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Tis the Season to add Curb Appeal

Before the first tulip blooms and the heat gets turned off, I parade my pasty self into the salon for a buffing and spritzing, a spring-ing, if you will. Its nothing major, but a little extra work to scrub away the winter makes a world of difference from my hair to my toes. It is the time of year to shed some winter layers and show off.

The same applies to your house. If major home improvements are not in your budget or schedule this spring, you can still add curb appeal with a good ole power wash and gutter declutter. A power washer rental will cost you about $40 a day from Home Depot and the difference will astound you.

As I sit in the pedicure chair, with massaging mechanical hands kneading my tired, aging muscles and look down at my freshly painted toes, I am in awe at the difference that a little sanding and paint can do. Not the year to shell out a small fortune to have your house repainted or sided? That's okay! What about adding a pop of color by painting your front door or porch rails? Go bold! This Spring pops of bright hues are all the rage.

Next stop at the salon is the waxing station. The stylist asks if I want the whole package; brows, underarms, legs, bikini. Am I trimming? Removing? Reshaping? Really, this is a personal decision and the same goes for your landscaping. I say if you're looking to make a statement, make a change. Reshape those hedges, or remove them all together. Replace them with the easier to care for and trending topiary. How about using a statement-making black mulch around tree trunks and in flower beds? This will help the green of the grass and the bright colors of the flowers really stand out.

I am about to leave the salon when the cosmetologist convinces, me that a fresh makeup application will be the perfect finishing touch. She is right. Finishing touches are key. I sit back down. Window boxes are a great finishing touch . If you're like me and glad that you moved into a house with already established flower beds full of perennials that only require a bit of weeding and watering, you're in luck. Many hardware stores and home and garden shops sell already planted window boxes. This takes the guessing out of it. Just be sure to mention the location of your windows and the amount of light exposure that they get to the expert.

Whether you are down for a brow wax or Botox, the addition of a few topiaries or the addition of a three season sun room, there is always room for improvement, and there is no better time to make a change than at the change of the seasons. Happy spring!

Ranch Life

When my husband and I were shopping for our dream home, I envisioned a historic, stately colonial with pillars, high ceilings, and a sprawling center staircase.  What we fell in love with was a three bedroom, two and a half bath ranch that was built in 1954.  Three years later, we are loving ranch life and have not looked back.

Initially, I had to get over the stigma of the ranch home.  Popularized in the 1950's when Suburbia was on the rise, and the land was cheap, the ranch home was designed to meet the needs of the middle class.  Due to its fast fame, the design was copied over and over, each time getting cheaper and cheaper.  Just like anything that is quickly a trend and mass produced, the novelty of the ranch home wore off and was replaced with a negative reputation for being plain old cheap, one-level living for the lower middle class.

Fast forward almost 70 years and the ranch home is making a comeback.  There are many things about the layout of my home that I wouldn’t trade for multi-level living.  The first is that the design of my ranch is ideal for entertaining.  The kitchen and living room are the two largest rooms, both as wide as the entire house.  When we think about how much time is spent in those two rooms, it is ideal to have them be the most spacious and inviting.  Although mine is not, many ranch houses are designed with an open concept, which is also ideal for entertaining and family life.

One cannot ignore the benefits of one-level living for the aging.  I try not to think into my elder years too frequently but if my husband’s knees are anything like his father’s, I will be thankful not to have to help him up that sprawling staircase of my previous dream house.  This style home is immensely more maintainable for the less feeble as well.  I don’t have to take a ladder out for window cleaning, power washing or painting the exterior of my home. 

If the typical 3 bedroom, 2 bath home doesn’t meet your spatial needs, the ranch is easy to add on to.  Adjoining a room, building up or finishing a basement is all easy additions to the ranch style home.  My husband and I were able to finish our basement quite costeffectively and we added 800 square feet of extra living space.

 Not convinced yet?  Let's talk resale value.  The ranch home has great resale value and a broader market than many stately colonials.  The ranch is often affordable for first time home buyers and attractive to retirement home buyers.  Folks up north are interested in ranch style homes for their heat efficiency.  And, like our family, many find the affordability and adaptability of a ranch very appealing. 

Here are some ranch homes available in Rutland County.

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