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Blog :: 08-2014

Eat Local, Play Local!

This Saturday's weather is predicted to be in the high 70s with just a little cloud coverage - perfect for outdoor activities! If you're looking for something to do, whether you live in Vermont or are just visiting, stop in at your local farmer's market! Being in Chittenden County, we're partial to the Burlington Farmer's Market in this office. However, if you find yourself in Waitsfield, you might find one of our own at the Waitsfield Farmer's Market! Adventurous eaters are advised to stop by the Yak It To Me VT cart, where you just might see our marketing coordinator. All Vermont farmer's markets have great locally grown/made food, fantastic music, and loads of interesting crafts. What's not to love?

Kitchen Trends

Here are some great tips on modernizing your kitchen, whether you're selling your home or not! The trend today is an open floor plan with a cozy, connected kitchen. Kitchens and living rooms are combining to create a new look for kitchens these days. The most popular room in the house isn't just for cooking anymore! Today, it's used as a gathering place for families, a central work space, an open area to pursue craft projects, or even a leisure area to entertain guests.

Living room and family room activities are merging into the kitchen, and it's changing the way kitchens look. As homes are getting smaller, home owners are now using their kitchens for much more than they have in the past. They want a more versatile floor plan, so that they can get creative with their space.

The walls in kitchens started coming down in the 1980s and 1990s. Walls separating the kitchen from the dining room were the first to go. Now, home owners are getting rid of walls between the kitchen and living room. Kitchens are also being designed in a less utilitarian way, with larger windows, fewer cabinets, and softer lighting.

What if your house doesn't have these elements? There are simple things you can do to create that cozy, social feel:

Install a kitchen island. Kitchen islands not only have functional benefits, but also provide space for entertaining, informal dining, and extra storage. If space is limited, consider a portable island, which can range from a butcher block to a breakfast table with bar stools. Just make sure that the style you choose is consistent with your existing decor in the kitchen and the size is appropriate. At least 3 feet is recommended between the island and walls, so that there is plenty of space to move around. If the kitchen island is large, add chairs to show that it can serve as a gathering place.

Furnish with comfy chairs. Skip the typical wooded stools for an upholstered bar stool with a back. Switch out traditional chairs around the kitchen table for wing chairs, a love seat, or even an upholstered bench.

Soften the light. Use accent lights and sconces, which are usually associated with hallways or dens. Numerous small maps will also create a softer effect. Hang a chandelier or other light fixture over the kitchen island.

Get crafty and add a decorative back splash. Not only are back splashes super functional behind the sink and stove, they can also be very appealing to the eye and can exemplify personal style. Glass tiles are very popular now, as are easy-to-install ceramic tiles and tin panels.

Add storage. Extra storage is key, especially in smaller kitchens. Consider a wall peg board or a hanging wrought-iron rack for pots and pans. Add a standalone cabinet, cupboard, buffet, or wall shelving. Stage cabinets with craft supplies to show that the space can serve many purposes.

Display quality pieces. Take the artwork you may have once reserved for the living room and display it in the kitchen. Accessorize shelves with collectibles or books. For smaller kitchens, mount a mirror on one wall which will give the illusion of more space and reflect light.

Make sure the basics are strong. If the bones of the kitchen aren't strong, fix those first. The condition of countertops, hardware, flooring, appliances, and cabinets aren't going to be covered up by creating a cozy atmosphere.

Quick Roof Repairs Before Winter

It's typically hard in late August to imagine that winter's coming up, but this year it's been fairly cool and rainy on and off! With that, this is a simple project that will make your roof look more attractive to prospective buyers (if you're thinking of selling your home). Even if you aren't, it will still increase the value of your home. If you have a few damaged shingles, it's probably best to replace them before winter - especially if you live in Vermont, where we easily get several feet of snow each season! You could call a repair man, but with the economy being the way it is now, it might be a good choice to try the project yourself and save a few hundred dollars. It's easier than you think! First, remove old shingles with a pry bar by inserting the bar underneath each shingle until you break the seal. Then, remove all old shingle nails by inserting the pry bar underneath each nail and gently tapping the bar with a hammer until the nail pops out. Be careful not to damage the roofing felt underneath the shingles. After you've removed all of the old shingles, you can start placing the new ones on. Simply nail the new shingles to the roof; a three tab row of shingles should take approximately eight nails. Place a small amount of roofing sealant over each nail as an effort to keep water out. Now your roof will look great and you can save the indoor projects for this winter! Stay tuned for more ready-to-sell home tips!