Have you been outside lately? There has not been a coatless day in WEEKS and the trees downtown are one harsh wind away from officially being bare.
The point is…it’s cold.
We all know the drill here. We put away our summertime flip flops in exchange for wool socks and thick boots. Our tank tops get pushed to the backs of our closets as sweaters emerge. Winter is coming and we are preparing our closets accordingly.
But how are you preparing your home?
It’s hard to imagine failing to maintain the greatest investment we’ve ever made yet every year a shocking number of homeowners fail to do basic winterization tasks. Some don’t even know that they should! To lend a helping hand here are the Top 5 Winterization Tasks you should do every year.
Clean out the gutters
Those beautiful fall leaves we’ve been watching descend so gracefully from the sky are the same ones descending into your gutters. Although that might not mean much now, when the temperature dips down to freezing it can mean a whole lot. Water unable to escape the drains due to fallen leaves expand as it freezes. This can cause gutters to become damaged or pull away from the house. Eventually these become overhead hazards that threaten to fall from above.
Cleaning your gutters may not be fun, but it is vital and pretty easy. Simply grab a ladder, some work gloves, a trash bag, ang get to work! You’ll probably find it goes faster than you ever imagined.
Flush irrigation systems
If you have a sprinkler system for your home, it is of the utmost importance to have the lines professionally blown out before the cold hits! As we talked about with the gutters above, when water freezes it expands. This is bad news for those underground pipes! Frozen water that expands within irrigation pipes can cause pipes to crack or burst destroying your system and your yard. Below are some local companies certified to service irrigation systems:
Precision Plumbing and Backflow Testing | 360-914-0321
Everflow Irrigation | 360-840-4793
GCF Backflow Services | 360-320-9871
Evergreen Landscape & Maintenance | 360-679-2363
King Water Company | 360-678-5336
Cover outside faucets
Going hand in hand with blowing out that sprinkler system is covering ALL outside spigots. BURSTING PIPES! It’s a very real issue that can cause thousands of dollars in property damage. Luckily, covering your pipes can be as easy as going to your local hardware store and picking up one of the below faucet covers. They are extremely easy to install and if you are even a little concerned we have found a helpful video to guide you through!
Fertilize the lawn
Winter months seem to only to bring with them frost and death. Luckily, that doesn’t have to be the story for your lawn. Winter fertilizer helps your grass recover from minerals lost in the scorching summer sun and stock up on the nutrition it needs to withstand the cold winter months. This will prevent it from dying away when spring hits.
However, living on an island brings with it special considerations when it comes to fertilizing your lawn. Traditional fertilizers often contain high amounts of hazardous chemicals such as zinc, lead, cadmium, chromium or sometimes even arsenic. The risk of these chemicals is only elevated with the addition concern of their runoff into the Puget Sound. Living on Whidbey increases this risk drastically even for the most centrally located island properties. That’s why we highly suggest using eco-friendly fertilizers such as Milorganite’s Slow-Release Nitrogen Fertilizer which you can pick up Home Depot today!
Replace weather stripping
Every year countless sums of money are spent on the excess heating required to keep our homes warm in the winter months. But is all that money necessary? You’d be shocked to learn all the different ways in which the sacred warm air inside escapes from your home. Although some of these issues require big solutions like reinstalling insulation in your roof or switching to a better heating system altogether; quite a lot can be done in simply replacing some of your weather stripping around the house!
How long has the weather stripping along your exterior doors been there? Since you’ve moved in, right? Well every time that door opens and closes there is a little more wear to the stripping and after a few hundred passages it’s no wonder it starts to give way.
Replacing weather stripping is easy and relatively cheap! Check it out:
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Hygge: The Key to Cozy Living
It’s that moment when your toes find themselves slipping gently into the folds of your softest blanket. The warm beverage within your palms lifts up a scent that mixes and mingles with the crackling candle in the corner to create an aroma pleasant and settling. In a moment your breath leaves you in a long, rested sigh and you find contentment.
That is Hygge.
For those not aware of this booming cultural phenomena; Hygge is a Danish word not truly translatable into the English language but still well known. The Cambridge Dictionary defines Hygge as “a quality of coziness that comes from doing simple things such as lighting candles, baking, or spending time at home with your family.” With a definition like that it’s easy to see why this lifestyle focused on small luxuries and finding gratitude in the day to day has taken the world by storm.
In the coming months, as we watch the sky grow darker and feel the crisp air begin to chill, this lifestyle of comfort and contentment becomes even more desirable to us. To assist you in cultivating this, we’ve created a list of 6 ways to bring Hygge into your home.
1. Set the Mood with Some Music
It’s no secret to anyone that our moods and energies are all greatly influenced by the sounds we hear; particularly when it comes to music. In the same way that you might play Eye Of The Tiger before a big work presentation or a “Top 40s” playlist before going out on the town, you also want to prepare yourself for relaxation. Although everyone’s preferences are unique, most find themselves at a point of relaxation when listening to the soft sounds and slow beats of instrumental or acoustic music. Our personal favorite is a Spotify playlist called “Afternoon Acoustic.” Give it a listen and tell us what you think!
2. Get Lit
Candle-Lit, that is. Much like music, our disposition can be altered by aspects of our environment such as lighting and scent. Have you ever tried to relax in a room with bright lights and a foul odor? How did that go? Probably not well. Lighting candles in a room can help to achieve a Hygge environment by softening the harsh lights we usually see all day and providing a pleasant aroma that draws us into the present.
If you aren’t sure where to find some good candles, we suggest starting with Utopia Farm Candles! They are a locally owned company specializing in hand-poured natural soy wax candles which smell AMAZING!!
3. Bake Something Amazing
Nothing says comfort and tranquility quite like a freshly baked warm pastry. Before you slip into the cracks of the pillows on your couch, you might want to try baking some of these delicious Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies by A Farmgirl’s Dabbles.
4. Get Yourself a Cuppa
What is a relaxing night without a warm drink nestled within the grips of your hands? Many would argue that a warm beverage is nothing short of quintessential to the entire Hygge experience. There is something about sipping a warm inviting drink that draws the comfort and serenity of a room deep into your spirit until it finds rest at your core. Everyone has their own beverage that does this for them whether it’s hot cocoa, mulled wine, spiced cider, or a nice glass of tea.
Our favorite drink of choice is a warm mug of Organic JennyBean Coffee. Locally owned and operated on Whidbey; JennyBean Coffee is a small micro-roaster that is dedicated to “doing it right” in terms of coffee. This is why all the coffee JennyBean roasts is Certified Organic and why they offer options such as creating your own personal roast to make sure what you purchase is really what you wanted. We cannot recommend them enough!
5. Put on Your Favorite Movie
Isn’t there just something to be said about an evening curled up on the couch watching your favorite movie? For the purpose of Hygge it’s best if that movie is not one of excitement or angst, but instead focused on deep interpersonal connection that speaks profoundly to us. What can make it even better is if the movie has a personal connection to you or your family.
One movie we HIGHLY recommend (especially for the month of October) is Practical Magic with Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. This movie, about the magical bond of sisterhood, is an all-time classic and was primarily filmed right here on Whidbey Island in downtown Coupeville.
6. Cuddle Up in Something Cozy
With music playing, coffee made, and candles lit you are all ready to curl up on the couch in your coziest blanket or scarf and lose yourself in the moment. There’s something almost magical about the moments we spend with our family on the living room couches curled up in fuzzy fabrics. If there was an image for contentment it would be just that: family and fuzzy blankets.
If you’ve been on the lookout for that perfect couch throw or even maybe just a warm winter scarf, you might consider making your way down to the Star Store in Langley! Filled with fun mercantile ranging from food to fashion, we are sure you will find something to love in this hundred year-old store.
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Making a Memorable Home
Fresh out of college she had little desire to decorate or apply much effort to her home. She figured, “if it’s not functional, it’s not needed.” That all changed when her best friend, a former beauty queen, moved in with her. “Everything was moved! Books were realigned to look nice, plants popped up everywhere, and anything that didn’t look pretty found a discrete new home.” Although the first shock of everything shifting around her was a bit startling, she started to notice a big difference. “All of a sudden the people entering her home would look around and almost immediately compliment her on her ‘Pinterest’ home. She would overhear conversations about how great visiting her house was and when people did visit, they wanted to stay.”
This was the story of one of our agents and her journey in learning the power and positive impact that decorating can have on a home. We’ve all been at the start of this journey at one point or another. Fearful of making mistakes, we settle for what we have or even convince ourselves we like it better without the fancy decorations (even though we drool at Pottery Barn). Decorating can play a key role in turning that house you bought into a real home. It can transform plain space into a memorable oasis for all who enter.
In everyday life this is important but when selling a home, it is invaluable.
To ease your fears we’ve gathered some key interior design tips we hope will help you with your first steps to a new interior design.
5 Rules for Interior Design
Start with a Neutral Palette
Bright colors and bold accents go in and out of style rapidly. Neutrals are lasting and timeless. Start your room off with a neutral palette that will be consistent and lasting. Pops of color are easily achieved in replicable items such as books, floral arraignments, and accessories.
The 10-30-60 Rule
An easy way to decide when and where color should be added is using the 10-30-60 color rule for dominant, secondary, and accent colors. As the name suggests; your dominant color (a neutral) should cover about 60% of the room. Your secondary color, a little bolder, should be used repetitively without overpowering. Your boldest color, the accent, should be included sparingly and with intentionality.
Artwork, wall décor, and tall plants help to bring the eye up off the ground or coffee table. Also, storing items vertically on shelves or other creative options keeps them off the ground or on low areas, preventing the home from feeling cluttered.
The Rule of Threes
Styling surfaces can feel intimidating. Too few items can leave the space feeling sparse and awkward, but too many items can cause clutter. When in doubt, follow the rule of three. Odd number groupings are more appealing to the eye than even ones. Placing three cohesive items in a space can help to create this dynamic.
Everyone loves a good beach themed room but when everything is covered in is shells, sand, umbrellas, and flip flops it can start to look ridiculous. Keeps obvious references to a theme at a minimum with accent pieces and try to enhance the feel of the room over the theme.
Looking for some inspiration or a creative piece to get you started? Visit Seaside & Sylvan! They are a small furnishing boutique located at the historic Greenbank Farm. Their creative décor and helpful associates are sure to spark your style into action.
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