Our Real Estate Blog
A fireplace is a cozy addition for a home that can add aesthetic value as well as warmth to your space. Whether you’re building new, retrofitting, or shopping for the perfect home there are options for most situations. You’ll find many design options as you start to shop but the initial consideration should be to determine a fuel source.
Wood-burning fireplaces offer the crackle of the fire, the fragrance of pitch, and the soft glow of coals. For some, there's nothing better than a perfectly lit wood fire. But along with the cozy flames and the perfect scent come some considerations.
A fireplace that burns natural gas can either be open or closed. An open hearth appears to be the same as a wood-burning fireplace and requires a chimney. These are called "vented" fireplaces. You can easily convert a wood-burning fireplace to a vented gas fireplace if you have access to a gas line.
An enclosed gas fireplace is a “ventless” unit. These require more intensive construction but are great to give you the “look” of an open fire without access to the flames. These can either operate on natural gas or propane.
A gel fireplace doesn't require specialized installation. Canned gel burns in a special unit that does not need ventilation. Often available in modern, minimalist designs, these fireplaces do not need access to gas lines or electricity. They can be installed anywhere on any wall.
Outside of the gel unit, the most effortless option to incorporate is an electric fireplace. Rather than flame, they use heated coils to provide warmth and a fan to project the air into the room. They often include flickering lights and simulated flames. Electric fireplaces require no vents and can install anywhere within proximity to an electrical outlet.
No matter which fireplace you select, take care to install it properly and operate it by the manufacturer's instructions. If a fireplace is an important feature to you, make sure your real estate agent knows it's on your "must-have" list.
Face it; you probably don't think about your laundry room until you're in there doing ten loads of clothes after vacation. Even then, it might seem like a minor inconvenience to have to step over piles of sorted clothes to get to the washer and dryer. Then, with the load done, you carry the basket of clean laundry to the family room to fold because there's no floor space to stand and do it there.
Most people think of the kitchen and bath when considering a remodel. But a well-appointed laundry room can add value to your home and make your life easier to boot!
When asked what items a laundry room remodel needs, here are some top contenders:
- Folding station: as simple as a flat surface above the appliances and as exotic as an exclusive island just for folding clothes.
- Sink for soaking stains and hand washing: it is surprising how many laundry rooms do not have sinks. That means hand-washing and stain removal often take place in the kitchen or a bathroom.
- Room to sort clothing: no one wants stacks of dirty clothes on the kitchen floor when the nice new neighbor decides to come to visit. And if you get interrupted before completing your washing, where do they go?
- Hanging racks for drip-drying, flat racks for sweaters, and rods for putting clothes on hangers: many clothes require special care. With no place to hang them or a flat frame to dry them on, many homeowners end up taking special-care items to the dry cleaners, costing extra time and money.
- Room for the ironing board: because many laundry rooms have no space keep an ironing board, so consider a hanger made to hold it and the iron on the back of the door. If you’re remodeling though, a built-in ironing board cabinet is a nice feature to add.
- Extra outlets for the iron or steamer: even when there is room for the ironing board or a steamer, the original design often neglected to add additional outlets, making your reach behind the washer or dryer to plug it in. Add plenty of outlets to your remodel, with the appropriate wiring and breakers.
- Built-in cubbies and hooks for coats if doubling as the mudroom: many laundry rooms are an alcove off the mudroom, or even in the hallway leading from the back door or garage. If possible, separate the mudroom area by adding in cubbies for boots, shoes, hats, and gloves, and hooks for jackets.
- Cabinets to store laundry powders and other cleaning products: Steam from your washer and dryer can cause powdered soaps to harden and spray cans to rust. And all those bottles and boxes are unsightly on top of the appliances. A cabinet above the machines for storage lets your room appear organized and protects your products from moisture.
- Light and bright space: since you spend a lot of time there, make the area as bright as possible. If a window isn't available, consider a tubular skylight and recessed lighting.
Make your laundry room a place you won’t mind being! For other ideas on ways to increase your home’s value, consult your local real estate professional.