5 Countertops That Are Worth the Upgrade


Updating your kitchen can be a smart way to increase your home’s worth. In fact, Remodeling Magazine named a minor kitchen renovation one of the best projects to take on this year — and upgrading your countertops is a good place to start. 

The right countertop can add aesthetic and resale value to your home and improve your space’s functionality. 

Which of these five materials do you like best?

Quartz: These countertops are low maintenance and nonporous, meaning they won’t soak up moisture or hold bacteria. Quartz is also quite popular and may attract more buyers to your home when it comes time to sell.

Soapstone: This rare material is trending among home designers. Its unique aesthetic can add effortless style to your space, but it’ll come with a hefty price tag.

Granite: A classic style, granite offers a great look, as well as a scratch- and heat-resistant surface. It’s one of the more expensive countertops, and it needs regular resealing to stay in top condition.

Solid Surface: These countertops are a mixture of manmade materials and resins, making them easy to keep clean. Solid surface comes in all sorts of colors and tends to resemble granite — minus the high cost.

Eco-Friendly: Upcycled wood and recycled glass are two options in this category. The cost will depend on where you source your materials, but you’ll be minimizing your environmental footprint and getting a one-of-a-kind countertop in the process.

Simple cosmetic changes to your kitchen can make a big difference. Get in touch today for more tips on upping the resale value of your home.

Posted on October 27, 2020 at 3:00 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Posted in Interior Design |

How to Create Your Ideal Home Workspace


Working from home is one of the many challenges Americans are facing during the coronavirus outbreak. And while the arrangement may have its perks — like no commuting or office attire — it also has some serious setbacks.

The biggest one? That’s finding the motivation to stay productive. With kids, pets and that comfortable bed calling your name, it can be hard for even the most diligent of workers to stay on task.

Are you struggling in your efforts to work from home? If so, these workspace tips can help: 

Pick your area. Separate personal time and work time by designating a spot for your work. It could be a desk, a corner of the dining room table or even a surface in a cleared-out closet. Just make sure it’s yours — and that your loved ones know it too.

Keep it tidy. Nothing can slow you down like disorganization. Set yourself up for success with the right folders, shelves and other tools you’ll need to stay productive. You should also make an effort to clean up your space after signing off each day. 

Make yourself comfortable. You might not have a cushy office chair, but do your best to add some comforts. Put a fluffy pillow or warm blanket on the dining room chair you’re using, or grab a footstool from the living room so you can lean back during conference calls. 

Add personal touches. You’ll be spending a lot of time in that spot, so make sure you’re happy there. Use photos or fresh flowers to personalize your space.

Are you looking for more ideas on turning your space into a work-from-home haven? Get in touch today.

Posted on April 14, 2020 at 4:00 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Posted in Interior Design |

4 Tips for Decorating a Small Space

Whether it’s a cramped bedroom or an office nook, many homes have a small room that’s difficult to decorate. 

Do you wish you could add more charm without forgoing square footage? Well, just because your space is limited, it doesn’t mean your style has to be. 

Make your tiny area more usable and trendy with these four tips.

1. Create a focal point. Designing without a focal point can make your space look cluttered. Instead, arrange a single, standout feature at the center of the room. Organize a gallery wall with several of your favorite photos or hang one attention-grabbing piece of art. 

2. Take decor to the top. If your home lacks high ceilings, use tall floor lamps and curtains to elongate your walls. You can further give the illusion of height by installing vertical shelves closer to the ceiling instead of at eye level. 

3. Make it bright. Bring in natural light by hanging sheer window curtains. You can also add a mirror to the wall opposite a window to reflect light. 

But if your small space doesn’t have windows, consider these ideas to illuminate it: 

  • Overhead lighting, such as bright bulbs in ceiling fixtures.
  • Diffused lighting, like opaque glass or shaded floor lamps.
  • Task lighting, including desk or reading lights. 

Arrange multiple levels of lighting so your gaze moves to various areas of the space, which can make it feel larger.

4. Add decorative storage. When a room is full of stuff, it tends to feel smaller. Use your walls for storage by installing hooks or racks to give your items a rightful place. 

If you want more space-saving ideas — or if you’re ready to start looking for a larger home — reach out today.

Posted on February 25, 2020 at 7:16 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Posted in Interior Design |

19 Home Renovation Mistakes to Avoid

One of the very best things about owning your own home is that you can change it to fit yourself and your lifestyle. Home renovations are more popular than ever before, and there are countless shows, blogs, magazines and other resources where you can indulge your dreams of a perfect home — if you’re willing to jump into renovating.

But a home renovation project isn’t a journey for the faint of heart. It’s expensive and time-consuming, and there’s a lot that can go wrong before the finished product is, well, finished. To ensure that your home renovation process goes as smoothly as possible, make sure you don’t make any of the following home renovation mistakes.


This might not be something you realize you forgot about until it’s time to sell the house — which is basically the worst possible time to discover that your house needs a permit for something and doesn’t have one. So when you’re sure of what form and shape you want your home renovation to take, do yourself a favor and head to the permitting department at your city or county office and ask them what you’ll need.

In general, you probably don’t need a permit to do things like paint walls, replace cabinetry, repaving your driveway or other minor updates. But if you’re going to be changing a room’s purpose or knocking down a wall, then you definitely want to check on the permits that should be filed to make a change like that.


You’ve no doubt heard horror stories from fellow homeowners about the amount of time it takes to actually finish a renovation. And you might think that those people probably just had bad luck — that won’t happen to you!

Here’s the thing: Everybody thinks that their home renovation is going to be completed on schedule (and on budget, too, but more on that later). Even professional house-flippers who have worked on dozens of renovations can get it wrong. So your timeline needs to reflect the realistic estimates that you’re hearing from contractors, and it also needs to include a little bit of wiggle room in case something outside your control pushes it back.


After watching a few different tanned and glossy couples complete a specific renovation for a certain amount of money, you might feel perfectly comfortable deciding that you can designate that certain amount of money for that specific renovation, too. But like your timeline, your budget needs a little bit of room to stretch. Between material upgrades, hiring extra labor, emergencies or any other budget-breakers, at some point during the renovation, you’ll be glad you built in some budgetary breathing room.


It’s really tempting to try to discount your way through a home renovation. And one of the easiest ways to do that is by choosing the cheapest materials — but resist! The adage “you get what you pay for” is as true for home renovation materials as anywhere else, and if you’re buying flooring, windows or doors that you’ll have to replace in five years instead of twenty, then you’re not actually saving yourself any money because you’re going to have to do this all again sooner rather than later. 

Talk to your contractor (or contractors) about the options open to you, and make sure you understand what sacrifices you might be making in quality or longevity for price. 


If you’ve ever painted a room, then you already understand how critical prep work can be. It’s a lot easier to thoroughly tape off the area you’re going to paint, right? Well, that truism holds for home renovation in general, so make sure you’re doing yourself favors by smoothing the road for yourself.

Cover furniture with drop cloths, for example, or make sure that you’ve got a food prep area set up outside the kitchen that you can use while it’s having work done. The small steps you take to protect your belongings and make necessities more accessible will be well worth the time they take in the long run.


If there’s one home renovation mistake that you should try to avoid at all costs, no matter what, this is it. “Measure twice, cut once,” is sound advice, but when it comes to your money and your house, what’s the harm in measuring ten times before you cut?

Imagine realizing that your new cabinets don’t leave enough room for your fridge, for example, or that you didn’t order enough flooring, or that the bookshelves you’re installing are too tall for the office. All of those catastrophes can be avoided if you measure carefully and accurately, so whatever you do, don’t breeze through this step.


This might not be as critical for smaller projects, but if you’re renovating an entire room or an entire house, then you absolutely need a game plan for exactly what you’re doing and when. Planning also includes your own time, so make a plan for how much time you can devote to the home renovation, and avoid starting projects when you know you aren’t going to have time to finish them.

You’re really going to have to know yourself and your tendencies in order to plan for them and around them. If you’re the kind of person who loves to start projects and has trouble finishing them, then you might want to call in assistance in the form of a friend or loved one to keep you accountable. Or perhaps this is a project you need to outsource. Whatever the case, make a plan that makes sense for you and your lifestyle today.


A home renovation is usually a big, messy project. There’s likely to be dust everywhere at the very least, and some of your rooms might not be usable while the renovation is taking place. That’s not always a big deal in the case of a closet or bedroom, but when you’re redoing a bathroom or kitchen, then renovating a house where you currently live can get quite a bit trickier.

Be prepared for a big mess, and think especially hard about how it will affect you if you’re living in the house while it’s being renovated. Use plastic sheeting and drop cloths to keep as much of the mess as you can at bay, and realize that any clothes you’re wearing into the construction zone might need a lot of wash cycles before they return to normal, so dress accordingly.


There’s nothing wrong with admiring a super-trendy house — but nothing dates a house quite like a trend. Remember, shag carpeting and avocado-green kitchen appliances were once the height of trendiness.

If you absolutely love one of the kitchen or bathroom trends that’s been making the rounds and you really want to try it, consider asking your contractor about a modern twist or spin on a classic look that might satiate your desire for the trend without obviously dating the house and the renovation.


The beauty of construction tools is that each tool was specifically designed to do one job, and to do it very well. But when you don’t use those tools every day — or if you’re missing a tool that you should have — then it’s pretty tempting to use the wrong tools for a project that you’re trying to finish on time.

But the danger in using the wrong tools isn’t just in potentially damaging your materials or the tool, which can definitely happen; you could also hurt yourself pretty badly trying to leverage a tool in a way it wasn’t designed.


Some people just look at paint color and think they’re done, but paint comes in so many different finishes and price ranges because it’s meant to be used in different ways. The paint typically used for ceilings is usually less reflective and less sturdy than the paint typically used for walls, so make sure that you’re considering the paint’s purpose as well as its color before you buy.


Even if you aren’t particularly environmentally conscious, there’s a lot of merit in considering “green” building materials and upgrades when you’re renovating. For a start, they can be very appealing to buyers when the time does come to sell — but they’re also often money-savers for you as the homeowner. Low-flow toilets or showerheads, solar panels and other upgrades might be worth adding to your house whenever you renovate so that you can save some money down the road.


Almost every house has some odd nooks and crannies that could use a little attention, but they’re often ignored during a home renovation. So when you’re working on your renovation, consider storage and think about creative ways to use it.

When you’re redoing your kitchen cabinets, consider adding a shelved lazy susan to the big, deep corner cabinet so that you can easily access everything you store. Drawer dividers, shelves and bins can also be used to make storing your stuff feel easier and more natural than ever.


Goggles and hard-toed shoes might not feel very sexy, but if splinters go flying or you drop a hammer, you’ll be pretty happy you indulged in them regardless. Make sure you’re following best practices for safety for any renovations you’re helping with — and if you’re hiring out all the work, ask the contractors you interview about their safety practices to make sure everything is in order.


Speaking of contractors: It’s commendable if you want to do your entire renovation yourself, but at the very least, make sure you have a backup plan for what you’ll do if something unexpected happens and you can’t finish it yourself.

It’s also not so commendable to mess up your house because you didn’t correctly gauge the level of expertise needed to finish a job … so make sure that you’re actually qualified to complete any renovations that you tackle.


Finding and hiring a contractor to work on a home renovation can be incredibly stressful; it’s a huge trust, and you may be tempted to make an “easy” decision by hiring the first person who calls you back, or just going with the cheapest option.

Resist! This is your home, a huge financial investment, and you should really make sure that you can rely on the people you’re hiring to help you realize your dream.


Sometimes homeowners just don’t know what’s possible in a renovation, and sometimes they’re worried that their plans might be too complicated. But you might be surprised at what a skilled contractor can accomplish — you can change the entire layout of a bathroom, for example. So if you think you might want it, but you’re not sure it’s possible, just ask! You might be pleasantly surprised.


Overbuilding is the mistake at the opposite end of the spectrum of buying the cheapest materials possible. A room can start to look and feel overwhelming if you don’t consider balance when you’re making your plans, so be wary of adding features … upon features … upon features as you renovate, especially in places like the kitchen and bathroom. It’s easy to get carried away, and the results probably will not have the cumulative impact that you hoped for.


Before you take the first step on your renovation journey, make sure that your mind is set in stone and that you have no intention whatsoever of changing it. Because if you don’t, you’ll be spiraling well beyond the realm of “reasonable and realistic” when it comes to both your budget and your timeline. It’ll stress out your contractors, and the end result is almost never worth it.

Believe it or not, this also applies to changing your mind to accommodate more affordable options when you’re renovating. There will be times when you need to cut corners, but make sure that you’re really okay with cutting this specific corner when that time comes so that you don’t regret eliminating something that you really wish you’d kept.

If you can avoid these mistakes, your renovation will undoubtedly make your house shine. Good luck!

Posted on October 22, 2019 at 4:43 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Posted in Interior Design |

Ceilings Are the Perfect Blank Canvas

One of the many joys of homeownership is incorporating your signature style throughout your home. From furniture and rugs to artwork and paint colors, there are so many ways you can make a space all your own. 

But there’s one space in the home that’s often left untouched — the ceiling. Though rarely considered, it’s a vital part of your home’s story. 

Whatever your design style, there are plenty of ways to dress up your fifth wall. Check out these ceiling styles that designers and architects are raving about:

Go Modern Minimalist  
If you like sleek and elegant design schemes, minimalism is for you. A minimalist home has clean lines in a defined color palette. Forego bright color schemes and add elaborate elements sparingly. 

Paint, tile or paneling in black or grey add engaging contrast to ceilings without stealing the show.

Add Some Rustic Charm
If you’d prefer a more accessible look, then rustic style is the answer. It’s comfortable, warm and inviting with neutral tones and natural textures like wood and stone.

Wood is the order of the day with a rustic ceiling motif. Rough-hewn panels, bold beams or reclaimed wood will add stunning character to your barnhouse decor. 

Keep It Traditional
If you’re looking for a style that’s casual and understated, consider a classic look. It’s a great option whether you enjoy muted tones or simple pops of color.

For traditional ceilings, bright white paint with recessed lighting is a tried-and-true choice. Your cool and classic fifth wall can be flat or vaulted with lavish details like crown molding or coffers. 

Bring the Focal Point Down
If a crisp, white ceiling is your preferred style, you can dress up your fifth wall with a custom pendant or light fixture

Ready to get rid of those old popcorn ceilings? Get in touch if you’d like referrals to interior designers in our area. 

Or reach out today if you’re ready for a new space to design.

Posted on October 15, 2019 at 7:06 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Posted in Interior Design |

How to Maximize Space in a Tiny Home

Inevitably when you’re watching one of those tiny house reality shows (we know you know which ones we’re talking about, HGTV!), a buyer who’s looking at a tiny house says something along the lines of, “Well, there isn’t much space/storage room, is there?”

That’s a given when it comes to a tiny house. The clue is in the name, after all — a tiny house just isn’t going to have a lot of room, especially for storage space, and especially for the little extras that can make your house feel bigger.

But thanks to modern design, there are a lot of ways you can maximize space in a tiny home without sacrificing any of the attributes that make it attractive — or tiny. 

Invest in lots of windows …

One of the best ways to make any room feel bigger is by lighting it up, wall to wall, corner to corner. This is usually easiest to do by adding windows, which can be especially effective when placed high up toward the ceiling in a tiny house, leaving room on the walls.

More windows do take up space, of course, but if living somewhere that feels light and airy is important to you, then windows are the very best way to accomplish that goal.

… Or floor-to-ceiling shelving

Of course, you’ll want to think strategically about your tiny house’s layout because with every decision you make to add something, you’ll probably be forgoing something else you might like. So instead of a lofty window, maybe you’d rather install a wall of shelving where you can stash books, plates, clothes, whatever you want to stash.

Put shelves or hooks on your doors

Doors that swing open and shut aren’t always the best idea in a tiny house (more on other options below), but if you really love that aesthetic, then you can still maximize space by adding some storage options to those doors. Hooks can work on either side of the door, and shelves can be a good option for the side of the door that swings away from the room (so you don’t end up smashing the shelves on a wall). They can be a storage spot for bags or coats or whatever you might have needed in a coat closet in a larger home.

Use space outside

Especially if the weather is mostly nice where you live, investing in a big deck or porch where you can eat, set the kids up with homework, or just settle down and read can make living in your tiny home much more, well, livable. Some tiny homes even have an outdoor cooking space for grilling or baking outside, but if you don’t want to go that far, seating for several people and maybe a hammock can go a long way toward making you feel like your house is richer in square footage than it actually is.

Let there be skylights

When your wall space is already taken, one excellent way to add light to a space without adding windows is through skylights. After all, you probably aren’t going to hang shelving from a sloped roof; it’s real estate that you can’t really do much with except for let in some light, so if you feel like windows just aren’t cutting it, consider installing a skylight or two.

Lose the walls entirely …

Open spaces tend to look bigger than walled-off spaces — consider the trend of having a kitchen/dining/living room space that flows into each other; it makes all three areas feel more spacious than they really are. Even though walls only take up inches in reality, they seem to have a disproportionate effect psychologically.

A totally open tiny house might not be feasible for you, and there are definitely other options if you have to have walls or room dividers of some kind. But if you can, open up as much space as possible to give yourself the illusion of a bigger room.

… Or use lots of sliding doors or curtains

If you must have divided space, hanging curtains or installing sliding doors can be an excellent alternative to a wall, which takes up more room than either one. Plus, with a curtain or sliding door, you can keep the space open when you want to feel like your tiny house has more square footage than it really does, then draw the curtains or slide the door shut when privacy is more important than airiness and space.

Add a loft

Most tiny homes don’t have room for two full stories, but a common solution to the issue of space is found in lofted beds or bedrooms. A loft in a tiny house can often accommodate a queen-sized or even king-sized mattress, and when you’re asleep, it doesn’t matter if your body is physically close to the ceiling; you won’t notice at all. Some people even sleep better in a space that feels cozier and more enclosed, once they get used to it.

If you can add a loft to your tiny house and use it for a bedroom or storage space, you’ll be freeing up that much more floor space and giving your place a little boost in terms of feeling bigger than it is.

Turn under-stair space into awesome storage

Not all tiny homes have stairs, but for those that do, there’s usually some lucrative storage space to be found underneath the stairs. You could do like the bigger houses do and use an under-stair closet, but you can also get really creative in a tiny home: Maybe you can create small cubbies with drawers or baskets under the stairs, or perhaps that space will be where you put your bookshelves. Whatever you do, don’t neglect that prime real estate under the stairs — it’s not just for pre-Hogwarts Harry Potter anymore.

Use mirrors wisely

Wall space is usually at a premium in a tiny house, but one very intelligent way to use that space is with mirrors, even if they’re serving as a backdrop to a shelf. While windows are one of the best ways to let more light in, mirrors reflect and bounce back the light that’s there, plus they can make your tiny home feel twice as big when they’re placed correctly.

In a tiny house, a wall mirror probably makes more sense than a floor mirror. You can find or get mirrors cut that exactly fit your wall and reflect the entire house back at you — don’t be surprised if you feel like you’re living in a mansion once they’re installed.

Don’t be afraid to max out one room (but make it your favorite)

People like tiny houses because they’re drawn to the minimalist lifestyle, naturally. But most of us also have a “favorite” room in the house, one where we spend most of our time and energy, where we feel like we’re at our very best. Perhaps it’s the kitchen, or maybe you’re more of a bedroom dweller, or it could be the dining room where your kids sit and do their homework.

Whatever the case, don’t hesitate to go all-out with one room in your tiny house. This really should be just one room, and maybe it’s a space that you can take partially or mostly outside, like the living room or dining room. Once you take any tendencies toward maxing out one room beyond that one room, you’ll find your tiny house really won’t support it … but there’s no harm in giving yourself one room where you feel like you aren’t making any sacrifices of comfort for space.

Don’t box in your storage

Optical illusions are a fabulous way to make your tiny house feel bigger. Even though you might not actually be saving space, using doorless cabinets is one way to help maximize the space in your kitchen (especially if you hang a mirror behind those plates or appliances). On a similar note, using a hanging rod for a closet instead of building an actual closet with a door does actually save space while also making the room appear bigger because you can see around the “closet” to the walls. 

Small appliances can slide in and out on drawers

The kitchen is one place where many people in tiny houses end up making a lot of sacrifices. Storing small appliances can feel especially like a burden, but there are some interesting solutions by way of sliding drawers that let you slide out an appliance when you’re using it and tuck it back away and out of sight when you’re finished. Toaster ovens, coffee machines, and other items you use every day but don’t have the counter space to keep out and ready can still be turned on quickly and put to good use before you slide them back home.

Consider a breakfast bar

Instead of a dining area inside, one nice solution for tiny homes is to build a breakfast bar that connects to your kitchen counter. It’s just a little bit of extra space, but having somewhere to sit and drink your coffee or tea while getting ready for the day — or winding down with a beer or glass of wine at night — can make all the difference in making a place feel like “home.”

Put lights under shelves

Natural light is all well and good when the sun is out, but when it’s hiding or down for the night, you might need to boost the light in your tiny home using artificial means like actual light bulbs. Not all light fixtures are maximized for tiny home use, but you can often find some good places to put light when you look underneath shelves, drawers, kitchen cabinets, and other storage spaces. You can get some nice, bright lights for relatively cheap and save yourself the headache of figuring out what kind of lamp will be small yet powerful enough to suit your needs.

Look underneath for storage

Another time when it pays to “look underneath” is when you’re seeking out storage space. You might be pleasantly surprised by how much storage is available in your tiny house when you can think creatively about it. Can you hang some baskets underneath your sink to hold cleaning supplies? Could you add drawers under your bed or sofa where you can keep extra blankets, bedding, or clothes? Some creative tiny-house enthusiasts are even able to find storage space underneath bathtubs — so crawl around for a little while and see whether you can identify any storage opportunities that you’ve been quite literally overlooking.

Murphy beds are back…

If you haven’t lofted your bed, then a murphy bed — a bed that folds out from a wall — can be another excellent option for a tiny house. Many areas offer specialists who can make custom murphy beds that look like a desk or a table when they’re folded up, then unfold into a spacious and comfortable bed when it’s time to sleep. This way you can make your bedroom multitask as a dining room or study area, only getting out your bed (which, let’s face it, is probably one of the biggest items of furniture most of us own) when it’s time to use it.

…And fold-out desks and tables are in

Beds aren’t the only items of furniture to get the fold-out treatment. Fold-out tables and desks can work very nicely in tiny homes with limited space, and they work exactly like it sounds: You fold them out when you’re ready to use them, then tuck them away when you’re all finished until you need them again.

By being conscious of the space you’re using in your tiny home and doing your best to help every square foot multitask depending on the time of day, you’ll find that you have a lot more room than you thought you would in the tiny home of your dreams.

Posted on June 4, 2019 at 4:00 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Posted in Home Features, Interior Design |

2019’s Trendiest Colors for Your Home

Colors have the ability to evoke emotions and change our attitudes. They can inspire and motivate us to try something new and bold. They can alter our moods and appetites, or even make a room feel small and cramped. 

If you plan to redecorate a few rooms in the new year, the right color choices can make all the difference in the feeling you’re trying to achieve. Better yet, it’s one of the simplest and most affordable decor changes you can make. Not sure which colors to choose? Here are 2019’s best color palettes for home interiors, according to the Pantone Color Institute:

This palette is a mix of leisurely, rich shades like Island Green, Aurora Red and Wild Orchid. Pulled from diverse cultures, they tell the story of world travel and are great for spaces where you’ll be entertaining guests. 

Proximity shows the connection between technology and nature and speaks to the challenges of modern life. These vivid blue-greens, green-blues and silver-grays are perfect for rooms with abundant natural light. 

These culinary-inspired hues call to mind delicious tastes and exotic cuisines with colors like Cappuccino, Chili Pepper and Cayenne. This sensory experience is ideal for dining rooms or quiet spaces like reading nooks.

These soothing pastels evoke calm and serenity and are the epitome of comfort. The soft, nostalgic floral tones would be great in a powder room or master bedroom. 

Are you planning a new look for your home? Think of these palettes as a focused road map for capturing your desired style. 

If you’d like some guidance for a more substantial home renovation, or you’re interested in finding a new home this year, please reach out today.

Posted on January 15, 2019 at 6:41 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Posted in Interior Design |

Hottest Bathroom Trends for Any Budget

A bathroom remodel is one of the most rewarding projects you can undertake as a homeowner. When well-planned, it can improve your home’s aesthetics while adding convenience. And it usually offers a significant return when it comes time to sell.

Remodels don’t have to break the bank, either. With just a few hundred dollars and a little elbow grease, you can make a remarkable impact to your space — both in value and style. 

Not sure where to start on your bathroom remodel? Here are some of today’s hottest trends:

Bold Metal Fixtures 
Budget: Low 
Forget those old handles, faucets and drawer pulls that blend in. Today’s designers are making these small details stand out. Think bold brass, matte black or even rose gold. 

Modern Wallpaper 
Budget: Low 
Wallpaper is back — especially intricately illustrated designs and bright, bold patterns. It’s low-cost, easy to DIY and makes an immediate impression. 

Smart Tech 
Budget: Low to Medium 
Savvy consumers are using smart tech in their powder rooms for a touch of luxury. Some of the most popular features include autofilling bathtubs, voice-activated mirrors and sound systems, and LED-enhanced showerheads.

Exposed Concrete 
Budget: Medium 
Concrete floors, walls, counters and sinks are popular with celebrity designers and new homebuilders. They offer a minimalistic, contemporary look that goes with any color palette. 

Freestanding Tubs 
Budget: Medium to High 
Freestanding tubs may date to the Roman Empire, but they’re making a stylish comeback. Tuck one into a corner or under a skylight to create a beautiful focal point to relax in. 

If you’re interested in remodeling your home or if you want to learn more about the latest trends and how your home compares, get in touch for a local market report.

Posted on September 25, 2018 at 6:29 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Posted in Interior Design |

Five Tips For Replacing Your Carpet

Carpet is expensive.  Pretty much like everything else that goes into keeping your house updated and fresh. We have clients who recently spent $18,000 to re-carpet their home with top of the line Shaw carpet.  We’re a little more thrifty and spent $3300 to put a mid-grade carpet in a former rental that we were selling. Either way, putting in new carpet is probably going to reach at least four figures.

When it comes to selling your home, carpet can be a major factor in finding a buyer. Moderately worn or stained carpet may be okay to live with when they are your stains and traffic patterns, but a buyer isn’t so willing to accept those blemishes. So what do you do?  Do you replace all the carpet? Do you patch a section? Do you only re-carpet specific rooms? Maybe it’s time to forego carpet all together and put down laminate or hardwood.

Here are five things to consider when you prepare to re-carpet:

1. Don’t go super cheap. When we cleaned up our rental property in preparation to sell, we dedicated $10,000 to paint, put in new carpet, install laminate flooring, and stain the kitchen cabinets. We got quotes from multiple flooring vendors and found pricing all over the place. One vendor said they specialized in putting in carpet for houses going on the market. I about choked on their price for a very low grade carpet. I also looked to independent contractors who would install the carpet I purchased from a big box store. This price was reasonable but I wasn’t eager to have to do some of the leg work myself. Eventually I found a wholesaler who would do everything for the same price as the contractor.  I was able to get a mid-level carpet installed and saved a few thousand.

The goal is to give an appearance of quality, which makes sense.  To do this you need adequate carpet and a quality pad. One of the big mistakes sellers make is that they put in a cheap carpet and pad and then ask buyers to remove their shoes as they tour the house. Nothing reveals bad carpet like the sock-feet test. The seller is better off having the buyer keep on their shoes in this case.

You also don’t want to overspend. Unless you are selling an elite, luxury home, you just need something that presents the house well. Getting any return on your investment in carpet is hard enough. Going top of the line makes it that much more difficult.

2. Don’t just do the hallway and mismatch the bedrooms. I have to admit this is my pet peeve. All I can assume is that people do this to save money and the carpet salesman encourages it because they think it’s better to sell some carpet than none at all.  Unfortunately, from a buyer’s perspective it’s a big no no.

We regularly say to our sellers that you live in your home differently than when you are selling your home. A little carpet stain can be ignored when it is your stain. A foggy window isn’t that big a deal. But when a buyer sees these things, they think about more repair expenses. You may not mind mismatched carpets between the rooms and hallway, but a buyer does. It’s a little thing, but remember, the buyer is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and little things start to add up.

3. Don’t let the carpet guy pick your colors. Carpet salesman have one major task – sell carpet. While they may have your best interest at heart, they may also need to get rid of an overstock of rose colored rolls of berber.

I once thought I might need a new roof on my home, so I called a roofer and asked him to come to my house and tell me the condition of my roof and whether I needed a new one.  Instead of coming to my house, he immediately told me on the phone that I needed a new roof.  Confused, I asked how he knew that since he had not seen my roof. His response was this, “I’m in the business of selling roofs. If I come to your house and look at your roof, I’m going to tell you that you need a new roof.”

If you ask you carpet salesperson what the latest trends are in style and color, they may give you an honest answer. However, that answer may not be correct. I’m pretty sure a wallpaper salesman will tell you that wallpaper is a better choice than paint.  The best thing to do is ask a designer or Realtor.  They see the latest design trends everyday, and are unbiased.

4. Don’t just pull up the carpet and expose concrete or floor boards. If you have a mess on your hands with disgusting carpets, you are better served to replace the carpet than expose what’s underneath. We had a client pull up the carpet on their home only to show the cracked concrete slab beneath.  While it is normal for concrete to crack, every buyer that saw it was afraid the house was going to fall off its foundation. Adding new carpet solved that problem.

Most buyers lack vision, so when they see exposed subflooring, they are afraid. They cannot visualize what a space will look like with new carpet or laminate. By putting in new flooring, what you don’t get back in the cost of the replacement, you most often will get back in selling your home quicker.

5. Patch only a small section. Sometimes there is only one big stain in an otherwise hardly worn carpet. To solve this problem we have hired a carpet specialist to cut a replacement piece from a closet or use a matching remnant to repair the spot. We had a client who in the process of moving remembered that they had covered a grape juice stain with the couch years before. Instead of surprising the new buyers with this formerly hidden stain, the sellers repaired the spot and everything looked perfect. Often times, it is hardly noticeable and can save thousands of dollars.  Of course this is a solution for a single spot and not for multiple stains throughout a room.

In the end, when you are trying to sell your home, new carpet can be just the remedy to finding the perfect buyer, but you need to do it right. None of us want to spend any more money than we have to to find a buyer, but strategic carpet replacement can be the key to selling or not and holding on to the highest price possible.

Posted on August 11, 2015 at 4:00 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Posted in Home Maintenance Tips, Interior Design, Selling |

Don’t Be Afraid Of The Brassectomy!

What does it take to sell your home in the least amount of time and for the most money?

Recently, I was reading House Beautiful online looking at the trends for 2013 and 2014, and ten different designers had ten different opinions. What makes a home sell in Glendale, California is different than what it takes to sell a home in Indianapolis, Indiana. Trends are often subjective to where your home is located. The best way to know how to sell your home quickly is to look at the competition in your market and understand you don’t live in your home the same way you sell your home. If you have two comparable homes, priced similarly, buyers will most often buy the home that has the modern and contemporary updates.

In Hamilton County and the Greater Indianapolis Area, I have found that homeowners are not only painting walls and trim, they are performing “Brassectomies” on their homes. They are replacing all brass fixtures and hardware with Brushed Nickel or Antique Bronze. It’s hard for buyers to visualize a home with new paint, carpet, hardware, and updated cabinets. If your home already has these elements it will sell quicker.

Yet, home buyers don’t be afraid of the brass! Brassectomies are relatively painless and can be done prior to moving in. Check with your local handyman on just what it would cost to replace the hardware in a home that needs a brassectomy and work that into the price you offer on the home. As long as you prepare in advance, you can close on a home and have all the hardware replaced within a day of moving into your home. The key to buying a home is to look at homes within your budget and find a location you love. Once you find that location, make sure you like the look and feel of the home. It is easier to give a home in the perfect location a face lift and brassectomy than to choose a perfectly updated home in a bad location, and sometimes that is all it takes to completely change the look and feel of a home. Location is one element of home ownership you can never change. So, make sure you buy a home in a location and on a lot that you love and don’t be afraid of the brassectomy!  It won’t even hurt a little.

If you or a family member needs a good Realtor in Hamilton Country or the Greater Indianapolis Area we’d love the referral! We make a constant effort to improve the level of service we provide to you because, in our business, the most profound assets we possess are your respect and trust. Please feel free to call us if you need anything at all; we are always here to help.

Jack and Elisabeth

Posted on September 4, 2013 at 4:00 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Posted in Interior Design |