Category Archives: Home Tips

Add Season Warmth to Your Home


Here are some tips on how to add season warth to your home:

Pick the Right Pillows

A room isn’t done without pillows.  Choose pillows in warm colors made of a soft down mix so they’re comfortable to
lean into.

pillows on living room sofa

Add a Layer of Texture

Anything with texture adds dimension. Nubby fabrics and textured wool area rugs make a room cozy.

couch with pillows in front of a hutch

Sprinkle on Spicy Colors

Reds, burgundies, or golds instantly transform a plain room. You don’t haveto paint the walls; you can add these tones in the drapes, furniture, pillows, rugs, or art.

red and yellow throw pillows on a beige sofa

Create a Hide-a-Way

I always tell clients that you can’t control the outside world but you can create a world on the inside of your home that is good to you. In the fall,  when you’ll be spending more time indoors, it’s important to carve out a corner for yourself. Maybe it’s a tabletop in the corner of your living room  or in your bedroom.  Fill a bulletin board with images of things you love: photos and mementos from trips, ticket stubs from a great show, cherished letters. Small collections of shells, rocks, and candles are simple things that are good for your soul.

Living Room, chair, window seat

Go the Extra Mile

Place a luxurious throw over a chair or a couch.  I always include a high-quality throw in all my clients’ family rooms.

woman in brown shirt and skirt holding three blankets

Light Up

Candles bring mood and character to a space. To avoid the risk of fire, try battery-operated flameless candles (look for versions made with real wax); they emit a nice warm glow.

candle centerpiece

Think Accessories

It’s all in the accessories. If a room is empty, it’s going to feel cold and unwelcoming. Style every table with personalized vignettes: Choose a few special items, keeping in mind that contrasts in shape and texture work best. I always look for funky, slightly off-the-wall pieces at antiques stores and flea markets. These have the most personality and are conversation-starters when put on display.

bird nest and butterfly paper

Cover Those Windows

Drapes warm up a space. If you currently have wood blinds or mini-blinds, consider changing those for a fabric Roman shade, or even better, add floor-to-ceiling drapes. The fabric softens the room and adds glamour.

detail of curtains

Pile on the Rugs

An area rug is an instant color and pattern makeover and grounds a room. I throw them right on top of carpets or summer’s sea-grass rugs.

detail of floor

Make it Your Own

Warmth can also come from personalization. Displaying a collection or hanging family photos in unusual frames — anything that gives a room your personal touch — is meaningful.

detail fireplace

Source of Information:  Better Homes & Gardens


Carbon Monoxide Detectors Now Required


As of July 1, 2011 a new California law requires all “dwelling units intended for human occupancy” to be retrofitted  with carbon monoxide (CO) detection devices.  If you own your own home, you are responsible for obtaining and installing these devices.  Or you can hire a company that will come in and install them for you.  If you are a renter, it is the responsibility of your landlord to come in and install them.

The devices may be battery-powered, or a plug-in device with a battery back-up.  The device must be tested and certified pursuant to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and UL.  The cost of the devices range from as low as $20 to as much as $200.  Some are combined with smoke detectors.  You can find these CO devices at most hardware stores.

Unlike smoke detectors, CO devices must be replaced at least every 7 years. For this reason, when selling a residential property, disclosure of the existence of the device and its operability may not be sufficient, if the device is more than 7 years old. Some devices are equipped with an alert that the device is 60+ months old, signaling the necessity of replacing it.

Tips for Number of Alarms

  • Alarm should be centrally located outside of each sleeping area
  • Alarm should be located at least 6 inches from all exterior walls and at least 3 feet from supply or return vents
  • Alarm to be located on every level including basements within which fuel-fired appliances are installed and in dwelling units that have attached garages
  • Alarm should be mounted approximately 3 to 5 feet from the floor (Note: the battery-powered devices will allow you to go higher than 3 feet from the floor)

Article by:  Sheri Negri of Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate

Low Cost Updates That Add Value


Custom details add character and dollars. Follow these cost-cutting tips to give your home character without exceeding your remodeling budget.

1)  Add crown molding to any room to add more character.  If you DIY, you can save!

2) Use ceramic tile for your kitchen, bathroom or fireplace.  There are so many places these days to get custom tile which can really add to a room.  Mix ceramic tiles with a few more expensive tiles to create a custom look at a lower cost.

3) Vary lighting fixtures.  Choose pricier eye-catching fixtures to light one or two main areas, but opt for good off-the-shelf fixtures elsewhere.

4) Change your cabinetry and appliances.  Select midrange cabinetry instead of top-of-the-line cabinets. Spend the savings on appliances with higher appeal.

5) Color is a designer’s cheapest and most powerful element. Add color with paint, tile, or hardware.

6) Create multi-functional spaces.  Open shelves in the kitchen work perfectly for storage and display. This technique also works well in a small space because the openness keeps the room from feeling cramped.

7) Instead of buying expensive brackets to support kitchen fixtures, buy plain brackets and embellish them yourself.

8) Enhance the woodwork.  Architectural woodwork not only adds character, it disguises imperfections in old walls. Use simple woodwork, such as beaded-board paneling and corner rosettes, to dress up walls.

Posted by:  Sheri Negri

Top Ten Ways to Make Your Home Greener


  1. Unplug appliances and other devices can save you energy.  Even if they are not in use, they use what you would call “phantom power”.   Devices include TV’s, printers, computers, monitors, chargers, kitchen appliances, and more.  
  2. Save on your heating and cooling costs just by setting your thermostat back when you’re not home and while you’re sleeping. Program your thermostat to 78 degrees F or higher in the summer and 62 degrees F or lower in the winter. If you tell it to return to your preferred temperature before you return home, you won’t ever know the temperature changed, until you look at the reduction in your energy bills.
  3. Replace your incandescent light bulbs qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). 
  4. Install low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators to save resources without sacrificing water pressure.
  5. Plant Trees to provide shade which will save you on cooling costs.
  6. Tune-up your HVAC.  It is important that your HVAC runs efficiently, so you should have it tuned up every two years.
  7. When painting, make sure the paint is eco-friendly.  There are many alternatives out there that are safer for people and pets!
  8. When cleaning around the house, use non-toxic natural products or make your own green cleaning products.
  9. Optimize your water heater. If you don’t have one installed already, put an insulative jacket around your hot water heater, and insulate the pipes around the water heater. Insulative jackets cost between $10 and $20, and you can get pipe insulation for less than $1 for six feet. Also consider turning the temperature on the water heater down to 120 degrees. It will save you money and prevent scalding.
  10. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle!