Category Archives: The Mash Team

Turn Up the Heat!

At this time of year, a warm home is a welcoming home. Take a few minutes now to ensure your toastiest heating options are also safe and energy efficient.

First of all, if you haven’t already, be sure to invest in an annual tune-up for your furnace and gas fireplace. Even if they appear to be working fine, be sure your furnace filter has been replaced recently, and recognize that a professional inspection and tune-up allows you to save money in the long run by ensuring more efficient heating, while preserving the life of your furnace. In addition, an annual checkup allows you the peace of mind knowing there are no potentially deadly gas or carbon monoxide leaks seeping into the house.

Programmable thermostats provide an easy way to ensure your home is only heated when you need it to be. Today’s options include wireless thermostats that allow you to control the heat in different rooms independently, so you’re not wasting your money heating an unoccupied area of the house.

Of course, regardless of what kind of heating system you have, if your house isn’t insulated properly and if you have air leaks around doors and windows, you’re just literally throwing money out the window. Consider having an energy audit conducted to find out where you should focus, to ensure long-term energy savings.

Also remember that good old-fashioned curtains can make a huge difference — throw open the curtains on sunny days to let sunshine naturally heat your home, and close them at night to block the chill.

Finally, remember that spring — and the warmer weather — is just around the corner! #cbrmr

Take Inventory

Many of us are surrounded by so much “stuff” in our homes, day in and day out, that we barely even notice it anymore. And that’s a problem when it comes to trying to recall everything that’s missing after a home break-in, major fire or other home disaster. Take some time now to create a thorough home inventory so that if you ever need to itemize your missing or damaged belongings on an insurance claim, you’ll be sure to cover everything and receive your fair settlement faster.

Today’s technology makes taking inventory easier than ever; you may want to utilize an app that allows you to create an inventory spreadsheet to catalogue your belongings, and upload receipts for large items such as furniture and electronics.

If you don’t have time to create a written inventory of everything you own right now, you could at least create a video of your belongings by walking through each room and visually capturing it all, zooming in on makes, models and serial numbers as necessary, and narrating details as you go along. Once you record everything, and that means not only the big, expensive things but also smaller items that would still add up if you needed to replace them, store the digital inventory in the Cloud or off-site on an external hard drive, ideally in a safety deposit box if you have one.

Now that it’s on your mind, why not make an appointment to talk to an insurance professional for suggestions on how to create an efficient inventory list, and to help sort through what kinds of coverage you need to protect your home and belongings? #cbrmr

A Perfect Place to call HOME

35 Point Hope Place, Whitby

$550,000

Open House February 17 and 18,  2-4 pm

Give your lifestyle a boost! Care free and convenient living, in Gorgeous Whitby Shores. This 3 bedroom, 4 bath townhouse, will meet your highest expectations: Open Concept, Hardwood Floors thru-out, a cozy fireplace in Family Room, finished basement with extra bedroom and bath. Home features California Shutters thru-out, new Shingles and garage doors in 2017 plus a roomy 2-car garage and great outdoor space with, your own deck and Balcony. Great finishing touches include Crown Moulding and freshly painted in neutral tones throughout. Convenient location that close to Whitby Go Train station, transit, walking trails/parks, marina, shopping and fantastic restaurants.

 

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Small Upgrades That Go a Long Way

 When it comes to making home upgrades, it’s important that sellers remember to go for simple, clean improvements that make homes look more modern and elegant.

No one wants to spend a fortune when it comes to selling a home, but most want to spruce up a few areas to make their property more appealing to potential buyers. There are several types of small improvements individuals can make that can transform the look of a home without forcing them to break the bank.

New Countertops

One of the first areas sellers often focus on when making improvements is their kitchen, and rightly so. Buyers may examine a kitchen space more closely than bedrooms and bathrooms because this is the area where a family will spend the majority of its time. However, unless there is significant damage to the room, sellers may not need to renovate the entire kitchen. Instead, small changes, such as replacing the countertops may be enough to give the area a newer and fresher look. Owners should consider using materials that are common in neighboring homes. A buyer may be less likely to purchase a home with tile countertops when the surrounding homes on the market all feature granite or marble.

New Doors

Many homeowners overlook the appeal of new front, back and side doors, but these features are some of the first that buyers see when they pull up to a home. Adding a new door or painting the current ones to make them stand out can make the home feel more welcoming. In addition, adding new handles and locks can make buyers feel more secure. Doors are relatively inexpensive, and can be installed by the owners themselves with little effort.

Replace Hardware and Fixtures

Old, ruddy cabinet handles, kitchen spouts and light fixtures can be a turn off to buyers and make the home seem outdated. Replacing these fixtures with modern, top-of-the-line hardware is a simple and affordable solution that can be done quickly. Most home improvement stores carry a variety of fixtures and hardware, and owners can compare costs easily by doing some research online.

While homeowners are seeking out new fixtures, they may also examine paint samples to freshen up the colors in their home and make it more inviting.

Need Advise…Call The MashTeam. Corinne and Linda are here to help. #cbrmr

The Best in Smart Home Security

Check out the latest from top smart security brands Honeywell, Ring and Vivint

Angel Piontek visited three of the top smart security companies while at CES to learn more about how these products can help improve her clients feel secure both at home and away. Check out her favorite products from Honeywell, Ring and Vivint and why she thinks they stand out.

Like what you see from Honeywell? Enter to win one of four Honeywell Smart Security products by following the contest guidelines found here! #CBRMR

How to Hide Unsightly Blemishes Around Your Home

Here are 10 clever ways to disguise your home’s flaws.

Guest post by Michelle Lee

What makes a house a home? It’s a hard question to answer, but a large part of it is the years of memories you’ve made in it. Oftentimes that includes the blemishes, flaws and dents on the walls and furniture that serve as lasting impressions of cherished moments and fun times. However, whether you’re selling your home or just making it presentable for guests, there are times you’ll want to camouflage them up. Read on for 10 clever ways to disguise your home’s flaws.

Create a Gallery Wall

Put your inner art connoisseur to work to blend random light switches or bulky thermostats into your design. Strategically place similarly sized artwork around switch plates, outlet covers and wall gadgets to distract the eye. If you want to cover it entirely, mount a canvas painting over it or hang art from a swing arm so you can reach behind it when necessary.

 

Hang Long Drapes

Window treatments are generally used for, you guessed it, windows, but they certainly aren’t restricted to other uses. Drape big and breezy curtains above to disguise unsightly wall features or awkward off-center windows. Off-white and cream shades are perfect to use now and throughout winter, such as the one seen in this Swedish bedroom that cleverly conceals the radiator and window when pulled closed.

 

Paint the Wall

This is probably one of the most obvious solutions to drywall chips and paint scratches, but here are some guidelines to help you get it right. Stick to one matte color for the walls, ceiling and trim to downplay the lines between and blend them together. Remember, the glossier the paint finish is, the more it will highlight imperfections.

Consider chalkboard paint for a non-glossy texture and an ever-changing wall feature. You can create your own design and erase it as your style evolves or use it to jot down lists and reminders.

Add wallpaper. Use wallpaper to inject personality and fun into any space. Choose from subtle designs to a dramatic mural or anywhere in between. Keep optical illusions in mind when picking patterns. For example, a striped design can make a small space look taller or wider.

 

Cover it With Clothes

If you have a scratch on your bedroom wall that just won’t go away, play fashionista and move a shop-style clothing rack in front. Showcase some of your most stylish garments or everyday staples on the rack to lighten your closet’s load.

 

Lay Down a Rug

Roll out a gorgeous area rug over all the nicks and notches on your floor from moving furniture or dropping heavy items. Especially great for renters, rugs come in a variety of styles, colors and price points to fit your personal preferences without committing to a permanent change.

 

Rethink the Fifth Wall

This is a bit of a heavier project to take on, but perhaps most rewarding for those left with an infamous popcorn ceiling. Upgrade overhead stucco for a beautiful new feature with paint or paneling. Try white beadboard or wood slats for irresistible rustic charm.

 

Work Around Wall Vents

Air vents are necessary for cooling, heating and any other home circulation systems, but can be quite unattractive. Conceal them with slotted laser-cut screens that add texture and visual interest. In this D.C. living room, the revamped air return works double duty as a display shelf.

 

Choose Your Switches Wisely

Light switches and power outlets are must-haves in every home and there’s often no easy way around them. Wherever possible, especially in the kitchen and bathroom, group your electrical outlets together and shop for new switch plates that complement the existing wall. You can blend them into an existing pattern, as seen here, or make them a fun feature with vibrant colors and textured materials.

Embrace imperfections. After all, they’re what makes your house so special. You can capitalize on the look and help them blend in by investing in distressed furnishings, such as rustic coffee tables or stained wood floors. You won’t have to worry too much about future drops or spills and they instantly add built-in age and character to any space. #cbrmr

How to Winterize Your Bedroom for Cozy Comfort

Pile on fuzzy textures and transform your bedroom into a snowy sanctuary for naps and lounging.

By Michelle Lee, Houzz

Get ready to cuddle up in bed with your significant other, furry friend or a good book this month. Pile on fuzzy textures and transform your bedroom into a snowy sanctuary for naps and lounging. Stock up on these essentials for the warmest season yet.

Invest in High-Quality Bedding

Your choice of sheets and blankets will really matter in the dead of winter and can dramatically improve your quality of sleep by wrapping you in a warm embrace. Look for ones made of insulating wool, cashmere or flannel to ensure warmth all night long. If your budget allows, splurge on an electric blanket for the room too.

To add even more warmth, shop for a goose down duvet or quilt. This fill provides thermal protection against the cold while also being breathable for ultimate comfort. For those with allergies, cotton and microfiber options are comfortable, budget-friendly alternatives.

Gather a bunch of pillows and throws on top of your bedscape. A stack of fluffy pillows provide back support for reading in bed, while layers of throws make heat control easier. Go for fleece or velvet for an irresistible look and use this opportunity to experiment with color and pattern.

Warm up Your Palette

Swap summer blues and autumn reds for creamy neutrals this winter. White is not only a foolproof choice that pairs well with every color on the spectrum, but it also helps reflect and spread the scarce daylight we have this season. Dip your toes into the timeless Scandinavian style trend by testing out a bright white palette in your bedroom. Spring to life in milky white and soft yellow hues or pair pale blue and gray together for a relaxing look.

Accent a neutral palette with warm wood around the room. As seen in this Montreal bedroom, the paneled ceiling and trim lend a cozy cabin vibe amidst the bleak winter landscape outside. You can replicate the look in smaller doses with a wooden nightstand, stool or headboard.

If you’re willing to venture past your color comfort zone, use a bold hue or two sparingly for a much-needed mood and energy booster. Welcome a bright yellow, pink or teal through accessories like decorative pillows, bedside lamps or overhead artwork.

Light it Up

Since the sun now sets hours earlier than it does on long summer nights, we have to substitute the lost hours of daylight all on our own. Invest in a layered lighting plan to illuminate every dark corner and visually enlarge your space. A great combination is having an overhead fixture, such as a statement chandelier or a cluster of pendants, and adding smaller lights where they’re needed, like lamps or wall sconces. Shop for LED bulbs for energy efficiency or incandescents to mimic the sun’s yellow tint. If you’re still in the holiday spirit, you can also hang string lights above the headboard or along a spare wall for an extra homey feel.

Stash the Nightstand

When you’re too comfy in bed to get up and venture to another cold room, look to your nightstand for one or two of your daily essentials. Choose from a humidifier to combat the dry season or an aromatherapy diffuser to set the mood; succulents or fresh flowers for a welcome burst of nature; a small tea or coffee maker for early mornings; and a journal or good book for inspiration. If your bedside table is looking a little worn out, upgrade it now to one with multiple shelves or drawers for year-round storage. #cbrmr

 

Planning a Purchase in the New Year?

Photo

It may come as a surprise to hear that when it comes to buying real estate, money sometimes isn’t the bottom line. While price is obviously of crucial importance for sellers, sometimes it’s another term of your offer that can make your bid the winning one.

After price, the closing date tends to be the most frequently negotiated term of an offer. Perhaps the seller requires a quick close due to a job transfer or a scheduled closing date on another home. Maybe the seller is looking for a long closing, allowing them time to find their next property. Whatever the circumstances, your ability to accomodate the seller’s closing date may be just what tips the scales in your favour.

A buyer will often make their offer conditional upon their ability to obtain a specific amount and type of financing, or upon selling their current home by a certain date. If the buyer can’t arrange that financing or sell their home by the specified date, their offer becomes null and void. Such offers are risky for sellers. If you can make an offer free of such conditions, thus eliminating the risk for the seller, it may win you the home —even if your price is lower that that of a competing offer.

For some sellers, it may be your willingness to waive another common offer contingency —the home inspection— that clinches the deal. Foregoing an inspection and agreeing to buy the property “for better of for worse” is risky, but if you’re willing to assume that risk, it might be just what seals the deal.

Not sure how to approach the market? Your real estate representative is your best source for guidance, especially when it comes to local buying and selling trends.

Holiday Fire Safety

There is nothing like decorating your home for the holidays with fragrant candles, colorful lights, and festive bows and ribbons. But take steps to protect your family this season with these fire prevention tips.

 

There is nothing like decorating your home for the holidays with fragrant candles, colorful lights, and festive bows and ribbons. But take steps to protect your family with some holiday fire safety.

This holiday season, when you are gathered around the fireplace with family and friends enjoying the smell of pine needles from your freshly cut tree, a little holiday fire safety can give you peace of mind.

Holiday Candles and Fire Prevention

Fragrant candles can add a festive flare to a room, but take precautions to avert a fire by making sure that your candle is placed on a heat resistant base and never leave your candle burning when you are not in the room. Keep your candles high up where children cannot reach, and do not under any circumstances leave your home without extinguishing your candles. One unattended candle can cause terrible damage and at the very least, ruin your holidays.

Lighting and Holiday Fire Safety

Holiday lights and lighted trees add a celebratory cheer to your home, but use these fire prevention tips to keep your family and you’re home safe. Check all electric plug-ins and extension cords. Make certain the plug-in has a place for a ground wire. Check the extension cord for splits in the wire.

  1. Never run extension cords under a rug.
  2. Do not overload extension cords.
  3. Equip your home with a fire extinguisher.
  4. If you plan on using your lights outdoors, make sure the lights you are using are rated for outdoors.

Fireplace Safety

Gathering with friends and family around the fireplace can keep you cozy and warm your heart. Be sure to have your fireplace cleaned and inspected every year to avoid disasters and keep your family safe. Do not dispose of Christmas wrapping by burning it in your fireplace.

If you have a live tree, water it often to preserve the pine needles — this is especially important if your tree is located close to the fireplace or wood stove. As beautiful as your tree may be, remember pine needles are very flammable. Many deadly fires have been caused by family Christmas trees with lights that are plugged into defective wiring or trees that are dried out.

Oven Fire Safety

Christmas cookies and other holiday treats are great this time of year, but watch out for burns and keep all plastic away from the oven heat — burning plastic is toxic.

Count Your Blessings

By taking these precautions, you can enjoy the holidays and celebrate with family and friends worry free, and concentrate on what this time of year is all about, counting your blessings.

How to Achieve Modern Minimalism

Modern minimalism is evolving to incorporate color and evoke a calm, homey feel. Here are six minimalist techniques to try at home.

Guest post by  Michelle Lee

When we think of minimalist style, blank white interiors similar to hospital rooms are often what first come to mind. However, this style is evolving to incorporate color and evoke a calm, homey feel. It doesn’t require throwing away all of your possessions or taking a bucket of white paint to everything in sight, but rather choosing things with meaning and honing in on nature’s beauty. Here are six minimalist techniques to try at home.

Selectively Cut Clutter

Decluttering is always a hard process and you’ll often find sentimental reasons to keep everything, but press further. Ask yourself what you really need and love. Keep things that have practical use value, then tackle the rest by digitizing old photos and oversized mementos, donating unwanted hand-me-downs and engaging the entire family in a whole-house decluttering effort.

Choose a Neutral Color Palette

Black and white are some of the most popular colors seen in minimalist spaces, but you don’t have to limit yourself to the two ends of the spectrum. Welcome muted shades, such as cream, beige, brown and gray, into your palette and layer them for depth. If you can’t paint your walls, incorporate these colors with decorative accents and furnishings, like the rug and pillows seen here.

Embrace Mother Nature

A key element of minimalist style is to connect with the outdoors as much as possible. Expansive floor-to-ceiling windows are common in minimalist rooms and capitalizing on any and all natural light sources are crucial to getting the light and airy look.

Bring nature indoors too with fresh flowers or indoor plants to add a pop of color and life. Also consider organic and natural materials for your decor, like handmade wooden tables or linen bedding.

Go for Sharp, Straight Lines

Straight lines have the power to capture one’s eye immediately. Minimalism usually maximizes on this idea. From windows and doors to bed frames and even sofas, you should be able to easily spot crisp edges everywhere. The idea of straight lines is not limited to rectangles and squares, but can be angled to create cool geometric shapes and patterns.

Make a Statement With a Few, High-Quality, Large-Scale Pieces

The famous saying “quality over quantity” really comes into play here. You’ll often see only a few furnishings in minimalist spaces, such as one ornate chandelier in the center of a room or one big painting on a wall, rather than several smaller ones. These pieces are chosen with intention and speak volumes by themselves. Put a lot of thought into every purchase to achieve this modern look.

Structure Rooms With the Right Layout

An essential rule of minimalist style is to create a sense of openness with the least amount of furniture and decor. After you’ve bought your key pieces, browse different layouts before placing them in a room. A good practice to follow is to group pieces in a corner or against a long wall, rather in the center. Leaving big, open spaces in common areas and hallways helps achieve the ideal sense of spaciousness.