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If you love the idea of living in a home with an interesting history, you should consider buying…a church?  Yes!  Churches provide great spaces for home-conversion buffs, and luckily, there are an abundance of properties available that once were home to congregations. Stained glass windows, soaring ceilings and lavish open floor plans appeal to those looking for an unconventional living space.  Check out these church-to-home conversions:

Church of Living - This church’s architectural details, such as high ceilings and stained glass windows, have remained while a modern interior style was created featuring a white color scheme and wood flooring.  Note the preserved organ and large cross above the entrance.

 

St. Jakobus Church - This abandoned church built in the gothic style was transformed into a modern home while preserving historical details.

Church in South Australia - This charming 1850s church was transformed into a contemporary dwelling with three bedrooms, kitchen/living/dining area, theatre room, patio and garden. It features tile flooring and built in lighting.

      

San Francisco Church - Built in 1909, this church overlooks Mission Dolores Park. It has been revamped into a luxurious residence with wood ceiling décor and exposed brick walls.

  

Churches converted into homes offer unique, spacious and appealing dwellings.  This amazing renovation is available in Christiansburg VA right now:

http://www.desisowers.com/Property/870-Walton-Road-Christiansburg-Virginia

 Contact Desi Sowers for a tour today!

 

 

 

If you are preparing to list your house for sale, you may be wondering if the financial reward will be worth the time, effort and money to fix up things that are in disrepair or that are dated.  The answer to that question depends on a myriad of circumstances such as the current real estate market, the condition of competing inventory and whether or not the renovations that need to be made generally provide a return on investment.

Some home buyers are looking to purchase a "fixer upper".  They are looking for properties priced to sell, perhaps because they don’t qualify for more expensive homes or maybe because they want to make a profit by fixing the home up themselves.  Most fixer buyers want to do simple repairs such as painting walls, replacing light fixtures and putting in new carpet. Only a few want to take a house down to the studs and completely redo it.  These potential buyers will want a price for the home that will allow for all the repairs, the inconvenience of doing the work, and often a bit more.  For example, if a home is worth $200,000 fixed up but needs a new roof, and the roof costs approximately $10,000, a buyer most likely will not offer $190,000 for this home.  The reason is that they can probably find a similar house that already has a new roof for $200,000 and save themselves the headache of replacing it themselves.  A buyer in this situation might offer $175,000 or less, in which case it would make more sense for the seller to replace the roof and sell it for $200,000.

It’s important to note that many buyers are looking for "turn-key" homes.  They fear having to make major repairs because they might be more costly than anticipated or other problems might be revealed.  Even if the price is right, homes listed for sale in “as is” condition might not attract as many buyers.

However, before doing major renovations, there are many things to consider.  Smart sellers will research what their home’s market value will be once improvements are made and compare it to the cost of the renovations. If an upgrade won’t provide return on the investment, it probably doesn’t make sense to do it.  Knowing the condition of your competition is helpful.  For example, if other homes for sale in your neighborhood all have modern kitchens, it might make sense to update yours.  This doesn’t mean you should tear it down and start from scratch.  Often a minor kitchen remodel will suffice.  Also, keep in mind that kitchen and bathroom remodels are known to bring the best return on investment.

Start by making a list of the things in your home that are dated or in disrepair and then prioritize.  Here is a list of 10 minimum improvements to make before putting your house on the market:

  • Patch all holes and cracks in walls and ceilings.
  • Fix all appliances and HVAC systems.
  • Repair leaky faucets.
  • Replace worn carpeting.
  • Repaint dark or marred walls in neutral colors (not white).
  • Replace broken windows.
  • Repair the roof.
  • Change dated light fixtures/ceiling fans.
  • Replace old linens/window coverings.
  • Fix any code violations.

If your real estate market is a seller’s market and homes are moving quickly, you can get by with fewer fix ups, however a home that needs repairs will still deliver a lower price.  If it’s a buyer’s market, people might not even be willing to look at homes that need repairs.  Desi  Sowers can help you understand the current market in The New River Valley so that you can make informed decisions about whether to sell your house “as is” or not. 

Ten Décor Trends to Avoid in 2017

by Desi Sowers

If you are looking to update your home décor, whether to sell your house or just to give it a refreshing new look, here are ten décor trends to avoid in 2017.

Brass

While this metal can bring a shiny appeal, overuse of it may be, well, overwhelming.  If you love this look, try mixing metals and/or using them as small accent pieces.

Edison Bulbs

It seems that designers have become bored with the industrial décor theme, and old fashioned hanging bulbs are out. Instead, try retro lighting that appeals to you and fits with your home décor.

All White Rooms

2017 will leave all white rooms behind in favor of rooms in bold colors such as navy blue.  Navy is the new face of modern design and adds warmth and freshness to previously pristine, yet clinical feeling rooms.

Indigo Needs to Go

This hue has been everywhere the past few years and has worn out its welcome.  If you like this color, try using a variation of blue tones instead.

Sharp Edges

A boxy item here and there is ok, but in 2017 rounded edges and circular furniture will be making a comeback.  It’s time to “take the edge off” and create calm and comfortable spaces.

DIY Everything

If you are a crafty, creative person, there is nothing better than spending a rainy afternoon on a DIY project. But if everything in your home décor is DIY, it’s time to make a change. In 2017 easy and quick crafts are out and artisanal works that require a high skill level are in.

Brushed Metal

With the overall industrial décor trend going by the wayside, it’s time to say goodbye to burnished metals.  Warmer, shinier metals like bronze and gold will take their place.

Smooth and Sleek Rooms

The simplicity of a smooth and sleek room is going to be a thing of the past as we move into 2017.  This year you will want to transform your room with texture adding warmth and charm to previously “flat” rooms.

Oversized Furniture

Oversized furniture will exit in 2017 as space becomes more important in home décor. Space efficient furniture will take its place.

Chevron

Designers are now avoiding the zig zag pattern of Chevron, especially prints that have only two to three colors, which can sometimes look cheap and two-dimensional.

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/Top-10-Remodeling-Projects-for-Adding-Value-to-Your-Home

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/Paint-to-Live-vs-Paint-to-Sell

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/Get-unhinged-3-ways-to-create-visually-striking-doors-in-your-home

Spring Curb Appeal

by Desi Sowers

Whether you have your house on the market now or you are planning on putting it up for sale this spring, now is the time to start sprucing up your yard for curb appeal.  Here are some tips for how to rid your yard of that wild, unattended winter look and replace it with a space that will give prospective buyers a first impression that will have them wanting to see more!

  • Send Winter Packing! Pull out your rake and remove all the debris of winter.  Leaves, pine cones, sticks etc. are not appealing and keeping a visibly tidy yard can make the difference between a potential buyer driving on by or stopping in for a look.
  • Declare War on the Weeds! Weeding is no fun, but it’s a necessary part of maintaining your lawn and garden.  Taking the time to clear your yard of weeds will not only make it look nicer, it will also show that you take pride in all aspects of your home. Six Ways to Prevent and Remove Weeds
  • Time for a Trim! As spring approaches, it is time to start cutting your grass regularly again.  Healthy, even grass is attractive and gives the yard a pleasing appearance.  Don’t forget to trim the edges as well to complete the look.
  • Quench That Thirst! It’s important to keep your grass hydrated.  It will become dry and a dull shade of green if it’s not watered regularly. The same applies to your garden. Pay special attention to areas that are sheltered and don’t get as much moisture when it rains. Watering Your Lawn the Right Way
  • Dress it Up! Planting seasonal plants and flowers will dress up your yard and enhance curb appeal. Look for plants that will be in bloom during the time your house will be on the market for sale. Go to your local nursery and ask an expert what will work best for your space. Crow's Nest Greenhouses
  • Prune Away! Trim back any large shrubs, trees or plants to frame your house in a way that is inviting.  Pruning also encourages new growth, so start doing it a few weeks prior to your selling period in order to have fresh, full plants when buyers start to look at your property. 
  • Mulch it Up! Once you have planted and pruned, mowed and edged, it’s time to spread mulch around your garden beds. Mulch helps to keep moisture in your plants and makes the garden easier to maintain.  Make sure you choose a mulch that compliments your garden type and style.

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/Spring-cleaning-6-areas-to-repair-replace-and-refresh

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/Brighten-up-your-home-and-bring-in-buyers-with-these-easy-ideas

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/12-Simple-Home-Repairs-to-Lift-You-Out-of-Winters-Funk

If you are interested in buying or selling a New River Valley home, contact Desi Sowers at 540-320-1328, and discover the difference she can make during your family's move. 

 

Home Maintenance for Winter

by Desi Sowers

Home maintenance may be the last thing on your mind now that the holidays are over and the days are becoming colder and colder.  Sitting in your home wrapped in your favorite blanket by the fire is likely what you are thinking about this winter.  There is some home maintenance items   you should take care of during the winter months however so that you don’t have to deal with issues caused by not doing so later.  Below is a list of a few home maintenance items you need to go ahead and take care of around your house this winter.   

1.      As temperatures continue to plummet this winter you should do your best to protect your pipes from freezing.  You can wrap your pipes with many different things to protect them from the elements such as heat tape and insulated pipe covers.  If your pipes do freeze you can easily thaw them out by wrapping it in a heating pad or using a hairdryer.  

2.     Another home maintenance  item you need to take care of this winter to avoid issues later in the year is to do an inspection of your roof, your gutters and your siding as well as your chimney.  Make sure that everything is in good working order before the winter pushes your house to its breaking point.   

3.     Winter is a good time to do some cleaning that you might not otherwise think about as well such as cleaning out your range hood, refrigerator coils, dusting off ceiling fans, and dusting off light fixtures and bulbs.  These items typically get overlooked when it is warm outside because you don’t spend as much time indoors when it’s nice out.  Being stuck inside on a cold wintery day is a great excuse or reason to clean these types of things.   

4.     Lastly you might want to take the time you have in your home this winter to de-clutter your house.  Getting rid of clutter will not only get rid of fire hazards but will also make you feel more at peace when you do have to spend a lot of time indoors.   

These are a few home maintenance ideas that will help you to keep your house in good working order for the year to come.   Why not get started now so that you can then have some time to rest before you have to do it all over again.   

4 DIY projects for your first home

by Desi Sowers

 

(BPT) - "Where should I start?" It's a question many homeowners ask themselves.

DIY is a great place to start for new homeowners. DIY projects are very versatile - they can easily be adapted to your skill level, budget and desired project. With a little extra time and creativity, you can transform your home.

Other benefits to choosing a DIY project are that they are typically more cost-effective than the alternative and they offer an added sense of ownership and pride in your home.

Since DIY project ideas are endless, it's important to choose ones that will improve your home's value at a reasonable cost. A DIY project should make your life easier and more enjoyable. These are some top recommended DIY projects for first-time homeowners. They won't break the bank but they will deliver a bang for your buck.

1. Add crown molding or update casing and trim. The addition of crown molding to the top of interior walls is a subtle change with big impact. Casing, which is the trim around doors and windows, can also make a huge difference. The replacement of dated crown molding, casing or trim can make a room look newly updated. Go one step further with a fresh coat of paint on the walls, and you'll basically have an entirely new room. For more information on how to install crown molding, check out these simple steps.

2. Replace doors. Doors are often forgettable, but don't have to be. Replace hollow core bedroom, bathroom and closet doors with wood alternatives for an instant dash of richness. And don't limit yourself to traditionally-styled options. From specialty woods to glass panels, there are plenty of options to choose from.

3. Clean and refinish your wood deck. As long as your wood is in good shape, all you need is deck cleaner and wood stain to turn something dated into the focal point of your backyard. You can buy deck cleaner at your local hardware store. Wood deck stains are available there or at a paint store. You'll be amazed to see weathered wood look like new again. If you haven't cleaned or refinished a deck before, here are step-by-step instructions.

4. Update your closets. Add built-in shelving or simply streamline clothes hangers for an organizational boost you'll thank yourself for every day. Or you can tackle a popular closet upgrade: lining a traditional closet with cedar. Natural cedar looks great, smells great and keeps moths and mildew away. It's a classic and high-end upgrade that's not terribly expensive or time-intensive. When your friends or family open your closet, they will be pleasantly surprised.

Use tongue-and-groove cedar to line some or all of an existing closet. You can leave baseboards in place if they're thicker than the cedar. If not, remove them with a pry bar before the cedar installation. Use nails to attach the cedar to the wall studs, or adhere them with a construction adhesive. Prepare to feel like a bona fide fancy grown-up when it's done!

These are just a fraction of the many DIY projects possibilities. The most important piece of advice is to have fun and don't be afraid to try new things. The more DIY projects you complete, the more confident you'll feel. To get started, pencil in a dedicated DIY day on your calendar and enjoy the process!

Creative raised bed and planter gardening

by Desi Sowers

 

(BPT) - Generations of space-challenged gardeners have relied on raised beds and planting boxes to grow a harvest of vegetables, fruits and herbs — even in the tightest spaces. Vertical gardening gave us a whole new way to garden in tight spots, by encouraging plants to grow up, rather than spread out. Now, by marrying the two techniques, you can create a visually stunning, artistic display of gardening prowess that will keep your table full of fresh produce throughout the summer.

Building the foundation

A well-built, durable planting foundation, such as a raised bed or planting box made from Western Red Cedar, is an essential starting point. Decide where yours will go and start building. You can find free project plans online to help you build the frame for a raised bed or a planting box.

Whatever style of planter you build, it’s important to choose a quality construction material. Western Red Cedar is often the choice of savvy gardeners because it’s naturally rot resistant as well as durable and easy to work with. It needs no chemical finishes or paints to preserve or beautify it, and is harvested from sustainably managed forests. Learn more and find free project plans at Realcedar.com.

Simple steps onward and upward

With a good foundation in place, it’s time to consider all the ways you can turn your raised bed or planter into a vertical masterpiece.

Adding a simple trellis to your raised bed or planting box is an easy way to maximize your growing space. For example, you can plant shrub-type plants like peppers in a row in the front portion of the planter, then add a trellis in the back portion and encourage vining veggies like beans, peas and cucumbers to grow up the structure.

For larger raised beds, you can build a vineyard style pergola above the bed. A sturdy pergola made from Western Red Cedar can support a variety of substantial plants such as squash, but you don’t have to be limited to fruits and veggies that grow on vines. Affix small boxes or even burlap bags to allow for greater variety in your vertical garden.

Loftier ambitions

Is your raised bed nestled against a wall? Or perhaps your planting box perches on one side of your backyard deck. You can add a free-standing wall by building a cedar frame and stretching hex wire across the frame. Vines will readily climb the wire, but you can also attach terra cotta pots to the wire to hold herbs, small vegetables and even flowers.

In a variation on the trellis concept, you can build a framework with multiple rows of narrow cedar troughs above your raised bed or planting box; the troughs make a great growing spot for herbs. You can also create a stepped planter by building a series of boxes in graduated sizes and then stacking them atop each other widest to narrowest. Or, for a more modern look, build a contemporary ladder-style vertical garden with box-shaped removable planters.

Veteran gardeners who are also seasoned do-it-yourselfers can go all out by building a pergola. Western Red Cedar pergolas can go anywhere, take up far less ground space than a traditional garden and are wonderful vertical gardening pieces. Just plant your favorite vining fruit or vegetable at the base of each post and train the vines upward as they grow.

One out of every three American households gardens — 36 million households — according to the National Gardening Association. With 9 million households in urban area participating in gardening, it’s a great time to explore creative ways to bring vertical gardening and raised beds or planter boxes together.

 

(BPT) - Think of a door opening and closing.

Chances are you pictured it swinging on hinges, since that’s how most doors operate. But, more homeowners are choosing other door hanging hardware for a unique look with their interior and exterior doors.

If you’re looking for a way to make visitors to your home say “wow,” consider alternatives to hinged doors for an unexpected twist.

“Once you’ve chosen the door that’s perfect for you, it can be hung in a number of distinctive ways,” says Brad Loveless, marketing and product development manager for Simpson Door Company. “A pocket door, sliding barn door or a pivot door can add some personality and pizzazz to your home.”

Pocket doors

Similar to closet doors hung on a track, pocket doors slide open and closed, but disappear into the wall when closed. Popular in home offices, bathrooms and utility rooms, pocket doors save space and can make a room feel more open. Using a pocket door in place of a hinged door saves about 10 square feet of floor space, notes home improvement expert Tim Carter.

Depending on the width of the opening, you can use either a single pocket door, or double pocket doors that slide into opposite walls and meet in the middle when closed. Because they don’t seal as tightly as hinged doors, pocket doors are largely limited to use inside the home, instead of as entry doors.

Sliding barn doors

Barn doors are a bit like pocket doors in that they slide open and closed, but they’re hung on tracks that are visible. When opened, the doors are located on one side of the wall, instead of disappearing into the wall. For large openings, such as between dining rooms and living rooms, you can even hang multiple barn doors on tracks in order to divide the spaces.

A number of companies offer high-end barn door track hardware, in a range of styles and colors. “People like the unexpected look of a barn door,” says John Golesh, president of door hardware manufacturer Goldberg Brothers. “They’re a great way to add a rustic, yet elegant look to your home. And with the wide variety of door hangers and handles, a barn door can complement any interior décor.”

In addition to the chic look barn doors offer, homes for sale with “barn door” in their listing sold for 13 percent more than expected and 57 days faster, according to research by Zillow Diggs.

Pivot doors

Common in ancient buildings, pivot mounted doors are virtually unseen in North American homes. For homeowners who want an element of surprise, a pivot door is a good choice. In place of hinges or overhead sliders and tracks, pivot doors rotate open and closed around pins installed in the top and bottom of the door frame. The pins are set several inches in from the door frame, depending on the door’s size.

“For high-end homes with extra-wide doors, pivots are a great way to handle the additional weight, and will be unlike anything your visitors have seen before,” Loveless says. “We are making many different super-sized doors for this exact application.”

Some of these doors are huge — measuring up to four feet wide or more. As “large, simple rectangles,” pivot doors can be designed to look like the surrounding wall, so fit well in modern style homes, notes architect Bud Dietrich. Unlike pocket doors and barn doors, pivot doors can seal tightly to their frame when closed, so can be used as entry doors.

Upcycle your summer treasures with these 5 DIY tips

by Desi Sowers

 

(BPT) - The months of summer are a perfect time to hunt for hidden one-of-a-kind treasures buried in neighborhood yard sales. Whether it's an old wooden dining chair, coffee table or bookshelf, there is beautiful potential in what others view as old and outdated. And with just a few handy touch-ups, it's easy to transform yesterday's furniture trends into today's style. Follow these five steps to begin your DIY furniture makeover today.

*Lose the dirt and return the natural shine. A dry microfiber cloth is all you need to remove dust and loose dirt. If the wood appears dull or faded, create a polishing solution of half olive oil and half white vinegar to restore its natural shine. Apply the mixture with a cheese cloth and use a clean soft cloth to blot any excess liquid.

*Repair the imperfections. Even wooden furniture with gouges or scratches can be restored to its former glory. Apply DAP Plastic Wood All-Purpose Wood Filler and simply wait for the filler to dry before sanding, painting and staining. If you're a beginning DIYer, take advantage of new Plastic Wood-X, which goes on pink and dries natural to signal when it's time to move to the next step - taking the guesswork out of drying time. Both of these wood fillers dry with minimal shrinking and no cracking, are low in odor, and clean up easily with water.

*Enhance the color. After the wood filler dries, sand and stain the area to create an invisible repair. If you wish to paint the furniture, sand the entire table or chair to prepare the wood for new primer and paint. White paint gives traditional-style furniture a vintage touch, while adding designs with clean lines provide a more contemporary edge. Bold colors, such as turquoise, can also transform your new furniture to become a statement piece in the home.

*Add your personal touch. Along with saving money and helping the environment, upcycling furniture is beneficial because it provides an opportunity to create truly one-of-a-kind designs. Furniture stencils make it easy to restore wooden pieces with eye-catching patterns, or you can add prints using fabric and wallpaper. If you prefer a simple style, a fresh coat of paint and new hardware are all you need to update a table or dresser.

You can even repurpose furniture to achieve a unique look. A small TV stand can become your bedroom's nightstand. An old wooden changing table might be the perfect place to display your succulents and herbs. Get creative and try out a few different ideas to discover the best use for your new find.

*Keep a repair kit on hand for later. Most wooden furniture will likely need a touch-up from time to time. With DAP's Wood Finish Repair Kit, you can repair and restore the furniture you already have when scratches, small nail holes or other minor blemishes appear.

Don't let the small imperfections turn you away from bringing a beautiful piece of old furniture into your home. By following a few easy steps, you can breathe new life into any wooden furniture you find this summer. To learn more about Plastic Wood, Plastic Wood-X and other DAP products, visit www.dap.com.

Spring cleaning: 6 areas to repair, replace and refresh

by Desi Sowers

(BPT) - Spring is one of the most popular times of year to clean up your home inside and out, make renovations and take steps to ensure it operates efficiently for the rest of the year. But after the long winter months, the list of projects can pile up. This year, focus on six key areas to repair, replace and refresh around your house now — to avoid spending more time and money later.

1. Repair your roof and gutters. Inspect the roof to check for loose or cracked shingles. Also, be sure to look at indoor ceilings for any signs of water leakage and get started on repairs before more damage occurs. Take a look at the gutters to see if there are areas in need of repair as well, and tackle them now before there’s too much rain.

2. Repair and reseal your deck. Remove debris and sweep the deck clean. Fix broken or bent boards and pushed up nails. Choose a cleanser formulated for your deck surface — whether for wood or composite — and apply a new coat of sealer and stain. A local home improvement center can advise you on formulations for your particular needs.

3. Replace your furnace. As you make home upgrades, this is also a good time to upgrade your furnace for greater home comfort and lower energy bills. For example, American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning’s Gold S9V2 Gas Furnace is extremely efficient in heating your home and offers quiet operation. Standing at just 34 inches high by 17-1/2 inches wide, it’s compact enough to fit in tight spaces, like a closet or basement. And with a 96 percent gas efficiency (AFUE) rating, it’s one of the most efficient furnaces on the market.  

4. Replace windows and doors. Older windows can let unwanted air and moisture into your home. Installing newer, more efficient models will not only save money on cooling in summer and heating in winter, but they can bring the look of your home up to date. Replacing your front door in a great color and style can also add to your home’s efficiency and instantly add curb appeal.

5. Refresh with paint. There’s nothing like a new coat of paint to transform and update the look of a home. It’s also one of the easiest and most economical home improvement projects you can undertake. Check out your local paint store for ideas and suggestions to help you visualize your home in fresh new colors.

6. Refresh your indoor air. The spring and fall months can trigger allergies, so consider adding an indoor air cleaner. An American Standard AccuClean whole-home system, for instance, can remove up to 99.98 percent of airborne particles and allergens such as pollen, dust mites, mildew, pet hair and dander and fungus and bacteria, so everyone in your home can breathe easier.

Lastly, renew your commitment to home maintenance by creating a yearly schedule of home projects. Mark your calendar with target dates to remind yourself to complete key tasks — including what to focus on for the next season, before the colder months arrive.  

 

Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 60

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