How to Get a Kitchen Remodel on a Budget

What’s the first thing that comes to mind with a kitchen remodel? The cost? Renovating a kitchen is notorious for being expensive — but that’s not always the case. There are many quick, budget-friendly, do-it-yourself projects that can instantly transform the kitchen in your DFW home. Keep reading for some money-saving ideas to make over your kitchen in style.

Give Cabinets a Fresh Coat of Paint

It’s amazing what some paint can do to your kitchen cabinets. Instead of tearing down and replacing what’s already there, grab some sandpaper and a paintbrush, and give your current cabinets a makeover. Paint can transform even builder-grade cabinets into something impressive. Here’s a good read on how to paint kitchen cabinets.

Make Use of What You Already Have

Doing a kitchen remodel doesn’t always mean ushering in what’s new. Preserve what you have — whether it’s a vintage tile backsplash or the original stainless-steel sink. You can maintain your kitchen’s retro charm while making small updates, such as painting the walls or swapping out the curtains or rug.

Dress Up the Details

One of the simplest kitchen remodel ideas is updating the details — hardware, fixtures, and trim — with dressier options. Are the knobs on your cabinets outdated? Refresh them with something colorful and modern. The same thing goes with the fixtures and trim in your kitchen.

Install a Plate Rail

Here’s an attention-getting idea that will transform your kitchen without busting your budget: a plate rail. If you have any unused space above your cabinets, this is a smart kitchen remodel idea that is functional and stylish. Use the deep shelving to display colorful pitchers, plates, and other kitchen items. When you walk into your kitchen, your eye will immediately be drawn to the plate rail, making the room seem much larger than it actually is.

Do Your Research

If you really want to make over your kitchen on a budget, it pays to do your research. Shop sales online and at big-box stores. Take a look on Craigslist to see what people are selling around the Metroplex. You could even cut out the cost of a contractor by taking a carpentry course and learning how to install cabinetry yourself.

Completing a kitchen remodel doesn’t have to be a huge investment. You can have a big impact for a small cost. Try out some of these simple, affordable updates to refresh the look of your kitchen — without spending a fortune.

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Home of the Week: Linda Hogan’s Tuscan Inspired Compound

In a special edition of our ‘Home of the Week‘ series – Christophe Choo interviews Linda Hogan who gives us a tour of her stunning 23+ acre compound in Simi Valley, California.

Simi Valley is about 40 miles from Los Angeles, but this unique estate looks and feels like it was taken from Tuscany and transplanted to Southern California. Boasting incredible 360 degree valley, mountain and Wood Ranch Country Club and Golf Course views – Villa Di Montagna offers an exceptional celebrity-like lifestyle.

The home itself is reminiscent of authentic farm houses you would find in the Italian or French countryside. The 6,300 square foot main residence has that warmth you expect from a countryside home, but it was also re-done to perfection with every possible luxury detail thought through. Simply put, it is the best of all worlds.

The sustainable 23+ acres features a working avocado orchard (yum) and even a vineyard for you to create your very own private label wine. Entertaining is also par for the course at this unique $5.5 million dollar estate. The grounds boast a stunning detached guest house and an award-winning pool with water slide and waterfalls for the inner 12 year old in all of us to enjoy.

Click here to learn more about this home listed by Christophe Choo with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

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6 Spring Style Tips for Your Home


The following is a guest blog post from Patti Stern of PJ & Company

The start of spring means its time to celebrate the season with some fresh style for your home, both inside and out! Not sure where to begin? We hope the following tips will inspire your imagination when deciding the best ways to brighten, renew and add curb appeal.

Bring The Outdoors Inside. Place a variety of natural garden-like elements such as potted plants, topiaries and moss-covered balls on mantels, floors and shelves. Accessorize with beautiful botanical prints, fresh cut fern or boxwood clippings in glass vases, dried flower or pussy willow twig wreaths, ceramic bird figurines and plates which will make you feel closer to nature.

Master Bedroom Staged By PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Add a Fresh Coat of Paint. Go brighter, crisper and cleaner for spring. Start by choosing one new color such as yellow or green for an accent wall and combine with complimentary accessories which will make the room feel cohesively inviting. For your front door or shutters, try a fresh coat of a trending spring color such as Benjamin Moore’s Champion Cobalt to add instant curb appeal.

Update Bedding. Now is the time to consider some new bedding for your master bedroom, guest room, or kids room. Layer your bed starting with white and add some of the freshest colors for spring — coral, turquoise, or butter yellow. And, if your bedding is in great shape, just add accent pillows, new shams, and large European size pillows to transform the look of your room.

Get Bold With Fresh Colored Accents. Add color and texture to your entertaining areas (living rooms and patios) by switching out winter pillows with new spring colors and organic designs. Navy and white, orange and yellow, and linen pillows are great accessories to liven up any space. Don’t forget about your lamps which are also available in many different colors this season from green to orange. Add special string lighting and colorful hanging lanterns for garden ambiance in the evenings.

Source: HGTV

Refresh Kitchen and Patio Dining Accessories.Switch out dinnerware for ones with bright, garden-inspired patterns which pair well with lighter weight tablecloths and place mats in natural woven textures. Replace umbrellas that are stained and damaged with the latest trending patterns and colors. Add complimentary accent pillows along with a cozy rug for under the table. Finish off with some beachy scented candles and you’ll be reminded that summer is just around the corner!

Spruce Up Your Curb Appeal. Repair cracks in driveway, walkway, front porch steps and patios. Add personal touches to entryway with a beautiful floral swag or wreath, a new welcome mat, clusters of potted spring flowers on the porch and a hanging swing if space allows. Refresh with new accessories such as house numbers, lighting fixtures, door handles and knocker to create added appeal. Remove dead shrubs, prune bushes, and add pops of color with new annuals. Assess the condition of your lawn and decide whether to reseed …read more

Via: Coldwell Banker Blog


5 Amazing Homes with a Baseball Field or Batting Cage

Listed by Coldwell Banker Village Properties, Pat & Judy Bresnahan

Along with spring allergy season, baseball fever is here – both of which I’m suffering from. Atlanta is the first town I’ve lived in with a Major League Baseball team (go Braves!), and I’m excited to see my first game at Turner Field before they move OTP (outside the perimeter). Now that most of us are enjoying our backyards again and playing catch, we also might be wishfully thinking about a bigger yard. Maybe a yard so big that you could build a baseball field or a batting cage. If this is what your dream home includes, you must check out these houses that are currently on the market.
Just 25 miles from the Pacific Ocean you’ll find this home in Valley Center, CA. Not only does this property have a baseball field it also includes a basketball court, 13 stall barn, corrals, pool, game room and so much more.

13935 Hilldale Rd, Valley Center, Calif. Listed by Coldwell Banker Village Properties, Pat & Judy Bresnahan

This home in Alpharetta, GA, a suburb of Atlanta, includes a baseball field, putting green, batting cage, movie theater, and more. A sports lover’s heaven.

2985 Manor Bridge Drive, Alpharetta, GA

2985 Manor Bridge Drive, Alpharetta, Ga. Listed by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Omar Castillo.

Minutes from the Gulf of Mexico, this estate is not only a baseball lover’s delight but also an equestrians dream.

290 Ridge Dr, Naples, FL

290 Ridge Dr, Naples, Fla. Listed by Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, Lois Kluberdanz.

Grand views of the Cascade Mountains; this home includes a multi-use sports court, batting cage and 3 acres of pacific northwest goodness.

12570 465th Ave, North Bend, WA

12570 465th Ave, North Bend, Wash. Listed by Coldwell Banker BAIN, Robert Perrell.

Looking for a private lake to fish in while also having a batting cage and basketball court? Look no further than this amazing home in Columbia, SC.

30 Tupelo Trail, Columbia, SC

30 Tupelo Trail, Columbia, SC. Listed by Coldwell Banker United Realtors, Jan Bilton.

Photo courtesy of Flickr account user: Redmond North Little League.

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Starting a City Flower Garden

When you live in an urban metropolis like Philadelphia that’s full of concrete and brick-lined streets, sometimes you can become a bit detached from nature. The best way to get back in touch with the beauty of Mother Nature is to plant something where you live. Here are tips for when and how you can start your very own city flower garden.

Select the Perfect Location

The first step to creating your own flower garden in the city is to select the perfect location for your plants. If you have a townhome, you might have a small backyard patio or deck area that catches a lot of sunlight. If you have a classic Philly-style rowhome, you likely have a front porch where you can attach a potting rack. If you don’t really have a space where you can plant outside, choose a window that gets plenty of sunlight and use a window box or basket for your flowers.

Choose the Right Flowers

Not every flower will flourish in the Philadelphia region. Pick flowers that stay beautiful well into the late summer and preferably ones that are perennial (come back each year). Day lilies are pretty yellow flowers that thrive in Southeastern Pennsylvania, as are Irises and Phlox. Other varieties to consider for your city flower garden:

- Daffodils

- Tulips

- Hyacinths

- Asiatic Lilies

- Pansies

Seeds or Pre-Grown Flats?

The next decision to make is if you want to grow your flower garden from seeds (or bulbs), or purchase a flat of pre-grown flowers from your local garden center. This decision depends on the time of year (later in the season, pre-grown flowers may be better) and how much of a green thumb you think you have. If you decide to grow from seeds, choose a high quality, rich dark potting soil that is packed with nutrients. Keep in mind that some floral varieties need to germinate for a year or more before blooming.

Care for Your Flowers

The most important part of starting your very own city flower garden is providing it with ongoing care. You have to check on and tend to your flowers every day. Water them, feed them (look for a balanced 5-10-5 fertilizer for flowers) and love them regularly. There’s evidence that talking to your plants in a loving way makes them grow faster.

Timing Is Everything

One last thought: when you’re planting in the East Coast, timing is everything. You don’t have the benefit of mild temperatures all year long, so you have to get a head start. Start planning and collecting supplies for your city flower garden in the fall or very early spring.

Image Source: Flickr/shrinkin’violet

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Home Is Where the Gym Is

As spring is coming into full bloom and warmer weather seems to be here to stay, it means pool and beach season is upon us. But do not fret – you still have time to get toned and in shape for the summer. And the best part? You can do it all from the convenience of your home!

Although most of us would love to be able to get to the gym three or four days a week, the fact is life does not always provide the time. However, you may be able to fit certain exercises in between getting the kids fed and in bed, or on those nights you get home late from work, before you collapse from exhaustion from your grueling day.

Safety precaution: Pay attention to your body during the movements — if anything hurts or causes pain, stop immediately. And check with your doctor first before beginning this, or any, exercise program.

Be the Stair-MASTER:

Listen up iFIT fans, this one is for you. A great alternative to getting your cardio done at the gym and within your normal routine is utilizing the stairs in your house. That’s right…put the Stair in Stairmaster right at home. Just a few extra trips up and down the stairs (based on your endurance level) will do the trick. Be extra careful to wear the proper footwear so you don’t slip. And if the weather is nice outside you can take your workout outdoors and use the steps leading up to your front door.

Want to go the extra mile? You can even take a victory lap around your block. Bonus: this is a great way to meet new neighbors from your community.

Now We’re Cooking!

In between prepping chicken, waiting for water to boil or for that soufflé to puff ever so perfectly, you can get in several sets of different exercises. For the legs and glutes, free squats and wall sits can be a great and easy way to get the blood pumping while at the stove (or microwave in my case). For the “beach muscles” (chest and arms), a set of push-ups or simple arm circles can make a big difference in your overall health. Weights may be added for extra resistance. If you do not have dumbbells, then you can use two frozen water bottles instead! Just remember to wash hands before returning to your dinner preparations if those push-ups are done on the floor!

Pull Up a Chair:

After dinner leisure time may seem like the only time that you get to relax in your day. However, it can also be the perfect opportunity to get in a few exercises during commercials or in between chapters of your favorite book. Grab a chair and get started!

A little bit of exercise each day can go a long way to improve your overall health for both your body and mind. So the next time you feel like skipping …read more

Via: Coldwell Banker Blog


Vertical garden at H-E-B softens the urban landscape

H-E-B landscape architect uses vertical gardens to soften impact of urban development

[...] they were meticulously planned living walls, and the one in Paris was created by Patrick Blanc, the famous botanist and artist who uses thousands of plants to cover the exteriors of museums, shopping malls, private homes, hotels and skyscrapers.

Returning home, Triplett studied Blanc’s book, “The Vertical Garden – From Nature to the City” (W.W. Norton; $44), and decided to include a living green sculpture on the west side of the new H-E-B at San Felipe and Fountainview.

While making plans for the San Felipe store, Triplett hired the McDugald-Steele landscape architecture firm to build trial vertical gardens, one in Houston and one at the H-E-B company headquarters in San Antonio.

McCann, who has designed more than two dozen vertical gardens in his career, selected society garlic, rosemary, two types of juniper (shore and blue chip), flax lilies and Mexican sedum for the San Felipe store walls.

Before planting, McCann and staff installed a vertical irrigation system and a vast expanse of recycled plastic, which would serve as the planting medium. …read more

Via: Gardening


Get tips on pocket butterfly gardening

Pocket Butterfly Gardening: with Nancy Grieg. 10 a.m. at Enchanted Forest, 10611 FM 2759, Richmond, 281-937-9449; 2 p.m. at Enchanted Gardens, 6420 FM 359 Richmond, 281-341-1206;

Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program: self-guided tours of six private Houston gardens. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Begin at 802 W. Temple for tickets, maps, plant sale; 888-842-2442, $35 six gardens, $7 single site, ages 12 and younger free.

Colorful Sun and Shade Plants From Burpee Home Gardens: 10:15 a.m. at Cornelius Nursery, 2233 S. Voss;

Coastal Prairie Remnants: with photographer Caroline Fannon, Houston Chapter of the Native Prairies Association of Texas meeting. 6:30-8:30 p.m. at McGovern Centennial Gardens, 1500 Hermann Drive;

Katy Prairie Conservancy Great Grow-Out – Restoration of Coastal Prairie Habitat Through Volunteer Action: 7:30 p.m. at Metropolitan Multi-Services Center, 1475 W. Gray;

The Evergreen Herb Garden: with Henry Flowers of Festival Hill Gardens. 10 a.m. at the Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball; 281-351-8851,

Standard Flower Show: sponsored by Kingwood Garden Club. 1-3:30 p.m. at the Kingwood Library, 4400 Ben’s View Lane, Kingwood;

Quail Valley Garden Club Backyard Tour: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Quail Valley subdivision, Missouri City.

Easy Herbs, Easy Recipes: with Ann Wheeler and Chris Crowder. 10 a.m. at the Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball; 281-351-8851,

Texas Month-by-Month Gardening: presentation, book signing with Harris County horticulture agent Skip Richter. 1 p.m. the Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball; 281-351-8851, …read more

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How To Host a Beautiful Backyard Bridal Shower


Everyone knows weddings are expensive, but until you plan one yourself, you may not realize just how costly it really can be. In order to alleviate some of the sticker shock of the whole experience, hosting the bridal shower at your home can be easier on the wallet rather than renting out a restaurant or banquet hall. It also gives you the ability to really personalize the event since there are no rules when it comes to throwing parties at your own home! Here are some beautiful decor ideas for a backyard bridal shower:

Festive table linens & big white umbrellas to shield guests from the sun are essentials for an outdoor tablescape. Photo via Hostess With the Mostess Blog

Hang vases from the fence & fill them with beautiful flowers for a simple yet elegant decor idea. Photo via


If you were thinking about ditching that old desk in your basement, why not refresh it with a coat of paint & use it as a mimosa bar instead? Photo via

Romantic Idea: Decorate neighborhood sidewalks with chalk then go for a walk with your sweetie to reveal your love notes/art.

Decorate the front walkway leading to the backyard bridal shower with hearts drawn in sidewalk chalk for a fun & whimsical entryway! Photo via Pinterest

Create a “family tree” (literally) that includes photos of the bride & groom’s family members on their wedding day. Photo via

Header images via &

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Soho NY versus Greenwich Village

Soho NY and Greenwich Village are two bustling, lively downtown neighborhoods in New York City. Both have tons of great shopping, wonderful restaurants, and easy access to transportation, all of which draws tourists and locals alike. Both neighborhoods have their own distinct traits and attributes that distinguish them from one another and contribute to their uniqueness. Here are some things to know about both Soho and Greenwich Village.

Location and History

The neighborhood of Soho NY runs from Houston to Canal north to south, and Crosby to West Broadway east to west. The area is characterized by the cast-iron buildings that lend beauty and historical context to the area. In contrast, the neighborhood of Greenwich Village goes from 14th street to Houston north to south, and Broadway to the Hudson River east to west. Greenwich Village is located northwest of Soho. Historically, both Greenwich Village and Soho have drawn populations of artists. Soho’s large loft spaces, originally used for industrial purposes, attracted artists who appreciated the large, open spaces and natural light. Greenwich Village has been known as an important part of the bohemian movement and served as a home to many artists, alternative thinkers, and members of beatnik culture in the 1950s.

Things To Do

One popular and well-known fixture of Greenwich Village is beautiful Washington Square Park. NYU is also located nearby, making the area a mainstay for college students and businesses catering to them. Soho NY is currently well-known as a shopping district. The area offers shops on all ends of the spectrum, from J. Crew to Chanel and everywhere in between. Excellent eateries abound as well, like Maison Ladurée, Dominique Ansel Bakery, and Balthazar. Greenwich Village also boasts wonderful restaurants, like Artichoke Basille, Babbo, and Minetta Tavern.


Soho is served by many subway lines, such as the 1, the A,C,E, the N,Q,R, the B,D,F,M, and the 6. Greenwich Village is served by the 1,2,3, the A,B,C,D,E,F, and M, and the R and the L. Both are easy to get to from many parts of the city. However, Soho is much more easily accessed from the Upper East Side than Greenwich Village is, since the 6 goes straight from the Upper East Side to Spring Street. The PATH train stops in Greenwich Village (at Christopher Street), making that neighborhood very easy to access from New Jersey.

Overall, both Soho and Greenwich Village carry a lot of appeal. Soho attracts many tourists because of its large selection of shopping, and Greenwich Village remains more populated by locals and students from the college. However, both neighborhoods have their own advantages and distinct charm, and both are worth visiting or living in!

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