By Nancy Mitchell – Apartment Therapy
You may think of tile as a dull subject, but that’s where you’d be wrong. There’s always something new in the tile world, some new shape or texture or color or configuration. Lately, I am very into the look of matte black tile paired with black grout. It’s sophisticated, it’s modern, it doesn’t show dirt — a win all around. For more examples of this surprising trend, visit this link.
Food & Wine recently named one of Portland’s new restaurants to it’s list of 2017 restaurants of the year. To find out what hotspot made the list, click here.
The Portland Art Museum is featuring a major new exhibit on well-known architect John Yeon. For more information on both Yeon’s architectural legacy as well as his roll in conservation click here.
With a lower level art studio, my listing on SW Prospect offers an ideal space for artists of all ages to get creative. Featuring natural light, exterior access and a sink this is the perfect place for the future Monet to work.
With a cool and modern vibe, Portland’s Tusk is quickly earning a reputation in the Portland dining world. Located on E. Burnside (across from Heart coffee) the Mediterranean fare is both delicious and creative, and the cocktails and ambiance are equally enjoyable. For reservations, book ahead on their website.
- With those in cold climates preparing for snow, plus holidays and social gatherings everywhere you turn, December is a notoriously busy month. But with a little preparation, you can savor the best of the season. Check off these tasks for a less hectic, more harmonious month.
- Get ready for winter storms. Check the condition of your snow shovels, gloves and window scrapers, and replace as needed. Store snowy weather supplies near the door where you can access them easily in a storm, and mark the sides of your driveway and other key places with reflective poles, to help the snowplowers see where to go. And even if it doesn’t snow where you live, keeping the pantry stocked with food, bottled water, candles and flashlights in case of power outages is always a good idea.
- Disconnect hoses. If it freezes in winter where you live, now is the time to shut off the water supply to your outdoor faucets. After shutting off the water, turn on the faucets outside to allow any water left to drain out. Then disconnect garden hoses, drain the water and roll them up to store indoors until spring.
- Update your emergency kit. Be prepared for power outages and other emergencies by making sure your house and car are outfitted with well-stocked emergency kits. The basics include bottled water, a hand-crank radio, a flashlight with extra batteries, a cellphone charger (crank or battery-powered is best), food, blankets and a first-aid kit. At home, keep your most essential documents in one easily accessible place.
- Spruce up indoor play areas. If you have kids at home, harsh winter weather can mean more playtime indoors. Stave off the cries of “I’m bored!” with a spruced-up playspace. A bit of reorganizing and a few simple purchases (like a giant roll of paper and fresh markers) can make the same-old space feel like new.
- Refresh the guest room. Be ready for overnight guests this holiday season by prepping your guest room in advance. Make the bed with fresh sheets, replace lightbulbs as needed, vacuum and dust — it’s amazing how many dust bunnies can congregate in an infrequently used space like the guest room.
- Block drafts. If you feel a draft, don’t just reach for another throw — apply weatherstripping to the drafty area to warm up your house and save on your energy bill. If the cold air is getting in under a door, what you need is a door sweep. Usually made from hard plastic, a door sweep attaches to the bottom of your door, sealing off the gap that lets in cold air.
- Plan for holiday home safety. A few simple precautions — such as illuminating the area around your house, locking doors and windows, and trimming bushes — can go a long way toward keeping your home safe. And with night falling earlier this month, and many people headed out of town, it pays to be extra safety-conscious, whether or not you are going anywhere.
- Kitchen banquettes or breakfast nooks — however you refer to them, they have one thing in common: a delightful, cozy charm that invites you to sit and take five. But what gives these areas their easygoing appeal? Maybe it’s the combination of relaxed seating paired with the sociable kitchen location, or maybe it’s their association with casual restaurant diners.
- My listing at 1767 SW Prospect Drive features the perfect example of a “kitchen banquette with laid-back charm” – a wonderful place for homework to be completed, quick meals to be enjoyed, or a place for company to sit while food preparation is taking place.
We love our pets, whether they be dogs, cats, hamsters, capybaras, hedgehogs, or pygmy goats—but that doesn’t mean that they want to see said pets (or any evidence of them) when looking at a home they’re thinking of buying.
“Pets are either an attractive distraction, so cute they distract prospective buyers from looking at the real estate, or completely the opposite—smelly, frightening, or otherwise off-putting,” says Diane Saatchi, an East Hampton, NY, real estate broker with Saunders & Associates.
Don’t want your precious property to be known as “that dog house”? Well, you need to pet-proof your place when preparing and showing it for sale. Here’s how, in six simple steps.
Although you know your pets would never hurt anyone, they could scratch or bite a potential buyer whom they mistake for an intruder on their territory. You could be held liable for any harm your pet causes, so make sure your homeowners insurance covers you for incidents like these.
However, some insurers will not cover anyone who owns what they deem vicious or aggressive breeds, such as pit bulls; and if they do provide coverage, it could be expensive. If you have such a dog (and even if you don’t), it’s best to keep him out of the house during a showing.
2. Prepare your yard
Buyers will walk around your yard, a stroll that will be ruined if they step in poop or turn an ankle where your dog likes to dig.
Perform a poop patrol before each showing. Double-bag the waste before disposing, so your garbage cans don’t smell when buyers walk by. Fill all holes and sprinkle grass seed on top.
Before putting your house on the market, make sure your yard is a green oasis—not a brown-and-yellow dustbowl created when pets pee on grass. You can try to aerate and seed bare spots. But if that doesn’t work fast enough, you can replace ugly patches with new sod. Then, train Travis the Titan Terrier to use an out-of-the-way spot for his business. Or take him for very long walks.
3. Remove the odors
Removing the odors pets leave behind is one of the biggest challenges. It’s easy to clean and tuck away kitty’s litter box. But it’s way harder to erase years of piddle from rugs and hardwood.
If a bacteria-eating pet odor remover doesn’t banish all traces of cat or dog urine, you might have to hire a professional service to clean carpets or rugs. (Perhaps you should consider this whether you are selling your home or not.) Often, however, the odor returns, so if a carpet continues to reek, replace it before buyers trek through.
Clean turtle, hamster, and guinea pig cages frequently, to prevent odors. And make fish tanks sparkle; a daily swipe with an eraser sponge will do the trick.
4. Clean up the hair
Not only does a layer of pet hair on floors and sofas make your home look messy, it can trigger allergies and send potential buyers sneezing and wheezing out the door.
Before each showing, vacuum and dust to remove any settled hair or dander. Or, consider buying a vacuuming robot (such as a Roomba) that you can schedule to suck up hair several times a day. They actually work.
If your pet sheds, brush him frequently outside, so the hair doesn’t fly around the house. Bathing can help minimize shedding, too.
5. Hide the evidence
Like kids, pets (or rather, their caretakers) tend to accumulate lots of stuff—leashes, collars, toys, water bowls, food, cute sweaters, and costumes for Christmas and Halloween (ladies and gentlemen: It’s canine Ken Bone!). But no matter how adorable you may think it all is, to buyers, it’s just clutter.
Make sure you stow pet paraphernalia in a cupboard or closet. Put dry food bins in a laundry or mud room. Wash pet beds to remove odors and dirt, and only display them if they’re attractive.
6. Say goodbye to your pets (just for a while!)
If you decide to leave your dogs or cats at home, either crate them or confine them to a special area of the house, and make sure your real estate agent knows where they are. Keep them busy with interactive toys or long-lasting treats, says Chris Rowland, CEO of Pet Supplies Plus, based in Livonia, MI.
“Even purchasing a new exciting toy or treat just prior to company coming may keep them more preoccupied,” he says.
But it’s best for everyone if you can find a playdate for your pet before a showing, or to send him to Grandma’s for an extended stay. But remember that pets have emotions, too—especially when it comes to change in their routines.
When you stow their toys, move their water bowl, or put them in a crate when strangers inspect their home, some pets will feel confused and anxious. So before making any major changes in the life of a dog or cat, talk to your veterinarian, who can help you ease your pet’s transition to a temporary new home.