Monthly Archives: May 201826

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Peaceful, Maintenance-Free House in Amagansett, New York

MB Architecture completed the design of House in the Lanes, a 7,300 square foot contemporary residence with an inspiring layout in Amagansett, NY. The clients requested a maintenance-free house that would last for decades to come. Builders used materials and finishes such as charred cypress, raw concrete and zinc for their ability to weather naturally over time.

“The lanes in Amagansett, New York are a set of walkable streets perpendicular to Main Street, dotted with a diverse range of houses and styles, that are walking distance to the ocean,” the architects explained. “In a departure from recent additions to the area, where houses extend from side to side on a given parcel, often choking it, we opted to let the side facade, the narrow end, be the street-front. By doing so, we were able to let the longer side of the house face south and direct sun, while maintaining a suitable distance to the neighbors.”

“A sunken courtyard on the south side of the house and a generous light-well on the north break the flatness of the site and allow light to be filtered into the lower level, transforming a basement into a well-lit family room with a private outdoor space,” the architects added.

The ground floor accommodates the living spaces and a guest bedroom. Plenty of lounge areas facing floor-to-ceiling windows make the space suitable for family interaction. The second level is more secluded and holds the remaining bedrooms. Photography by Matthew Carbone.

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Here Are the Do’s and Don’ts of Renting

Choosing to live in a rental property offers a lot of freedom from repairs and maintenance. Typically, tenants are not responsible for tasks like cutting the grass and fixing plumbing problems. Perhaps that’s why more than 111 million Americans have chosen renting over home ownership, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council.

Renting provides convenience and independence, but there are limits to what you can do in a rental property. While specifics may vary from landlord to landlord, these are some of the general do’s and don’ts of renting a property.

Some of the biggest do’s and don’ts of renting involve painting projects. Image: Vertebrae Architecture

Don’t go paint crazy

“Tenants like to say, ‘I’m leaving the place better than I got it,’ and some tenants might think that blood-red accent wall they painted is much better,” says Diana Valin, CPM, owner/broker at The Rental Xperts in San Diego, CA.

However, Valin tells Freshome that this is rarely the case – at least, not from the owner’s perspective – unless the parties collaborated in advance. “The best rule of thumb for tenants wanting to change things up during their time in residence is to ask for permission – and get it in writing.”

However, you can paint your furniture. If you’re craving that perfect blood-red accent color, incorporate some of it into your existing decor.

Customizing landscaping elements may lead to more problems for your landlord. Image: Cameron Landscapes and Gardens

Don’t let your green thumb go wild

While you may think of vegetable gardens or flower beds as a great use of space outside the property, it might actually cause more issues for your landlord down the road. Kristie Aylett of Ocean Springs, MS reached out to Freshome with a similar situation from her landlord friend. “The renter wanted to be reimbursed – or at least thanked – for building a tree fort in the backyard but didn’t realize the increased liability and insurance costs it presented to the homeowners.”

Valin adds: “We want [renters] to feel they can make the property their home, but if they want to customize anything during their tenancy, communicating what they want to do and getting written authorization to do it ahead of time is the key to staying out of trouble in the end.”

If you’re looking for some green in your dwelling, we recommend growing a few plants in your unit.

Consult with your landlord for major improvement projects. Image: Lighting New York

Don’t make major renovations

Valin says your rental agreement should also stipulate how improvements will be handled at move-out. “The owner that didn’t know you added ceiling fans in all of the bedrooms may be thrilled to find out that you improved his/her property but won’t necessarily want to reimburse you for the installation costs and purchase costs of the fans at move-out,” she warns. If you decide to take your fans with you at move-out, you’ll be responsible for patching/texturizing and re-painting the ceilings.

Cabinet hardware is the most likely avenue of customization and improvement and an easy way to show your creative side in the kitchen and bathroom. However, like anything, be sure to check with your landlord first.

You may have to improvise for projects that require a hammer. Image: Jennifer Giersbrook Interior

Don’t use a hammer for all of your projects

Most landlords will let you hang a few pictures or curtains on decorative rods. Aside from that, it’s important to carefully consider any decorating idea that involves the use of a hammer. In other words, scratch those thoughts about mounting cabinets in the bathroom.

That’s not to say you can’t decorate in other ways. For example, consider applying stainless steel appliance covers to the dishwasher and refrigerator. These covers come in peel-and-stick or magnetic varieties and can instantly update and transform the space.

Among the do’s and don’ts of renting is appropriate property maintenance. Image: Studio Sayer

Do help to maintain the property

Your landlord is responsible for repairs, but you, as the tenant, are responsible for informing management when there’s something amiss in your unit. Whether it’s a leaky faucet or a broken stove knob, you need to report these problems as soon as possible. If a small problem becomes a large problem and it’s deemed a result of your negligence, you may be responsible for the repairs.

As far as household pests go, your landlord is responsible for pest control; nevertheless, you are accountable for keeping your unit clean so you won’t attract pests.

Renters insurance protects items that for which your landlord isn’t responsible. Image: Ania Omski-Talwar

Do purchase renters insurance

Your landlord is ultimately responsible for the property and your unit. However, you are responsible for your personal items, such as your furniture, clothes and electronic equipment. Additionally, if someone is injured in your apartment, you might be liable for medical and legal bills. Renters insurance is a wise investment because it protects you against these unforeseen circumstances over which your landlord has no control – which is why it’s often required by your landlord.

What other do’s and don’ts of renting have you discovered? Please let us know in the comments.

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Check out the New Williams Sonoma and CNET Smart Home in San Francisco

CNET, one of the biggest and most trusted tech review websites, was way ahead of its time in 2015 when it announced that we’d all eventually live in smart homes. They were right: According to Report Linker, 41% of US homes now own at least one smart home device. And that number is growing, partially thanks to efforts like the CNET Smart Home.

CNET just launched the Xfinity CNET Smart Home in San Francisco. Williams Sonoma designed the interior of the 2,952-square-foot house with three bedrooms, a two-car garage and a backyard. In addition to the interior furnishings, Williams Sonoma provided smart kitchen products.

The home will serve as a lab for the latest home tech product tests and reviews, which will be shared online at CNET’s Guide to Smart Living. CNET’s goal is to help consumers use smart home tech to make the most of their lives and homes.

Among the vintage items on the bookcase of the CNET Smart Home is the sleek, modern Google Home device. CNET has created a comprehensive list of all the Google Home commands available to date. Image: CNET Smart Home

Some of the smart home topics CNET plans on tackling include:

  • How to automate mornings. Program your devices to adjust lights, turn on the news and start your coffee machine once the system detects you’re awake.
  • Cooking with a little help. Enhance your cooking skills by learning how to use smart pans and voice-activated smart appliances.
  • Smart home security tips and tricks. Learn hacks to maximize your smart home security devices.
  • Green smart tech living. CNET plans on sharing how you can save energy, resources and money with eco-friendly smart home tech and programmable light fixtures.
CNET smart home

Among the collection of devices in the CNET Smart Home are programmable lightbulbs, remotes and security cameras. Image: CNET Guide to Smart Living

Here’s a look inside CNET’s Smart Home, furnished by Williams Sonoma

The LG Wallpaper TV is as thin as paper and equipped with Chromecast. Skip the remote — the Smart TV can receive voice commands through Google Home.

CNET smart home tour

The bed detects when you wake up and turns on the lights and the TV to your favorite channel. It also starts up the coffee maker in the kitchen. The lamp features an LED programmable lightbulb that changes colors.

The Hestan Cue smart induction cooktop teaches you how to cook, and the June Intelligent Oven is controlled by Alexa.

smart home design

Samsung’s The Frame TV blends perfectly with a gallery wall. It displays high-resolution digital art of your choice when the TV turns off.

The kids’ room features plenty of color, light and opportunities for voice command through the Alexa control center.

What smart home devices do you own or plan to pick up in the near future? Let us know in the comments. Photography by CNET.

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Buying a House… Pests Not Included

Most homebuyers have a laundry list of “must-have” items before signing on the dotted line, ranging from hardwood floors to stainless steel appliances to open floorplans. But there’s one thing they don’t want in a new house: pests.

And for good reason. According to Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association, “Termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage each year – a cost that is typically not covered by homeowners’ insurance.”

Pests aren’t just unsightly; they also cause costly property damage. Image: DeForest Architects

These particular insects are insidious – Mannes tells Freshome that termites chew through wood, flooring and wallpaper without being detected by the human eye. “Termites are known as ‘silent destroyers’ because they can compromise the structural stability of a home without anyone even knowing until the damage is severe,” she explains.

However, termites aren’t the only pests that potential buyers should be concerned about. We’ve got some tips on which insects and critters to look for, where to find them and how you should proceed upon discovering that your dream home has unwanted occupants.

Warning signs inside the home

Check near doors and windowsills for evidence of termites. Image: Liz Schupanitz Designs

Termite wings and droppings

According to Mannes, homebuyers should keep an eye out for typical warning signs of a termite infestation when house-hunting. “These including the presence of swarmers, or young, female and winged termites.” Swarmers tend to invade houses in the spring, and they are drawn to light.

Mannes says that often the first visible sign of termites is the presence of these swarmers’ wings. Swarmers typically discard wings close to doors and windowsills. “Damaged wood that sounds hollow when tapped is a third sign, since termites like to get inside wood and eat it.” Frass and droppings are also evidence of termites; Mannes explains that drywood termites leave droppings that look like pellets. (Note: You might also find frass and wood damage outside of the house.)

Carpenter ants create internal damage in wood. Image: Leslie Goodwin Photography

Wood fragments from carpenter ants

“In addition to termites, carpenter ants are another pest that can quickly tunnel through wood without any external signs of damage,” Mannes warns. So, how can you distinguish between carpenter ants and other ant species? “Carpenter ants are larger than most ant species, ranging in size from one-quarter inch up to three-quarters of an inch,” she says. “They are black or red in color.”

Even if you don’t see the ants, Mannes says you might notice sawdust and wood fragments around the home. “Severely damaged wood will have small openings like little windows,” she explains. “Carpenter ants will cause round, smooth holes in wood.”

Dripping pipes in kitchens and bathrooms attract roaches. Image: TRG Architects

Roach-friendly leaking pipes

While damage by termites and carpenter ants is your primary concern, you should also be on the lookout for other types of pests. According to Orkin entomologist Glen Ramsey, it’s important to look under the sink and around the pipes in the kitchen and bathrooms to ensure that everything is sealed tightly. He tells Freshome that dripping pipes are a water source for roaches. And when you’re inspecting the kitchen, look for small black spots, which might be cockroach droppings.

Inspect baseboards and sockets for signs of bed bugs. Image: Beth Dotolo

Bed bug stains

No one wants bed bugs. Ramsey warns that tiny brown stains on the wall directly under or around sockets and baseboards could be a sign that bed bugs have taken up residence. In addition, mold, fungus or wood decay may indicate moisture in the walls; this could be a sign that there are several pest problems in the home.

Warning signs outside of the home

painted exterior

Windowsills and exterior paint are places to look for termites or beetles. Image: Patrick Square LLC

Bubbling paint from termites

Now that we’ve covered interior warning signs, what are the exterior red flags? Ramsey says that bubbling or cracked paint, along with mud tubes, are clues that termites or wood-boring beetles are present. What’s a mud tube, exactly? Mannes explains that it’s exactly what it sounds like: a tube or tunnel made of mud. She says that subterranean termites use mud tubes to travel from underground to above-ground areas.

Sunken or soft windowsills are other indications of water damage or termites. “Also, if wood decks or railings have holes in them, this could indicate that carpenter bees have been drilling,” Ramsey adds.

exterior pests

Inspect trees on your property to make sure branches aren’t touching your house. Image: Locati Architects

Nests in chimneys or trees

Don’t forget to inspect the chimney, since the presence of a nest might mean that birds or wasps have made themselves at home. Ramsey adds that an assortment of pests and critters, from ants and smoky-brown cockroaches to rats and squirrels, tend to nest in trees. Depending on the location of the trees and branches, you might want to cut back some of the branches so they’re not a bridge to the attic.

In addition, Ramsey recommends inspecting the home lawn drainage to make sure that water slopes away from, instead of toward, the home. Termites and mosquitoes gravitate toward the latter.

Newer homes need inspection just as much as older homes. Image: JB Architecture Group

Newer vs. older homes

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Lighten Up! Get Inspired with These 16 Fresh Pendant Light Ideas

Let these fresh pendant light ideas inspire your next design. Image: Earle & Ginger Kitchens

Pendant lights have been around for a while, but that doesn’t mean there’s only one way to use them. In fact, far from it. Occasionally you need to shake things up by combining traditional design elements with new pendant light ideas. Often the results turn out better than you ever could have imagined.

With that in mind, we present you with 16 fresh pendant light ideas. Read them over and consider how you can bring some of these lighting design twists into your own home. After all, sometimes even the classics benefit from a little makeover.

Pendant light ideas for the kitchen

image

Consider grouping your pendant lights to create a faux-chandelier look. Image: Certified Luxury Builders – Dallas/Fort Worth

metal

A polished finish gives your metal pendant lights a fresh, modern touch. Image: Linda McDougald Design | Postcard from Paris Home

different

Shake up your design by using two different lighting fixtures in the same room. Image: Morgante Wilson Architects

fun fixtures

Remember, your light fixtures don’t have to be boring. They can be as fun as you make them. Image: kabi kitchen and bath cabinets

Pendant light ideas for the dining area

dining

Use pendant lights to highlight your dining area. Image: Eldorado Stone

coordinate

Coordinate your pendant light ideas with the rest of the room. Image: SHED Architecture & Design

spacing

Always make sure your pendant lights are evenly placed to highlight the entire space. Image: Moon Design + Build

statement

If you’re only installing one fixture, use it as a statement piece. Image: Northworks Architects and Planners

open concept

If you have an open concept space, consider using pendant lighting throughout the entire room. Image: Cornerstone Architects

Pendant light ideas for the bedroom

kids

Pendant lighting is a great addition to kids’ rooms, too. Image: Caisson Studios

bedroom

Add a statement fixture over the bed to draw attention to your bedroom’s focal point. Image: i3 design group

two

Alternatively, put one fixture on either side of the bed to promote balance. Image: Incorporated

visual intresest

Consider using an outside-of-the-box design to bring more visual interest to the space. Image: Ariel Muller Designs

Pendant light ideas for the bathroom

bathroom

Pendant lighting works in the bathroom, too. Image: Wanda Ely Architect Inc.

fixtures

Try matching your fixtures to create a cohesive look. Image: Custom Design & Construction

mirror

Add a pendant light on either side of your mirror. Image: Cabinet Concepts by Design

What do you think of these pendant light ideas? Are you inspired to try any of them out in your own home? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

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6 Home Upgrades Every Pet Owner Needs

Home upgrades can help a pet owner integrate their pets’ necessities with their interior design. Image:

Keep your pet hydrated this summer with an outdoor water bowl. Image: Scot Eckley

5. Outdoor water bowl

Summer’s here. You’ll probably be spending more time outside, and your pet will undoubtedly want to join you. You can ensure they stay hydrated and add to your property’s hardscaping with a permanent water bowl. A well-designed, sturdy basin beneath a water spigot makes it simple to give your pet access to water all summer long.

pet owner home upgrades - gate

Integrate your dog gate into your room design. Image: Mankato Home Tours

6. Built-in dog gate

You may have rooms in your home that are pet-friendly and others you want to protect from your furry family member. Many a dog owner has turned to the removable baby gate to separate spaces for their pets. While functional, it doesn’t contribute anything positive to your decor. Instead, opt for a built-in gate. You can customize the size and material to seamlessly integrate into the design of the rooms it separates.

More pet owner ideas

These home upgrades will get you started, but there’s a whole world out there for you to explore. From built-ins to pet furniture, there is a huge range of options to integrate our pets’ necessities into our interior design and architecture. You, your four-legged friend and your home’s style can live together in harmony.

What are some of your pets’ favorite home features? We’d love to hear all about it below.

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We Asked Pro Movers for Their Top Moving Tips. Here’s What They Told Us

Pro movers gave us their best moving tips for making your transition as easy as possible. Image: rawpixel.com

Let’s face it: Moving days are never easy. After all, no one looks forward to lifting heavy boxes in and out of trucks, up and down stairs. However, moving day doesn’t have to be completely chaotic, either. All it takes is a little planning and forethought to make the day run smoothly.

With that in mind, we decided to go straight to the source. We asked pro movers to share their best advice on how to accomplish a painless move. Incorporate some of these moving tips into your packing plan to help this would-be-stressful process go off without a hitch.

morning

If possible, schedule your move for early morning. Image: rawpixel.com

Schedule your move strategically

“If you’re hoping to get a better rate on a moving company or rental truck, avoid scheduling your move on weekends or at the end of the month. These companies are usually slower during the week/mid-month and are willing to give deals,” says Ryan Carrigan, co-founder of moveBuddha.

“If you’re hiring a moving company, try to book the earliest morning time slot available. The moving crew will be fresh, so they’ll typically get the job done more efficiently.”

materials

Gather your materials first. Image: rawpixel.com

Have the right materials on hand

“Most people know that they’ll need plenty of boxes, packing tape and bubble wrap for the move. However, shrink wrap can be your best friend when it comes to moving,” advises Tieece Gordon of Affordable Removals. “Take furniture, for example – it may be expensive, but it’s also fragile. Drawers and doors on wardrobes, dressers, etc. can also be securely fastened shut using this cost-effective material. Plus, it never hurts to buy more of everything than you think you’ll need.”

décor

Packing non-essentials like décor first saves you effort later. Image: Breather

Pack non-essential items first

“Don’t just start boxing up everything in sight,” says Kelly Tenny, Content and Social Media Manager with Zippboxx. “Pack up your belongings in a strategic manner. Go room-by-room and begin by packing up items that you do not use very often, like décor and accessories. Leave the things that you use frequently for last. This will save you time scouring boxes you already packed for that one item you need!”

books

Put heavy items like books in smaller boxes. Image: Daria Nepriakhina

Watch the weight of your boxes

“Be careful not to pack boxes that are too heavy,” suggests Emil Perushanov, owner of Top Removals. “Not only will they be a literal pain for your movers on moving day, but they’ll be difficult for you to move around while packing.”

As for a general rule? “Try to stick to a 30-pound limit for each box and, when packing heavier items like books, use smaller boxes. This will keep you from overloading.”

appliances

Make sure your appliances are turned off, defrosted and cleaned. Image: Naomi Hébert

Prep your appliances in advance

Kate Windleton, Relocations Manager at Strong Move, recommends planning ahead when it comes to appliances. “Your fridge needs to be defrosted at least a day earlier. Your washing machine, your oven, etc. should be turned off, cleaned and, if possible, put in their original boxes. Secure their cords and seal their doors so they don’t open accidentally while inside of the truck.”

Have you moved recently? What moving tips can you share from your experience? Tell us in the comments.

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Need a Move-In Deep Cleaning? Amazon Home Services Has You Covered

You’ve just moved into your new home or apartment. Looking at everything that needs to be done, you might feel like you need an army on your side. You’ve got boxes to unpack, that tricky smart home security system to install, flat-screen TVs to mount and new furniture to assemble. Plus, you want your home sparkly clean — STAT. Thankfully, Amazon’s got you covered; its Amazon Home Services department will send someone over right away to check off the items on your honey do list.

While you may not be familiar with the service, it’s been around since 2015. Amazon’s been building an impressive directory of experts and professionals across the country, ready to come complete the chores you assign them.

What can Amazon Home Service experts do for you?

amazon home services moving day

The Amazon Home Service experts offer a wide variety of services. Tech or smart-home related tasks like optimizing your Wi-Fi router or installing a smart thermostat are their widest range of service. But Amazon also has plumbers, electricians and manual labor-related pros. Some of the most requested tasks you can order up include:

  • TV wall mounting
  • Surround sound and home theater setup
  • Smart remote setup
  • Patio furniture assembly and general assembly
  • Yard work
  • Home improvement
  • Move-out cleaning
  • Move-in cleaning and general house cleaning
  • Handyman by the hour

How much does the handyman-by-the-hour cost?

Amazon makes it easy to get upfront quotes on home services before ordering. Enter your zip code, check off what you may need and you’ll get an instant price. For example, a handyman to work inside your home for two hours with a step ladder costs:

  • $210.99 in Downtown Chicago, IL
  • $196.69 in Austin, TX and Phoenix, AZ
  • $208.49 in Los Angeles, CA
  • $189.99 in Downtown Atlanta, GA

According to Amazon, the handyman can complete multiple services within the hours given. The list of services is extensive, but some of the most popular requests are hanging shelving, baby-proofing the home, wiring home theater components, repairing glass windows and repairing drywall. The page even estimates how many hours are needed for the different tasks.

How much does a move-out cleaning cost?

A move-out cleaning is pretty detailed, since everything needs to be cleaned — baseboards, cabinets, lighting fixtures, door jambs, blinds, window sills, tops of kitchen cabinets, the refrigerator interior, etc. According to the Amazon Home Services Move-Out Cleaning page, a move-out cleaning of a home or apartment up to 1,000 square feet in Downtown Atlanta costs $160.

Where do you find Amazon Home Services?

Amazon’s Home Services page lists every service available. You can also find an expert installation price quote on many of the product-for-sale pages.

wall mounting option

In this example, there’s an option box for “Get expert TV wall mounting” just below the TV size options. The option includes a wall mounting price for your zip code ($96.90 for Atlanta).

Why use Amazon Home Services?

The biggest reason to use Amazon Home Services is that Amazon makes it easy; you can order a move-in cleaning or a home improvement expert in a few clicks and pay for agreed service upfront at checkout.

Amazon screens its experts, inviting professionals who they claim “have a strong record of service quality.” You’re trusting a stranger to enter your home or office based on Amazon’s reputation, so the company performs a six-point criminal background check and verifies licensing and registration. You can also read reviews about the experts from other customers to help inform your decision.

And if something goes wrong, all Home Services are backed by the Amazon’s Happiness Guarantee. If you’re not 100 percent satisfied, Amazon will fix it or give you a full refund.

Have you used Amazon Home Services? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.

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The Best Contemporary Furniture and Objects from Milan Design Week 2018

Milan, Italy’s Design Week is the destination for those who want to be first to see the newest contemporary design trends. Architects, designers and retailers all converge with the latest furniture pieces and avant-garde home objects. Soft edges, pastels and lots of Art Deco inspiration dominated the show this year. Here’s a roundup of the coolest (and most out-there) creations from Milan Design Week 2018.

The entrance to Missoni’s showroom for Milan Design Week 2018 featured oversized textiles printed in the fashion house’s signature patterns and colors. Image: Missoni Home

Patricia Urquiola’s Milan Design Week 2018 work

Designer and art director Patricia Urquiola created some of the most memorable pieces of the show. Her color selection and fluid lines were on-trend with the soft tones and Art-Deco-inspired vibe. Her collaboration of leather goods with Louis Vuitton for their Objets Nomades show were especially striking. Photography by Patricia Urquiola.

Urquiola’s leather Swing Chair for Louis Vuitton’s Objets Nomades collection.

Contemporary chairs and sofas

Modular pieces and color were popular among the best contemporary sofa and chair designs in Milan Design Week 2018, adding fun and personality back into the formal living room space.

best of Milan Design Week 2018

Tape by Benjamin Hubert for Moroso is a collection of modular pieces that mix and match to the configuration of your choice. Polyurethane tape in a contrasting color, which is used for sportswear, joins the seams of the collection. Image: Moroso

Gerrit Rietveld’s Beugel Chair was produced in 1930 but got a refresh with modern materials. The design of chair remains unchanged; it looks as contemporary today as it did nearly 90 years ago. Chair and image: Cassina

milan design week 2018

Arper’s Kiik Collection, designed by Iwasaki Studios, is inspired by Japanese minimalism. Image: Arper

This outdoor stool is shaped like a donut, created by Mikiya Kabayashi for Diabla. Image: Diabla

Lighting

Wisse Trooster’s Cardboard and LED lights for Cartoni are lightweight and earth-friendly. Image: Cartoni

Oversized orbs of pleated fabric create these dramatic hanging pendant lamps. Product and image: PaulinePlusLuis

Designer Federica Biasi was inspired by antique Art Deco lamps when creating this updated Deco pendant. Image: Federica Biasi

Everyday objects

Sonos has finally broken from its signature black and white wireless speaker design. In collaboration with the Danish design brand HAY, the speakers come in yellow, red and emerald green. Image: Sonos

Simone Crestani reimagined the ordinary carafe and made it rock-and-roll sexy. Image: Simone Crestani

Avant-garde objects

Some objects and furniture pieces were odd, yet beautifully fascinating. The following had visitors doing double takes as they passed.

Erez Nevi Pana designed a line of “vegetarian” furniture like this Salts Stool with earthy elements like salt and soil. Check out the fascinating process of how he made this stool here. Image: Erez Nevi Pana

best of milan design week 2018

“Puddle” is a blown glass orb that appears to be melting off the table. Object and image: Elinor Portnoy

This whimsical lamp would be perfect in a baby’s nursery. Chandelier and image: Marcantonio Raymond Malerba

The Justine Cabinet in presented in an unusual kidney shape. Cabinet design and image: Matteo Cibic

Textile and texture

Cristina Celestine found inspiration in Renaissance-era garden grottos for these new tiles. Image: Fornace Brioni

Spanish fashion house Loewe’s new line of home textile went global with Japanese silk, African weaves and Indian textiles. Image: Loewe

Bottega Veneta’s new table line features patterned Travertine tops. No two are alike. Image: Bottega Veneta

What’s your favorite contemporary item from this year’s Milan Design Week? We’d love to hear in the comments.

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Buying a Rental Property for the First Time? Here Are Your 4 Most Important Considerations

Ready to buy a rental property? Here’s what to look out for. Image: Rawpixel

Are you thinking about buying a rental property? Congratulations! That’s a huge step toward financial growth. However, be aware that buying a rental property isn’t the same as buying your own home. In fact, the two have a widely different set of considerations to bear in mind.

Luckily, we’re here to help you sort it all out. Below we’ve listed four of the most important factors to look out for when investing in real estate. Read them over and keep them in mind as you start looking at potential properties.

location

Pick a location that suits your ideal renter. Image: Weston Owen

Location, location, location

You may have heard that location is the most important factor when buying a home — and that’s true. However, when choosing a location for your rental property, there’s no single hard-and-fast rule to follow. The ideal location for you depends on the type of renter you’re hoping to attract.

Those hoping to attract a younger crowd should look in the heart of the action. Young renters who aren’t ready to buy on their own like to be close to amenities like shops, restaurants and public transportation. Typically, these renters are willing to pay higher rents for convenience. But beware: They also come with a higher turnover rate.

The other option is renting to families. Obviously, this type of renter will require a larger space, but they’ll also be looking in a totally different locale. For these renters, focus more on properties in established neighborhoods and decent school districts. While you should expect slightly lower rents, it’s often made up for in the stability afforded by those looking for a long-term rental.

cash flow

Check cash flow to ensure your new rental is a good investment. Image: Rawpixel

Positive cash flow

Often, great rental properties come with an existing rental history. This is great for you, because it affords you the chance to see how well a potential investment will pay off. If the previous investor was astute, they will probably have some sort of cash flow analysis, or record of how much money was brought in versus spent, on hand.

As a potential buyer, you can always have your agent ask the seller for a copy of these documents. The seller is not obligated to share these with you, though most will be willing to at least open up about past rental values and average utility costs.

If you can’t access this information directly, you can estimate your own. Here’s how:

  • Use a mortgage calculator to estimate your monthly payment
  • Search public records to see how much you’ll owe in property taxes
  • Add in a 10% cushion for upfront costs like repairs
  • Subtract that number from an average rental income, based on similar properties in your area

If the number comes out positive, you may have a smart investment on your hands.

condition

First-timers should stick to turn-key homes. Image: Black & Milk

Decent condition

This may sound counterintuitive, but you don’t want your first rental property to be a fixer-upper. Purely from a financial standpoint, it doesn’t make sense. Often, properties in need of lots of TLC end up having larger problems than first anticipated. This racks up costs quickly, especially if you’re hiring out the labor.

In this case, it makes more sense to pay a little more for a turn-key home, where the extra expenditure can be rolled out through the life of the loan. Have an agent work up closing costs for you; in all likelihood, you’ll end up paying only a few dollars more each month for a much nicer property overall.

As for what to look for, functionality is key. When buying a rental property, you don’t need to spring for the fanciest house on the block, but aim to find a home in your target location with all of its pieces in working order. That said, keep in mind that having a few nice extras like stainless steel appliances or an open concept floorplan may entice future renters to pay a bit more each month.

changing lightbulb

Make sure you’re ready to take on the home’s upkeep. Image: Rawpixel

Estimated upkeep

The last piece to look into when buying a rental property is how much ongoing upkeep it may need. Obviously, every rental will require regular maintenance, but you can hedge your bets by looking at the property’s unique factors. Is there a lush backyard that needs regular upkeep? Is the home and its systems older or more updated?

Once you’ve collected that information to the best of your ability, it’s time to be honest with yourself about how much work you can do on your own. Are you capable of handling small, handyman-type fixes around the home? Are you willing to stop by every few weeks to cut the grass? There’s no right answer here. You can always hire a property manager to do the dirty work for you, but that’s also another cost to consider.

Do you have any experience buying a rental property? What other tips do you have for prospective buyers? Tell us all about it in the comments.

The post Buying a Rental Property for the First Time? Here Are Your 4 Most Important Considerations appeared first on Freshome.com.

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