Archive | September, 2012

Dressing Up Your Four-Posted Bed

27 Sep

While four-posted beds are not as common as they used to be, many people still use them in their homes. Most of these beds are handed down from one generation to the next and are incredibly sturdy and durable. When it comes to using them in modern homes, however, the most common dilemma homeowners face is how to dress them properly.

If you have a four-posted bed, it is important to dress it appropriately so it does not look too plain or come off as overbearing. Fortunately, there are many ways you can do that:

  • Go for the usual. If you have a more classic design in your bedroom, then go for a classic bed arrangement as well. Install full dust ruffles with thick curtains around the bed and a full canopy on top.  Install the curtains so they can be closed for privacy or pushed toward the posts to expose the bed.
  • Add curtains to the sides. You can still fully surround your bed with curtains without having a canopy on top. This way, your bed can feel cozy and airy at the same time.
  • Curtains in the back. Some people prefer to have curtains positioned along the back only and not on the sides. This still adds a simple décor statement to your bed, but keeps it feeling airy and unrestricted.
  • Install a canopy. If you don’t want to add any curtains, yet still don’t want your bed to look plain, add a canopy. A full canopy with nice detailing will instantly make your bed look more elegant and eye-catching.
  • When adding sheets and blankets, tuck them in. Leaving the sides loose on the corners of your bed will look disorganized.
  • Use a bed skirt to cover the bottom part of your bed. Otherwise, keep the space under your bed clean and free of clothing and debris at all times.
  • Make sure your sheets, blankets, curtains, drapes, and canopy coordinate with the color of your bed posts.  As long as they do, everything will blend elegantly.  If they don’t, your bed will likely look messy or out of place.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent





Art Show to Benefit New Therapy for Children with Special Needs

25 Sep

Children with special needs require additional assistance to function with ease on a daily basis.  The capacity of these children when it comes to body strength and speech can be very limited. But, certain types of therapy can help strengthen those skills. That is why a unique therapy is being implemented in Oklahoma to further assist kids with special needs like Down Syndrome.

A unique therapy called Hippotherapy is being used by Distinctive Therapy Services Inc. in Edmond to help children with special needs gain more muscle flexibility and improve their speech and body movements. Hippotherapy is a kind of therapy that utilizes horses. While riding atop the horses, the children become more attentive and learn how to utilize their physical strength. In addition, the rhythm of the horses is also helpful in improving their speech abilities. Using the beats, the children are able to follow systems to help them learn how to speak more clearly.

In order to support this kind of therapy for children with special needs, a benefit and art show will be held on September 30. The event is called “For the Love of Horses” and will be held at Visions in the Paseo Art Gallery, located at 2924 Paseo, Oklahoma City.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent




Home Improvements That Pay Off

24 Sep

If you are planning to make improvements to your home, but are limited by a smaller budget, don’t worry. There are several home improvements you can make that will pay off well from a value perspective, which will offset the investment you need to make.

Home improvement projects are usually designed to enhance the look and/or functionality of your home. But, not all home improvements pay off in the future, especially if they are simply for luxury and do not add new functionality to your home.  So, when you are looking at ways to maximize the value of your allotted budget, focus on the improvement projects that actually pay off, so it will be worth it in the end.

Here are some examples of which home improvements produce the greatest returns:

  • Add insulation. Depending on the extent to which it is needed, adding insulation to your home can require a significant amount of money. However, failing to do so will result in more money spent over time. The lack of action will be reflected in your energy bills because your house will not contain heating and air conditioning as well, and your units will run much more frequently than they would need to if you had a better insulated home.
  • Replace old bulbs with fluorescent bulbs. Energy efficient bulbs will also help you save on your electricity bills, which, again, adds up over time.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. This will allow you to automatically adjust the temperature of your home depending on your need and thereby reduce unnecessary energy output. For example, your home doesn’t have to be as warm or as cool at night when you’re sleeping or when you’re away at work.  This is a great way to regulate your energy usage based on reoccurring daily activities.
  • Update your windows and doors. Replacing your old windows and doors will help enhance the security of your home. You can install new windows that have more secure locking systems.  These changes will also help to make your home more energy efficient.
  • Replace old appliances. Old appliances are usually not energy-efficient and they can significantly increase your energy usage unnecessarily.  If your appliances are old, it is probably better to replace them than try to have them repaired when they start having problems.  You may decide to not even wait until they start breaking down because there are a lot of rebate incentives for purchasing energy-efficient appliances.
  • Add landscaping. This adds to the overall curb appeal of your home. Plant trees and flowers in your garden. It creates a welcoming first impression that both you and potential buyers will enjoy if you ever decide to sell your home.
  • Install low-flow showerheads, faucet, and toilets. When you take a bath, wash our hands, clean produce, or flush the toilet, more water goes down the drain than is actually used.  But using low-flow fixtures, less water is wasted.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent




How to Catch Rainwater and Use It at Home

20 Sep

Rainwater is a free supply of water provided by nature that most people do not utilize. By using  rainwater, however, households will can save a lot of money on water bills because they are able to use less water from their utilities provider.

There are several ways you can use rainwater at home. The first is for cleaning. Rather than paying for filtered water that you won’t be consuming, use rainwater to clean your home exterior, your car, clean and your swimming pool.

Many households also collect rainwater to flush their toilets. Typically, each flush consumes several gallons of water, and that quickly adds up, especially as your family grows. Using rainwater instead will help you reduce that kind of water consumption and save you big time on your bills.

Rainwater is also an excellent way to water your garden and lawn. Basically, your plants thrive better with rain anyway, due to the nutrients it contains, so by collecting and using rainwater to water them, you provide them with those nutrients regardless of the weather.

The next step is figuring out how to collect rainwater. Typically a huge rain barrel is used to collect rainwater, and depending on the size you buy, they can hold as much as 50 gallons of rainwater. You can also use a cistern for capturing rainwater, which is a much larger alternative to a rain barrel and can hold hundreds of gallons of water. Using cisterns for collecting rain requires rain gutters to catch the rain and drain into them.

If you want a more organized rain collection system, you can purchase rainwater harvesting products. These systems are often more convenient and safer given the added features such as tracking the amount of rainwater and reducing the system’s carbon footprint.

Lastly, you can create a rain garden. With this, rainwater is directed to your garden, which allows it to automatically benefit from the nutrients.  A rain garden is mostly advised in areas where the soil drains easily.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent




Citizen Performance Report Shows Excellent Marks for Oklahoma City Council

18 Sep

The Oklahoma City Council’s performance has recently been made public, thanks to their great effort in implementing a Citizen Performance Report about local government. The report keeps track of the city council’s performance by using internal performance guidelines and surveying residents to determine whether or they are meeting their goals.

The Citizen Performance Report in Oklahoma City has been going on for three years. The city’s officials have been creating surveys for different aspects of the government and encouraging resident feedback, so they can evaluate the effects of their decisions and project implementations. This feedback is then compared to their internal performance markers to help them evaluate if they are accomplishing their goals in a satisfactory manner.

This year, the Citizen Performance Report for Oklahoma City  an excellent rate with reports revealing how the city council accomplished its state goals. According to the report released last week, the nine priorities set by the city council have been accomplished successfully based on feedback from the community surveys and internal performance indicators.

The city’s nine priorities centered on:

  • enhancing quality of life
  • ensuring citizen safety
  • expanding economic development initiatives
  • focusing on infrastructure development
  • gaining greater government efficiency
  • improving public education
  • increasing effectiveness and sustainability of public transportation
  • preserving confidence and trust in the city government
  • promoting a sustainable financial model

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent

Lower Your Heating Bill During the Cold Months

17 Sep

The cooler days have arrived and that means it’s time to start turning on the heater in your home. While heating your house is certainly essential, it usually ends up increasing your energy consumption, and you’re met with a huge bill to pay at the end of the month.

So, how can you avoid exorbitant energy costs and still keep your house warm and cozy?  Here are a few ideas:

  • Bundle up. Wrap yourself up in something thick and comfy and dress in layers.  Wear socks instead of walking around barefooted.  Wear a sweatshirt over your regular clothes.  If it’s the evening, wear thicker, flannel pajamas, which will keep you warmer.
  • Seal up the leaks. When warm air escapes from your house through cracks, your heater continually runs in order to make up for the loss of heat, thus increasing your energy consumption. When your house is secure and warm air cannot escape, your heater can take more breaks because the air stays at the designated temperature longer.
  • Let the sunlight in. On sunny days, let the sunlight in by opening your shades and curtains. This will add some additional warmth to your house. However, if it’s not sunny, keep your shades closed to add an additional layer of insulation.
  • Turn down the heater if no one is around to use it. When you and your entire family leave the house during the day, turn your heater down to save on energy costs. There’s no point in heating a house when no one is there.  Don’t turn it completely off, however, because that will actually use more energy when your heater has to run more extensively to completely re-warm the house later.  Just turn it down and then turn it up again when you return.
  • Add proper insulation. If you have existing insulation on your attic, check to be sure it is enough and add more if needed.  If you don’t have any, this is a great way to make an immediate difference in the efficiency of your home.
  • Close the vents and doors in rooms that are not in use. This will decrease the amount of space your heater must warm and will thus enable it to run less frequently.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent

The Cost of Home Extensions

14 Sep

As your family grows bigger, one of the things that starts coming to mind is the limited space of your current home. Is the space big enough for your growing children? Will there be an extra bedroom for when one of your children needs his or her own space? Are the living room and dining room big enough to accommodate all of you?

These kinds of situations make a homeowner wonder, “Should I extend my home?”

Home extensions are a way to add on to your existing home and create more space without having to move. You can either extend your house to the sides by adding more space or build vertically to turn a one-story home into two two-stories.

Creating a home extension project is like building a new house. You need to create very specific architectural plans, especially if you will be adding an additional full story on the next floor. You will also need to carefully budget, so your expenses do not spiral out of control as the project proceeds.

There are several factors that affect the cost of your home extension. First is the size of your extension. The bigger the project, the more costly it gets because it will require more materials and more labor.  In addition, how your planned extension affects the flow of your existing home will also affect the cost of the project. Will you be rearranging your current interior to accommodate the extension or is the current layout already fine? Will you need to remove a wall or a door to make way for the added space? If so, these require more materials, more planning, and more time.

The location of your new extension can also significantly dictate the overall cost. For instance, extending a full second storey for your house will mean detaching the roof, adding stairs, and providing materials for what, in many ways, will be the equivalent of building a house. On the other hand, turning a porch into an additional room or extending a certain wing of the house will be a simpler, more straightforward project.

When it comes to expanding your living space, it is important to carefully weigh the pros and cons of staying in your house and renovating it versus moving.  Evaluate the needs of your family so you can identify the most efficient solution that will maximize your overall investment.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent