To Fence or Not to Fence

By Megan Glenn

The question of whether to add a fence to your home is not an easy one to answer.  Certainly there are situations in which a fence is not only desirable, but necessary.  If you own, for example, a large dog, it is almost a necessity to have an enclosure in which it can roam without posing a threat to passersby.  Families with small children often opt for a fence as well, as a means of keeping little ones safe from busy streets or other hazards. 

Whether or not a fence adds value to a property is debatable, and reliable information on actual increase in value is hard to find.  It is, however, arguable that a well-built fence adds resale value if for no other reason than that families and dog-owners do buy homes.  A tasteful fence that matches the aesthetic of a home also creates a sense of privacy and charm that may not boost actual value, but certainly inspires buyers to take a second look at your home.

Even if you’re not considering selling, there’s something about a fence that makes you feel like you have a little piece of the world that is yours alone.  A fence can create a private space where outsiders can’t intrude and where you can enjoy the outdoors playing games, cooking out, or just reading in a hammock.  But if you’re considering adding a fence to your property, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Whether Tis Nobler to Build a Fence

High-end homes with ample property often don’t require fencing, and real estate agents recommend not adding one unless there is a clear reason, such as blocking out traffic noise or obstructing an unsightly view.  For expensive homes, fences don’t necessarily add value in relation to the costs of construction and materials.

There are, however, fencing materials that do speak elegance, should you need one for a high-end property.  Wrought iron fencing lends beauty to any home and works well both with traditional home designs and with a more modern aesthetic.  And technology has come a long way in creating iron fencing that isn’t prone to rust and that doesn’t scratch, dent, or pit easily.  Most manufacturers use a powder-based coating that seals and protects metal, so that fencing lasts a long time with very little maintenance.

Another option is to create a “live fence” made of trees, shrubs, and other landscaping.  This style of fence requires very little upkeep and adds landscaping value to your home.  Furthermore, with the right choice of tree, such as the Leland Cypress or White pine that grows fast, you can quickly create a private space to enjoy.

A Huge Expense?

For the mid-range home, fences often do add resale value as homes are closer together and families are often buying in this range.  But you don’t have to spend a fortune to create a beautiful fence.

The “good neighbor” style, which is a wooden picket fence just over waist height, allows that sense of enclosure for animals, children, and a little privacy, while not having a big impact on your wallet.  And even a 6-foot privacy fence made of wood isn’t astronomical.  Although wood fences don’t have the durability of some other styles, with the proper upkeep, they can last a long time.

If you’re looking for something more substantial and have the money to invest, certainly wrought iron and steel fences add a touch of elegance to the mid-range home.  But another option is vinyl fencing, which adds the charm of a wood appearance while lasting for a long time with virtually no maintenance.

Don’t Suffer the Slings and Arrows

There are a few things that can actually hurt property values when it comes to fencing.  Upkeep is one of the primary concerns, particularly with wood fencing.  Should you choose to go with wood, be sure to routinely reseal your fencing with a quality exterior coating.  Pay attention to joins in the fence where screws, nails, and other fixtures can rust through and leave you with sagging or leaning fence sections.  You should also pay attention to wooden posts where they meet the ground.  Prolonged exposure to moisture can cause them to sheer off at ground level.

Another concern in choosing fencing comes with chain-link fencing.  While chain-link may be the less expensive choice, be aware that it comes with certain ingrained attitudes towards it.  Because of its associations with industrial properties and protected public spaces, such as athletic fields and schools, chain-link tends to decrease property values.  According to some real estate agents, potential buyers often see chain-link, particularly when it encloses a front yard, as saying “dangerous dog on the property” or “this home needs protecting because of the neighborhood.”  Not that this is the reality of the property, but, unfortunately, some attitudes are hard to change.  Should you choose to go with chain-link consider fencing only your backyard.

Small Spaces Sell with the Right Touches

by Megan Glenn

Are you thinking of selling your house or condo, but you’re worried space seems too tight?  Stop fretting!  The rise of the tiny house movement means even the smallest of dwellings have become not only marketable, but fashionable.  And armed with the knowledge of some basic techniques for creating the illusion of space, there’s no reason you can’t provide open, airy designs that will have potential buyers wowed.

Furniture that Fits

You may think that the best thing to do to make a small space look big is to empty it, but designer Kristie Barnett says an empty room gives buyers no sense of scale, and that she’s seen sales fall through simply because the client assumed furniture would not fit.

The trick, instead, is to get rid of overstuffed furniture and to choose one large piece that will be the central focus of the room. Judge every other item against this piece and ask if it serves a functional or design purpose.  If the answer doesn’t come easy, get rid of it.

Opt for smaller, streamlined pieces, such as switching out that sectional sofa for a loveseat.  Furniture that sits lower to the floor creates an illusion of space — think midcentury modern — and it is often more effective to group furniture on one side of a room or to create space between wall and furniture.  When items are pushed against walls around the room it creates a cramped feel. 

Experts also suggest placing taller items away from doorways so as not to visually close off the space upon entering.  We tend to track a room from left to right just as we read, and incorporating horizontal elements that encourage us to track that way smoothly makes the room feel larger.  Items that make our eyes bounce around the room tend to make the space feel smaller.

Keep It Light and Open

The first rule to increasing a sense of space is to de-clutter rooms.  Clear surface tops and take down family pictures, store away extra pillows, and get rid of freestanding pieces that clutter the floor.  You may need to consider gathering possessions and unnecessary furniture to keep in storage until your house is sold.

A second vital aspect of space is accenting natural light.  Windows should be as open as possible to allow maximum light in.  Instead of curtains, you might use blinds.  If you must use curtains, hang the rod high and wide so that they can be opened to reveal the entire window. 

A third trick to maximizing light is to incorporate mirrors into your design.  A mirror placed across from a window not only reflects light back into the room, but enhances the illusion of larger, airier space.  The effect can be increased by choosing furnishings that have chrome, polished metal, or mirrored trim.  And when it comes to furnishings, show some leg.  Air and light beneath your pieces only increases the sense of openness.

Finally, when it comes to actual lighting, get rid of the single overhead fixture which tends to dim the perimeter of the room and make it feel even smaller.  Opt instead for strategically placed lamps that cast light into all areas of the room.

Decorate with Space in Mind

If you want to create an illusion of openness, paint walls in lighter, brighter colors.  Most designers suggest shades of white, but you can choose a bolder color for one wall as accent.  If you choose to do so, adding a few matching decorative touches such as pillows or artwork enhance the sense of unity and space.

Fabrics and materials can also contribute to our visual assessment of a room.  Avoid heavy fabrics and dark bulky wood pieces.  Linens, voiles, and tulles are better choices for keeping your space feeling open and light 

Another suggestion is to carefully consider artwork and other decorative pieces.  Minimize art, opting for one larger focal piece that is more neutral in theme.  Remember that you’re showcasing the space, not your belongings.  And for decorative pieces, a good rule of thumb is that anything smaller than a cantaloupe makes surfaces seem cluttered.   

One last consideration is what to do with floors.  Some designers recommend that you don’t include rugs at all.  If you do decide to incorporate them, choose smaller rugs and orient them to define functional spaces within the room.

Make It Multifunctional

One way to make your rooms feel larger is to suggest their multi-functionality as you decorate.  Stage a small den as a space that can double both as home office and as dining area.  Choosing stackable furnishings and foldaway leaves can keep the space open while still suggesting multiple uses.  A small bedroom with a murphy bed can act both as sleeping space and as an office, reading space, or work area.

Outdoor Space as Another Room

Don’t forget to take advantage of any outdoor areas on your property.  A balcony or patio can be decorated to suggest a reading area, an eating space, or even a relaxing place to get work done.  Even if the space is small, you can choose streamlined, folding furniture to suggest a dual space for grilling and entertaining or for settling down to serious business.

Spring Cleaning in San Diego: Boost Your Curb Appeal

Did you know that you only have seven seconds to make a good first impression when meeting someone new? This is not only true for people, but also for a variety of things in life – like our homes. If you want your house to impress new visitors, it’s essential that you pay close attention to its curb appeal.

‘Curb appeal’ is the attractiveness of the exterior of a home, and it is especially important when trying to lure in prospective buyers. If you’re looking to boost your home’s curb appeal, there are many simple and inexpensive changes you can make. From fresh paint to colorful gardens, all it takes is a little TLC to make your home stand out above the crowd.

Southern California is the perfect climate for low-maintenance exterior home improvements. Keep reading for tips on how to increase the curb appeal of your home in San Diego.

5 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

1. Power Wash

Nothing drags down the outside of a house more than layers of dirt and dust. Even if your home appears clean from a distance, you will be surprised at how much brighter it will be after a good power washing.

When power washing, make sure to thoroughly clean all of your home’s siding, windows, gutters, and roof. Make sure you don’t skip over any patios, porches, or walkways. Keeping these areas free of debris will show that the house has been properly maintained.

Power washers are available for rent at major home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowes. However, if you plan to power wash your house a couple of times a year, you may be better off buying one rather than renting.

2. Add Paint

A little paint goes a long way when it comes to curb appeal. If power washing revealed peeling paint on your siding, window frames, or doors, scrape away the old paint and give your home a fresh coat of the same color to give it new life.

If the color of your home is turning off buyers, you might want to consider changing up the color scheme. To choose the perfect palette, go for a drive and look for houses you admire. Use these as inspiration for your new paint color.

Another great way to use paint to liven up the exterior of your house is to introduce an accent color. Do this by using a different color on the shutters, window frames, and/or doors. A bright and cheery hue (like Pantone’s 2019 color of the year) will always welcome visitors and prospective buyers.

3. Make Repairs

If you think buyers won’t notice a shabby roof or broken porch light, think again. Before listing your house for sale, it’s essential that you make any necessary repairs to the exterior of your home.

When evaluating your home’s curb appeal, be sure to pay close attention to little details like the condition of the eaves boards, siding that needs to be replaced, the condition of the front porch columns, the state of the window screens, etc.

While many of these repairs may seem simple, they still have the potential to affect the curb appeal of your home. Remember: You want buyers to see all of your home’s positive attributes, not the work that still needs to be done.

4. Spruce Up the Gardens

With warm weather year round, homes in San Diego have the potential for beautiful gardens in all seasons. Choose from succulents, cacti, flowers, and other arid plants to create a landscape of color, even in the winter.

Check out these San Diego plants that bloom in the winter:

  • Sundrops
  • South African daisy
  • Aloe
  • Cyclamen
  • Poinsettia
  • Pansies
  • Snapdragons
  • Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’

In addition to introducing blooming flowers to your landscape, don’t forget to keep your garden beds and lawn tidy. Add mulch in the spring and make sure the lawn is regularly trimmed.

If you prefer to have a more low-maintenance yard, consider investing in a Waterwise Landscape Design. This type of landscaping requires very little watering and infrequent maintenance, saving you both time and money on your water bill.

5. Add Special Touches

When improving your home’s curb appeal, don’t overlook the little details. Here are a few simple, special things you can do that will transform the appearance of your home:

  • Hang a wreath on the front door
  • Introduce a rocking chair or swing to the porch
  • Update your mailbox
  • Swap out your house numbers for something new and modern
  • Place planters with flowers or desert grass on either side of the front door
  • Update the exterior light figures
  • Hang string lights over the patio

When it comes to boosting curb appeal, it’s possible to get a lot of bang for your buck. By investing a little time and money into your home’s exterior, you will be able to command higher offers and sell your home in record time. We know that moving in California can be stressful, so contact our experts for all of your California real estate needs!

Design Trends: Pantone’s Color of the Year – Living Coral

Welcome to 2019! We are starting this year off bright and we wouldn’t want it any other way. Pantone released its color of the year and its a welcoming living coral! There are a variety of ways to incorporate this hue throughout your home and we’ve picked out a few that definitely stand out to us! Check out these spaces for more inspiration!

All images pulled via our Pinterest

Cream and Coral Living Room #CoastalcottagePantone living coral interior decor, coral living room decor ideas #livingcoral #pantoneDefinitely this coral paneled office that will turn you into a workaholic: | 12…Coral room: Zoning homes with an open plan layout is one of the best ways of making the most of your space. Oranges, particularly corals, inspire creativity so are ideal for a living and study area.  Featuring Coral Flair and Malt Chocolate by Dulux.love the coral especially the chair w/ fringe.coral living room. We need more plants.Love it - Pantone's color of the year 2012- Tangerine Tango.

Pinteresting 5 : Spooky Doorways

October is just around the corner so that means all the houses on the block will begin to “Haunt” their lawns! Join the Halloween theme this month by making your front entrance festive with Jack’o Lanterns, bats, cats, and even witches. Check out some of these terrifying front door decor for inspiration!

All images via our Pinterest

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Design Trends: Bold Front Doors

One of our favorite design trends of 2017 is the bold front door! If you feel you need to freshen up your home’s look, painting your door is an easy and affordable way to give it the upgrade you’ve always desired. Paint your door to accent the colors already featured in your home or use a contrasting color for an especially daring look. Our favorite hues to try? Red, blue, turquoise, yellow, and orange!

All images via our Pinterest

Like HGTV’s Fixer Upper? You’ll Love the Design Home App!

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Can’t get enough of decorating tv shows? Dream about quitting your day job to become an interior designer? You’ll love Design Home, the new app that lets you design beautiful interiors!

The premise is simple: enter challenges to create beautiful room designs and win prizes and cash to spend in the app! Use your cash to buy more furniture, rugs, and decor elements to use in your designs. Vote for the best designs to earn keys which unlock more challenges. Keep playing to level up and unlock new items.

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Pro Tip #1: Make sure you sign in every day to claim your daily sign in bonus of diamonds and keys. You need keys to enter the challenges. Diamonds can be exchanged for more cash or keys.

Pro Tip #2: Each day, the top challenge on your home screen will pay you $2,500 in cash for entering a design. Make sure you do that challenge every day to stack your cash to help you win more of the challenges with smaller cash payouts.

Design Home is available for iPhone and Android and is free to play, but does have in-app purchases.