Friday, May 30, 2014

Foliage that pops

foliage that pops
Pop with flower beds.
Add some color to your yard to create better curb appeal and bring buyers in!

  • Vines that flower. Here we can use climbing roses to add color and also a touch of romance to your home. Using a climbing rose keeps the vines light and prevents rodents from nesting. Using guidelines for roses, trim them back each year so they will be stronger next season.
  • Hydrangea. Hide your plain-Jane foundation walls with thick foliage of the Hydrangea plant. With its large ball-shaped pink and lavender blooms they add color. If you have more acidic soil the blooms will be blue. Plant at least two feet from your walls so you don't have moisture issues.
  • Encore Azalea. Plant in sunny spots that might cook other plants. Encore Azaleas bloom in spring and then again in late summer and early fall. Plant along walkways in slightly acidic soil. Color pops of white, pink, red and purple.
  • Rhododendron. Great for tall foundation walls for in front of porches. This woody shrub can get 10 foot tall so keep it trimmed. Color pops of pink, red and white.
  • Knockout Rose. A bush rose that will bloom from spring to first frost. These are easy care and disease resistant. Color pops in red, white, yellow, pink, orange and many other hybrid colors.

foliage that popsThere are also some flowering trees you can plant but they may not flower the first year. They are Southern Magnolia, Cherry Trees, flowering Dogwood, flowering Crabapple, Eastern Redbud and Crepe Myrtle. Check with your local nursery to see which is right for your yard.

Another way to get color pop is to plant bulbs. Most bulbs bloom in the early spring but if you can dig a hole you can grow a bulb. They are not picky and are very hardy. Options are tulips, crocus, Gladiolus, Hyacinth and Calla Lilies. All of these come in a wide variety of color that you can mix and match.

Here are some local events for June.
This week we visit the Greenville Gem Mining store. Open seven days a week and located in downtown Greenville. They sell all kinds of natural wonders from gems, fossils, minerals, petrified wood and dino dung. You will also find items from Africa, Middle East, India and Europe. Raw and tumbled gemstones. Everything the rock hound in you would want! Stop by then come back and leave us a comment below on your experience.

Greenville Gemstone Mine
Greenville Gemstone Mine in Downtown.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Economic Ways to Show your Home and Get it Sold

sample of front yard appeal
Curb Appeal
The inside and outside of your home should be appealing. You've heard the saying, "judge a book by its cover." Well your home is no different. We are going to run a series to assist you in adding appeal and getting your home sold.
  • Add a new front door. Believe it or not, your front door is the outside focal point of your home. An eye catching front door will help people remember your home. If the door is in good shape, consider painting it and replacing worn out hardware. Bright or contrasting colors will liven it up. If you have a front porch, add some furniture that compliments the door or repaint existing pieces to match.
  • Add some window boxes. However don't overdue the greenery. Add some flowers or plants that will accentuate what you already have in your beds around the home. Just enough to add life to your walls.
  • Clean or paint your trim. If your trim around your home is looking drab, then it might be time to get if pressure washed or painted. Use your original color or pick a accent color that will brighten your home. If your trim is vinyl, pressure washing is a great alternative. You can find house wash at your local home store that will help.

Next week we will talk about planting foliage that pops!

This week we visit O.P. Taylor's toys, "The Coolest Toy Store on the Planet!" Located in downtown Greenville, this store is a smaller version of their Brevard store but is packed with toys of all kinds. It is so packed you might need a tour guide. Ha! All they sell is imagination powered toys. No electronics.
O.P. Taylor toy store in greenville sc
O.P. Taylor's Toy Store

Friday, May 16, 2014

Don't get hammered on costs or nailed on return!

don't get hammered on costs or nailed on return
Need some work done on your home? Looking to hire a general contractor to take care of it for you? Here are five things that a contractor doesn't want you to know about them.
  1. The Contractor you interview is not the only one in town. Make sure that your contractor is the right one for the job you need done. Always request bids from at least three different contractors in your area. Getting bids allows you to compare cost, materials and methods. Detail out the project you need completed the same to each contractor. Then consider cost, communication style and scheduling when determining the winner.
  2. Contractors will farm out work. Most general contractors have retired their tools and will supervise a crew of subcontractors to do the actual work. General contractors are often vague on details but you can get answers by directly asking "Who is in charge at the job site?" Ask the meet the foreman while he is working your project. Lastly, being nice goes a long way to getting your project done.
  3. Don't pay large deposits or the full price up front. A lot of times when you sign a contract, you may be ask to pay a deposit up front. However, be cautious and only pay around 10 percent or less. If your contractor is good with his suppliers, he won't need a large advance to get the job started. The Federal Trade Commission suggests paying by credit card for home improvement projects. That way if the job goes wrong you have the right to withhold payment until the project is fixed to reasonable satisfaction.
  4. There is always a markup on a contractors bid. It is typical for a contractor to mark up his jobs so he can pay his overhead as well s his labor cost. To keep materials cost under control, offer to purchase items outright from a home supply store and then have the contractor take it out of his bid.
  5. A general contractor might not be a designer. Usually a general contractor is running his business not honing his design skills. Unless he has a portfolio and presents this as a first step to getting the job done, you may have to hire a design professional to actually design the space/project. Always ask for references.

Today we are visiting Cooks Station in downtown Greenville. They carry 16 full lines of major appliances for your kitchen, your laundry room, your home bar or your outdoor living areas. They are also foodies and use the appliances they sell in store for cooking classes and use and care demonstrations. They sell products for inside and outside kitchens. They are locally owned and also have a licensed kitchen designer on staff. If you happen to stop by, leave us a comment below on your experience.

cooks station greenville sc
The Cook's Station downtown Greenville SC

Friday, May 9, 2014

Five Do-It-Yourself Steps to Home Security

five do-it-yourself steps to home security
Update your security.
Getting a security system installed professionally is always a nice bonus, but it might not need to be your first option. Walk around your home. Inspect your doors and windows and then use these points below to conduct a DIY home security check.
  1. Keep the outside of your home well-maintained. Take of look at your home from the street. Does your home looked vacant, hidden or neglected? Crooks will look for anything that will hide them from passersby. Keep all shrubs trimmed away from your windows and doorways, and widen your front walkup if possible. The more you can see, the less attractive it is to crooks.
  2. Add motion detector lights. For ultimate security, all sides of your home need motion-activated lighting. Replacing existing lighting is easy if the wiring already exists. Simple floodlights that are motion-activated cost around $50 a piece.
  3. Lockup your valuables. Most burglars are looking for easy in-and-out items like small electronics, jewelry, cash or any other smaller valuables. Tour your home and determine if there is anything you want stored in a safe deposit box outside the home. Master bedrooms are popular targets. Think about access points and what you might need to move or store to make it more secure. Another option might be to install a safe, either in a wall or bolted to your slab. Keep these options for things in which you need daily or easy access.
  4. Secure you pc data. As a popular high theft item, make sure your data is backed up and secured. Use login password programs and/or a desktop login password to help secure your pc. The more obstacles you place on someone actually getting to your data, the better the chance they will give up. Always turn your pc off when you're not using it, this makes the security features reactivate when it starts up again.
  5. Think of the best but prepare for the worst. A little bit a preparation like taking photos of your rooms and valuable items in your home goes a long way to helping with insurance claims. Make sure to store in an online repository like Dropbox, Google Drive or even Photobucket. Also make sure that you are insured for theft. Some higher ticket items like computers, home business essentials and professional camera equipment may need additional riders or separate policies.

If you have any good ideas on how to decrease the appeal of a home to burglars and crooks, let us know below in the comments. We love hearing from you!

This week we visit Spiritex located in downtown. Their motto: Grown & Sewn in the USA. This store takes organically grown cotton from Texas and uses mills in South and North Carolina for weaving the fabric. Their intent is to keep jobs in the local economy. Help support their homegrown initiative by stopping by today. Let us know about your fav item in the comments below.
spiritex greenville sc
Spiritex Greenville SC

Friday, May 2, 2014

Is Universal Design Right for You?

universal design door handles
Universal Design Door Handle
What is Universal Design? This is an updated concept of adding specific touches to a home that make the home safer and more practical for all living in the home, especially people with limited mobility and the elderly. Today's designers and architects are adding universal design to new homes as a standard. Here are some areas where you can upgrade to Universal Design in your home.
  1. Switch out your standard round door knobs for lever-style handles. Round door knobs require twisting, dexterity and hand torque to open. With a lever it is simply down ward pressure and it opens. This makes it a quick and easy exit in an emergency for children as well as people with hand issues like arthritis.
  2. Replace those old fashioned toggle switches for your lights with updated rocker-style switches. The larger switch plate on the rocker switch allows you to turn it on or off using your finger, your knuckles or even an elbow or other body parts when hands are full. There is not grabbing needed. Simply press and go. Another option is an occupancy light switch. Easy to install in place of existing switches and it automatically turns lights on and off in your rooms when you enter or leave.
  3. Install anti-scald devices in your bathroom. These devices prevent water from reaching burning temperatures. Examples include a shower head and bathroom faucet. Each reduces water flow to a trickle if the water gets too hot. You can also have your plumber install anti-scald valves in your pipes. These prevent water pressure changes so you don't get sudden bursts of hot or even cold water.
  4. Motion sensor devices for lights are another option. These are separate small plug-in devices that plug into a wall outlet. You then plug your lamp etc into them. Upon sensing motion they will turn on the lights and then turn them off again after about 10 minutes without motion.
Adding Universal Design to your home makes the home more attractive to potential buyers as well as easier and safer on you. You can even buy Universal Design toilet handles. Upgrade a bit at a time as you have the budget to reap future rewards if you sell or if you stay in the home and retire.

And speaking of design, this week we look at Postcard from Paris located in downtown Greenville. Postcard from Paris is a full-service interior design firm and a home furnishings boutique. They have a talented team of designers that can work with you on your interior design providing unique styling. They have also worked with developers and builders. Drop by their store today and let us know what you thought below.

postcard from paris greenville sc
Postcard from Paris GreenvilleSC