Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fall Decorating

Autumn is soon arriving in all its natural splendor, and with the crispness of fall the foliage explodes with color. Everywhere you turn a brilliant array of earthy colors meet the eye. This is a time to decorate your home with all the warm colors, vibrant hues, and rich textures of the season. Bringing a bit of fall’s beauty, bounty and color into your home can be a simple and enjoyable task.

Autumn is the season we most associate with nature. For inspiration with color, look to pumpkins, haystacks, cranberries, and fall leaves. Autumn displays her earthy browns, brilliant reds, liquid amber and orange, pear gold and muted yellow. Autumn décor is capturing the beauty outside and recreating it in your home. For a fun afternoon adventure, take your kids or grandkids outside to gather grasses, seedpods, twigs, fallen leaves, pinecones, acorns, bird nests, interesting gourds and squashes, cattails, goldenrod, berry branches and other fall plants in bloom or turning color. All you need to do is open your eyes and capture this
natural beauty.

Decorating the Front Porch with Accents from Nature

pumpkins Fall is a time for cooler temperatures and extraordinary color, and it can be a great time to enjoy the scents and the ever-changing beauty of the season. When fall arrives, do not put away the outdoor chairs, tables, and outdoor decor. Instead, consider the following creative ways to decorate and update a front porch for fall. This will provide a welcoming entrance and a comfortable place to sit on warm fall days and crisp fall evenings.

Natural accents are some of the best when decorating for fall, and the bounty of the season can become part of the decorating scheme. Select small gourds of various shapes, colors, and patterns, and place them in a beautiful wicker basket. Set the basket on a side table or along side a front porch step. Better yet, fill two wicker baskets with colorful gourds. Place the baskets on both sides of the top step to welcome guests and add color to the front porch.

Fall offers flowers with some of the most vibrant and unusual colors, and fall mums are an excellent choice for decorating a front porch. Mums are available in uncommon hues, and pots of beautiful blooming fall mums along with striking green foliage make a lovely fall display. Select pots in neutral colors of graduating sizes, and fill them with eye-catching fall mums of various colors. Plant hardy trailing vines around the mums, and place them on front porch steps from smallest to largest. The largest pots should be placed on the walk leading up to the porch.

Add a wreath on your front door to feature warm, earthy tones and textures. Replace the rug at your front door with one that reflects the incredible fall colors found in nature. Decorating with a natural floral display that is bursting with the colors of fall is a great way to welcome guests.

Autumn Home Interior Accessories
fall candle blog Though pumpkins, gourds and leaves are traditional fall touches and should be included in any autumn décor, try to incorporate more subtle items to create an overall fall feel to your decorations. Using fall colors to spruce up everyday items in your home can include switching out your regular accent pillows for ones in fall colors, hanging a fall-colored shower curtain and towels, using a bronze tablecloth, or picking up a few mahogany or gold-toned frames for displaying photos, instead of your regular silver or black.

An essential part of autumn décor is aroma. Walking into a home where you can smell pumpkin spice or the sweet aroma of apple pie baking is priceless. Candles are always a nice fall touch. Use copper or brass candle holders for a rustic autumn accent. And of course you’ll want a few pumpkins, gourds, or fruit on a long woven basket or wooden tray. Add berry clusters, seeds and nuts, fall fruits, autumn leaves and flowers to make a colorful fall garnish. The great thing about candles is the wonderful variety of colors, scents and shapes you can find. Add a subtle scent of pear, grape, or other smells of fall to reach beyond just your sense of sight; you can add a whole new dimension to your room with the right scents. When the seasons change and winter approaches, we want to soften and warm our home. This is where fabrics become so important in giving a room the right seasonal cues. Fabric is the essence of fall decorating. Use it to warm and soften your interior. A handmade quilt draped over the back of a sofa invites guests to come in, sit down and relax. A knit blanket at the foot of a bed makes you feel comfortable when you get into bed. A shag throw rug softens the natural stone bathroom floor.

Creative Fall Flowers
fall dec blog Give your dining table a fall harvest look with your own unique autumn tablescape. A fall tablescape or floral arrangement makes the perfect centerpiece for your dining table. Be sure to keep your floral design low so that people aren’t separated by it; this is one of the most common mistakes people make when designing floral arrangements for the dining table.

Fall bouquets are great for decorating a table in your entry or foyer, end tables and coffee tables in your family and living room spaces, giving your guest bedroom and bathrooms a fresh look for the autumn season or adding a focal point on display shelves in any room in your home.

Fall fruits such as grapes, apples and mini pumpkins can make great fall tablescapes and floral arrangements. Use candles or votives to give your fall tablescape an added touch of color and warmth. Pumpkins are a fall favorite and make a great base for flower arrangements; you can cut the top to create a vessel inside which you can place floral foam to support your flowers, using sunflowers, orange or red roses, berry branches and dried grasses to design your arrangement.

Wicker baskets are also great for fall floral designs; try using chrysanthemums, sunflowers, tiny pumpkins, white gourds, gerberas, acorns, dry ferns and other natural fall plants to create a decorative fall basket. Use a mat of moss on a table or fireplace mantel to create a nice base to arrange orange and white pumpkins in various sizes and shapes, using one larger pumpkin as a focal point, with smaller sugar pumpkins, fruits, etc. arranged around it. Gourds, mini pumpkins, pottery and woven baskets make a great fall vignette.

You can do it! Brighten your home with touches of the season. Display your fall flower arrangements prominently where family, friends and guests can enjoy their natural beauty and get into the spirit of fall. A small amount of time invested now can bring months of pleasant echoes throughout your family’s home!

Special Thanks to Pat Pols for this wonderful article

Autumn Home Improvement IV

Organize your Storage Space
closet blogStorage is an often-overlooked home improvement project, but it is especially important if you are
expecting guests during the winter holidays. Whether your home improvement projects are aimed at reducing your winter heating costs or beautifying  your home, now is the time to start!

Autumn Home Improvements III

blog wreathReplace Indoor and Outdoor Lighting
As the evenings become longer and the cold winter dreary weather approaches, a project that includes updating both indoor and outdoor lighting can provide an inviting environment and if energy saving lighting is used can save energy. Upgrade your house to CFL light bulbs. This can be done at any time during the year, but it is especially helpful to reduce energy costs in the fall.

Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Some cities require a smoke detector in every room. Buy extra smoke detector batteries and change them
when daylight savings ends. Install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace and water heater. Test all of your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they work. Buy a fire extinguisher or replace any that is more than 10 years old.

Paint Interior Rooms
As summer comes to an end and you start to spend more time indoors, the new appearance, as well as a warmer, inviting feeling of a fresh coat of paint will help to push off those dreaded winter blues. Add a touch of  color and brightness.

Autumn Home Improvement II

blog fireplaceInspect Furnace, Fireplaces, and Clean the Chimney
A furnace inspection provides a much needed piece of mind. Make sure your inspection includes carbon monoxide detection. The inspections and annual cleaning should include changing filters. These small checkups will help to avoid unexpected problems during the coldest winter months.

Increase your House’s Insulation                                                                                                                Even if you can’t afford to insulate the whole house, adding another insulating layer in your attic provides
significant energy savings. New siding also has an added benefit of adding another layer of external insulation.

Install Smart Thermostats
These thermostats can be programmed to lower and raise the heat in your home depending on what you are
doing. For example, it might lower the temperature before bed, and then raise it an hour before you wake up in
the morning. It can be programmed to lower when you go to work, and even to stay on all the time if you’re home.  They cost around $50 and are well worth the investment.

Autumn Home Improvement

blog front door Fall is a great time to embark upon home improvement projects, especially those that don’t break the bank. These top fall home improvement projects are typical projects that homeowners should consider before winter. Winter has a way of sneaking up on us, but if you start thinking of these home improvement projects now you can enjoy a warmer, more beautiful home that is more energy efficient and safe.

Replace Windows and Doors
This low cost project can be as simple as replacing caulking and seals to reduce heating costs. Based on the age of your windows and doors, consider a total replacement for the highest energy efficiency benefit. Replace your windows if they are more than 10 years old. Windows are the pathway through which most house heat escapes. Not only do new windows increase energy efficiency, but they also increase house resale value. Go for the highest insulating factor you can afford. Repair or Replace the Roof Fall is the best time to have a contractor look at the roof and determine if any trouble spots are present and could become an issue during the winter months.

Clean or Replace Gutters
Gutters that are not working properly can cause interior damage. To prevent costly repairs later, replace those older gutters. Gutters are a big pain if they become clogged or, even worse, fall from the house. Ideally, maintenance should be done before the leaves fall.

Fill the Cracks
Gaps, cracks and holes in your home can result in serious
loss of heat through the winter, so try filling them in as a fall home improvement project.

Local Market Update

Did you know…

that your RE/MAX agent has access to a roster of thousands of professional realtors worldwide to assist clients with their moves? The ability to make agent-to-agent referrals has always been a powerful and unique benefit of RE/MAX. If you are relocating to another area, whether it be across the state, across the country or around the world, your agent will connect you with another qualified, professional realtor to assist you with your real estate needs. Our Web Roster allows your realtor to personally select a another RE/MAX agent who will be a good fit for you. The goal of every RE/MAX agent is to make your moves as smooth as possible and we work together to make it happen!

Pending Home Sales Rise Again

Pending home sales show a sustained uptrend, rising for four consecutive months with very favorable housing affordability and a first-time buyer tax credit boosting activity, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. The Pending Home Sales Index is a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed. The last time there were four consecutive monthly gains was in October 2004.

Affordability at a high

NAR’s Housing Affordability Index remains at historic highs. The affordability index is the highest on record dating back to 1970. “Under these conditions the typical family would devote only 14.6 percent of gross income to mortgage principal and interest, which is one of the lowest percentages on record. The Home Affordability Index is a broad measure of housing affordability using consistent values and assumptions over time, which examines the relationship between home prices, mortgage interest rates, and family income. The first-time buyer tax credit also is benefiting the market. Strong activity by entry-level buyers is helping to absorb inventory and allow some existing owners to make a trade, Existing-home sales should trend up through the end of the year, with normal local market differences.

(Summary from the Grand Rapids Realtor. The Voice of Real Estate in Grand Rapids. The official publication of the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors)

Client Testimonials

Better than expected

"Since the family lives out of town, we are grateful to John for making the sale of our mother's house very managable for us. John listened to our needs and met them all. He was considerate, knowledable, coordinated all the details , and , communicated with us throughout the whole process. Having you take care of the house went better than expected from out of town."

- Anne Baker 2517 Borglum


Great Selling Experience

"After trying to sell our house on our own, it was a relief to list it under an experienced realtor. John sold our house much quicker than we could have imagined."

- 3009 Barry St


Experienced and Helpful

"The experience of buying a home was very good, the help was very much appreciated."

- David and Michelle 2088 Jaclyn


Trustworthy and Professional

"John is a great realtor. He is knowledgable, trustworthy, and professional. We look forward to doing business with him again."

- Investors


Realistic Goals

"My unreal optimism mixed with John's realism make us a good pair."

- Investor


Helping Hand

"John was the best, he worked hard and we appreciate him for everything he did for us."

- Cathy Claflin Melvin Ct.


Love my new home

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- Caleb Byron Rd.