renovation

Buy a Home and Customize it with Specialty Financing

If you’ve been house hunting recently you’ve probably noticed a lack of turn key homes available; unless you’re working with a hefty budget.  



If your budget is under $300,000 the inventory of updated homes leaves much to be desired. Also, everyone has difference tastes, so why pay for upgrades that someone else added that you don’t even like? Well, you don’t have to settle! You can have a house with great bones AND customize it to fit your needs all in one loan. 



We’ve all seen the house that’s the right price, location, you can already picture spending summers in the backyard but it has 20 year old wall to wall carpet that you just can’t live with. In the past you would have two options, pay out of pocket to replace the flooring or live with it until you can upgrade. You no longer need cash on hand to update a home and make repairs. That’s right, you can wrap the cost of new flooring, a kitchen, roof or nearly any other upgrade you can imagine into your mortgage. 



I’m very familiar with these products because I used the 203k to purchase and customize my own home. Our home, built in 1907, was gutted to the studs and sat empty for nearly 20 years. See a before & after photo below. You can also read more about we found our home here. Our home was quite the project and I gained SO much knowledge that will help guide you through the process of specialty financing. It may sound scary and complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. If you choose this route, you can be confident that my expertise and experience can help simplify yours.  

I partner with Homebridge, a trusted expert in specialty financing. They have multiple options to pay for repairs and updates on a home. Whether you need $5,000 or over $100,000, my mortgage partner Pete at Homebridge will help match you to a loan program that is the best fit. 



Even new construction limits your material options. With specialty financing, the possibilities are endless! If you’re looking to buy and would like to customize your home, I’d be happy to discuss options (click here for contact info) to help you make a wise investment and build equity.

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2018 Design Trends

I've had questions from clients who are taking on decorating and remodeling projects and want to ensure their dollars are invested wisely...especially if they want to sell soon.

 

Which looks will last for years to come, and which ones will feel dated quickly? What colors and styles are most popular among buyers in our area? Should I remodel my kitchen? How can I add the most value to my home?

 

So, I've rounded up some of the hottest trends in home design to help guide you through the process. Whether you’ve planned a simple refresh or a full-scale renovation, making smart and informed design choices will help you maximize your return on investment … and minimize the chance of “remodeler’s remorse” down the road.

 

 

WHAT’S HOT NOW

 

While 2017 was all about the farmhouse look, brass fixtures and bright white kitchens, this year we expect to see a move toward warmer, cozier elements throughout the home.

 

1. Warm Colors

A cool color scheme has dominated home design in recent years, but this year warm neutrals like brown and tan are back, along with rich jewel tones. While the pastel craze of last year is still hanging on, expect to see alternative color palettes featuring deep, saturated shades of red, yellow, green and navy. Grey will remain popular, but in warmer tones, often referred to as “greige.”

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2. Cozy Elements

Along with warmer colors, we can expect to see a shift from stark, modern design to cozier looks. Velvet upholstery, woven textures and natural elements, like wood and stone, will heat things up this year.

 

3. Mixed Metals

It used to be considered gauche to mix finishes, however the look of mixed metals will be very big in 2018. Brass will continue to trend, along with matte black and classics like polished chrome and brushed nickel.

 

 

4. Bold Patterns

Expect to see a lot of bright, bold patterns in the form of geometric shapes and graphic floral prints. These will be featured on everything from furniture to throw pillows to tile. 

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5. Natural Elements

Look for the use of natural elements throughout the home, including wood, stone, plants, flowers and grass. Botanical patterns will also be seen in prints, wallpaper and upholstery. Concrete accents will complement these additions in an effort to bring the essence of the outdoors inside the home.

 

 

6. Feature Walls

Also called an accent wall, a feature wall is one that exhibits a different color or design than the other walls in the room. Expect to see an increased use of feature walls showcasing rich paint colors, bold patterned wallpaper, and textures brought in through millwork and shiplap.

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7. Statement Lighting

Lighting will take center stage with distinctive fixtures, including local artisan and vintage pendants and chandeliers. And smart lighting technology will enable homeowners to customize their lighting experience based on time of day, activity and mood.

 

 

8. Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors will continue to dominate the market. The trend is toward either very dark stains paired with light-colored walls or light stains with darker walls. Greyish tones will remain popular, as will matte finishes, which are easier to maintain than high gloss. Expect to see frequent use of wider and longer wood planks, as well as distressed and wire-brushed finishes, which add texture and dimension.

 

 

9. Smart Homes

Everything is getting “smarter” in homes, from locks and lights to thermostats and appliances. And with devices like Google Home and Amazon Alexa, you can control many of these with voice activation from a central hub. We will see continued integration of and advancements in smart-home technology in 2018.

 

 

Ultimately, trends come and go. If you're looking to do a major remodel, I recommend picking items you will be happy with for the years to come. If you'd like to have fun with some trendy materials start with items you can change easily: paint, wallpaper, accent furniture, pillows and other textiles. 

I don't consider myself a trendy person (I prefer a classic look) which is why I'm satisfied with my neutral colors and subway tile regardless of the trends. 

 

Which of the 2018 trends do you like? 

 

 

Sources:
Gates Interior Design –
https://gatesinteriordesign.com/hottest-interior-design-trends-for-2018/
House Beautiful –
http://www.housebeautiful.com/design-inspiration/g13938283/2018-decor-trends/
http://www.housebeautiful.com/design-inspiration/g13820501/best-and-worst-decor-trends-from-2017/
Houzz –
https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/93399913/list/interior-design-trends-expected-to-take-hold-in-2018
Huffington Post –
http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/09/25/the-kitchen-and-dining-trends-to-look-out-for-in-2018_a_23222693/
MSN.com –
https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/home-and-garden/12-flooring-trends-for-2018/ss-AAtp7QA
Realtor.com –
https://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/interior-design-trends-to-ditch-2018/
 The Flooring Girl –
http://theflooringgirl.com/hardwood-flooring/hardwood-flooring-trends-2018/
 Vogue –
https://www.vogue.com/article/interior-design-trends-according-to-expert-designers-decorators

 

How to Add Character to Your Home

One of the things that makes old houses so attractive is the craftsmanship. Architectural details and the quality of work that went into making older homes is what gives old houses that vintage charm. When we bought our 1907 Craftsman, most of the original detail had been removed or destroyed. The only thing original left was some knob and tube wiring, bead board and hardwood flooring upstairs. This is what the upstairs looked like before…scary. 

 

 

 

Normally, I’m an advocate for restoring rather than replacing. However, the hardwood flooring needed lots of patching and had termite damage beyond repair and some genius decided to nail drywall to all the bead board ceilings. For a moment, I considered removing the nails and patching all the holes but ultimately decided that tearing out the bead board was better than getting lead poisoning from scraping and sanding lead paint. 

 

Some of the bead board was still salvageable for reuse, so I requested that we keep it for projects around the house. One day, when checking in on the house progress, we found that the drywall guys had ripped out every bit of bead board and threw it in the DUMPSTER! Desperate to maintain something original, I scaled the side of the dumpster, ready to dive in head first (without any regard to sharp objects) to rescue my precious bead board. To my dismay, it was buried under construction material and everything was soaked from the rainy weather we had that week.

 

After such disappointment, I turned my attention toward adding character that would have been original to a turn of the century Craftsman home. Some people may like mixing and matching styles, I however prefer consistency. I wouldn't do Craftsman style finishes and then use Victorian trim. That's just my opinion. 

 

Here are some of our replicated Craftsman details…

Shaker style cabinets and doors: There are so many door options! Don’t just go with the standard 5 panel door, find something that compliments the style of your home.

Shaker style cabinets and doors: There are so many door options! Don’t just go with the standard 5 panel door, find something that compliments the style of your home.

Trim and Hardware: We used wide square trim around all the doors, windows, and baseboards. Pinterest has lots of great resources to reference different styles of trim. Using dark hardware gives a less modern, more original look. Someone even asked me if all of our doorknobs were original...I wish!

Trim and Hardware: We used wide square trim around all the doors, windows, and baseboards. Pinterest has lots of great resources to reference different styles of trim. Using dark hardware gives a less modern, more original look. Someone even asked me if all of our doorknobs were original...I wish!

 
Solid Flooring: Yes, there are lots of really nice laminates today that make it hard to tell the difference, they are durable and they have their place…but they don’t belong in a 100+ year old house. Our floors are actually solid bamboo instead of wood. I’ve learned more than I ever cared to know about wood flooring during this process. I won’t bore you with details this time, I’ll share some of my floor “wisdom” in a later post.  Air Conditioning Vents: Old houses are usually wood frame and sit up off of the ground with a crawl space underneath, so the a/c vents are in the floor. We spent around $200 to upgrade our a/c vents with these and I’m really happy we did!

Solid Flooring: Yes, there are lots of really nice laminates today that make it hard to tell the difference, they are durable and they have their place…but they don’t belong in a 100+ year old house. Our floors are actually solid bamboo instead of wood. I’ve learned more than I ever cared to know about wood flooring during this process. I won’t bore you with details this time, I’ll share some of my floor “wisdom” in a later post.

Air Conditioning Vents: Old houses are usually wood frame and sit up off of the ground with a crawl space underneath, so the a/c vents are in the floor. We spent around $200 to upgrade our a/c vents with these and I’m really happy we did!

Black and white Tile: Black and while tile was popular and widely used throughout the 1920's. So, I decided to do something fun in the powder and laundry room. At first I was unsure about this bold print but now I wish we had more of it! I love how it turned out and we get a lot of compliments on it.

Black and white Tile: Black and while tile was popular and widely used throughout the 1920's. So, I decided to do something fun in the powder and laundry room. At first I was unsure about this bold print but now I wish we had more of it! I love how it turned out and we get a lot of compliments on it.

Subway & Penny Tile: Another common tile trend in the early 1900’s was white subway tile walls and penny tile floors. Which is why we decided to use the classic look in our master and guest bathroom.

Subway & Penny Tile: Another common tile trend in the early 1900’s was white subway tile walls and penny tile floors. Which is why we decided to use the classic look in our master and guest bathroom.

Plumbing Fixtures: Of course no vintage home is complete without a pedestal sink (see our guest bathroom above) and a clawfoot tub (in our master bath).

Plumbing Fixtures: Of course no vintage home is complete without a pedestal sink (see our guest bathroom above) and a clawfoot tub (in our master bath).

If you’re an old house junkie like me, I hope this inspires you to create character wherever you are! 

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How We Found Our Fixer-Upper

When my husband and I first began looking for a house in Manatee county, we weren't sure exactly where we wanted to be. We searched all over and looked at all types of houses: new tract homes, remodeled homes, old homes and fixer-uppers. Like any good HGTV House Hunters episode, we were divided. 

My husband spent his middle and high school years living Philadelphia where all the houses are old. So, the thought of buying an old home didn't seem as charming to him as it did to me. I've always appreciated the details and grandeur of turn of the century homes and dreamed of someday living in one.  

After exhausting all of our options of homes on the market, I decided to try something different. I began cruising neighborhoods we liked looking for houses that looked empty. I'd write down the address and use the county tax records to do research on who owned the property. You can also get great information from neighbors that are out and about...usually way more than you can find out on the internet!

Side note...I've been known to make my husband stop the car so I can pick up a piece of project furniture that I found on the side of the road. Things like this and the fact that I talk to random neighbors at times horrifies him, but he was such a great support through this fixer-upper journey! I only wish I still had the picture of him holding me on his shoulders so I could peek into the window of a bank owned property. Needless to say, he has gotten accustomed to my unconventional ways!

I had found a couple properties that I was interested in and located the owners addresses on the tax records (scary I know but it's all public record). I wrote a handwritten letter expressing my interest in the houses and mailed them off.

A couple months had gone by so I didn't expect to hear anything. Meanwhile we continued our home search. We looked at so many house that we had to give them nicknames so we could remember which ones they were when weighing the pros & cons. Then one day I got a phone call from one of the owners; her name was Martha. She had owned the house we purchased for nearly 20 years but never lived there. It just sat empty and Martha admitted she was just beginning to consider selling. 

Martha got an appraisal, we negotiated and the sale was made without there ever even being a "for sale" sign in the yard. Lesson learned, given the right circumstances you can buy even when a property isn't for sale. Sometimes, all it takes is a little courage to ask. 

We decided to go with a fixer-upper because it was the only way to get what we wanted in the price range we were looking for. We found some nice turn key properties but ultimately didn't want to pay for someone else's design choices. In the end, we both got what we wanted an old home that was like new. 

Although most of the original details had been stripped from the home, we did our best to recreate details what you would have seen in an older home. 

Here is sneak peek semi-before (I lost the picture before insulation) and after shot. 

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NOT Your Grandmother's Tub

Long before I was old enough to drive, I remember asking my mom take detours through the historic parts of town so I could oooh and aaah at the grand old houses.

Seriously...what kid does that? 

 

I’ve always admired the craftsmanship and charm of older homes; the large porches, hardwood floors, lead glass, and my favorite...clawfoot tubs. I’ve always dreamed of owning an old home or at least the luxury and classic beauty of a clawfoot tub. So, when renovations began on our 1907 home the hunt began! I scoured craigslist, estate sales, and salvage yards with little success. 

 

Most of the tubs that I found were in poor condition. I know...I know... they can be refinished. But when you’re doing a full gut renovation who wants another project, right? When I did find a tub in decent condition, it was SO small and still expensive. Other new tubs started at around $1200 and were made of fiberglass or acrylic. This 5'5'' woman shouldn't be able to single handedly move a clawfoot tub--that’s just cheap!

 

One day to my surprise I found FOUR new cast-iron clawfoot tubs for sale on craigslist. I thought for sure it was a scam...too good to be true. So I did more homework than I’m willing to admit to make sure it was legit. This tub retails for over $3,000 and we got it for...drum roll please.....$800. Not only was it under budget, it is HUUUUUGE! 73inches to be exact. And those LEGS! Yow! 

 

Most retailers have products that are slightly damaged, last season or floor models. If you’re ok with minor imperfections, you can save hundreds or thousands on appliances, furniture and other household items. Our tub has a finishing flaw on the edge of the rim (see photo) that doesn’t hurt the integrity of the tub.  It’s purely cosmetic and hardly noticeable if you ask me. For a $2,000 savings, I’m perfectly fine with a little flaw. Besides, had we gone with a vintage tub I’m sure it would’ve had flaws as well. 

 

One more thing to know about clawfoot tubs is the hardware can cost nearly as much as the tub. Wall mounted faucets are usually less expensive.  We needed a free standing filler (more expensive of course). When we bought our tub, they sold us the matching hardware for 50% off retail. SCORE! 

 

Just look how perfectly it fits in the window of our master bath. Many people have shared with me fond memories of growing up with a clawfoot tub or bathing at grandma’s house but I assure you this is NOT your grandmother’s tub!

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