Monthly Archives: April 2012

It’s A Buyer’s Market, After All

A year ago, I started filming what was to be my last episode of Property Sluts while I was at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. You see, shortly before heading to Orlando we placed a bid on a small ranch house that we thought we’d top off with a second story. A chain-smoking window had lived in what we termed The Smokin’ House for decades, so it smelled like an ashtray, and her brother-in-law had started building a “master bath” in the middle of the family room (without a permit) in the hopes of passing off that space as a master bedroom. It was a wreck.

Needless to say our bid was low. The night before we left town our agent called with a counter offer. As I remember it, we tried to put him off until we got back because nerves are running high before a family trip even without the pressure over whether to pay more than we intended for a house.

But we caved and countered. They accepted.

Shortly after our return and another tour of the house with a professional in tow, we cancelled our contract.

Thank goodness.

The house sold 2-3 months later for less than what we would have paid.

I was giving up hope for finding a house. We talked about renting. And then we saw and bought Casa de Renovation and I finally got to finish my video, the all-singing Property Sluts finale featuring an all-star cast on mombloggers, It’s a Buyer’s Market, After All.

I heard a real estate report that said prices are down the levels last seen in 2000, so the buyer’s market continues. This stinks if you want to sell, but if you’re ready to buy, you’re in luck.

Selfish Mom:
We’ve seen houses big and some houses small,
We’ve seen moldy basements and shower stalls.
Though the market is weak, sellers price like it’s the peak, but it’s a buyer’s market after all.

MacaroniKidNYC, Honest and Truly, Jen Rab, SAHM Reviews, and Dancing Hot Dogs:
Chorus:
It’s a buyer’s market after all,
It’s a buyer’s market after all,
It’s a buyer’s market after all,
It’s a buyer’s market after all.

Sweet Life, Rock and Roll Mama:
Interest rates are low, but the prices are high,
Even for estate sales where the owners have died.
The recession isn’t nice, you may need to cut your price
Cuz it’s buyer’s market after all.

Classy Mommy, Me:
Chorus

Same Old Shannon, French Foodie Mom, A Savings Wow:
The housing supply now exceeds demand,
So if you want to sell give your buyer a hand.
Though it’s hard to admit, makes you feel like sh*t, it’s a buyer’s market after all.

Moen MotionSense Touchless Faucet Earns a Golden Hammer Award

Golden Hammer from Reluctant RenovatorWe’re awarding our first Golden Hammer! It’s an honor we give to recognize excellence in product design, innovation or customer service. The new Moen MotionSense Faucet earned this award due its innovative functionality–it’s touchless! (And pretty.)

MotionSense is great for families and foodies.

It’s perfect for the home cook who finds herself elbow deep in ground turkey as she’s mixing up meatballs or burgers and doesn’t want to touch the faucet with her germy hands.

It’s also great for young children who can’t reach the faucet handle and want to wash hands or get a drink of water.

And it’s pretty useful when washing dishes by hand. Water on. Water off.

Watch the video to learn more about the MotionSense and see it in action. (Seriously, peeps. It’s less than 2 minutes long. If you can’t find the time, you need to read this.)

The MotionSense is EPA WaterSense certified.  It will be available in the fall of 2012 at finer kitchen design outlets later this year. Look for a less expensive version with the same technology at your favorite Big Box in 2013. Chrome, oil rubbed bronze, and “spot resist” stainless finishes will be available with a price of around $650 depending on the finish.

moen motionsense faucet

Stayed tuned for more eye-catching favorites from my time at KBIS, the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show. MotionSense is the only Golden Hammer recipient from the show, but there will be more Golden Hammers awarded in the coming months, as well as a few Rusty Nail awards, the GH’s evil twin.

No compensation was received for this post. The MotionSense was my top family-friendly pick from the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show.

April Showers…

If Mother Nature cooperates, it will be raining when you read this. Check out my April post over at Angie’s List to learn how Chicago-area homeowners can combat the basement flooding that often come along with April rains.

Bathroom Demo and 2012 Bath Trends at KBIS, the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show

I’m excited to be heading to the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, #KBIS, this week. With two bathrooms in demo mode, I’m going to be like a kid in a candy store. A very fancy candy store. I like to spot trends and I’m always on the lookout for new and different products to share with you. For my own needs, I’m looking for practical, family-, eco- and budget-friendly items.

 

 

I’ll spend one full day at KBIS and maybe head back for a second day if I want to see more.

Among the items I’m excited to see:

The Kohler Stereostik sounds cool (as with many items on this list, detailed information may not appear on the website until after KBIS).

Hello kid friendly! I’m eager to check out Moen’s Spot Resist fingerprint resistant materials.

I’m totally geeked out over this Light Integrated Trim (LIT) from Belwith-Keeler.

You need a big kitchen to accommodate this, but how handy would this Galley Sink be?

I can’t figure out why we didn’t get these U-sockets installed all over the house. Except for the expense. Still, why didn’t we put them in a few keys spots?

They’ll be lots of eye candy at KBIS, like these beautiful artisan sinks.

I’ll be back with pics, video and/or links soon!

Oh, The Huge Vanity!

kohler loure faucetI know, I know. I haven’t even finished showing you our luxurious master bathroom before I started talking about demolishing another one. I don’t yet have a vision for the new bathrooms, but I’ll find plenty of inspiration at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show next week. Our master bath is pretty inspiring, too, but I suspect we’ll go a bit lower key with the two other bathrooms.

Our master is very cool and modern without being over the top. The room incorporates many of 2012’s top bathroom trends- heated floor, deluxe shower experience, bench in the shower, layered lighting, a bathroom fan with a timer, and sleek fixtures.

Our modern faucet is part of Kohler’s Loure line, which you also saw in our shower.

It’s paired with a custom vanity top from (wait for it) Crafty Beaver. We got a great price and thoughtful service and I wish we’d thought to get a quote from them on our kitchen cabinets. The top features a wave bowl from Bertch and the cabinet itself is an off-the-shelf piece from the Big Box. It looks nice, but it’s a poor quality piece, something we didn’t realize until it was too late to return.

As you can (kinda) see in the photo below, rather than a typical round spray of water from the tap, the Loure faucet releases a unique flow in which you can see two streams cross in V-shape at the top and then twist and turn as they hit the sink. The fact that the Teen and I are fascinated by this might indicate undiagnosed Asperger’s or something, but it really is interesting and calming to watch.

kohler loure faucet in action

That said, I do try to save water by not running the faucet while I brush my teeth. Gotta focus on those pearly whites! And the Teen is stuck brushing his teeth in here, anyway.

 

kohler Loure faucet handle

Perhaps because DH and I don’t share a morning rush, we didn’t see the need for two sinks. Instead, we opted for one and a make-up area for the lady of the house.

 

master bath vanity makeup desk

Our bathroom paint provided by Benjamin Moore. The color, Smoked Oyster (2109-40), alternates between beige, mauve and purple, depending upon the light.

Speaking of tricks of light, I mentioned that I couldn’t get a good shot of the entire vanity given the natural light, the light fixtures and copious amounts of mirror and glass in the room. Here’s my proof. (Also, I apparently didn’t straighten up the vanity before I shot. I swear it looks nicer in person. BTW, the toilet is behind me.)

master bath vanity

 

We received a discount from Kohler on our fixtures. All opinions, blog posts, videos and cleaning services are my own.

All Washed Up in the Laundry Room

We split a useless old mother-in law kitchen on the second floor of our house and into our master bathroom and an upstairs laundry room. It’s great not having to lug basket after basket of laundry down two long flights of stairs to the basement and then back up.

I show off the highlights of the new space in the video.

 

I’m glad we were able to re-use the old kitchen cabinets. DH brought them upstairs and I had kinda shoved them into the space with the original white laminated top, which fit the cabinets, but was too small for the nook in the laundry room. This was too sloppy looking for my GC, so at his urging, I bought a new budget friendly top and he framed it all out, calling it his Chanukah gift to me. I still need to paint or stain the cabinets, to complete the look, but believe me, it’s so much nicer than my makeshift attempt to fill the space.

As noted in the video, I think our Whirlpool Cabrio is too large. It does a fine job of cleaning the clothes, I just wish wish we’d one with a slightly smaller model. If there’s interest, I’ll provide a more in depth review of the machine.

Speaking of laundry, I heard the siren song of beeps (rather annoying tones, actually) calling me upstairs to finish off a load. Until there’s a machine that sorts, folds and puts away the clothes, I think laundry will always be a drag. DO you have any tips to make it fun?