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Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri & Al Mussi on 2/6/2018

As house sizes grow ever larger more people find themselves with spare bedrooms in their homes. These bedrooms are often called "guest rooms" by default, even though they're usually just a place where all the extra furniture ends up. When guests do come to stay over, you shouldn't have to worry about cleaning out their room. Ideally, a guest room is low maintenance and includes everything your guest will need to feel comfortable away from home. So, instead of filling the room with the 25 old pillows that have been accumulating in your house, here are some essentials that every guest bedroom should have.

Decorate like you'd want to sleep there

Use bright, but calming colors on the walls, put a bedside table with a beverage coaster near the bed, use curtains that can be closed to block out the morning sun or opened to let in as much light as your guest would like. The important thing to remember is to avoid clutter and personal objects. If your guest feels like they're surrounded by junk they won't feel very at home. Similarly, if there are personal items like your photos, notebooks, or clothing in the room they will feel like they're intruding in your space. Instead, keep your personal items in your own bedroom or office and think of the guest room as more of a hotel within your home.

Essential items

We won't discuss the obvious necessities of a bedroom (i.e., beds and beddings). Rather, here are some items you may not have thought to include in your guest room that will make your guest feel more at home.
  • Cell phone charger. Odds are your guest only brought one charger with them. But if you have an iPhone or Android (micro USB) charger ready for use on the bedside table, it will let them keep their own charger in their bag for use outside the house.
  • Wi-Fi name and password. Write the Wi-Fi name and password down on a notepad and place it on the bedside table. This way your guest won't have to worry about disturbing you late at night to remind them of the log-in info. It's also a good idea to leave a pen with the notepad in case your guest wants to leave themselves any notes.
  • Empty storage space. To help your guest feel organized, make sure they can use the closet or dresser to unpack their clothes and belongings and store away their suitcase.
  • Tissues and wastebasket. A common, but overlooked, courtesy to include for your guest is a box of tissues and a wastebasket.
  • Ear plugs. Even if you don't live in a noisy neighborhood there may be some late night sounds that have become white-noise to you but that your guest isn't familiar with (i.e. trains, heating or AC sounds, wildlife).
  • Shower caddy with useful items. You can buy a small shower caddy at the dollar store and fill it with useful items for your guest, such as: soap, shampoo, shower sponge, razors, Q-tips, headache medicine, and band-aids. Your guest can bring this back to their bedroom and won't feel like they're taking up space in the bathroom.
   





Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri & Al Mussi on 1/9/2018

If you love to read (or love to look like you love to read) there's no better addition to your house than a home library. Whether it's just one small bookshelf or an entire wall in your living room, a library can be both intellectually and aesthetically enriching for any household. Want to get the kids into reading? Hoping to provide something stimulating for your house guests to peruse? Want an all-access pass to some of the greatest fantasy worlds ever dreamt up? Here are some essential additions to any home library.

Cookbooks

Every home needs one or two good cookbooks. Yeah, you can find recipes online easily, but browsing through a cookbook is much more relaxing and might encourage you to try out a recipe you never would before. You can find any number of cookbooks on a range of topics, from historically accurate recipes from colonial times to gluten-free, vegan, raw food recipes only, there's no limit to what you can find.

The classics

Every library needs a copy of some of the classic works of literature. Homer, Chaucer, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Orwell... they'll take you on a journey through time, sparking your imagination and curiosity.

Instructive

Let's face it, you won't get very far through The Canterbury Tales without a dictionary. Every library should be equipped with learning aids like dictionaries, language books, a world atlas, science and history books, and so on.

Greatest hits

Much of my library is made up of long lines of books that make up hit series like Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, A Song of Ice and Fire and so on. These are all fun books that someday your kids might read (well, maybe wait a while before showing them A Game of Thrones). Aside from epic sagas, you might be in the mood for something a bit lighter, physically and metaphorically. Pick up some bestsellers of the last 10 years at discount prices on Amazon or used from sites like Half.com.

Nonfiction masterpieces

Nothing is as exciting, scary, or bizarre as the world we live in. To be shocked and educated at the same time, pick up some of the recent Pulitzer Prize winners in the nonfiction category. You'll find history books that won't put you to sleep and cautionary tales about climate change that will probably keep you up at night. Even if you read or watch the news, there's no better way to fully understand a topic than by reading a book about it.

Visuals

You're not always going to pick up a book with the intention of reading hundreds of pages. Sometimes you or a house guest would like to casually flip through some interesting pages. Art, photography, comics and graphic novels are all excellent additions to any library.

Children's books

No library is complete without children's books, whatever your age may be. Children's books range from beautifully illustrated picture books to great stories like Where the Wild Things Are and the tales of Beatrix Potter.   These are just some of the basics that every library can benefit from. Now go and find some books that you love to make it uniquely your own.




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Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri & Al Mussi on 1/10/2017

Buying a home is one of the largest commitments you will make in your life. It's also one of the best. Being a homeowner comes with a sense of independence that renting simply can't match. You can do with your home whatever you like, making it the place you love to go home to at the end of the day. Knowing when you're ready to buy a home is a complicated issue. But it's also a learning process that everyone is new to at some time in their lives. Sure, buying a home can be anxiety-inducing. But you don't need to add any more nerves to the process because you feel uninformed. In this article, we'll lay out a basic checklist that will help you determine when and whether you're ready to buy a home so that you can worry less about your credentials and focus more on finding the right home.

The checklist

  • Finances. We hate to put it first, but the reality is your finances are one of the main things that determines your preparedness for becoming a homeowner. Unlike renting, there's a lot more that goes into the home financing process than just your income. Banks will want to see your credit score to ensure you have a history of paying your bills on time. They'll also use your credit information to see how much debt you have and if you'll be able to take on homeowner's expenses on top of that. Another financial impact for buying a house is to determine if you can afford a downpayment. It's one thing to see that you can cover your bills with your income, but unless you have enough money saved for the downpayment (and any emergency expenses that may come up) you should wait a while and save before hopping into the market.
  • What are your longterm plans? Many people are excited at the thought of home ownership to the extent that they forget their life circumstances. If you have a job that might cause you to relocate in the next 5-7 years you might want to consider renting rather than buying. Depending on factors like the price of the home, cost of living in your area, and how long you plan on living in your new home, it may be cheaper to buy or rent in the long run. There are calculators available online that will tell you which option is probably more cost-effective for you. As a general rule, however, if you plan on living in a new home for under 5-7 years, it might be cheaper to rent.
  • Do you have the time and patience to be a homeowner? Owning a home means you can't call on the landlord to fix your leaks anymore. Similarly, you probably won't be able to depend on someone else to shovel snow or mow the lawn for you. It takes work to be a homeowner, and if your job has you away from home for long periods of time or working very long hours, renting might not be appropriate at this time.
  • Plan for new expenses. If you can comfortably pay rent and you find out your home loan payments will be comparable, you should know that there will likely be new expenses to consider as well. Home insurance, property taxes, and expenses for things like sewer, plumbing and electrical repairs all should be taken into consideration. Additionally, you will likely have new utility bills, including electricity, water, oil, cable, and others depending on the home.




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