• Very Creative!
    Monday, January 30

    This day and age, burglars and shady "friends" are getting craftier at finding your valuables. The good news is we are becoming craftier thinking up new places to hide those goods. Here are a number of great ideas for stashing your valuable and sentimental (or naughty) items in places nobody would think to look.

    1. This is about as clever as it gets. Just make sure you don't trim your fingernails too close.

    2. Here's a shocking idea for hiding your goodies.

    3. Having a hidden cubby behind a wall-mounted TV not only gives you better wire management, but also provides a secret storage area too.

    4. Or instead of hiding items behind a picture frame, hide your stuff INSIDE one!

    5. Rows of binders filled with pages of boring sentences are a great place to hide things from your kids.

    6. That space under the cabinet is a perfect place for a little extra hidden storage.

    7. Heres a great trap door for hiding your valuables (or people) under the stairs.

    8. This inconspicuous armoire can act as a hidden entrance to a panic room.

    Or a hidden room to get your fifty shades of grey on without any unwanted intrusions.

    9. Probably the sneakiest hiding spot of them all is located on every door in your home. Learn how to make one here.

    10. Tired of that random brother-in-law who comes over and eats everything in the fridge? This dresser refrigerator might help.

    Would you like some mustard with those underpants?

    11. This ring lets you store your valuables within your valuables.

    12. Heres a classic hinged picture frame you can hide your jewelry behind. Learn how to make it here.

    13. Seriously. Who would ever suspect?

    14. The handles give it away, but this storage space is still a sweet idea for a floor bathtub.

    15. Make your cold-hard cash even colder with this A/C vent safe. Purchase one here.

    16. For only $99 you can hide your valuables in a head of lettuce... that is also a safe.

    I doubt any burglar would check a head of lettuce while searching for your valuables.

    17. A staircase is the perfect place to hide a small bar. For other amazing ideas using staircases, check this article out.

    18. Heres a great way to hide you valuables at the beach or swimming pool.

    19. Rock out your house key concealment with this genius hiding device.

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  • Wow, this was enlightening but rather sad.
    Monday, January 23

    Spite Houses are the resulting combination of a reason to despise someone, and enough land and resources to leave a sizable monument of retribution. In some cases, these retributions are well deserved, and in others it's the result of adults acting like spoiled children. At times, these spite houses serve as homes, and others serve as little more than an eyesore. Whatever the case, the stories behind most of the well known spite houses are rather laughable.

    #1 The two brothers.

    There are two stories about this house built in 1716, in Marblehead, Massachusetts. The first is that two brothers inherited the house, and couldn't stand each other. So, instead of one selling to the other, he just decided to build a ten foot wide home to live there and spite his brother. Because, if you are miserable with your brother, it only makes sense to want to live in a prison cell sized home right next to him. The second theory is that the ten foot wide home was constructed to block the scenic view of two other family members, due to spite over inheriting such a small piece of the fathers estate. Seems colonials had their own precursors to the modern day dysfunctional family sitcoms.

    #2 Thomas McCobb

    This home was built in Phippsburg, Maine, in 1806. Thomas McCobb, heir to his fathers land and shipbuilding business, built this home directly in front of the "Mansion in the Wilderness," which was inherited by his step brother. The home was moved in 1925 to Deadmans Point in Rockport, Maine by barge.

    #3 Dr. John Tyler

    This house was built in 1814 by Dr. John Tyler, the first American born ophthalmologist to perform cataract operation. He had learned that the city was planning to extend Record Street through Tylers land. In his search to stop the extension, he found a law inhibiting roads from being built where a substantial building was being constructed. He immediately had the foundation poured, and the road crews discovered it the next morning.

    #4 More sibling rivalry.

    The Skinny House was built in the North End of Boston, Massachusetts, in 1874. There were two brothers that inherited a part of their fathers property (sounds familiar). While one brother was serving in the military, the other built a large home, leaving only a tiny piece of land that he thought was too small to build on. When the soldier returned, he built a very skinny home, high enough to block the sunlight from coming into his brothers home, ruining the view.

    #5 The agitated developer.

    In the 19th century, a Freeport, New York developer was agitated by the citys grid development plan. He built the Victorian Freeport Spite House on a triangular plot of land, virtually overnight to throw off the development plan. Now thats tenacity!

    #6 Charles Froling

    Charles Froling was vexed when the city of Alameda, California decided to take a large portion of his inherited land to build a road. He had hoped to build his dream home on it. To spite the city, and an unsympathetic neighbor, he built the Alameda Spite House between the road and the neighbor. The house is 54 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 20 feet high, and nearly touches his neighbors home.

    #7 Francis OReilly

    In 1908, Francis OReilly owned an investment parcel of land in Cambridge, Massachusetts (theres that state again). His abutting neighbor declined buying the land from OReilly, who was looking to make a profit. In spite, he decided to build a 37 foot long, 8 foot wide building. Its currently occupied by an interior decorating firm.

    #8 The cost of a low-ball offer.

    In 1925, in Montlake, Seattle, Washington, the Montlake Spite House was constructed in response to a neighbor making an insultingly low offer on the tiny parcel of land. The house is 860 square feet, 55 inches wide at the south end, and 15 feet wide at the North end. It was built this way simply to block the neighbors open space. Seems people dont take kindly to cheap neighbors.

    #9 Aaron Jackson

    In 2013, Aaron Jackson, and LGBT rights activist and founder of Planting Peace, was checking out Westboro Baptist Church on Google Maps. This church was widely known for being against everything Aaron Jackson stood for. He noticed there was a home for sale across the street from the church and immediately bought it. He painted it up like the rainbow flag to spite the church. He reports that most of the attention that would be on the church, is now turning towards his home.

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  • Need a little decorating help?
    Monday, January 16

    Every homeowner wants their home to look polished, pulled together and reflect their personal style. But not every homeowner wants to put in the effort to get it there. Some people just hate decorating, and the thought of decorating an entire home? Well, that just sounds terrible. But you can have a gorgeous, well-decorated home even if you're Pinterest challenged. Here are 5 decorating tips for people who hate to decorate:

    Be Bold

    If you're a person who doesn't like to decorate, you want to keep the amount of decorating you need to do to a minimum. And the best way to make a big impact with minimum effort is to be bold. Using bold patterns, colors, decor and furniture can make a room look highly styled with little effort on your part. Keep the majority of the room simple, and then choose one focal piece to make a bold statement. Use all neutrals in your dining room, but then use patterned wallpaper on one wall to add visual interest. Furnish your living room with simple pieces, but then choose an interesting coffee table as a conversation piece. Keep your entire bedroom in muted colors, but add a bright bedspread to add a pop of color. Focusing on one aspect of the decor in a room that makes a big impact will keep you from having to worry too much about decorating the rest of the room.

    Stick To One Theme

    Decorating can get complicated when you try to mix too many styles at once. And while an expert interior designer (or someone with a passion for decorating) can pull off a shabby chic living room with old world charm and touches of a contemporary style, for people who hate decorating will feel completely lost when trying to pull in design elements from multiple styles. Stick to one design theme throughout your home to minimize the amount of thought you need to put into your decorating. Sticking to one theme, like modern or traditional, will make it much easier to furnish and decorate your home since the decor will be consistent from room to room.

    Hire a Designer

    If you truly hate decorating - and you have a healthy decorating budget - you might consider hiring an interior designer. An interior designer can help bring the vision you have for your home to life without you needing to deal with all of the small details that go into making a home beautiful. They'll source the materials, choose colors, buy furniture and take care of all the decorating. If you do hire a designer, it's important to find someone you trust who has experience with the style of decor that you'd like for your home. Just because someone is an amazing modern designer doesn't mean they'll be able to design the contemporary home of your dreams. Ask other homeowner friends for recommendations, search interior design directories on home sites like Houzz or use Yelp to find a well-reviewed designer in your area.

    Use A Design Service

    If hiring an interior design feels like it's out of your budget, explore a digital design service. Using a virtual design service is much more affordable than hiring a private designer but can get you the same results. One fantastic virtual design service is Havenly. Havenly allows you to review designer portfolios so you can choose a designer whose style matches what you're looking for. Then, you share details about the room and budget, and your designer puts together a mock-up of the design. You let them know what you like and what you don't before finalizing the design. Havenly then sends you a personalized shopping list of the items you'll need to purchase to complete your room. All you have to do is hit purchase and assemble the space and voila! Room decorated. And with prices starting at just $79 per room, you can't go wrong on the price. If you find the Havenly isn't quite the right fit for you, there's plenty of other virtual design services out there, like Laurel and Wolf or Decorist, to meet your interior design needs.

    Have Fun

    If you find that decorating makes you want to pull your hair up, lighten up! Decorating, with the right mindset, can be fun. See if you can reframe the decorating process to make it more enjoyable for you. Try making a game of decorating a new room, and see how many new pieces of decor you can find for under $50. Set a date with your partner to spend a Sunday morning visiting antique stores to scout new pieces for your dining room. Throw a paint apron or a smock on your children and let them get their hands dirty helping you paint the new playroom. No matter how much you hate decorating, there's always a way to reframe it and make it more fun. With these 5 tips, you'll have your home looking like an ad from a magazine - even if you're a person who hates decorating.

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  • In the cold mid-winter a laugh will warm things up!
    Monday, January 9

    To some, real estate agents are considered the champions of their clients, trying to provide families with their little slice of the American dream. To others, they're simply misunderstood. Either way, when it comes to helping us settle into the biggest investment of our lives, their value is immense. Now you can take an open-house tour of their world with comedian John Mulaney!

    From start to finish you don't want to miss this hilarious clip that delves into the lives of these stalwart guardians of home ownership.

    Via Quentin Forgues

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  • Thinking about redoing a kitchen?
    Tuesday, January 3

    A kitchen remodel is the singular most cost-effective room remodel you can put into your home if you're planning on putting it on the market. The ROI is usually more than 100% and very often much, much more. With the upswing in the real estate market these days, a full or partial kitchen remodel can help you sell your home faster and for a higher dollar amount.

    1. Tuxedo Kitchens

    You may have not heard of the term "tuxedo kitchen," but you have likely seen the color-blocked images. The style is relatively simple, usually with white on the top, and a darker color such as black or dark gray on the bottom of the kitchen. When designing your tuxedo kitchen, remember that the small accents are absolutely essential to tying this look together and really making it pop. Think brushed gold cabinet hardware with matching faucets and light fixtures, or utilizing the identical style cabinets for both top and bottom, but white on top and navy below, with matte finishes on both. The little details will make or break this room, so pay attention to the subtleties!

    2. Wood Paneling

    Now, of course we're not talking about 1970s basement wood paneling... no, todays wood paneling is rich in color and texture and nothing at all like the past. The prevailing trend over the next years will be towards light colored, even white, paneling and will be used on walls, ceilings, backsplashes...youll see lots of creative uses for paneling! While lighter colors prevail, faux weathered greys and brown inspire a rustic look without having to break the bank on reclaimed barnwood. Warm tones give depth to rooms where people gather such as kitchens and living rooms, or where we take sanctuary - bedrooms and libraries or den areas. Remember that you dont have to panel an entire room, either. Using paneling in small spaces as an accent is a cost-effective and simple way to create a new look without investing a ton of work, time, or money. Utilize recent (say, last 10-15 years) paneling in new ways by painting it in a new color. In a kitchen or bath, consider painting the paneling in a shade similar to the existing walls. If youve got a cottage look or rustic decor, a bit of faux distressing will look fantastic, and breathe new life into the room!

    3. Hidden Appliances

    Hidden appliances are those that are made to look as if they are cabinets, with the same design in doors and hardware. The trend will be towards hidden appliances, even small appliances such coffee makers and microwaves, and certainly bigger items like refrigerators and dishwashers. Nearly every appliance but the stove can be hidden and disguised as cabinetry, and this creates a clean, uncluttered looking kitchen overall. This look will be especially attractive to those who spend a great deal of time in the kitchen and are looking for a cozier, more relaxing feel.

    4. Patterned Tiles

    Out with the subway-inspired tiles, and in with eclectic patterned tiles. Use many different patterns within a color range for a really funky look, or stick with a more traditional, yet still colorful, look of alternating patterned tiles. The options here are truly endless, and youll find patterned tiles to fit every room, use, and budget. Go for a simple project like a new kitchen backsplash, or do an entire bathroom! Mix patterned tiles with solid-colored tiles or go all-out with one style/pattern. A simple online search for patterned tiles gives enormous inspiration!

    5. Automation

    Faucets with sensors - great for kids who cant yet reach. Lights that go on when we enter a room and automatically go off when they stop detecting motion. Meat thermometers that notify your smartphone when your roast has achieved the correct temperature. These are but a few of the quickly increasing options when it comes to automating your home. In 2017 and future years, well see more of these automation trends, and many of them will allow you to run your home from your smartphone or device. Exciting times, indeed! And here are some trends that are on their way out!
    • Short kitchen cabinets are no longer en vogue. Go for taller cabinets with more room for storage.
    • Brown and grey speckled granite countertops. While granite is still a popular choice for counters because of its resiliency and ease of clean up, lighter granite is more in line with the kitchens of 2017 and beyond.
    • Dark wood kitchens are a no go. Bright and light are where its at.

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