It is ironic that the curb appeal of a home is so very important to the value buyers place on homes, but when you sell, your return on the money invested in landscaping is just pennies on the dollar. It is very important to keep your landscaping in at least good condition, and that includes your trees. Most of us take them for granted but they do need our care to stay healthy. You can replace a bush tomorrow but not a mature tree.
Tree trimming is important but so is feeding them. You may have noticed some trees yellowing in the summer far before the fall season. This is especially true in this are for maple trees. The conventional wisdom is to add iron to the soil around the roots. Recently, to help a beautiful maple tree in our yard, we made a concerted effort and spent a significant amount of money doing just that with chelated iron. The results were less than encouraging.
A good friend, Mikl Brawner of Harlequin’s Gardens in north Boulder, helped us to understand that the soil in much of the Front Range is very alkaline. Because of this, the roots of some species of trees cannot take in the minerals they need and will slowly decline until they die. He recommended we talk with an arborist. They injected a special treatment for this area into the soil around all our trees in the spring and in the fall.
With the arborist’s help, our maple, catalpa, and redbud trees improved significantly over the summer. But the real effect did not materialize until the spring. The maple clump returned to a more normal green, and the leaves on the catalpas were once again large and dark green. The redbud showed the largest improvement. In addition, the catalpas bloomed beautifully, some of the only ones in the area healthy enough to do so.
On a recent visit, the arborist told us he believes that without the treatment the weakened maple would have perished in the harsh winter that followed his treatment. My wife, the gardener, had previously come to this conclusion. That winter, the temperatures dropped from 60 degrees to minus 20 as a polar front swept through. An unusually warm January had trees opening up only to be shocked again by a return to winter conditions. The final blow came from roots sitting in water-logged ground for more than a month in May, a condition that virtually never happens in Colorado.
We are continuing the soil treatments with the maple clump and redbud to return them to their full splendor. Having balanced the costs of these treatments against the costs of having a large dead tree removed, purchasing a new tree, and losing privacy and shade during the time it takes a new tree to grow, it is abundantly clear that keeping an existing tree healthy is the most cost-effective choice.
I recently received an email from a past client asking for my opinion about an element of a major kitchen remodel they were considering. They wanted the elements they chose to remain appealing to buyers 10 years or so out when they would eventually sell their home. Their quandary – what color appliances to choose. I did not see that coming!
Even though some online research shows that 75% of buyers want stainless steel, the husband believed stainless steel is going the way of avocado, the ubiquitous appliance color of the 1970s, He was favoring black, a timeless and classic theme. I suggested they should consider the effect of black versus stainless in the larger context of the
design theme of the kitchen– the cabinets, countertops, backsplash, flooring. and other elements of their remodel. Step back and see the larger picture. Aside from what it might look like in 10 years, choosing stainless steel just because it is “in” might end up looking like wearing blue suede shoes with a tux: cool, but so wrong!
This is a familiar dilemma. If you are trying to guess what is going to be fashionable a decade from now, you’re bound to certain failure. Spectacularly.
Fashion is a fickle butterfly flitting from blossom to blossom. Who can guess what is coming or how long it might last? While fads come on strong and suddenly evaporate, fashion has a bit more staying power, but like the season, inevitably changes. In the beginning, stainless steel appliances were the highest quality, commercial grade, and affordable only by the wealthy. Today stainless is available to anyone and is definitely fashionable, but the tide may already be turning. Dark (grey) stainless, copper and even vibrant colors like red are auditioning for the leading role in the next act of the kitchen fashion scene.
If longevity is your goal, best to turn to something that will endure through time. My
wife is cultured, growing up just outside of Washington, D.C., and (among a lot of things) taught me the difference between Style and Fashion. Style carries gravitas, walks through time with presence, brushing off fickle little Fad and paying little or no attention to Fashion. Black, white, grey, respectful reds and their variations are members of the Style Establishment.
Fashion or style, your goal in a kitchen remodel should be a cohesive design vision. Buyers respond to the overall feeling of a kitchen, and if that calls for black, Stainless steel appliances, the effect will be impressive. You have to live with your selections in the years before you do decide to sell, so make choices that please you rather than trying to guess what will appeal to others in the future. With thoughtful planning, your eventual buyers will be as thrilled as you.
You may have heard that the garage is the “new room” in the house. Aimed generally at men who don’t have a man cave space in the house — or something to be more comfortable in while serving time in the doghouse — this concept is to justify spending money to transform the two-car, haphazard storage/unauthorized mouse haven/dust bin into something to be proud of. That usually includes at least a Kegerator. That is not a device to remove mice.
Depending on the amount of pride involved, this project can crash straight through the household budget, landing right in the middle of the retirement account. The first step is usually, “I’ll just paint the concrete floor with that special sparkly epoxy paint.” But once that is done, well, Katie will have a heck of a time trying to bar the new insulated garage door, finished & painted interior walls and ceiling, upgraded electrical panel to power the recessed can lighting, sound system, said Kegerator, and old flat-screen TV that never made it to Craig’s List. Let’s not omit cabinets and counters specially styled just for this “new room.” And an auxiliary heating system. Most of football season happens after t-shirt weather.
To be sure, both cars will have their space inside this paragon of paternalism, but just. They might be in the driveway, though, during the Game(s). And other times. Let’s
not forget décor, which in this case is an inappropriate use of the term. A better one might be “stuff not allowed in the house.” Men are really good at collecting and treasuring these things. I know this because my wife told me.
Wait! What about the lawn mower? Garden and yard tools? Skis/boots/poles, summer tires/Halloween-Christmas-other seasonal decorations/and everything else that was haphazardly stuffed into nooks and crannies in the garage? Um, how about a new storage shed?!!! Gosh, you could even store potting soil in there, honey!
And really, it is perfectly suitable for other uses, like a book club or baby shower! But not if the car needs an oil change, or waxing, or there is any kind of sporting event on. But of course, there is the value it will add to the house! Yes– if the next buyer has also bought into this whole concept and wears the same good-luck sox on game day.
Otherwise, not so much. And that is the kink. These garages are just glorified 450- square-foot rec rooms you can park your cars in. If you really need or value that additional space, then perhaps this is something to consider. But be realistic when it comes time to move. Your return on investment will likely be pennies on the dollar. Good news, though, you can unplug the Kegerator and take it with you.