Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Business during the Covid-19 epidemic & 10 Tips to reducing Covid-19 anxiety


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Are you interested in selling or buying your home in the next few months? Work with award winning realtor, Carmen Leal and her team that specialize in Real Estate Vancouver and have qualified Buyers that are looking for a home in your area!   604.218.4846 & www.carmenleal.ca

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      This communication is not intended to induce breach of existing listing agreement.

Room Color and How it Affects Your Mood

The colors of the rooms in your home are a direct reflection of your personality. While most of us may not spend a lot of time thinking about room color, it affects us every day. Room color can influence our moods and our thoughts.
Color affects people in many ways, depending on age, gender, ethnic background and climate. Certain colors (or groups of colors) tend to get a similar reaction from most people; the variations come from the shades or tones used. This is why it’s so important to choose colors wisely when it comes to decorating.
You don’t have to worry about trends in order to have a beautiful home. Color trends will come and go. The people who live in a home make it beautiful by choosing colors that reflect their preferences and personalities. The trick is to blend the colors you like into a pleasing combination.
Choosing color combinations is one of the most intimidating steps for beginners. Color has the power to change the shape and size of furnishings, as well as the shape and size of the room itself. Selecting colors is not difficult if you equip yourself with some basic information about color and its effects.
Let’s find out more about room colors and how they influence your mood.

Choose Wisely


Keep in mind that each color has a psychological value. Think about how certain colors make you feel; they can influence any emotion, from tranquility to rage. To create peace and harmony in your home, choose your colors wisely; some colors in large amounts might have the opposite effect on you and your loved ones.

What mood do you want to create? Which colors will help you achieve that mood?
If you need help answering these questions, look at magazines, decorating books, blogs and websites for ideas. Also, let your textiles be your guide. Fabric, carpeting, furniture and tile are available in a more limited range of colors than paint, so choose them first and then decide on your paint color.
Once you find something you like, limit the number of colors in a room to no more than three or four. Too many colors can make a room look busy or cluttered. Paint is fairly inexpensive and transforms a room more quickly than anything else, so you can afford to experiment a little.

Room Colors and Their Effects

Colors act in three basic ways: active, passive and neutral. You can easily match every room’s colors to your personal desires, to your taste and to the room’s purpose. Light colors are expansive and airy, making rooms seem larger and brighter. Dark colors are sophisticated and warm; they give large rooms a more intimate appearance.
Let’s take a closer look at colors and learn what they can do to a room.
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Red raises a room’s energy level. The most intense color, it pumps the adrenaline like no other hue. It is a good choice when you want to stir up excitement, particularly at night. In the living room or dining room, red draws people together and stimulates conversation. In an entryway, it creates a strong first impression.
Red has been shown to raise blood pressure and speed respiration and heart rate. It is usually considered too stimulating for bedrooms, but if you’re typically in the room only after dark, you’ll be seeing it mostly by lamplight, when the color will appear muted, rich and elegant.
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Yellow captures the joy of sunshine and communicates happiness. It is an excellent choice for kitchens, dining rooms and bathrooms, where it is energizing and uplifting. In halls, entries and small spaces, yellow can feel expansive and welcoming.
Even though yellow although is a cheery color, it is not a good choice for main color schemes. Studies show that people are more likely to lose their temper in a yellow interior. Babies also seem to cry more in yellow rooms. In large amounts, this color tends to create feelings of frustration and anger. In chromotherapy, yellow is believed to stimulate the nerves and purify the body.
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Blue is said to bring down blood pressure and slow respiration and heart rate. That is why it is considered calming, relaxing and serene, and it is often recommended for bedrooms and bathrooms.
A pastel blue that looks pretty on the paint chip can come across as unpleasantly chilly on the walls and furnishings, however, especially in a room that receives little natural light. If you opt for a light blue as the primary color in a room, balance it with warm hues for the furnishings and fabrics.
To encourage relaxation in social areas such as family rooms, living rooms or large kitchens, consider warmer blues, such as periwinkle, or bright blues, such as cerulean or turquoise. Blue is known to have a calming effect when used as the main color of a room — but go for softer shades. Dark blue has the opposite effect, evoking feelings of sadness. Refrain from using darker blues in your main color scheme.
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Green is considered the most restful color for the eye. Combining the refreshing quality of blue and the cheerfulness of yellow, green is suited for almost any room on the house. In the kitchen, green cools things down; in a family room or living room, it encourages unwinding but has enough warmth to promote comfort and togetherness.
Green also has a calming effect when used as a main color for decorating. It is believed to relieve stress by helping people relax. It is also believed to help with fertility, making it a great choice for the bedroom.
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Purple, in its darkest values (eggplant, for example), is rich, dramatic and sophisticated. It is associated with luxury and creativity; as an accent or secondary color, it gives a scheme depth. Lighter versions of purple, such as lavender and lilac, bring the same restful quality to bedrooms as blue does, but without the risk of feeling chilly.
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Orange evokes excitement and enthusiasm, and is an energetic color. While not a good idea for a living room or for bedrooms, this color is great for an exercise room; it will bring out all the emotions that you need released during your fitness routine. In ancient cultures, orange was believed to heal the lungs and increase energy levels.
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Neutrals (black, gray, white and brown) are basic to the decorator’s tool kit. All-neutral schemes fall in and out of fashion, but their virtue lies in their flexibility: Add color to liven things up; subtract it to calm things down.
Black is best used in small doses as an accent. Indeed, some experts maintain that every room needs a touch of black to ground the color scheme and give it depth. To make the job easier, rely on the interior designer’s most important color tool: the color wheel.
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Crimson can make some people feel irritable. Invoking feelings of rage and hostility, this is a color that should be avoided as the main color of a room. Sitting for long periods of time in a room painted in this color will likely affect the peace and harmony you are striving to create in your home.

Color’s Effect on Ceilings

The ceiling represents one-sixth of the space in a room, but too often it gets nothing more than a coat of white paint. In fact, for decades, white was considered not only the safest but also the best choice for ceilings.
As a general rule, ceilings that are lighter than the walls feel higher, while those that are darker feel lower. Lower need not mean claustrophobic: visually lowered ceilings can evoke cozy intimacy. As a general rule, dark walls make a room seem smaller, and light walls make a room seem larger.
These guidelines are a good starting point in your search for a paint color. Keep in mind that color choice is a very personal matter; you are the one who has to live with your new paint color, so choose a hue that suits you, your family and your lifestyle. If you have any tips to share, please leave a comment below!
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Are you interested in selling or buying your home in the next few months? Work with award winning realtor, Carmen Leal and her team that specialize in Real Estate Vancouver and have qualified Buyers that are looking for a home in your area!   604.218.4846 & www.carmenleal.ca


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      This communication is not intended to induce breach of existing listing agreement.

Monday, 30 March 2020

6 tips for working from home during the Covid-19 outbreak

For some, working from home could be an anomaly, but for others working remotely is just a part of their daily routine.


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With the number of cases of the novel coronavirus increasing throughout the United States and Canada, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking people to practice social distancing, which includes working from home.


For some, working from home could be an anomaly, but for others working remotely is just a part of their daily routine.
If this is your first time working from home, here are six tips that will help you effectively get your work done.


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1. Prepare your workspace
Find a spot in your home where you’ll be able to have enough room for the equipment, including your laptop, cell phone, books, files and anything else required for your daily workflow.
You might want to also consider having more than one place to work. The employment and recruiting site, Glassdoor, suggests switching up your workspace and heading outside to your back or front yard.

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2. Get dressed, stick to your routine
One of the perks of working from home is that you can wear whatever you want. If you’re planning to stay in your pajamas for the workday, you might want to reconsider, especially if you have video conference calls scheduled.
Studies found that people are more productive when they dress to work from home. However, the choice to dress or not to dress is all up to you.


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3. Take a break, stay active
If your shift entitles you to a lunch break, make sure you take it. Before heading to the kitchen to whip up a light snack, check in with your team to let them know you’re offline.
Also, keep your body moving and try to avoid cabin fever by taking a walk, preferably outside. Remember to practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from others. Fresh air and a casual stretch of the limbs never hurt anyone.
When you’re all done, let your team know when you’re back.


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4. Virtual Private Network
If you’re working from home, it’s likely you’ll be using the internet to access your work e-mails, update your company’s website, or conduct work through the company’s servers. Before heading to your humble abode to work from home, be sure that you have access to your employer’s virtual private network, VPN.

Connecting to your company’s VPN will give you online privacy by creating a private network from a public internet connection, according to the security software company, Norton.

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5. Communicate, communicate, communicate
Working from home will require you to be in constant contact with your team. Career advice website, Ladders, lists several “core principles” to effectively communicating while working from home.
  • Be clear concise and direct
  • Ask questions sooner rather than later
  • Fully understand what your role is in each project
  • Be proactive in your assignments
6. Winding down your workday
Just as if you were physically working in the office, continue your natural habit of winding down your workday. It could be following up on e-mails or writing out your to-do list for the next day.
But before signing off, remember to check in with your team to let them know you’re signing off for the evening.


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Are you interested in selling or buying your home in the next few months? Work with award winning realtor, Carmen Leal and her team that specialize in Real Estate Vancouver and have qualified Buyers that are looking for a home in your area!   604.218.4846 & www.carmenleal.ca


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      This communication is not intended to induce breach of existing listing agreement.

Friday, 27 March 2020

Unpacking the Complex World of Attic Conversions

Many homeowners know the value of additional space in their homes, whether it's an extra bedroom for a teenager seeking solitude, or to bring in-laws under the same roof. It's a big undertaking requiring the support and understanding of your entire household. 
When it comes to adding more livable space, there are two typical options to consider: build an addition, or convert your attic space. While converting attic space may seem like the simplest—and lowest-cost—solution, it’s no simple task.

Is it feasible?

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Before anything can be done with an attic, you need to make sure the space is usable. First, assess if the attic meets minimum access standards including the Rule of Sevens.  
For an attic to meet minimum access standards, it needs to be comprised of a minimum of 70 ft2 of floor space, seven-feet wide and with minimum head spacing of seven-feet high to be acceptable. The roof must also be suitable for the addition of insulation and ventilation. Once these minimum standards are met, additional floorspace under sloping ceilings can then be added to the functional space. The best way to perform these assessments is to use a qualified contractor or structural engineer who can perform this task quickly—and often as part of a free consultation.

Can I do this without a building permit?

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In short, no. When it comes to use and occupancy of your home, any changes or additions will always require the approval of your municipality. While some contractors may suggest it's OK to proceed without a permit, because these types of projects can be carried out discreetly, it may come back to haunt you later on when you plan to sell, transfer ownership or even beyond.

Hire an engineer

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According to Doug, engineers are the most qualified people you can employ for this type of project. They are best equipped to problem-solve and certify standard and out-of-the-box solutions. There is also the added benefit of credibility when applying for building permits since an engineer's stamp can carry a lot of weight with city officials because they bear responsibility for the plan in question. A contractor, design-builder or REALTOR® can also have established relationships with notable engineers, which can help you work out the best solution.

Insulation and ventilation

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The attic can be both the hottest and coldest area of the home depending on the time of year, making temperature control a challenge. You'll need an intelligent insulation and ventilation solution to tackle this project.
Because modern standards for insulation constantly change, plan your solution early in the building process. Existing insulation must be removed from the floor, and a new system put in place using the roof's framing. For attic conversions, insulation with a rating of R-31 is typically used, but if there is enough space to allow for a new attic space, then an R-50 insulation is ideal.
Older homes are typically framed using 2×4 or 2×6 boards which won't provide enough physical space for minimum insulation standards. This may require applying additional structure which will reduce the available headspace, possibly hindering your ability to proceed, while adding substantial costs. 
Ventilation is the next challenge. A ridge vent (along the roof peak) system in conjunction with soffit venting (under the eaves) to ensure proper air exchange through the rafters.
The above solution can be cost prohibitive and in some cases require the complete removal of the existing roof structure. In this case, an alternative called a hot roof system may be deployed.
For a hot roof system, ventilation is foregone in favour of a closed cell spray foam insulation which is applied directly to the underside of the roof and between the rafters. This method is effective in preventing ice dams in the winter, but is less efficient for cooling the attic space during the summer. The main drawback is the effect the added heat has on your roof shingles. It may reduce their lifespan, this option is still more cost-effective than reworking the entire insulation and ventilation system or re-building the roof structure altogether. 

Heating and cooling

The main challenge you will have with your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system's ductwork is extending its reach to your attic space without cutting into or removing any part of your home's structure and framing. This may require you to run ducts under second floor ceilings and enclose them in bulkheads.  If you plan to install a ceiling fan, be sure the fan hangs no lower than seven feet to provide the minimum head clearance.

Windows and skylights

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This is one area where having a structural engineer in your corner is key.  When installing skylights or windows, it's important to plan structure and load changes precisely. It may not seem so, but creating large openings in your roof's trusses can greatly affect your home's structural stability—right down to the concrete foundation through the exterior walls in some cases. You also need to consider overlook, which is your ability to see into your neighbours' outdoor spaces, and can influence window placement. Minimum light considerations must also be considered and may differ depending on the space and provincial codes.

Beams

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In older homes, having exposed beams can add to the aesthetic of your space by giving it a rustic touch. It's best to decide early in your planning on whether to leave any beams exposed because it will affect electrical routing, and also have an impact on drywall application.

Bathrooms

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For a complete living space in your attic, a bathroom is a must. The end result when incorporating angled dormers into the design can be quite stunning. A common misconception is that placing your attic bathroom over a second floor counterpart will make for more efficient plumbing connections, and ultimately save money. While it's true regarding drain and plumbing efficiency, it won't provide any real cost savings, so don't be shy about putting the bathroom where you want.
As with your home's ducts, you'll need to run your water supply and drain pipes so they don't interfere with existing structure. Be prepared to plan for new bulkheads, which if done right can add to the aesthetic of your second floor rooms if their ceilings are high enough.

Stairs

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Stairs are tricky because you need to ensure minimum head clearance and also meet rise and run restrictions which dictate how steep and narrow stairs can be. There are some cases where existing stairways, though not current code, can be grandfathered in for older homes. The stairs must provide safe access to the attic in both normal and emergency situations, which is why regulations can be quite strict.

In case of emergency

If the attic space is above the second storey of your home, then it's imperative to provide a secondary exit in the event of fire. This means that at least one window must be designed to provide an escape, with ample space to stand outside. In some cases this may require balcony installation if the roof is too steep. In some situations you may also be required to install emergency ladder kits (rope ladders contained in an access hatch under the window).

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Converting attic space is a complex undertaking, but if you connect with the right professionals, the results can be breathtaking. Plus, the new living space may add to your home's resale value. If you decide to move forward, make sure you have trust in your selected team, and have checked and spoken to previous references. They should be open and honest about anything you wish to discuss, be attentive and patient in listening and responding to any questions and concerns you may have, and be very knowledgeable and professional.

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Are you interested in selling or buying your home in the next few months? Work with award winning realtor, Carmen Leal and her team that specialize in Real Estate Vancouver and have qualified Buyers that are looking for a home in your area!   604.218.4846 & www.carmenleal.ca


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      This communication is not intended to induce breach of existing listing agreement.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

8 Weekend DIY Projects To Make Your Bathroom Look Instantly More Expensive

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Let's be honest: Few things are quite as impressive as a gorgeously remodeled bathroom, which can make even the dingiest homes or tiniest of tiny apartments feel like penthouse suites.
But not all of us have the time or money for a remodel—and so we're stuck with our sad albeit functional loo. Guess what, though? You don't need the budget of a celebrity to have an A-list bathroom. In fact, you can make yours look more expensive in as little as two days' time—without emptying your wallet.
Check out these DIY projects you can tackle to increase the "wow" factor of your bathroom.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

7 Easy DIY Living Room Projects You Can Tackle While You're Social Distancing

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Cooped up inside because of the coronavirus? In this unsettling time, doing your part to maintain social distance means you've been spending a lot of time indoors. And while movie marathons and board games can occupy part of your day, they might start to get old after a while. One can enjoy only so many games of Scrabble, right?
If you're feeling a little stir-crazy (and other forms of entertainment just aren't cutting it), try taking on a home project that'll make you feel productive.
In general, now is a great time to spring-clean, declutter, and organize—so try something simple.
In between school lessons and work-from-home office duty, consider ticking off a few of these easy-to-handle living room chores from the list below. You'll gain a sense of accomplishment and emerge with a room that's clean and organized. After all, a tidy home equals a tidy mind.

1. Hang (or rehang) a gallery wall

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Redoing your wall design is a fast way to upgrade your living room's look—and it costs just about nothing except your time and a few picture hooks and nails.
If you've always wanted to try a gallery wall, go for it! If you already have one, it might be time to change it up. Either way, lay your frames on the floor to plan the arrangement. If you already have a gallery, play with the order of the grouping or add new pictures, then rehang.

2. Upgrade your lighting

You'll need good light since you'll be inside for a while, so consider replacing old bulbs in your living room lamps with energy-efficient LED bulbs.
LED bulbs have a longer life and don't heat up as much as incandescent or fluorescent bulbs, making them safer if accidentally touched.
And since you're in the lamp department, take a hard look at the shades on each of your lights. If you have a similar size lamp in another room, swap the shades to give your living room a new look.

3. Wash living room curtains

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Washing curtains is one of those household chores we're supposed to do every six to eight months, but it can easily fall to the wayside. It's kind of a hassle, right? But now that you have some extra time at home, take a couple of hours to clean any curtains that are washing machine-safe.
If your curtains aren't supposed to touch water, take them off the rod, go outside, and give them a good shake to get the dust off.

4. Wipe down baseboards

Your baseboards, crown molding, railings, and other wall details often get overlooked during regular weekly cleaning sessions. Remedy this situation by dipping a sponge in a mild wood surface cleaner diluted in warm water and gently swabbing these surfaces to get rid of grime and dust.

5. Restyle your book shelves

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Another quick and easy task? Sort through all your books, magazines, and CDs, and release what you no longer watch or want to read.
Take the time to organize your books in a way that makes sense to you, whether by genre or author, color, or another method.

6. Rearrange your furniture

You might be in need of a furniture refresh, but home quarantine—plus the fact that most home goods stores aren't open right now—can make that difficult. So to give your room a new perspective, and not spend a ton of money, try rearranging the furniture.
Now is a good time, after all, to evaluate what is and isn't working for you. You might consider removing a chair or two to open the room up, or moving the couch in front of the radiator—you won't be needing heat again until later this fall. Switch out the rug in your living room with a lighter one that has been sitting in another room.

7. Fix wall marks with paint

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It takes just a few minutes with a Magic Eraser to remove those unsightly black scuff marks from living room walls.
If you're handy, repaint a wall. You'll be looking at the same four walls for a long time, so make them as beautiful as possible :)

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Are you interested in selling or buying your home in the next few months? Work with award winning realtor, Carmen Leal and her team that specialize in Real Estate Vancouver and have qualified Buyers that are looking for a home in your area!   604.218.4846 & www.carmenleal.ca


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      This communication is not intended to induce breach of existing listing agreement.