It’s all about the relationship

When our friends Curt and Erin offered to help, we told them “no.” After all, while we hope that this house makes an incredible new home for a family, the bottom line is we hope to make some money on it. We couldn’t dare take help from friends when we’re in it for the profit. We wouldn’t want to jeopardize that relationship.

“I’m confused,” she said. “We could spend an enjoyable evening or afternoon visiting with you while we work on the house.”

They showed up with pizza and gloves and set to work.



And it clicked. It wasn’t necessarily about the task at hand. It was all about relationship.

Relationship is why our friends Matt and Deb helped us install the floor in the home we live in. And it’s why we helped them with the floor in their old home. It’s why we made umpteen trips to Goodwill when they downsized and handed them the keys to our truck.

Relationship is why Curt tore out the tile in the bathroom for us. It’s why Todd and Matt painted all of those edges. They know I don’t do edges!

 

Relationship is why Lori picked up the wallpaper steamer and helped peel some for a little while. And it’s why we painted Lori’s bedroom three years ago.

Relationship is why Jen and Erin worked on that fireplace. And I still don’t know if I’m going to like this whitewashed looked. But, we’re only one coat in so we’ll see.

Relationship is why Crystal came out and took pictures, then asked her architect friend if we could tear out that wall.

It’s not about the money at all.

If you decide to take on a daunting task and you’re friends offer to help, say yes.  You may find more blessings than elbow grease.



Landscape tips to get the most out of selling your home

Editor’s note: We’re excited to have expert guest writer for this post!

By Joe Turpin, Fralich’s Landscape

For most homeowners, selling a home requires touching up the paint and minor cosmetic work inside the house.  What most homeowners don’t think about however is that the first thing any potential homebuyer sees is the exterior entrance to the house.

Here are some tips to help make your curb appeal, more appealing.

Clean-up

The easiest way to tidy up your curb appeal and maximize your dollars is by cleaning up the existing landscape.

Tidy up all plant material by pruning and cutting out any dead branches.

Power-wash decks and walks (just be careful that you don’t strip paint or gouge hardscape surfaces).

Putting down pre-emergent in early spring will help control weeds. Pre-emergent stops weeds from germinating.  Note: DO NOT USE IT if you’re trying to re-seed your lawn.

Remove any dead or overgrown plants. These will make the property look like it has been neglected.



Mulch, mulch, mulch. Fresh mulch has the same effect as new paint. It will liven and clean up your landscape beds.

Make sure you look up while cleaning, messy gutters and chipping paint can ruin the cleanest of landscapes.

Remove Yard Art

Keep your landscape as simple as possible.  Try to remove any yard decorations and novelties.  Buyers tend to go off of their first impression, what may be cute or chic to you may make your landscape look cluttered.

Draw the eye to the entry way

Having had several years in design, the first thing I think about when working on a front yard landscape is the direction of movement your eye takes to the front door.   Subconsciously, when the eye is drawn to the front door, the house seems more inviting.

The easiest method to achieve this is by using the plants from tall to short and repetitive plantings or hedges to move the eye to the door.  You can also use landscape lighting to highlight the front door at night. Yes, potential buyers will drive by your home at night. (See Landscape Lighting Below).

Add color and interest

Adding decorative pots with colorful annuals can really make an impact in the front yard without breaking the bank.  Be sure to give yourself enough time to allow plants to grow before listing.  Add a slow release fertilizer to the soil to increase plant size and remember to water regularly.

Lawn Maintenance

Make sure you keep the lawn mowed and somewhat weed free.  An unkempt lawn will give the appearance of a poorly maintained home.  The easiest method to remove weeds is to use a hose attachment pre-mixed lawn spray.  Most big box stores carry this and it is fairly simple to use.  Expect the weeds to start to disappear after a week.

If your yard is mostly weeds, be ready to grow grass.  Start by killing the weeds first.  You will want to wait at least a week to let the residual weed killer to wear off.



If you are near a rental store, a slice seeder is the best method to reseed your yard.  The slice seeder will put grooves into the yard and drop the seed.  This will keep you from needing to use straw.  Apply a turf starting fertilizer to push the new growth.

Pro-tip:  Most landscape companies use a mixture of bluegrass and rye grass.  Bluegrass takes 2 weeks to germinate so the rye grass is mixed in to establish a lawn faster until the bluegrass takes over.

Landscape Lighting

Adding exterior lighting to the landscape will give a sense of a security to your for potential buyers.  You can also use the lights to highlight the front door and draw buyers to the door at night.  Be sure to use low voltage lighting or led rather than bright fixtures.  The ultimate goal is to highlight the landscape not showcase it like a billboard.

Use landscape lights to highlight areas of interest such as ornamental trees, line pathways for visibility at night and add security by lighting dark areas around windows and back yard access.



Joseph R. Turpin is a student of Landscape Architecture with 10 years of design experience, 15 years of landscape experience and is a current designer for Fralich’s Landscape of Greenfield, Indiana.

Aaron Fralich is the owner of Fralich’s Landscape with 10 years experience in the landscape industry with a background in Agriculture

Connect with Fralich’s Landscape: www.fralichlandscape.com,  317-477-0405, www.facebook.com/fralichs

Connect with 317MulchIt: www.317mulchit.com, 317-685-2448, www.facebook.com/317mulchit

 

Picture Credits:  all pictures are free to use from the Pixabay website or stock photos from Fralich’s Landscape.




Ugh! Why is it taking so long?

Today marks three weeks since we closed.

Just 21 days.

I know that’s not very long. But yet I feel defeated, tired, like there’s no light at the end of this remodeling tunnel. I feel like we’ll never get this home finished.

Here I thought I was a somewhat patient person. As a career photographer and videographer you have to have some patience, you know, waiting for that decisive moment to make the picture. Somehow I thought it would transfer over. The patience. But noooooo, it didn’t.



Regular readers of this blog know that I like to do things fast. I wrote a whole post on it: I have a confession to make Oh, and I’m still not going near those edges. Here’s a look at the ceiling in the family room. Aren’t those beams beautiful? Original wood, don’t think we’ll be painting those. Squirrel!

Where was I? Oh yeah. But you can’t flip a home fast. Not if you’re going to do it right. And our goal is to create a home we’d live in. We’re not just slapping paint on the walls, rolling out new carpet and calling it a day. No way.  It takes time to do it right.



We are making progress though. We’ve already gutted and remodeled the master bathroom, the Mister is still putting finishing touches on it. I’m in the process of painting the cabinets. Boy, what a tedious job! And we’ve taken out one wall, and expanded a doorway.

And, we’ve scrapped more wallpaper than we thought was humanly possible. When we took the chair rail off in the dining room we found even more! Ugh!

We’ve removed the kitchen floor, yuck! That was a smelly job!

And, picking out this much paint takes time.

Choosing the right paint is really hard for us. Because, like I said, we want to make this home into something we’d like. But with the paint color selection we have to TONE IT DOWN.

The home we live in is filled with bright, bold colors.  Here’s a very flattering picture of me in front of two walls in our home. Our kitchen wall is bright yellow and our living room was green screen green.

Yes. It’s true. We painted our wall green screen green. It was both bright and functional. (We filmed a few scenes on it, check it out below around the 4:05 mark.)

We’ve since painted that wall orange. So, as you can imagine, it’s hard for us to tone it down!

I think we did ok though finding neutral colors. When the “after” happens, I’ll be sure to share pictures!

I just wish the “after” would hurry up and get here already!



 

 

 

 

 

What classic 80s song is perfect for remodeling a home?

You gotta have great tunes when doing home improvement!  Everybody knows, hard work, like remodeling your home is just no fun without music.

So, what 80s rocker is perfect for playing when you go into demo mode?

I’ll give you a hint, he’s a Hoosier native. Give up? Watch this!

You get extra points if you can tell me what song opens and interrupts this video.

Comment below for a gold star.

 




9 Tips for removing wallpaper

I’m going to say it. I hate wallpaper. It’s too permanent for my tastes. It’s hard to put on, it’s hard to take off. It dates a house after just a few years. The flipper house has two whole rooms of wallpaper. The dining room and family room. And the people who put it up were very good at it! Here’s my tips for removing wallpaper.

1 Buy a scoring tool. This tool is used to put tiny cuts into the paper so when you apply the water, steam, or chemical to the outside it can get between the paper and the wall to loosen the paper. We’ve had the red one, made by Zinsser, for about a dozen years. And it still works great! Now, we haven’t used it every year but we’ve used it about half a dozen times and it’s still cutting like new.

The orange one, made by WP Chomp, we bought for this job. It lasted about three swirls around. It was junk. We returned it. Spend the extra 12 cents and go with the Zinsser.

2 Buy a scraper. Previously I used a putty knife because I’m so cheap. This week the Mister went behind my back and bought a scraper. And boy am I glad he did. It had a more ergonomic handle than my old putty knife and my hands were very thankful.

3 Rent a steamer. I thought we could get by without one, remember, I’m a cheap skate. But I’m so glad we got our hands on one. It made our work go so much faster! To save on the time we had it, we used it just to get the outside layer off. Be careful with the steamer, follow all the directions carefully. It gets very HOT. I know, Mr. Obvious. 

4 Skip the chemicals and make your own remover solution. I mix hot water and cheap fabric softner together and put it in a spray bottle. I’ve seen some posts that use vinegar. Spray an area, wait about 4-5 minutes, then spray the next area and scrap the first area. Repeat. The recipe I use varies. Usually it’s 1:1 fabric softner and water. As I start to run out of softner the ratio shifts and it still works.



5 Use a drop cloth. Live and learn, you can see we didn’t. We left the tack strips in because we plan to install carpet in this room. It made a huge mess, and this picture was taken after I swept up!

6 Protect your trim. If you don’t cover it, be sure to wipe it down as you work. The water or chemicals can ruin it.

7 Protect yourself. One of my besties was over helping me and she took one look at the walls and said, “you have to wear rubber gloves.” Our walls are heavily tobacco stained. She sited a recent case of a man who was restoring a bar and ended up in the hospital with nicotine poisoning. She’s a doc so it wasn’t some fake news story she read somewhere. It was legit.

8 Speaking of besties. Ask your friends for help. It’s always more fun working with a team than alone. And believe it or not, pealing wallpaper can be somewhat soothing.




9 Gotta have the tunes playing. The old CD player filled the rooms with Michael Martin Murphey’s Cowboy Songs; Mary Mary’s The Sound; Don Henley’s Building the Perfect Beast; and a mix tape featuring old school Newsboys our son made for me. I ventured away from memory lane for a bit to treat my ears to some new AA Sound of the Saints. That’s an incredible record! Their title track features images from their trip to Haiti. It just touches my heart so much. I love and miss our Haitian family.  Perhaps I’ll more about that another time.

What tip did I leave out? I’d love to hear from you!





 

 

I have a confession to make.

I remove wallpaper like I mow my lawn.

We have an awesomely big, zero-turn radius riding mower. It literally cut our mowing time in half when we bought it however many years ago. It’s wide, so it cuts a lot of grass at a time, and it’s fast, so you, well, you get to go fast! My personality is that I don’t do things slow, I go fast.

I’d rather barrel race than pleasure ride.  

I’d rather wakeboard than kayak.

I’d rather snorkel than sunbathe. 

I’d rather TobyMac than Hillsong.

The fast isn’t the issue, the issue is the wide. With a wide mower is it’s hard to take care of the tight spots or get close to the edges. For example, it doesn’t fit between the tree and the fence on both sides of our yard. And, it doesn’t do well around the frame that holds up our bench swing. So, I just do the middle and leave the edging to the Mister.


I found myself doing the same thing with the wallpaper removal. I was fine taking down the big middle parts, but those tight spaces between the window trim and the ceiling? Forget it. And don’t even talk to me about the space between the security system and the door frame. No way. I haven’t broken the news to the Mister yet. But I’m sure in, his heart of hearts, he already knows he’ll have to do the wallpaper edges for me. I’m thankful he’s a patient man. Bless his heart.

Now it’s your turn, which would you rather?

Coming soon: Tips for wallpaper removal.

Ew, what’s that smell?

Pet urine, that’s what. It’s a good thing this blog isn’t Scratch ‘n’ Sniff, just sayin’.

The last family that lived in the flipper wasn’t, how do I put this politely?, um, they weren’t good about putting Rover and Spot out to do their business. Thankfully the seller ripped out most of the carpets before we bought it, but the smell still lingered.

So, first things first, cover the subfloors with Kilz. After covering the family and dining rooms with a good layer of the magical solution, the smell in the house got so much better. It was a big area, here’s a before picture.

I know what you’re thinking, we must keep that sexy wallpaper!

As you can see, it’s a big area and the house immediately smelled so much better! I was thinking, “maybe that’s the only place we have to worry about.” Um, no. When we walked into the kitchen, it smelled like we were walking into a kennel. Ugh.

We had to do something about the kitchen. Pronto! Stat! Fast! Now!

It had this fantastic laminate tile, at least I think it’s laminate, it might be vinyl, here, see for yourself.

I asked the Mister if we could do the kitchen floor next. I’d need him to help me get that tile up and out of there.

He said, “no, we have a master plan, it will have to wait.” So, wait I did, for FOUR WHOLE DAYS! Then, while the Mister was in the back of the house working on his custom-tiled, master shower, featuring Italian tile, I tossed our plan out the window. I had to get that nasty floor out of the kitchen.

Armed with my mask, a box cutter and a crowbar I pushed play on the CD player and the air filled with vintage Audio Adrenaline. Underdog was one of my first Christian records and is still one of my favorites. But I digress. Squirrel!

Anyway, while he was distracted, I went to work on that floor. Surely the smell couldn’t get any worse.




After I pulled the first two tiles up I couldn’t believe my eyes and nose. The smell got worse. The linoleum underneath was wet! Wet with pet urine! How long had that been trapped in there? Did I mention it was still wet? Ew, yuck, gag!

I was praying the urine hadn’t found a way through to the subfloor and those prayers were answered, whomever installed it did a great job! Our subfloors were safe from the damaging effects of the urine.

Removing the tiles and tearing up the linoleum was hard work but I persevered and I got most of it up. And, the Mister didn’t blink an eye when I enlisted him to help carry out the discarded floor. I think he knew I might not follow all the rules. Bless his heart.