For generations, people have been saying that "the kitchen is the heart of the home." The meaning of that expression is open to interpretation, but just about everyone would agree that kitchens are generally a relaxing place where family and friends congregate.
Although there are a lot of things to consider when searching for just the right house that meets your needs, the size of your next kitchen and its practicality are important things to keep in mind. If you enjoy hosting dinner parties and family gatherings, a large kitchen with plenty of seating room and counter space is highly desirable.
In addition to the fact that you need space to prepare and serve food, you may also need room to put out snacks, hors d'oeuvres, and beverages. If your objective is to serve meals "buffet style" or "family style," then you'll also want to line up the necessary supplies, such as plates, napkins, utensils, cups, and condiments.
While a large, open kitchen is not absolutely essential to the success of a dinner party or holiday gathering, it does provide convenience, food serving options, and more mingling space. If you end up buying a home with a narrow galley kitchen, then you'll have to rely more on adjoining rooms for entertaining guests and serving food.
On a day-to-day basis, spacious eat-in kitchens are usually much more practical for busy families, too. Otherwise, space is at a premium and family members may find themselves bumping into each other as they prepare meals, wash cookware, or put away dishes. As you can imagine (or have experienced first-hand), a claustrophobic kitchen does not lend itself to family harmony! On the other hand, having a place where family members can comfortably sit across from each other at meal time lends itself to open communication and, hopefully, better family relations.
Other characteristics of an "ideal kitchen" might include energy-efficient appliances, a floor that's both attractive and spill resistant, and sufficient lighting in food preparation and eating areas. If homes you're considering don't have dimmer switches, that's a relatively simple and inexpensive feature to install -- preferably with the help of an electrician. Having the ability to soften the intensity of light will enable you to decrease the room's brightness and transition to a "relaxation mode" at the end of the day. Being able to turn the brightness back up will come in handy for paying bills at the kitchen table, reading the newspaper (if you don't access it online), helping your kids with their homework, or playing cards or board games.
Whether your kitchen requirements include stainless steel appliances, a quartz or granite island with a gas stove, or just plenty of room for a large kitchen table and chairs, your real estate agent will work with you to find the home that best matches your needs, lifestyle, and budget.
Being short on time is no reason to not enjoy a healthy meal at home. These three quick and easy pasta dishes whip up in a mere 30 minutes or less, giving you plenty of time to even to the dishes before you could be in and out of a drive thru lane.
20-Minute Lemon Pepper Pasta with Shrimp
Fast and delicious, this delightfully light and healthy recipe can be made with many staple ingredients you likely keep on hand.
Prepare the pasta following the packages directions. Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a large nonstick sauté pan or skillet. Heat to medium and add shrimp. Cook for two minutes before turning. Add your vegetable/s of choice to the pan along with the lemon zest. Sprinkle with pepper and salt to taste and cook for 1 to 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and drain pasta. Toss pasta with shrimp mixture, cheese and pesto.
Pasta & Burst Cherry Tomato Sauce
This 15 minute recipe is bursting with fresh, vibrant flavors, and is a light and healthy meal that is excellent cold or hot.
Prepare pasta in boiling water and a pinch of Kosher salt until desired level of firmness. Transfer pasta to a large bowl and set aside. Heat olive oil in a heavy, medium sized skillet over medium-high heat. Slowly introduce the garlic and tomatoes and sprinkle over seasonings and sugar and salt to taste. Cook for approximately 6-8 minutes until the cherry tomatoes burst and create a juicy sauce. Top pasta with the sauce and basil. Top with parmesan if desired.
One Pot Tomato Basil Pasta
This one pot wonder will leave everyone wanting a second serving. It’s a quick fix that doesn’t make a big mess and takes less than half an hour to prep and cook.
Pour vegetable broth in a large stock pot, and add pasta, onion, tomatoes and garlic. Sprinkle the oregano and pepper on top and drizzle with olive oil. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Cook until liquid has mostly evaporated and season to taste. Add basil leaves to mixture, top with parmesan and serve.
These easy, delicious, and healthy meals in less than 30 minutes take the stress out of cooking and clean up quickly.
If you're like many busy homeowners, the foyer of your home is sometimes treated as an afterthought. It probably contains functional items such as a coat rack and a place to put shoes, but it may lack the aesthetics necessary to provide an inviting introduction to your home. Fortunately, strategies exist designed to make the most of any foyer. Here are five to help you get started.
Wall art personalizes a foyer and makes it seem part of the home rather than simply being a transition area between the outdoors and the home interior. Paintings are a good choice, especially if you're able to position them in a way that makes them a focal point of the foyer. However, paintings aren't the only option — a gorgeous fabric wall hanging or a creative piece of metal art designed to be displayed on a wall will also work.
While it's important to have good ambient overhead lighting in your foyer for the sake of optimal visibility, secondary lighting provides a warm accent that welcomes both household residents and guests in the home. An attractive lamp on a table is a nice touch, but if your foyer doesn't have the room, consider installing a couple of wall lights.
Adding a plant or two brings life to any foyer. If you feel you don't have enough natural light in your foyer to coax anything green to grow, keep in mind that houseplants such as Peace Lilies and Snake Plants thrive in environments with very little light. If you're lucky enough to have a foyer with a skylight, take advantage of this by hanging some beautiful Boston ferns. Have pets? Be sure to check that your plant of choice isn't poisonous to them.
A Small Seating Area
A small seating area in the foyer can function as a private reading nook, a place to remove or put on outer footwear during times of inclement weather, or simply a place to sit and relax for a moment or two after coming home from a long day at work. Even the smallest foyers can usually accommodate a single chair and a pint-sized table.
Aromatic pine cones in a basket, a scented diffuser discreetly placed on a table, or a plug-in air freshener in a warm, welcoming scent such as vanilla, cinnamon, or lavender provide a pleasant accent for those just walking in the door. Scented candles are an especially nice touch in the foyer on evenings when you're expecting guests.
If you've recently decided to put your home on the market, creating a welcoming entryway is more important than ever. Please feel free to reach out at your earliest convenience for more information on making the most of your home environment.
If fountains are the only elements that come to mind when someone mentions adding water features to your outdoor entertainment area, you're in for a treat. Today's water features come in so many more options: Man-made ponds, water walls, rain curtains, scuppers and jets are only several choices you have when it comes to adding a backyard water feature. Here's what you need to know about each:
Backyard ponds are gorgeous additions to any landscape, rural or urban. To add one, you'll need to excavate a small area of yard, drop in a pond liner, and add a submersible pump with a filtration system to keep water clear and pristine. You'll want to build out the edges of your pond with attractive rocks, boulders and gravel. Plant some pretty perennials of varying heights around the pond, and you'll have a relaxing water feature that draws guests to its edge at every party.
If you've ever watched a backyard improvement show, you've likely seen a water wall. The first step in designing a water wall is to create an eye-catching vertical hardscape for the water to cascade down. Walls covered with pretty tiles, synthetic wood or stone are popular choices. When completed, water is pumped up to the top of the wall, where it runs back down, pools and is pumped back up the top of the wall.
Water walls make excellent features for backyards where the noise of a freeway or a busy city intrudes on your private space. The trickling sound of water is an excellent buffer to unwanted noise.
Similar to a water wall, a rain curtain involves streams of water pouring downward. In a rain curtain, however, the water doesn't run down a wall. Instead, it falls in a sheet from a free-standing structure, pools into a basin, and is pumped vertically to fall again. You can walk through a rain curtain, and this feature is an excellent addition to most pools.
Scuppers are often used in multi-level pools or water features to deliver significant amounts of water from a top level to a lower level. They create sound and movement in your backyard, and are filtered so the water is always clean, fresh and pure.
Laminar jets shoot water out over your pool or existing water feature in pleasing arcs. You can adjust the size of the arc so that it falls exactly where you want. You can also adjust the width of the water spray, or change it from solid to intermittent.
Today's water features are really only limited by your imagination, your DIY skills or your budget, and they go a long way toward increasing the fun and function of your backyard oasis.
Deciding whether to submit an offer to purchase a house may prove to be difficult. Fortunately, we're here to help you weigh the pros and cons of submitting a homebuying proposal so you can make the best-possible decision.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you determine whether now is the right time to submit an offer to purchase a residence.
1. Evaluate Your Budget
If you believe you've found your dream home, you should take a look at your budget. That way, you can verify whether you'll be able to afford this residence both now and in the future.
Oftentimes, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start a house search. If you meet with banks and credit unions, you can learn about all of the mortgage options at your disposal. Then, you can select a mortgage that allows you to pursue a house with a budget in hand.
2. Consider Your Homebuying Criteria
You want to discover your dream residence as quickly as possible, but it is paramount to find a house that you can enjoy for years to come. If you have a list of homebuying criteria, you may be able to quickly determine whether a residence is right for you.
As you craft homebuying criteria, think about what you want to find in your dream residence. For instance, if you've always wanted to own a house on a beach, you can narrow your home search accordingly. On the other hand, if you would like to own a home that has an above-ground swimming pool but can live without this feature if necessary, you should include an above-ground swimming pool as a low-priority item on your homebuying checklist.
3. Assess the Housing Market
The housing market often fluctuates, and a buyer's market today may shift into seller's favor tomorrow. If you analyze the housing market closely, you can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's one. You then can decide whether to submit an offer to purchase or hold off on providing a homebuying proposal until housing market conditions improve.
To distinguish a buyer's market from a seller's market, it generally is a good idea to look at the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town. You also should find out how long these residences were available before they sold. By reviewing this housing market data, you can assess the demand for houses in your city or town.
Lastly, as you debate whether to submit an offer to purchase a residence, you may want to consult with a real estate agent. This housing market professional is happy to provide honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations. As a result, a real estate agent can help you perform an in-depth evaluation of a home and determine whether to offer to buy this house.
Make an informed decision about whether to submit an offer to purchase a residence – use the aforementioned tips, and you'll be better equipped than ever before to decide how to proceed with any house, at any time.