Monday, June 30, 2014

Real Estate Monday: Plum Boro

I found the cutest stand-alone condos on the outskirts of Oakmont. I'm so drawn to smaller homes for some reason- I swear I'm like a 70 yr. old retiree trapped in a 30 yr. old's body. I just want the minimum to take care of, and to have my home be streamlined down to the essentials seems so appealing. Anyways, enough about me and my quirky desires. Here are two condos (or patio homes?) located on Ridgemead Fields Drive.
The first is the smaller of the two with 2 bed/1.5 baths. It's listed for $159,900. The outside is charming and extremely well-kept. The inside, while clean and appearing to be fairly spacious, is a little dated. I'd be whipping out some chalk paint for those kitchen cabinets in a heart beat. 

3 Ridgemead Fields DrUNIT 3, Verona, PA 15147

Isn't is so cute? The stucco reminds me of Florida.  

 What a lovely backyard and patio to spend your free time.

 I wish I could see more of that ginormous window in the entry way. I'm sure it provides an amazing amount of light. 

The kitchen, oh the kitchen, how 1980's of you. That's okay...nothing a little sweat equity can't fix. 

A nice open living room/dining room combo. I'm a little weary of all that carpet, but I think even layering some area rugs would not only define the separate spaces, but also break up and preserve that sea of beige.

The master has a nice big bathroom and walk-in closet. 

The second condo is a little bigger, with 3 bed/3.5 baths. It also has a heavier price tag at $250k.
 Again, such excellent curb appeal. 
I love how this one has a Spanish-Mediterranean flare to it. 

The fireplace is so warm and cozy. 

The kitchen, while not completely updated, still has a fresh look to it, and goes well with the rest of the house. 
There are two bedrooms on the main floor, and one on the lower level. Feel free to click on the address links for more pictures. 

What do you think? Could you live like this? There is a condo fee that covers the outside maintenance, water, sewage, snow removal (!) and an option to belong to the wellness center at Longwood. 

* I am not the listing agent for any of the homes I share on Real Estate Mondays, unless otherwise stated. I do not receive any compensation for these posts. If you'd like more information on any of the homes, please contact me via email or cell and I can email you the MLS report or schedule a showing for you. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Pictures That Sell Your House

Back when our house was on the market, I was mortified when I saw the pictures our Realtor used when listing our house. It wasn't her fault. I wasn't around to navigate her and move my junk out of the way, and she was just doing her job. There is a way to take pictures like the pros and subsequently get more people in the door.
1. De-clutter. This seems obvious, but even if it's just for the one day when the pictures are being taken, move all the appliances off the kitchen counter, bathroom sink/tub, and all the toys out of the living room. Pictures tend to make things look more cluttered than they are in real life. So even if it's just for one day, make it count.
Before & After Bookshelf de-clutter

2. Make sure the lighting is good. Sometimes there can be too much light coming through a window, and sometimes not enough at all and it makes the photo look dingy, thus making your house look dingy.
Old photo of my dining room- cluttered and too much light discoloring part of the picture. 

3. A picture doesn't have to have EVERYTHING in it. Take a shot from the best angle and go with it. Magazines never show you a room in it's entirety. They can't or else you'd see the mad house they call a photo shoot. It's all an illusion, and that's what you want to create. The idea of a beautiful, elegant space.
The living room redecorating process: couch, chandelier, wall color
This is one side of the room, and here's the other where the TV and all the toys are stashed. Which side would you rather see? 

Remember, people look at hundreds of homes online now before ever setting foot in it in person. Don't eliminate yourself from the race by showing bad pictures. And don't feel bad asking your Realtor to remove pictures, or redo pictures you don't feel like represent the overall feel of your home.
Feel free to contact me for any other questions or if you're looking to list your home at

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Less is More

It might be the pregnancy, but I've had this huge need to de-clutter lately. Maybe this is my version of nesting- except instead of focusing on the baby's room, I've been doing things around the house. One thing that's been bugging me was my cluttered bookshelf. Observe the bookshelf in my dining room:

 I'm telling you, if you're looking for a way to spruce up your house (or stage your house to sell) and change things a bit without spending very much, then de-cluttering's the way to go. It's like instant gratification. So here's what I did:
All the books got taken out. I put some of them below in the cabinet doors and some upstairs. Others are going to be donated.
Next I decided on what to keep. The milk glass is special to me. Most pieces were given to me and I like the little collection I've formed. Emphasis on "little"- I've never been big on going overboard with things. I went into my driftwood collection and found two pieces that I thought might look nice displayed. My mom brought me some starfish from Florida on her visit this time, and the driftwood made a perfect backdrop for it. I left the few frames I had because they were in the beachy-white theme, and added some greenery, a candle, a teapot and a coke bottle filled with sand that I brought back from the Sahara desert.

 Next I attacked the buffet and dining table. Trimming down what I had displayed, and adding some fresh flowers, placemats, and more driftwood to the equation.

 Not much change, but overall it just has a fresher, less crowded feel in here.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Creating Floor Plans Online

I wanted to share something I find very entertaining and super fun- you can design your own floor plans with I've been dreaming up ways to reconfigure our downstairs bathroom and bedroom combination. The previous owners added this tiny, little bathroom to our downstairs bedroom, which is cool, but it literally left the room with no wall big enough for a bed. We've used this room for many things in the four years we've lived here- guest room, office, and currently a play room. It's also tiled, which is super cold, but I'm not willing to do anything major (like rip up tile) till I figure out what I want to do with the space. When we put our house on the market last year, one couple was super interested, but their hang up was that they couldn't use this room as their master, which clearly was a make or break. Homestyler really helped me visualize a configuration that I like. My measurements aren't exact, but you can use exact measurements and size everything to's awesome, like graph paper online. You can even add furniture and fixtures like I did. Warning: I've literally spent hours doing this. It is addicting.  
Here's our room right now: 
I couldn't figure out how to add a door on an angle like our current bathroom door is, so the bathroom's not really wide open like this. Also the white, rectangular things are radiators. Between radiators and doors swinging into the room, we literally can't place things any differently. So awkward. 

To the left of the room are the stairs and a narrow hallway to get to a back door and the basement door. 
So here are three options I've come up with.
Option #1: Eliminate hallway and use it to make a bigger bathroom. 
Pros: Bedroom is much bigger and now has a functional wall for a bed.
Cons: Bathroom will have a back, exterior door (think pool bath), and will no longer be accessible through the bedroom. Also, you'll have to walk through bathroom to get to basement.

Here's a 3D view of the room 

Option #2: Smaller shower, add a stack-able washer/dryer combo
Pros: same as option 1, plus moving the laundry up from basement.
Cons: same, and a smaller shower. 

Option #3: Making the bathroom accessible through the bedroom, and closing off the bathroom to the back door. I added sliding doors to the bathroom to prevent the loss of space from opening doors. The washer and dryer now sit outside the bathroom in a separate hallway by the back door. I also added a closet in the bedroom. 
Pros: the bathroom is accessible from the bedroom and you don't walk right into it from the back door. The bedroom is still large enough to accommodate a bed and a closet.
Cons: the bathroom is small still and you have to walk through the bedroom, then through the bathroom to get to the basement, or washer/dryer.

Back side view looking into laundry room/hallway.

Sorry if this was confusing (or boring). This reno may not even happen. I'm clearly on a kick with this whole floor plan thing, but isn't it fun? Which one's your favorite? 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sweet Succulents

I'm on an outdoor plant kick. I found a bucket of homegrown succulents for $5 at Trader Jack's Flea Market last weekend (along with a $1 H&M purse, and a $2 small flag pole I'm going to make an address sign for...big scores in my book). The lady who sold me her plants said these succulents are so hardy she leaves them out all winter long on her porch, never waters them, and they grow like crazy. That's exactly what I want/need. I may be obsessed with plants, but they're certainly not obsessed with me.
 I had to go thrift store shopping to pick up some extra glass bowls (as if I needed an excuse for thrift shopping). Saint Vincent de Paul's had a couple of milk glass dishes that I thought might do the trick, and I had a few planters at home that have worked quite nicely, too. I also stopped by target and picked up a couple of planters on clearance.
Here's what I've done with them so far...aren't they fun? Check back with me in a few weeks to see if they're still alive.
Planter from Target/Stones from my driveway

Milk glass and other glass vases from St. Vincents

Huge ceramic planter left behind from previous owner

The tall palm-like shrub is from Ikea
I'd like to find some other varieties and make a full-blown terrarium. Something like this:
Image via 

Image via
Live plants just make everything so cozy, don't they? 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Moroccan Tile Backsplash: Do or Don't?

We're getting measured for our countertops this Friday. YAY!  I'm going simple- white quartz. It's supposedly more durable and less maintenance than granite. It's also only $39/sqft including installation (thank you Y&Q from the Strip District). Anyone found anything cheaper than that?
Side story, my mom had a jar of olive oil out on her counter. Olive oil inevitably leaks over the edges and left a ring mark on her granite that would not come out! Just beware. She now corrals her oils on a tray...looks nicer that way anyways.
So with simple, white countertops my thought process is do I want to splurge on a backsplash? My little, design heart says, "Yes"!
Let me bring back a photo I cited a while ago when I first talked about mix-matching appliances. It happens to have this adorable (yet slightly muted) Moroccan-inspired backsplash.
image via
So my thought process goes like this:
a. I love this kitchen.
    b. I love Moroccan tile.
             c. I should probably go for it. 

Don't all of you make decisions like this? :)
Here's some samples I've found. 
A simple basket-weave tile. 
 A nice, geometric pattern. 
 And my favorite, flowered design. 
can't find the source of this image for the life of me, and I really like it. Sad. 
Also under consideration, a lattice design to mimic our new rug that I found at Big Lots, which happens to be the same rug at Target, but for much less! 
rug via Target 
I know that for resale purposes I'm risking a lot by doing something so taste-specific. But with our decision to stay in our house for a while, I really want to make it my own, not with someone else in mind. Thoughts?


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