Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Choosing the Right Interior Paint Finish

Even after you've chosen the perfect color for your room, you still have another important decision to make:  what is the best paint finish for the room you are about to paint?  There are five very different "finishes" to consider.  Here they are, along with the considerations that will help you make the best choice.  It basically comes down to how much shine and durability you want in that particular room.

Flat finish = Concealing
photo courtesy of valsparpaint.com
Sometimes also referred to as "matte", this latex paint is best suited for walls that won't likely require frequent washing.  It is the least shiny paint finish available.  As it doesn't clean well, it usually is not best suited for kitchens, bathrooms or children's bedrooms.  In fact, the only way to get rid of fingerprints or scribbles is to paint over them.  Because of its non-shine, is a good finish if you have to camouflage small wall bumps or cracks.  This is an ideal choice for your dining room, living room or closets. 

Eggshell finish = Easy Maintenance
Think of the very low sheen on the shell of an egg.  This will give you the indication of how an eggshell paint finish will appear.  This finish is often used for decorative finishes because it provides a low luster.  It cleans up better than a flat finish, but this is still not the ideal choice for a kitchen or bathroom.

Satin finish = Easy Maintenance & Durability
Satin paints are the preferred finish for highly-trafficked areas and are the most popular paint sheen.  With its smooth, velvety appearance it is attractive, durable and easy to maintain.  Most surface dirt can be wiped clean with a damp cloth.  This is a good paint finish for woodwork, walls, doors and hallways.

Semi-gloss finish = Durability
This paint finish is very durable and washable, and it will produce a visible shine.  Semi-gloss paint is most commonly used on doors, trim and cabinets in bathrooms and kitchens.  Because is easy to clean up, this finish is also a good choice for high-moisture areas, such as bathrooms.  Just be sure to select a mildew-resistant paint formulation.

Glossy finish = Highlight
High gloss paints deliver the highest level of shine and durability.  It is also stain resistant and very scrubbable, making it a good choice for the areas in the home that get the most wear and tear, such as kitchens and bathrooms.  Though not widely used in home interiors, it is becoming more popular for a dramatic look on cabinets, trim and furniture in very formal and very contemporary settings.  It is also an excellent choice to highlight doors, trim and other architectural elements.  At the opposite extreme from the flat finish, this finish will magnify any surface imperfections, so careful preparation and sanding is imperative before painting with high gloss paints.

When you are deciding which finish to use, remember:  the higher the shine, the darker and more intense the color will be.  And, know that high-gloss paint reflects light and makes imperfections in your walls more obvious.  So, before you apply the paint finish, be sure to properly and thoroughly prepare your surface and make them extra smooth.

Monday, October 21, 2013

"Movers for Meals" collecting food for the Greater Lansing Food Bank

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® locations across Michigan are collecting non-perishable food items to support The Food Bank Council of Michigan with their “Movers for Meals” program.  The purpose of “Movers for Meals” is to recognize and support the thousands of people across Michigan relying on The Food Bank Council of Michigan each year. 

Again this fall, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® of Greater Lansing is partnering with the following schools, day care centers and businesses to collect food specifically for the Greater Lansing Food Bank:
  • ·         People’s Church Pre-school 
  •        Tutor Time, Okemos 
  •              Rainbow Child Care Centers, Lansing & Okemos 
  •        Emanuel Lutheran School
  •        Glenn Buege Buick GMC 
  •             Nexus Academy of Lansing 
  • ·         Mall Drive Kindercare
Starting in mid-September and ending on November 15, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® of Greater Lansing is taking donations of canned goods, such as vegetables and soups, and non-perishable items, including peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese for donation to the Greater Lansing Food Bank. 

There is an obvious need in our mid-Michigan communities for support, and TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® has always been the “Movers who Care®”.  It’s part of our core values, instilled from the very beginning when Mary Ellen Sheets founded the company.  Her focus has always been about giving back, and we embrace this aspect of our business with “Movers for Meals”.

Anyone interested in donating food items may drop off donations at the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® of Greater Lansing store located at 1200 Keystone Avenue, in south Lansing.  Our office is open to receive donations Monday through Saturday, 8am to 5pm.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Guest Blog: Which is smarter: renting or buying a house?

After watching what their parents experienced during the economic crisis of the last 5 years in terms of job loss, foreclosures, and/or a short sale (owing more on their home than what it is worth) many Millennials or Generation Y’s might think it makes more sense to rent rather than buy a home. 

Over the years I’ve often thought it was better to buy a house than to rent one
in most cases, but not in every case. Comparing buying to renting is actually a fairly complicated endeavor. However, there are a few easy guidelines you can use to aid you in your decision. 

Buying a house is usually more beneficial than renting except when:

  • ·         You intend to move within a few years

  • ·         Your rent is very low

  • ·         Job stability is questionable

Building equity vs. “throwing your money away”
Certain expenses that accompany buying a house do not build equity and may actually contribute to the argument for renting instead of buying. These expenses  would include:

  • ·         Property Insurance
  • ·         Private Mortgage Insurance (if your down payment is less than 20%)
  • ·         Maintenance
  • ·         Closing costs
  • ·         Interest on your mortgage
  • ·         Property taxes

Advantages to buying vs. renting can outweigh the expense

  • ·         You lock in your monthly payment for 15 or 30 years. (If you kept renting you’d pay more each year.)
  • ·         Normally your house gets more valuable over time, however that is no longer a guarantee. 
  • Tax Advantage - Your real estate taxes and the interest on your mortgage are deductible from your income tax. 
  • Security - A feeling of security that comes from owning a home and the knowledge that your home is a safeguard against inflation. 
  • Environment - Your children grow up in the neighborhood of your choice 
  • Satisfaction - Home ownership offers special advantages that make life more enjoyable - backyard barbecues, large family gatherings during holidays, a home workshop, a chance to enjoy your family's companionship in the privacy of your own home. 
  •  Investment - Payments on your mortgage loan mean you are acquiring a major possession; instead of rent, you own more and more. The garden you plant, the permanent improvements you make - all enhance your way of living as well as the value of your home.

Tax advantages could change soon with the legislation being introduced in Washington D.C.  Home Buyers today need to look at owning a home as a lifestyle decision that requires a large commitment - and investment - on your part. 

With interest rates at historical lows, and home prices at reasonable levels, this could be an opportune time to buy a home provided you have job stability, a reasonable down payment and qualify for the monthly principle, interest, taxes and insurance. Talk to a REALTOR to determine which route is best for you.

Mike Bowler is an Associate Broker for Coldwell Banker Hubbell BriarWood Real Estate Company and has serviced the Greater Lansing Area for over 30 years. He can be reached at 517-492-3400 or Mike@MikeBowler.com.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Five Pinterest Boards for Home Decorating Inspiration

Maybe it's the onset of shorter days and cooler temperatures, but I'm suddenly obsessed with sprucing up my nest.  I look around my home and I'm tired of the 10-year old color palette and bored with the matchy-matchy furnishings.  Don't even get me started on the state of most, alright all, of our closets, cabinets and drawers!  And, as usual, I'm big on enthusiasm but short on dollars.  So, I've been spending lots of time with my favorite inspiration muse -- Pinterest.  I'd like to share with you five of my favorite boards.

Board #1:  Home Paint Ideas by All Things Pinteresting!  A long time ago, a very good friend shared this wonderful truth with me, "Paint hides a multitude of sins".   This has become my home improvement mantra.  It's a quick and relatively inexpensive way to add an immediate punch to your decor. This board is loaded with great how-to tips such as how to get rid of ugly textured walls and using plastic wrap instead of taping during preparation.  There are tools to help you choose a color palette.  Be sure to check out the pin titled "How to paint wooden trim and transform your home".  Seriously, you'll fall in love with your home all over again.

Board #2:  Decorating on A Budget by Tracy Angerstein   Don't have the budget to transform your rooms into something you'd find in the pages of Better Homes and Gardens?  The pins you'll find here will show you how to get the look without the sticker shock.  There are more how-to's on faux paint finishes, stenciling, distressing and getting the now-hip chevron designs on to your walls, pillows and artwork.  You'll find tutorials on making your own beautiful pillows and how to choose the best drapery length for your windows.  Look for the "38 Anthropologie Hacks" pin.

Board #3:  Lawn & Garden by Barbara Marlow:  This is not your typical gardening site.  While there are some great pins on growing herbs, strawberries and some flowers, the emphasis is on creating beautiful outdoor projects that will bring color, wildlife and personality to your lawn and garden.  You'll find beautifully illustrated guides to creating bird feeders, wind chimes, light features and fountains.  If you're looking for a more substantial addition to your outdoor living space, you'll find directions to build your own planting shed, fire pit, arbors and more.  I especially love the pins of trash-to-treasure container planters.

Board #4:  Organized Home by Tay En:  Who knew organization could be so fun or interesting?  As you'd expect, you'll find lots of great tips to tame every closet, cupboard and drawer in your home.  But there is so much more on this board.  You'll discover solutions for those tough cleaning issues and home made stain removers and laundry detergent recipes.  Hate the way your linen closet looks because you don't know how to fold a fitted bed sheet?  There is a pin that shows an easy, step-by-step method that even a teenager or husband can follow.  There is a weekly cleaning checklist and a 40 Days of Organization pin that will help you get your house deep cleaned and organized without feeling overwhelmed.

Board #5:  Seasonal & Themed Decorating by Brenda Kula:  Wow!  This is a board you'll just have to visit to truly appreciate.  Brenda is an avid pinner and her boards are neatly organized by theme.  Need ideas for unique autumn or Christmas decorating?  It's there.  How about ideas for a bedroom or living room?  It's there.  Want to set a stunning table for a dinner party?  Yep, it's there, too. 

Obviously, this is just the very tippy-tip of the Pinterest iceberg.  Until a few months ago, I thought "This Pinterest-thing, too, shall pass".  Fortunately, I was wrong and I've never been so happy to admit it.