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I love hardwood floor in a kitchen. I know some people get concerned about ruining them due to all the cooking that takes place here. There’s really not a need to worry though. Hardwood flooring is durable with some care. Mostly we swept our floors. It’s a low-tech, quiet way to care for them. Wood is  also warmer both visually and underfoot than tile and concrete. Wood offers natural beauty and an organic nature that has timeless appeal. It adds so much to a kitchen.

Have you been on the fence about putting wood flooring in your kitchen? Does this help you make up your mind?

The homes I grew up in had wood floors in the kitchens. We had three dogs and numerous children in our house. My parents still prefer wood floors in their kitchen.

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And Then They Bought It

My sister and I were working with a lovely newly wedded couple to find them a home. We looked at homes in Saint Paul. We looked in Minneapolis. We looked along the river front. And then this home came on the market. Initially, the only photo on the MLS was of the front exterior. I told them it was either ugly and dated inside or the listing agents were planning professional photos to be taken.  It turned out they were having professional photos taken of the interiors.

We went to see it right away. The couple knew they had found something special that first time through. My sister and I have worked with many buyers who have walked into homes and known immediately it was the home for them.

The home had been owned by the sellers for over forty years. The prior owners had also lived in this home for decades. Both of the previous owners had been newly wedded couples when they first moved in to this home. This is what I call great predecessor history. It bodes well for this couple’s future happiness.

The next day we went back with an architect to get some ideas and cost information for remodeling the kitchen. The architect confirmed they had great space to work with.

They made their offer, and after some pretty painless negotiation, the contract was signed and delivered. They secured an amazing 2.75% mortgage rate. The closing took place at the end of July. They love their new home.

I can’t wait to see their new kitchen!

The home has a great screened porch!

And a private, double lot with mature trees and perennial gardens.

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Ready to buy or sell a home? Call the sister team.
We’d love to help you move forward.

Ellen and Kate Walsh
Coldwell Banker Burnet
612.220.3304
emwalsh@cbburnet.com

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Parade of Homes (New Homes)
September 8-30

Remodelers Showcase
September 28-30

Homes open Thursday through Sunday, noon to 6pm

There are very few new homes on the Parade this year compared with other years. There are far more remodels. This is not surprising given the real estate marketplace of late.

We’re featuring these two St. Paul remodels because we recently had clients close on their new home in St. Paul and they plan to do some remodeling. They are seeking to make the new space blend and match the original period of the house. This is always a good way to approach a remodel and addition; big differences in the feel of spaces will hurt sellers when it comes time to sell.

839 Osceola Avenue, St. Paul

Here is a description of this project from the Parade of Homes website: “This kitchen and bath remodel in a historically significant house in Saint Paul’s Summit Hill neighborhood illustrates how to remodel the heart of a house without losing its soul. Next Level Renovation, with designer David Heide, replaced the 1980’s kitchen in this 1890 residence with a space that features period sensibilities and the latest amenities. The original house was designed by Cass Gilbert, the turn-of-the-twentieth-century architect, notable for his classic homes and other buildings, including the State Capitol in Saint Paul.”

683 Portland Avenue, St. Paul

From the description on the Parade of Homes website: “Come and see how the convenience of a modern kitchen blends seamlessly with a stately home in the historic Summit Avenue neighborhood of St. Paul. The three-story addition also provides an art studio, main-floor laundry/mud room, and a cozy wine cellar with tasting room. In collaboration with architect David Herreid, McDonald Remodeling proves again that you can have it all: character, style, and convenience in your existing home!”

Contact us for more information if you are considering a remodel or an addition and would like to discuss keeping your home and design as salable as possible. Visiting the Remodelers Showcase homes is a good way to meet remodelers and see their work in person.

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Kate and Ellen Walsh
Coldwell Banker Burnet
612.220.3304
emwalsh@cbburnet.com

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Cool Finds and
Supporting the Home Team

If you like to support companies producing products in America, here’s a site that lists the products that are made here. Products include kitchen appliances, laundry machines, bed and bath, lawn and garden, home decor, artisan handcrafts, baby gear, toys, tools, and more.

Still Made in USA.com

I believe some of the companies sell both American and foreign products, or products that share production in two countries. I have a friend who recently had water damage in her condo. Her rugs were ruined. I came across this one that reminds me of the main rug she had in her living room with its black background and colorful floral motif.

Wayfair.com

Perhaps she can find a replacement rug or two at the Wayfair site.
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This pillow is adorable for dog lovers. It was designed by Maine artist, author, and illustrator Dahlov Ipcar. They’re made by hand in Kashmir and filled with 100% poly that’s made in the USA. These come in limited quantities and will not be duplicated. Crafted of wool thread on cotton.

ClassicRug.com

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Here’s the Grate Wall of Fire I came across. The site reads:

The “Grate Wall of Fire” high-efficiency fireplace grate makes smoke-free, self-feeding fires with exceptional warmth and radiant heat output a reality. Overall fireplace efficiency is dramatically increased when using this ingenious fireplace grate. The pleasing appearance and hefty construction of our quality grates will enhance the beauty and functionality of any fireplace or hearth.
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And a side view that visually explains the concept:

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Fascinating, eh? Clients and friends who own homes with fireplaces will no doubt find this of interest. I can’t vouch for how well it works, but if I had a fireplace of my own I would definitely research it to learn more.
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I’ve always loved artisan made things. A browse through the Handcraft Artisan section displays a wide selection of artful items that are far more unique than the mass-produced goods made elsewhere and shipped here.

Here’s their page that outlines some reasons why we might wish to consider purchasing items made here in America: Why Care Where Things Are Made?

Have fun exploring these American-made products and companies. Let me know what else you come across that looks as unique as the Grate Wall of Fire.

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There are plenty of good tips in this article from The Associated Press. If you want tips specific to your home and getting it ready for selling, give us a call. Our background in antiques and interior design has paid off for our sellers with faster than average sale times.

Low-Cost Things
Homeowners Can Do to Spruce Up Property

When times are tough, women who can’t afford a new dress often purchase a new accessory or lipstick to recharge their wardrobes. Known as the “lipstick effect,” the tendency applies to homeowners too.

Barry Culkin, CEO of Questech Corp., a tile manufacturer in Rutland, Vt., noticed sales of his $5 cast stone and marble switch plate covers rose whenever the economy faltered. Last year, sales of their covers at major retailers were up 15 to 20 percent.

As homeowners rein in spending, more opt for small indulgences and postpone major renovations. Whether the goal is a new look for a worn kitchen or simply an injection of color in a room, here’s a list of some of the best ways to give a space a quick uplift. Many cost much less than a designer lipstick and a few don’t require any financial outlay.

“I am seeing quite a bit of Yankee ingenuity in my customers. They are getting pretty smart about using and repurposing items to add some zip to their living spaces,” says Shirley Walsh, owner of Kalembar Dune, a vintage home decor shop in Boston.

Simply moving furniture and accessories around and borrowing from other areas of the home can give a room a whole new look. If you want to splurge, consider hiring a designer who specializes in redesign.

The instant gratification of having it all accomplished in a day is hard to resist but “it’s also low stress because it uses familiar furnishings,” observes Pam Faulkner, owner of Faulkner House Redesign in Oak Hill, Va. The cost to have Faulkner make over a room ranges from $400 and $700 depending on the space.

A little elbow grease also can go a long way. Sparkling windows bring in light and make the entire house shine. Often, all carpets and rugs need is a thorough cleaning and they will feel almost new. The same holds true for wood floors and trim.

Nothing is a better quick-change artist than paint. But you don’t have to go all out. Rather than entire room, paint an accent wall, trim or piece of furniture. “Never underestimate the power of paint and pillows, always the best lipstick for your home in any shade,” advises Marcia Richards, a Phoenix, Ariz., interior designer.

Give a living room or bedroom a facelift by shifting the color scheme. Pillows add instant color, but to complete the look, mix in color keyed accessories, such as a throw and new lamp or lampshade. If your budget allows, go a step further and add a rug and/or slipcovers.

Orders for fabric by the yard are up, says David Petersen owner of Maine Cottage Furniture in Yarmouth, Maine. He notes that more consumers are re-covering rather than replacing worn furnishings.

Small luxuries can have a big impact on our moods and our homes. Flowers and new plants inject new life and color to any space. Try replacing regular light bulbs with full spectrum bulbs which are more like sunlight.

Sometimes all it takes to spark up an entire room is a unique accessory or piece of individual art.

New hardware is traditionally a quick fix for dated kitchen cabinets. But elsewhere, exchanging old doorknobs for polished bronze or nickel can give an entire house an up-to-date look. Using levered handles also increases a home’s universal design quotient.

And maybe you can’t afford to change the tub or the tiles, but a dated bath can get a quick uplift simply by altering a few elements. Instead of remodeling, Michelle Samuels spent about $150 to give a bath in her Mill Valley, Calif., home an update. She replaced her antique gold towel racks and faucets with updated brushed silver versions. She painted the frame around the mirror a soft silver with craft paint and completed the effect with new door handles.

Removing old fluorescent lights and replacing them with pendants or a more contemporary fixture also has a big impact.

Don’t wait until you can renovate to give your kitchen a new look. Sometimes changing only one facet can refocus the entire space. New hardware and light fixtures are quick and inexpensive. Don’t forget refacing or painting cabinets if new is beyond your budget. If the countertops are in good shape, consider tiling the backsplash. Reorganize cabinets so the space works better. Add new accessories or update countertop appliances so they coordinate.

Increasing curb appeal is traditional advice for anyone selling their home. But nothing is more akin to applying lipstick than revamping the entry. Replace a worn front door if the budget permits. Otherwise give the old door a new look with paint. Seasonal plants, new house numbers, a new doormat and trimmed walkway will make you feel like you are coming to a new house.

Shop thrift and consignment stores for some unique finds; then polish and paint. Also think about creating your own artwork in colors that will make a room pop. You will save a bundle and possibly discover an inner artist you didn’t know existed.

© 2010 Camilla McLaughlin, Associated Press

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Ellen Walsh | 612.220.3304 | emwalsh@cbburnet.com

Kate Walsh | 612.220.3309 | info@designhouse9.com

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Real Homes. Real People. Real Ideas.
April 28–29, 2012

This weekend offers an opportunity to take a FREE, self-guided tour of 60 Twin Cities remodeled and/or reinvented homes. See homes projects that were both “on-a-budget” and “blow out”. You can tour examples of remodeled kitchens and baths, room additions, and whole house renovations.

These projects are unique in that they cover a wide range of housing eras. The home tour is also unique in that homeowners, contractors and/or architects are available to discuss the projects with visitors. This is a wonderful way to learn about remodeling, meet contractors and architects, and discover different neighborhoods.

This is the twenty-fifth year of the Minneapolis and Saint Paul Home Tour. It all began when some Minneapolis real estate agents and city officials were concerned about suburban flight. They took it upon themselves to promote city living and the home tour was born.

Homes will be open to visitors:

  • Saturday, April 28, 2012 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 29, 2012 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The home tour will take place regardless of weather conditions.

Minneapolis–Saint Paul Home Tour Preview – a video showcasing information and home tour highlights.

Minneapolis Home Tour Map

Saint Paul Home Tour Map

msphometour.com – the Minneapolis and Saint Paul Home Tour website.

Visit HistoricSaintPaul.org for information on: “Historic Homes for Everyday Families” workshop, why preservationists will enjoy the Minneapolis and Saint Paul Home Tour, walking tours of “Storybook” houses with architect Bob Roscoe, and more.

Thinking of buying or selling real estate? Call Kate and Ellen Walsh and we’ll help you make all the right moves.

Ellen Walsh
612.220.3304
emwalsh@cbburnet.com

Kate Walsh
612.220.3309
info@designhouse9.com

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Home and Garden Show

February 29-March 4, 2012
Minneapolis Convention Center

$2 Off Discounted Tickets to the Home and Garden Show

The Home and Garden Show is taking place at month’s end. This is an opportunity to get lots of ideas and advice on these two topics. Hundreds of exhibits and displays will be placed throughout the Minneapolis Convention Center. Show highlights include:

Innovation Avenue

Green Scene

The Ultimate Backyard Lounge

Glorious Feature Gardens

The Idea Home

The Chandelier Fashion Show

Taste on Third Avenue

Shop the Marketplace

The Annual Plant Sale (5pm on Sunday)


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What show would be complete without celebrity guests? Here’s a partial list of celebrities at the show this year:

Chip Wade of HGTV’s Curb Appeal, The Block and Designed to Sell

Mark Brunetz of Style Network’s Clean House

Pat Simpson, nationally recognized home building and remodeling expert

Marjorie Johnson, a national star in the world of baking (and a Twin Cities native)

HOURS:

Wednesday Noon – 9pm
Thursday 10am – 9pm
Friday 10am – 10pm
Saturday 9am – 9pm
Sunday 9am – 6pm

ADMISSION COSTS:

$13.00 adults;
$4 children 6 to 12
5 and under free

More information on the Minneapolis Home and Garden Show

Maps – Minneapolis Convention Center

More information on Gardens

Here’s a link to Entertaining–Green/Eco Tips–Recipes | Tips Trends and Tools for those who can’t make the show in person.

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