Monthly Archives: June 2014

NYC Design: An Artful Mix of the Old with the New

182 Lafayette

New York City has played an important role in American history. It even served as the nation’s capital from 1785 to 1790. But, it’s no secret that “the city”–as it’s affectionately called–is also at the cutting edge of everything: fashion, food and business. So, it’s only natural that design in NYC apartments is an artful mix of the old with the new.

A perfect example of this marriage of old and new is 182 Lafayette Street, listed by Coldwell Banker Bellmarc Group. The design of this spectacular 2,500 square foot SoHo/NoLita loft highlights the original architectural features like wood plank floors, cast-iron columns and exposed brick, but incorporates modern amenities and design.

In the kitchen, stainless steel cabinets and appliances are softened with natural accents like the wooden shelved island. The massive natural wood dining table is modernized with black lacquer chairs. The clawfoot tub and crystal chandelier play well with the bold wall colors and vintage anatomy poster. While the apartment oozes authenticity, the modern luxuries abound, including a glass-enclosed, tiled wet room with a steam shower and deep soaking spa bathtub.

182 Lafayette_dining
182 Lafayette_pianos

Certainly a space fit for a musician, even the musical references in the space are a mix of old and new(ish). The three pianos that line the living room are juxtaposed by a 70′s rock poster in the dining area. Clearly, NYC design has it’s own set of rules–one it’s constantly breaking.

Despite Manhattan’s confusing tendency to make the old feel new and the new feel old, happily, this NYC apartment just feels like home. For more information about this fabulous rental in the heart of Manhattan, click here.

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Did You Read These 5 Trending Posts in June?

June was a big month for Coldwell Banker. If you didn’t know, we are still continuing with the roll out of our Home Field Advantage MLB partnership. We also announced our collaboration with BuzzFeed and we’re proud to be the first real estate company to do so. Our blog was also booming with great articles. To recap, here are our Top Five most viewed posts…

Three Reasons Why We Love the World Cup

The World Cup is well on its way and there are a few reasons why we’re excited about the 2014 installment of arguably the greatest sporting event on Earth.

Six Unique Ways to Light Up Your Backyard

Bright ideas to brighten up your backyard fun.

How to Plan a Successful Move with Children

Do you know the four steps to an almost seamless move?

Three Ways for Home Sellers to Maximize Showings in the Summer

Summer is finally here. Keep these ideas in mind for maximizing your warm-weather selling success…

15 Beautiful Backyard Swimming Pools

The perfect dose of some of the most beautiful and incredible swimming pools from Coldwell Banker listings.

The Blue Matter Blog is updated daily. Be sure to check back regularly for the latest industry news, trends and more!

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Town of Swett, South Dakota for Sale by Coldwell Banker

Bet you never thought you could own a town. But for half the price of a one-bedroom apartment in New York City, someone will be the proud owner of Swett, South Dakota.

For $399,000, you can get a three-bedroom home, tire shop, three trailer houses and your very own bar, the Swett Tavern. New York was recently ranked as the most stressful city in the country. So you’re telling me that for a mortgage of approximately $1,982 a month, I can move to South Dakota and own my own town? Sold. Well, I’ll at least consider it.

Check out the listing by Stacie Montgomery of Coldwell Banker Lewis Kirkeby Hall

Any takers?

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How to Make Your Tiny Kitchen Seem Bigger Than it Is

It’s the bane of many New York apartment dwellers: the tiny kitchen. How are you supposed to make your slow-roasted herbed turkey breast in that postage-stamp-size space? And yet somehow, we manage. Our friends from Atlanta or Houston with massive kitchens watch in amazement as we wrangle five-course meals out of five-foot-wide galleys. We’re New Yorkers, after all, and if we can make spicy quinoa here, we can make it anywhere. You can absolutely experience the joy of cooking in a tiny kitchen if you eliminate some of the obstacles that make it feel too tight.

Paint It White
There’s a reason that so many people paint their kitchens white, and it’s not because they’re unimaginative. People love white kitchens because they make the rooms feel more spacious and open. This is especially important for tiny NYC kitchens, which often seem like they were shoehorned into apartments as an afterthought. Kitchens with boring brown wooden cabinets feel dated and closed in. Splash a coat of white paint on them, and you’ll swear you’re standing in a larger space.

Add Reflective Surfaces
Reflective surfaces can create the illusion that a space is larger than it actually is. A mirrored backsplash can be a cool way to instantly double the size of your kitchen, but if that’s a little too Austin Powers for you, consider hanging a framed mirror on one of your kitchen walls. This is a great trick if the kitchen lacks a window. You can also replace your cabinet fronts with glass doors, which give you an uninterrupted line of sight while simultaneously reflecting light, bouncing it around the room and making your kitchen seem even bigger.

Keep the Details Simple
Kitchen counters loaded down with tons of knickknacks and small appliances can make an already tight space feel very claustrophobic. Keep your counters as clear of “stuff” as possible. If you rarely use certain appliances, put them away instead of allowing them to suck up valuable real estate in your tiny kitchen. Instead, showcase your culinary style by displaying just one or two attractive items — the ones that say “That’s right, I’m a real cook!” or “Hey, I don’t cook, but I love a good cup of coffee!”

Choose Smart Storage Solutions
With stores like Ikea offering hundreds of attractive and affordable storage options, you’re hard-pressed to find excuses for why a NYC kitchen should feel cluttered and overstuffed. Hop on the Ikea shuttle in downtown Brooklyn, and in minutes, you can be browsing the aisles looking for hanging storage units that affix directly to walls or fit neatly inside your existing cabinets. Pegboards are perfect ways to hang pots and cutlery. Paint them white or use bold, bright colors to make them pop.

Image Source: Flickr/Charles & Hudson

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Selling Your Home in DFW: Tips for Staging and Taking Photos

The old adage “you only get one chance to make a first impression” rings true in many areas of life, including when you’re selling your home. Since so many home buyers and real estate agents rely on online listings to preview properties, buyers have a comprehensive look at what’s available on the market. For this reason, it’s important to know how to properly stage your home and create excellent photos.

Staging Your Home for Buyers

Staging refers to the placement of furniture and decor (as well as subtle touches such as removing personal items) to make your home appealing to prospective buyers. Ideally, you want to create a welcoming and home-like environment with a neutral ambiance. Potential buyers should be able to envision themselves living in your home when it is seen in photos online and in person. Dallas-Fort Worth is a very diverse region, and your goal when selling your home is to appeal to as many people as possible.

A staged home should be clean from floor to ceiling and free of clutter. Further, the furniture and decor should not overwhelm the house’s focal points and unique features. Instead, wall art and other decorative touches should enhance the existing charm of your home. HGTV offers a quick video with tips for staging a home for sale.

Model My Home, a DFW-based design and staging firm, offers staging services for both vacant and occupied homes throughout the Metroplex. According to Model My Home, “There is an art to preparing a home for placement on the market.” By appealing to the tastes of diverse buyers, it can help increase your odds of selling your home quickly.

Taking Photos for Buyers

Before you begin pushing the shutter button on your camera, make sure every room in your home is spotless and neat. This means that all beds should be made, trash cans should be empty and hidden, and all counter tops in your kitchen and bathrooms should be cleared off, save for a few decorative touches such as a vase of flowers. Although real estate agents typically take pictures, you can certainly request to do them yourself and send them in a digital format to your agent. You can also request that your agent take pictures based on your specifications. June Fletcher, an author for MSN Real Estate, offers some photography tips, which include using a tripod to eliminate blurred images and taking interior photos at twilight for the best lighting.

Other tips to consider:

  • Turn on all lights in your home, especially recessed lighting and decorative lights such as sconces and chandeliers to illuminate all features in a room.
  • If you’re shooting exterior shots, consider taking pictures at dusk with the interior and exterior lights on rather than with light from the sun behind the house.
  • Be sure not to show too much of the ceiling. Instead, focus on two walls and a partial view of the floor for each room.

You can also consider hiring a photographer or enlisting the help of a friend or family member who is experienced with taking pictures. Be sure to preview all photos before they are uploaded on the Internet in case something unappealing was overlooked.

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How to Make Your NYC Studio Apartment Feel Spacious

How should a studio apartment feel? Think about it this way: Have you ever stayed at a luxury hotel and been so enchanted that you forgot that you were staying in what was essentially a single room? The place was cozy and indulgent, and you felt like you could stay there all day? That’s how a studio apartment should feel.

Living in a New York studio doesn’t mean you have to exist in a tight, miserable space. The tips below can help you turn your studio into a place that feels more like a guest suite at Windsor Castle.

1. Create clearly defined zones.

Part of what often makes a studio feel small and a bit depressing is the sight of a giant bed looming front and center in the middle of the room. By creating a separate sleeping area, you’re blocking the bed from view, gaining privacy and giving the illusion of spaciousness. Making other zones — like a space for eating and a living-room-like area — will also enhance this effect.

  • Use long, glamorous white drapes or large shades to section off the bed.
  • Take a large piece of wood and attach it to the bed to create a divider you can paint or decorate with luxurious material.
  • Use color to define spaces. For example, you could give your kitchen a gorgeous yellow backsplash, separating it out from the rest of the room.

2. Play with scale in furniture and accessories.

Just because you have a studio doesn’t mean you have to use doll-size furniture and accessories. In fact, tiny furniture often highlights how small a space is.

  • Opt for a mix of large and small pieces. A gorgeous, full-size overstuffed sofa could work beautifully in a studio with high ceilings. The size of the sofa and the height of the ceiling can create the sense that you’re working with a vast amount of space.
  • Hang a giant painting on one of your walls. Oversize accessories are usually found in large spaces like lofts, so using them can visually suggest that your small studio space is bigger than it is.

3. Optimize lighting.

The importance of great lighting (and using reflective surfaces to maximize illumination) in a studio apartment cannot be overstated.

  • Use a large glass or acrylic coffee table. This gives you a surface that doesn’t clutter up your line of sight, as the clear material helps create the illusion of more space in the room.
  • Fill your studio with lamps, spot lights, or any other kind of lighting that will brighten up dark corners. Well-placed lighting can make a space seem larger.
  • Strategically place mirrors around the apartment to make it seem like your studio is double and triple its actual size. For example, a Louis Ghost chair paired with a glamorous mirrored desk would provide Mandarin Oriental–level style, while increasing the visual square footage.

4. Fill the space with items you love.

In a studio, everything is visible all the time, so limit your furniture and accessories to things you truly adore. You’ll be looking at them a lot!

  • Go for high-quality items. Keep in mind that high quality doesn’t have to mean expensive. For bargain hunting, try the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market.
  • Tiny details make a huge impact in small spaces: Score a luxury kitchen faucet for pennies on eBay and showcase it in your kitchen, or choose pretty knobs for your kitchen cabinets.

Image Source: Flickr/Gregory Han

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5 Tips for Mantel Décor with Summer Themes

Decorated mantel

Mantels are common in old Philadelphia homes that were originally built in the 1700s and 1800s. In the homes of those times, a fireplace was a necessary element for heating and cooking. If you have a mantel in your Philly home, don’t waste the space by simply putting picture frames on it — use these mantel décor tips to spruce up your living room this summer.

Image Source: WikiMedia Commons/Alex South

1. Use Fresh Floral Arrangements

You can’t go wrong with flowers. Make a commitment this summer to add a new fresh flower arrangement to the center of your mantel each week. Every spring, the Philadelphia Flower Show comes to town for about a week. This is a great chance to get some ideas for exotic and beautiful flowers to add to your mantel throughout the summer.

2. Display Colorful Glasses and Interesting Pottery

In South Philly, right on South Street, there’s a special “glass art” display that catches everyone’s eye. It was created by mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar, who used pieces of recycled glass and ceramic materials. Use this as an inspiration for decorating your mantel. Go on a hunt for interesting glassware and pottery in a variety of shapes and colors at flea markets or thrift shops, and polish them up and position them in an attractive fashion. You might also want to use thick glass pieces to decorate the wall behind the mantel. Let your inner “artist” out.

3. Set a Picnic “Table”

One of the most popular pastimes for summer fun in Philadelphia is having a picnic in the park. Here’s a way to bring the look of a pretty picnic table to the mantel in your dining or living room: Lay a piece of checkered red-and-white cloth over the mantel and then decorate it with items that you might put on a picnic table, like a basket filled with plastic fruit and a bottle of wine. Get creative.

4. Show Your Artistic Side

Who said you have to put something on top of the mantel? If you have a bit of an artistic inclination, use it as a canvas instead. Get your paint colors (again, use bright, energetic colors reminiscent of summertime), put on some tunes, and have some fun creating a unique paint design. Or if you have a friend who’s an artist, ask her to leave her “mark” on your mantel.

5. Mirror, Mirror, On the Mantel

Adding a mirror to a room can create the illusion of a larger space. Lean a beautiful French country-style mirror on the wall atop your mantel. Get a mirror that’s painted in white, tan, light yellow, or another attractive summery color. (It’s a smart idea put a hook in the wall at the top to ensure that the mirror doesn’t slide forward.)

If your mantel has just been collecting dust up to now, consider these tips for using it to spruce up the living area of your Philly home. Mantel décor may seem like such a small element of your home’s interior design, but decorating it can actually go a long way in beautifying a room.

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Real Estate Headlines with Dr. Dre, Las Vegas and Millenials

Welcome to the middle of summer. Yes, July is already here and burgers, the beach and neighborhood fireworks await you this week. Before you consider how much of your wardrobe really is red, white and blue here is your weekly dose of real estate headlines to start your Independence Day week.

Bigger Pockets has 6 acronyms every beginner real estate investor should know.

Troubled singer, Chris Brown, evidently left behind some colorful artwork on the walls of his recently sold home.

Is the Las Vegas housing market finally turning around?

Dr. Dre is cashing in on his recent Beats deal with Apple by selling his LA home for $35 million. Former owners include Tom Brady & Gisele.

What do NYC homeowners dream of the most? Same thing as my wife: a new kitchen.

Heading away for the holiday weekend? Here are 6 tips for watering your plants while you’re away.

The fastest growing metro area in the U.S. has no crime…or kids.

Is a millenial driven housing boom on the horizon?

And finally, here are 12 behaviors at home that’d be weird anywhere else.

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A Day in the Life of a Real Estate Broker

Curious about what a day in the life of a real estate broker looks like? Let Coldwell Banker broker, Michele Flood, take you along as she hosts an open house in Rye, NY.

For Michele, the phone starts ringing at 8am. From then on, her day is filled with showings, phone calls and somehow she still finds time to make apple brownies for her open house! Sadly, she doesn’t share that recipe, but she does share a lot of helpful insight into a typical day for a real estate broker.

Think you have what it takes? Click here to learn more about careers in real estate.

Want to see more LXTV Open House segments like this one? Watch more here.

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The World’s Smartest Air Conditioner

Is your AC unit dumb and ungly? Well, after seeing the Aros A/C you may believe it is. The Aros air conditioner is crazy smart and much better looking than traditional window units. According to Quirky, this smart window air conditioner, priced at $300, learns from your budget, location, schedule, and usage to automatically maintain the perfect temperature and maximize savings for your home. What’s more, it can be controlled from anywhere right from your mobile device.

Here are some of the cool product features:

You can learn more about Aros here.

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