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Sustainable living in the heart of Castlemaine

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By harnessing the energy of the sun, wind and rain the Bull Street Terraces will have minimal impact on the environment, they’ll also be beautiful, functional spaces to live in and enjoy.

Designed by Crosby Architects, well known for their work in sustainable, residential design, the Bull Street Terraces development is just minutes walk from the centre of town and the train station, making it ideal for people living and working in Castlemaine or commuting to Melbourne or Bendigo.

The development is the first medium density residential project in Australia to be registered with the Living Building Challenge (LBC). The four terrace houses average an over 8 Energy Star rating and are designed to use zero net energy (energy used will equal energy produced on site).

The energy of the sun will keep the terraces comfortable in winter with only minimal heating required even on the coldest central Victorian winter night. During the warmer months they’ll be protected from overheating through good design, orientation, insulation and shading.

Building materials have been selected both for aesthetics and their ability to reduce the homes’ carbon footprint and energy needs. The majority will be sourced from within 200kms of the town. They include timber milled in Ballarat and natural wool insulation manufactured in Melbourne.

Comfortable living over three levels

Built over three levels the terraces comprise a ground floor where living, dining and kitchen areas open out to a front garden to the north and a courtyard to the rear. There’s also lane access and space to park a car.

A large front bedroom and smaller rear bedroom, both with built in robes, take up the spacious first floor alongside a bathroom with laundry facilities. The top floor opens out to a large, north facing roof deck overlooking the street with a roof planter and plenty of storage.

Design that’s part of the community

Geoff Crosby moved his architectural practice, Crosby architects, from central Footscray to Castlemaine nine years ago to bring up his family and develop a more sustainable way of designing and building.

Concerned with the increasing population and urban growth in the town, he sees developments like the Bull Street Terraces as the way forward, integrating medium density new homes into the existing town limits and encouraging more connection with the township, its facilities and surrounds.

This development includes the renovation of an existing cottage and a new stand-alone house.

Please contact Nick Haslam on 0418 322 789 nick@wallerrealty.com.au to discuss the steps involved in buying off the plan and securing your terrace.

Sold Within a Month

Baringyup

This property in the delightful rural hamlet of Baringhup was on the market with a Maryborough agent for almost nine months. It takes little to imagine how delighted the owners were when they put the property with Waller Realty and Leah Panos had sold it within a month, for more than the asking price.

wallerrealty.comDuring the nine months with the Maryborough agency there were two open for inspections and no one came to either. By contrast, once Wallers took over they not only advertised online but placed advertisements in the local paper. Within a month Leah had three parties who were interested. One party pulled out leaving the other two pushing each other over the line.

The owners particularly appreciated the professional, hard working approach that Leah adopted and would have no hesitation recommending that people who are serious about selling work with her.

Seachangers and treechangers! Do they ever come back?

Jules Bondy and Meghan Anders (and dog Lottie) are putting their Northcote home on the market and making the move to the country.

I want to live in a place that’s beautiful!” you cry. “There’s too much traffic, gentrification and too many people. I deserve more than grey concrete and my dog deserves more than a postage-stamp piece of grass masquerading as a park!”

So you pop your city home on the market, and move to where the grass is, apparently, greener. If you’re lucky, there’s a bit of ocean blue, too.

Your friends and neighbours promise to visit, and you visualise your new dining room filled with your (no longer) nearest but still dearest, all drinking wine made from grapes that ripened just five kilometres away, and eating free-range ham, goats cheese and olives all sourced from your new neighbours.

But is it time to wake up and smell the (city) coffee? Just how successful is a sea change, or tree change?

“Once you move out of town you never go back!” says public relations manager Tara Bishop. She says this despite it taking four years to “defrost” her local Bottle O shopkeeper on the Mornington Peninsula and actually get a smile back.

She moved from the CBD to near Rye and loves it. But does she know anyone who’s given up and gone back? “No. They all love it. They’re happier, their kids are happier,” she says.

A place in the country, such as this Castlemaine home, has always had its appeal for many people.

Sam Rigopoulos, director of Jellis Craig in Northcote and Rob Waller, director of Waller Reality in Castlemaine, may both lay claim to coining the term “North Northcote” for regional Castlemaine, but they agree on one thing; those who move from the city to the country don’t come back. They are, according to both agents, happy.

“The only ones that really stick in my mind that didn’t work out were when relationships broke up,” says Waller. “And maybe the odd few where they had to move to climb the ladder at work.”

In fact, Waller sees treechangers acting like magnets. “If you look at couples we sold to, you’ll see that two years later you sold to their brother and sister, and then mum and dad will make an appearance, too.”

We tracked down Helen Bodycomb, who, in 2009, told The Age she and her husband were joining the exodus from Northcote to Castlemaine. Update: they held onto their Northcote property until two years ago, realising they would never go back. “We initially thought we’d be here for a year,” she says now. “I was more keen coming here, but after two weeks, my husband said he didn’t want to leave.”

Still, if things do go awry, buying back into the city isn’t so straightforward, and Waller has seen treechangers get stung. “Years ago they’d sell the house in the city and buy something here, travel the world and buy a new car. Then maybe something would happen health-wise, or they’d want to come back to be near the grandkids, and they’d find they couldn’t come back to where they’d come from,” he says.

Waller says people are being smarter with their money. “Now, if they sell a four-bedroom house in Camberwell, they will buy a country property in Castlemaine and simultaneously buy a townhouse in Fairfield, Kew or Richmond,” he says.

Long-time Northcote residents Jules Bondy and Meghan Anders and their two children attempted to move to Castlemaine over a decade ago, but failed.

“I set it up so our Northcote house would be auctioned one hour before the house in Castlemaine,” Bondy remembers. But no one bought the Jessie Street property. There were no offers, so I couldn’t bid and it was sold at auction. That was bad,” he recalls. Ten years later, a now renovated Jessie Street is hitting the market.

“The draw to the north may have ebbed slightly but it never really left. We saw this gorgeous property, like a dream house, not in Castlemaine, but in Mount Macedon – it’s the new Castlemaine!” he jokes.

Bondy, a public servant, will continue working in Melbourne, and is expecting a 48-minute commute on the train to the CBD, while Anders, a primary school teacher, will look for work closer to her new home.

Anders is Melbourne born and bred, but has long dreamed of moving to the country. “Making the leap now has given us such a deep sense of being alive!” she says, though admits the hardest thing will be losing the proximity to friends and family, and the cinema.

Source: Domain article by Jayne D’Arcy

Ticks All The Boxes

Good quality real estate agents can be hard to find. As a house seller or buyer it can be stressful dealing with an agent who is not a great communicator. The real estate market is time sensitive, so you need an agent who will let you know quickly where you stand with your current buying or selling situation. It is not surprising, therefore, that when you find an agent who ticks the box on the qualities an effective agent has you will turn to them time and again.

Speak to the vendors who sold this property in Adam Street Castlemaine and they will tell you that their agent, Liz Bell, is ‘worth her weight in house bricks of gold.’

Liz BellLiz has helped them buy and sell a number of properties and, according to them Liz reads her clients needs and has proved to be ‘more than a little bit fabulous’. Not only is she a good communicator but she is proactive, reads her clients and meets specific needs.

Unlike other agents they have used Liz did not waste their time showing them properties that did not meet their requirements, she listened to what they wanted, had their interest at heart, worked within their time frame and closed deals swiftly.

Specialised Real Estate Skill Brings Results

Harcourt

When potential buyers came to visit this gracious property on the slopes of Mount Alexander they came fully aware of what this property offered. Following Tom Robertson’s advice, the owners, Linda and Barry, provided extensive material for this web feature which not only gave potential buyers more insight into the property, but extended the reach of the advertising campaign.

138 Coopers Road, like many rural properties took time to sell but neither the owners or Tom Robertson, their agent, lost heart or patience. According to Linda and Barry one of the things they appreciated most about Tom was that he truly understood their property, the rural lifestyle it offers and the passion that they had put into their home and land.

Tom Robertson

Tom Robertson

For properties like 138 Coopers Road it is important to have a skilled agent, like Tom, who remains patient and positive and who makes it clear that he is working to achieve a good result. Linda and Barry appreciated that Tom was amenable to their requests for adjustments to be made to advertising and that he always returned calls, provided feedback and made constructive suggestions to keep moving forward.

It was very clear that Tom not only understood the property but that he had the skill to tap into networks of people seeking such properties. There is no doubt that buying and selling rural property is a specialised process that requires unique skills and experience. Linda and Barry appreciated Tom’s skill in this area of real estate.

Professional and Approachable

Blakely Road Castlemaine

Speak to the vendors of this charming property in Blakely Road Castlemaine and they will tell you how pleased they were with the sale of their property.

They chose Waller Realty because they had heard of their proven sales record and they were not disappointed. They were won over by Liz Bell’s professional honesty, her appreciation and understanding of the property and her empathy and effective communication. They felt that this made all the difference to the sales process.

The owners particularly appreciated the fact that Liz  was dependable, energetic and proactive. She followed up after an open for inspection and provided detailed feedback about comments and responses of those who came. They found Liz easy to talk to and appreciated her obliging, responsive manner. They also valued the fact that was ready to answer any questions and that if there was any doubt that she would seek clarification and get back to them quickly.

On the basis of their personal experience these owners have no hesitation in recommending the services of Waller Realty.

Liz Bell

Managing Finances

No matter what we do to prevent it, the dollars start flying out the door the second the temperature starts to rise. It might be very cold now but plan ahead and budget for all of known expenses, the extra expenditures still add up — and hurt.  Spring will come!

A coming cost can be the spring clean-up — mulch, new plants and flowers, and vegetable garden start-up. And then there is the rest? It’s all social — neighbors inviting us over for cookouts, dinners out and card parties. Warm weather stuff.

Nice thought as we all shiver and huddle by the fire.

Entertaining as the weather picks up, and even now while it is so cold can be enjoyable. It is fun to have people over for dinner and no one wants to say “no” to social gatherings or dinner nights when you feel lucky to get an invite in the first place.

Still, most of us need boundaries if we truly want to live within our means and stick to our savings goals. And most of us have at least one set of expensive friends — or sets of friends — to deal with.

And, that’s fine. Obviously, other people are entitled to spend their money how they want — even if it is on events or purchases others might see as frivolous. Paying $100 for dinner is enough to make some people puke, but not everyone feels that way.

How to deal with expensive friends

 

Here are a few ways we cope with expensive friends while still maintaining friendships:

Offer to whip up a fancy dinner at home.
We celebrated a special occasion with friends the other night, but instead of going out, we made an epic dinner at home. I’m talking crab legs, avocado egg rolls, spicy cauliflower, and all the extras — and all for less than $30 in ingredients.

That’s a lot for one dinner, sure, but the same meal could have easily cost $200 or more in a nice sit-down restaurant. Splurging is okay sometimes, but it costs a lot less to splurge at home.

Plan a pitch-in.
As long as someone is willing to host, a pitch-in is the perfect way to hang out and enjoy a meal with friends. Not only can it lead to huge savings, but you can also take your time instead of rushing out of the restaurant once you are done. And since we bring our kids with us to cookouts and pitch-ins, it also helps us avoid hiring a babysitter.

Suggest activities first.
This is my favorite trick when it comes to dealing with expensive friends. Any time we have tentative plans with someone, I’ll suggest an activity first. My go-to suggestion is something cheap like a pitch-in or cookout and, of course, I offer to host. Most of the time, it works.

Pick a weekend night to stay home.
Sometimes the easiest way to save money is just to stay at home. Easier said than done when the weather is beautiful, but it is a good strategy nonetheless. I actually find it rather exhausting to have plans every weekend, so we have been trying to stay home at least one weekend night — usually Fridays. Not only is it nice to save money, but it is also nice to have a family night with the kids.

Say “no” when you really don’t want to do something.
There will probably come a time when someone invites you to something you really don’t want to do. It could be a sporting event, an expensive dinner out, or something else. It doesn’t matter. Occasionally, you just have to stick to your guns and say “no.” We have done it before, and it hurts — but it was definitely the right thing. Our noes usually involve invites to expensive restaurant dinners that are late at night. I hate eating at 8:00 p.m. and can’t fathom the idea of overpaying for a meal I wouldn’t enjoy. So when a situation like that arises, I just have to say “no.”

Tell other people about your financial situation.
You don’t have to spill all of the gritty details. However, if you are truly trying to save money, it can help to let your family and friends know. So tell them. Explain your budget situation and tell them about your dreams and goals. They may not share your enthusiasm for frugal living; but if they are real friends, they will understand.

Dealing with expensive friends without losing friendships

For the most part, I tend to believe that it is all about striking a balance. You know you don’t want to be that family — the one that never has the money to do anything fun. But you also don’t want to go off the deep end and spend in a way that undermines your short-term and long-term goals.

For us, it is all about being selective and having fun in the most frugal way possible. It’s not always the easiest choice, but I know it’s the best one. Life isn’t all about having fun today; it’s about saving for tomorrow too. And sometimes, you have to bow out and make the right decision for your family.

How do you deal with expensive friends? What strategies do you use to try to keep the cost of social events down?

Waller Realty is committed to helping our readers save and achieve their financial goals. Savings interest rates may be low, but that is all the more reason to shop for the best rate.

Source: Get Rich Slowly

De Stress at Home

De Stress at Home

Most of us deal with some form of stress on a regular basis, whether from workplace pressure, the weight of exams, family dynamics, or a myriad of other reasons, and, let’s face it, we’d all like to keep it at bay.

Staff at the Mayo Clinic recommend starting with a meditation session as a way to keep yourself more calm throughout the day, while researchers from Harvard suggest meditation is particularly useful for treating conditions such as anxiety, pain and depression.

Fortunately, you don’t have to climb to the top of a mountain with your guru to achieve this. Like many goals we set, simply having a dedicated space for it helps us stop making excuses and start creating a healthier habit. Read More

Advantages Of Open Inspections

Open For InspectionOne of the most important marketing tools that a seller has at his or her disposal is a property inspection. These can make or break a buyer’s decision, and are a vital part of the sales process. It can seem like a daunting task to basically invite strangers to come take a wander through your home. To get a better idea of the space and finer details of a property, buyers may open up cupboards, drawers, and other intimate areas of your daily life. This can be intimidating to sellers, to say the least.

It’s important to remember that there are two types of property inspections. You can arrange to have open inspections or offer private tours of your property when selling your home. Both of these offer numerous benefits but may have different consequences depending on how the inspection process is managed.

Advantages of Open Inspections

Open inspections used to be considered a mandatory part of selling any property, but are now not quite as common as they used to be. In an open inspection, a specific time and date is set for potentially buyers to drop by and walk through the property for a viewing. This event is publicly advertised, so that interested buyers and their real estate agents can plan ahead for it and arrive with questions. One of the major advantages to an open inspection is that it opens up your property to the widest possible range of buyers. This may include several types of buyers:

  • Those who live in the same neighbourhood and are interested in buying
  • Individuals who may be thinking about buying in the future but are not interested in the commitment of a private inspection
  • Buyers who are not yet sure what they’re looking for but are willing to view a variety of properties to find out

The latter two types of buyers may not take the initiative to arrange a private inspection at this point in their property search, so you can only reach out to them with an open inspection. To try and maximise the volume of attendees at an open inspection, they are usually held on weekends.

In terms of practicality, open inspections offer the ability to show a large number of prospective buyers through the home at the same time, rather than arranging separate tour dates.

Check our Open For Inspection list and, if you are interested in buying or selling take the time to visit and see our professional approach to selling.

Effective Pruning

pruningTrees are the most prominent component of most home landscapes. They add aesthetic and financial value, and they can help control energy costs as well. But having trees in the landscape isn’t as simple as just digging a hole and dropping a seedling into it.

Trees require some upkeep, and some of the most important tips to maintaining your tree involve the many ways that good pruning can help your trees.

Disease Management

A wide array of diseases can strike your tree. While foliar problems like anthracnose typically infect the entire tree, others like fire blight are confined to random branches on the tree. Because these conditions aren’t reversible once they become active, a frequent treatment is to limit spread by cutting out infected areas.

But good pruning also helps prevent diseases. Wet, fast-growing plant foliage is a perfect environment for fungal diseases to thrive. Air movement and sunlight exposure are key ways of drying foliage, and pruning to favor those two factors is the best way to improve them.

It’s also helpful to other plants in your landscape when you prune your trees. Removing the lower limbs makes mowing easier and permits more sunlight for grass, reducing weeds and moss. The air movement and sunlight penetration taking place high in your tree will also take place in your understory shrubs, bushes, and other plants, helping prevent diseases in areas far beyond the tree.

Break Prevention

Trees aren’t always the best planners. They sometimes create limbs that don’t necessarily go the best direction for structural stability. In time, these limbs get longer and heavier, creating a potentially delicate imbalance that can allow the wind to break limbs out of the tree. That leads to the potential for more than just an ugly tree; falling limbs can damage property and injure people.

An experienced home landscaper can identify these bad-news branches and remove them before they become large enough to create a hazard. If you have any concerns about particular limbs, consider seeking advice from a qualified arborist before taking action. Remember, you can always cut the limb later, but you can never put it back.

Just Plain Beauty

While we’re on the topic of out-of-place branches, we should think about the overall shape of our trees. Each species has its own unique silhouette. Oaks are round and full, whereas maples take on more of an arrowhead shape. Sometimes environmental factors, damaged limbs, and other outside forces can pull a tree out of its normal shape. In those cases, sometimes the judicious removal of a few errant limbs can begin to restore a more appropriate shape.

The Cardinal Sin

Whatever pruning a tree may need along its trunk, it never should be topped. Removing the top branches of any tree creates a wide variety of problems. First of all, this creates an imbalance in the top of the tree that can encourage splits high up in the tree later on. Also, the tree reacts to limb loss in this area by quickly forming soft, fast-growing water sprouts that have little ability to resist disease and insect invasion. And finally, the pruning wounds in a topped tree are facing upward, meaning they cannot heal properly due to exposure to sunlight and wind. These open wounds are an ideal invasion point for insects and diseases.

Stay Green – Heating Older Homes

Radiator2Older homes have a lot of history and character. When you take in the solidity of the walls, and the trim and details molded and applied by hand, you know that they were built with care and built to last. Unfortunately, when it comes to energy efficiency, older homes can leave a lot to be desired.

Old windows were usually single panes of glass in wooden frames; or they were leaded or stained glass that was thicker, but still not insulated. Doors were thick, heavy wood, but had little to no weather stripping to prevent drafts. Walls had almost no insulation to speak of.

As the owner of, or tenant in, an older home you are probably already aware that you need to take special steps to make your home as energy efficient as possible. Below are some things that you might not have thought of.

Contact Your Power Company

Thanks to deregulation, a lot of power companies have to offer competitive rates to attract and keep customers. Many of these companies are also offering customers green energy options for heating and cooling their homes.

It’s a good idea to check with your energy provider each season to see if they offer a green energy option. If you live in a deregulated area, you can also check with the other providers to compare your options. If you find a company that offers a green option, you can transfer your service to them. If no one in your area offers a green option, keep checking with them each season to see if anything has changed.

Weatherproof Your House

Weatherproofing your house is about more than just sealing the doors and windows, and insulating the walls. Although sealing against drafts is certainly important, there are plenty of other things you can do to make your home even more comfortable, and reduce your carbon footprint.

Window and Wall Coverings

A lot of older homes don’t have space for insulation in the exterior walls. Plaster and lath was laid down right on top of the building materials. As a result, the exterior walls tend to get very cold in the winter, and hot in the summer.

Old castles had the same issues with insulation. To deal with drafts, people used tapestries to insulate the walls and windows. These heavy fabrics trapped drafts, and prevented heat from escaping through the walls. You could do the same with your home by hanging large, thick, insulating curtains over your windows; you could even make them wide enough to extend the width of the wall.

At night you can draw the curtains across the windows to seal in the heat; during the day you can open the curtains to in natural sunlight to further warm the room. Even if you plan to put plastic over all your windows, insulating curtains can add an extra layer of protection.

Radiator Reflectors

If you have radiators in your home, you might notice that the wall behind the radiator gets really hot. Well, all that heat actually radiates through the wall and outside your home. In fact, if you were to touch that part of the wall outside your house, it would probably feel much warmer than the surrounding areas.

If you put something reflective, like tin foil, behind the radiator, the heat will bounce off the surface and radiate back into the room. You could also paint the wall with a heat-resistant, reflective paint. The wall will still get warm, but you won’t lose nearly as much heat as you would without the reflective surface.

Adjust Your Thresholds

If you have light coming below your doors, then you need to adjust your threshold. Your threshold should have three or four screws that you can turn to lift or lower the threshold. Adjust the threshold until it is in contact with the bottom of your door; you might see a little light coming through the corners, and that’s ok. The door should be able to swing freely. If it gets caught, or drags then the threshold is too high. The threshold should not wear out, but if you find that you can’t adjust your threshold to fit properly, you might need to replace it.

Insulate Your Outlets

Electrical outlets in exterior walls can let in drafts like nobody’s business. You can insulate your electrical outlets yourself, or hire a professional to do it for you.

 

Putting Your Home on the Market? Adding Value!

Adding ValueIf you’ll be putting your home on the market this year, doing some home improvement projects first can boost its value. When your budget only allows for a limited amount of money on these projects, there are still plenty of things you can do.

Consider one or more of the following DIY home repair projects:

  • Pick up some paint. Painting is one of the most budget-friendly ways to spruce up your home. Give each room a fresh coat of paint, but make sure that it’s not a shade that will turn buyers away. Choose neutral tones for your walls. You can always add some color with accessories, such as throw pillows or an area rug.
  • Go local with landscaping. Change your landscaping to native plants, which are easier to care for and don’t use up as much water. Local plants can add beauty to your home and improve its curb appeal, which helps bring in buyers. You can also include plants that tolerate drought.
  • Update your bathroom. If a big remodeling job isn’t in the budget, just do a few smaller  changes. This could mean refinishing the vanity or cabinets, installing a new light or replacing the faucet or bathtub knobs. Even small changes in the bathroom add up to a lot of extra value for your home.
  • Replace a carpet. If your budget won’t cover replacing all of the carpets in your home, choose one area to replace instead. Invest in new carpeting for a room with an old or faded carpet or an area that gets a lot of foot traffic, such as the living room. This DIY home repair is one of the best ways to impress buyers.

Sprucing Up the Weekender

The main thing you have to consider is what the primary use of this home is:

  1. Do you mainly use it as a second home for your family and friends and only rent it out when you are not using it or
  2. Is the primary use as a rental property?

If the property is used primarily for you and your family, then decorate it for your needs and wants. Here are 5 tips for redecorating your vacation home if you use it primarily used as a vacation home rental.

5 Cost Effective Tips for Decorating Your Vacation Rental

1. Replace Carpet With More Durable Materials

In the main traffic areas of your vacation rental, replace all the carpet with tile or hardwood floors. With the technology advancements in tile, ceramic and vinyl flooring, the cost to replace the carpet with more durable materials is minimal.

We recently had a homeowner replace his carpet with tile, and the cost was only 22% more. The owner figures he will recoup his money with the upgrade in less than 18 months, as he will not have to have the tile cleaned twice a year like he did with the carpet, and the tile should last much, much longer. We still suggest homeowners keep carpet in the bedrooms, as most guests do not like to get out of bed in the morning and put their feet on cold flooring.

2. Upgrade Your Bedding Cheaply

We suggest homeowners buy a nice quality mattress and box spring, but do not go over the top. We recently found that you can save yourself quite a bit of money and buy a lesser quality mattress and then add a 6 inch or 4 inch foam pillow mattress pad on top.

In some of our homes where the owners did not want to replace their current mattresses, we bought these mattress pads and guests raved about how comfortable the beds were over the Christmas holiday rush. We found these mattress pads online for around $70 for a king sized bed.

3. Paint Your House

If you want an instant upgrade in your vacation home, all you have to do is paint it. One suggestion is to use an eggshell or satin finish on the walls and a semi-gloss finish on the trim. The semi-gloss finish on the trim is key; this finish gives it more of a pop.

4. Don’t Go With Top of the Line Furniture

This might shock you, but you need to ask yourself this question: “Would I like to have a new sofa for $3,000 and it be top of the line, or would I like to buy a $1,200 sofa from IKEA, knowing in 36 months I might have to replace it with a new one anyway?”

The logic here is simple; your goals in life change all the time, and things come up. In addition, unfortunately guests do not treat your furniture like they would their own. It is better to buy lesser quality furniture for less money — unless the rental income warrants splurging for more quality furniture.

5. Add Color

There are plenty of places where you can buy vases, pitchers, coffee table books, dining room center pieces, lamps, etc. that will add color to your vacation home and make it a more fun and inviting vacation home for your guest. Most of the time you can add color to a vacation home for only a couple hundred dollars. Admittedly this is the artists home but it gives you some ideas.

Making Rooms More Spacious

Small Space SolutionsYou don’t have to renovate your home or add on rooms to make it bigger. Instead, there are plenty of ways to make small areas seem larger than they really are. This will come in handy when you’re ready to sell your home and want to impress buyers.

Here are some ideas for opening up small areas in a home along with some tips for creating and  illusion of space.

  • Hang mirrors. Having mirrors on opposite walls makes rooms appear more spacious. It’s also a good way to reflect more light into the room to make it brighter, which can also make it seem larger.
  • Paint. Painting the walls can make a room look more open when you stick to cool tones or white. Another paint tip is to have the crown molding painted the same color as the ceiling to make the room seem wider.
  • Put in bay windows. Having bay windows installed provides a room with a little more space and a lot more natural light. The added square footage and sunlight will give it a roomier feel.
  • Choose furniture wisely. Keep furniture in smaller rooms simple, so it won’t take up valuable space. Look for taller pieces when buying dressers, entertainment centers or shelving units. These can make your ceiling appear higher, which makes the room itself look larger.
  • Go with streamlined cabinets. Kitchen cabinets with simple lines make rooms look less cluttered than ones with ornate designs. You can make a kitchen look even larger by putting in stainless steel appliances, which provide reflective surfaces.

Opening up small areas in a home doesn’t require a big budget or tons of time. With these ideas, you can easily give your home a more spacious look.