Luxury Living in South Texas

Looking for a new homestead? 

Here's what you can buy  for  $800,000- $900,000 


How about a home where you could to see for miles 

and miles on a clear day with no other homes 

blocking your view? Just think of all the fireworks 

you could potentially see on the 4th of July!

With over 5000 sq.ft you'll also have spacious 

bedrooms, media room, a study/office,

gourmet chef's kitchen with multiple living and

dining areas all built in the last few years.



If this sounds like the home you've been dreaming about, or you'd like to know 

about others, contact me, by using the form on the right. 

Christine Henderson
Changing Real Estate Dreams Into Reality Since 1985 

4 Clever Problem-Solvers for Messy Pantries

Pantries seem like a good idea at first, but before long they can become the kitchen’s equivalent of a disorganized closet.

If your pantry is headed in that direction, these four projects from some of our favorite bloggers could help you remake your pantry into an organized haven.

A Lazy Susan Pantry
This is a very clever idea — using Lazy Susans to make items in hard-to-reach corners accessible.

Decorchick installed six carousels to display food that once hid in pantry corners. Although she and her dad made the carousels, you can buy versions at any home improvement store.

A Blackboard Pantry 
A thrifty military wife, 11 Magnolia Lane’s blogger, turned a cupboard into a practical and whimsical closet-style pantry, complete with polka dot trim and blackboard paint — all for only $50.

Most of that $50 was spent on glass containers, so you could probably do it for less.

An Adjustable Pantry
Another smart idea, this one from blogger Honey & Fitz: Remove the standard homebuilder’s plastic-coated wire shelves and replace them with easy-to-adjust sturdy wood-and-steel shelves.

By making the shelves adjustable, Honey & Fitz created room for a rolling baking station that stores a mixer and baking supplies.

No Pantry? No Problem.
The now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t pantry is a great solution for kitchens with no pantry or limited storage space. It’s an easy, low-cost DIY project from Classy Clutter.

Source: For more details and pictures: Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/blog/kitchens/pantry-organization-makeovers/#ixzz3x5FtmwcG

Luxury Living in South Texas

Looking for a new homestead? 

Here's what you can buy  for  $650,000- $700,000 


You could start with your own 2 acre ranch

with a security gate and wood fencing, plus 

beautiful stonework in and out of the home

with expansive views

With over 4300 sq.ft you'll also have spacious 

bedrooms, media room, a study/office,

gourmet chef's kitchen with multiple living and

dining areas.



If this sounds like the home you've been dreaming about, or you'd like to know 

about others, contact me, by using the form on the right. 

Christine Henderson
Changing Real Estate Dreams Into Reality Since 1985 

Your Kitchen Countertop Doesn’t Have to Look So Sad — Here Are 6 DIY Solutions

Can’t figure out why your kitchen appears outdated? Look down. It could be your counter top, the centerpiece of your kitchen and a key focal point of your entire home.

Ugly Countertop Syndrome may be common, but it’s far from incurable. You may be salivating over white granite while bemoaning your finances, but the solution doesn’t have to be that expensive — or that difficult to install.

From paint to wood, concrete paper to (gasp!) laminate, your kitchen countertop options are endless with a little DIY, even on a tiny budget. All you have to do is decide which solution is right for you. Here are six ideas to get you started.

1. Modern Laminate
Project time: 2 to 3 days                           Cost: From $30 per sheet
Durability: 10 to 20 years, with proper care

Forget what you think you know about laminate. Manufacturers have begun creating countertops that mimic high-end granite styles. “You can’t tell the difference until you touch it,” says Meredith Barclay, a countertops merchant for Home Depot.

Try Formica, which makes several elegant granite-esque patterns that cost around $90 for a 96-inch-long sheet, giving you the look of Calacatta marble for much, much less. Or try Wilsonart’s textured, glossy sheets — perfect for creating your dream all-white kitchen without breaking the bank.

If you’re going to install laminate yourself, don’t be afraid to consult with experts. Barclay bemoans customers who think their special-order laminate countertop was made incorrectly. “But the customer really didn’t know how to install the product that we delivered to them,” she says.

For the most part, Quinn found the process simple. “It was quite easy to work with,” she says. Ten years after installation, the only durability issue is that the countertops have risen slightly around the seams, a problem caused by moisture build-up.

Common installation pitfalls include making sure the laminate fits perfectly against uneven surfaces, such as textured, tiled, or brick walls. It’s not a difficult process (all you really need is a compass and a pencil), but done incorrectly, it can look unprofessional.

For Quinn, laminate countertops have another benefit: Instead of being committed to granite or quartz for decades, she can change up her kitchen on a whim.

“If we’d spent a ton of money on granite or anything else, we would feel like we probably shouldn’t change it,” Quinn says. “This way, we get to make changes when we’d like to.”

2. Concrete
Project time: About a week                               Cost: $300 to $500
Durability: Long-lasting, but stains easily

Concrete countertops are back in style — Pinterest is rife with tutorials for transforming your home into industrial chic. But owners are divided on the trend’s longevity, not to mention the upkeep. A survey on “The Kitchn” yielded responses ranging from “I do kind of hate them” to complaints about maintenance to “I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

So are they for you? Here’s what to expect with concrete: a dusty, messy process that takes about a week. Hiring a pro is recommended, but if you’re feeling handy, it’s a totally manageable DIY.

“Initially, it sounds a little overwhelming, but when you break it down to the original steps, there’s nothing there that’s hard to do,” says Jenise Frohlinger, the blogger behind “Do It Yourself Fun Ideas.”

Frohlinger opted for a marbleized concrete, traveling to Las Vegas to learn the Ashby technique. She attended a course through Countertop Solutions. Although she recommends the course for anyone who wants to learn the nitty-gritty of countertop creation, Frohlinger says anyone can do this project, even without a class. Here’s the counter she made in the course:

Frohlinger’s advice for first-timers: Make sure your measurements are accurate, especially when cutting your countertop template out of melamine or plywood. And when you pour the concrete, do it in one shot, she says. “You want to make sure you’re consistent in the color.”

3. Granite Tiles
Project time: A (long) weekend                               Cost: From $7 per square foot
Durability: The same as granite — indefinitely — but with the annoyance of dirty or cracking grout

Want the granite look for less? Swap out the enormous slab for smaller tiles — a project Barclay calls a viable DIY project for homeowners.

It’s much cheaper, too. Although tiles can be purchased for as little as $7 per square foot, a slab countertop costs upwards of $60 per square foot.

Granite also weighs nearly 13 pounds per square foot, meaning a five-foot-long slab countertop might weigh up to 130 pounds — or more, if you’re using thicker materials. Choose granite tiles instead, and you’re looking at only 13 pounds per 12-inch tile. That’s heavy, but not crazy heavy.

You’ll need a wet saw to cut the tiles to fit, but installation is the same as any other tiling project. Spread thin-set mortar on your surface, use spacers to separate the tiles, and grout in between.

But if you choose to go this route, Barclay has one warning: keeping the grout clean can be a pain “due to the variety of materials that come in contact with a countertop,” she says. Regular maintenance will be required, and you’ll want to clean spills and messes immediately.

4. Contact Paper
Project time: An afternoon                                   Cost: Less than $100
Durability: Definitely not a long-term solution.

Although Barclay doesn’t recommend this as a long-term solution, covering your countertops in contact paper can be a fantastic, low-cost alternative to a full remodel.

Depending on the size of your kitchen, contact paper can cost less than $100 and provide a dramatic transformation. We tried it ourselves and the upgrade looked “100% better,” according to HouseLogic writer Lisa Kaplan Gordon.

Installation requires a steady hand — you’ll need to be careful to avoid bubbles — but shouldn’t take more than a few hours to dramatically change your kitchen’s look.

Although some remodelers report it lasting for years, don’t forget the battle wounds your countertop might endure. Anything from hot pots to a dropped knife can wreck the paper.

But even if it doesn’t last long, it’s easy to redo when disaster strikes. As long as you consider it a temporary stand-in between remodels, your new countertops are unlikely to disappoint.

5. Paint
Project time: A little less than a week                            Cost: $100 to $200
Durability: Paint will hold up well, but won’t last forever.

Looking for another easy upgrade, but want a solution that’s a little more permanent? Try paint.
Because paint is permanent, take care during application. Sailors mixed in accent colors to give her countertops a subtle, marbleized effect and sealed the entire thing with EnviroTex Lite for a glossy finish and to ensure food safety.

6. Wood Overlay
Project time: About a week                                         Cost: $200
Durability: With maintenance, it should last years — as long as you’re OK with dings and scratches.

Butcher block countertops are nearly as popular as granite. And while professional installation costs far less, it’s still out of budget for many homeowners.

You can certainly pick up premade butcher block countertops from Ikea for $189 per 98-inch slab, but Erica Hebel from “On Bliss Street” decided to make her own using aspen boards from her local hardware store, which cost about $45 for a 72-inch panel. She paid less than $200 for the entire project.

The bulk of the construction is prepping, staining, and nailing the boards to your cabinetry — nothing too complicated. Cover it up with a sealant (Hebel used Minwax Wipe-On Poly in a clear finish) to protect your countertops from drips.

“It was one of my very first projects ever,” Hebel says. “The wood’s very forgiving. As long as you have a tape measure, you can figure it out.”

Although the countertops aren’t quite as low-maintenance as stone, Hebel says they’ve held up “amazingly well” in the year since installation — except for a few dents from dropped dishes, which “don’t affect the finish at all.” No, you shouldn’t cut directly on the surface or put hot pots on them, but under normal usage, they’ll last a long time.

Source:HouseLogic. For additional details and pictures go to:  http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/kitchens/kitchen-countertop-options/#ixzz3x4rsDyiM

Luxury Living in South Texas

Looking for a new homestead? 

Here's what you can buy  for  $600,000- $650,000 


 In the Texas Hill Country this could get you

6 acres that are cross fenced with an electric 

gate leading to a beautiful custom home featuring

gleaming wood floors & voluminous ceilings

A kitchen with lots of granite counter space,

spot lighting, stainless steel appliances and 

huge pantry space.

Exterior features of a pool and gazebo and a 

workshop for your favorite projects



If this sounds like the home you've been dreaming about, or you'd like to know 

about others, contact me, by using the form on the right. 

Christine Henderson
Changing Real Estate Dreams Into Reality Since 1985 

Steal These 6 Organization Strategies from Desperate New Yorkers

Sweaters in the oven. Shoes in the kitchen cabinets. Books in the freezer. New Yorkers pay a median $3,400 a month for their tiny apartments, so they’ve learned to get mighty creative when it comes to maxing out every square foot. Although your house may be much roomier than the typical NYC studio (thank God), you can banish clutter once and for all by pledging allegiance to these six savvy strategies.

1. Cut It Out - You don’t have to organize the things you don’t have.
“I’ve reached my saturation point with stuff, so I developed a new formula,” says Matt Austin, an artist and designer living in a 700-square-foot railroad flat in Bushwick, Brooklyn. First, if he hasn’t worn something in two years, it goes. Then, if anything new comes into his life, something else has to go out. “Ideally, two things,” he says.

In addition to ruthlessly pruning your belongings, keeping an eye on how much to buy in the first place makes an even bigger difference. Adopt a capsule wardrobe — a minimal collection of clothes that mix, match, and layer for multiple uses. It frees up closet space considerably. Ask yourself a few questions before hitting the “Add to Cart” button on Amazon. Does it really make sense to order that quesadilla maker when you can already make quesadillas in your microwave, on your stovetop, and in your oven?

2. Think Vertically - Walls can do a lot more than hold the ceiling up.
“People look at space in terms of square footage instead of cubic footage,” says Ann Sullivan, owner of New York City-based Organizing People for Life. “Lie on the floor and look up.” Sullivan suggests hanging bicycles from the ceiling and installing shelves high up along the perimeter of a room. In the kitchen, free up drawer and counter space by hanging pegboards for utensils and magnetic strips for knives.

3. Give Your Doors More Than One Job
Use the inside of every closet, cabinet, and interior door of your home. Sullivan mounts magazine file boxes to the inside of kitchen cupboards to store tinfoil and plastic wrap. In her Manhattan two-bedroom, Organize Me Inc. owner Janine Sarna-Jones uses a Container Store system that allows baskets of varying sizes to attach to the back of the closet door for vertical storage tucked neatly into existing closet space.

A few more space-saving door ideas: Mount your hairdryer to the inside of your sink cabinet,
Use shoe bags to store miscellaneous items like cleaning supplies, light bulbs, and batteries in your hallway closet. Mount a horizontal towel bar on a closet door and hang boots, sneakers, scarves, or ties from it. Store a whole drawer-worth of bras in one vertical cascade of connected hangers mounted behind your closet door.

4. Containerize
Ilana Eck, a New York lawyer by day and founder of the entertaining and lifestyle blog “Stylish Spoon,” admits to holding on to a lot of belongings. The only way it works is by containerizing her life. For her, organizing is all about storing her containers exactly where her family members will be when they’re in need of the contents. Toys are in inexpensive fabric storage boxes in her children’s closet. Toys are stored in fabric boxes in this children's closet. The front hall closet hosts containers for her husband’s cycling gear. Cycling gear is stored in the family's front hall closet

Don’t forget your furniture can double as containers, says Sullivan, like ottomans with interior storage, or a coffee table with drawers.

5. Blend Your Belongings into Your Design
You can double your storage space by unabashedly keeping certain items out in the open instead of squirreling them away. For example, Sullivan suggests hanging pots and pans above a kitchen door if possible. What could be more appropriate kitchen decor than cookware.

You can also consider which items you already own that can do double duty as fun design and storage. Clear out a spot on your bookshelf by using a stack of hardcover books as a quirky lamp stand. Or remove the pages from one of those books and wrap it around your wireless router or modem to eliminate the need to store these ugly necessities out of sight.

6. Pretend You’re Hiding Something — Where Would You Put It?
In spy movies, someone is always pulling valuables from secret hiding spots. You may not be a spy, but your home has lots of nooks and crannies that can become hidden storage, just like in the movies. Consider installing drawers behind stair risers or in the dead space under your cabinets. If there are a few inches between your refrigerator and the wall, build a roll-out pantry for storage.

Hide things in plain sight. Cut out the wallboard between the studs to create space to fit narrow shelves for small items. Then, cover the storage space with an easily removable painting or print. Or go the extra step and hinge the art to make a door. James Bond would be proud!
Source: HouseLogic . Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/home-improvement/storage-solutions-for-small-spaces-from-new-yorkers/#ixzz3wxvxUqre