Top 16 “Quick Picks” for Adding Value to Your Home (Part 2)

Get ready for another eight ideas to spark your Do-It-Yourself imagination with the second part of our top 16 list of “Quick Picks” for adding value to your Edmond, Oklahoma home.

  1. Finish the basement.  Take that unused, un-inviting space and transform it with a bar area, seating, and welcoming décor.
  2. Add a deck.
  3. Do a major bath remodel.  Turn that master bath into an oasis, adding his and hers sinks, separate shower stall, and a relaxing garden tub.
  4. Paint.  Inside or outside.  It is the least expensive, greatest bang-for-your buck improvement you can do.
  5. Renovate the attic.  Of course you have to have the space to start with, and if so, add some windows and turn that unused space into a small bedroom suite.
  6. Build up.  Add a second floor and double the living space of your ranch style home.
  7. Add a bath.  No one ever said “This house has too many bathrooms.”
  8. New roof.  Keeps the inside dry and looks great to potential buyers from the street.

Top 16 “Quick Picks” for Adding Value to Your Home (Part 1)

There are lots of home improvement projects for all our Edmond, Oklahoma DIYers that add both functional value to your home today and resale value down the road.  To spark your creative homemaking, here’s part 1 of our 2 part “Quick Picks” list of the top 16 home improvement projects that add value to your home courtesy of our friends at HGTV.

  1. Home office remodel.  More and more folks are working at home.  Make your home work space more appealing to potential home buyers.
  2. Add a sun room (and in-turn add attractive, usable square footage).
  3. Renovate your master suite with an open, cozy feel.  Be sure to include some killer closet space.
  4. Family room.  Take a slice of your open floor plan and turn it into additional, inviting family space.
  5. Spruce up the yard.  Make the back yard an entertainment destination at your home by adding luscious plants, seating and maybe even a water feature.
  6. Kitchen remodel.
  7. Make sure any additions blend with the original house design.
  8. New windows help save on energy bills AND let buyers know that you have taken care of the home.

‘Tis the Season

Before we plunge into the holiday season we want to send a gentle reminder out to all our Edmond and Greater Oklahoma City friends and family:  ’Tis the season to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors.  While you’re out on Black Friday why not pick up a couple extra packs of nine volt batteries to swap out with the tired old used ones that have done their job well over the last year?  So here’s the first of our holiday wishes:  That while the turkey is baking you go ahead and walk your home, count the number of smoke detectors you have combined on all levels, add replacement back-up batteries to your Black Friday’s shopping list, and have a happy and safe holiday season!

Walk-In Closet Woes

If your Edmond or Greater Oklahoma City walk-in closet is more like an obstacle course and less like an organized repository for your wardrobe you might want to try some of our closet makeover tips.

According to this video people only wear 20% of their clothes 80% of the time.  That means 80% of your clothes are either out of fashion, do not fit, or no longer appeal to you.  Go through that 80%, decide what you can do without, and make a nice donation to a local charity.  Purging helps to clear away clutter and free up space your favorite apparel.

Box seasonal clothing up in plastic bins and stack (safely) overhead on shelves.  Plastic bins and containers allow you to see at a glance what’s inside while keeping seasonal clothing dust free for months.  Luggage and weekend bags should be stored overhead and out of the way as well.

Shelving should be only as deep as a folded sweater (approximately 12 inches) so space is not wasted.  Use baskets and drawers for smaller items like rolled ties, socks and underwear, and position them low enough on the wall so you can see inside easily.  Empty spaces on shoe racks like these can hold scarves, belts, or other small accessories, and if you have more shoes than space on your shoe rack less bulky footwear like flip-flops, sandals, and flats can go two pair to a slot.

Check and Seal Drafty Windows

Do you remember that old black and white movie where the heroine walks by candlelight through the spooky Edmond or Greater Oklahoma City mansion searching for that mysterious scratching sound she keeps hearing in the middle of the night?  She gets to a certain spot in the hallway where the candle starts flickering, and it leads her (by discovering this draft) to find a gap in a secret door and the ultimate source of that awful scratching in the walls…

Ok, you see where this one’s going.  My intro was for all you Halloween fans (I hope you got lots of candy), but the subject of this blog is really for all you do-it-yourselfers out there looking for a small and inexpensive project that can save you cash on your utility bills: checking for and sealing drafty windows.

New homes nowadays have higher quality and more energy efficient windows, but there are still those fixer uppers out there with drafty frames and single panes.  So why not try the trick used by Mrs. Curiosity above?  Take a lit candle and pass it a short yet safe distance along window seams.  If the candle flame bends you might very well have an energy wasting draft.

If you find a draft you can refer to this handy article from the DIY Network on removing old  and brittle caulk and reapplying new to cut out the draft and save on your heating and cooling bills.

And thanks for indulging us on the Halloween themed intro.

Kitchen Style on a Budget

How much do you have to spend?  Be honest.  When embarking on a remodel project it’s important to have a budget you can stick to, especially when your budget is tight.  Now consider the remodel project that’s more about adopting a new style than it is necessarily about updating appliances, etc.  No worries.  If you’re just plain sick of your Greater Oklahoma City kitchen that screams “vanilla suburbia” here are some kitchen remodel ideas with pictures to meet two different budgets.

The under $5000 budget:

  1. Salvaged with style!  Check out this salvage style reworking of a Massachusetts kitchen.  Yes, the homeowners splurged for some new appliances (sometimes you just have to), but all the accents are salvaged materials from years gone by.
  2. Repurposing and the utilization of antiques give this kitchen a comfortable old-world appeal.  Check out the antique cabinets!
  3. Here’s a great cozy and inviting family kitchen maximizing limited space to make sure there’s space for everyone.

The under $2000 budget:

  1.  Small, stylish, and yes, new appliances too.  Stainless steel, paint, and a butcher block counter top still all come in under budget!
  2. Has the finish on your cabinets faded?  Is your wallpaper yellowing and peeling?  Ask yourself, “Why not white?”  Check out how some simple white paint and a few accents transform this old kitchen into a brand new classic.
  3. Here’s one inspired by the great outdoors.  Add some new cabinet and drawer hardware and you and your new kitchen are off to a fresh start.

Home Safety for Older Children

We’ve talked about safety measures you can take even before you bring your newborn home from the hospital.  We covered child proofing your Greater Oklahoma City home before your baby can crawl, and before he/she can walk.  Now maybe it’s a good time to cover some safety measures in and outside the home as we look forward to our toddlers becoming elementary schoolers, tweens, and beyond.

  1. Playgrounds.  Be sure to locate a neighborhood playground that has equipment appropriate for your child’s age, and that has a separate area for older children to minimize the chances of an innocent accident like an older and larger child colliding with your son or daughter.
  2. Automobile traffic.  Start early teaching your child how to cross streets, and to always hold an adult’s hand before crossing.  This goes for walking through parking lots too.
  3. Guns.  It never hurts to remind folks of safety concerns that should be common sense to everyone.  Lock UNLOADED guns in a gun cabinet, and hide the keys to the cabinet and any ammunition boxes where curious youngsters will never find them.  Lock ammunition in cabinets separate from guns for additional security, and use trigger locks on all weapons.  And whether you keep guns in your home or not, speak to your children about the dangers of guns, and that they are not toys.
  4. Stranger danger.  Children are very trusting little souls.  But they need to understand something’s wrong when an adult offers candy to a six year old from a parked car, wants to show them their brand new puppy up close, or asks for directions, etc.  Have the stranger danger talk with them, and consult these guidelines if you’re having difficulty starting the conversation.
  5. Design, discuss, and practice your fire escape plan.  Your children need to know what to do if they wake up in the middle of the night during a home fire.  Draw out your plan on a sheet of paper, then review and discuss it with the entire family.  Finally practice every step of what you’re preaching, from slipping out from under the covers of their beds all the way to meeting in the neighbors driveway.

Baby Proofing for Toddlers

Crawling on hands and knees is one thing.  Learning how to stand, get around upright on two feet, coupled with an all new access to everything within a toddler’s reach is something else entirely.  For toddlers you still want to start from the ground and work your way up – and that’s the key right there.  Look up, because that’s just what your toddler is thinking, how to get up, over, and on top of…Here we go.

  1. Tub time.  Although your toddler is still discovering their new found vertical talents, it’s not a time to let your diligence during tub time wane.  As with infants and newborns, never leave a toddler unattended in the tub, and really it’s not a good idea to leave them unattended anywhere in the bathroom while the tub is filling.  Secure toilet lids too.
  2. Kitchen safety.  Install a safety latch on the oven door, and keep pot and pan handles turned away from the front of the range top.  Also, it’s a good idea NOT to carry your child and hot food or beverages at the same time.  It takes only a millisecond for your little one to reach out to get a closer look at your steaming cup of coffee, accidentally scalding both of you.
  3. Install door stops to protect little fingers from getting crunched.
  4. Use safety gates to keep toddlers from going up AND down stairs.  Safety gates are great at limiting toddler movement around the house, and they’re a must for keeping little ones out of “off limit” areas and off stairs.
  5. Fire hazards.  Make it a standard practice to have a grill in front of the fireplace, especially while you have a fire going, and secure any matches or lighters in a cabinet with a child lock.

For a more complete list of toddler proofing tips for our Greater Oklahoma City neighbors check out this great article.

Baby Proofing Before Baby Learns to Crawl

Last time we spoke about safety measures to take before you bring your newborn back to your Greater Oklahoma City home from the hospital.  Now that baby’s home and soon to be moving about (albeit at just a crawl) it’s time to consider the next phase in baby proofing your home.  That means it’s time to talk about perspective; it’s time to take a look at your home from the perspective of your soon to be mobile infant.  So get down on the floor, crawl around on your belly, see what you can find under the couch, and let’s get busy:

  1. Childproof locks keep babies away from chemicals under the sink, out of the knife drawer in the kitchen (once they are toddlers), and generally away from all kinds of potential mess making and dangerous situations.  Once you have locks on all the cabinets and drawers in the kitchen, laundry room, and bathrooms take it a step further.  Go around and check to make sure everything hazardous in the house is kept stored inside one of those locked cabinets or drawers.
  2. Furniture, with hard or sharp edges.  Minimize hard and sharp edges in rooms the baby will frequent like their bedroom and the family room.  Any sharp corners you are unable to eliminate by moving furniture to other rooms need to be dulled by adding padding or bumpers.
  3. Shorten/tie up window blind cords.  Baby may not be able to reach window blind cords just yet, but that time is not too far in the future.  Blind cords pose a strangling hazard for all children, not just infants and toddlers.  Tie up blind cords well out of reach of all children.
  4. Outlet covers.  Babies want to touch everything they can get their hands on (or fingers in).  Put covers on all electric outlets.
  5. Perspective.  This is the get down and roll around on the floor part of the experiment.  Right after a baby finds something new on the floor the very next impulse is to put that object in his or her mouth.  So, are there lost Cheetos under the couch?  What about coins or other choking hazards?  Clean out underneath all your furniture.  Get in under cushions.  Vacuum.

Here’s a comprehensive list of baby proofing tips for your soon to be crawling bundle of joy.

Baby Proofing Before the Birthday

You’ve already painted your Greater Oklahoma City nursery walls pink or baby blue (or green, or turquois).  The crib is assembled, and the changing table is fully stocked with diapers, ointments, wipes, and multiple changes of clothes.  It’s an exciting time.  Your very first little bundle of joy’s arrival is still a little ways away, and the anticipation has been building daily.  Why not pass some of the waiting time baby-proofing your home before your new arrival brings along with him (or her) more frequent family visits, sleepless nights, midnight feedings and any of a million other responsibilities and pleasant distractions that could keep you from putting some safety measures in place before baby comes home from the hospital.

  1. Carbon monoxide and fire/smoke detectors.  These are an often overlooked safety measure prior to the arrival of a new addition.  Test all carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, make sure you have enough detectors (and all properly located) for the size of your home, and install fresh backup batteries for each unit.
  2. Baby first aid kit.  First aid for babies can be difficult just because of the little one’s inability to tell you exactly what’s wrong.  Still, there are some must haves in a first aid kit for every family.  Check out this link for a comprehensive shopping list for a kit for the family with a newborn.
  3. Car Seat.  Car seats should be installed facing backward, according to the manufacturer’s directions, for the safety of your baby.  Practice installing and removing the car seat so you are a pro by the time baby arrives, and consider installing a sun shade on the window beside the car seat.
  4. No slip rugs.  These are to help you keep from slipping and falling while you’re carrying your infant.
  5. Set your water heater to 120 degrees.  Avoid accidentally scalding anyone in the house including the baby.
  6. Changing tables should have safety straps to keep babies secure and from taking a nasty tumble.  Supplies need to be within easy reach at the changing table so you don’t inadvertently leave your baby unattended in a precarious position.

For a more comprehensive list of safety measures you can implement before baby comes home check out this article on Babycenter.com.