Archives For November 2013

pomegranatesIf you’re hosting Thanksgiving tomorrow but haven’t had time to decorate, you may want to try one of these 5 simple ideas from Country Living:

Fruit Centerpieces: Pomegranates can make beautiful centerpieces. Cut branches to height that allows its heavy fruits to rest on the rim of your vase and then fill the rest with fall foliage such as purple shiso leaves. You can also try this with apples or persimmons.

Crabapple Arrangement: This is an easy arrangement that can spruce up any space.  Simply remove the leaves from each limb and then display each in a vase. Use different sized vases for the varying limbs. You an also try this with figs or chestnuts.

2 crabapple

Craft a Unique Table Runner: Try this DIY leaf table runner from blue and green felt. Use this leaf template to cut out shapes to traverse your table in an overlapping design.

4 pinecones

Pinecone Door Hanging: This pinecone cluster is an alternative to the standard wreath. To make, gather 8 four to six inch pinecones and 8 two-foot long pieces of silk ribbon. Use a hot glue gun to adhere the last two inches of each ribbon to the base of the cone.  When the glue is dry collect all the ribbons staggering them at different lengths and tie the end in a knot.

Put Your Stamp on Cocktail Napkins: Stamp messages and designs onto small cocktail napkins. You can even have your kids help you with this activity.

This article can be found in its original form on Country Living.

If you own an iPhone, Blackberry, smartphone, or tablet, you know that the screen needs direct contact with your skin in order to operate; these touchscreen-friendly gloves by Etre allow you to use your device without sacrificing hand warmth.

Our favorite part? Even on the coldest winter day, you can still scroll and search for property on Househappy! (See photo above).

Etre gloves come in two options:

Etre FIVEPOINT Gloves: Made with special contactwoven® fingertips, “they do what other gloves don’t: They let you use touchscreens without having to take them off.”

Quick facts about FIVEPOINT:

  • They’re compatible with all touchscreen devices.
  • They allow you to interact with all five points on each hand––all ten finger and thumb tips are conductive, enabling any kind of input including touch typing on the iPad or other tablets.
  • The whole of each finger and thumb tip is conductive, to enable precise input.
  • They’re made from virgin wool/cashmere––warm enough to keep your hands toasty and soft enough to avoid scratching your device.

Etre Touchy Gloves: “Their missing thumb and index fingertips provide the freedom to text, tweet and touch—while also allowing you to snap photos, take notes and shoot film in wintry conditions.”

Touchy gloves allow for a wider range of activities and are useful for:

  • Smartphones
  • Mobile phones
  • Tablets and other touchscreen devices
  • Stylus-operated devices including all PDAs
  • Portable video games systems
  • iPods and other portable media players
  • e-Book readers including all Amazon Kindle/Kindle Paperwhite and Sony Reader
  • Cameras and camcorders
  • Braille

Check out the Etre shop for more info and style options––this could be the perfect holiday gift!

Photo via Etre, edited by Househappy.

kitchenWhen you love the location of your home but feel that you need more space, there are a few smart fixes that can increase the value of your home. Remodeling efficiently means recasting existing space and building up instead of out. Additions can be very costly; therefore working with increasing the space you have in different areas will help you to avoid the added cost of new foundation.

CNN Money asked remodeling pros for cost-effective solutions for renovating your home; Here are five of the smart fixes they came up with:

Problem: No first-floor powder room

Few older homes have a bathroom on the first floor, requiring guests to go upstairs to use one.

Solution: Recast a closet. You can transform a space as small as four feet by four feet or even three feet by 5 feet into a powder room. One option would be to repurpose a pantry or a large closet under the stairs. Another is to carve a space out of a hallway, back foyer or porch. For the sake of new plumbing, try to build directly next to, above or below the kitchen, laundry room or another bathroom.

Problem: Master suite that’s not so sweet

Today homes have generous master bedrooms with walk-in closets, dual sinks, and a separate shower and tub. Older homes tend to offer much less space.

Solutions: Steal a bedroom or build over the garage. These are both good options, depending on your existing floor plan. Turn the master bedroom into a suite by taking over an adjacent bedroom. “A lot of people do this when the kids go off to college,” notes Indianapolis contractor Geoff Horen. One thing to keep in mind is that you want to make sure your bedroom count matches the other houses in the neighborhood.

When building over an attached garage keep in mind that it is no small job. You will need to remove the roof, beef up the structure plus add a new roof on that.  However, an above the garage room will still save you more money than adding on a whole new space away from the house.

Problem: Bedroom shortage

One of the biggest factors in families moving is that they need more bedrooms. The good thing is bedrooms can be fairly inexpensive to renovate since they do not require plumbing or additional appliances.

Solution: Convert the attic. The attic is the ideal place to add a new bedroom if you have the space. Also remember that not all attics should be treated the same either. You need to make sure you have room for a full-size stairway to the floor below and an emergency exit.

By code, you will also need to make sure at least 50% of the finished space is at least seven feet high, and that portion must be at least seven feet wide and at least 70 square feet.

Problem: Kitchen is too small

Before the 1980s, kitchens were not the main room in the house. Many older homes have closed off kitchen areas with not much space for prepping and eating.

Solutions: Lose a wall or hang a small addition. “Removing the wall between the dining room and kitchen creates a feeling of spaciousness — and also clears room for an island or peninsula that can become a key workstation or a place for family and guests to congregate,” says kitchen and bath designer Erin Davis.

Putting on a small kitchen addition that hangs off the side of the house can help give you more space, especially if you want to keep the dinning room as is. Although the space can’t be any deeper than two feet, it can still run the length of the kitchen to be able to add enough space to redesign the layout.

Problem: No place to play

A spacious rec room with a home theater and wet bar is now commonplace in today’s high-end homes. Thirty five percent of homebuyers think a rec room is “very important,” according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors.

Solution: Finish the basement. Finishing the basement is a fairly inexpensive fix if you aren’t planning to add a wet bar. You’ll typically need a ceiling height of seven feet depending on local building code. Lastly, you will need to think about moisture. Which could lead to repairing roof gutters or getting a sump pump.

Source: CNN Money

Listed in 2012 as having the wealthiest residents per capita, Greenwich, Connecticut is not lacking in impressive real estate and this $25,000,000 home is no exception.

Built in 1929, the 8 bedroom, 8 bathroom home sits on 5+ acres in the private Khakum Wood Association in the heart of mid-country Greenwich. The grounds include a magnificent cobble stone courtyard, formal gardens, allées of trees, a fountain pavilion, walking path, pool, pool house, tree house,  tennis court, and acres of manicured lawn, all designed by Madison Cox––who The Wall Street Journal called “the most important garden designer you’ve never heard of.” The interiors of the 13,084 square foot, 4-level brick manor, on the other hand, were designed by David Easton who is known for combining modern and traditional aesthetics.

This property post can be found in its original form by clicking here, or view complete gallery below.


Kitchen cabinets today are becoming more cutting edge. Americans are turning away from traditional oak materials to more modern and exotic alternatives. According to a set of online surveys done by North America’s largest cabinet manufacturer MasterBrand Cabinets, exotic and generally more expensive alternatives are becoming more popular. Oak and maple are still at the top with the largest dollar share of purchase but both have declined in popularity over the past five years. According to the survey oak materials had a 20% decline in total dollars spent, whereas exotic woods like alder, pecan, pine and walnut grew 44% over the same period.

On average, kitchen cabinets remain in homes for 20 to 25 years before they are replaced. The kitchen is a central part of the home and “Whatever people put in there runs through the rest of the house” says Beth Dilbert, senior manager for market research for MasterBrand. More recently there has been a shift towards bolder cabinet materials, which reflects a broader move towards modern designs.

The shift has led to many more Americans experimenting with bolder woods and colors. While medium-colored finishes still make up the largest share of cabinet finishes, those that are painted or have a dark-colored finish have gained more than 40% in dollar share over the years. Many of these fancier woods also come with larger price tags and can be up to 20% more expensive.

What do you think about this shift? If you were to update your kitchen today, what type of cabinets would you want?

This article can be found in its original form on Wall Street Journal Real Estate

From a dog-shaped bed and breakfast to a church that looks like a chicken, here are 11 buildings inspired by animals. Below is the list from HGTV Front Door Cool Houses Daily.

Cat-Shaped Lodge – Tashirojima, Japan

Manga artist Tetsuya Chiba designed this cat-shaped building on Tashirojima, also known as “Cat Island.” The island earned its nickname for its large cat population, which greatly outnumbers its human population of approximately 100.


Dog Bark Park Inn – Cottonwood, Idaho

This bed and breakfast is also the world’s largest beagle. Guests enter the 30-foot canine from the second-story deck.


Elephant Building – Bangkok, Thailand

Also known as the Chang Building, this 335-foot-high, 560-foot-long structure is the world’s largest elephant building. (Yes, there’s more than one.)


The Giant Koala – Dadswells Bridge, Victoria, Australia

This massive marsupial is one of Australia’s “big things,” a set of large buildings and sculptures across the continent. You can step inside the 49-foot koala to pick up souvenirs, visit the petting zoo, or grab a snack at the café.


Earthquake-Proof Fish House – Berkley, California

Though it was inspired by a creature called the Tardigrade – known as the most indestructible living thing on the planet – neighbors thought this home looked more like a giant fish. Designed to withstand fire, flooding and earthquakes, it’s been called the safest home in the world.


Big Sheep Wool Gallery – Tirau, New Zealand

Inside this giant corrugated iron sheep, you’ll find the largest wool store in New Zealand.


Crocodile Hotel – Jabiru, Australia

An aerial view of the Holiday Inn Gagudju Crocodile shows that it’s shaped like one of the Down Under’s indigenous animals.


The Big Duck – Flanders, New York

Built in 1931, The Big Duck was originally a shop that sold ducks and duck eggs. Now it’s on the National Register of Historic Places.


Chicken Church – Madeira Beach, Florida

Though its real name is Church by the Sea, tourists have flocked to Madeira Beach to get a look at the “Chicken Church” and its bell tower with two eyes and a beak. The church became an internet sensation after a photographer snapped a picture that went viral.


Underground Shark House – Mexico City, Mexico

Architect Javier Senosiain designed this home to resemble a huge, stylized shark. The shark’s head and vast mouth make up the above-ground portion of the house, with everything else built below ground.


The Whale House – Mexico City, Mexico

Also designed by Javier Senosiain – this house looks just like a whale when viewed from the hilltop above.


This post can be found in its original form on HGTV Front Door.

Arianna HuffingtonInman News announced Tuesday morning that Arianna Huffington will be the opening keynote speaker at January’s Real Estate Connect NYC. Huffington is the president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, a nationally syndicated columnist, author of thirteen books, and was recently named to the Forbes Most Powerful Women list for 2013.

Huffington will join a line-up of over 80 speakers including Dave Liniger, chairman and founder of RE/MAX; Sherry Chris, CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real; Mark Willis, CEO of Keller Williams Realty; Joanne Wilson, Venture Capitalist; Josh Miller, CEO and co-founder of Branch; and Lockhart Steele, founder and president of Curbed.

“If there is anyone that knows about partnerships, it is Arianna Huffington,” said Brad Inman, publisher of Inman News. “From her experience with The Huffington Post partnership with AOL, to her Third Metric Conferences that inspire attendees to connect, learn from one another and exchange ideas; Arianna is the perfect keynote speaker for Real Estate Connect NYC. We are thrilled that she will be joining us.”

Source: PRWeb