17 05, 2019

10 things to do when you move into a new home

Apartment Therapy put together a great list of the first 10 things to do when you move into a new home. Check out the list and create your plan to complete shortly after moving day.

Things to do when you move - Living room with wooden arm chair, glass coffee table with green plants and accessories, wall of windows in the background and more green plants.

You’ve survived months (and maybe even years) of scrolling through house-hunting apps and hitting up open houses every weekend. You’ve held your breath through the bidding wars and those scary weeks before closing, and now the deal is finally done. You’re a homeowner—WOOHOO! But before you stick your keys in the door and celebrate, there are a few things to keep in mind. We asked some experts to weigh in on the first things homeowners should buy for their new abode; and some of their answers may surprise you.

Here are the first 10 things to do when you move!

New locks

According to Judy Dutton, deputy editor at Realtor.com and the editor of “The Essential First-Time Home Buyer’s Book,” due out in June 2019, changing the locks should be number one on your list of priorities.

“After all, you never know how many copies of the last key are lurking around, so best to start fresh,” she says. “And make sure to get at least a few extra keys, since they’re often a pain to get later.”

An alarm system

“Safety should always be your first priority,” says Kemdi Anosike of Warburg Realty in New York City. He seconds Dutton’s note of changing the locks and adds that making sure there’s an alarm system in place is also important, regardless of where your new home is.

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Fighting Statistics, home burglaries are luckily on the decline as of 2018. Unfortunately, they’re still fairly common. It probably comes as no surprise then that burglars are most attracted to homes without security systems, according to Alarms.org—and believe it or not, only 17 percent of the nation’s homes are even armed with a system.

Pro tip: Buying a security system could even save you money on your homeowners insurance.

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Updating smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can be easily forgotten, but it can literally save lives. Each year, 450 deaths are reported in the United States from unintentional carbon monoxide (CO) poisonings, according to a 2011 study published in the American Journal of Public Health, and another 15,000 cases require hospital visits to the ER.

Dutton suggests buying new detectors if your home doesn’t already have one, replacing outdated ones, and replacing the batteries in functioning ones, if needed.

A quality bed and mattress

For anyone on a budget or looking to save, Steve Gottlieb of Warburg Realty says you might want to hold off on buying furniture—except when it comes to a bed and mattress.

“It doesn’t always make sense to spend too much money on furniture,” he explains, “especially on pieces that are trendy—furniture doesn’t have much resale value, especially if they fall out of style.”

That said, a quality bed and a supportive mattress are the smartest pieces to go with first, Gottlieb shares. (And trust me, your back will thank you later.)

Looking for the best mattress (but don’t want to go to the store to test one out?) Here, five crucial questions to ask before buying a mattress online.

A comfy sofa that’s built to last

Let’s be real—your living room couch gets a lot of action. It’s where you binge Netflix at night, encourage company to sit whenever you have guests, and pretty much lounge on top of for hours at a time when you’re bored. So it’s gotta be top-notch.

“A nice sofa is the foundation for many people’s living rooms,” says Gottlieb, “not only visually in terms of decor, but also for day-to-day living (and lounging!).”

Looking for a sofa that’s big on comfort, but small on space? These low-profile sofas will make your space feel bigger.

A good coffee maker (if you don’t already have one!)

You’ll be needing lots of energy to get started with all that moving, painting, and sanding. Make sure your coffee maker is up to snuff (and if not, make sure to get a good one, STAT!). Trust me, you’ll be pouring many cups of Joe in the coming weeks/months as you set up your home—you’ll want to make sure they’re just how you like them.

Here are our picks for the best coffee makers, no matter how you take your coffee.

Cleaning and organizing essentials

No home is complete (or make that functional) without some basics on hand like trash bags, cleaning supplies, and clothing hangers, says Dutton. Oh, and don’t forget to buy a shower curtain too, she says, since you likely left your old one behind. After all, “you’ll want to shower without spraying water all over your new floor!” says Dutton.

If you can, spring for a deep-clean by the experts. But only if there’s no construction or maintenance work to be done—then you’ll be stuck sweeping up pesky dust and other debris.

“You can sanitize the carpets by having a specialist steam clean them or by renting a steamer from various local vendors at a fairly low daily rate,” says Melissa Colabella of Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty. “I suggest putting new HVAC filters in as well to reduce allergens and guarantee an efficiently operating system. This will also lower bills!”

A binder for all your important documents

“If you haven’t started a binder during the closing process already, start one now,” says Colabella. “This is where you will keep tax bills, home improvement records, maintenance records, and any other pertinent items for the home. The deed should be kept in a fireproof safe. “

A keypad for the garage door

“I cannot tell you how many times I’ve locked myself out of my house, or wanted to go on a run without the jingle of my keys so I got a keypad installed,” Tricia Rossi of Gateway Sotheby’s International Realty says. “Best $40 I’ve spent!”

Some finishing touches

“I am a big believer of a fresh start,” says Anosike, who adds that there’s nothing that signifies new opportunity more than repainting the walls of your new home or sanding and polishing the floors to your taste before ordering furniture.

And here’s a pro tip to keep in mind: “Don’t forget to take measurements of your space and furniture to make sure it is a fit,” he shares. Because if it’s not, you’re in for a real bummer of a day.

Looking for some design tips? Our staging designer Alicia Sass has offered up some great design advice.

Above all, enjoy this time as much as you can. New beginnings can be scary; but they can also be the start of something pretty great.

source

25 04, 2019

Design Advice for 2019

Spring is here and you may find yourself looking around thinking it’s time for some home improvements! Whether you’re considering making some upgrades with the intent to sell or you just want to make some changes for your own enjoyment, we’ve got the answers for you!

We’ve been working with Harrison Fae to stage all of our listings for the past 5 years and decided to ask them for their design advice for 2019 – here’s what they had to say:

WALLS

Q. We all know that fresh paint goes a long way! What’s your favourite and most versatile paint colour right now?

HF “A nice crisp white is our favourite right now. Benjamin Moore CC-30 Oxford White is our favorite. We love to keep the pallet white and then accent with colourful pillows, drapery and art. If stark white is too crisp for you, OC-26 Silver Satin is also a great colour.”

Benjamin Moore CC-30 Paint ColourBenjamin Moore OC-26 Paint Colour

Q. Let’s say someone wanted to do something a bit more bold for an accent wall? What paint colour would you recommend?

HF “I like keeping accent walls neutral, still meaning a grey or taupe. You won’t get sick of it and you can still accent with great art. HC-166 Kendall Charcoal is my favorite. It is bold and dramatic.”

Benjamin Moore HC-166 Paint Colour

Q. What about wallpaper? Are you a fan? Are there certain rooms where it works better than others?

HF “YES! I would wallpaper every wall if I could. I love to do wallpaper in powder rooms because you can be more bold. I also love to do accent walls in wallpaper like behind a bed or a wall in a dining room. If a client is bold enough to do an entire bedroom or an entire dining room it always makes me happy.”

Wallpaper

FLOORS

Q. Everyone loves hardwood! What colour are you currently recommending that’s in style now and will continue to be a fan favourite for the future?

Light hardwood floors

HF “Light hardwood is coming onto the scene and we love it. It is not only light but it is matte as well. This means that it doesn’t show scratches and it hides dust and dirt as well so it’s a double win to me.”

Q. What about in a bathroom? What’s your favourite flooring option?

HF “I will always love natural stone. I don’t think you can get more beautiful than that. It is definitely a more porous option though, so if you want something durable that is low maintenance then a porcelain tile is the way to go. It is very durable and won’t get marked over time.”

Designer Tip: Be sure to get a through body porcelain which means the colour goes all the way through and is not a top glazing. This helps if you ever chip or crack your tile as it will be less visible.

KITCHENS

Q. We love a countertop that pops! What’s the best option in your opinion?

HF “Everyone is going for a Quartz countertop now which is man made and very durable. There is a new product on the market which is thin porcelain slabs. They look just like marble but they are indestructible which everyone likes. They are thin too so they are easy for the fabricators to work with. Laminam is my favourite due to how real it looks.”

Q. We see a lot of different styles and colours for kitchen cabinets these days. What’s your favourite style and colour? How do you feel about different coloured cabinets for lowers and uppers?

HF “Just like our wall colour, I like CC-30 Oxford White. I think having a light kitchen is very timeless and will always be in style. Two toned cabinets are nice but be sure you are keeping it neutral and not going with a trend to avoid being disappointed in a few years. A kitchen is a big item so keeping it neutral will ensure you love it for years to come.”

White kitchen with marble slab backsplash

Q. We’ve seen a huge improvement in kitchens simply by upgrading the backsplash. Do you have a preference for kitchen backsplashes that make a statement?

HF “We do a lot of slab backsplashes where you take the countertop right up the backsplash. This looks high end and clean. My other favorite is using a slightly patterned tile. It gives some depth and is less expensive than slab.”

Textured backsplash

WASHROOMS

Q. From flooring to vanities, to showers and tubs, there are so many ways to make a washroom feel like a relaxing space. Where do you see the most impactful changes if someone wants to renovate or update their washroom?

Glass shower enclosure

HF “Updating the tile, shower and paint are always a great update. If you don’t have a huge budget, try maintaining your existing vanity and maybe paint it white. If you re-do the tiles it will make a big impact, as well as adding glass to a shower or a tub-shower combo. Painting the bathroom a light colour will give you a nice spa like vibe.”

DÉCOR

Q. Where are your go-to places for all the pieces that make a house a home? We’re talking light fixtures, window coverings, pillows, coffee table books and more!

HF “Our go-to store in Toronto is Elte. They have everything one could want to create their dream home. For drapery we go to My Shades. They can do anything from roller blinds to custom fabric drapery to all pillows, bench seats, upholstered items etc.”

OUTDOORS

Q. With warm weather just around the corner, lots of people are starting to think about ways to bring the indoors outdoors. Do you have any suggestions for making an outdoor space the place to be this summer?

HF “Outdoor spaces are my favourite. Gone are the days of wicker furniture that was “outdoor only” a lot of outdoor furniture looks like living room furniture now and really makes the outdoor patio feel like part of the house. Cozy, inviting and relaxing. Again, keep the pallet neutral and bring in fun colours with area carpets, pillows and inexpensive side chairs. Also, bring lighting in. Stringing lights over the whole lounge area or dining area can create a nice atmosphere for entertaining.”

Cozy outdoor furniture on a balcony

Thank you so much to Alicia Sass, Founder of Harrison Fae Design for your design tips of the year!

If you’d like to learn more about Harrison Fae or book a consultation with them to ensure that your design plan is executed perfectly, you can view their website and get their contact info HERE.

If you’re considering selling your home, we wanted to give you a friendly reminder that we work exclusively with Harrison Fae to stage all of our listings and we offer industry leading complimentary staging to all of our clients.

Want to check out our before and after staging gallery? Click HERE.

Curious to know how much your home is worth or want to learn more about our listing process? Give us a call at 416.465.7850 or send us an email at info@thurstonolsen.com

All photos from HarrisonFae.ca
21 02, 2019

3 Packing Mistakes to Avoid

You’ve chosen your moving company and booked the movers, but there’s one thing that still needs to be done before the big day: packing up your belongings. Before you get too excited and begin stuffing your boxes with all your stuff, make sure that you’re setting yourself up for a smooth and efficient move. Mindless packing can end up taking a lot of otherwise unnecessary time and energy to fix—a combination that could cost you, as you’re most likely paying for the movers by the hour. “Sometimes people will complain and not tip the guys because it took so long,” says Cezar Iordan, owner of Moovers Chicago, “They don’t realize that it took so long because of the simple mistakes they made.”

Red brick wall with a stack of moving boxes on a hand cart being pulled.

So what are these mistakes? Here, Iordan reveals the three most-common packing blunders he sees, as well as the quick fixes to make your moving day as painless as possible.

Packing Books in Large Boxes

Why it’s a problem: We understand—you want to keep your beloved book collection in just one or two boxes. But Iordan says that this strategy slows the process down as huge, heavy boxes are incredibly difficult for movers to lift and carry—not even their trusty moving straps make it easier.

What’s more, Iordan says people often don’t tape these hefty boxes properly—they’ll usually put only one line of tape on the bottom of the box. “They have 100-pound boxes they want us to move and have them in perfect shape when they’re dropped off,” he says. “When you have a huge, large box full of books, the bottom of it will collapse and everything will fall out.”

The fix: Pack books in small boxes and reinforce with multiple strips of tape. While you may have more boxes, it’s easier for the movers, who can carry several smaller boxes with their moving straps.

Not Labeling Your Boxes Clearly or Correctly

Why it’s a problem: Reusing those old boxes from your last move? That’s fine, but make sure that any and all labels from previous moves be removed or covered—multiple labels make it difficult to know exactly in which room it should be placed. “Imagine you’re holding the box and asking a client where they want the box to go, but they don’t know what’s inside so they have to open it up and see what’s inside,” he says. “It will drag the duration of the move out.”

The fix: Cover or cross out all previous labels and put one very clear label on the side of the box, not the top. “Since we use dollies or straps, we carry four or five boxes at a time which makes it impossible to see the top of every box,” Iordan says.

Not Packing Your Fragile Items Properly

Why it’s a problem: “People will put all of their fragile items in a box without any kind of bubble wrap, paper, or peanuts, and expect the items to be in perfect condition after the move,” Ioran says. “That’s just impossible.” The good news? Many professional moving companies (like Moovers) will refuse to move the precious cargo until it’s properly wrapped (but this adds a lot of time onto the actual move).

The fix: Wrap your fragile items with care while packing. “Always, always, always wrap anything made of glass in bubble wrap to ensure that nothing gets damaged,” he says. You’ll thank yourself for putting in the extra time when moving day comes, and the movers will thank you, too.

 

source: apartment therapy

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