home renovation

Three Ways to Freshen Up the Look of a Room

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It’s finally springtime and aside from the usual ‘spring cleaning’, you might be looking for other home improvement ideas to keep yourself busy while the weather warms up enough to do the outside projects. Here are three ways to spice up your rooms this spring.

Add a Little Paint

You may be looking for something simple and affordable rather than a big expensive project, so know that a coat of fresh paint (chosen well) never hurt any aesthetic. Take to Pinterest to inspire you with a new color scheme to carry the fresh feel of spring throughout the rest of the year. Maybe you aren’t looking to repaint the entire house, but you know that big wall in the living room that you can never figure out what to do with? Turn it into an accent wall with a color that ‘pops’ or upcycled panels. Trellised rooms are exciting to the eye and can be a great creative project that will occupy some time.

Hang & Rearrange

Redecorating always feels good when you’re in the need for something fresh. If you aren’t emotionally attached to the artwork you have already, consider finding some new pieces to accent the room. A nice mirror or a creative family portrait montage brings a new energy into an otherwise stagnant space. There are thousands of DIY projects to incorporate some crafty art into your home during the season of fresh starts. Sometimes, even the rearranging of the furniture can give you the fresh new look you are craving! Plants can also bring a brand new life to your space.

Add Some Depth to the Walls

If you are feeling adventurous and motivated, wainscotting or paneling might be just the spring project to take on. Wainscoting is not only aesthetically pleasing, it also protects the lower portions of your walls from damage. Adding trim or molding to wainscoting creates an elegant, classy look to an otherwise boring wall. Some people are even taking to decorating their ceilings with different panel designs to add a little extra charm. However, this undertaking doesn’t have to be pricey. A suggestion is to apply a grid of 1x6 drywall panels to a drywalled surface, add a coat of paint to the grid, and then magically, the boards, stiles, and rails create a look like something out of a design magazine.

Whatever it is that calls to you, all three of these are easy enough and have millions of points of inspiration throughout the internet to help get you started on spicing up the rooms in your home before summer projects start. It is time to let go of the old and bring in the new! Reach out to Bright Star Handyman Service for all of your home renovation needs in Philadelphia and South Jersey!

How To Choose Colors for Your New Home Renovation with Bright Star Handyman Service

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How To Pick the Perfect Home Color Scheme 


Your home is not only a place of rest and relaxation, it is also the place where you express yourself, create, and practice hospitality. Colors have a lot of influence on emotions, psychologically, so your home should reflect the feelings you want to have yourself as well as your family and your guests. Choosing the perfect color scheme for your home can be simple with a few easy guidelines. 


Lighting

First, what kind of natural lighting does your home have? This will be dependent on which direction your home faces. North or east facing homes are cooler because there is little direct sunlight. Painting your walls and furnishings with cool colors are likely to make your home feel even chillier. On the other hand, if your home is south or west facing, it is likely that your home is warmer from more direct sunlight. Warm colors can make your home feel oppressive if it is already warmer than typical. For north/east facing homes, we recommend reds, yellows, beiges, or creamy colors. For south/west facing homes, try something in the realm of blues, greens, and grays. Whites are typically neutral, but we would recommend finding some additional colors within the warm/cool palette to supplement. 


The Feel

What type of environment do you want to create inside the home? Are you looking for a clean, modern feel or something more organic and welcoming? Depending on what you discovered with the last step, you can work with your personalized style and still stay true to warm or cool colors. For example, if you are more interested in an earthy vibe, say you have a lot of plants, but own a home that is naturally cooler, you could still decorate with warmer earth tones like lighter beiges and supplement with the greens of the plants themselves. Also consider that cooler colors are calming, as warmer colors are energizing and take note of which rooms you want to feel relaxed or stimulated in.  Bedrooms and living rooms may be a better fit for a warmer environment. Whereas, bathrooms and kitchens may lean towards a cooler and brighter color to support a fresher, clean feeling.


Add Some Complements

Once you have chosen your dominant color, you can then do some research on what colors are complementary to it. “Highlight” colors are a great idea, if used in moderation. Say your living room is blue/gray, a well-placed gold piece of furniture or piece of art will draw the eye and lighten up the feel. Likewise, if your bedroom is more in a brown/beige palette, consider bringing in a light blue bedspread for a balanced aesthetic. If you struggle with conceptualizing what this means, check out this great article with 2019’s top color trends. 


There are many ways to interpret your space, so be sure to tap into your own personal style. The home is the best place for self-expression and with a little help, can represent you as a whole. Whether you base your decision off of your favorite season, a choice piece of art or furniture, or from a Pinterest board, take it step by step and watch as your perfect environment creates itself.  If you have any questions, reach out to Bright Star Handyman Service for professional help for your home renovation!

Happy Holidays from Bright Star Handyman Service!

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As the year comes to a close we are immensely grateful for this past year! We’ve helped so many of you create the home of your dreams and we couldn’t be happier about it. You’ve placed your trust in us to redesign your outdoor spaces with new decks for the summer and new gutters when the leaves fall. We’ve had the most fun transforming your houses into family-friendly, pet-loving homes. Our goal is to give you the warmest, fuzziest feelings when you think about being at home over the holidays.

If you want to see some of our projects this year, check out our gallery page to see how some small home renovations can make a big difference! If you are on Facebook, we frequently update our followers on availability and completion of our latest projects. Follow us to stay in the loop for all of our Philadelphia, South Jersey, and Fishtown remodels and renovations.

If you find yourself a little too crowded in your space with friends and family this holiday season, we invite you to reach out to us for a free consultation on how we can help you achieve the home of your dreams. Whether you’re looking for a renovation to bring more entertaining space to the living room, or remodeling to open up your kitchen to optimize your space, we’re happy to help. We can help add green, energy-efficient appliances and updates, remove your carpet and replace with hardwood, or convert your basement into a livable space!

No job is too small for our team! Let us help you achieve your dreams this holiday season.

We wish you a happy holiday!
We wish you a happy holiday!
We wish you a happy holiday!
And a happy new year!

Is Winter the Best Time to Renovate?

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Summer is the most common time to take on a renovation project. The kids are out of school, curb appeal is on the mind, and fair weather makes it easy to open up a house. But there are some key advantages to renovating in the winter, like availability, cost, and timing.

Contractor availability

One advantage of choosing to engage a contractor for a renovation in the winter is less competition. Spring and summer are the busiest times of year for home renovations, and contractors’ plates will be full once renovation season is in full swing, which could leave you competing for the best builders.

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Happy Thanksgiving

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Happy Turkey Day from Bright Star!  We want to express our love and gratitude for your support over the years!  

We hope your day is filled with great food, family time and love with the ones you love the most.  Count your blessings, love on those around you, and choose to be grateful for all the things around you.

If you’re looking for a great holiday gift for your family?  Give the gift of a home remodel!  We want to support you however we can in your next home renovation.   Winter is the best time to settle in and decide what changes for the upcoming year.  

If you want to make changes next year with a home remodel,  contact us for suggestions on your renovation!  We would love to consult you on your choices to making your home dreams become reality.  Let us know what you’re thinking for 2019, and we’ll do everything we can to bring your dreams to life!  

Have a happy holiday weekend!

Love, 

Bright Star

Happy Halloween!

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Happy Halloween to all of our friends and family in South Jersey and Philadelphia! We are grateful for your love and support as we enter the last quarter of the year! If you have been considering a home renovation or remodel, now is the time to reach out to Bright Star Handyman Service for a free consultation regarding your next home improvement project.

If you’re curious about whether or not Bright Star is the right fit for you, check out our ever-growing project gallery or our Facebook reviews from satisfied clients. We love hearing from you and supporting you in your kitchen remodel, bathroom redesign, new deck build, garage or basement renovation, or anything else you can imagine! From installing new windows to adding an extra bedroom, we’re happy to help you!

From all of us at Bright Star, we hope you and your family have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Need Help Organizing?

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There’s nothing like trying to get something done in an unorganized home. It may seem like there are 50,000 projects to do and you have no idea where to start. Sometimes, a major overhaul isn’t necessary, if you can optimize your space in a way that fits you. Here are 5 Ways to Add Storage into Your Home:

Elevate Your Bed

One easy way to create more space in a bedroom is to upgrade to a bed with storage underneath.  With the current trend of functionality in home furniture, there are several styles of bed frame with built-in storage that can include cubbies, drawers, or cabinets.  A simple way to create more space without purchasing a brand new bed frame is to raise the bed.  Many bed frames have a low clearance to the ground, which will not allow for larger storage bins to fit underneath.  There are blocks that can be placed under the feet of the bed to add a small 3-4in lift that allows more space underneath.  Using a bedskirt can also help hide under the bed storage.


Bookshelves & Cubbies

When you compare a small table to a bookshelf, the surface areas to hold things is typically greater for a bookshelf than a table because of the various levels.  If you’re looking for a way to create an organization system for the whole family, get a three-tiered shelf.  The bottom shelf is for the kids, and can include baskets for easy organization, the middle shelf is shared family space, the top shelf is for mom & dad.  To double up the shelf space in one area, a second the tiered shelf can me mounted on the wall with adjustable bracket hanging tracks.

Hanging Wall Hooks and Fixtures

It’s helpful to move storage off of the floor and countertops and on to the wall for an even higher level of organization.  Hanging small baskets in the kitchens and bedrooms can offer a home for keys, mail, pets supplies, and small knick-knacks to provide more countertop space.  Hanging hats and long jewelry on the wall in the bedroom or bathroom will help with organization and get your favorite pieces out in front of you to wear more often than tucked away in a drawer.  

Optimizing Bathroom Space

There are several relatively easy installations that can accommodate an overcrowded bathroom.  Installing an under-the-sink cabinet will offer a tall, hidden space.  If you’re still needing more space, mounting a cabinet or series of shelves over the toilet or towel rack can also increase surface area.  If you have open shelves, small baskets or organizers can help keep the area looking neat and clean.

Over the Door Organizers

Do not underestimate the space and freedom an over-the-door organizer can offer.  Whether you prefer to use a multi-hook hanger or a full-length shoe organizer, you will be surprised how much stuff the back of a door can hold.  This is a great place to store shoes, scarves, jewelry, purses, backpacks, jackets, etc.  


There are hundreds of ways to create an organization system in your home and the cost can vary greatly. While it’s definitely accessible to do most of the organization yourself, if you would like assistance in creating a custom in-home organization system, reach out to Bright Star Handyman Service for a free consultation!



Stairwell Rehabilitation

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One of the things I love the most about my job as programming manager for DIYNetwork.com is discovering the things you love about us, but also the things you want to see. And long have I labored on a piping-hot laptop eager to fulfill a common desire among passionate DIYers: staircases!Let's face it, very few of us could add an interior staircase where there isn't one now or heavily remodel an existing one. More approachable DIY staircase projects are utilizing them for additional storage or painting them. A wooden staircase, especially one that has lost its luster, can be painted with powder-room-esque gusto, as Shannon Kaye demonstrates here.

Shannon's project — coupled with your response to it — caused us to dig around for more painted staircase inspiration, like Bryan Patrick Flynn's step-by-step faux runner and seven more colorful examples.

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Fall 2018 Color Trends by Pantone

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It's that time again, Pantone has unveiled its Fashion Colour Trend Report Autumn/Winter 2018 edition ahead of London Fashion Week. The report features the top seasonal colours we can expect to see on the runway, which inspires fashion, home décor and design.

The Autumn/Winter 2018 palette incorporates 12 top colours and a collection of five 'classic' colours. So if you're planning to decorate your home and are in need of some inspiration, take a look at the colours that will shape home décor palettes this year.

But what can you expect? A bold palette of deep and rich autumnal hues complemented by some more surprising shades that expresses originality, ingenuity and creativity.

Whilst mixing and combining unexpected colours can help to create a wonderfully bright and bold space, many of these unique shades can be similarly impactful when used alone.

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Things To Know About a 2018 Kitchen Remodel

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Kitchen renovations are number one on the remodel list for 2018.  Whether it's the large style shift, or high return on investment, kitchen remodels are on the rise compared to the last 2 years.  What are some key components to creating the kitchen of your dreams and working within your budget?

Organization is Key!

One of the largest complaints by homeowners is clutter, especially in the kitchen.  There are so many new ways to optimize the space in your kitchen.  There are storage items for the backs of closet and cabinet doors, utensil organizers, hanging baskets, pot and pan hangers, pull-out cabinet trash cans, dish bins, and more.  In one study, more than 60% of homeowners rated “Easy to Store/Find Things” as the top functional necessity in a kitchen remodel, followed by “Easy to Work/Play,” “Easy to Entertain,” and “Easy to Clean.”

 

Kitchen Remodels are the Most Requested Renovation of 2018

Kitchen style has varied greatly the last few years which could be a contributing factor as to why kitchens the most requested home remodel this year.  While modern and traditional kitchen styles have been most sought after for the last few years, consumers are now searching for more transitional and farmhouse style kitchens.  Kitchen technology is also advancing like any other room in your home, like appliances with greater energy efficiency updates.  Stainless steel has been the top selection for appliance color for the last few years.  Refrigerators are most commonly replaced appliance in the house.

The average small kitchen minor remodel in the US runs about $14,000, while a major large kitchen remodel can average around $42,000.  This wide range offers quite a bit of wiggle room for you to budget for your remodel.  In Philadelphia, the average professional minor remodel of large kitchen runs around $28,200, while a major remodel will creep into the $50k range.  Approximately two in five homeowners chose to begin a remodel because they could no longer stand their old kitchen, whether stylistically or functionally.  The rest of the majority of homeowners stated they chose to remodel because they finally had the means to do so!

95% of homeowners will update their countertops with a kitchen remodel, closely followed by kitchen sink, backsplash, and metal fixtures like faucets.  Engineered quartz is the top splurge for kitchen and bathroom countertops this year, followed by appliances and cabinets.  Nearly half of all homeowners choose engineered quartz over granite.  

The Look

Stylistically, the most popular kitchen color choices are modern & minimalist.  More than 40% chose white, shaker-door cabinets to be installed in their homes, while the number one color for kitchen walls is gray. The number one flooring material and color is hardwood, instead of tile or carpet.  Many homeowners are able to cut costs on flooring installation, too.

Across the board, the average size of a renovated kitchen is between 200-250sqft, allowing for more space in rural areas, and slightly smaller in urban areas.  In 2018 specifically, there has been a rise in increased kitchen space during a renovation.  This increased square footage can come in many forms.  For example, many kitchens are being convented into an open layout, where walls or partial walls are removed to create more space.  The second most popular way to expand a kitchen includes creating more outdoor space that allows the kitchen to spill out in nice weather.

While there are always trends, there are so many ways to make a remodel your own.  Bright Star Handyman Service is willing to work with you on a budget and create the room of your dreams!  Reach out to our consultants today to learn more about your future project!

Beginning a Basement Conversion

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Remodeling magazine conducted a study that shows that the average basement remodel will offer a 75 cent return on every dollar spent, placing it in the top 10 best investments for home improvement, behind bathroom and kitchen remodels.  This top 10 placement is based on the useable square footage addition, adding an extra bedroom, bathroom, in-home office, or family space.

 

There are several things to consider when looking to finish your basement.

  1. Moisture
    One of the number 1 destroyers of basements is moisture.  There are multiple ways to test for moisture levels and prevent leaks and mold from ruining the hard work you put into your new space.  While a dehumidifier may help alleviate some density, it can sometimes pull moisture through unsealed walls from the surrounding earth.  Alternative ways to reduce water problems include professional HVAC installation, sealing walls, and choosing correct flooring like floating vinyl slat flooring.  A vapor retardant is also recommended between floor slabs and foundation walls to help reduce the amount of water that comes from the outside.  If you plan to install a bathroom in the basement, make sure it is properly equipped with exhaust fans and ventilation that will help reduce steam buildup. 
  2. Lighting
    Most basements have limited options when it comes to natural lighting.  Organizing your space around optimizing the available light will create a warmer space to spend time in.  Optical tricks, like lighter walls and mirrors, will help the space look larger and allow more natural light in.  If you’re unable to harness natural light, there are lots of lighting options that mimic sunlight that could be better fitting alternatives.  Planning the layout to be more open around your light source can also allow more light into the subterranean space.
  3. Soundproofing
    Being on the garden level of a home can be the noisiest place in the house.  While vinyl slat flooring may be the best option for moisture control, it will only help to amplify the sound that is coming from the floors above.  It’s up to you to choose your flooring in respects to soundproofing your basement.  Water & mold resistant carpeting could be your best option if you’re looking to add an extra bedroom, playroom, or movie room, as the carpet absorbs quite a bit of sound.  Other ways to soundproof the basement include adding fiberglass batts behind the drywall to create an extra layer of insulation.  Sound absorption pads and matts can also be added between the first-story floorboards and the basement ceiling.  
  4. Storage
    Take into consideration how much space in your basement is currently used for storage.  If your answer is “none” than this will be less important than the last 3 suggestions.  However, as you grow into your home or your family begins to grow, having designated storage space will benefit your entire family.  There are creative ways to add storage without reducing the useable square footage of your home.  Adding a closet underneath the stairs will offer great storage space without cutting into an open floor plan.  Creating a full closet wall can also minimize the intrusion of storage into an open layout.  This can be created with an extension of added drywall just a few feet from the original basement wall.  Another option includes building a cabinet and cubby system on one of the walls for all of the kitsch things you may have.

 

There are so many other factors that go into a basement remodel, like egress/emergency exit installation, ceiling heights, etc. but these will give you a framework of important things to note when considering finishing your basement.  One other noteworthy point includes examining the stairwell to the basement.  Basement stairs are often not even or have deteriorated over the years due to moisture and most likely need maintenance too.

 

If you’re thinking of adding on to your house, we would love to offer a free consultation for renovating your basement space.  Contact Bright Star Handyman Service for more information today!

Top Renovation Returns by Bankrate

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Whether you plan to stay in your house a long time or just a few years, it’s smart to know which home renovations add the most value to your place.

“Remodeling,” a magazine for the construction industry, in its 2018 Cost vs. Value report, compares the average cost of 21 remodeling projects in 149 markets with the value those projects retain at resale in 100 U.S. markets.

Here are the six interior remodeling projects that deliver the highest return.

1. Garage door replacement

  • Average cost: $3,470
  • Average resale value: $3,411
  • Cost recouped: 98.3%

A good-looking garage door tops the list when it comes to returning cash to your pocket, the Cost vs. Value report shows. This project involves removing an existing 16-by-7-foot garage door and replacing it with a new four-section garage door with heavy-duty galvanized steel tracks. This curb-appeal enhancer will get you back almost every dollar you spent on it when you sell your house.

 

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When Is It Time to Replace My Carpet?

About Your Carpet

Typically a carpet can last you from 5-15 years depending on the foot traffic, quality, and padding.  These are all great starting points to determining if you need a carpet replacement. 

Carpet installation is a little more complex than you might think, as there are a few layers that go in before the carpet that you walk on can be installed.  First, there are the tackless strips.  These wood pieces have small pins that stick out to hold your carpeting in place.  If you’ve never seen these, you might have felt them when walking through a doorway of an older home, where the carpet is wearing low.  These strips are nailed into the floor around the edges of the room to hold the carpet in place.  The second layer is typically a layer of foamy material that helps to create a cushion underneath your carpeting.  Placing carpet directly on wood or concrete will not give it that comfortable, squishy feeling that the cushioning offers.  For example, you can usually feel the difference between a floor rug and a carpeted room.  This foam also helps to fill the space between the tackless strips so the full room is flush and level and not elevated around the edges.

So, When Do I Know That I Need to Replace My Carpets?

…When It Smells Funky

Usually the musty smell is the key indicator that it’s time to do something about replacing your carpet.  Sometimes all it needs is a deep cleaning, but if a deep cleaning doesn’t eliminate the smell, you might have to think about a more permanent change.  Many times the cleaning can help with the top layer of carpet, while the spongey bottom layer may be molding or holding more permanent smells.  One of the largest absorbers in a room can be your carpet, so pets, smoke, spills, and similar issues can leave you in need of a replacement.

 

…When It Starts To Clump

Depending on the material of your carpet, some may last longer than others.  For example, polyester carpet won’t last as long as nylon carpeting and will begin to start matting sooner.  Once a polyester carpet begins to mat, there’s not much you can do to salvage it.  One way to keep your carpet lasting longer is to treat it to a deep clean every so often.  

 

…When You Can’t Remove The Stains

Deep cleaning will only take you so far with some stains.  While they can remove the discoloration for most things, sometimes a shampoo just won’t cut it.  Foot traffic and other wear & tear can bring deeper stains to the surface if the padding underneath the carpet is still holding on to it.  Some stain removers can also damage the carpet’s integrity.  If you have multiple deep stains like red wine, it may be your best bet to fully replace the carpet.

 

Options to replace your carpet include wood flooring, tile, slat flooring, laminate, or even concrete depending on your budget and aesthetic choices.  Wood and slat flooring will typically outlast most carpet choices.  If you’re looking for a revamp for your floors, reach out to Bright Star for a consultation on your options!

What the 20 Most Popular Home Renovations Are Really Worth in 2018

Photo Credit to  www.bidvine.com

Photo Credit to www.bidvine.com

Planning to remodel your kitchen, add a master suite, or undertake some other pricey home renovation in 2018? Watch out—not all of these home improvements pay off like they did in the past, according to Remodeling magazine's latest Cost vs. Value Report.

For this much-referenced annual report, now in its 31st year, researchers pinpointed the average return on investment of 20 popular home renovations by canvassing contractors nationwide on how much these upgrades cost to complete, then compared that with how much real estate agents estimated these features would boost a home's market price (in other words, their value).

And the news isn't so good for homeowners looking to remodel on a massive scale: The report found that in 2018, Americans should expect to make back only about 56% of the money they spend on renovations. That's down from 64% the previous two years.

 

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Why Home Maintenance Is Important

Owning a home requires a lot more responsibility than renting. If something breaks down, there's no landlord to come and fix the problem; it's in the owner's hands. That means the responsibility of keeping a home clean and maintained is up to the homeowners. Your realtor, mortgage lender and everyone on the Internet has told you how important it is to keep your home maintained, as well as thousands ways to do it. But why is it so important? As a home warranty company, Landmark's main purpose is to help homeowners who have systems and appliances that fail from old age and normal wear and tear. However, in our contract, we stipulate that if a system or appliance has failed because of lack of maintenance, it's not considered "normal wear and tear." You shouldn't just maintain your home because of the benefits of a home warranty though (although that's an excellent reason to do so!). There are a number of other reasons home maintenance is so important.

Home Maintenance Saves you Money

The first reason home maintenance is so important is that it saves you, the homeowner, money. "That can't be right," you're thinking. "I spend so much of my time, money and energy cleaning and maintaining. How does that save me money?"

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Happy Independence Day!

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

Bright Star Handyman Service wishes all of you a Happy 4th of July!  Whether you plan to hang out with your friends on your brand new outdoor patio, or check out the local fireworks show, we hope you have the best day off!

While we’re all about the fireworks celebrations, we want to remind you to keep your pets inside as the sun starts to set today.  Each year, many runaway animals end up breaking out of their backyards due to fireworks and end up in shelters on July 5th.  We care about all members of your family and want to make sure your furry friends feel safe, too!

Sometimes it’s easy to feel like we live in a divisive time nationally, we encourage all of you to focus on the things you’re grateful for and what makes us all the same.  We are all Americans and we have our freedoms that our forefathers fought so diligently to protect.  

We’re grateful for all of our amazing clients and the opportunity to help you live your best and most comfortable life!  If you live in the Philadelphia or South Jersey areas and haven’t worked with us yet, please don’t hesitate to reach out about achieving your dream home!

 

Happy 4th of July!

5 Ways to Update Your Kitchen

If you've been thinking about selling your home and moving into something "newer", take into consideration the top things that increase your home's value.  A few studies have shown that kitchen and bathroom remodels are one of the most effective ways to get a return on your home investment.  Many homeowners can see up to 92% return on their initial kitchen investment, followed by 80% return on external needs like roof and window replacement.  In hot housing markets, remodeling bathrooms and kitchens can recoup more than 100% of the initial investment in upgrades.

Here are 5 ways you can update your kitchen:

BEAUTIFY YOUR COUNTERTOPS
If you have an older home, this is the best way to make a huge difference in your kitchen.  Instead of choosing the lowest hanging fruit, laminate, which is nice but hardly increases the value of your kitchen, examine all of your options.  Laminate can look very nice, but is not heat or scratch resistant and will need to be replaced faster than any stone counter.  It is also possible to ruin laminate with certain chemicals that remove the finish.  While you may not be able to afford the highest grade granite, it is resistant to heat, most scratching, and low maintenance.  There are multiple levels of granite (depending on what the granite company supplies) starting with the base level of 1, and sometimes going as high as level 7.  Lower grade granite is still very nice, but as you go up in levels, the uniqueness of the patterns and the thickness of the granite itself will determine the price.  You can definitely find affordable granite countertops.  There are also other options like glass, which is somewhat heat resistant, but can crack more easily than granite.  Additionally, you can find marble, quartz, butcher block, concrete, and others, which all have their pros & cons regarding coloration, hardness, durability, and heat resistance.  One of our consultants can walk you through all of your countertop needs and help you choose the best for your home and budget!
 

CABINET INSTALLATION
Like countertops, cabinets come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and styles and can be painted just about any color under the sun.  There are three basic types of cabinets, base, wall, and tall.  Base cabinets sit alone the floor, wall cabinets are installed to hover over countertops, and tall cabinets typically reach from the floor to the ceiling, or close.  As for materials, varieties of wood and wood particle board will give you a wide range of price.  There are also plastic-based materials used for cabinets, however like laminate, they are less durable and are not as appealing to the eye, as the quality degrades quicker than wood.  There are also three basic cabinet door options when choosing the right look for your kitchen.  Doors and drawers can have a full-overlay which covers the entire frame of the cabinet edge to edge & door to drawer.  There is also a partial overlay, in which they only cover part of the frame, and then full-inset, where the doors and drawers are built to the line of the frame and do not stick out, but the entire front of the cabinet is flush. 
 

JUST THE KITCHEN SINK
Deep double sinks have been a hot commodity for a while now, and we can see why.  Utilizing the disposal for food scraps on one side, while allowing dishes or washed food to sit in the second side.  While stainless steel sinks have been the most popular, there are a number of varieties you can find in a sink.  If you're looking for a clean, high-white kitchen, maybe a farmhouse fireclay sink would be best!  You can find farmhouse sinks in both single and dual bowl.  The downside is that this sink is white and may show food junk faster than a stainless steel sink.  Copper sinks are another option, but are much more work to keep up.  Copper, although incredibly beautiful, will react negatively with other metals and materials that are left in the sink.  These are probably the most high maintenance of the kitchen sinks, as they can also dent rather easily.  Stone sinks are also an option for those looking to get creative with their sink space.
 

CLEAN TILING
Over time, the grout around your tiles will begin to flake off or stain from use.  If a good cleaning does not do the trick, it may be time to re-grout!  Broken or missing tiles also indicate a good time to have your tile replaced.  While it might not bother you, it is less presentable when trying to convince someone to purchase your home.  In some kitchens, there may be tile in the backsplash, as well as, the floor.  Note that floor tiles are very different than wall tiles, as floor tiles typically offer a "non-slip" texture, whereas wall tiles can be glossy and slick.  Like everything else in your kitchen, there are a number of styles & materials you can choose from like glass, ceramic, limestone (travertine), porcelain, marble, granite, and many other rock composite materials.  Durability, price, and styke will be your top comparisons when choosing tiles.  Porcelain and marble will obviously be more expensive flooring and require more maintenance than a limestone floor tile, but typically have a more beautiful pattern and finish.  Backsplash tiles are most frequently glass, which can come in just about any color and pattern you can imagine.
 

APPLIANCE BUNDLES
Yes, we know that this can sometimes be a scary choice for many, as appliances are not cheap.  But updated appliances are crucial to getting the full value for your kitchen.  It won't matter if you recently installed granite countertops and beautiful new cabinets, if your electric stove from 1970 has 3 out of 4 burners than work and are slightly warped.  Often times when updating appliances, bundles could save you hundreds on your initial investment.  The most recent trend for home appliances have been stainless steel.  They're easy to clean, have clean lines, and match just about any combination of colors and patterns.  This is a huge plus if you cannot fully remodel your kitchen, but want to invest in versatile appliances.  Some opt for the standard metal, white sets, or vintage-looking sets, depending on their budget and style.  Many homebuyers look for energy-efficient models, which even if you're not moving, could save you a pretty penny in the long run.

Home Improvement Loans

Whether you’re looking to buy, sell, or stay in your home, you may be considering a home improvement project. And while renovations can help increase the equity of your home, and add a personal touch, they can be costly.

Home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOC) may tap into your home’s equity to fund improvement projects. And not all improvements will create the highest possible return on investment.

Personal loans offer a possible alternative to home equity financing. Home improvement loans can make it easy to increase your home’s value without tapping into equity.

Home improvement loans are useful for financing:

  • Kitchen remodels

  • Bathroom remodels

  • New deck/patio/porch

  • New exteriors

  • Green homes

  • Home repairs

KEEP READING

3 Detail Fixes That Will De-Stress Your Home

Some of the smallest pieces in your home could make a huge difference when it comes to stress.

There are several parts of the home that we do not think about when it comes to renovation, that could make a big different.  Many of these unnoticed yet important aspects are crucial to having that ease & “finished touch” feeling on everything.  These functional pieces of hardware include locks, hinges, door knobs, thresholds, handles, towel bars, and the like.

What good is a fancy-looking cabinet that doesn’t shut all the way?  
Or a door that squeaks, doesn’t latch when it’s closed, or worse, randomly gets stuck closed?

Chances are, your new countertops are not going to feel as new and smooth when the miscellaneous utensil drawer has to be jiggled (or forced with a good amount of elbow grease) back on to the tracks to open.  The good news is, you don’t have to have to have a budget for a full remodel when these small repairs can make a space feel like new again!

Here are Three Things you can change to make your home feel like new without a complete overhaul:

Door Knobs & Locks
While we love the look of antique door knobs, it’s no debate that they can be a little unreliable.  Have you ever closed a door behind you only to have the doorknob spin in place without unlatching when trying to get out?  It would give anyone a moment of panic, but by replacing the well-worn ones with better latching pins, you can reduce the chance of Aunt Cathy having a mini-heart attack on her next visit to the ladies’ room.  Exterior locks that are well-used need to be replaced occasionally due to rust and general usage.  Other reasons to change your locks would be a change in roommates, recent home break-in, or if you lost your keys.

 

Hinges & Handles
With squeaky & slamming cabinets, it’s no wonder you want to rip them out of your kitchen sometimes!  There are a few quick fixes to make you fall in love with your cabinets again.  Change the hinges.  Old cabinet hinges begin to rust and warp and can often stop closing completely. Replacing hinges is a quick and easy fix to help your cabinets shut better.  However, now that they shut better, you may need to apply some stopped or silencers on the inside of the door to keep them from slamming.  One way to freshen up older cabinets aesthetically is to replace the handles.  There are many styles of handle to choose from a painted ceramic knob, to an antique gold adorned handle.  Start noticing other handles and give a pop of life to your cabinets!

 

Thresholds & Door Frames
Especially noticeable in older homes, shifts in the house or exposure to water can cause the doorways to warp and make the door stick, or not close entirely.  It’s an easy fix, as we’ll remeasure the threshold, door, and doorframe and fit a new one perfectly in its place.  While it seems like a small problem that you can “live with”, it’s a great way to relieve stress from slightly off aspects of your home.  Studies have shown that small misalignments or disorganization in the home can add unnecessary stress.

If you’re in the market to make some smart upgrades to your home, Bright Star is happy to help with bathroom and kitchen renovations and more!  However, if you’re only looking to make a few tweaks here and there, reach out to us for an estimate.

There's Something in the Attic...

As the sun starts to set and the shadows grow in your home, you suddenly hear a massive thud come from your ceiling.  And then a second… and then a third time.  Is there an elephant in the attic?  You take a look but can’t find anything that looks menacing.  Maybe your attic become the resting place for your newest roommate, Casper the friendly ghost?   While that’s not likely, you could very well have a squirrel home invasion. 

These little guys can be cute, but they can also cause a wide variety of expensive issues in your home if you allow them to long-term nestle in the attic.  From chewing up wires and making homes in the insulation, this is an adorable infestation that needs to be taken care of quickly.  We can’t help you with the actual removal of the animals, we recommend finding a squirrel or pest removal service nearby, and let the experts help you out.  

Words of caution.  We encourage finding an expert, as there are several ways NOT to remove squirrels from your home.  

  1. Do not seal the hole in which they enter/exit your attic. Blocking their passage and trapping them inside may exacerbate they need to destroy things as they try to get out. OR they may even dehydrate and/or starve in the summer, meaning you’re left to find the smelly squirrel remains before it takes over your whole house.

  2. Plugging the hole while they are gone has proven problematic as well. Usually, the squirrels will find another entry point, or create one themselves. The best way to get rid of them, is to trap them and relocate them elsewhere.

After the squirrels have been removed, reach out to us to come assess your property damages.  We can investigate how the insulation was affected and replace and refill the areas.  Insulation is important as it keeps your energy usage low year round.  Without insulation, the summer heat would seep in from the attic and thwart all of the cooling efforts that your AC unit works so hard to offer!  This works the same way with heat, the heat escapes more easily in the winter and will take more energy to maintain a reasonable temperature.  Even if you can handle the temperature differential, you might see your energy bills skyrocket.

While addressing your squirrel situation, we can also look at the exterior of the home and potentially help prevention from welcoming more attic friends.  Sometimes, a bad gutter may be exposing a hole for creatures to enter the house.  Bright Star will evaluate your gutters and can repair, replace, and paint them for you, creating a fresher look for your home!

Although not super common, serious infestations can begin to affect the ceilings in your home.  If you start noticing water spots above you, it is smart to investigate the source as soon as possible.  Drywall is not too expensive to replace, but depending on the cause of the water damage, sooner rather than later is always better.  Squirrels will chew on anything, and you never know what might have been a target while they were in your home. 

 

For more information, please reach out to us for a Free Estimate on how we can help you recover from squirrel damage in your home!