Tips and tricks for a bigger-looking bath


Do you wish you had a bigger bathroom? If so, you’re not alone.

In fact, in a recent survey conducted by Moen, almost half the respondents wished they could make their bathroom larger. But, a complete bathroom overhaul isn’t in the cards for most homeowners. And when your bath is too small, it can quickly go from being a retreat from the outside world to a stress-inducing, cluttered place.

Whether you’re hoping to update the guest bath or the master suite, you can create a larger-looking bath without actually expanding your space. With a thorough cleaning and some space-expanding illusions, you’ll be relaxed and rejuvenated in your new bigger bath in no time.

Blend in, but make a statement

Using an intense color palette is not always the best technique when it comes to a tiny bathroom. Bold, dark colors can weigh a room down, making it look even smaller. Instead, use pale and cool colors, like soft whites, pastels and neutral tones to add size and depth. Continue the color scheme to the woodwork, trim, vanity and door to create a disappearing look that will lengthen the walls. By eliminating the hard edges created by drastic changes in color, your eye will flow smoothly across the room.

It’s important to look at the small details, like faucets and accessories, to create a statement. Choosing a sophisticated design, such as the Moen Weymouth faucet in Chrome, LifeShine Brushed Nickel, Oil Rubbed Bronze or the new LifeShine Polished Nickel finish, can provide a beautiful focal point in your bath. Available in single-handle, widespread and wall-mount styles, faucets in the Weymouth collection feature traditional detailing, like porcelain inlays and a generously sized spout. The unique collection additionally offers matching faucets for the shower or tub, and a complete selection of accessories to provide the perfect eye-catching detail.

Take a look in the mirror

A mirror in the bathroom can do more than just show your reflection – it can stretch the space by reproducing it. Additionally, mirrors reflect both natural and artificial light, making a smaller room look bigger and brighter by bouncing illumination throughout.

Don’t think that mirrors need to only be above the sink. A great trick for improving your room’s reflective qualities is to hang a large, horizontal mirror along the longest wall of the bath. However, if a large mirror is out of your budget, or not practical for your space, the same effect can be created by grouping an arrangement of smaller mirrors. Unique mirrors can often be found at flea markets in different shapes and sizes. Simply paint each frame in complementary colors and group them along the longest wall. This allows for the room to stretch, while also providing a design element that’s uniquely yours.

Another easy, dramatic way to use mirrors is to turn the fronts of vanity cabinets into your canvas. Use glue to attach large, square mirrors, or tiny mirror tiles – either square or round – to the outside of cabinets and drawers. For a never-ending room, position two mirrors on opposite walls to create the perfect illusion. Whatever technique you choose, mirrors are great decor pieces that won’t muddle a small bath.

Say no to big and bulky

Traditional, large vanities with cabinet drawers can make an already petite-looking bath appear even smaller. In order to avoid this common misstep, there are two paths to follow: either install a vanity with open storage areas; or try suspending shelving for a contemporary feel. This will create a more spacious look – without losing precious storage – by giving the shelving a light and airy appearance. Open shelving is perfect for towels and linens, plus items like tissues and cotton balls, which can be stored in decorative jars or containers. Avoid a cluttered look by placing large wicker baskets on the bottom shelf of the vanity for large everyday items, such as brushes, toiletries and makeup.

You can create a beautiful bath – regardless of the square footage – that will become a place of relaxation and worthy of attention. Use these tips to turn a compressed and uncomfortable space to one that feels spacious and soothing – without a major remodel. For more information about Moen products, visit www.moen.com.

Courtesy of BPT

Enhance your outdoor space with an outdoor fireplace

(BPT) – Winter lingered far too long this year. It was cold, it was blustery, and many of us were left wondering if it would ever end. Now summer is here – and it’s time to get outdoors.

Instead of being forced to labor through the same old spring chores, use this abbreviated spring as an excuse to stay outside. Fire up the grill, dust off the patio furniture and envision relaxing on a cool night around an outdoor fireplace.

Your vision

Think of an outdoor fireplace as the functional focal point of your backyard or patio. It can anchor your landscaping, accent your decor, and extend your outdoor entertaining season. It can also be a missing link to your ultimate outdoor living room.

In fact, outdoor spaces are the No. 1 desired amenity by homebuyers, according to a National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) study. Second on that list is a fireplace. And according to the Marshall & Swift Residential Cost Handbook, outdoor gas fireplaces can add $3,500 on average to home values.

Where to start?

For many of us, big, blazing bonfires just aren’t practical. And they’re not safe or permitted in many residential areas. Modern outdoor gas fireplaces can provide that rustic outdoor ambiance, with the safety and convenience suitable for today’s homes.

The Heat & Glo Carolina is a great place to start. It comes in two sizes and has enough heat output to warm a quaint porch, or a large backyard patio.

The Carolina is unique for having FireBrick technology: a patented material which is molded into detailed brick styles and increases heat output by as much as 25 percent. It works similar to cast iron, capturing radiant heat and spreading that heat outward, warming friends and family around the fire. Flip a switch on the wall, or press one button on its remote and this fireplace is ready for company.

Another route

For those looking to add some flare to the backyard, the Twilight Modern does just that. This see-through, indoor/outdoor fireplace installs directly into an exterior wall and creates a two-for-one fireside experience.

When the unit isn’t running, it acts as a hurricane-rated window. Turn it on, and crisp flames rise through colored glass. The result is an artistic appearance with solid heat output – perfect for relaxing inside or socializing outside.

The Twilight Modern is completely sealed and uses Direct Vent technology, expelling 100 percent of exhaust outside of the home. No venting or chimney is required.

Take control of your summer

This summer season, make the most of your backyard or patio. Extend your living into the outdoors and increase your home value. An outdoor gas fireplace creates another way to enjoy the great outdoors, and another way to accent your home.

Visit www.fireplaces.com to search and compare outdoor fireplaces and connect with your local dealer.

Courtesy of BPT

‚ÄčNutritional tips for packing brain-boosting school lunches


(BPT) – Parents know kids can’t concentrate when they’re hungry. But did you know that what children eat – especially in school lunches – can also affect their ability to focus, learn and behave well in the classroom? Packing your children’s school lunches is a great way to manage their nutritional intake and help feed their ability to learn.

It will take some creativity, however, to ensure you pack lunches that not only meet a child’s nutritional needs, but also his or her taste preferences. Keep these tips in mind as you’re packing your child’s nutritious lunches this school year:

* Brain-building foods: Research supports the ability of certain foods to enhance cognitive function. Foods like fish and nuts, which contain brain-building omega-3 fatty acids, can support focus. So tuna fish salad not only supplies protein, but is also brain food. Not every child is a fan of fish, so look for other kid-friendly options like a handful of nuts. From pistachios and almonds to walnuts and peanuts, a serving of nuts not only contains healthful fats, but also a healthy dose of fiber and vitamin E.

* Fill-them-up foods: “Empty calories” are empty for several reasons, including how quickly they can leave children feeling hungry again after they’ve dined on nutritionally poor calories. Foods that are high in protein and fiber, such as a sandwich of deli meats on whole grain bread, can help kids feel full longer and provide them with nutrient-rich calories.

* Liquid power: Sugary sodas are notorious sources of empty calories. One can of regular soda, sweetened with sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, packs about 150 calories, adding up to the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of table sugar, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Consider packing lunches with more nutritionally valuable beverages like skim milk or water. Skim milk is low in calories and contains calcium and potassium. Water, of course, contains no calories at all and is the best source of hydration.

* The choice is yours: Making sure kids get the nutrition they need while providing the great taste they love can be a challenge. A classic sandwich can achieve both if you choose ingredients wisely. Hormel(R) Natural Choice(R) pre-packaged deli meats provide kids with familiar favorites, such as Honey Deli Ham, Oven Roasted Deli Turkey, Roast Beef and Rotisserie Style Chicken Breast, that are 100 percent natural and free of preservatives and additives. Low in fat and free of trans fats, Hormel Natural Choice meats have no MSG, gluten or artificial ingredients. When paired with other nutritious options like whole grain breads, and a side of fresh fruit with non-fat yogurt as a dip, a sandwich of Hormel Natural Choice deli meats can be the foundation of a nutritious lunch. You’ll be amazed how simple making a better choice can be.

* Kid-friendly presentation: How you present lunch can encourage kids to eat it. When it comes to packed lunches, a great presentation could be as simple as having one or two favorite lunchboxes on hand and allowing your child to choose which one he would like to carry today. Or, it could be as inspired as creatively arranging a sandwich and sliced veggies to mimic a smiling face when he opens his lunchbox at school. Remember, kids love color, so providing a colorful mix of foods can be very appealing to them. It also gives you the opportunity to incorporate the concept of a rainbow of nutrition, and the value of eating foods from all colors in the spectrum.

With the right recipe of creativity, fun and nutritious foods, parents can be confident they’re packing school lunches that will keep kids full and happy throughout the school year.

Courtesy of BPT

Smart home improvements for growing multi-generational households


(BPT) – The American family continues to evolve, with multiple generations living under the same roof in more households than any time since the Great Depression. Of America’s 76 million households, 5.6 percent (4.3 million) were multi-generational, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Homeowners are finding it’s more important than ever to ensure every home improvement project delivers benefits for every member of the family – children, parents and grandparents.

Whether your family grows with the birth of a child or because a grandparent has moved in with you, here are some home improvement projects that are multi-generational family-friendly:

Adding/updating a bathroom

Few household situations are as stressful as too many people sharing just one or two bathrooms. If your home population is growing, but you’re still making do with too few bathrooms, adding a bath or upgrading an existing one can make life more pleasant for everyone. What’s more, it’s a smart investment of your renovation dollars. If you decide to sell your home down the road, you can expect to recoup about 53 percent of the construction cost for a modest bathroom addition, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report. And a modest bathroom remodel recoups about 64 percent of your investment.

Finishing a basement or an attic bonus room

If you’re looking for more usable living space, finishing a basement or attic bonus room is almost always easier than adding square footage to your home. A finished existing area can be a versatile investment, affording you the space to add a bedroom, bathroom, recreational room, home office or even a second kitchen a la in-law suite style. Upstairs, finishing an attic bonus room can provide a well-lit and airy retreat with the inclusion of fresh air skylights. Downstairs, advances in basement finishing technology have compressed the time-frame of this once pricey and drawn-out home improvement. Remodeling Magazine says a basement renovation pays back more than 70 percent of its cost at the time of resale.

Healthful upgrades

The quality of light and ventilation in our home speaks directly to the safety and health of its occupants. Aging eyesight often needs better lighting, and poor indoor air quality can affect everyone’s health, but especially that of young children with respiratory ailments such as asthma. One improvement that addresses both concerns, is a skylight. When opened, an Energy Star-qualified fresh-air skylight, like those made by Velux America, can help exhaust stale unhealthy indoor air and bring fresh air into your home. Skylights especially make sense if you’ll be creating more inexpensive living space by finishing an attic.

Add remote controlled solar powered blinds to solar powered fresh air skylights in your home and the products, as well as installation costs, are eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit. To learn more about no leak skylights that close automatically in case of rain and how they can help improve indoor air quality, visit www.veluxusa.com.

Upgrading key appliances

Whether the hot water heater shudders when your teenager takes a shower or the furnace just can’t work hard enough to keep Grandma’s bones warm in winter, upgrading key appliances in your home can significantly improve the comfort of its occupants. What’s more, replacing older appliances with new ones can help you save money on your utility bills over the life of the product. Replacing an old water heater, furnace or air conditioner with an Energy Star-certified product can trim utility bills significantly.

For example, according to EnergyStar.gov, replacing a central air conditioning unit that is 12 years old (or older) with an Energy Star-qualified one could reduce cooling costs by 30 percent, and switching to a solar water heater could cut your water heating bill in half. What’s more certain energy-efficient home improvements may qualify you for a federal tax credit. If you install a residential solar water heating system, you could qualify for federal as well as state tax credits and other incentives. You can find a calculator to help tally the potential payback on a solar water heating system and a federal tax credit estimator to calculate your savings on new or replacement solar powered skylights at www.veluxusa.com.

Courtesy of BPT

Ten must-have apps to help you survive a storm


Use these smartphone apps to help you get prepared, remain connected and stay safe during bad weather:

StopDisaster – This iPhone app walks you through preparedness checklists for hurricanes, earthquakes, blizzards and other disasters.

Dropbox – Install the program on your PC or Mac, upload files to your folder, and they are instantly available on all your other computers.

MotionX GPS Drive – MotionX GPS Drive is the cheapest and most popular way to guide you out of town on an unfamiliar route.

Flashlight by Rik for iPhone and Brightest Flashlight – These apps turn your phones into flashlights.

Hurricane Tracker – This hurricane-tracking app is for serious weather junkies and people who want to be better-informed.

Life360 – The family GPS tracking system can help you find your loved ones anywhere.

5-0 Radio Police Scanner Lite – Pick up police band radio.

USAA – Report or view the status of an auto or property claim, submit photos, schedule an appraisal through one of USAA’s approved repair shops, or reserve a rental vehicle.

GasBuddy – Uses your GPS to display up-to-the-minute gas prices near you, so you can avoid price gouging.

Hands-Only CPR – App walks you through the two-step checklist: call 911, start chest compressions.

Courtesy of BPT

Why would you need legal assistance? You might be surprised


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Based on what you see on TV, you might assume you’d only need legal help if you experienced some dramatic and life-altering event. But the truth is most people will have a legal need at some point in their lives – usually under fairly common circumstances.

 
In fact, many legal needs don’t involve ever setting foot inside a courtroom and revolve around tasks like document preparation or contract reviews. ARAG, a global provider of legal solutions, offers 10 examples of common situations where you might need legal help.

 
* When purchasing or selling a house, you may need a lawyer to review the purchase agreement and contract.

 
* Your college-age son or daughter has moved out of a rental property and needs legal help in getting a security deposit returned from the landlord.

 
* Someone in your family experiences identity theft and needs help recovering assets.

 
* You are working on a major home remodel and need someone to review the work agreement you’ve established with your contractors.

 
* You’re drafting or revising your will.

 
* You need legal advice during an IRS audit.

 
* A car breaks down while under warranty, and you need help getting the manufacturer or dealer to honor the warranty.

 
* You’re adopting a child and need a lawyer to help you complete the necessary paperwork and guide you through the adoption process.

 
* You notice a mistake on your credit report and need help getting it corrected.

 
* You believe you were issued a traffic violation in error and decide you want to fight the violation.

 
Because many routine life events require legal assistance, enrolling yourself in a legal plan can help lead you in the right direction when you need legal help. Some employers offer legal plans as part of their benefits packages, giving employees the option to enroll.
When you are enrolled in a legal plan like those offered through ARAG, you gain access to a network of attorneys who can provide legal advice and help with everyday legal issues. If you need representation, your plan may also allow you to hire a lawyer for a reduced out-of-pocket rate or no fee – which can result in significant savings considering the average rate charged by an attorney with 11 to 15 years of service is $312 per hour, according to The National Law Journal and ALM Legal Intelligence. For more information on how legal plans work, visit www.araggroup.com.

Courtesy of BPT

From golf to fishing: America’s ultimate destinations for active travel


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The word “vacation” means different things to different people. For some, it’s lounging poolside and sleeping until noon. Others, however, savor the opportunity to get outside, try some new activities and indulge in their favorite pastimes for days on end. If you’re one of the latter group, there are few better places to travel than right here in the United States.

Across the 50 states, there are countless opportunities to revel in natural beauty and explore new places, all while pursuing your favorite activities. But whether you envision yourself teeing up on a spectacular golf course or hiking through a rocky canyon, there are a few destinations among the pack that stand out as being the best.

As travel high season looms on the horizon, set your sights on these exceptional active travel destinations. All have opportunities for beginners to try their hand at a new activity, but they’ll also satisfy those who have long-established passions for their favorite pursuit.

Golf: Wisconsin

Settled into the rolling landscape not far from Lake Michigan, The American Club resort in Kohler, Wisc., provides golfers with the vacation of their wildest dreams. The resort is home to Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run, championship golf courses that have been featured in Golf Digest’s 100 Greatest Rankings, one of the most respected rankings in the sport. The Straits course at Whistling Straits leads the way, coming in No. 2 among the 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses. Both Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run feature two 18-hole courses. For golfers, the opportunity to play courses that are host to major championships like the U. S. Women’s Open, -The PGA Championship and the 2020 Ryder Cup, is an opportunity that can’t be passed by. The resort also features luxurious accommodations and amenities like spa treatments, fine dining and other seasonal activities, from horseback riding to archery.

Fly fishing: New York

Reputed to be the birthplace of American dry-fly fishing, New York’s Catskills are still prime territory for anglers who love a bit of tradition – and a lot of brook, brown and rainbow trout. Quaint and charming Roscoe, N.Y., bills itself as “Trout Town USA” and the nearby Beaverkill River and Willewemoc Creek number in the ranks of the best streams in the country.


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Canoeing: Minnesota

The upper Midwest – predominantly Minnesota and Wisconsin – is famed for its canoeing opportunities, but in Minnesota’s far north, the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) is a true paddler’s paradise. With more than a million acres, 1,200 miles of canoe routes and 2,000 campsites, you can go as far as your paddle – and ambition – will take you. The fact that this is some of the most pristine wilderness in the United States is another draw for those who truly love to be immersed in the great outdoors.

White water rafting: Idaho

With raging rivers and dramatic scenery, Idaho is the place to go when you want a wild ride. The state is home to Hells Canyon, the deepest canyon in the entire United States, and the best way to see it is a rafting excursion down the Snake River. You’ll go through thrilling rapids and still have enough smooth spots to get a good look at your surroundings. Idaho’s other star rafting attraction is the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, which boasts 100 frequent rapids over 100 miles.

Hiking: Utah

Utah’s abundance of national parks and monuments speaks volumes about the beauty of its landscapes. The spectacular red rock formations, canyons and arches that are the calling cards of Utah’s parks draw adventurous visitors year after year. Favorites include the Narrows at Zion National Park, Devil’s Garden at Arches National Park and the Needles district within Canyonlands National Park.

Whether it’s the best round of golf you’ve ever played or the most beautiful hike you’ve ever done, a great active vacation will pay you back in memories that will stay with you for a lifetime. For more information on active travel, from golf to fishing and beyond, visit www.AmericanClub.com.

Courtesy of BPT

Remodeling for aging in place today will help sell your home tomorrow


Only one in 10 adults believes this is a good time to sell a home. If you’re on hold in the real estate market, now is the time to get your house in order – literally. Make the right changes today, and you’ll get a better price tomorrow.

But before you invest in a home-improvement project, consider your potential buyers with this fact in mind: More than 3.5 million baby boomers turn 55 each year, according to the U.S. Census. Since people aged 45 to 64 make up more than a quarter of today’s U.S. population, there’s a good chance you’ll be selling to someone in this age group. Will your home appeal to them?

Your chances will be better if your home has “aging in place” design features that make it easier for older adults to live on their own longer. These modifications are the fastest-growing segment of the home remodeling industry, says the National Association of Home Builders. Because they range from simple fixes to full-scale renovations, making aging-in-place changes can suit any budget.

Best of all, this type of project not only improves a home’s resale value for the future, it also increases its safety and comfort for all residents right now.

Add a bath where none exists

Adding a bathroom on the main living level is a smart strategy to appeal to older adults, says national home safety expert Meri-K Appy. “Falls are the leading cause of home injury deaths, and older adults are at greatest risk for them,” she says.  “Eliminating the need to use stairs and reducing the distance to a bathroom can be a great safety advantage.”

A new bath is also a sound investment. This one improvement was shown to return more than 53 percent of its cost at resale in the Remodeling Magazine Cost vs. Value Report.

A macerating toilet system is a good way to lower the cost of adding a bath, says Otis Dardy, owner of Dardy Construction in Conyers, Ga. Dardy recently used macerating, or up flush, technology to install a full bathroom in a home that lacked below-floor plumbing drainage. With conventional plumbing fixtures, Dardy would have had to dig through the concrete, creating a costly and time-consuming mess. Instead, he used Saniflo up flush technology, which allows you to add plumbing to any room in your home, even the basement, without having to break up the floor.

Macerating plumbing systems pump waste and water from a toilet – as well as a sink, shower, wet bar, even a washing machine – upward through small diameter piping.

Before Dardy knew about macerating plumbing systems, many of his customers who wanted a bathroom couldn’t afford the cost of creating new drainage. “I can save them a ton of money now,” he says. “It will also work if you want to convert a walk-in closet into a powder room.”

Looking for more ways to update a bathroom with aging adults in mind? Put a telephone line in the bathroom. You may also want to install grab bars in and near tubs and showers while adding a hand-held showerhead. It not only makes bathing easier, but it also helps when it’s time to wash a pet or clean the tub. Use low, open shelving, and place nightlights in hallways and bathrooms to improve illumination and reduce falls.

Universal improvements

If you’re doing a kitchen remodel, consider using nonslip flooring. Some designers recommend cork tiles, which have the added advantage of being environmentally friendly.

To make your kitchen workspace more user-friendly, vary the height of your countertop areas to accommodate both standing and seated cooks, and don’t forget to install bright task lighting. Always choose appliances with controls that are easy to read and easy to use.

Push/pull levers are a must for kitchen faucets, and installing thermostatic and anti-scald devices can reduce hot-water burn injuries.

If you’re replacing windows, make sure the hardware is easy to operate. Installing a new entry door? Choose a low-maintenance alternative to wood. All stairways inside and out should have two handrails and bright overhead lighting.

Less-expensive improvements include replacing doorknobs with handles that are easier to open and putting D-shaped pulls on drawers and cabinets. Replace any dim bulbs with bright overhead lighting.

Courtesy of BPT

Our First Post!

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What a great day to indulge in the world of blogging!

Welcome to RE/MAX Results’ blog!

We strive to bring you excellence and we love to serve St. Louis in all of its real estate needs, which is why we created this blog. It is here where we will keep you updated on the latest news, trends, and happenings in the world of real estate as a whole, along with in the community of St. Louis.

To make this blog as useful as possible, please feel free to give feedback and share our blog with your friends.

Thanks!

Love,

Your RE/MAX Results Family