Friday, 22 January 2021

8 DIY Home Improvements Anyone Can Do

 These low-impact upgrades are perfect for any renter or homeowner.

The key to falling in love with a home, whether it's a rental or purchase, is to bring your own personal style and flair to the space. There are plenty of ways for renters to remodel without losing their security deposit, and these do it yourself projects make for great, quick upgrades to any home. Really, easy decorating options for rentals are endless once you start looking for inspiration. We’ve rounded up eight home improvement ideas, all DIY, that anybody can choose to tackle. Here’s where to get started. 


1. Get crafty with cup hooks

If you can’t put holes in your walls or cabinets, command hooks are a fantastic, removable alternative. However, if your landlord does permit nails in the walls, then you can use cup hooks for a ton of great design updates. 

These small and inexpensive pieces of hardware are incredibly versatile. Use them around your home to put up string lights. Screw them into the bottom of a kitchen cabinet and hang your favourite mugs. Or use them on a kitchen wall to hang utensils, colanders, pots and pans. They’re a great (and affordable) way to put your favourite items on display. 


2. Upgrade your outlet and light switch covers

This home improvement project is often overlooked, but it’s one of our favourite DIY projects for several reasons. Most notably, the amount of effort it takes is next to nothing, and it can have a huge impact. Change all of the covers to a black or bronze to add a stark contrast to your white walls. Or, for even more character, go for a bright and bold pattern. 

If you don’t want to buy new covers (as you’ll need to store the originals somewhere), then go for contact paper. It will be more time consuming since you’ll have to wrap each one individually, but start with one room, see what you like, and go from there. Just don’t forget to remove the contact paper or swap back to the original covers before you move out. 


3. Change your light bulbs

This is another simple project that anyone can - and should - do. We recommend swapping out the lightbulbs in all of the rooms with energy-efficient LEDs, then customize the feel of your room for brightness and temperature. You may want a warm light in the bedroom and living room, but cool lighting in the bathroom and kitchen. This quick swap can really enhance the ambiance of your home, as well as decrease your electrical bill.


4. Use the space above the cabinets

Some homes don’t have bulkheads, leaving an awkward space above the kitchen cabinets. Instead of using it as a vase graveyard, you can make this a sleek extension of your cabinets. Decorate it with carefully curated décor, or add storage boxes, such as wooden milk crates for easy storage. If the space above your cabinets is quite large, add floating shelves or shelf risers to make it even more functional. This would also be a fun place to play with removable wallpaper.


5. Customize drawers and shelves for optimal storage

Customizing the inside of your drawers is a great way to stay organized. While you could buy some cheap, plastic containers from the dollar store, why not DIY-it? Check out these instructions for an inexpensive, home-made kitchen drawer organizer. 

Also, take a look inside your cabinets. Are your shelves far apart, to the point where there’s wasted vertical space? Shelf risers are a great solution to make the cabinets in your rental unit work for you. You can purchase inexpensive risers from stores like Ikea, or make your own. Shelf risers also work great in fridges and freezers!


6. Disguise or transform your radiator 

If you’re renting in an older building or house, you’re likely familiar with the hot, clunky, metal radiators that we’re talking about. The good news is you don’t need to just ignore this equipment. Instead, disguise it and make it functional. For a quick fix, put a floating shelf an inch or two above the radiator, and line up some books or other trinkets. If you’re handy and have the time, build a complete radiator cover. 


7. Make a portable garden

Many renters are lucky enough to have gardens at their homes. Some apartment buildings are even offering community garden spaces these days. But, if that isn’t the case at your rental, raised planter boxes are a great temporary garden solution – and they can even be packed up and moved when it’s time to go. If you have power tools and a workshop, YouTube has plenty of detailed tutorials for DIY raised planter boxes. If you don’t have the time, skill, or patience, most big-box hardware stores have pre-fab versions in a variety of sizes that you can paint and decorate to fit your style. 


8. Turn your balcony into an oasis

This is a fun project that will turn any balcony or patio into an Instagram-worthy space you’ll never want to leave. First, lay down some green artificial turf to get a grassy feel. Then, string up some outdoor twinkle or cantina lights, or paper lanterns (if it’s sheltered enough from the wetter elements). Then, start decorating! If you’re in an adults-only home, set up some lounge or Muskoka chairs and a cute metal table. If you’re able to screw into the ceiling, hammocks add even more comfort. Surround your sitting space with patio-friendly plants: for a woodsy vibe, choose potted cedars, or to bring the tropics up north, go for potted banana trees. Your local garden centre will be able to set you up with the best plants for your climate, sun exposure, etc.

If you have kids, turn the balcony into a play area just for them. Add a playhouse, a slide, or a little table for tea parties. You could even add a small, raised sandbox for some extra tactile play. If you have a full yard for your kiddos, check out these DIY outdoor play areas.

Don’t shy away from creating a personalized, cozy home that you love spending time in just because you might be in the space temporarily. You can find so many DIY projects that will bring life and character to your home, no matter your budget, skill level, or space size. Just remember to revert back to the originals before move out day!


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 &

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

Friday, 8 January 2021

Vancouver Market Update by Carmen Leal Personal Real Estate Corporation

Happy New Years Everyone!

Please message me at if you would like a complimentary magnet calendar. 

For your neighbourhood stats - email me at and specify which area stats you would like.

Are you interested in selling or buying your home in the next few months?  Contact Carmen to arrange an appointment. 604.218.4846 

10 Things Homeowners Should Do Every Year

 Click HERE for full article


Update: See What COVID-19 Has Done to 2021's Colors of the Year

Click HERE for full ar


7 Things You Should Know About Replacing Kitchen Cabinets.

Click HERE for full article
Recipe: From Spain with Love: 

Magdalenas: Spanish Lemon Cupcakes           


This recipe makes a sweet, lemony, and rich-tasting cake with a light and fluffy texture. It is common to enjoy them at breakfast with café con leche and they would make a great addition to a Sunday champagne brunch or tea time.


  • 1 cup granulated sugar (divided)
  • 4 large eggs (room-temperature)
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter (room-temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder


  • Gather the ingredients.
  • Position oven rack on the middle shelf and heat to 375 F. Place 18 liners into the wells of cupcake pans and set aside.
  • Measure 1/4 cup sugar, place it in a small bowl, and set aside.
  • In a medium-size mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the remaining 3/4 cup sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  • In a small saucepan on the stovetop, melt the butter over medium heat. Alternatively, you can melt it in the microwave. Before adding it to the egg mixture, make sure the butter cools slightly and is not bubbling.
  • While you continue to beat the egg mixture, slowly add the melted butter, making sure to mix thoroughly.
  • Stir in the lemon zest and milk.
  • In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder until thoroughly combined.
  • While stirring the egg mixture, add the flour mixture with your other hand. Continue to stir until all ingredients are mixed well. The batter will be very thick.
  • Using a large serving spoon or cookie scoop, place batter into the pan, filling each cupcake liner halfway. The batter will more than double in size when baked.
  • Use a teaspoon to sprinkle each cupcake with a bit of the reserved sugar.
  • Place pans in the oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the cupcakes have turned a golden color and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack before removing cupcakes from the pan to cool completely.


Make sure that your eggs, butter, milk, and any other dairy ingredients are at room temperature before beginning. When mixed together, these ingredients create an emulsion that traps air. During baking, this air expands and results in a fluffy baked good.

Have you ever thought of LIVING IN VANCOUVER?
CLICK on video for a sneak peak preview!!!



For a Free Home Evaluation click on this Link

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences

Copyright © 2018 CARMEN LEAL REAL ESTATE, All rights reserved.

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

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

How to Remove Dog Smells From Your Home

Removing dog smells from a home is a challenge all dog owners have to face at some point. Because dogs smell like, um, dog. But rather than relegate your beloved four-legged family member to an outdoor canine cabana 24/7, there are other things you can do to rid your home of that doggy funk.

Why dogs smell the way they do

First, you need to get to the bottom of what's causing that malodor. A dog's skin produces an oil that's an important part of a healthy animal—but alas, it has a distinct (and not always pleasant) scent.

Regular bathing and grooming should keep this odor to a minimum. But if that doesn't seem to do the trick, your pup might have a skin or dental infection, which is causing him to smell less than fresh.

So if you suspect that the odor has gone beyond regular dog musk, it might be time to see the vet to rule out bigger issues.

How to remove dog smells from your home

Once you've eliminated the possibility of a medical condition causing your eau de dog aroma, it's time to look at solutions that will have your home smelling great (or at least not like a kennel) again. The cost of these remedies ranges from peanuts to pricey, so depending on your budget and your desire to banish that scent with minimal effort, there's a product out there that will meet your needs.

Here is a routine on how to get rid of dog smells in the home:

  • Vacuum dog beds once a week.
  • Wash dog beds every other week.
  • Vacuum floors twice a week depending on the type of dog and its shedding pattern.
  • Wash hard floors like tile and vinyl with a strong cleaning solution and very hot water.
  • Use a cover on any furniture that dogs are allowed on and wash the cover weekly.

Natural dog odor eliminators

Liberally sprinkling baking soda, a natural odor eliminator, on your furniture or carpet and allowing it to sit overnight is a great first step to neutralize dog smells. Plus, it's completely safe for your fur baby.

Another option is to look to your bar cart. Spray areas where dogs lie with vodka. Really?

Yes, vodka will remove the dog smells when it evaporates. You only need just a spritz and try it Two to Three times a week.

Purify the air

While air purifiers definitely make a positive difference, they need to be high in quality. 

Austin products such as the Air Pet Machine Air Purifier (Amazon, $594.99).

This model's multistage filtration includes a true HEPA filter, which traps 99.97% of allergen particles. With three speeds, it purifies up to a 1,500 square foot space.

Soak it in

When you're dealing with stubborn dog odor, you want something that will absorb the smell, not mask it. Recommended Fresh Wave Continuous Release Odor Eliminator (Amazon, $39.03).

Made from extracts of soy, lime, pine needle, aniseed, clove, and cedar wood, Fresh Wave odor-removing gel is both biodegradable and nontoxic. Best of all, it's an odor neutralizer, not a cover-up.

Spray and neutralize

More of a spot-cleaning spray, the Citrus Magic Pet Odor Eliminator (Amazon, $9.40), which neutralizes the strongest pet odors on contact. Thanks to a blend of vegetable enzymes, its nonstaining, noncorrosive formula can be used on any surface, including ... wait for it ... your dog's coat.



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 &

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

Monday, 4 January 2021

How to Calculate Square Feet, Even If Your Home Is a Hexagon


If you're selling your home or looking to buy, one concept that's crucial to understand is how to calculate square feet. Having to do a square footage calculation may be giving you panicked thoughts about being late to homeroom, but  there's a huge difference between a home that's 400 square feet (tiny) and one that's 4,000 (McMansion), and not just in terms of how much space you've got to stretch your legs.

A home's square footage is a crucial element in determining the price of a home you're trying to buy or sell, how much you'll pay in taxes if you live there, and what kinds of renovations are possible in your future. Plus, a home's square footage can be surprisingly subjective.

Since most people don't have a square foot calculator in their back pocket, here's what you need to know to ace any square footage calculations that crop up in your future.

How to calculate square feet

You probably know how to calculate the square footage of a simple room without any funny shapes. Just break out your measuring tape—or a laser measure—to get its length and width. Multiply the width by the length and voila! You have the square footage. Say a room is 20 feet wide by 13 feet long, then 20 x 13 = 260 square feet.

How to calculate the square footage of an entire home

While measuring a single room is no big deal, people get kind of intimidated when it comes to calculating the square footage of an entire home. While homes can initially seem daunting to measure, they're just a collection of small boxes. Don't sweat it if a room has an outcropping. Simply break that area down into a smaller box, and measure each box individually. Add up each box's square footage to get the room's total area. So if your living room, bedroom, bathroom, and hallway are  500, 400, 200, and 100 square feet respectively, that means the total is 500 + 400 + 200 + 100 = 1,200 square feet total.

If you have a round kitchen and a triangular rumpus room, fear not. Just check out vCalc's handy calculator that will tell you how to calculate square feet no matter what polygon's thrown your way. Once you choose a shape, the calculator will prompt you for the measurements needed to compute square footage.


Take the square foot calculation with a grain of salt

Now that you know how to calculate the square footage of a home, it's time to bust your bubble with a big caveat: A square footage calculation is surprisingly subjective based on who's doing the measuring. For instance, you measured the actual, livable square footage between the interior walls. But many architects use their own square foot calculation method, measuring the square footage from the exterior walls.

This explains why there are often discrepancies between your square foot calculations and those of a real estate agent, builder, or other sources. (looking for an agent? Here's how to find a real estate agent in your area.)

Many MLS services require a listing's square footage to come from a specific source. So while you can make your own estimate, you may need to hire a certain professional to come up with a number that can be used on your listing; check with your Realtor to determine who that is.

As a general rule, the square footage extends through the Sheetrock and framing to the exterior of the wall. Generally, to do the same for your measurements, add 6 inches per measurement.


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 &

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