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How-To Tuesday // 10 Simple Ways To Make Your Home Feel Cozier This Winter

After last winter’s milder weather, it seems like we’re in for a colder winter here in the Lowcountry this year! Whether that excites you or sends a literal chill down your spine, we’ve got a few easy ways to help warm things up. Use these ten tips for making your home look and feel cozier during cold weather.

Use a variety of textures.

Create a warm feel in your living and bedrooms by layering different textures. Wool, chunky knits, fleece, and faux fur all work together to create a cozy atmosphere. Try a blanket ladder to display gorgeous textiles. Not only do blankets look comfy and warm arranged across couches and chairs, but they can also be functional when you feel the need to turn up the thermostat.

Reverse the direction of ceiling fans.

During the summer, ceiling fans should turn counterclockwise when you look up at them. This pushes cool air down and helps you to feel cooler without adjusting the thermostat. In the winter, fans should be switched to rotate clockwise, allowing the blades to pull up cooler air and push down warm air that collects at the ceiling.

Switch to heavier drapery.

There’s nothing like sheer curtains billowing in a spring breeze, but in the colder months, you’re going to want heavier window dressings to help keep the warm air inside. Heavy drapery helps keep out cool air that might seep in and keeps heat inside. Heavier fabrics also make things seem visibly cozier.

Use rugs to warm your feet.

We all wish for heated bathroom floors on those cold winter mornings. Instead of shelling out the cash for heated tiles, though, try bigger, thicker rugs in bathrooms and bedrooms for the season. Did you know you can also layer rugs? A current trend in home decor is to layer a faux fur rug over a flat area rug for a warm, inviting look.

Light some candles.

Even though candles don’t add much actual heat to a room, there’s something about them that adds instant warmth. Perhaps it’s the suggestion of fire or just the soft glow of light they provide. Maybe they just remind us of being cozy and happy during the holidays. Whatever the reason, candles are a great way to make everything feel homey.

Use more lamps.

Turn off the harsh, bright overhead lighting and create a soft, warm glow with table lights and floor lamps. Edison bulbs are especially fun for creating warm light. Bonus: this type of of lighting is more flattering than overhead light.

Try essential oils.

If you don’t own an essential oil diffuser, we highly suggest going out and grabbing one. They’re highly available in most stores now, including affordable options like Walmart, drugstores, and TJ Maxx. They range from the strictly functional to sleek and beautiful, but they all get the same job done. Add natural essential oils like lavender or eucalyptus for relaxation and ambiance.

Light a fire.

This one might be a tad bit obvious, but stick with us. Lighting a fire is the number one way to help a home feel cozy. If you don’t have a fireplace, try an electric one. You can find them for around $100, and many of them come with adjustable thermostats.

Get crafty.

Use an old sweater to make a lap blanket, a throw pillow, or even a pouf ottoman like this one. Ideas abound on Pinterest with instructions on how to recycle old clothing. Sweaters are already warm and interesting with their pretty patterns and cable knits, so they make the perfect material for cozy crafts!

Create a tabletop vignette.

Place a tray on your coffee table or ottoman where you can display items that inspire a cozy feeling. Try the following:

  • A bottle of wine and some wine glasses, a stack of leather-bound books, and a candle
  • Mugs for cocoa, candy canes, and a book on Hygge
  • Pretty candlesticks, a small vase of winter flowers or greenery, and snacks in a glass bowl

Have fun with your warm and cozy decor! Don’t be afraid to mix patterns, textures, and colors. Just make sure to personalize it and make it really feel like home. What are your other ideas for making a home look and feel cozier for the winter?

5 Signs That a Flip Might Be a Flop

Home improvement television shows like to tell us that anyone can be a real estate investor, which is technically true. Anyone really can remodel or flip a house with the right amount of time, money, patience, and—above all—education. That education doesn’t have to be formal at all, but it does have to take place in the form of extensive research, active learning, and sometimes trial and error. Unfortunately, not everyone understands this. That’s when we get flippers who are only concerned with the cosmetics of a house. Buyers get stars in their eyes when they see a gorgeous kitchen and a fully upgraded bathroom, but when their home inspection comes back, it might be full of structural or electrical issues. Save yourself some time and money and be on the lookout for a few warning signs before you make an offer on a home. That gorgeous flip could very well be a flop!

Kitchen Details

It’s easy to be blinded by beautiful new appliances, cabinets, and tile backsplashes, but try to look beyond the shiny newness. Look for little details that could point to a rushed, careless job. Look out for things like cabinets that don’t align properly or don’t close tightly; gaps between the countertop and backsplash; and new cabinet doors that have been been installed to cover old cabinets. Pay attention to the layout too. The stove, sink, and refrigerator should form a triangle shape. This is a common design theme that creates good flow in a kitchen. If the locations of those appliances don’t form a triangle in some way, chances are the sellers used the old, existing layout, only concentrating on cosmetics and not structure.

Electrical Work

Take a close look at the wiring in the house. Is there a jumbled bird’s nest of wires hidden away in the attic? If so, it’s probably been quite a while since the electrical work was last addressed. This is something a home inspector will be able to catch, but you might not even get that far if you find something like this at a showing. Test the lights, air conditioning, and garage door opener and make sure circuits aren’t overloaded. Also pay close attention to the light switches and outlets. Switches that are positioned awkwardly and outlets that aren’t easily accessible are warning signs of a lazy flipper.

Unaddressed HVAC System

Check the HVAC system to see if it has been replaced or updated recently. If it hasn’t been touched at all, that’s a huge red flag. HVAC systems should always be addressed in a flip house. The last thing you want is to move into a beautiful, updated and upgraded home only to find out that the entire HVAC system needs replacing when summer comes. Even if the system is brand new, it should have been cleaned before the flippers left the house. Construction zones are obviously dusty and dirty, and all of that drywall dust can get sucked into the system.

Haphazard Safety Features

Some features are only installed because code requires them to be present. Check for things like loose handrails or rickety fences. Sometimes a safety feature is simply tossed up to comply with code but isn’t double-checked. It isn’t necessarily out of malice or an uncaring nature; but if a flipper is one who’s mainly concerned with cosmetics, they might not understand the risks of, say, not mounting a handrail to wall studs instead of just drywall.

Mismatched Fixtures

A house full of mismatched fixtures is a warning sign that the seller was more concerned with saving money over presenting quality work. Flippers are notorious for raiding the clearance section at the hardware store. While you can definitely score some sweet deals that way, outfitting a house with fixtures that don’t match is a big design no-no. It’s one thing to use different metals in different rooms, but mixing styles within one area of the house isn’t exactly easy on the eye.

These are just a few simple ways to tell that a flip might not be up to par, but there are lots of others. If you’re not sure, it’s always a good idea to bring along an expert. An experienced real estate agent will also be familiar these warning signs. If you’d like an extra keen eye on your side, make sure to get in touch with us today!

 

Friday Five // December 8th, 2017

The Christmas countdown is on, and there are lots of ways to celebrate the holiday season across the Lowcountry this weekend. It’s going to be a chilly one, so don your hats and mittens and watch some parades, visit with Santa, or play all day in a “snowy” Winter Wonderland! Whatever you choose to do, the staff and agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company wish you a safe and happy weekend.

The Knightsville General Store and Coffee House is hosting a Movie Night for Big Kids on Friday, December 8th, starting at 6:30pm. Bring chairs and blankets and enjoy watching Christmas Vacation outdoors by the fire pit. Sandwiches, hamburgers, and hot dogs will be available for purchase along with s’mores kits, popcorn, hot tea, and hot chocolate. Parents, please note that the film is rated PG-13, so use your best judgment. No outside food or drinks will be permitted.

On Saturday, December 9th, Mercantile and Mash will host their annual Brunch with Santa. Kids can chat with Santa and have their pictures taken, decorate cookies, and enjoy balloon art. Tickets are $10 online and $15 at the door. Food and beverages will be available for purchase and are not included in the event ticket price.

Also on Saturday is the 2017 Charleston Holiday Boat Parade. The Maritime Center offers the perfect place to view the parade, hear Christmas music, eat yummy food, and enter a raffle for the chance to win a brand new boat.

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens will transform into a Winter Wonderland on Sunday from 11am until 3pm. Activities will include an inflatable ice castle, visits with Santa, Christmas carolers, holiday crafts, rides on the Christmas train, and much more! Garden admission is buy one get one free with the donation of a non-perishable food item.

The Summerville Christmas Parade takes place this Sunday afternoon from 2pm until 4pm. Sponsored by Summerville DREAM, the parade is traditionally one of the largest in the state with nearly 3,000 participants and 25,000 spectators. This year’s theme is Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree. Bring your chairs, blankets, and hot cocoa and get there early to claim a spot along Main Street for this beloved annual event.

5 Things You'll Love About Living In Summerville

The Lowcountry is such an amazing place to live that it’s difficult to choose which area is the best to call home. Since there are such great choices in tri-county region, we thought we’d start a series on the best things about living in each area. Today, we’re taking a look at five of the reasons you’ll love living in Summerville, South Carolina.

Recent Growth

It wasn’t all that long ago that residents of Summerville had to drive into North Charleston, Downtown, or other surrounding areas for the best restaurants and shopping. But Summerville has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years. Several major chains along with local boutiques and restaurants have chosen to open their doors in what has often been called the bedroom community of Charleston. Why the recent growth? Transplants and natives alike have been flocking to Summerville for more affordable housing, lower tax rates, and a smaller town feel, which brings us to our next point.

Small-Town Feel

Even with the amount of expansion that’s taken place in Summerville, there’s still a quaint, small-town feel about the area. Thanks to the preservation of antebellum homes and the shops and buildings around Hutchinson Square and Town Hall, residents and visitors in Summerville can enjoy the charming ambience of an older, smaller town when visiting local favorites like Guerin’s Pharmacy and the James F. Dean Community Theater, and Eva’s Restaurant.

History

Downtown Charleston is renowned for its distinctive history and architecture, but did you know Summerville has just as much of a rich history? 18th-century residents of the peninsula, coastal areas, and the many plantations along the Ashley River trekked to Summerville in search of respite from unbearably hot summers, mosquitoes, and diseases that tended to run rampant in more populated areas. In fact, it’s how the town got its name. Summeville has received lots of historical recognition over the years and has even been named “The Birthplace of Sweet Tea.” We encourage you to learn a bit about Summerville’s history and tour its gorgeous architecture and parks.

The Flowertown Festival

Every year since 1972, residents and tourists flock to Summerville during the first weekend of April for the annual Flowertown Festival. It’s the prime time of year to see the gorgeous blooming azaleas, wisteria, and dogwoods that earned the town its nickname of the Flower Town in the Pines. The three-day Flowertown Festival is free to attend and includes a giant arts and crafts fair, vendor tents, delicious foods at the Taste of Summerville, a kids’ carnival, the weekend farmer’s market, and numerous entertainment opportunities. It’s a don’t-miss event, and living in Summerville makes it simple to enjoy the Festival all weekend long!

Parks and Green Space

A benefit of living a bit more inland is the vast availability of green space. Summerville is home to several great parks and playgrounds, including the well-known and beloved Azalea Park, Doty Park, Saul Alexander Park, Shepard Park, Gahagan Park, and Hutchinson Square, just to name a few. In addition to the numerous parks and playgrounds, there are several nature trails, golf courses, and running/biking trails to be enjoyed throughout town.

Thinking about calling Summerville home? This beautiful town is where our roots are, so we’d be happy to provide you with the expertise you need to make a final decision about moving to the Summerville area. Give us a call today for help finding your dream home in your perfect community.

Your To-Do List For Moving Into A New Home

Even if a house is listed as “move-in ready,” there are a few tasks you’re going to want to complete before you move into your new home. Whether they have to do with safety, cleanliness, or aesthetics, most of these to-do’s can be accomplished easily right after closing. Read on for our basic to-do list for moving into a new home.

Change the locks.

There’s no real way to guarantee that keys to your new home aren’t floating out there among the masses. For peace of mind and safety’s sake, changing the locks should be the very first thing you do before moving into your new house.

Check for leaks, drips, and running toilets.

Honestly, this should have been done during your home inspection, but sometimes things show up after the fact. Keep an eye on your water meter during the hours when no water is used to make sure there’s no unexpected leak somewhere.

Familiarize yourself with the breaker box.

Breakers should be labeled, but if they’re not, you should dedicate some time to finding out which breakers control what and labeling them yourself. This will save you time and trouble later on.

Check the air filter.

Air filters should ideally be checked monthly to see if they need changing, but not everyone remembers to do this. Check to make sure the filter is clear. If it’s not, check the dimensions and go stock up on replacement filters so you’ll have them on hand. Change the filter immediately and make a note of when to check it next.

Clean carpets.

Sometimes the previous owners will have the carpets cleaned before closing, but if not, it’s always a good idea to do it yourself before you move in. Rent or borrow a steam cleaner, or have professional cleaners come in to do it for you.

Give the kitchen a wipedown.

Make sure to wipe out the cabinets. This is an area that sometimes gets neglected, but cabinet interiors can gather unnoticeable dust over time. They can also show signs of any hidden pests, especially if the house was vacant for a while. Give the inside of the fridge and stove a wipedown as well.

Remove toilet seats.

You don’t have to replace the toilet seats unless you really want to, but it’s a good idea to at least take them off and do a thorough cleaning of all parts. You just never know when their last deep cleaning was.

Recruit a pest control company.

Even if you don’t have pests now, prevention is the best cure. We have a saying about termites in South Carolina. There are two types of houses: ones with termites, and ones that will have termites. Now refer to that thing we just said about prevention and make friends with your local pest control guy. You’re going to want to find a great deal on quarterly pest prevention.

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