Monday, August 13, 2018

Cottage Life in Prince Edward County

We've been really lucky to have a long and gorgeous summer this year. Being the first full year at our new cottage, we've been enjoying our summer life to the fullest. As interior projects are winding down, we've been spending more time outdoors exploring all the fun things the cottage country has to offer. 

Picture below: my favourite perspective of our cottage living room, overlooking the dining room. 

In this post, I will summarize a few fun activities you can do in the Prince Edward County during summer months. 

Early June: plein-air photos, random strolls and antiquing. 

Summer arrived early this year. The June fresh air and lush grass invited cows out of their barns, creating a perfect scene for plein air photos. 

We stumbled upon a few small poppy flower fields along County Road 10. 

Cooler temperature and fresher air also made June a perfect month for random strolls. I really enjoyed house watching in the old town Bloomfield. This colonial beauty surely stopped me on my tracks. 

No cottage country experience would be complete without some antiquing and thrifting. 

We also managed to get our landscaping done by the end of June. 

We added a much needed walkway, wrapped around the house. I tried to keep the landscaping to a minimum to keep our natural surroundings as undisturbed as possible. 

July-August: lavender field, sunflower field, water activities. 

I don't have to tell you how amazing it felt canoeing or kayaking into sunset. It's the ultimate state of happiness. 

Lavender Festival in PEC was held around Canada Day, when I was still in Switzerland. I was kicking myself for having to miss the Festival again this year. In mid July I decided to make a stop at the PEC Lavendar Farm on our way back to the cottage, and I am so glad I did. Pictures below were taken on July 14th, when lavender seemed to have just reached its peak. We were able to freely explore the field, sans the crowd during the Festival! The bushes continued to bloom into early August. 

On the way out of the lavender farm, be sure to make a quick stop at the SHED Chetwyn Farms, where you could pet the cutest animal on this planet - Alpaca. 

Sunflower fields in Ontario started to bloom in mid July. Pictures below were taken at a smaller sunflower field not five minutes from our cottage. They reached peak bloom around July 28th. 

I lied earlier about nothing better than canoeing into sunset. Well, taking a dip in our infinity pool on a scorcher was pretty heavenly too. We usually sipped a few glasses of our favourite late harvest, while watching the sun slowly disappearing into the lake. 

September-October: winery visits.

I am saving all the wineries tours for cooler months. There are over 20 wineries within 20 minutes from our cottage, so it's going to be a blast. 

Do you have a favourite spot/fun thing to do in PEC? Do share! 

Sunday, August 12, 2018

How To Prepare For A Household Move

~ This is a featured post. ~

Moving to a new house can be an extremely stressful undertaking. It requires you to pick up your life and take it to an entirely new location. Rather than staying safely within your comfort zone, you will be forced to compromise, experiment, and explore. If you are worried about the challenges ahead, it is important that you make your plans as soon as possible. This will help you to see the light at the end of the tunnel and will save you from making costly mistakes. Simply work your way through the following seven steps, and before you know it, you will be the proud owner of a new home.

Clean and tidy your current property
Before you do anything else, you will need to clean and tidy your property. You might be surprised by just how much difference this can make to your home. If you are going to secure an impressive price, it is important that you are showing off your property in the best light. That is why you should set yourself the challenge of completing a deep clean before the week is out. Have no fear, this step shouldn’t take you too long. It will be especially fast if you call in your friends and family for help. However, even if you go it alone, you should be able to complete your chores in a short period of time. Then, the only challenge will be to keep your standards high until the sale goes through.

Secure a good price for your home
The next step is to secure a good price for your home. Just remember: the more money you make, the more money you will have to spend on your new property. If you are struggling to secure a buyer, it is vital that you don’t give up. Taking your home on and off the market can be an expensive business. Furthermore, if you eventually end up putting your home back on the market, you may appear desperate to potential buyers. In order to avoid this predicament, you should sell your house to an investor. This is a fantastic way for you to speed up the process of selling your property. It is also a great opportunity for you to achieve your ambitious financial goals.

Widen your search area
During the process of searching for your new home, it is essential that you keep an open mind. Otherwise, you are at risk of missing out on incredible properties with tons of potential. Although it is understandable that you would have your favorite areas, there is no harm in exploring a wide range of locations. Perhaps you could visit a different town or city every weekend. You could enjoy a drink at a small café, explore the local parks, or simply walk up and down a selection of streets. You might not always like the areas that you are visiting, but every now and then you should stumble across a location that ticks the right boxes. You might even find a more affordable location than the ones you were previously considering.  

Take on a renovation project
Another excellent way to save money is by taking on a renovation project. Not only will this allow you to reduce your initial expenses, but it will also provide you with more opportunities further down the line. Instead of making do with a property that fails to meet all of your needs, you should look out for a property with the potential to be turned into your perfect home. It might be that there is enough space for a large extension. Or, it could be that the loft space is primed and ready for an attic conversion. Whatever the case, it is important that you are using your imagination. Yes, you will be required to compromise on a short-term basis, but eventually you will be able to enjoy an incredible home that you have designed yourself.  

Schedule in a comprehensive survey
If you do decide to take on a renovation project, you will need to schedule in a comprehensive survey before you part with your hard-earned money. This is also an essential step to take if you are buying a new build, as not all property problems are obvious. If you are lucky, your survey will come back free from any major issues. This will help you to achieve peace of mind and will also come in handy when you are trying to secure an affordable insurance policy. However, if your survey uncovers a serious problem, this doesn’t have to be a complete disaster. You could always use this information to knock down the home owner’s asking price. This will be easier to do once you have a quote for the necessary repairs.  

Prepare your possessions for packing and moving
The moment that you have sold your home and selected your dream property, you should begin the process of preparing your possessions for packing and moving. Firstly, you will need to get rid of any unnecessary items that do nothing but clutter up your home. Next, you will need to invest in large boxes and rolls of bubble wrap. If you are hoping to cut your costs, you could always visit your local grocery store and ask for their old storage boxes. Then, you will need to organize your items into different categories. While it might be tempting to randomly throw your possessions into boxes, it is a much better idea to plan ahead. This will help you to unpack when you finally arrive at your new home.

Work with an interior designer
Last but not least, you should think about working with an interior designer. If you struggle to think creatively, this is a wonderful way for you to get the most out of your new space. A trained professional will help you to transform an empty house into an attractive, enjoyable, and functional home. Why not hire your interior designer before you make your move? This will give you the chance to add the finishing touches to your property well in advance of your moving date.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

8 Ways To Instantly Spruce Up Your Home

~ This is a featured post. ~ 

Your home is where you return to after a long day at work; it’s where you entertain guests and sit back and relax on the weekends. It makes sense that you’d want it to look organized and be a welcoming and inviting space you can enjoy year-round.

You’ll be delighted to know that there are a few practical ways for how you can instantly spruce up your home and create a better living area for you and your family. You won’t regret the time, money and energy you put into this project because of how lovely your house will look after your updates are complete.

Add New Paint
Applying a fresh coat of paint to the interior and even exterior is a great way to spruce up your home instantly. It’s also an excellent DIY project if you’re in the mood for tackling this update by yourself. Pick your colors wisely and always bring home paint samples and apply them to the walls before committing to any hue in particular. This is also a good time to paint old furniture and outdated cabinets to help increase the attractiveness of your home. The best part is that paint is easy to change if you decide you want to head in another direction later on.

Create A Backyard Oasis
Instantly spruce up your home by paying more attention to your backyard and giving it a nice facelift. You’ll love being able to spend more time outdoors during the warm summer months or have an extra space where guests can flow to. Consider installing a new deck or patio, planting more bushes to add privacy, investing in nice furniture and setting up a nice grilling area. It is your opportunity to turn your backyard into an area where you can go to read a good book in your free time and throw a big party when a special occasion arises.

Remodel Your Kitchen & Bathrooms
The two most important areas in your home are your kitchen and bathrooms, so it’s definitely worth you looking into updating them. It’s where you spend the most time, will get the most return on your investment and homebuyers alike will appreciate your efforts. Learn more about hiring the right company that can help you out and guarantees you’re going about this project the right way. Your goal should be to implement a mix of features that include your own personal taste with elements that are currently trending in the industry.

Take Advantage of Small Spaces
Go on a quick tour of your home and make a note of which rooms are going to waste and not being used properly. Spruce up your home by taking advantage of small spaces by building a reading nook area or turning an awkward room into a guest bedroom and den. This way you’ll have a quiet place where you can work from home and house guests when they visit. The key is to make sure you’re not ignoring these areas and that you’re using your creativity to turn them into a functional space you and your family can use.

Wash or Replace Windows
Old, dirty windows are bringing down the look of your entire home and blocking all that natural light from entering. Instantly spruce up your home by washing or replacing windows all together so you can brighten up your space. Your property will not only look better from the inside, but this will also improve the look and feel of your home from the exterior. Go a step further and dress up your windows by adding shutters or window treatments which will help them to appear more attractive and not so bare. Drapes will also add additional privacy and block the light from entering in the evening hours.

Improve Your Curb Appeal
You should care about curb appeal for many reasons, including making a good first impression on passersby and potential homebuyers. Improve your front space by taking the time to landscape, power wash or replace your driveway and paint your front door an eye-catching color and add some décor such as plants and a bench to your porch. Instantly spruce up your home by caring about what it looks like when you pull up to or walk past it. Show others how much pride you have in your home by paying attention to the details on the exterior.

Take the Time to Decorate & Declutter
Your home life will feel a lot less chaotic and be more enjoyable when you take time to decorate, clean and declutter your space. This is a good opportunity to get organized and spruce up the area by adding fresh flowers, plants, and your own personal touches. Hang colorful artwork on blank walls and place a few family photos out where people can see and admire them. Have fun with this project and remember to keep it simple and tasteful, so you’re not creating more disorder.

Install More Lighting Options
Lighting matters a great deal when it comes to how much you will or won’t enjoy your home. It has the ability to set the right mood and make you feel cozy and comforted in your space. Add more lighting options throughout your home to spruce it up such as sconces, recessed lights on a dimmer switch and new fixtures that create a focal point. Your goal is always to have options for what lights you do or don’t want to turn on when entering a room in your home. Pay most attention to the spaces you regularly occupy such as the bathrooms, kitchen and main living area.

Instead of sitting back and complaining about what you don’t like about your house, use these tips to get you thinking about what changes you might want to make. While it will require some extra time and money on your end, keep in mind how wonderful it’ll look when all the upgrades are finished. You’ll finally have the house of your dreams and can relax and enjoy your space for years to come.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Home Upgrades To Consider

~ This is a featured post. ~

Your home is where you spend a lot of your time so it only makes sense you’d want it to look nice and put together. There will likely come a time when you’ll glance around your property and realize that there are certain features that are outdated or that could use a little extra attention.

Know that there are a few upgrades in particular that you may want to consider implementing in your space to make it more appealing and attractive. Start by reviewing all of the possibilities and then narrowing it down to what you want to begin tackling first.

Remodeling Your Bathrooms
Bathrooms are an important part of a house because it’s where you spend a lot of time and sprucing them up will also help increase your resale value. Now is the perfect time to look into making a few updates that will help enhance the appearance of your bathrooms. A few ideas include replacing an old vanity, installing a new shower and adding a fresh coat of paint. Also, take time to decorate and make the space your own by adding a couple of personal touches here and there. You won’t regret the time and money you put into improving the look and feel of your bathrooms since they’re an essential part of your home.

Updating Your Kitchen
Your kitchen is another area you should evaluate and start considering what upgrades you might want to move forward with in your home. Determine if you need to refinish or replace the floors and countertops, add an eye-catching backsplash and invest in new appliances. You could also think about installing a kitchen island and replacing old cabinet hardware to boost the overall ambiance. If you like to cook or entertain, then it’s a wise idea to put a lot of your efforts into updating this space and having it truly make a statement when you walk in the room. Taking the time to create a stunning kitchen will certainly make your space more enjoyable to be in, and it’ll be a good selling point to show potential buyers one day.

Installing A New Roof
Although you can’t see it that well, and may not even pay much attention to it, it’s possible you have an old, leaky roof that could need replacing. Get someone to check it out and see if it’s time to completely replace and upgrade it all together. One idea is to turn to solar power San Diego and install panels that are going to help you save on energy costs and make your home more energy efficient. It’s a great time to make the switch and finally get on board with going solar, so you can help save the planet and upgrade your home all at the same time.

Enhancing Your Landscaping
Curb appeal matters a great deal, so don’t wait any longer to start working on the outside of your home. One area that will help the appearance of the exterior is to update your landscaping by planting trees, bushes and beautiful and colorful flowers and plants. Get on a schedule so your grass is being cut on a regular basis and you’re continuously working hard to upkeep the appearance of your outdoor space. In addition, consider building a deck or patio in your backyard and planting a few extra shrubs to provide you with more privacy around your property. Either find the time to do it yourself or hire the professionals to come out and assist you with maintaining a good-looking yard.

Creating Lighting Options
It can be easy to forget about the importance of lighting when considering what upgrades you want to make to your home. However, it can make or break a space and has the ability to set the mood in each room of your home. For example, sconces could be attractive in your bathroom while you may want to install recessed lights that are on a dimmer switch in your living room or finished basement. The key is to always have lighting options in each space so you can adjust them according to the time of day and what you’re doing at the time. Don’t forget about the outside and backyard when thinking about new lights such as illuminating the area around your garage, a walkway or your patio area.

Cleaning up Your Windows
Another home upgrade you may want to consider looking into is replacing or power washing your windows, especially if you have a lot of them throughout your property. The more natural light you have available to you the better, and the cleaner your windows are, then the more likely it is that you’ll be able to enjoy this benefit. Also, your windows will appear nicer overall when you dress them up with attractive window treatments on the inside and shutters on the outside. Bare windows do much for your home, so it’s worth your time and energy to research your options further and move forward with making them look complete. Utilize what is already there to add an extra touch to your home.

Adding A Fireplace
One home upgrade that you may not have considered because you don’t currently have one is to install a new fireplace. They truly help create a better atmosphere in rooms such as your dining or living area and add warmth in the cold winter months. If you have one but don’t use it or like the appearance of it, then this could be your chance to make a few upgrades to it such as painting it or replacing the old material with a more striking option such as stone. There are more choices for types and styles of fireplaces then you may think so be sure to do your homework before making a final selection.

Your home is where you go to unwind after a long day of work and where you should feel the most comfortable. Make it an even better space to dwell in by thinking about following through with some or all of these upgrades. Take one step at a time and work your way to tackling each project until you feel your property is at a place that brings you the most satisfaction and enjoyment.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Best Value-Add Home Improvements

~ This is a featured post. ~

Whether you are new to the property market or are settled in your beautiful home, there is always that niggling thing in the back of your mind of how you potentially add value to it if you were to sell. Unless you are in your forever home, most people will be looking to make money on their investment, whether this is a short-term solution or something for long-term family goals. For small additions, you can perhaps add some initial value, but if you’re looking to make a substantial impact on the sale price, renovating is likely to be the way forward.

Of course, with renovation work comes initial investment and costs so considering the amount you spend compared to the value you can add will weigh up whether it is the right option for you. There is also the issue of building control and regulations in the property location and checking the legal aspects of structural change and renovation that will need to be carried out before you start work. This, in turn, can also add time and money to your project, which needs to be factored in the cost.

Financing your project is also something that has to be considered, as there are several options including sourcing finance from lenders such as Bonsai Finance or perhaps using the equity in your home already to undertake the work. Whatever you choose this finance cost will also have to be considered alongside the overall costs to get the true value of your investment.

To consider whether it is a worthwhile investment, a few questions need to be answered before you start planning your big change. These big decisions can offer value but how much can depend on how you change the property. Check out some of the best ways to add decent value to your home to make the renovations worthwhile.

Adding an extension
This is one of the most popular renovation projects for homeowners as they see it as a surefire to add value due to the increase in space inside the property. Although this is mostly the case, there are several factors to consider to make it a worthwhile option. Speaking to a property expert before deciding on a large project such as this will help you understand whether this type of extension will fit in with what people want to buy in the area. There could be elements such as the renovation eats into the garden space which makes your external areas look smaller, or perhaps extension ideas won’t be large enough to add a fully functioning space for your interiors, which will actually hinder the property rather than increase its value.

Building permission is also another significant factor for this type of renovation as you won’t just be able to start a project without getting everything signed off beforehand. This can eat into your budget, and if there are modifications to be made on original designs, you may have to reapply or wait for a decision before starting. However, this type of renovation is one of the best options for making more money on your property, and strategically extending areas such as the back of your home for added kitchen or living space is ideal for families looking to enjoy a more spacious and inviting family home.

Property presentation
Most people get a feel for a property from the moment they arrive at the curbside so if your home doesn’t present the wow factor then it is less likely to attract the type of buyers willing to pay the asking price. Improving the appearance might not seem like a difficult task, but if you have lots of little things that need completing, then this can start to mount up. By investing in these areas, you can add some value (although it might not be a substantial amount) to your property. Alongside adding value, it will also make your house more appealing to potential buyers, which will help sell faster, and closer to the asking price.

Check out some of the top areas to address to boost its appeal:
  • Windows can make or break the outside appearance of your home so it might be time to upgrade them to add a little more value.
  • If the roof is in need of some TLC, fix it to ensure there are no apparent signs of damage.
  • For properties that have garden frontage, ensuring this area is tidy and well presented can help to draw people in.

Kitchens and bathrooms
These are often two rooms that can sell a property so ensuring they are looking clean, fresh and attractive will help to improve the selling power of your home. The beauty of renovating these spaces is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to make some decent money back, but designing a multifunctional space in the kitchen is a must to ensure it presents the perfect room for the hub of the house. When redesigning kitchens and bathroom, you should consider everything by replacing from the ground up, so flooring, cupboards, appliances and wall décor all have to be changed. Both areas also need to be practical as they will be in use all the time, so thinking about the layout and how it can work in the space you have will ensure it suits all users from adults to kids. The finishing touches can also make all the difference in these rooms too, so door handles, lighting fixtures, and even light switches can help to boost the aesthetics of these essential rooms.

There are several things you can do to help improve the look and value of your home, and these are just some of the best examples to get you started. Whatever your budget, adding some value, however small, is achievable, but it can also assist in beautifying your home to attract potential buyers when you come to sell. By considering your options and making the best choice for the space, you will reap the rewards in the long term. 

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