Archive for the ‘Home’ Category

Best Housewarming Ideas for Your Friends and Clients

Wednesday, August 18, 2021
Debbi DiMaggio

Quentin Bacon

Your beloved friends have recently moved into their dream home. Now that they have finally settled, they’ve decided to host a housewarming party. And guess what? You’re invited! It’s customary for attendees of such an event to bring with them a present. The only problem being, you’ve got absolutely no idea what that should be! But don’t worry! I’ve made it my business to hunt down the best housewarming gift ideas for your friends. Stay here for a wee bit longer to find out what they are!

Best Housewarming Gift Ideas for Your Friends Hosting One

Before we dive deeper into housewarming party gift suggestions, let’s make it clear that no present is essentially good nor bad. They don’t say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure for nothing. What you consider useless, others may very well consider extremely useful. The following are just ideas of what you could bestow on your friends. Of course, as you know them best, I’ll leave it up to you to decide which one of these they may like or need.

A Bottle of Quality Wine and a Corkscrew

There’s hardly an adult who doesn’t enjoy sipping on a glass of quality wine every now and then. Chances are your friends enjoy drinking it too, so how about gifting them a bottle of their favorite one? Pair it up with a corkscrew because they may want to give that bad boy a try straight away! Choosing the right wine can be a bit tricky, though. Especially if you aren’t sure of what kind they prefer. Try learning of their preference by asking their family members or mutual friends. If you fail to get an answer, skip the wine altogether and opt for a set of glasses instead. Better that than buying something they won’t enjoy even remotely.

Framed Artwork

Are your friends into art? If so, the housewarming party may be the perfect time to gift them a beautiful piece of wall art. If you are close, you probably know what kind of style they lean towards. Try matching that style, if possible, or wing it. Maybe you’ve also got a picture of all of you lying somewhere. Get it framed, pack it nicely, and bring that instead!

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Tool Kit

In an ideal world, homes require no upgrades and no repairs. And while your friends’ house is probably new or at least patched up, that doesn’t mean it won’t ever require work. Should that happen, they’ll definitely need a set of tools as first aid. Be a good pal and give them one! And if they haven’t dealt with fixing up the home yet, offer your assistance as well. Perhaps you’ve got more experience dealing with touch-ups than your friends do. Once you finish that project, help them make everything spotless. The importance of cleaning and disinfecting in today’s age is not to be neglected.

Potted Plants

Flowers are surely lovely, but potted plants are a much better choice when deciding on the best housewarming gift ideas for your friends. Why? Well, for starters, they don’t die as easily. Flowers have a short life span, while regular plants can last for years depending on the species! Not only that, but they’ll drastically improve the air within your friends’ home and liven the whole area up. As a bonus, a bit of greenery can serve as great decor, too, and also brings one’s feng-shui game to the next level.

Pet Toys & Treats

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For many of us, furry friends are considered family, and that’s the way it should be. If your friends have got one or a few pets, they are probably having a hard time adjusting. Remember, even people need time to get used to a new environment. But for pets, that adjustment period is drastically more complex. Most animals are dependent on routine, and when that routine gets disrupted, anxiety kicks in. Show that you care not only about your friends’ well-being but about the well-being of their pet(s) by purchasing some yummy treats and toys. This is sure to bring their mood up and thus, help them forget about the new living arrangement. The one they didn’t sign up for!

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Gifts Intended for Couples

Having recently moved in, your friends have undoubtedly lost plenty of nerves and energy during the process. Now that all of that is over, they deserve a break. So, how about you treat them to one? A visit to the cinema, for example, could relax them enough to get their mind off things, even for just the time being. Of course, you would be the one responsible for arranging the tickets. If they don’t like movies, there’s also an option to get them theater tickets or organize a spa day to relax them further. Truth to be told, a couple’s massage does sound like one of the best housewarming gift ideas for your friends!

Smart Home Features

Thanks to technological advances, our lives are constantly becoming easier. Let’s simplify your friends’ lives by gifting them a smart home device. There’s a vast pool of these to choose from, ranging from smart locks, thermostats, lights, surveillance systems all the way to home hubs. Whatever the choice, I bet they’ll appreciate the added convenience these remotely controlled features bring.

A Gift Basket

Perhaps a bit cliche, but a gift basket is always a good housewarming present. You can put one together by including some or all of the following items:

  • Scented candles
  • A diffuser
  • Essential oils
  • Bath salts
  • Body scrubs and lotions
  • Soap
  • Towels
  • Candy

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The sky is your limit, so feel free to incorporate anything you deem necessary into the gift basket. You can also take to the Internet for inspiration. It is precisely on it that some of the additional best housewarming gift ideas for your friends might pop up.

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10 Easy Ways to Transform an Affluent Kitchen to a Minimalist Kitchen

Sunday, August 15, 2021
Debbi DiMaggio

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Are you considering living like minimalists? If yes, you’re doing a great favor not only to yourself but to others around you.

Starting a minimalist life could be challenging, but it’s worth every second of your life. In this post, we have shared only ten ways to transform your grand kitchen in to a minimalist kitchen. Most of the upgrades are easy to do, and anyone can do them. But there are some areas where you might have to hire a professional.

Let’s begin our journey to living a minimalist’s life.

Tips to Create a Perfect Minimalist Kitchen

Clutter-free Kitchen

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The easiest step to a minimalist kitchen is to get rid of the clutter. And by clutter, I don’t just mean taking out the trash.

Start with cleaning the kitchen from tip to toe. And then take out the unwanted items.

The key here is to get as much space as you could. 

Hide Your Silverware and Dishware

The next tip is to place everything accurately in a comforting zone. Starting with silverware and dishware, assign a proper place for these items. I’ll suggest drawers with suitable cases for each item. If you live in a condo and don’t have enough space in your kitchen, use a combination of cabinets and drawers for the silverware and dishware.

And if you’re still short on space, use some creative ways to store utensils.

Remove Extra Knives

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Minimalists aren’t a fan of excessive items, like knives and other silverware. And if you want to live a life like that, get rid of unused knives and other cutlery.

If you want to keep all of them (and use them often), at least find a suitable case for these sharp items.

Say Good-Bye to Unused Dishes

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Minimalists don’t like to stuff things up. They only try to keep things they use (and we all should be like that). Just like removing extra cutlery from your kitchen, take out that extra dishware from your home. I’m sure there’ll be many dishes that you haven’t used in years, and you still don’t want to ditch those. But it’s always better to keep things simple and clutter-free.

Ditch Add-ons

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Our kitchens usually have more things than we need. If yours is like that, get rid of the extras. If ditching these extras is not an option for you, you could at least pack them and hide them in an unused space in your home.

Hide Away Appliances

Hide Away Appliances

So you might not agree with me on it, but I’m confident you would agree once you hear my justification for that.

Kitchen appliances like toasters, coffee makers, spice racks, etc., are almost daily used items. But they take a great deal of your kitchen’s space. And if I’m right, they also create a mess once you’re done using them (like the bread crumbs dropping from the toaster). 

So to give a minimalist look to your kitchen, you may have to do some extra chores, but it would always pay off once you’ve cleared the space.

So an excellent way to hide them is in the cabinets. The challenge is when you’re living in a condo. The space is usually less. So you might have to think of other ways.

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Relocate Your Microwave

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Microwaves and other appliances are best hidden. Remove your microwave from the countertop and have it built-in –above or below your kitchen counters.

Get Rid of the Knobs

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Now that you have cleared up the mess, it’s time to do the minimalist makeover.

The first thing that you could do is get rid of the knobs and replace them with plain, solid-colored doors without knobs. If this goes beyond your budget, think of replacing pointy knobs with bar handles. And if that still doesn’t work for you, try using solid-colored knobs (or paint them matching the cabinet tone). Do the same with the drawers.

Replace Faucets

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Choose the sleekest and modern faucets to give a more minimalist approach to your kitchen. If you already have one in your kitchen, no need to replace it.

Give an Elegant Tone to Your Kitchen

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That’s going to be one of the best things to do with your kitchen (and it’s my favorite one). Use a solid color palette (preferably neutral tones).

Try using the same color or a bit of variation. But keep a similar tone.

Do You Want to Transform Your House into a Minimalist Home?

Meet Guest Author – Jessica Watson

Jessica is a passionate content marketer, primarily working with real estate businesses in the USA and Canada. She loves writing for the web. In her free time, she likes watching movies and hanging out with friends.

Top 5 Home Staging Props

Sunday, August 1, 2021
Debbi DiMaggio

Estates Editorial Spreads - 10

1. ORCHIDS & HIGH QUALITY FLORALS

Orchids are an incredibly versatile prop. They are beautiful, elegant, and add class into any interior, regardless of the style of home. They will pair well with just about any room. You can add them into a bathroom for a spa-like feel, group them into containers for a grand entryway centerpiece, or make them the highlight of the dining room. Adding high quality florals can be the perfect way to decorate any space, and the variety of flower types and arrangements can blend into any decorating theme.

2. BOOKS

Books are wonderful space fillers and can introduce subtle pops of color into your living space. They can also be used as risers to add dimension to your room by propping other decorative pieces.

3. BOWLS, TRAYS, & VASES

Ceramic containers can add a calming and organic effect to a decorative scene. They are beautifully subtle, and can be just the right touch to bring a room together. Using vases, trays, and bowls allow a lot of versatility. Vases can be used as a creative way to hold utensils in a kitchen and bowls can be used for small plants. The right container, paired with the right filler, can set the scene and create a warm and inviting space.

4. FILLERS

Fillers are the perfect addition to the types of containers noted above. Fillers can be wicker balls, moss balls, faux lemons or other fruits, bread, flowers, and just about anything else you can think of. Fillers can bring a lived-in look to any space, warming up what could otherwise feel like a bare room.

5. LIFESTYLE ELEMENTS

Having lifestyle elements in your home can really set the stage for the theme you want to incorporate. Lifestyle elements are things that breathe life into any room, and help to prevent it from feeling too staged. These can be things such as a teapot on a night stand, a bowl of fruit on a dining room table, little figurines on nightstands, books on a coffee table, etc. You can even add a breakfast tray on a set bed. Use lifestyle scenery sparingly so it doesn’t come off as too cheesy and over-done.

5 steps to a seamless move

Thursday, July 22, 2021
Debbi DiMaggio

Moving can be daunting! Don’t stress. Follow these 5 steps to make your move seamless.

Debbi DiMaggio - 14

So Get Organized and Prepare Yourself

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1. Contact a professional organizer. A few years ago our friend started such a business. Our Sellers in Piedmont were her first clients. She took a 4800 square foot home and coordinated the entire move from organizing to packing, purging and donating to shipping and storage coordination and finally hauling and cleaning, until the home is 100% empty. Kimberly works tirelessly with her clients, our client referrals. Somehow she is able to help reduce the stress of a move tremendously. She provides a schedule and timeline and keeps her client on target. I am not sure how she does it. During the process of this first job our client started referring to Kimberly as her “moving angel,” thus the name, Moving-Angels. If you live locally in the Bay Area, reach out to myself, or Kimberly to hire her, or to obtain a referral. Kimberly is also part of a professional organization called NAPO, the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals. Moving Angels is an approved NAPO company. We refer Kimberly to each of our Seller clients; I am not sure how we lived without her and this amazing service!!

2. Contact your Realtor for a moving company referral if you don’t have one of your own. A good mover is crucial. You will want to work with a reputable company who feels accountable and will do a good job. There is nothing worse than having people in your home and mishandling your personal possessions carelessly.

3. Schedule your move ahead of time. People are always moving, in, out and within town. Be sure to book your movers at least two months out and schedule a consultation and walk through so there are no surprises with time it will take and the cost of the move. One of our more recent moves ended up taking much longer than expected. It happened to be on my birthday. We had dinner scheduled to be at with friends so we had to stop the move after a very long back breaking day to get to my birthday dinner in time. And the next day had to continue the move. We were lucky they were able to fit us in and complete the move for us. Poor planning is definitely something you will want to avoid. In this case it was my fault for not packing enough ahead of time. There are two ways to move, 1. the movers pack you. And if that is the case be sure to allow enough time. 2. You pack your contents, the movers come in and wrap your furniture and move your pre-packed boxes. I always say we will pack, but that has NEVER happened. I should remember this for next time! Note to self.

4. Find a place for your pets to be while you are moving. Moving is not only stressful on the you and your family but for your pets as well.

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5. A soft landing. Be sure your home on the other end is ready for you, your belongings and your family. Do you need to hire an unpacker to set up your household? Are you going to do it yourself? Where will you sleep the first night? At the house or in a hotel? These are the sorts of questions you might jot down and then review with your spouse, significant other, a friend, your moving angel or your Realtor.

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This Blog entry was inspired by my client and friend. She is making a move and had a list of questions. To her they were disconcerting. She was overwhelmed by the thought of moving and didn’t know where to begin. We went for a walk, talked it through and then sat down so I could address each question one at a time. I know our little walk, chat and plan helped ease her stress.

Moving is never easy, but with a plan in hand you can tackle anything.

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Simple Tips for Using Feng Shui In Your Home

Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Debbi DiMaggio

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A tower of stones representing balance and harmony

If you’ve ever considered implementing a more spiritual approach to life, you’ve likely heard about feng shui. While these two words ring a bell in many people’s minds, most are unsure about their meaning. Feng shui translates to wind and water. This ancient Chinese philosophy is supposed to aid in creating harmony and inviting positive energy to flow through our living spaces. To achieve this, one must practice mindfulness and pay attention to details. However, without knowing a few basic principles and the reasoning behind them, it’s unlikely you will feel the benefits. To help you deepen your connection to the world around you, here are 6 simple tips for using feng shui in your home.

Start with your entryway

According to feng shui, your home’s entryway and front door represent a connection to the outside world. This is where new energy enters your life, so it’s easy to understand why you should pay special attention to this part of your home.

To keep the flow of good energy uninterrupted, start by decluttering the entry. Get rid of anything that doesn’t serve a purpose, and make sure to keep this area clean and tidy at all times.

Your entryway should be clean, well-light and tidy.

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Don’t forget to give some TLC to your front door and doormat as well. Doors play an essential role in feng shui; therefore, make sure they are clean and squeak-free.

Lastly, to brighten up the area, consider adding more light fixtures or brighter lightbulbs.

Create balance with colors

An easy and effective way to apply feng shui principles in your home is through colors. It’s widely known that colors have the power to influence our mood and emotions. However, according to this philosophy, they are even more mighty than that. It is believed that you can invite more of what you need into your life by using different colors in your home. Whether you want to refresh your current home or are thinking about a color scheme for your future property, here’s what you need to know:

  • Yellow, orange, and brown represent Earth. Use them if you want to be more grounded and centered on a physical and spiritual level.
  • Red represents fire. It is believed to ignite passion and increase energy.
  • Green symbolizes wood. It promotes harmony, good family relationships, and growth.
  • Black signifies water. Use it if you need to improve and expand relationships with friends and gain more wisdom.
  • Gray represents metal. Include more of it to invite more exploration, creative thinking, and support into your life.

Put your furniture in the commanding position

The commanding position affects how you position yourself in life. To put your furniture in the commanding position and thus gain more control over your life, you want to place it so that you can see the door while using it. However, avoid being directly in line with it. A diagonal position is best.

According to feng shui, you should be able to see the door while in your bed.

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Even though this is a powerful feng shui method, there is no need to do this will all of your furniture. Instead, focus on your bed, desk, and stove. These pieces are essential as they represent you (bed), your career (desk), and your wealth (stove). If the structure of your house doesn’t allow you to apply this tip, don’t worry. Placing a mirror so that you can see the door in it while using these pieces of furniture will do the trick.

Create space by decluttering

One of the best tips for using feng shui in your home is to stay on top of decluttering. Clutter takes up space and thus prevents anything new and fresh from entering your life. By downsizing on your possessions and keeping only the things that serve a purpose, you will create a happier and healthier living environment.

Although not many people enjoy the process, downsizing is essential for many reasons. These reasons are even more significant if you are moving into a new home. By decluttering, you will have fewer things to transport, which is critical, especially if you are planning a long-distance move. Therefore, to ensure a relocation handled with ease, a lower bill from your long-distance movers, and plenty of good feng shui in your new home, start letting go!

Invite life energy by adding plants

In feng shui, plants represent life energy. By adding a little bit of the outdoors into your humble abode, you will ensure a better connection to nature and increase vitality and freshness. According to feng shui, the more water a plant requires, the better. Some good options include chrysanthemum, orchid, bamboo, lotus, and narcissus.

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You can almost never go wrong with plants.

If you can, consider placing the plants on top of your kitchen cabinets. If the cabinets don’t reach the ceiling, negative energy (and dust) can collect in the empty space, which you can easily avoid with a bit of greenery.

However, remember that dying plants can have the opposite effect. Before you go shopping, research which plants can thrive in the environment your home provides.

Maximize natural light

Windows, much like doors, are essential for good feng shui. They represent the residents’ eyes. If they are dirty, you won’t be able to see things clearly. Therefore, remember to keep them clean at all times.

Additionally, clean windows let in more light which is an essential source of energy. Maximize the amount of natural light in your home by adding light curtains or drapes. If you are planning to move, team up with a reliable Realtor, and tell them you’d prefer a home with plenty of big windows. Sometimes you don’t have control over how much light your house gets, so make sure to supplement it with light fixtures, lamps, and chandeliers.

In conclusion

Even if you were skeptical about this Chinese philosophy, after reading this list of 6 simple tips for using feng shui in your home, you probably realize that it is much less esoteric and more logical than it seems. Feng shui is all about balance, harmony, peace, and prosperity. Therefore, even if you are still not convinced, give it a try! What’s the worst that can happen?

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