Single Family Construction Spending Up | Pound Ridge Real Estate

NAHB analysis of Census Construction Spending data shows that total private residential construction spending grew 0.4% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $517.7 billion. It was a modest gain after a 0.2% dip in September. The total private residential construction spending was 7.4% higher than a year ago.

The monthly gains are largely attributed to the steady growth of spending on single-family and home improvements. Single-family construction spending edged up 0.3%, and remodeling spending rebounded by 1.4% in October. However, multifamily construction spending slipped 1.6% after the September dip, and was 2% lower since a year ago.

The NAHB construction spending index, which is shown in the graph below (the base is January 2000), illustrates the strong growth in new multifamily construction since 2010 and a steady growth in single-family construction and home improvement spending.

Private nonresidential construction spending increased 2.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $432 billion. However, it was 1.3% lower than a year ago. The largest contribution to this month-over-month nonresidential spending increase was made by the class of office ($2.5 billion), followed by transportation ($1.1 billion), and lodging ($0.6 billion).

 

 

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/12/single-family-construction-spending-up-in-october/

Heating in the 1800’s | Bedford Corners Real Estate

A Rumford fireplace. 
Photo by Alcinoe.

Welcome back to Period Dramas, a weekly column that alternates between rounding up historic homes on the market and answering questions we’ve always had about older structures.

Thanks to modern heating systems, we can enjoy the cozy picturesqueness of a fireplace without depending on it to keep our homes warm. But that wasn’t the case in 18th- and early 19th-century America.

“Up through about 1800, the wood-burning fireplace—very popular with English settlers—was the primary means of heating a home,” explains Sean Adams, professor of history at the University of Florida and author of Home Fires: How Americans Kept Warm in the Nineteenth Century. “The problem was that winters in America can be much harsher than in England. The weather quickly exposed how inefficient fireplaces are at heating a room.”

The majority of the heat in a fireplace goes up and out of the flue. What little heat does make its way into the room gets concentrated directly in front of the firebox, leaving the rest of the room quite cold.

A fireplace with a Franklin Stove insert. 
Photo by Robert Khederian

In 1741, Benjamin Franklin sought to improve the efficiency of the fireplace. He introduced a cast-iron insert for the firebox—called the “Franklin Stove”—in The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, volume 2. While it didn’t fundamentally change the design of a fireplace, it addressed his theory about heat.

“Franklin believed heat to be like liquid—he was trying to keep the heat in the room as long as possible, or else it would rush out of the room,” explains Adams.

The Franklin Stove had a series of baffles, or channels, within the stove to direct the flow of air, to keep as much of the heat circulating in the firebox and flowing out into the room as possible. However, the design had problems.

“The stove had to be very tight,” explains Adams. “If there were any leaks, smoke leaked out into the room. Wind would also blow the smoke back into the room. It wasn’t considered a real success.”

Toward the end of the 19th century, the inventor Count Rumford devised a fireplace designed along a set of proportions so it could be built on a variety of scales.

“In the fireplaces I recommend,” Count Rumford writes in a 1796 essay, “the back [of the fireplace] is only about one third of the width of the opening of the fireplace in front, and consequently that the two sides or covings of the fireplaces…are inclined to [the front opening] at an angle of about 135 degrees.”

The Rumford fireplace efficiently burned wood while its characteristically shallow firebox reflected as much heat as possible out into the room as possible. The handy design of the Rumford gained a strong following.

Thomas Jefferson installed eight of them at his country house Monticello. Rumford fireplaces became so mainstream that Henry David Thoreau wrote about them in Walden as a basic quality of the home, alongside copper pipes, plaster walls, and Venetian blinds.

By the 1820s and 1830s, Adams explains, coal was quickly becoming a dominating fuel type. Stoves that could burn either wood or coal—the type being pushed was Anthracite, or “hard” coal—became popular.

Iron stoves were not new technology. While English settlers brought fireplaces, German settlers had iron stoves that did a good job of heating a space.

An example of an elaborate iron stove. 
Courtesy of Library of Congress.

But what was new was the type of fuel: coal. Adams explains that since coal was so different from the familiar fuel type of wood, it took a little while to gain popularity.

“Coal was first marketed in a similar way to how some new technology is marketed today,” says Adams. “You needed early investors willing to take the risk. It was billed at ‘the fuel of the fashionable,’ which would revolutionize home heating.”

To match, coal stoves became highly decorative, featuring intricate ironwork and decorative finials to make them just as desirable as they were utilitarian.

Coal became mainstream in post-Civil War America. Wealthier families might have burned coal in basement furnaces—with specific rooms dedicated for coal storage—while poorer families might have used little stoves in individual rooms in their home.

The architecture of the home also changed as heating technologies shifted. While Colonial houses of the 18th century needed big chimneys to support multiple fireplaces, houses built in the later half of the 19th century only needed ventilation space for stove pipes. That translated into skinnier chimneys.

Inside, mantlepieces sometimes remained as a backdrop for the stoves. Even though they were technically no longer needed, they continued to act as a focal point in a room.

A mantle that was never designed to surround a fireplace but rather be a backdrop for a coal stove.

Also coming into play in the 19th century was steam heating, which first appeared in the 1850s but gained popularity in the 1880s. Adams explains that this is just another form of coal heating, as coal would be used to heat the water that turns into steam.

Steam heating was first used in institutional buildings like hospitals but then moved to residences. One of the most elaborate examples of a steam-heating network in the 19th century was at Biltmore Estate, the Vanderbilt-owned mansion in Asheville, North Carolina.

Richard Morris Hunt, the architect of Biltmore, needed to heat roughly 2,300,000 cubic feet of space for the 175,000-square-foot house,” says Denise Kiernan, author of The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation’s Largest Home.

Kiernan explains that the subbasement of Biltmore, which was completed in 1895, had three boilers capable of holding 20,000 gallons of water each. Those boilers created steam that circulated to radiators in a network of shafts around the house, a system that seems simple in theory but quickly intensifies when one realizes that the network had to heat 250 rooms.

“Of course—this heating system had help from 65 fireplaces, some more utilitarian, others wildly elaborate,” Kiernan adds.

Heating the largest private home in America was no small feat: In The Last Castle, Kiernan reports that 25 tons of coal were burned in two weeks during the winter of 1900. To prepare for the winter of 1904, the Vanderbilts placed a coal order for 500 tons to be shipped and ready.

Biltmore estate in Asheville, North Carolina. 
Courtesy of The Biltmore Company.

Regardless of how elaborate or rudimentary the heating system of choice was in the 19th century, something that seemed to connect all methods, whether it be wood or coal, was a reliance on oneself to light the fire and supply the heat. Something that changes in the 20th century, when national grids of electricity and gas fundamentally changed how we heat our homes—but that’s a different story.

“The hearth becomes industrialized throughout the 1800s, but people still wanted to make the fire themselves,” theorizes Adams. “Now, we’re very comfortable with the idea that we can flip a switch to turn the heat on, but that wasn’t the case a century ago. They were close enough to that era of open, roaring fireplaces that people wanted to control their own heat!”

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https://www.curbed.com/2017/11/30/16716472/old-house-fireplace-coal-stove-history-heating?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Curbed%20Dotcom%20-%2011302017&utm_content=Curbed%20Dotcom%20-%2011302017+CID_4a98b848bcfd9e9faf562cd15955dbe2&utm_source=cm_email&utm_term=Beyond%20fireplaces%20How%20old%20houses%20were%20heated

Mortgage rates average 3.94% | Bedford Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQBFMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average mortgage rates inching up as we approach the end of 2017.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.94 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending December 21, 2017, up from last week when it averaged 3.93 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.30 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.38 percent with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.36 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.52 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.39 percent this week with an average 0.3 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.36 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.32 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Quote
Attributed to Len Kiefer, Deputy Chief Economist.
“30-year fixed mortgage rates have been bouncing around in a narrow 10 basis points range since October. The U.S. average 30-year fixed mortgage rate increased 1 basis point to 3.94 percent in this week’s survey. The majority of our survey was completed prior to the surge in long-term interest rates that followed the passage of the tax bill. If those rate increases stick, we’ll likely see higher mortgage rates in next week’s survey. But even with yesterday’s increase, the 10-year Treasury yield is down from a year ago, and 30-year fixed mortgage rates are 36 basis points below the level we saw in our survey last year at this time. Mortgage rates are low.”

Holiday home repairs before your holiday | Chappaqua Real Estate

This is no time for major updates, so stick with simple tasks to make for a festive celebration.

Hosting a holiday gathering can be a lot of fun, but perhaps a bit intimidating, too. You want your house to look its best, but now isn’t the time to undertake any major updates.

Chances are, you’re busy enough just preparing for the event. So, focus on just the areas of your house where your guests will spend time.

Whether you’re a first-time party host with a few jitters, or an old pro looking for some new ideas, these tips will help you ensure that your home is ready for any gathering.

Light the way

The sun sets early this time of year, so it’s important to make sure the entrance to your home is clean and well-lit.

Courtesy of Bill Fry.
Courtesy of Bill Fry.

If you have a large front yard, try to focus on just the front entryway and the path leading up to it. Install porch lights, or replace the bulbs on existing lighting. Cut back any shrubbery that is obstructing the walkway.

On the day of your party, open the blinds on the front windows so your guests can see into your warm, festive-looking home as they approach. It’s a great way to create a sense of welcoming anticipation.

Pro tip: The easiest possible way to create instant lighting for walkways and paths is with the solar lights that you just stick into the ground. The sun does the rest of the work!

Take care of the bottom line

Our mothers used to say this, and it’s true: If your floors are spotless, they make your whole house look cleaner.

Even if you’re unable to do an in-depth house cleaning before your gathering, you will certainly want to make sure that all floors have been cleaned before that first guest steps over the threshold.

Pro tip: If you have carpeting, clean the carpets a minimum of three days ahead of your affair to make sure they have dried fully.

Brighten up your bathroom

If you’re bothered by grimy-looking grout in your bathroom, try this easy, inexpensive, and non-toxic method to get rid of it nearly instantly: Just spray on some full-strength hydrogen peroxide, let it sit for 10 minutes, and then wipe clean. That’s it!

Next, add some flowers, holiday decorations, or pictures on the wall to further spiff up your powder room, and it will be ready for your guests.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.
Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Pro tip: Instantly de-clog a slow-moving sink drain with a Zip-It. This inexpensive tool looks like a giant zip-tie. You just work it down into the drain to pull up hair clogs — all the other gunky stuff will come up with it.

Tune up kitchen appliances

Your kitchen appliances will be the workhorses of your holiday party, whether you’re hosting a full family dinner or a cocktail party. You want them to be fully functioning and ready for action.

Make sure all stove burners are working. Now’s the time to clean the oven if you haven’t done that for a while.

Clean out the refrigerator, and make sure that both the fridge and freezer are running at their optimal temperatures.

Make sure your dishwasher is in good working order. You can clean it easily with a dishwasher cleaner that you run through a cycle.

Pro tip: Sharp knives will make easy work of preparing the big meal. Make sure all your kitchen knives are newly sharpened, and also check the batteries in your electric carving knife, if you have one.

Make your space kid-friendly

If you make your home welcoming for children, you will ensure that their parents have a great time as well.

If you happen to have kids that are the same ages as your young guests, you’re in luck. But if not, consider adding some considerate touches that will make parents more comfortable, and alleviate kid boredom.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Turn a spare room or an upstairs bedroom into a private nursing/changing area for a new mom.
  • Toddlers and younger children will want to be near their parents, so a good idea for them is to set up a corner of your living or dining room with toys, books, a tablet for watching cartoons, and some comfy pillows or throws.
  • One of our favorite strategies for older kids is to turn the dessert course into an activity. For instance, you could bake a huge batch of sugar cookies in holiday shapes, and then put out different colors of icing to let kids (and adults) go to town with decorating their own cookies.

Pro tip: If you don’t already have children, or if yours are older, don’t forget to kid-proof your space. Put away anything expensive, breakable, or unstable. Do some baby-proofing, if necessary. This way you and the parents can relax and not have to worry about safety hazards.

Hopefully these ideas will take some of the worry out of holiday entertaining, and ensure that you and your guests can relax and enjoy each other’s company this season.

 

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https://www.zillow.com/blog/home-repairs-before-holiday-party-207284/

House prices rise at fastest pace since June 2014 | Armonk Real Estate

The S&P/Case-Shiller national index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.7% during the three-month period ending in September, and was up 6.2% compared to the same period a year ago. The 20-city index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.5% for the month and 6.2% for the year.

What happened: Economists had forecast a 0.4% monthly increase, and a 6.2% yearly increase, for the 20-city tracker.

Case-Shiller’s national index regained its previous, bubble-era peak last year — and is 5.9% higher as of September. But the 20-city index, which is skewed toward the metro areas that experienced the biggest booms, is still 1.5% shy of its 2006 high.

Big picture: Home prices have surged in recent years as housing demand stirred to life amid ultra-lean supply. But Case-Shiller’s index, developed as a tool for tracking prices for real estate investors, may not capture the full story of what’s going on in the housing market.

An analysis by Trulia for MarketWatch shows that only 38% of U.S. homes have recovered their pre-recession peak. (That analysis is an update of a Trulia report from last spring, more on which can be found here.)

The two sets of data differ, in part because Case-Shiller’s is an index derived from observing price changes over time for a small subset of homes — and then extrapolating those across the broad market. The index also gives more weight to higher-priced homes, which are of greater interest to investors. In contrast, Trulia has individual price estimates of most of the homes in the U.S.

As Ralph McLaughlin, Trulia’s chief economist, told MarketWatch last spring, price trackers like Case-Shiller are a bit like stock indexes, like the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +1.09%  , while data like Trulia’s is akin to the prices of individual equities.

Each method has its purpose, and each relies on assumptions. But using Case-Shiller to tell the story of how individual homeowners or neighborhoods may be faring “distorts the impression of how recovered the U.S. housing market is,” McLaughlin said.

Perhaps more striking is that McLaughlin thinks it will take years before all homes have regained pre-recession peaks. In fact, assuming a linear pace of recovery, that might not come until 2025, he thinks.

In September, Case-Shiller data showed that 16 cities saw annual prices accelerate from last month. Of three cities with monthly price declines, one was Seattle, continuing the trend of tepid monthly performances for one of the frothiest markets of the country.

Strong price gains were also seen in the FHFA’s house price index, released Tuesday. Nationally, prices were up 6.5% from the third quarter of 2016 to the third quarter of 2017.

Metro Monthly change 12-month change
Atlanta 0.2% 5.4%
Boston 0.4% 7.2%
Charlotte 0.3% 6.2%
Chicago 0.0% 3.9%
Cleveland 0.7% 5.4%
Dallas 0.4% 7.1%
Denver 0.2% 7.2%
Detroit -0.1% 6.9%
Las Vegas 1.0% 9.0%
Los Angeles 0.4% 6.2%
Miami 0.6% 5.0%
Minneapolis 0.0% 5.4%
New York 0.9% 5.2%
Phoenix 0.6% 6.1%
Portland 0.2% 7.3%
San Diego 0.5% 8.2%
San Francisco 0.5% 7.0%
Seattle -0.3% 12.9%
Tampa 0.9% 7.2%
Washington -0.2% 3.1%

Home Price Appreciation Continues | South Salem Real Estate

National home price appreciation continued in September, while local home prices grew at different rates. All of the 20 metro areas had positive annual growth rates.

The Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, reported by S&P Dow Jones Indices, rose at a seasonally adjusted annual growth rate of 9.0% in September, faster than an 8.2% increase in August. It was the highest seasonally adjusted annual growth rate since October 2013. Tight inventory of existing homes is contributing to strong house price appreciation.

Meanwhile, the Home Price Index, released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.2% in September, following the 9.7% increase in August.

Figure 2 shows the annual growth rate of home prices for 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas. In September, local home price varied greatly and its annual growth rates ranged from 2.2% to 16.4%. However, all 20 metro areas tracked recorded year-over-year appreciation.

Among the 20 metro areas, Atlanta, San Francisco and Tampa had the highest home price appreciation. Atlanta led the way with 16.4%, followed by San Francisco with 14.6% and Tampa with a 12.7% increase. Half of the 20 metro areas exceeded the national average of 9.0%. The ten metro areas that had lower home price appreciation than the national level were: Los Angeles (8.1%), Denver (7.9%), Charlotte (7.4%), Seattle (6.8%), Miami (6.6%), Chicago (6.4%), Portland (6.2%), Detroit (3.9%), Washington, DC (3.7%) and Minneapolis (2.2%).

 

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/11/home-price-appreciation-continues-in-september/

Mortgage rates average 3.93% | Waccabuc Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQBFMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average mortgage rates holding relatively flat across the board.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.93 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending December 14, 2017, down from last week when it averaged 3.94 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.16 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.36 percent with an average 0.5 point, the same as last week. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.37 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.36 percent this week with an average 0.3 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.35 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.19 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Quote
Attributed to Len Kiefer, Deputy Chief Economist.
“As widely expected, the Fed increased the federal funds target rate this week for the third time in 2017. The market had already priced in the rate hike so long term interest rates, including mortgage rates hardly moved. Mortgage rates held relatively flat across the board, with the 30-year fixed mortgage rate inching down 1 basis point to 3.93 percent in this week’s survey. Mortgage rates have been in a holding pattern for the fourth quarter, remaining within a 10 basis point range since October.”

Recent Homes Have Just Over 3 Toilets | Mt Kisco Real Estate

Single-family homes built after the 1990s have an average of 3.1 toilets, 2.6 showers and 2.3 bathtubs, according to a recent NAHB study.

Standard tables from the Survey of Construction (SOC, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau with partial funding from HUD) show that the share of single-family homes built with at least 2 bathrooms has increased regularly from 60 percent of homes completed in 1973 to 97 percent of homes completed in 2016.  This suggests that the number of bathroom fixtures should also be on the riese, but this is not one of the things that it has been possible to investigate using SOC data.

It can be investigated, however, with data that has recently become available from the Residential End Uses of Water (REUW) study from the Water Research Foundation (WRF).  The REUW is the source of information on water use in single-family homes in the recent NAHB article on the topic.  Consistent with the increasing number bathrooms, the REUW data show that the average number of toilets, showers and bathtubs all increase regularly as single-family homes become newer.  For example, the average number of toilets increases regularly from 1.9 in homes built before 1960 to 3.1 for homes built after 1999.

Perhaps surprisingly, the published REUW study did not show a statistical relationship between the number of bathroom fixtures and the amount of water used by a particular single-family.  The WRF constructed several models from REUW data, estimating outdoor water use, total indoor use, and a number of different individual indoor uses.  NAHB economists reviewed these models and judged them to be generally well constructed and a good use of the available data, and saw no obvious reason to critique them or suggest alternatives.

Although the number of bathroom fixtures does not affect water use in any of the WRF models, the presence of efficient toilets and clothes washers does.  Given government standards that have been promulgated and modified since 1990, it should not be surprising that efficient fixtures were most common in the newest REUW homes.  For example, of the homes built after 1999, 71 percent had toilets that averaged less than 1.6 gallon per flush, 51 percent had toilets that averaged less than 1.28 gallons per flush and 80 percent had ENERGY STAR rated clothes driers.  All three of these percentages are higher than they are for homes in any of the earlier vintage categories

Estimates of total water use, as well as the amount of water used by specific features, in single-family homes were discussed in last week’s post.  For a more thorough discussion of the REUW and what if finds has an impact on water used by a single-family home, please consult the full NAHB study.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/11/recent-homes-have-just-over-3-toilets-2-5-showers/

5 Signs Your Bathroom is Outdated | North Salem Real Estate

Plus, 5 Ways to Make it Wow in the Now

Some old bathrooms are charming; claw foot tubs, sea foam tiles and pretty pedestal sinks can bring an amazing vintage vibe. Other old bathrooms are not so charming; they just look sad and out of date. If you’re brushing your teeth under Hollywood bulbs; bathing in a jetted, almond-colored tub; or storing your toiletries in an oak-encrusted medicine cabinet, there’s a good chance your bathroom’s among the latter.

Not sure where your bathroom stands? Here are a few signs that your bathroom could use an update:

1. Unfit Flooring

If you’ve got carpet in your bathroom, it’s time to replace it. Bathroom flooring is meant to endure years of heavy moisture and foot traffic. Not only is carpet susceptible to moisture damage and mold, but it also collects bacteria from your toilet. Gross.

The fix? Swap out sullied carpeting for large-format tiles in ceramic or natural stone. Or, consider hot trends like patterned tiles or laminates and ceramics that look like hardwood flooring. Then, get that cozy carpet feel with a machine-washable bath mat.

2. Comatose Countertops

Boring old countertops can really drag a bathroom down — and rounded, mega-mauve countertops like these are a telltale sign that your bathroom saw its heyday in the 1990s.

The fix? Ditch the flat Formicas in favor of natural stone, engineered quartz or an up-to-date solid surface. Or, consider painting your countertops for a real budget-friendly solution. The key to modernizing your bathroom countertops is to focus on clean lines and earthy, neutral colors and textures.

3. Glaring Glamour Bulbs

Exposed bulbs were once the telltale sign of a glamorous bathroom upgrade. These days, they’re just the telltale sign of a dated space.

The fix? Updating your lighting is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to modernize your bathroom. Renew your vanity lighting with a pair of LED sconces placed on either side of the bathroom mirror. Or, install an updated bathroom bar that includes a white or frosted shade for each bulb to soften the light.

4. Unfashionable Fixtures and Accessories
Dull, clear-knobbed brass faucets; plate mirrors; and bathroom fixtures in beige, bisque and bone are anything but current — and industry experts are even declaring whirlpool bathtubs to be past their prime.

The fix? Think clean and crisp. White fixtures; framed mirrors; and sleek faucets in chrome, nickel or gold will go a long way in helping you modernize an outdated bathroom. And, if you’ve got the room and the budget to swap your old bathtub for a deep, free-standing soaker, you’ll create the kind of modern bathroom oasis that will impress and inspire your neighbors and friends.

5. Overworked Oak

There’s no denying the fact that golden-toned oak had a respectable run as the go-to bathroom cabinet material, but there’s also no denying the fact that the reign is over. And, if you’ve got old oak in your bathroom, there’s a good chance it’s looking a little worse for wear anyhow.

The fix? There are a number of ways to update tired bathroom cabinets, whether they’re made of oak or another material altogether. The first is paint; refacing your cabinets can give your bathroom a whole new look and feel at a far lower price point than an all-out replacement. The second option is to spring for new cabinets. In either case, think maximum storage in simple design — and opt for whites, refined neutrals and up-to-date wood finishes.

 

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https://www.homeadvisor.com/r/marketing/bathroom-outdated/?m=homesense&entry_point_id=32929273&comm_auth_dt=201711261455&comm_auth_id=respcons&entityID=13373861&comm_auth_hash=603ea0342f09a08ffcb094fd607bdaf1&rmid=11-24-2017_Outdated_Bathroom_HOLDOUT&rrid=aWQ9MTMzNzM4NjE=

Fall garden fix-its now save problems next spring | Katonah Real Estate

Here’s what you DON’T want to say next spring: “I wish I’d taken care of that in the fall!” To avoid giving yourself a dope-slap a few months from now, follow this fall fix-it checklist.

The last of the leaves – Promise yourself not to put away the rake and the leaf blower until all the leaves have fallen from your trees. It’s tempting to allow the final leaves to form a carpet over your lawn, but even though grass “rests” over the winter, it still reaps benefits from sunlight. A final raking now will pay dividends in the spring when your lawn comes back fresh, green and perky.

Buzz cut – Okay, the lawn doesn’t need that “jar head” look, but a final trim is a good idea. Set the blades to cut the grass to a height of 1.5″ to 2″. While you’re at it – and if the rake is still handy and your back can stand it – rake off that dry tangle of “thatch” one last time.

Can’t take no mow – When you decide you’ve run the mower for the last time, carry out a few maintenance must-do’s before you put it to bed. Run the engine until the gas tank is empty. Why? Because gasoline that is allowed to sit in your mower over the winter will become gummy, making it much harder to start in the spring. Slightly less important but still a good idea: drain the oil reservoir and fill with fresh oil.

Getting pruney – If your deciduous trees and fall flowering shrubs are beginning to get out of hand, now is a good time to prune them, if you haven’t done so already. It’s better not to prune evergreens or spring-flowering plants in the fall.

It’s for the birds – Don’t leave it too late to hang your bird feeders and get them filled with seed. Establish your yard as a feeding station early in the season and you’ll enjoy flying visitors all winter. If you’re using an established feeder, be sure to clean it out thoroughly before filling. Mold and debris need to be completely removed to avoid contaminating the new chow. There are some excellent bird feeders available now, if you’re in the market for a new one.

Put away the toys – If you love gardening and landscaping, then tools are your toys. Admit it: you treat yourself to a new one from time to time! It’s just about time to put the tools away until the spring, but before you do, take a few minutes to give them the once over. Knock off crusted dirt and wipe clean. Using a cloth, lightly coat the metal parts with vegetable oil and wooden handles with linseed oil. A good tip: Thoroughly wipe the handles afterwards to prevent them getting sticky during the winter. I found a really comprehensive online article with full details on cleaning and caring for every type of garden tool. The site is http://www.bmi.net/roseguy/gtcare.html. 

Avoid the hose-cicle! – Don’t forget the garden hose. Disconnect it from the spigot and try to drain out as much water from the hose as possible. Water expands when it freezes, and your hose is likely to split if you leave it outside with water still in it. Ideally, put your hose on a reel and store it in a garage or shed. Once under cover, hanging the hose reel on the wall or placing it on a bench is preferable to leaving it on the floor.

 

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