6 Sumptuous Ways To Make Your Home Feel Like a ‘Big Hug’

Albina Gavrilovic / Getty Images

During winter, when temperatures drop, we all want to keep our homes feeling (and looking) as cozy and comfortable as can be—and that’s easily done if you layer in the right fabrics like mohair, boucle, and chenille.

“Soft textiles like these are obviously cozy, but they also provide a luxurious look that makes spaces feel timeless,” says Barbara Karpf, founder of DecoratorsBest. Plus, “The pandemic has only furthered our need to create a comfortable, safe haven in our homes, and using materials like these is an ideal way to snuggle up after a long day.”

If you’re a fan of natural textiles, the winter-weight options below fit the bill.

“These fabrics offer strong fibers that are healthy for the home, plus they add texture, which infuses rooms with dimension,” says Liz Caan, an interior designer with the eponymous firm. “They’re like a big hug—and who doesn’t love a hug?”

If you’re craving a warm and fuzzy shopping spree, check out these decor ideas below.

1. Mohair

Mohair is the crowning touch on this vintage slipper chair.

Etsy

Similar in feel to a very dense velvet, mohair is a type of wool that comes from the hair of the Angora goat.

“It’s incredibly insulating and dense, so it’s well-suited to upholstery use due to its natural sheen and durability,” says Caan.

Our pick: Add a midcentury vibe to your living room or den with this elegant perch that’s been recovered with jade mohair ($500, Etsy).

2. Boucle

Choose from square or lumber shapes in cream or taupe.

Target

Boucle, French for “curl,” is a heavy textile made with looped yarn.

“The look is irregular, and the tiny loops create shadows, both of which add interest and texture,” says Caan

And boucle has long been a source of inspiration in the fashion and furniture worlds.

Coco Chanel was enamored with this nubbly fabric, so she created the iconic boucle jacket that’s still worn today,” says Karpf. “And the womb chair made by Eero Saarinen for Florence Knoll was also covered in boucle.”

Our pick: Snuggle up to this cute throw pillow that sports an exposed metallic zipper with a tassel ($22, Target).

3. Chenille

Chenille is 100% cotton and machine-washable.

Walmart

This pretty woven fabric also has a French pedigree (chenille means “caterpillar”) and can be made from cotton, wool, silk, or rayon. The fuzzy twists of yarn create a raised, tufted texture that’s ideal for bedspreads, pillow shams, carpets, and blankets.

Note: While many of the fabrics here mix and match well, chenille isn’t necessarily one of them.

“It often feels more casual than sophisticated,” says Karpf.

Our pick: The swirling floral pattern on this bed cover is whimsical and feminine, making it a nice option for a master bedroom or guest suite ($75, Walmart).

4. Shearling

Prop your sore feet on this soft-as-a-cloud cube.

Etsy

Shearling is made from a lamb’s hide that’s been treated and tanned so that there’s a suedelike surface on one side. While it’s typically seen on jackets, hats, and house slippers, shearling is right at home as a pillow or throw rug.

Our pick: This adorable handmade pouf comes in pink, red, beige, and white, and could be a sweet accent piece in a baby nursery ($90, Etsy).

5. Twill

Blackout panels are chic and versatile.

Amazon

Twill is a woven material that results in diagonal lines or ridges on the fabric’s surface—and it’s a top choice when it comes to curtains. Twill hangs well, is easy to clean, and won’t show dirt and dust the way a plain weave can. This fabric is typically made from cotton, but velvet versions are also available.

Our pick: These smooth sateen twill curtain panels can block drafty windows and come in four sizes and two dozen shades. Sturdy grommets line the top for easy hanging on just about any kind of dowel ($35-plus for a pair, Amazon).

6. Velvet

Legs with an antique brass finish are a luxe touch.

Crate & Barrel

Plush velvet is a go-to for upholstery, pillows, and curtains, though keep fabric weight in mind as you select window treatments. (Some velvets are heavy, which affects the way it drapes on the rod.)

“The most expensive and least durable is silk velvet, but a linen-cotton blend is better and moderately priced,” says Karpf. Or consider performance velvet, especially the ones from Maiden Home, which is resistant to stains and spills. “This strong fabric is an easy-care alternative that looks and feels just like real velvet.”

Our pick: Consider this gorgeous sapphire velvet couch with a frame made from locally sourced hardwood that offers midcentury design and comfort in one stylish package ($1,469, Crate & Barrel).

The post 6 Sumptuous Ways To Make Your Home Feel Like a ‘Big Hug’ appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

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6 Ways to Summer-Proof Your Home

Not only are we living through a global pandemic, but we’re also living through what is one of the hottest summers in many states. Here’s how you can protect your home from the summer heat and other woes you may face this season.

The post 6 Ways to Summer-Proof Your Home appeared first on Homes.com.

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5 winter DIY home projects

If you’re the type that loves to take on a good DIY project, the winter season can leave your options … lacking. Don’t despair, there’s still plenty that needs to be done around your home even when it’s cold outside. Here’s a list of indoor DIY projects you can start tackling today.

  • Insulate your water heater. A source of heat during the winter, you can reduce your home’s energy usage by wrapping your water heater in insulation to keep your water hot, whether you’re using it or not.
  • Add a programmable thermostat. This one just makes sense when considering energy conservation. Programmable thermostats allow you to control the temperature of your home from anywhere and set preprogrammed temperature guidelines to lower your home’s temp when you’re away and raise it when you return.
  • A fresh coat of paint. Summer is the time for painting your home’s exterior, but the winter was made for inside painting projects. This is an easy way to add vibrancy to those dreary winter months. Just try to pick a day when it isn’t raining or snowing to make your ventilation easier.
  • Clear the clutter. Increase your living space by clearing junk. If you haven’t used it in a year, say goodbye.

 

The post 5 winter DIY home projects first appeared on Century 21®.

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8 Dangerous Mistakes To Avoid When Firing Up Your Generator This Winter

generator mistakesLifestyleVisuals/Getty Images

With so many people spending more time at home due to COVID-19, having reliable and consistent power is more critical than ever. But with winter about to be in full swing—and serious storms already wreaking havoc on parts of the country—many of us are thrust into crisis mode to get the juice back on.

If you haven’t done so already, now’s the time to invest in a generator to restore power to your home quickly. But here’s the deal: This is not a device to learn as you go. You need to know how to run it safely—before you push “start,” and long before the lights go out. Because when you’re in crisis mode, it’s much easier to make dangerous mistakes that damage the generator or, worse, potentially put your family at risk.

Whether you’ve run a generator before or just bought one, here are eight things you should avoid.

1. You neglect regular maintenance

Hopefully, you won’t need to fire up your generator that often. But between the times that you do, you shouldn’t just put it in the corner and forget about it.

“Lack of proper maintenance on generators is the largest problem we see,” says Rusty Wise, owner of Mister Sparky in Cherryville, NC.

To ensure your generator is ready to go, Wise says to check the batteries regularly, and examine and clean the oil and air filter. You should also start it up on a regular basis during the colder months.

“Cranking the generator and putting it under a load is recommended at least once a month to help prevent moisture from accumulating in the windings and other electrical components,” says Wise.

2. You don’t use heavy-duty extension cords

It seems like power failures go hand in hand with severe weather—and pairing sleet, rain, and snow with the wrong extension cords is a recipe for disaster.

Extension cords range from smaller wire 18-gauge to larger wire 10-gauge, says Wise. Wise recommends at least a 14-gauge outdoor grounded extension cord with GFCI protection for generators.

That’s a general reference, as the extension cord length and the amperage of the load affect how much the extension cord can handle, Wise says. Always consult your manual for specific extension cord requirements.

3. You run the generator from the garage

When a storm knocks out power and you have a generator ready to go, it’s tempting to start it up ASAP to restore power.

But beware: It’s not a good idea to start it up while it’s in the garage, even with the door open.

Generators should be operated outside, in a dry area at least 25 feet away from any open windows or doors with at least 5 feet of clearance on all sides, says Austin Heller, product manager of portable generators at Generac Power Systems.

“Generator exhaust contains carbon monoxide, a deadly poisonous gas invisible to the naked eye,” says Heller. “Only use generators far away from any openings to your home, and install a carbon monoxide detector indoors to make sure you’re alerted when CO is detected.”

4. You don’t follow the correct sequence when starting and stopping

Read the owners manual, but generally speaking, Heller says to turn the generator on before plugging in extension cords, then plug any loads into the extension cord.

When powering off, unplug loads from the extension cord. Then unplug the extension cord from the generator before turning the generator off.

“Following these steps will help to protect yourself from electrical shock, but it will also help minimize unnecessary strain or damage to the generator,” says Heller.

5. You have bad gas

We’re not talking about your digestion issues here. If you only started up the generator once and stored it with the remaining gasoline in the tank, it might go bad from sitting, Wise says.

“If you are going to store your generator, make sure to drain all of the gasoline or run it periodically to keep the gas fresh,” Wise says. “There are also gasoline additives that can help to keep the fuel fresh.”

6. You add gasoline while the generator is running

Speaking of gas, the generator sucks down gasoline as the hours go by in a power outage, yet you can’t add more gas at the last minute like you do when your car reaches the empty mark.

“Refueling a generator while it’s running or while the engine is hot could be a quick recipe for disaster,” Heller says. “Spilled gasoline could ignite, and create an explosion. Make sure to turn off your engine and let it cool completely before refueling.”

7. You run your generator unprotected from the elements

In the rush to get power restored to the house, you might haul out the generator in the pouring rain without setting up an area that will protect the generator from the elements.

Generators can be fired up and run during a snowstorm or rainfall, but they should be operated in a dry area to avoid electrocution or inverter damage, Heller says. Run it on a dry surface under an open, canopylike structure. Or buy a cover made specifically for generators.

8. You connect your generator directly to the service panel

Also known as “back feeding,” this connection is extremely hazardous.

“Connecting a portable generator directly to household wiring (electrical service panel) can be deadly to the homeowner, neighbors, or utility workers,” says Heller. “This is an illegal process, and it poses a major risk of electrical fire to the homeowner and any neighbors serviced by the same transformer.”

To get more power to the home safely, hire a licensed electrician to add a manual transfer switch.

“It can be installed to the home’s electrical panel with a manual switch to power everything a homeowner needs backup for,” says Heller. “A certified dealer can assess the home and suggest the correct size generator, while a licensed electrician can safely install the manual transfer switch to code.”

The post 8 Dangerous Mistakes To Avoid When Firing Up Your Generator This Winter appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com

How to Keep Common Summer Pests Away from Your Home

If you’re spending more time outdoors, then you’re probably not alone. Here are some easy tricks and natural hacks to get rid of those unwanted summer pests.

The post How to Keep Common Summer Pests Away from Your Home appeared first on Homes.com.

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The ABCs of Multifamily Cash Flow

You hear the term all the time. After all, it’s an essential concept for apartment investors because it not only reflects the viability of your investment but also its value. 

But what really is cash flow? How do you compute it, and more importantly, how can you increase the cash flow of your multifamily property?

Cash flow is simply the money that moves in and out of your business. For apartments, the cash coming in is in the form of rent, and the cash flowing out is in the form of expenditures like property taxes and utilities. 

Cash flow – or lack of it — is one of the primary reasons businesses, or real estate investments,  fail. Without sufficient cash flow, you’ll run out of money. That’s why it’s essential that you have sufficient capital to not only purchase an apartment property but also sustain it in the event that cash flow fails to be what you projected – for example, if units turn over more often than you expect or rents decline. 

Here are some ways you can improve the cash flow of your apartment investment:

  • Increase rents. This is perhaps the fastest and easiest way to improve cash flow. Consider repositioning the property – investing some capital to improve the units and then bumping rents.
  • Reduce utility costs. Fix leaky shower heads and faucets, which waste water. Install energy-efficient appliances and lighting fixtures. 
  • Decrease expenses. Renegotiate your property management contract, or put it out to bid at the end of the term. Use free rental property listing sites rather than paying a broker to rent apartments.
  • Encourage residents to stay. Moveouts are expensive, so when tenants renew their leases you’ll save time and money on prepping the unit.
  • Add additional streams of revenue, such as pet deposits and rent, garage rentals, vending machines or valet trash. 

The post The ABCs of Multifamily Cash Flow first appeared on Century 21®.

Source: century21.com