jlunday's Profile

Display Name: jlunday
Member Since: 7/29/11

Latest Comments...

White furniture would cover up a lot of the wall space and keep things looking crisp (though I think dark wood would also look great with that comforter).

Frame photographs in white; use black and white images to make the frame stand out.

Add a white folding screen somewhere in the room.

White or navy curtains with white sheers would be lovely.

How To Use This Comforter in a Bedroom I Can't Paint?
Good Questions

10/27/11 01:58 AM

I did my small laundry room and a closet in a chocolate brown.

I think chocolate looks best in a satin finish. Anything with less of a sheen can come out looking dull, and I just don't think anything with more sheen looks good on walls (though it's perfect for trim).

In doing my research before choosing to go brown, I found that brown walls tend to work best when they're balanced with lots of white (flooring, trim, rugs, furnishings, accessories, etc.). The beiges and ivories in your bathroom should have a similar effect. I'd advise redoing/adding to the trim (maybe even adding some crown molding) to make sure the white is at its whitest. White beadboard in place of the tile would also help balance the brown. The accent colors you've chosen are perfect pairings for brown and will keep the color from coming across as drab or overly serious.

All in all, I say go for it!

Should I Paint a Tiny Bathroom Dark Brown?
Good Questions

10/21/11 02:11 PM

First, let me say that I feel your pain! My husband and I discovered that the previous owner of our home had done a very poor DIY job repairing a roof leak, which cost us of lots of trouble, time and money shortly after we purchased the home. This person did not disclose the fact that there had been a leak or the fact that it had caused mold, and our inspector didn't catch it either. A neighbor told us about the previous roof damage a couple of days after we moved in, but we didn't realize the roof leak was still an issue until a couple of months later.

If you have a way of getting to that area through the attic, then you'll be able to check out the damage without tearing a hole in the ceiling. Otherwise, you'll have to open up the ceiling to find out.

When searching for contractors to come take a look and provide an estimate, ask them what they charge for that first visit. Some may be free or reasonable, while others may be quite pricey. We found that contractors in our area charge a wide range of prices. The very best contractor we found was actually the least expensive, so don't assume that you'll get better service by paying more.

How Can I Check for Mold in Ceiling?
Good Questions

10/20/11 03:12 PM

I am surprised to see such passionate opinions about this topic!

As a guest, I always pay attention to what my host is doing and follow suit. As a hostess, I ask my guests to do whatever is comfortable for them. To me, shoelessness lends itself to a very casual atmosphere, so I find it to be most appropriate for small gatherings of people who know each other rather than large get-togethers with guests who are unfamiliar with one another. If you have a strict no-shoes policy, it may be thoughtful to inform guests ahead of time so that they can be sure that they won't be embarrassed by their bare feet or the condition of their socks.

In my home, we sometimes wear our shoes inside and sometimes do not. (That is probably why I am so casual about the shoes-or-no-shoes debate.) We always remove our shoes if it has been raining or our shoes are otherwise wet or visibly dirty, but other than that, we just do whatever feels most comfortable to us. I don't worry about the dirt and germs that might enter our home through our shoes, since I'm sure our home has dirt and germs from plenty of other sources. I'm not worried about our flooring getting damaged because of shoes since we haven't chosen fragile or costly materials and since there are plenty of other ways for that to happen (normal wear and tear, dropping food or drink, etc.).

If you are really concerned about what guests may do to your floors/home/belongings, etc., you might consider hosting your gathering elsewhere to avoid making guests uncomfortable, adding stress to your relationships, and having to deal with the cost and effort of cleaning or repairing your floors.

Etiquette at Home: Solutions to The Great Shoe Debate
10/20/11 02:53 PM

I'm with a lot of the other posters:

INSPECTION: Have a thorough inspection done by a trustworthy professional. Be there for the inspection and ask questions. If your gut tells you that something is wrong with the house, push the issue. I have purchased my first and second homes in the past two years, but I've had four home inspections done (two on houses that didn't work out due to problems with the house). Nearly every time, I caught something the inspectors did not--in our first house, a roof issue that turned out to be the bane of my existence. Many times, inspectors will make really big issues (including structural issues) sound really minor. While certain problems can technically be fixed, there may be hidden related problems that an inspector cannot see but which you will find out as soon as you start working to fix the problem. Also, while I do recommend having a home inspection, I realized that a lot of the paperwork has disclaimers: "I am not evaluating the plumbing, structure, appliances, carpentry, roof, basement, etc." so that they are not liable if they miss something. In the end, the agreement basically says they are not actually evaluating anything about the house, which makes you wonder, "Why am I paying this person?" You still need an inspection, just try to find someone known to be good, honest, and realistic.

FINANCING: Do not get a house at the upper end of what your lender says you can borrow. That kind of debt can take away your financial flexibility and feel like a huge weight. I recommend getting something you can afford with a 15-year loan. If you can get a better rate at 15 years, do that loan. If you can't, stick with a 30-year, but pay it off like it's a 15-year. DO get approval before looking at houses. If you find one you love and want to snatch up, not having pre-approval may prevent you from moving forward. DO compare loan rates and the overall expectations. We saw a great variety of rates and in what would be expected in terms of PMI if we did not put 20 percent down. So shop around, or you could be paying a lot more than you have to pay. Big lenders tend to offer the best rates, but smaller banks can be MUCH easier to work with. I've used both.

HOME SEARCH: Search online first to see what's out there and get an idea of pricing, location, etc. When you start seeing places in person, start out with the home you think is the best value (or least expensive, or most comfortable price) and work your way up. You'll have to weigh size, price, and condition.

I recommend avoiding fixer-uppers if your goal is to save money (but go for it if you've got plenty of cash and want to restore something that has good bones). If a home is in poor condition cosmetically, it likely experienced a lot of neglect in other areas. My husband and I got a fixer-upper for our first home to save money. We put a lot of money and effort into the home, but only got back our purchase price. We also spent A LOT of time dealing with failed systems and surprise issues, as well as a few longstanding problems. A smaller home in better condition would have been preferable.

Also, be aware of the kind of work the home and yard will require (and how much you really want to devote to upkeep). My husband thought he wanted a lot of land, but the two acres that came with our first house required a ton of mowing and upkeep, which either kept us really busy or didn't get done. The fruit trees were never trimmed in our one-year tenure, and most of the landscaping wasn't done until it was time to sell it.

Also, be realistic about how long you plan to stay in the house (and give yourself room to change your mind). If you won't be there long, look for something that will be easy to sell and won't require a ton of work. Make it yours, but don't be surprised if your investment isn't returned when you sell. And don't be afraid to go for something small--you can reduce energy and upkeep costs that way. If you don't know how long you'll be there, try to find something moderate--you want to be happy and have enough space if you stay long-term and your family grows, but you also want to be able to sell if you need to. If you're looking to stay in a house long-term, consider getting a home that can grow and change as your life does. You'll want a neighborhood that will be good for the long haul, a house that can grow and change as your family does, and a home that will be appropriate for your family as you progress in your career and life pursuits. You can allow yourself to splurge a bit if you know you'll be there long-term.

I hope some of this helps!

What Advice Would You Give to First-Time Homebuyers?
10/4/11 12:43 PM

I think that soft, classical music played at low volume can help set the right mood during a showing. My husband and I recently purchased our second home. We saw around 20 houses. Just one house had music playing (soft classical), and it did encourage us to linger throughout the house. The music (coupled with a few candles) helped create a nice atmosphere and made us feel at home. We knew that the house wouldn't work for us once we saw that half of the space was a windowless finished basement, but the music definitely set the right tone for our visit. katermoo's right about selecting the appropriate tempo...slow, gentle music makes us feel relaxed and encourages us to really consider the home...a faster tempo makes us want to hurry through. Also, anything other than widely-recognized classical tunes could detract from the house if a prospective buyer happens to dislike the style of music that is playing.

Music to Sell a House
8/25/11 10:38 AM

We ended up with cool gray walls and warm-toned flooring on accident but are now in love. My one caution is to pay attention to the color of the trim. After painting our master bedroom a very light gray, we discovered that our trim is not the ultra white we're used to having. In fact, it was almost ivory in some places, and we couldn't tell if it was on purpose or because a the paint had yellowed over time. The blue-based gray walls completely clashed with the yellow-based white trim. We ended up repainting the trim with a carefully selected white. My advice would be to hold an ultra-white paint chip up to the trim to figure out what tones are present in the white to make sure the gray will look good against it. The contrast with the wood flooring should be no problem. Once you have furniture in the room, the difference will not be stark or overpowering.

Warm Oak Floors with Cool Gray Walls?
Good Questions

8/24/11 10:06 AM

Sadly, I'm afraid that litigious parents, not cautious ones, are the impetus for super-safe (and less challenging) playground equipment. Many schools and communities opt for such designs, in part, to avoid potential lawsuits. Some communities avoid playground equipment altogether for the same reason.

While I think it's great for playgrounds to be designed with safety in mind, I don't want today's kids to miss out on the thrills of tall swing sets and seesaws. Many of the first big challenges I overcame were on my school playground's rusty, mile-high monkey bars and jungle gym. Kids need opportunities to challenge themselves, set goals, take risks, and overcome fears. Accomplishing these tasks on the playground can help kids build the confidence they need to face similar feats in other areas of life.

Are Today’s Playground Designs Dumbing Down Our Kids?
Design News 7.29.2011

7/29/11 02:43 PM