should try the humidity-loving monstera plant. If you have a room without windows, try a snake plant. If you've got a big window with lots of sunlight, consider a jade plant or a lemon tree.

  3. Care
    Perhaps the most important consideration is how much care your plant will need and how much care you'll be able to give it. How often does the plant need to be watered? Does it need any other care, such as pruning? If you travel a lot, then look for a plant that doesn't require as much care - or be prepared to get a plant-sitter. Air plants, for instance, don't even need soil. Keep them in indirect sunlight and water them every two weeks, and they'll thrive. What if you're afraid you'll forget to water your plant on a regular schedule? Or that you'll accidentally overcompensate, watering it too often? Set a reminder on your phone to alert you when your plant needs water or other care. It can be set to go off automatically once a week, every two weeks, or however, often your plant needs attention.

  4. Containers
    Once you've chosen your houseplant, it needs to go in the right container. Porous clay pots are good for your plants and the environment. They retain moisture while letting soil toxins escape. You might also consider a glass terrarium designed to keep in moisture and heat. Whatever container you use, make sure it's got holes on the bottom for water drainage. If you're buying a baby plant, know how much it will grow over time, and get a container that will accommodate it - or be prepared to transplant it later. A larger pot can also allow you to put multiple plants in the same space. 

If you've got houseplants inside, you're likely going to want a few outdoors as well. Fortunately, there are plenty of Sarasota homes for sale with big front and backyards, perfect for gardening. Contact us to help you find the space that's right for you!

February
22

How to Ensure Your Pet Stays Safe During a Renovation

Pet Safe Renovations

Renovations are a great way to keep your home up to date, to add value, and to compete with other Bradenton homes for sale when it comes time. Unfortunately, many homeowners put off updating their homes because of how complicated it is to get work done when you have pets. Here are a few suggestions for keeping your pets safe and minimizing stress so that you can do the work when it's needed.

  1. Find a safe place.
    Workers tend to leave doors and gates open, and honestly, it's not their job to watch out for your pets. The best thing for everyone is for you to find a safe place to keep your pet while workers are in the house. This might be a back bedroom, or it might be a crate. Try to include some things to keep your pet comfortable, like their favorite bed, blanket, or toys, plus necessities like food, water, and a litter box.

  2. Make sure everyone knows.
    Definitely let contractors know where you'll be keeping your pet, so they make sure not to let them out. As a precaution, if you're keeping your pet loose in a closed-off room, post a sign on the door reminding everyone to be careful opening the door.

  3. Do a safety check at the end of the day.
    Once the workers leave for the day, you'll likely be in a hurry to let your pet out so they can enjoy some freedom for the evening. But wait! Before opening that door or crate, do a walk-through of all the areas where the contractors have been throughout the day. Make sure doors, windows, and gates are all closed, and be sure there are no safety hazards such as sharp objects or loose wires.

  4. Know the schedule.
    It's also important to know where the contractors will be and what they'll be working on each day if only to make sure that you don't inadvertently put your pet in a room they need access to. Check-in regularly and make sure you know if there are any delays or changes in the schedule. In fact, it's probably in your best interest for a lot of reasons to know these things, and not only for the safety of your pet.

  5. Consider getting your pet out of the house.
    In some ways, having renovations done is a little like showing your home while it's on the market. Some homeowners leave their pets locked up in a room, but our real estate agents always appreciate it when pets are removed from the home. That way no one has to watch out for your pet, and it may minimize your pet's stress, too. Consider boarding your pets, or asking a friend or relative to keep them at their place during the day when the workers are there. Dogs could also be dropped off at doggy daycare, or if you have a job that allows it, brought to work with you.

Keeping your home up-to-date compared to other Sarasota homes for sale is an important part of owning property. If you're ready to list your home for sale, or even if you just have questions about what renovations you'll need to do before selling, contact us today, and one of our agents will help guide you through the process.

April
24

Simple Tricks for Rearranging Your Furniture

Rearranging Furniture

If your living space is starting to feel a little stale, there are a few things you can do about it. 

Our real estate agents know what it takes to successfully stage Bradenton and Sarasota homes for sale, and we can assure you that arranging the furniture appropriately can change the entire look and feel of a room. Here are a few simple furniture changes that you can make to improve your space. 

  1. Find the Balance
    Interior decorating focuses on striking the right balance. Never is this more important than when it comes to arranging furniture. To avoid rooms feeling lopsided or unsettled, consider both the size and placement of each piece so that you don't end up with all the large or small pieces of furniture bunched together. 

  2. Don't Push Furniture Against the Walls
    Though it might sound counterintuitive, leaving a few spare inches between your furniture and the wall behind can actually make the room feel bigger. Determining how much space to leave should be dictated by the size of the space, but even in smaller rooms, it's best not to have furniture pushed right up against the walls. 

  3. Choose a Focal Point
    Some rooms have a natural focal point, like a fireplace or a prominent set of windows. If that's the case, you can arrange the furniture around that point. If not, you can create your own focal point, such as a large coffee table or an entertainment center, and use it as the central focus of the room. Furniture doesn't have to be directly pointed at the focal point, but it should be arranged so that the eye is drawn toward that focal point. 

  4. Use the Right Size Area Rugs
    Area rugs should generally cover most of the floor, leaving just a bit of extra around the walls. An exception to the rule is if you have hardwood floors you want to show off, but still want a few smaller area rugs to add a splash of color or tie the space together. 

  5. Mix Colors and Textures
    A lot of your furniture and decor can be arranged by color, but don't forget about texture as well. If you're arranging throw pillows on a sofa, for example, mixing up colors and contrasting textures helps keep the eye interested. You don't want colors to clash with each other, but they shouldn't all be too similar. 

  6. Go With the Flow
    One of the most important considerations, when you arrange furniture, is the natural flow of traffic through the room. The last thing you want is to have people tripping over furniture. Make sure each piece of furniture has enough space to walk by it if needed, especially between the coffee table and any couches or chairs that may be nearby. 

  7. Let There Be Light
    Lighting is one of the best tools you have to tie a room together. Use light to your advantage by incorporating a variety of sources, including floor and table lamps as well as ceiling and wall-mounted fixtures. Use natural light as much as possible, with curtains or shades that allow you to control the lighting in each room.

Contact us today to learn more about transforming your living space. We've helped countless families find their dream homes in Florida, and we can't wait to help you find yours!

March
27

7 Ways to Spruce Up Your Home Office

Home Office Tips

Having a home office is becoming a sought-after feature for many home buyers. Whether you're an at-home worker or someone who just needs an occasional space to work on taxes and bills, you can enhance your experience by sprucing up your office space.

Our REALTORS® can help you with advice about what kind of office space might work in your home. In the meantime, here are some clever ways to improve your home office.

  1. Let the light in.
    No matter the type of work you do or the business you're in, light can help you see better, think better and energize you. Considering painting your office walls off white or bright white. Light paint will make the space look much larger.
     
    Lighting things up can also include locating your office space in front of or beside a window to take advantage of natural light. If natural light isn't an option, adding an attractive light fixture can creating an inviting work space as well.
  2. Think vertically.
    You can turn a small space into a larger space by making use of available walls. Add a wall-mounted desk to save floor space, then mount modular shelves so that they "climb" the walls. These bins become the perfect storage space for office supplies. Alternate bins with books, prints, statuary and plants (succulents, slow growers, are a good choice) to create visual interest.
  3. Go a little crazy with furnishings. 
    Nothing says "office" like a steel gray desk and a filing cabinet, but why be boring? There's no rule against eye-catching office decor. These days, you can find office-appropriate chairs in green velvet or a pretty in pink Ikea molded model. Introduce splashes of color into your office environment to create a space that you enjoy working in. 
  4. Don't forget the flooring. 
    Why settle for worn, dingy, or dark old carpet when there are so many great choices in flooring! Faux wood vinyl flooring can completely change the vibe -- just one large piece will do. Other trending flooring choices include responsibly sourced wood floors with non-toxic finishes, and engineered wood with a plywood core, an economic and sustainable choice. 
  5. Create a gallery on the wall.
    Don't need that backsplash above your desk for shelving? Create a gallery with artfully cropped prints, family pictures, your own doodles, found objects and work from your favorite artisans. You'll enjoy endless pleasure arranging your choices, and then gazing at your creation.
  6. Add a feeling of spaciousness with a mirror.
    A mirror can make your office space seem larger than it is. Go for an antique or contemporary standing floor mirror.
  7. Go green.
    Bring in the oxygen and help filter out airborne pollutants with a ficus, or similar low light-loving plant in a container. If you don't trust your green thumb, consider botanical prints, and use green accents. Green is a soothing color that helps people feel centered.

Our real estate agents are ready to help you realize the potential of your home office space. Contact us today. 

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