Monthly Archives: July 2014

Interior Decorating Ideas to Modernize Your NYC Home

If you’re looking for interior decorating ideas to modernize your New York City apartment, it’s helpful to think about what the definition of modern design is. To many, a modern space means a minimalist space. A modern space is sparse and uncluttered, with lots of white items, clean-lined furniture, and possibly some slightly “futuristic”-looking pieces. It can be a good idea to take just a few elements of modern design, such as one chair, something metal, or an accent wall, and incorporate it into your space. That way you have a mix, which makes your design scheme look fresh and “now.” A full-scale modern interior decorating design can veer toward looking cold or like a movie set, so it can be best to combine different styles together for a unique and contemporary look.


There are many great resources out there for modern furniture. Brick-and-mortar home furnishing stores can provide interior decorating ideas when you walk through and observe the vingettes that the designers set up to show off the furniture. Design Within Reach has a very clean and modern aesthetic, and their Sapien bookcase is a particularly great piece that will add a modern look to anyone’s decor.

A great way to bring a modern look to your space is with an accent chair, and AllModern — an online retailer with a huge inventory of modern pieces — is a good source for such modern pieces as ghost chairs, tulip chairs, and wire chairs.

Accent Pieces

If you want modern pieces for your kitchen and even the bathroom, look no further than Alessi. In addition to its online store, this Italian retailer has two outposts in Manhattan, where you can find eye-catching, modern pieces that are perfect for injecting a modern look into your space. NYC-based retailer Dwell has a store in SoHo that’s very inspiring to walk through: They have a wonderfully modern (but still warm) aesthetic, and their accent pieces are beautiful.

Accent Wall

An accent wall can be a simple yet striking way to bring a modern look to your space. You can choose any color that speaks to you — even black, which can create a modern, interesting look. Just make sure your accent wall works for the space; choose your wall strategically. Don’t forget about your bedroom: For visual pop and a real eye-catching statement, make the wall behind your bed an accent wall.


Minimalism is one of the basic tenets of modern interior design, so if you really want your space to read “modern” the minute someone walks in the door, you must de-clutter. You can spend a lot of money trying to achieve a modern look, but de-cluttering is free and probably the most effective way to get the look in the first place!

Surfaces should be clean and neat with very few items on them. This includes the desk, the coffee table, any dressers, and the kitchen counters. Hide away wires from appliances, computers, and televisions. A truly “modern” space should be devoid of tchotchkes. But if you have knickknacks you’re particularly fond of, you don’t necessarily need to get rid of them to achieve that coveted modern look: Curate what you have (and donate anything you don’t want) to ensure that your belongings are artfully styled.

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A Guide to the Home-Buying Process in Philadelphia

When you’re in the market for your first home, the home-buying process can look daunting. You may need to qualify for a mortgage, negotiate with a seller, and then pay not only the down payment, but also a range of closing costs and other fees. Once you’ve purchased the home, you’ll most likely want to stay put for a few years to get the most out of your investment. Doing as much research as possible before you purchase a home in Philadelphia will help you buy the right home, as well as allow you to take advantage of any programs for which you qualify.

Before You Start Looking

The home-buying process starts long before you step foot into a home. One of the first things to do is to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Doing so will give you an idea of the size of mortgage you qualify for and the amount of house you can afford to purchase. You may want to shop around a few mortgage lenders or banks, as the interest rate you are offered might vary from lender to lender.

You might also want to find out if you qualify for special programs offered by the city before you buy a home. Usually, these programs are designed to help people buying their first home. For example, settlement assistance grants provide up to $500 toward closing costs, if you’re a first-time buyer and your income doesn’t exceed their specified limit. Another program, Philadelphia Home-Buy-Now, offers up to $4,000 to employees of participating employers.

Looking at Homes

Once you have the financial details in order, start making a list of where in Philadelphia you want to live. Your list of neighborhoods can be influenced by a number of factors: average sale price of the homes, distance to your job, and the features of the area. For example, if you have a car, you’ll want a neighborhood with ample parking. If you rely on SEPTA, you’ll want a home near transit options.

A real estate agent can be a useful guide at this stage of the home-buying process, as an agent will give you an idea of what similar homes in the area sold for recently and can set up tours of each home for you. Before you work together, the agent will give you a copy of Pennsylvania’s consumer notice.

Get a Home Inspection

You’ve found a house that works for you and is in your budget. You’ve made an offer on the house, and the seller accepted it or negotiated with you. The next step isn’t to finalize the purchase, but to have the home inspected by a professional third-party home inspector. Even if you’re buying a new home, the inspection is critical. Whatever you do, don’t skip this step.

Seal the Deal

Closing is the final step in the process of buying a home in Philly. At closing, ownership of the property is transferred to you. Before that happens, you’ll do a final walkthrough to make sure everything’s in order. Usually, you’ll need to bring a cashier’s check to closing that covers the fees, as well as your down payment. Once all the paperwork is signed, you and the seller shake hands, and the house is yours.

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10 Ways to Change Up Your Home Decor With Washi Tape

If you have spent anytime at all on Pinterest you have probably noticed some seriously impressive washi tape projects. From incredible wall art to unique ideas for kids rooms, the ways you can have fun with this tape are endless.

Never heard of it? Washi Tape is decorative Japanese tape that is colorful and great to use for scrapbooking, decorating and more. “Just like masking tape it does come off…unlike duct tape it does not leave a sticky mess.” ( This type of tape has recently gained popularity, much in part to Pinterest, with apartment renters who want to spruce up their home without damaging walls.

Want to buy some? I like to buy mine from Amazon, and Etsy.

Here are some of the cool patterns you can buy from Wishy Washy:

Ready to get decorating? Here are some ideas to get you started.

#1 Add a Stunning Accent Wall

#2 Give Your Fridge a Fresh Look

#3 Spruce Up Your Laundry Room With Fun Designs

#4 Add Some Color to A Kid’s Room

Pinterest User Lady V

#5 Add Some Subtle but Stylish Accents to Doors

#6 Turn Archways into Art

#7 A Cool and Colorful Idea for Ceiling Fans

#8 Add a Washi Tape Border Instead of Nailing Pictures and Art

#9 Wow Your Guests With a Cool Entry

#10 An Interesting Way to Make Your Door Standout

Ayça Demirci

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Stylish Bar Carts

Bar carts are undoubtedly making a stylish comeback. You may remember your elder relatives having them at one point but they’ve now evolved into beautiful centerpieces and decor items.

There are many different ways to incorporate a bar cart into your home. They come in a variety of colors and finishes making it easy to match any design aesthetic.

Bar carts also serve many purposes besides housing your favorite beverages. As you’ll see highlighted in some of the photos below, they act as unique forms of shelving and storage.

This bar cart has a vintage-like gold finish.

This gold bamboo bar cart looks stunning set against the art on the wall.

Another example of how to customize your bar cart. The bright pink is original and pretty.

In addition to housing beverages this rose-gold bar cart is also useful for carrying other necessities.

Bar carts are great for filling in those awkward unused spaces in a room.

This bar cart is beautifully hidden.

Looking for an interesting way to showcase your plants?

How luxurious does this bar cart make the room look?

Adding a fresh bouquet of flowers to your bar cart adds a dramatic affect.

Bar carts are easy to transfer so taking the fun outside is no problem.

To see more stunning decor visit out Pinterest page.
Follow Coldwell Banker’s board Trendy Decor on Pinterest.

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5 Reasons to Rent in Uptown Manhattan

Manhattan is a city full of different neighborhoods, each with their own distinct atmosphere and charms. Uptown Manhattan in particular possesses many unique and wonderful qualities which make it a great place to rent an NYC apartment.

1. Peace and Quiet

The Upper East Side of Manhattan tends to be a quieter, less crowded area, compared to Midtown and Lower Manhattan. This part of Uptown Manhattan has a peaceful, residential vibe that can provide a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the city. The Upper West Side has a similar neighborhood-y feeling, which is great for anyone looking to find a sense of community in the big city.

2. Central Park

If you live uptown, Central Park will likely be within walking distance of your abode. Living uptown affords you the opportunity to take full advantage of the Park’s many beautiful lawns, benches, and running paths, as well as enjoy lovely brunches at the Boathouse restaurant. If you live on the Upper West Side, you can frequent Central Park’s Strawberry Fields, as well as the Shakespeare Garden. If you’re on the East Side, you will have easy access to the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir and its beautiful views, as well as the Conservatory Water and the charming miniature sailboats that float placidly upon it.

3. Affordable Rents

Rents in New York City are known for being high, but certain Uptown Manhattan areas offer more affordable rental options. If you’re looking for a good deal on a studio or a one-bedroom apartment, the Upper East Side (particularly Yorkville) can certainly be a good option to consider. There are many charming side streets with walk-up buildings, or you can find an elevator building with a doorman. Many varieties of rental apartments are available in Uptown Manhattan, so you’re sure to find something that fits the bill.

4. Things to Do

Uptown Manhattan offers a plethora of wonderful restaurants, coffee shops, bookstores, and shopping. Madison Avenue is famous for its designer shops and lovely boutiques, and you can stop and refuel at any number of charming coffee shops, such as Sant Ambroeus or Via Quadronno.

5. Culture

Upper Manhattan is positively teeming with art galleries, museums, and beautiful Old World architecture. There’s the Whitney Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, The Frick, and even more on the Upper East Side’s Fifth Avenue (known as “Museum Mile”). On the West Side you have the American Museum of Natural History and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

As you can see, Uptown Manhattan has a wide variety of attributes — from access to beautiful urban greenery to shopping and dining galore — that make it a great option when looking for a rental apartment.

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Why You Should Move to Spruce Hill

Although some might call part of it University City, those in the know will always call it Spruce Hill. Originally built as a streetcar suburb of the city, the neighborhood can still be easily reached by trolley from Center City. Whether you’re looking for a quiet part of the city to call home or you’re interested in moving to an area that offers a lot of activities, here’s why this section of West Philly might be the perfect spot for your next home.

Historical Homes

The houses and apartment buildings you’ll find in West Philadelphia aren’t quite as old as some of the homes over in Old City or South Philly. Many of the homes in the Spruce Hill area were first built in the 1850s, according to the West Philadelphia Community History Center. The houses were often semi-detached, instead of the more common rowhouses found in other parts of the city. Living in a semi-detached house in Spruce Hill not only means you’ll be living in a piece of history; it also means you’ll have much more living space compared to other Philadelphia neighborhoods.

Lots of Greenery

Like much of Pennsylvania, Spruce Hill started out as a heavily wooded area. It still boasts a great number of trees, many of them large enough to provide ample shade in the heat of summer. Clark Park, the major park area in the neighborhood, is home to about 300 trees itself.

Clark Park provides a place for residents of the neighborhood to enjoy a picnic or to go for a run or walk with their pets. It’s also the home of a number of special events and festivals every year. Each July, Shakespeare in Clark Park presents a free outdoor production of a Shakespearean play in the park’s “bowl,” a concave area that was once a pond. Other regularly scheduled events in the park include summer movie nights and a farmers’ market.

Plenty to Do

In addition to the activities and events in Clark Park, there’s a great number of things to do in the area. Baltimore Avenue, which runs diagonally through the neighborhood, is the home of a number of restaurants, bars, and small shops. Every summer, the stores and restaurants on the Avenue participate in the Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll. People flock to the street to enjoy samples of food, drink and trinkets from businesses, all for just a $1 each. Items available at the most recent Dollar Stroll included $1 tickets to upcoming plays presented by Curio Theatre Company, $1 pint glasses and seven-ounce servings of beer from Dock Street Brewery, and $1 banana whips from Mariposa Food Co-op.

Ease of Getting Around

Spruce Hill is also easy to get around in, whether you have a car or a bike, or you rely on public transportation. describes the area as a walker’s and biker’s paradise, meaning that you can do most of your errands on foot and that there are plenty of bike lanes, plus flat terrain. Transit options in the area include the 34 trolley, which runs along Baltimore Avenue, plus the Market-Frankford elevated line, which runs along Market street east toward Center City or out west to Upper Darby.

If you’re in the market for a new home or apartment, making the move across the river might be worth it. You’ll find plenty to do in the area, and you’ll be able to head over to downtown Philly anytime you please.

Image Source: Flickr/Ezra Wolfe

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5 Questions to Ask a Landlord Before You Sign a Lease in Philly

You’ve found a cute studio or ideal two-bedroom apartment in an area of Philadelphia that’s convenient for your commute and social life. Before you agree to rent it, there a few a questions to ask a landlord. You need to know not only how much the rent is, but also what it covers. You’ll also want to understand how the landlord deals with repairs and what you’re allowed to do as a tenant. These are the questions you should make sure to ask your prospective landlord.

1. What Does the Rent Cover? How Is Payment Accepted?

Depending on the type of building you pick in Philadelphia, your rent can go a long way or it can just cover the cost of actually living in the space, meaning you need to pay for all utilities on your own. Ask the landlord what utilities you’re responsible for if you decide to rent that particular apartment. Depending on whether or not utilities are included, that apartment that seems like a bargain might not actually be one.

You also want to find out how the landlord accepts rent payments. Some ask you to mail in or drop off your payments, while others accept electronic payments. If the landlord offers e-payment options, find out if you’ll need to pay an extra service fee. Ask about the payment schedule and when or if late fees are charged, too.

2. How Are Repairs Handled?

If the toilet starts overflowing at two in the morning or your refrigerator dies in the middle of a heat wave on Fourth of July weekend, how will the landlord handle the repair? In Philly, the landlord is responsible for repairs to the property. But Philly landlords don’t have to provide you with a refrigerator, just a stove and sink in the kitchen. It’s important to know how your landlord processes repairs and what he or she will take care of. Ask if someone is available to handle emergency repairs.

3. What Are the Rules for Decorating?

When you rent a place, you want to put your own special stamp on it. But putting too much of a personal touch on your apartment can mean you lose some or all of your security deposit. Find out from the landlord if you’re allowed to paint the apartment and if so, if there are any colors that are off limits. Your landlord might also have restrictions about hanging pictures or shelves, so be sure to ask before you break out the hammer or drill.

4. What’s Due at Move-In?

Find out what the landlord expects to receive up front. In Pennsylvania, the landlord can’t collect more than two months’ rent as a security deposit during your first year as a tenant.

5. Can I See a Copy of the Rental Suitability Certificate?

One of the most important questions to ask a landlord is to see the rental suitability certificate before you move in. Every landlord must give new tenants a copy of the certificate no more than 60 days before they move in. The certificate ensures that the property is up to code, doesn’t have safety or health defects, and that you’ve been given information about your rights when it comes to repairs.

A lease is a binding contract. The minute you sign, you’ll be responsible for paying the agreed-upon amount for the agreed-upon length of time. It’s up to you to make sure the apartment is up to snuff before you move in.

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Art + Computer + Wall Hanging = Electronic Objects

Across the far reaches of the Internet you can come across some amazing pieces of art, but getting it on the walls of your home is another story all together. That’s where Electronic Objects comes in.

It’s a computer with a stunning HD screen that is meant to hang on your wall and deliver pieces of art to your home’s wall. I would love to explain it detail, but you really have to see it to believe it. The best line in the video is when they talk about how all this art on the Internet is trapped on devices “meant for distraction.” Electronic Objects built a device void of distractions so you can just enjoy the art.

Electronic Objects is currently gathering funding on Kickstarter, but the video below gives you the best look at how incredible this product really is. Take a look.

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