Wendy Johnson - RE/MAX Professional Associates



Posted by Wendy Johnson on 4/14/2021


Give new life to outdoor tabletops using concrete or tile - and liven up one of the most important parts of your home, your porch or patio. It is surprisingly easy to make over an existing table; in some cases, the base of a table remains in excellent shape, while the horizontal surface ages more swiftly. A tile or concrete finish allows you to use what you already have and to make a custom piece you'll enjoy for years to come. While every project is different, the details below will help you get started with a concrete or tile makeover. 

Tile vs. Concrete - What's the Difference? 

Tile and concrete will have the same basic costs and take the same amount of time to complete. The differences lie in the look of the final results; you may prefer the look of a single, impressive slab or an artistic, tile mosaic, or another version that may better fit your home. The final consideration is tools and experience. If you've already laid tile in a bathroom or kitchen, or have a tile saw and tools, then tile may be the right fit for your makeover. If you've made concrete stepping stones and other pieces for the yard, then you might be more comfortable with this material instead. 

Refinishing a Tabletop with Tile

Make sure your tabletop is in decent shape and that there are not any large gaps or large areas of damage. Measure your tabletop and sketch out a design.  You can create an artistic rendering, a geometric pattern or simply place the tile in a line. Planning things out first ensures you know how much to buy and what to cut. For tables, the pre-cut pieces designed for borders and trim often work well, so a trip to the DIY store can help you determine more about your needs and preferences. 

Choose Your Tile & Gather Supplies

You'll need a tile adhesive rated for outdoor use to secure the tiles. Layout the tiles on the table before securing to check the fit and look of your chosen design. When you are happy, glue the pieces into place with the adhesive. Work in small areas and allow the glue to set for at least 24 hours (cover the table with plastic if needed). 

Fill in the gaps between tiles with mortar rated for outdoor use, and allow to dry at least 48 hours before using the table. 

Refinishing a Tabletop with Concrete

Concrete's smooth surface comes from being poured, so you'll need to prepare the table before you mix anything. Your table should be clean, dry and clear of any defects, though the concrete will fill in small holes and hide minor blemishes. 

Create an edge around the table using a product made for concrete. This temporary barrier will be removed at a later date, but will keep the concrete in place as it dries. You can find flexible edging designed for this purpose at a DIY store. 

Mix the concrete as indicated on the package, then pour or scoop onto the table, smoothing it out with a trowel as you go. Once the concrete begins to set, you can make any impressions or patterns you like, or simply let it dry and harden. Do not remove the edges until the concrete is fully dried. 

48 hours later, remove the edging and sand or touch up the table, then enjoy.

Concrete or tile? The choice is yours -- either of these finishes will add years to the life of your table and ensure you create a piece that is uniquely yours. Allow yourself a weekend to tackle this project and wait for a sunny, comfortable day, as most parts need to be completed in place outdoors. 

 




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Posted by Wendy Johnson on 12/16/2020

Photo by Dominika Roseclay via Pexels

Giving your space a much-needed makeover doesn't have to take a lot of time or money. Whether you want to recreate the space for a party, prepare for a sale, or simply make an old room look new, here's a solution for you. Use these tips to completely transform your room in just a day.

Update the Paint

Real estate agents often say that nothing makes potential buyers drunk quicker than a fresh coat of paint. It's intoxicating the way new paint provides an instant makeover to any space. Not only does it scream newness, it also keeps your walls protected from moisture and can improve the air quality of your home. So, if you want to redo a room or an entire house, grab the paint brush and get busy.

Focus on Decorative Storage Spaces

There's no rule that storage shelves must be used for storage. Instead, use them as a decorative centerpiece by establishing a theme or motif and carrying that through with well-chosen colors, textures, and accent pieces. Have a lot of clutter that needs a home? Consider decorative woven baskets to keep magazines, accessories, toys, and more tucked away while looking naturally beautiful.

Purchase Rugs

In the time it takes to place a rug, you can have a completely new atmosphere in any indoor or outdoor space. Rugs allow you to bring texture, color, or patterns into a room without overwhelming it. They can also serve as a focal point when placed correctly, or as a backdrop when something more subtle is preferred.

Switch Out the Pillows

Similar to rugs, pillows can really make a room pop at a fairly inexpensive price point. Mix textures and patterns to create a depth and layering effect on beds, benches, and couches. To create a palette that stuns, consider adding splashes of texture with feathered pillows, tassels, or ribbing. You also may want to choose bold colors combined with neutrals to add dimension to an otherwise flat area.

Power Wash Outdoors

A complete update of a deck or driveway can be accomplished easily with a thorough power wash. Doing so can make a home feel brand new. If time allows, consider restaining any wood panels and adding furniture to a deck, or replacing worn down rockery along a driveway.

Replace the Lighting

How you physically feel in a space often comes down to the lighting. Update your space with a dramatic lighting fixture or simplify and unify a room by choosing a neutral fixture. Effective design is about pairing lighting levels with the tasks being completed in that space. Think of a brightly lit kitchen island instead of a lamp in your reading space.

If you'd like more home decorating tips or want help with an upcoming move, feel free to reach out!




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Posted by Wendy Johnson on 10/14/2020


 Photo by U.U. via Pixabay

Floating shelves offer your space a more streamlined look. Your walls seem less cluttered, which allows your focus pieces to take center stage.

Because floating shelves require less space than traditional shelves, you can put them anywhere all while maintaining your floor space below. They can be any length you choose -- within reason. You can even work around more permanent features like a fireplace, doorway, outlet or window.

You'll be surprised just how easy and affordable it is to install floating shelves and home much they'll delight guests and prospective homebuyers alike. You'd expect something this elegant to require specialized tools and a lot of engineering knowledge to avoid collapse. But follow these simple steps and you'll be enjoying your own in no time.

What you'll need

  • Floating shelf brackets
  • 20mm paddle drill bit 
  • Electric drill - *Pro Tip* Borrow. Don't buy unless you do projects like this frequently. 
  • Stain, poly & brushes
  • Palm sander
  • Your hardwood of choice - Poplar, oak, maple, walnut or cherry works great.

How to create floating shelves

Here's your step-by-step guide.

Measure your space

Determine how large to make your shelves. To achieve a floating effect, avoid stopping them right at the edge of other features. Give it some space. 

*Pro tip* - Mom & Pop hardware and lumber stores will often cut the wood for you, so you don't have to worry about getting a saw. 

Drill holes for brackets

Each bracket has two 6-inch steel rods. Measure the halfway point between them and mark the wood where it will be against the wall. Drill a 1" wide hole into each shelf edge, 7" deep.

Sand & stain

It's time to sand and stain. This process is very straight forward. But do this outside because sawdust will fly everywhere. Sanding not only smooths any rough spots. It also helps the shelves hold a more even stain for a flawless finish. 

*Pro tip* Test your stain on an extra piece of the same wood. Stains can be unpredictable depending on the hue of the wood, how it absorbs the dye, etc. You may need to mix two stains to achieve the desired darkness and color.

Find the studs & install brackets

Install brackets directly into the studs, spaced apart to align with the holes that you drilled into your shelves so that the brackets slid easily into those holes.

Arrange your shelves

Place your shelves over the wall brackets. Because of their design, floating shelves can hold significant weight. But that defeats the purpose. Less is more on a floating shelf. So plan and arrange pieces that accentuate each other.

That's how to build a floating shelf. Follow our blog for more helpful home maintenance and design tips.




Tags: home improvement   DIY   Shelves  
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Posted by Wendy Johnson on 7/1/2020


 Photo by James DeMers via Pixabay 

In most homes, the base lighting is drab and dull, often doing little to light up your life. Thankfully, it is quite easy to transform the lighting in your home and create the perfect atmosphere for your everyday activities. All you have to do is follow these four tips and watch as your efforts turn the lights up to 11 in every way possible.

Take a Cooler Turn

The reason your home’s lighting may not be knocking your socks off is its base temperature. Most homes have a rather warm light temperature of 2700K, which leaves everything looking a bit yellow. This is especially apparent as you try to take pictures inside, as they turn out washed out and grainy.

So, for a quick fix, all it takes is a switch to cooler bulbs, typically marked 3500K to 5000K. To go one step further, layer the lights in your room by using different temperature ranges and intensities, allowing you to customize the lighting to your mood and activities.

Replace Your Shades

If the light fixtures in your home are bumming you out, you may feel inspired to make a switch. Unfortunately, that step usually requires some wiring work, which could put you at risk of electric shock.

To make a big change without the risk, simply look to replace the shades instead. Using the original shade shape and size as a guide, select the colors and materials that make your heart sing to transform the lighting in an instant.

Embrace Task Lighting

Chances are that your lighting woes link directly back to not having enough light for all your tasks. Your kitchen might be too dim for cake decorating or perhaps the dining room lacks the light needed for building models.

Thankfully, fixing this problem is as easy as setting up task lighting in those key areas. You can choose from magnetic LED fixtures to articulated lamps that clip on your desk, giving yourself just enough light for every task.

Go with a Smart System

One of the biggest changes you can make is going with smart lighting systems in your home. By simply switching to smart bulbs, you can change the color and intensity as you wish, forever altering the ambiance in your living space. In fact, you can even set the changes ahead of time and ensure your lighting lives up to expectations every hour of the day.

In addition to creating the perfect atmosphere, your smart bulbs can even save you money by switching off automatically at each preset time. And since they are LED, they use 75 percent less energy than incandescent lights when you do have them turned on.

By following these four tips, your home’s lighting will be forever changed and for the better. You can continue to make adjustments as you wish to customize your living space to your needs and preferences. The sky is the limit in what you can do when you set your mind to optimizing your lighting.




Tags: DIY   lighting   Inside Lighting  
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Posted by Wendy Johnson on 5/27/2020

Photo by Arka38 via Shutterstock

After spending enough time researching real estate online, you probably think you can do just as good a job selling your home as a professional real estate agent. However, it's more difficult than it sounds. Even though you can access many of the same advertising venues as a professional, they have a wide network and breadth of experience that you canít leverage when trying to DIY. 

Experience and Know-How

Real estate agents are sales and advertising professionals. First, consider if your work experience and skill set falls in those same zones. Are you familiar with negotiating deals in the hundreds of thousands of dollars? Your real estate agent spends all day, every day working with other agents and negotiating deals in a variety of amounts. They know how to tell if the other party is willing to reduce or increase the amount, and what perks might push a deal through. They also know the best way to spend their advertising dollars to get interest in your property and often have standing arrangements with printing companies, an existing real estate website and membership in the local MLS board ó all of which give them deals on advertising whereas you would be paying full retail price to print postcards or mailers and may not have access to things like MLS listings at all.

In addition to the actual sales process, real estate deals come with a ton of paperwork. Not only is this complex in any area, but it also varies from location to location and getting it wrong can cause the purchase or sale to fall through, or, worst of all, might cause you to incur high fines from your local governing bodies or the IRS. While you can look up the right process for your area, you may not be able to trust the information available online. It's not surprising that information listed by non-official sources may be incorrect or incomplete, but official government sources often take a while to get updated when rules or laws change. Your real estate agent, on the other hand, is required to be notified of any changes, and the MLS board they are a member of also keeps an ear to the ground and their agents informed.

Local Area Information

Real estate agents often have access to, and even pay extra for, information about the areas they work in. That means they know what properties sold for over an extended period of time, what features they have, and even how long they stayed on the market. A lot of this information is protected, and only licensed professionals have access. This makes them uniquely suited for pricing your home correctly for the market. If you price your home too high it may not sell at all, causing you frustration or costing you money. On the other hand, if you price it too low, you may get a quick sale, but youíll miss out on the additional income you could have made.

Regardless, you may still think the agentís commission is not worth the price. Most buyers and sellers agents make a percentage of the purchase or sale price of your home. This is great for sellers, since the higher the selling price, the more everyone makes. However, it can be a downside for buyers if they think the agent is trying to talk them into higher prices or different homes just to make a larger commission. Many agents are willing to negotiate on this point and often agree to a flat rate in the beginning, regardless of the purchase price, as long as you talk to them about it upfront. This removes the worry that they are trying to find the highest amount youíll spend rather than the best deal in your market.

Before making the decision to DIY your real estate purchase or sale, talk to a real estate agent in person to get a full understanding of the services they can offer you and how much control you have over the costs. Most often, you will find itís worth the comparatively small cost of the agent over the larger costs of self-advertising, lost sales price and time required to handle any interested parties. Talk to a professional today for the absolute best results.




Tags: buyers agent   DIY   fsbo   New Buyers   FAQs  
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