Monthly Archives: February 2016

Spiffying Up The Bathroom

Spiffying Up The Bathroom

Spiffying Up The Bathroom |

I scored a few new things for this space from Walmart.

I love the shimmery shower curtain from the Better Homes and Gardens Glimmer collection. It is so light and airy. And the elegant stripes are on point.

Spiffying Up The Bathroom |

New towels and a new rug really liven up the bathroom too. You can’t see it super well in the photo, but the white stripes have glimmery, silver threads running through them. I love the sparkle that the rug adds to the rustic bathroom floor.

Spiffying Up The Bathroom |

Organizing and tidying is in my blood, so I love these cute containers to help keep things where they belong!
Spiffying Up The Bathroom |


Spiffying Up The Bathroom |

The grey and aqua color scheme is carried over from the shower curtain and rug to the hand towel as well.
Spiffying Up The Bathroom |

The toothbrush holder is only 8.97 and the covered jar is 12.97 – perfect for holding q-tips or cotton balls!

Spiffying Up The Bathroom |

I appreciate how affordable these new things were from Walmart. You don’t need to break the bank to give a room a little spiffying up just in time for Spring! I’m ready for some warm weather and beautiful sunshine, aren’t you?

What room would you like to “refresh” for Spring?

Here’s some great ways to create some space

Make It Work: Ideas for Squeezing a Little Extra Storage Out of Your Entryway

Your entryway is a tiny room (or maybe not even a room, maybe just a little spot next to the door) that does a lot of work. And now that it’s wintertime your entryway may be feeling the strain — all those coats and hats and gloves and bags and clunky winter boots and nowhere to put them. Here are a few storage ideas that will help you fit it all in — and make your entryway a little more welcoming and a little less chaotic.

Above: As this picture from Bolig proves, it’s possible to stash stuff even in a very narrow hallway. These folks used IKEA Trones shoe storage boxes, which are only seven inches deep, with oversized coat hooks above.

This hallway/entryway also makes use of wall mounted shoe storage boxes, but with a shelf mounted above to add even more storage. (The top shelf can be a little deeper because it’s above head height.) From IKEA via It’s a House.

Here’s an idea from the New York home of Ashlina Kaposta of The Decorista — mount a shelf above your doorway for extra storage.

A shelf mounted just above the floor means plenty of extra space for bags and shoes (and for a coat rack or oversized mirror above, too). Image from Char and the City.

If your home has a convenient nook like this one close to the door, you can turn it into an impromptu closet with a hanging rod. Decouvrir L’endroit du Decor

Place a second set of hooks a little lower on the wall for things belonging to the smaller members of the household, as seen on A Cup of Jo.

If your entryway is small and there isn’t a good spot for a coat rack, a freestanding hall tree could be a good solution. Image from Marie Claire Maison.

In a pinch, you can always hang a coat rack on the back of the door, as seen onFrench by Design.

Here’s a great example of using every inch of your entryway – a tiny space with a tall shelf with hooks for hanging, and a bench with even more storage underneath. From Kjerstis Lykke via Adventurous Design Quest.

No room to park your bike? Why not hang it on the wall? We’ve got a couple of roundups of wall mounted bike storage here and here. (It looks like these folks have also created an innovative system for keeping shoes off the floor, using what looks like bungee cords. Image from My Scandinavian Home.

No room for furniture in your entryway? Try a wall-mounted table like this one from Design Sponge.

This entryway from Julie Ansiau packs maximum storage with a shelf for shoes and not one but two coat racks.


Recent Sales

Pending Home Sales Much Lower Than Expected

How much home can you afford?

And we have a trifecta!  All three of the home sales indicators for December have now come in positive, although the latest, pending sales, did so leaving claw marks on the scales. The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) said its Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) eked out a 0.1 percent advance over November.  The median forecast called for a 0.8 percent increase.  Existing home sales and new home sales, both reported within the last week, had month-over-month increases in the double digits.

The PHSI, a forward looking indicator based on contract signings, registered 06.8 for the month, 4.2 percent higher than a year ago.  The index has increased year-over-year for 16 straight months.  At the same time, NAR revised its original index for November down from 106.9 to 106.7.

The December gain, tiny as it was, was only possible because the Northeast region experienced a bit of a contract signing boomlet, increasing 6.1 percent to 97.8.  The index for the region is now 15.3 percent higher than the previous December.  The region’s gain offset losses in the other three regions.

The Midwest saw a decline of 1.1 percent to 103.6, remaining up 3.6 percent year over year. Pending home sales in the South declined 0.5 percent to an index of 119.3 but are 1.0 percent higher than in December 2014. The index in the West decreased 2.1 percent in December to 97.5, maintaining a 3.4 percent annual edge.

Laurence Yun, NAR chief economist, says contract activity closed out the year on stable footing but lost some momentum, except for in the Northeast. “Warmer than average weather and more favorable inventory conditions compared to other parts of the country encouraged more households in the Northeast to make the decision to buy last month,” he said. “Overall, while sustained job creation is spurring more activity compared to a year ago, the ability to find available homes in affordable price ranges is difficult for buyers in many job creating areas. With homebuilding still grossly inadequate, steady price appreciation and tight supply conditions aren’t going away any time soon.”

According to Yun, although healthy labor market conditions will persuade more households to buy, other factors could serve to curtain overall demand in the next few months.  He cited the large post-New Year losses in the stock market and the slowing of manufacturing activity in some local areas, especially those reliant on energy production.  These could create enough economic uncertainty or even a financial inability for some to buy a home.

“The silver lining from the market turmoil in recent weeks is the fact that mortgage rates have slightly declined,” says Yun. “Buyers looking to close on a home before the spring buying season begins may be rewarded with a mortgage rate at or below 4 percent.”

NAR forecasts that existing-homes sales this year will be around 5.34 million, an increase of 1.5 percent from 2015. The national median existing-home price for all of this year is expected to increase between 4 and 5 percent. In 2015, existing-home sales increased 6.5 percent and prices rose 6.8 percent.

Rents – which have far outpaced wages in recent years – are expected to slightly slow to 3.3 percent growth in 2016 from 3.6 percent a year ago. Multifamily housing starts are expected to reach 420,000 units this year, the highest level since 1987.