Carol Snider and Laura Snider Cooperman's Blog
As the focal point of your living space, your fireplace needs to look its best or it could bring down the rest of your décor. But how can you restore the look and feel of that key design element without breaking the bank? There are actually many different ways to rekindle your old fireplace and none of them have to cost a ton of money or effort. Here’s a look at several low-cost, minimal effort ways to beautify the design of your fireplace.
Revise the Mantlepiece
If your fireplace does not have a mantle, adding one is a quick and easy way to transform its look. Hardware stores carry inexpensive mantle kits that are simple to install and still look like a million bucks. Just follow the included directions and you will restore your fireplace design in an instant. If you want to go the extra mile, slap on a coat of paint to jazz up the piece even more.
Reface the Exterior Surface
By refacing the exterior of your fireplace, you can make it look all new without spending a lot of money. All you have to do is add interlocking tiles that mimic the look of real stone over the existing exterior surface. These tiles not only look great, but their lightweight construction and simple installation techniques will not damage the underlying materials. If you ever want to remove them, you can do so without worry about what you will find underneath.
Add Glass Doors
Although open fireplaces look great on their own, installing glass doors makes the whole design look a little more sophisticated. You can find doors in many different designs, giving you the ability to match them to your existing décor. Their installation only requires basic tools and a little bit of know-how, which allows you to complete this project in one afternoon.
Restore the Bricks & Mortar
If you want to leave the rest of the fireplace as-is, but still want it to look a little nicer, consider repairing the brick along the inside. The brick and mortar joints inside the fireplace can start to look a little rundown after years of exposure to open flames, after all.
To restore its appearance, start by cleaning the brick with a stiff bristle brush and a vinegar-water solution. Rinse with warm water, and then focus on scraping the loose mortar with a scoring tool. Then, mix up new mortar and spray the joints with a little bit of plain water. Pack the joints with your mortar mixture and smooth out to complete this restoration project.
By completing any, or all, of these improvements, you can rekindle your fireplace design, elevating the beauty of this key focal point. Your visitors will delight in the changes and reward all your hard work with their praise and accolades. Even more rewarding, perhaps, is the confidence you will gain from completing your home improvement projects without breaking the bank.
Homeowners love the idea of creating a personal sanctuary in their outdoor living space, but many aren't quite sure of how to proceed when it comes to making the most of their yard and garden area. One of the most common issues faced by homeowners is that they don't really know how to use hardscaping elements to their best advantage. For instance, it's standard procedure to place a trellis against the side of the house and let a rambling rose clamber up and around it, and while this provides a classically charming cottage garden look, it's not the only way to use a trellis. Following are three suggestions designed to provide you with inspiration concerning how arbors and trellises can help transform your yard into the serene sweet spot of your dreams.
Create a Privacy Hedge With Trellises
One of the most primary elements of serenity is privacy. By putting in a row of trellises on the edge of your property, you can create a living hedge that does double duty by providing aesthetics as well as privacy. Climbing roses are a good option, but if you want year-round coverage, choose something like evergreen clematis. If you like the idea of mixing it up every year with different types of vining annuals, choose fast-growing options such as morning glory.
Define the Back of a Perennial Border With Trellises
Traditional perennial borders sometimes lack the necessary height for optimal balance, but you can fix that situation by installing one or two tall trellises at the back of the border and planting vining perennials. Classic choices include wisteria, clematis, vinca and, of course, old-fashioned rambling rose. Feel free to let your imagination be your guide when it comes to selecting vining plants. Blue potato vine, for instance, is a vigorous climber that's not often seen in modern home gardens but is one of the few vining plants that reliably produce true-blue flowers.
Create a Secret Glade With an Arbor for an Entrance
If you've got a small, treed area on your property, consider creating a private glade where you and yours relax in an environment filled with natural beauty. Create a small seating area using a weather-resistant teakwood bench, and plant plenty of flowering woodland vegetation such as primrose, sweet woodruff and trillium. Plant your choice of vibrant flowering vines near the arbor so they can ramble up and over it to create a lush bower leading to your private retreat.
Any one of the above approaches will bring an average yard from mundane to magical. With a little creativity, you can no doubt come up with more ideas for creating a serene ambiance using garden arbors and trellises.
Conducting an in-depth home search may prove to be difficult, particularly for individuals with limited time and resources at their disposal. Fortunately, there are lots of things that you can do to streamline your home search and discover your ideal residence without delay.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.
1. Create Homebuying Criteria
Not all homes are created equal, and the dream house for one buyer may differ from the dream house for another. However, if you craft homebuying criteria, you can define your dream house and map out your property search accordingly.
Think about the features you want to find in your dream residence. For instance, if you want to own a house that features a dazzling backyard, you can explore residences that offer this feature. On the other hand, if you want to purchase a home that boasts multiple bedrooms, you can search for residences that provide plenty of space.
Consider where you want to reside, too. By doing so, you can narrow your home search to residences in a select group of cities and towns.
2. Know Your Homebuying Budget
Get pre-approved for a mortgage – you'll be happy you did. If you enter the real estate market with a mortgage in hand, you'll know exactly how much you can spend to acquire your dream residence. Then, you can search for houses that fall within your price range.
Obtaining a mortgage will require you to meet with banks and credit unions. You should review mortgage options from a variety of banks and credit unions, as this will allow you to select a mortgage that complements your finances.
Don't hesitate to ask mortgage questions, either. Banks and credit unions employ home financing specialists who are ready to respond to your mortgage queries. Plus, these specialists can offer home financing insights to help you make an informed mortgage selection.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent understands the challenges associated with finding a great house at an affordable price. Thankfully, he or she can make it easy for you to conduct an in-depth home search in no time at all.
Typically, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about new houses that become available in your preferred cities or town. If you want to view any of these homes, a real estate agent will set up a house showing. And if you find a home you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this residence.
As you get set to search for your dream home, you should try to prepare as much as you can. By using the aforementioned tips, you can simplify the process of conducting a comprehensive home search. Best of all, you can use these tips to discover a wonderful home that is sure to serve you well both now and in the future.
Believe it or not, getting pre-approved for a mortgage can be quick and simple, even for a first-time homebuyer. In fact, here are three tips to help a first-time homebuyer streamline the process of receiving pre-approval for a mortgage:
1. Meet with Several Lenders
Many mortgage lenders are available in cities and towns nationwide. Meanwhile, these mortgage experts are happy to teach first-time homebuyers about assorted mortgage options and help them get pre-approved for a mortgage.
Set up face-to-face meetings with various lenders in your area. That way, a first-time homebuyer can gain unparalleled insights into a wide range of mortgage options.
In addition, don't hesitate to ask questions during meetings with banks and credit unions. Mortgage lenders possess comprehensive mortgage expertise, and as such, a first-time homebuyer can rely on these mortgage professionals to receive the support that he or she needs to make an informed decision.
2. Understand Your Credit Score
Do you know your credit score? Ultimately, a first-time homebuyer's credit score may dictate his or her ability to obtain the ideal mortgage.
An individual can request a free copy of his or her credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) once a year. This report may prove to be exceedingly valuable, as it can help a homebuyer identify opportunities to improve his or her credit score before a mortgage application is submitted.
Also, if you identify errors in your credit report, it is paramount to contact the agency that provided the report immediately. This will allow you to correct any potential errors quickly and ensure that they won't affect your ability to get the best possible mortgage.
3. Consider Your Homebuying Budget
A first-time homebuyer may have lofty expectations prior to entering the real estate market. However, this individual should consider his or her finances before submitting a mortgage application.
With a budget in hand, a homebuyer can establish realistic expectations as he or she tries to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Plus, this homebuyer may be better equipped than others to obtain pre-approval for a mortgage and accelerate his or her search for the perfect residence.
Lastly, it may be worthwhile for a first-time homebuyer to meet with a real estate agent to learn more about assorted mortgage options.
A real estate agent understands the challenges associated with purchasing a house for the first time. As a result, this housing market professional can teach a homebuyer about all aspects of the property buying journey and help this buyer plan accordingly.
Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent can set up home showings, keep a homebuyer up to date about new residences as they become available and negotiate with a home seller on a buyer's behalf. This housing market professional will even provide honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations to make it easy for a property buyer to acquire a top-notch residence at a budget-friendly price.
Move one step closer to purchasing your dream house – use the aforementioned tips, and a first-time homebuyer can speed up the process of getting pre-approved for a mortgage.