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Find Your "Homespiration" with these Design Sites

by Thomas Makinney

 Could your digs use some updating? Lacking inspiration?

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Home design sites like Houzz and Dwell can help you find your new color scheme, teach you how to optimize space with clever storage methods, and even build-out nooks or entire rooms.

With over three million photos and products to browse, your next DIY project will feel more like you have a team of experts helping you along.

If you want a “country kitchen” look but don’t know where to start, you can easily browse photos, ideas, materials, and articles that can point you in the right direction.  Join in a discussion forum to ask questions or share your own home renovation experiences. Helpful advice and guidance is right at your fingertips!

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If you’ve wondered what exactly goes into “Contractor fees,” there’s an article for that. Or how about creating a natural bird habitat in your garden? Yes, they’ve covered the “how-to’s” there as well.

If you’re like us, you love getting a look inside unique or updated homes, and these sites give you VIP access to thousands of real deal dwellings throughout the world.  Check out farmhouses, villas, Victorians, urban duplexes, ranches, and more.  Find out what products the experts are using, and which furniture to use to complete your home’s new look.  Did I mention Houzz has an APP? You can take it with you to the store while you’re trying to match your newly found inspiration.

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Whatever style appeals to you, you can find the blueprints for your next project with these great resources.  If you’re looking for help with buying or selling, the Gracik Makinney Real Estate Group is happy to answer your questions, feel free to visit us on the web or call us at 630-441-5570. 

 

Self Improvement by Home Improvement

by Thomas Makinney

You’ve heard the expression, “Cluttered house, cluttered mind,” but what other home characteristics are potentially enabling unhealthy habits?

Believe it or not, you don’t have to qualify for the show “Hoarders” to be negatively affected by your home setup. Consider some of these positive improvements for your home to boost a healthier, higher quality lifestyle for you and your loved ones:

Downsize your Refrigerator

It is much easier to cut down on excess junk, limit frozen items full of preservatives, and keep a clean and organized refrigerator when it is smaller in size.  Less room for storage means having to be more selective about your purchases, and that four pound bag of cheddar cheese won’t seem too reasonable anymore. In addition to the many health benefits of your new necessity-only fridge, you’re also reducing your carbon footprint, as well as your electricity bill. 

Keep the Dinner Table a Dinner Table

Nowadays it is more often a homework station, a place to pay bills, or write emails. Keep the table set with place settings, and try to reserve it for meals only. Keeping it in a prepared and inviting state will remind you to make family dinners a priority. If it looks more like a table at your favorite restaurant than a workstation, it will be much easier to frequently enjoy quality time over a home-cooked meal together. 

Zen-ify your bedroom

Clear surface areas, fewer distractions, more sunlight, and fresh linens. It is easy over time to clutter up the bedroom, have the TV on “just because,” let dust bunnies move in to those hard-to-reach spots, and go too long without changing up your bedding. These little things add up, and while you can’t put your finger on it in the moment, they are inhibiting your peaceful night’s sleep. Keeping these factors in focus and ensuring you’re giving yourself the best environment for a good night’s sleep will greatly improve not just your nights, but your days as well. 

 

Designate a Work-out Space

This can be an entire room in your home, or just a small corner if you’re tight on space.   Even if you prefer to work out in the gym, it is much harder to neglect your fitness routine when a yoga mat, free weights, and fitness DVD’s or magazines are right at your fingertips. Let a workout space inspire and motivate you!

 

Optimize your Outdoor Space

Balcony or backyard, patio or sprawling acres, make sure you’re making the most of your outdoor space. Particularly after this winter, spending time outside in the fresh air and sunshine is invaluable.  Update your patio furniture, install a hammock, or invest in some outdoor activity equipment and games. Make your outdoor space as inviting as a room in your home, and de-stressing will be as easy as walking out your back door.

If you’re ready to shake things up even more and start fresh with a new home, the Gracik Makinney Real Estate Group is here to help. Visit us on the web at www.gmregroup.com, or give us a call at (630) 441-5570!

The Earth Day Spirit in Elmhurst

by Thomas Makinney

The first time any of us celebrated Earth Day was way back in 1970 on April 22nd. It’s estimated that something like 20 million people here in the US participated in events marking the occasion. Now, Earth Day has gone international thanks in part to a UN resolution in 2009, and more than 1 billion people worldwide celebrate it each year on the same date. Listed below are some startling facts and simple ideas that we can use here in Elmhurst to keep the spirit of conservation going all year long.

If everyone who bought a newspaper recycled it, about 250 million trees would be spared annually. In reality, US statistics show that only about 27% of us recycle our newspapers, and about 500,000 trees are cut down each week to produce our Sunday newspapers. What’s more, the amount of all recyclable paper we discard every year amounts to the cutting down of 1 billion trees. Going even further, recycled paper requires about 64% less energy to make than paper produced using virgin wood pulp. For every ton of paper that we recycle, we save 17 trees. Each of us uses the equivalent of seven trees per year in paper, wood, and other tree-based products. Nationwide, this comes out to about 2 billion trees annually.

Nationwide, we use more than 80 billion aluminum soda cans each year. When you recycle just one of them, you save enough energy to watch TV for three hours. Recycling aluminum cans uses just 10% of the energy required to make new ones. Also, an aluminum can needs 500 years to break down in a landfill. Here in America, we discard enough aluminum every year to rebuild the US commercial air fleet four times over. Even something as simple as a Hershey Kiss has an environmental impact – with almost 80 million of them wrapped in aluminum foil every day, that’s enough foil to cover more than 50 acres, or 40 football fields.

Like our friends and neighbors, The Gracik Makinney Group is happy to call Elmhurst home, and we’re dedicated to helping it remain a great place to live. Stop by our office at 190 North York Rd here in Elmhurst, or give us a call at 630-441-5570, and let’s talk about what we can do together to make it your home, too.

Fall Fix Ups for Your Elmhurst Home

by Thomas Makinney

Autumn is a wonderful time here in Elmhurst. Cool, crisp nights make the leaves take on new colors, and the warm, sunshine-filled days are perfect for catching up with the last of our summer activities. Taking advantage of this time to make a few home fix ups could help make your winter days a bit warmer, and your wallet a bit fatter.

If you have an unfinished attic, Mike Rogers of GreenHomes America suggests topping up your insulation to R-49 or even R-60 by adding rolls, batts or blown-in insulation. Also, seal any gaps in the floor and framing to keep your warm air in, and the cold air out. These steps may save you up to 10% on winter utility bills.

Any uninsulated space adjacent to your heated spaces can rob heat from your home. Adding weather stripping to the tops and sides of interior doors leading to the basement or garage will help keep heated air where it needs to be. Also, installing a door sweep along the bottom will not only help with winterizing, it will help keep out insects during the warmer months too.

Exhaust vents, such as a clothes dryer vent or whole-house fan, help keep your home fresh and dry by eliminating moist air, but they can also let in cold air when not in use. Low cost dryer vent seals are essentially an elbow pipe topped with a plastic cap and shuttle. When your dryer or fan is running, the exhaust floats the shuttle upwards allowing air to escape but drops down to seal tight when not in use.

Shorter days and longer nights mean you’ll use your outdoor lights for longer periods. Replacing incandescent bulbs in these fixtures with screw in LEDs can save you up to 75% in electricity use. These bulbs are pricier than traditional bulbs, but they may last up to 20 years or more meaning you won’t be climbing the ladder to replace them for a very long time.

Take full advantage of autumn in Elmhurst. With continuing low mortgage interest rates and wonderful neighborhoods from which to choose, Elmhurst is a great place to call home this fall. With community knowledge, industry experience, and personal dedication, the Gracik Makinney Real Estate Group is the best place to start on the road to your home ownership dreams. Contact us today at 540 South York St. in Elmhurst, or at (630) 567-5902.

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4

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