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Luxury Homes, Investment, and Property Management

By Fred Yancy, Broker | Broker in Woodstock, GA
  • Cheapest DIY flooring options

    Posted Under: General Area, Remodel & Renovate, Design & Decor  |  January 31, 2014 5:35 AM  |  1,264 views  |  No comments

    Cheapest DIY flooring options


    By Mary Boone 


    Cheapest DIY flooring options
    .

    View photo

    Vinyl flooring (Photo by Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos/ Flickr)

    You need new floors but, at this point in life, you have far more ambition than cash. Not to worry. There are inexpensive flooring options on the market that, if you’re willing and able to tackle installation, can give your home a facelift without breaking the bank.

    Vinyl flooring

    It used to be that resilient vinyl sheeting had to be fastened down with not-so-easy-to-apply mastic. These days, installation of this kitchen- and bath-friendly flooring is considerably easier. You simply remove the shoe molding from around the room, make a paper template of the room, cut the flooring to size using a utility knife, lay the flooring down and replace the molding. There’s no glue, no staples, no nails. Sheet vinyl flooring typically comes in 12-foot-wide rolls, resulting in seamless coverage in most rooms. Prices start at about $2 per square foot. One foot-square peel-and-stick vinyl tiles, which start at about $1 per square foot, are also available for even easier do-it-yourself installation.

    Linoleum flooring

    Linoleum

    Vinyl and linoleum flooring are often confused but they’re actually very different. Vinyl is a synthetic product made of chlorinated petrochemicals. Linoleum is made from all-natural materials such as solidified linseed oil, pine rosin, ground cord dust and wood flour. Vinyl melts; linoleum doesn’t. Vinyl designs tend to be printed on the surface, while the colors in linoleum go all the way through the product. Linoleum was very popular until the 1960s, when cheaper and more colorful vinyl took over the market. Today, linoleum is making a resurgence, due in part to the fact that it’s now available in hundreds of colors and because it’s a “green” product. Linoleum comes both in sheets and tiles. DIYers can install linoleum tile, which start at $4 per square foot; installation of sheet linoleum is best left to professionals.

    Laminate flooring

    Laminate flooring

    This floating floor system is made of tongue-and-groove planks that snap together – no nails, staples or glue. Laminate comes in dozens of colors and wood-grain patterns and is available in a variety of widths. Laminate flooring’s top surface is made of plastic laminate, not hardwood; that makes the product resistant to stains, scratches, fading and wear. You’ll find low-end laminate flooring for less than $1 per square foot. Premium products tend to be thicker and more durable, often coming with warranties of up to 30 years; they’ll cost you $4 to $6 per square foot.

    Ceramic tile

    Ceramic tile

    Ceramic tile flooring is not the absolute cheapest flooring option, nor is it the easiest to install, but its durability and long lifespan make it worth considering. The success of any tile job depends on a solid base with little flex in it. If the old floor is sturdy and even, you can simplify the tiling job by covering the old floor with a thin underlayment that gives you a fresh, clean start. Larger tiles are easier to lay than smaller ones. No matter what size tile you choose, you’ll likely need to rent or borrow a wet saw for the project. Tiling a small bathroom or entry way is most likely a two-day project – even for a rookie. If you’re comfortable using basic hand tools and have the patience to align tiles just right, you can handle this job. For a bit of added confidence, take a free class at a home improvement store. Ceramic tile, uninstalled, costs anywhere from $3 to upward of $50 per square foot.

    Fred Yancy, Broker

    Harry Norman Realtors

    (678) 799-4663

    http://www.fred.yancy.harrynorman.com

  • Is a backlash developing against open kitchens?

    Posted Under: General Area, Remodel & Renovate, Design & Decor  |  January 19, 2014 6:15 AM  |  522 views  |  No comments

    Is a backlash developing against open kitchens?

    By Ilyce R. Glink 
    Is a backlash developing against open kitchens?
    .

    View photo

    From coast to coast, homeowners are tearing down walls to unite the kitchen with living space. But there's a downside, critics say.

    Look around any new or remodeled home and you’re likely to see one thing they all have in common: the open kitchen.

    The trend has been overwhelmingly embraced by homeowners across the country, along with architects, designers and folks on every home makeover show across TV. The open kitchen is probably the single largest and most widely embraced home design change over the past 50 years.

    But some architecture aficionados are opening up about their total disgust with the open kitchen design.

    J. Bryan Lowder, an assistant editor at Slate, recently slammed the open concept in a widely read article called “Close Your Open-Concept Kitchen.” He called the trend a “baneful scourge” that has spread through American homes like “black mold through a flooded basement.”

    Lowder’s point, and one echoed through the anti-open-kitchen movement, is that we have walls and doors for a reason. While open-kitchen lovers champion the ease of multitasking cooking and entertainment and appreciate how the cook can keep an eye on the kids (or an eye on a favorite TV show), the haters reply that open kitchens do neither effectively. Instead, the detractors say, open kitchens leave guests with an eyeful of kitchen mess, distract cooks, and leave Mom and Dad with no place to hide from their noisy brood.

    Roxanne, who blogs at Just Me With ... under her first name only (and chose not to reveal her last name in this article for fear of backlash from open-kitchen devotees), ranted against the concept on her blog. For Roxanne, the open kitchen destroys coveted privacy.

    “With an open-kitchen design, there’s no way to get away from what other people in the family are doing,” she told Yahoo Homes. When her children were younger, they were always at her feet or near her, so she didn’t need an open design to watch them properly, she said. Now that they’re older, she’s happy to escape to the kitchen to read or listen to music while they watch teen shows.

    Also, for people who aren’t seasoned entertainers, open kitchens may not offer much help, Roxanne said. Rather, a kitchen that is constantly on display could cause more stress.

    “If I can see my kitchen all the time, I can’t relax,” Roxanne said. “When someone walks in the kitchen, I’ll impulsively start wiping down the counter, even if it’s already clean. An open kitchen is very impressive looking – but it really depends on how you’re living.”

    Still, open kitchens are winning over a majority of the population. Even those with closed kitchens are converting. A whopping 77 percent of home remodelers are grabbing a sledgehammer and knocking down the walls, according to a recent Houzz survey.

    Design psychologist Toby Israel, author of “Some Place Like Home: Using Design Psychology to Create Ideal Places,” said open kitchens have gained such momentum because the kitchen is often the heart of family existence and a central gathering point.

    “No longer is the woman’s place in the kitchen, and entertaining overall has become more informal,” Israel said. “The idea that the kitchen and dining room are separate and a woman magically brings food out on a platter is a thing of the past.”

    But ultimately, because the kitchen is such a big part of life at home, its design should really depend on the individual -- not necessarily the most popular trend.

    “Very often, people repeat their past experiences, consciously or unconsciously,” Israel said. “When designing a kitchen, people should go back and think about the kitchen they grew up in. What positive associations do they have with their family kitchen or their grandparents’ kitchen? It’s important to consider colors, configuration, lighting and so on and create the kitchen based on their highest positive associations with that place.”

    Sometimes, it’s helpful to consider the family personality over aesthetics.

    “If the kitchen is for a family of extroverts that is more informal or likes to entertain, an open kitchen might work,” she said. “If the kitchen is for a family of introverts who like a smaller, self-contained, cozier room, there’s nothing wrong with a closed kitchen.”

    Fred Yancy, Broker

    Harry Norman, Realtors

    (678) 799-4663

    http://www.Fred.Yancy.HarryNorman.com

  • Why Settle for a Kitchen When You Can Have a Great Room?

    Posted Under: General Area, Remodel & Renovate, Design & Decor  |  December 10, 2013 8:51 AM  |  7,231 views  |  No comments

    Why Settle for a Kitchen When You Can Have a Great Room?


    Earlier this month, we talked about downsizing kitchens—this isn’t a move everyone wants or needs to make. So in our next two reports, we’ll give equal time to those looking at morphing their kitchen from a practical utility space for food preparation, to a center of attention and functionality.

    Design experts are seeing high demand for creating “great rooms,” combining kitchen, dining, family and open, high-ceiling entertaining space. According to the Better Decorating Bible (betterdecoratingbible.com), there are several basic concepts to consider when “spacing out” into a great room:

    Choose wall colors carefully – Different colors can help define separate areas, so select hues in the same tone family to create a seamless flow from one space to another.

    Furniture – If you have a country-style oak dining table try to choose the same style furniture in your living room. Avoid anything that is super opposite like ultra-modern minimalism in the living room and a country theme in the kitchen. Try choosing the same wood, material, and style for each section of your open concept room.

    Window treatments – Use the same theme throughout and all of your windows look identical. Different shades, blinds, and curtains can create a big, big decorating mess.

    Accessorize – Tie in the accessories from your kitchen to your living room. If you have brown hued granite counter tops, pop a fuzzy throw in the same color family onto your couch. If you have a set of red hot kitchen aid appliances on your counters, use the same red pillows on your couches. You can even connect your guest bath decor with a red towel or rug, or even a bouquet of red flowers to tie the look together. Throw in some wooden photo frames with photos of the family to personalize your space!

    Lighting – The correct lighting can define each space of your open concept layout and help visually separate them. Floor lamps in the living room work well while a pendant lamp in the kitchen blends in effortlessly.

    Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved

    Fred Yancy, Broker

    Harry Norman, Realtors

    (678) 799-4663

    www.FredYancy.com

  • Small Kitchen Tricks with Big Impact

    Posted Under: General Area, Remodel & Renovate, Design & Decor  |  November 26, 2013 6:22 PM  |  1,304 views  |  No comments

    Small Kitchen Tricks with Big Impact

     

    In our last segment, I dove into the subject of downsizing kitchens. Whether it’s simplifying arrangements of cabinets and appliances as we age in place, or a desire for a modern or minimalist cooking zone, there is no shortage of good advice on how to get started and get through it.

    Mariette Mifflin, a housewares and appliances writer at about.com says a large number of baby boomers are eyeing moving to low maintenance apartments or condos, while others will plan to retire to their smaller cottages or vacation homes to age in place.

    Mifflin says consider the many more compact appliances that offer energy saving options, like an economy dry settings on dishwashers, 1 and 2 hour auto shut-off on coffee makers, and low water features on washers

    According to Mifflin, delay start has now become a great energy saving option for those areas that pay for electricity based on when they use it, with peak and off-peak rates. You can set a dishwasher with this feature while you’re loading it, but it will only start later in the evening when energy off-peak rate is lower.

    Cambria Bold design and lifestyle editor for The Kitchn (thekitchn.com) says don’t be afraid of using darker colors – done right a darker color scheme can actually make a smaller kitchen space appear bigger.

    At cultivate.com, Susan Serra writes that visual tricks will be actively incorporated to create a more open feeling. For example, backsplashes that are more simple in design than ever before, such as single sheets of glass (a hot material), engineered stone or other seamless surfaces, such as stainless steel.

    The reason this works: A seamless backsplash has a huge effect on a kitchen’s “visual clutter,” is a natural complement to the modern kitchen and a practical solution for small kitchens where appliances are in close proximity to surfaces.

    Serra says large interesting nooks and crannies decoratively illuminated in the kitchen can create new focal points as well as adding a spacious look. And she says appliances will largely disappear from view in 2013, allowing even high-end, chef’s style appliances to be seamlessly incorporated into any kitchen space.

    Fred Yancy, Broker
    Harry Norman, Realtors
    (678) 799-4663
    http://www.fred.yancy.harrynorman.com

  • Find Classic Style in Carriage House Garage Doors

    Posted Under: General Area, Remodel & Renovate  |  November 12, 2013 11:50 AM  |  1,521 views  |  1 comment

    Find Classic Style in Carriage House Garage Doors

     

    The carriage house garage door is to your house what the little black dress and strand of pearls are to a woman’s wardrobe: classic style elements that never go out of fashion.

    At the dawn of the automobile age, those who were affluent enough to own a car kept it in the carriage house, where the horses and buggy would have been stored. But this cohabitation became a little, well, smelly, and the need for separate storing structures was soon realized.

    Enter the garage. Built in the style of the original carriage house, the garage’s sole intent was to store the car away from the animals and elements. The word garage actually comes from the French word, garer, which means to shelter and protect. Naturally, the garage needed a door to offer protection to the automobile. The ensuing “carriage house door” was a hinged, double door that swung outward, and is considered the original garage door.

    In the early 1920s, the kickout door was invented and progress continued from there, bringing us the modern conveniences we have in overhead garage doors today. Modern carriage house sectional garage doors open overhead, and continue to gain in popularity, constituting 35 percent of the volume in the garage door industry with projections to remain a huge trend.

    When it comes to the style of garage door chosen, most homeowners want something classic, that won’t fade in popularity over the years and will also enhance curb appeal. This is especially true if home resale is a factor. A carriage house garage door is the exterior equivalent to white subway tile in the kitchen and hardwood floors inside; classic design elements that never fade in popularity.

    The carriage house door also offers myriad design elements. For example, the Classica Collection by Amarr offers a dual-directional wood grain design that provides the realistic look of wood with the practicality and low-maintenance upkeep of steel. With a three-section design and the option of larger windows, this door offers a more authentic carriage house look with the benefit of additional natural light flow into your garage. Two-tone looks are also available with many color combinations and panel designs, and hardware and window choices are plentiful. These different design options can be tailored specifically to your home’s facade and will further enhance curb appeal.

    If you’re thinking of replacing a tired garage door in an effort to boost your home’s curb appeal, consider the classic carriage house door, whose popularity has only continued to grow over the last century. With a timeless design that can be specifically tailored to your house, it’s a choice that both you – and future owners of your home – can happily live with for a long time.

    Fred Yancy, REALTOR

    Harry Norman, Realtors | Cobb Marietta

    776 Whitlock | Marietta, GA 30064

    C: (678) 799-4663 | D: (678) 581-7367 | F: (404) 497-5256

    http://www.Fred.Yancy.HarryNorman.com

  • Homeowners Find Hidden Dollars in Their Heating Ducts

    Posted Under: General Area, Quality of Life, Remodel & Renovate  |  October 26, 2013 2:03 PM  |  357 views  |  No comments

    Homeowners Find Hidden Dollars in Their Heating Ducts

     

    Rising energy cost are putting some homeowners in a pinch, however there are some techniques that homeowners can do to save on energy costs this winter. One of the simplest ways is to lower the thermostat a degree or two. Using a setback thermostat that automatically lowers your temperature during the evening may offer a savings of 5-10 percent.

    One maintenance chore that gets overlooked is the furnace filter. The filter is a very important part of your heating system. It protects against damage to your blower from foreign objects and cleans your air. Clogged filters decrease air cleaning efficiency and increase strain on the blower motor potentially leading to premature equipment failure. With today’s homes built “tighter” they hold in more pollutants including dust, dander, mold and spores. With closed windows during the heating season just increases the problem. FiltersUSA offers tips on how to change your furnace filter.

    Finding the right filter is important. Not all furnace filters are the same. Those 99 cent filters sold at hardware stores are inefficient for cleaning the air but they do a fine job in preventing foreign objects from getting into the blower compartment. If you hold them up to the light and can see through them they’re not very good for cleaning the air. They clog quickly and have to be replaced often. Pleated filters offer increased surface area for filtration, improves indoor air quality and may last much longer with one inch filters lasting 3 months and the 4-6 inch filters lasting 6 months to a year depending upon the environment.

    Pleated filters provide greater surface area for air filtration than the flat fiberglass style filter. Another thing to consider is the filters “MERV” rating. Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, commonly known as MERV Rating is a measurement scale designed in 1987 by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to rate the effectiveness of air filters. The scale is designed to represent the worst case performance of a furnace filter when dealing with particles in the range of 0.3 to 10 micrometers. The MERV rating is from 1 to 16. Higher MERV ratings correspond to a greater percentage of particles captured on each pass, with a MERV 16 filter capturing more than 95 percent of particles over the full range.

    For those that have allergies or if indoor air quality is a concern, consider HEPA type filters. According to Bill Lea, president of FiltersUSA.com, “The letters in the word HEPA stand for High Efficiency Particulate Air. The HEPA filter was developed during World War II by the Atomic Energy Commission and it was designed to remove and capture radioactive dust particles from the air which might escape and present a health hazard to the researchers. The HEPA filter was specifically designed to protect the human respiratory system.”

    For a filter to be labeled “True” HEPA, it must be certified 99.97% efficient in capturing 0.3 micron (not 0.1 or 0.01 etc.) reparable-size-particles (RSP) according to the U.S. Military Standard MIL-STD-282, commonly known as the DOP test. The reason 0.3 micron is used and no other is because 0.3 micron is the size at which all mechanical filters are LEAST efficient in capturing. Other methods of testing do not give a true picture of efficiencies relative to respirable-size-particle (RSP) capture.

    These filters can be anywhere from 4″ to 6″ thick and may have a MERV rating greater than 10. These types of filters fit into a special box that is sold to consumers as an “add-on” or upgrade to their furnace or air handler. These filters are ideal for allergy sufferers as they remove very small particles such as pollen.

    Changing the filter can be as simple as removing the old filter and inserting the new one paying attention to the air flow direction arrow on the new filter. Houses in warmer climates can be more challenging with homes that have return grill filters located in high ceilings with different filter sizes throughout the home. Some homeowners have removed the filters in those ceiling grilles and installed a whole house filter to their air handler located in the garage. This makes for changing one filter every 6-12 months rather than changing the ceiling filters monthly and provides improved indoor air quality. Generally, the fiberglass filters should be changed monthly, pleated filters every three months and HEPA style filters every 12 months. This depends upon how often you use your air conditioner and other factors such a pets or a smoker in the house.

    Source: FiltersUSA

    Fred Yancy, REALTOR/Broker
     
    Harry Norman, Realtors | Cobb Marietta
    776 Whitlock | Marietta, GA 30064
    C: (678) 799-4663 | D: (678) 581-7367 | F: (404) 497-5256
  • Creating Kitchen Storage

    Posted Under: General Area, Remodel & Renovate  |  October 26, 2013 10:37 AM  |  353 views  |  No comments

    Creating Kitchen Storage

    Finding a place for everything in the kitchen is tricky, but we've got sneaky tips to give even the smallest kitchen plenty of storage space.

    Out of Sight

    Photo: John Ellis

    Out of Sight

    Keep cookbooks handy, yet completely out of the way. These homeowners created a nook in the island to showcase their most precious literature.

    Showcase Your Findings

    Photo: Reena Bammi

    Showcase Your Findings

    Open shelving is a great way to show off your nautical treasures. This kitchen keeps jars of shells and vintage knickknacks on the top shelf to keep them safe, but in view. Color coordinating your collections is a great way to introduce a fun visual element into your kitchen.

    Easy Access

    Photo: J. Savage Gibson

    Easy Access

    In this otherwise airy and romantic kitchen, a super utilitarian island-on-wheels is the perfect piece for functional storage and workspace. Roll the island out of sight to transform the space into the perfect place for entertaining.

    Budget-Friendly Storage

    Photo: Richard Leo Johnson

    Budget-Friendly Storage

    Creating optimum kitchen storage doesn’t have to be an ordeal. A café curtain to hides pots and pans but didn't break the bank.

    Open Up

    Photo: Tria Giovan

    Open Up

    Open-shelving isn't for everyone, but it makes putting dishes away a breeze and encourages guests to help themselves. To keep dusting to a minimum, display only the dishes and gadgets used and washed on a regular basis.

    Hiding in Plain Sight

    Photo: Jeremy Samuelson

    Hiding in Plain Sight

    This giant island has two large nooks for cookbooks and kitchenware that is completely hidden from the adjacent dining space, but still within reach of the prep and cooking area.

     

    Refined Easiness

    Photo: Lisa Romerein

    Refined Easiness

    Additional storage beneath the breakfast bar made room for art where cabinets might have been and accessories on the counter, helping the open space blend seamlessly with the decor in the adjacent room.

    Floor-to-Ceiling

    Photo: Roger Davies

    Floor-to-Ceiling

    Utilize square footage by placing storage space somewhere unexpected. This kitchen stacks storage sky high, while the built-in ladder keeps everything within reach.

    High Drama, No Drama

    Photo: Annie Schlechter

    High Drama, No Drama

    This kitchen juxtaposes super-ornate décor with a utilitarian-style workspace and scattered open storage to highlight the homeowners' color-coordinated cookware.   


    Provided by coastalliving.com

    Fred Yancy, REALTOR/Broker
     
    Harry Norman, Realtors | Cobb Marietta
    776 Whitlock | Marietta, GA 30064
    C: (678) 799-4663 | D: (678) 581-7367 | F: (404) 497-5256
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