February Home Maintenance Checklist


It’s February – winter’s not over yet, but spring is right around the corner. If you have cabin fever from being inside, cleaning and freshening up your house can help you get through this last month of winter and be ready to get outside when spring arrives.

Once you check these items off your to-do list, you’ll be able to relax by the fire with a good book and enjoy the last few weeks of winter.

  • Mop entryway floors. Clean your floors regularly to prevent damage from road salt and melting snow. Place a basket of old towels near the door to wipe up water and salt as soon as it is tracked inside.
  • Rotate or flip your mattress. Extend the life and comfort of your mattress by flipping or rotating it. At the same time, vacuum box springs and the mattress to eliminate allergy-causing dust- mites.
  • Organize your laundry room. Scrape dried-on laundry detergent from the ridges in your washer. Throw away laundry products you never use and replace damaged sorting bins.
  • Clean out your spice cabinet. Throw away expired spices and other seasonings, which may not only lose their taste, but could harbor mold and bacteria.
  • Sanitize hand-held devices. Prevent germs that cause the spread of colds and the flu by disinfecting your phone, remote controls, tablets, as well as your door and cabinet knobs.
  • Dust blinds, ceiling fans and fixtures. Wipe down or use a feather duster to remove the dirt that builds up on blinds, ceiling fans, light fixtures other small electronics.
  • Add color to your table. Treat yourself to some fresh flowers to add cheer to your kitchen table while waiting for spring blooms to make their first appearance.
  • Plan your summer vacation. Reserve your vacation home now to get the best selection of available properties. Start your planning today at Long & Foster’s Vacation Rentals website.

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Upscale Home With Impressive Finishes

Featuring 4 Bedrooms, 4 Bathrooms And 2 Fireplaces!

Overlooking the 7th green at The Greens @ Collindale. Upscale golf course neighborhood in an intimate setting. Beautiful with tons of upgrades! 2 fireplaces: great room and master. 2 laundries, main floor master. Large deck with gas grill looks onto green. 3-car garage. The list goes on and on…

For more information, please visit: http://windermerenoco.com/listing/76083407 or call Kyle Basnar at (970) 460-3033.

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Charming Ranch With Upgrades

Featuring 3 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms And A Finished Basement!

Charming 3 bed 3 bath updated home located in High Plains Village awaits! The kitchen showcases gorgeous granite counter tops & stainless steel appliances, opening to the dining area & family room making the main level perfect for entertaining! The incredible finished basement boasts a nook perfect for crafts or an office, additional bed/bath & bonus room. Newer furnace, A/C & tank-less water heater recently installed. Situated on a beautifully landscaped lot, close to shops & restaurants.

For more information, please visit: http://windermerenoco.com/listing/76077555 or call Rondi duPont at (970) 460-3033.


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Superb 2-Story Condo In a Quiet Neighborhood

Featuring 2 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms And 2 Master Suites!

This property features a unique and fantastic two master suite floor plan! This home has updated fixtures and flooring. Both bedrooms enjoy a walk-in closet and full bath. Large living room and kitchen, back patio, and at the end of a cul-de-sac making this a quiet location. Currently rented through June of 2018.

For more information, please visit: http://windermerenoco.com/listing/76058736 or call Paul Hunter at (970) 460-3033.





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At Least List

2018 is off to a flying start according to one measure we use frequently.

An interesting stat is one we call “At Least List.” It tracks how many homes sell for at least list price.

Because of low inventory in some price ranges and the high demand that exists in our market, many homes sell for exactly list price or even higher.

In February 47% of the single family homes in Larimer County and 69% of the single family homes in Weld County sold for at least list price.

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6 Foyers That Invite in Style

With a side entrance to your home, you can be a little more forgiving when it comes to messes. But with a front-door entry, through which you and your guests get a first impression of your home, you’ve got to be a little more on top of your style and storage game. The following are some of the most popular front-entry photos recently, as measured by the number of people who saved them to their Houzz ideabooks from January through March. Let us know which will inspire your next project.

Entryway 1Jackson and LeRoy, original photo on Houzz

6. A classic wooden bench offers a spot to take off and put on shoes in this farmhouse-style entryway in Utah.

Related: Wipe Your Shoes on a Durable Outdoor Rug

Entryway 2Nicole Benveniste Interior Design, original photo on Houzz

5. Benjamin Moore’s Plaster of Paris paint on the walls sets the soothing tone for this spacious San Francisco entry. A large painting featuring pale swaths of color hangs over a few well-chosen accessories atop a weathered wood table, starting this home off on the right foot.

Entryway 3Brian Paquette Interiors, original photo on Houzz

4. Here, a burl-wood-type table and vibrant abstract art create movement and excitement.

Related: Flower Vases for the Entryway

Entryway 4Tim Barber Ltd Architecture, original photo on Houzz

3. A rich wood built-in helps organize this Los Angeles entry. A frosted, ribbed glass window obscures the view into the living room.

Entryway 5NEST Interior Design Group, original photo on Houzz

2. An eclectic mix of art and accessories beckons guests into this Houston home. A table offers a spot for keys and wallets, while wire baskets below can handle shoes and bags.

Entryway 6Fluidesign Studio, original photo on Houzz

1. Creamy shiplap walls, rich wood floors and a wood console table establish a refreshing air in this Minneapolis home.

By Mitchell Parker, Houzz

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Getting Organized Is Good for Your Home and Your Health


For the last nine years, the HomeGain National Home Improvement Survey has been asking real estate professionals across the country the same question: What are the top 10 things a homeowner can do to get their home ready to sell?

And every year, the number one answer is: clean and de-clutter. In the latest survey, 99 percent of the real estate professionals queried ranked this task the most important. What’s more, they estimated that, for every dollar spent on the task, the homeowner would receive a whopping 403 percent return on their investment.

De-cluttering delivers big benefits to those who are not selling their homes, too. Studies show that living in a cluttered house is mentally stressful for the occupants and often leads to weight gain and other health problems.

So why do so many of us put off this important task? It’s hard work. It takes time. It’s physical. It’s emotional. And there are lots of decisions to make about what goes where, what gets tossed, and more. Worst of all, thinking about it makes it seem like an even bigger project than it really is—which is why experts say the best way to get started is to simply jump in.

The easy way to get started

The toughest part of getting organized is getting started. It’s too easy to say, “I’ll go through that closet later.” “I’ll get rid of those boxes later.” “I’ll donate those clothes later.”

Instead, replace “later” with “now.”

Grab a couple cardboard boxes and spend 90 minutes right now organizing one part of one room (a desk in your study, for example). Once you see that it’s not nearly as tough as you imagine, and actually feels satisfying and freeing, you’ll become energized and ready to take on even bigger organizing tasks tomorrow.

Here are some tips to keep you on track:

  • Tackle one room at a time.
  • Start with the easy stuff. Rounding up the things you know you want to toss, recycle, sell, or store.
  • Finish the task you start. Don’t pull everything out of a closet, for example, and then stop for the day, leaving the mess for later. Finish organizing the closet.
  • Get the whole family involved (these are important life lessons to pass along to your children).
  • Let phone calls and other disruptions wait until you’re done for the day.

Deciding what to keep

Once you make your way through the things you know you don’t want any more (broken appliances, unused gifts, outdated electronics, store returns, etc.), then it’s time to focus on the items that are useful, but don’t get used very often. Experts suggest two strategies. Choose the one that works best for you, or try using them in combination:

  • The 12-month test – If you haven’t used the item in the last year, get rid of it.
  • The cardboard box drill – Put items you’re not sure about in a cardboard box and set it aside. Whatever gets pulled out and used over the next two months can stay. The things that don’t get rescued should be sent packing.

How to handle keepsakes

Now for the toughest decision of all: What to do with those trophies, mementos, greeting cards, photos, kids’ art projects—and all the other things that trigger strong memories and emotional reactions.

First, go through these things and make sure they’re still things you want to keep. Some items may now remind you of a time—or a person—you want to forget.

Spend no more than 30 seconds reviewing each item. If you allow yourself to start wandering down memory lane, your organizing work will come to a screeching halt.

Take photos of items that are bulky or hard to store—especially the kids’ artwork, which tends to fall apart over time, anyway. Once you’ve captured the item in a photo, let the original go.

If there are keepsakes you inherited from your parents or relatives that hold no sentimental value for you, it’s time to say goodbye.

Stop saving so many things for your children. No matter what they say now, your kids will most likely only be interested in a few key mementos when they’re older. Designate a single memento box for each child.

Other people’s belongings

You should not be storing anything that doesn’t belong to you and/or the other current members of your household. Give back things you’ve borrowed. Get rid of the belongings of ex-spouses, ex-boyfriends, and ex-roommates. Get tough with your adult children; your days of providing a roof for their belongings are over.

Working with a professional

A professional organizer can teach you the tricks of the trade, help you make tough decisions about what to keep and what to let go, and consult with you about the best storage systems. Hiring a professional is also a good idea if you’re having trouble getting started or sticking with it. Expect to pay around $50 to $90 per hour for this kind of help.

Some final words of advice

While you’re getting organized, do not allow yourself to buy any non-necessities. Groceries, yes. But say no to clothes, toys, electronics, sporting goods, and other feel-good purchases.

When you’re done organizing, a good rule of thumb is that for every new item brought into the house, an old one has to leave.

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How to Decide Where to Put the Toilet in Your New Bathroom

From the beginning of your bathroom renovation, your plumbers and framers need to know where your toilet should go — whether it’ll be mounted on the floor or wall and where the water supply should be positioned. If that’s not complicated enough, wall paneling, tile installation, shower doors and baseboards will all factor into the equation for your toilet location, too.

Don’t feel overwhelmed — finding the right professional can help you get through the technical stuff, and having a handle on these tips and tricks can help you find a spot for your toilet that works for you and your bathroom’s design.

Toilet 1Enviable Designs Inc, original photo on Houzz

Take Note of Wall Panels and Baseboards

Most toilets are roughed-in 12 inches from the finished wall. This works well for most floor-mounted toilets.

Tip: Some toilets require floor anchoring clips — another limiting factor because it can interrupt radiant heating. Talk with your floor heating contractor before choosing this type of toilet to make sure that the anchors won’t mess with water lines or heating cables.

Toilet 2: kbcdevelopments, original photo on Houzz

What a classic bathroom — I love it. The look and feel of the toilet fits in with the baseboard and crown molding perfectly. I would guess the baseboard wraps behind the toilet for a seamless look.

Tip: It’s very hard to paint behind toilet tanks like this. I suggest painting the wall and installing the baseboard before putting the toilet in.

Plan Out Your Shower First

If you’re planning on having a barrier-free shower near your toilet, consider installing a wall-mount toilet to make waterproofing measures simpler for your contractor.

Toilet 3Beyond Beige Interior Design Inc, original photo on Houzz

Shower doors also play a role in your toilet’s location. To meet building codes, a shower door needs to open both in and out, so you’ll want to take the door swing into account when choosing your toilet spot.

Tip: Work with your contractor to play with different toilet and door locations when finalizing your shower’s size. Use a piece of string and a marker to draw an arc on the floor to show the door swing. This will help you visualize where a toilet can fit comfortably.

Decide on a Wall Mount or Floor Mount

Installing a wall-mount toilet is a chore. All of them require a wall carrier to support the toilet, and some have very exact water supply positions, which allows for little flexibility in location. However, the look is seamless and modern and has some functional benefits as well.

Tip: A standard toilet is 14 to 15 inches high from the finished floor to the top of the bowl (excluding the fold-down seat). Consider a higher measurement of 16 to 18 inches for your wall-mounted toilet if you plan on aging into your golden years. It may seem high now, but you’ll be thankful for the added height later.


Toilet 4kbcdevelopments, original photo on Houzz

Wall-mounted toilets are great for smaller spaces because the tank is inside the wall. In this installation, you can see that the builder brought the wall forward for this wall-mounted toilet’s water carrier to create a ledge above the sink and toilet for the flush activator. Usually these ledges are larger, and I love the smaller version here.


Toilet 5: Fixture Universe, original photo on Houzz

During installation, most toilets are dropped in over two bolts and the bolts are trimmed and capped to keep the toilet in place. Many clean line toilets (which are great for easy cleaning) have separate mounting blocks, and the toilet is screwed into place from the two sides. This Duravit toilet has those great clean lines, but the same easy installation as a regular toilet.

Tip: We have a 10-flush rule with any new toilet. After it’s installed but before using any silicone, we flush the toilet 10 times back to back to make sure everything’s functioning properly.

Note that floor-mounted and wall-mounted toilets come in regular and elongated versions. If you’re tight on space, look for a regular or smaller model.


Toilet 6Bill Fry Construction – Wm. H. Fry Const. Co., original photo on Houzz

Pay Attention to Any Recesses or Compartments

In this photo, the recessed shelves above the toilet allow for more headroom and save space. This clever use of space was no doubt made possible by good planning. Make sure your entire building crew knows about spaces like this ahead of time for a successful build.

Tip: Check that your builders spray paint the framing around these niche locations before any wires, pipes or insulation is installed.

If you are planning a toilet compartment, the NKBA recommends a space about 36 by 66 inches, with a 32-inch-wide doorway. The absolute minimum would be 30 by 60 inches, which leaves just 15 inches of space on either side of the toilet rough-in.

Tip: If you’re worried about the bottom of your toilet scratching your floor tile or hardwood during installation, consider using scraps of Kerdi waterproofing membrane on the bottom of the toilet. Anything that will stick to the toilet bottom — extra peel-‘n-stick tiles, scraps of linoleum, etc. — can work.


By JW, Houzz

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11 Ways to Uncover Your Personal Color Palette

Where do you find the colors you love? And just because you love a hue, does that mean it’s right for your walls? Let’s take a closer look at color inspiration. Here you’ll find tips for how to get your creative juices flowing and zero in on the color palettes that speak to you.


Colors 1Lear & Mahoney Landscape Associates, original photo on Houzz

1. Be inspired by a landscape you love. Choosing your paint colors based on hues that occur together in nature takes some of the guesswork out of paint picking. The beach is the quintessential example of taking the landscape to a color scheme — the hues of sand, water and sky work beautifully as paint colors, as well as on furniture and accessories.

2. Snap pictures of colors that inspire you on walks and travels. Carry a camera and capture those little details that inspire you as you see them. Taking quick snapshots with your camera phone is fine — the point is more in the noticing than in the quality of your pictures. Sometimes the spirit of a place really shines through in the colors used there, so mine those old vacation photos for inspiration, too.


Colors 2Holly Marder, original photo on Houzz


3. Notice the subtle hues that move you. Not everyone is drawn to bold, clear colors; that is only one small slice of the spectrum. Pay attention to the subtle hues and particular shades that move you, as these can become great color palettes. Perhaps you are drawn to the rich browns of worn leather and old wood. If you love blue, is it midnight, pale aqua or French blue? Get specific.

4. Try doing a color-a-day experiment. This practice is a workout for your creativity and visual sense. Look for shades of one color to photograph each day, until you have covered them all. Keep your eyes peeled for pretty veggies in the produce bins, graffiti on a brick wall, a row of colorful binders in your office — nowhere is off-limits.

Related: Energize Your Home Office With Bold Color

Colors 3Envi Interior Design Studio, original photo on Houzz

5. Look to the branding of good restaurants, shops and other businesses. Shops are often great places for finding color schemes, since great care was taken to design them in an appealing way. The next time you walk into a shop or restaurant and find yourself really enjoying the atmosphere, stop and ask yourself why. Take a closer look at your surroundings — is it the paint color that makes you feel good? Try to begin naming what really works for you.

6. Pay attention to shop displays. When you’re inside a shop, pay special attention to beautiful displays of objects and flowers — especially color combinations that catch your eye. Notice which color was used in a larger swath and which color punctuates the arrangement. For instance, you may be drawn to a display of sunshine-yellow mugs, but upon further thought realize it’s the deep blue tile wall in the background that really makes it for you.

Colors 4Shannon Malone, original photo on Houzz

7. Consider the architecture of your home and the region you live in. What colors are typically used to play up the sort of house you have? Noticing doesn’t mean you have to follow suit, but it can help guide you in your process. Southwestern homes, for instance, tend to feature rich earth-tone colors, which complement the landscape beautifully.

8. Aim to complement what you already own. Look at what you already have in your home — do you tend to be drawn to bright, statement-y furniture with bold colors and patterns? If so, you may want to stick with neutral walls that won’t compete. If your furniture taste runs to white, white and more white, perhaps a subtle (but not white) neutral would add interest to your clean aesthetic. Assess the finishes in your home (floors, counters etc.) as well, since you can use them to find complementary wall colors.

Related: Find the Perfect Complementary Neutral Colors to Use Here

Colors 5: Eclectic Books, original photo on Houzz

9. Cast a wide net in what you read for inspiration. Decorating books are wonderful, of course, but also consider looking to graphic design, photography and garden books, and all sorts of magazines for inspiration. Save images that call out to you and begin a collection.

10. Experiment with inspiration boards. A board that works for another person may not work for you — so try out different methods until you hit on something that feels fun. Some may love the physical act of cutting and tacking up tear sheets to a board; others may find that fussy. Collect items in a tray or basket, create an ideabook on Houzz, slide your finds into a binder or stuff everything into a big folder.

Related: Store Paint Swatches in a Brand New File Cabinet

Colors 6Cynthia Lynn Photography, original photo on Houzz

11. Learn to translate what you see. Picking colors for your walls is a highly personal process. The best way to learn about what works for you is to start paying more attention to color … everywhere. Whether you are choosing colors on your own or working with a pro, this will hone your color sense and make picking paint a better experience all around.

By Laura Gaskill, Houzz

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6 Extreme Interior Paint Makeovers

Today we’re looking at how paint has changed your rooms, from the kitchen to the bedroom, from the living room to the laundry room.

Makeover 1: Stephanie Van Dyke, original photo on Houzz

AFTER: Houzz user Stephanie Van Dyke’s newly dark living room walls.

Makeover 2: Before Photo, original photo on Houzz

BEFORE: Van Dyke wanted to switch up these light walls. The new colors are Ralph Lauren’s Smoked Glass and Tibetan Jasmine. “The Smoked Glass is a beautiful, dynamic color that changes throughout the day,” she says.

Makeover 3: Before Photo, original photo on Houzz

BEFORE: Houzz user and blogger c2marsha did not have much love for this pale green color in her bedroom. “The old pale green color just felt really stale and boring; we wanted something bolder but not bright or harsh,” she says.

Related: Add Style and Function With a New Bedroom Bench

Makeover 4: c2marsha, original photo on Houzz

AFTER: “We chose Behr Bitter Chocolate for our master bedroom, which sits on the second floor of our Dutch colonial in Minneapolis,” she says. “We didn’t want our room to feel too feminine or masculine, and we wanted it to feel like it fit us well, which made it very difficult to pick a color!”

The rich brown brought in a modern touch that works with their mix of vintage and traditional pieces.

Makeover 5: Before Photo, original photo on Houzz

BEFORE: Maple trees surrounding the house and the colors on the walls made Houzz user hellovijp’s home in Quebec City very dark inside.

Makeover 6: hellovijp, original photo on Houzz

AFTER: Because one room flows into the next and the spaces were lacking cohesion, hellovijp painted the entire floor the same color, SICO’s Portobello #6185-41. It really lightens things up while keeping the look warm.

Makeover 7: Before Photo, original photo on Houzz

BEFORE: Amanda Haytaian wanted a fresh look for her living room; pink walls and a dated fireplace were no longer working.

Makeover 8: Amanda Haytaian, original photo on Houzz

AFTER: She brought the pink into the room via smaller accents. A beautiful new coffered ceiling and marble fireplace surround freshen up the space. The walls are Benjamin Moore’s Etiquette in matte, and the trim is Benjamin Moore’s Steam in semigloss.

Makeover 9: Before Photo, original photo on Houzz

BEFORE: Becky, of the blog this is happiness, had been dreaming of a whiter kitchen.

Makeover 10: Becky, original photo on Houzz

AFTER: “It’s still a work in progress, but we took our very dark kitchen to a cheerful, bright white,” she says. Kwal acrylic paint in Pure Snow did the trick.

Tip: She recommends having the cabinets spray painted to avoid brushstrokes.

Makeover 11: Before Photo, original photo on Houzz

BEFORE: “This laundry room is a great example of white not making a poorly lit, windowless room light and airy; it just made it gray, dingy and scuff-marked,” says Cathy Zaeske.

Makeover 12: Cathy Zaeske, original photo on Houzz

AFTER: Going for an industrial chic look, she chose a new pendant light and Sherwin-Williams’ high-gloss 6076 Turkish Coffee. The new room is much better at inspiring the homeowners to want to do their laundry.

By Becky Harris, Houzz

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