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Stephanie Villani
REALTOR®, GRI, ABR, SRS
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Community Guides | 50 Posts
Home Tips | 6 Posts
September
16

Budget-Friendly Ways to Update Your Kitchen

Kitchen

If you're looking to update your kitchen but think it would be costly and time-consuming, it may be easier than you think. There are several budget-friendly ways to update your kitchen that will not take long to achieve. They'll help quickly transform the room, so it's more attractive and pleasant to work in.

Our Realtors® suggest the following kitchen updates that won't break the bank:

  • Add a Rug 
    Bring in a rug from another room to give your kitchen a nice dose of color, pattern, and texture. Neutral colors in just one or two variations create a subtle look, while using more colors in more vibrant hues creates a bolder look. This update couldn't be easier, and if you'd like a change, you can always choose another rug from your home or buy one.

  • Paint Your Cabinets
    Giving your kitchen cabinets a new coat of paint gives them a fresh, clean look. Remove the hardware (making sure to number them, so you'll know where everything goes) and clean and sand the cabinets' surfaces. Use two or three coats of self-priming paint, and if you'd like some variation, paint your upper and lower cabinets in contrasting colors.

  • Add Character With Artwork
    Use a poster, painting, or photo to add some color and character to your kitchen. This can be achieved with a large single piece, or you can add some smaller pieces on open shelves or above the kitchen cabinets.

  • Update Your Backsplash
    A dated, dingy tile backsplash can be easily addressed to help modernize and brighten your kitchen. Tile can be painted a bright color and then sealed. Or you can also use peel-and-stick tiles, which can be applied over your existing tile. It's simple to install and can help give your kitchen a more expensive appearance.

  • Swap Out Your Hardware
    Your kitchen hardware may be showing its age, so why not replace it for an easy update? Metal and glass are two popular options, but if you choose metal, use just one finish for everything. You can find a wide variety at a home improvement store, but if you want something more unique, try looking for handles, knobs, and pulls at a flea market.

  • Install New Lighting Fixtures
    New lighting fixtures can make your kitchen more attractive as well as more functional. Swap out your older lighting for brighter hanging lights in an interesting shape, size, and/or style to add more personality to your kitchen. You can also add lower hanging lights, sconces, and other types of lighting to brighten up dark areas of your kitchen, making meal prep easier.

  • Hang New Window Treatments
    A fresh window treatment can add style to your kitchen for under $100. Consider woven shades that can, if you'd like, be layered with drapery panels. Don't cover too much of the window, however, since you'll still want to let natural light shine in.

  • Add Molding
    If your kitchen lacks molding, adding it can add architectural interest to the room. It doesn't have to be complicated or fussy-looking since a simple piece of molding with a single shape, and single depth will achieve what you're looking for.

Contact us if you're ready to find a new home and would like to see Lafayette homes for sale and visit Lafayette open houses. Our firm is the top real estate company in the Gulf South, and we have over a century of proven results. We'd be happy to help you find your new home in the area! 

June
29

8 Tips for a More Organized Kitchen

kitchen tips

The key to a functional, inviting kitchen is organizing it well. A well-organized kitchen will be an enjoyable space, whether you're cooking, snacking, entertaining, or just hosting a no-frills evening at home with your family. Do you feel like your kitchen is a cluttered and intimidating place to cook or relax in? Here are a few tips from our real estate agents for making this space more organized.

  1. Tackle Problem Areas
    What areas of your kitchen seem like they lack organization the most? For many people, frequently used areas like junk drawers, countertop clutter, and the pantry pose the biggest problems. You may also find while you're cooking that it's hard to locate and access the pots, utensils, or small appliances you need. Once you determine what needs your attention the most, you can start there.

  2. Purge What You Don't Need
    Before you get started, go through your cupboards and ruthlessly get rid of any food that's expired, small appliances you rarely use, and dishes or equipment you don't need. It's easy to forget what's in the dark recesses of your cabinets. But if you don't even remember what's in there, chances are you don't need it.

  3. Make a Plan for Traffic Flow
    For your kitchen's organization to make sense, it should prioritize anything that you access more frequently. For instance, many people choose to keep glasses near the sink, spices and cooking oil near the stove, and pots and pans under or above counter spaces that are frequently used for food prep.

  4. Prioritize Frequently Used Items
    Similar to thinking of the traffic flow in your kitchen, make sure that your most often used items are easy to access. For instance, even if you don't keep your coffee machine on the counter, if you use it daily, it should be kept someplace easy to access, such as in an appliance garage or a cabinet near where you plug it in.

  5. Utilize Storage Bins
    Don't forget the power of corralling smaller items in a bin. For instance, clear, stackable storage bins for the fridge and pantry make it easier to organize and find small items like spices and kids' snacks. Fabric or plastic bins or woven baskets enable you to organize in style in readily visible places like open shelves or on top of the fridge.

  6. Make Items Accessible
    If your cupboards are full of deep, dark recesses that are difficult to access, or if you forget what you have hidden back there, consider upgrading your cupboards. Modern pull-out cabinet drawers enable you to utilize all of the cupboard space available to you while making the "back of the cupboard" items easy to access.

  7. Invest in Custom Storage
    Things like coffee makers, crockpots, and stand mixers make our lives easier, but they also cause a lot of countertop clutter. Consider investing in custom cabinetry such as appliance garages and pop-up appliance shelves to keep them out of sight when you don't need them but still readily accessible when you do.

  8. Add More Storage
    Walking through Alexandria homes for sale, you'll notice some creative solutions for kitchen storage. Pot racks, magnetic knife strips, and open shelving on available walls all provide ways to add additional storage.

Have you outgrown your current home and its kitchen? The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your house because of how much waking time you spend there. If you're ready to upgrade your home, contact us today, and we'll help you get your search started.

May
25

5 Outdoor Kitchen Trends for This Summer

Outdoor Kitchen

An outdoor kitchen is an excellent addition for maximizing your home's exterior spaces. Our real estate agents know that an outdoor kitchen is also an attractive feature to potential homebuyers. Here are a few outdoor kitchen trends that we expect to see take center stage this summer. 

  1. Larger Outdoor Kitchens
    Outdoor kitchens will continue to increase in size and incorporate more appliances and cooking equipment. For example, a few years ago, an outdoor kitchen might have a basic grill, a small prep area, and a sink. Now, an outdoor kitchen will have a grill with multiple cooking options, outside cabinets, an area for beverages (like a wine cooler or outside fridge), and more specialized cooking equipment (such as a pizza oven or smoker). 
  1. Multifunctional Pieces
    Pieces that can serve multiple purposes are a popular trend in outdoor kitchens. Not only does this allow you to maximize the amount of space that you have for your kitchen, but it reduces the number of pieces that you need to purchase. A firepit can be used for roasting s'mores or adding ambiance, but with a tabletop cover, it can also function as a table for eating. Your grill isn't just for grilling; it also has burners for warming sides and sauces and cabinets and shelves for storing grilling accessories. A combo grill allows you to cook with different fuel sources, eliminating the need for multiple kinds of grills.
  1. Pieces with Counterbalance Hinges
    More furniture and cooking equipment are using counterbalance hinges to optimize their functionality. Counterbalance hinges offer better support for the heavy lids and doors often associated with outdoor equipment. These hinges also make it easier to maneuver lids, counters, and doors. For example, when you open a grill with counterbalanced hinges, the lid will remain in the same position. You can tilt an outdoor countertop with a counterbalanced hinge into an upright position if you need to create more space or need a temporary walkway. Pieces with counterbalance hinges are generally ergonomic and add more flexibility to an outdoor kitchen. 
  1. Hidden Cabinets and Fridges
    Outdoor kitchen owners are embracing pieces with hidden cabinets and fridges for a few reasons. Items with hidden cabinetry and a hidden fridge tend to have a more streamlined design that's aesthetically pleasing, regardless of your stylistic preferences. Pieces with hidden cabinets utilize a design that hides the hinges. This prevents the hinges from being continuously exposed to the elements and prematurely wearing out. 
  1. Smart Home Technology
    For a homeowner who's ready to add their home to the list of Alexandria homes for sale, we know that having updated smart home technology makes your home more appealing to potential homebuyers. The popularity of smart home technology also extends to outdoor kitchens. Outdoor kitchen appliances, like grills, pizza ovens, and smokers often include smart technology that makes it easy to monitor the cooking progress of your meal. Smart lights, speakers, and TVs are easy to control and operate using your smartphone or virtual assistant and offer endless opportunities for outdoor entertainment. 

Ready to purchase a home with additional space for your outside kitchen? Contact us today to get started!

April
20

Fresh Ideas for Your Kitchen Island

Kitchen Island

Looking at Baton Rouge open houses, one thing that tends to stand out in homes is the kitchen island. It's a great way to maximize efficiency and improve both your kitchen's aesthetic and functionality. What's more, once you've bought the home, there are all sorts of ways to customize the kitchen island to fit your own needs. Here are a few ideas to consider.

  • Transparent Cabinet Doors
    If you have a lot of cookware, a kitchen island provides plenty of extra storage space. However, finding a specific pot or pan amid all of those full cabinets can be a difficult proposition. You may open three or four different doors before you find the cabinet that has what you're looking for. Glass cabinet doors, surrounded by wood trim, let you view your storage area at a glance, so you can find what you're looking for more easily.

  • Make it Portable
    If your new kitchen doesn't have room for a kitchen island, you can make a small, portable one that will serve your needs in a pinch. Customize a kitchen cart to serve as convenient island storage, or use an old table, adding an extra shelf or two below the tabletop. Give it a coat of paint, add a kitchen towel rack on the side, and put your essentials, such as cookbooks or your most-used cooking pans, on the shelves below. On the top shelf, put your coffee pot, microwave, stand mixer, or other small, frequently used appliances for easy access. Since it's portable, you can position the island wherever you want, moving it around the kitchen to suit your needs.

  • Adjustable Size
    A small leaf on one side of the island gives you more surface area when you need it. Whether you've got a big cooking job and need more counter space or are having breakfast and need space for an extra person to sit around it, you can raise the leaf to give you extra room. Then when you're done, collapse it again so it doesn't get in the way.

  • Cutting Board Drawer
    Another way to maximize space efficiency is by adding a slot beneath the countertop for a cutting board. A sturdy wood cutting board pulls out like a drawer, giving you extra space to do your prep work when the countertop is a bit crowded. Then when you're done, slide it back in the slot for easy storage.

  • Hooks
    Many kitchens have a large container sitting on the counter to hold cooking utensils, such as spoons and spatulae. Not only do these take up a lot of room, but the containers can also get crowded quickly, making it difficult to get the specific utensil you're looking for. Instead, add a few metal hooks on either side of the island, from which to hang your utensils. They're within easy reach when you need them, without taking up space.

  • Lighting
    You need two different types of light above your kitchen island: soft, ambient lighting for when you're sitting around the island dining or socializing and brighter, task lighting for when you're working at the counter. A bank of smart LED lights can provide you with both, allowing you to adjust the brightness up or down as needed. 

If you're interested in buying a new home, our real estate agents can help you through every step of the process. There are plenty of Baton Rouge homes for sale that can meet your needs. Contact us to find the best one for you!

March
25

What Makes the Perfect Kitchen?

Kitchen Tips

The kitchen is the heart of today's home, especially with many of us spending more time at home than we used to, so it's important for it to have all of the qualities that will help you love your kitchen. While what makes the perfect kitchen is subjective to you and your family's needs, there are several features most people will appreciate in this space. Fortunately, our real estate agents are here to take some of the guesswork out of it, so that you have a list of specific things to look for in your housing search or when you go to remodel.

  • Functional Layout
    A kitchen that is well laid out will have a nice flow to the casual observer, but more importantly, the layout should be functional, so that everything you need is close at hand while you cook. Avoid crowded-looking or maze-like kitchens. Instead, look for a kitchen with storage cabinets, spice racks, pantries, prep space, cooktop, and a sink that are all easy to access while you cook.

  • Layered Lighting
    Lighting is important everywhere in the house, but especially in the kitchen. The ideal kitchen should have several layers of lighting, such as overall lighting that lights the entire room, plus focused task lighting that brightly illuminates your prep spaces in the kitchen.

  • Traditional Touches
    Many of the most popular trends right now in Lafayette homes for sale, in kitchens as well as in the rest of the house, pull in vintage and traditional aspects to soften the cleaner, more modern look we're accustomed to. This eclectic style tends to look more warm, homey, and comforting, which fits well in a room that doubles as a gathering place for family and friends.

  • Multi-Functional
    If your kitchen is to serve several different functions in your home, from a food prep space to a gathering spot, it's important that it's designed to accommodate the different kinds of traffic. In addition to food prep areas being laid out for the cook's convenience, there should also be places where family and friends can gather, such as an island with seating, usually close to food prep areas.

  • Minimalism
    While traditional and vintage touches have become trendy, homeowners and buyers may still prefer a clean, uncluttered space. This means cabinetry that provides easy storage for hiding appliances such as coffee machines and toaster ovens. Appliance cupboards can be installed with roll-up doors and power receptacles, so that you can easily access your appliances and still hide them when they're not in use, preserving the simple lines of a clean counter space.

  • Smart Appliances
    As kitchens get more simple and minimalistic, they're also becoming more complex, but in ways that simplify our lives. Smart appliances can track the contents of your fridge, add items to your grocery list before they run out, and even allow you to run the dishwasher, preheat the oven, or make sure you turned everything off from your phone.

Finding a house with the perfect kitchen might seem impossible, but it's totally doable once you understand what goes into making a kitchen "perfect." Not to mention, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the house, since it's a multifunctional space that is responsible not only for feeding the entire family but bringing everyone together, family and friends alike. For more information on what homebuyers want in a kitchen, contact us today or stop by one of our Lafayette open houses.

September
27

How to Prepare for an Open House

Alexandria Open House

When you list your home for sale, an open house is a traditional activity that boosts the exposure of your home. Before you set a date for your open house, there are some preparation tasks you should know about. Our real estate agents recommend the following tasks to help your home make a lasting impression during your open house.

  1. Clean and Declutter
    An open house is a fantastic opportunity to show off your home to potential buyers, but you only have one chance to make a stellar first impression. Make sure that you've thoroughly decluttered every inch of your home and deep cleaned every room. When you clean, clean in a circle to make sure you don't miss any spaces. You should also clean from the top of the room to the bottom to ensure you don't have to clean any areas more than once. Try to remove half of the things in your home, and store them off-sight in a storage unit or friend's garage. The less stuff you have in your home, the larger it will seem. It's also easier for buyers to take in a home's features when it isn't overwhelmed with too many things. On the day of your open house, stash any personal belongings (like shoes, pocketbooks, backpacks, and coats) out of sight. Vacuum or sweep the floors, and see that all the beds are made. Don't forget the outside spaces! Use your leaf blower to quickly rid your deck, porch, and driveway of dirt and leaves. 
  1. Accomplish Any Maintenance Tasks on Your To-Do List
    Perhaps you've been meaning to refresh your living room paint or fix that noisy faucet. Any repair or maintenance tasks should be completed before your open house. Check that all your lightbulbs work and that your heating and cooling system has a fresh, dust-free air filter. If buyers notice that routine maintenance tasks are past due, they may assume that you haven't properly cared for your home. This leads them to assume that the home needs work and can result in a lower offer price. 
  1. Have a Plan for Your Pets
    Even homebuyers that adore animals tend to view homes with pets as less appealing. Individuals with allergies or high standards for cleaning are even more likely to forgo a home with pets. When it's time for your open house, get your pets out of the house until it's over. You should also remove any obvious pet gear, like litterboxes, toys, beds, and food and water dishes. 
  1. Depersonalize Your Home
    It's hard for potential buyers to envision themselves in a home when personalized items decorate a space. Remove any pictures of your family and friends, and see that you grab any piles of homework or bills lying around.
  1. Embrace the Fresh Air
    Fresh air makes any space feel more inviting. If the weather permits, open the windows to freshen the air in your home. This helps remove odors and "stale" air in rooms that you don't frequently use. 

    Want more info about selling your home and listing it among the other Alexandria homes for sale? Contact us today!

    July
    7

    Kitchen Updates to Make Cooking Easier

    Kitchen Updates

    There are Baton Rouge homes for sale that can meet all of your needs. However, that doesn't mean you can't still do a bit of work to make your new house your own. If you're a home chef, for instance, you might like to make a few changes to making cooking easier. From minor additions to major renovations, here are a few kitchen updates to consider.

    1. An Induction Cooktop
      A regular electric or gas-powered range can work well for your basic needs, but an induction cooktop can make cooking so much easier and more precise. It lets you regulate temperature more accurately, for perfect browning, boiling, and steaming, every time. It's also more energy-efficient than your regular stovetop.

    2. A Warming Drawer
      If you're cooking multiple things at once, the dish you finish first will sit around getting cold while you work on the ones that take longer. A warming drawer lets you get dishes out of the way as soon as you finish them while keeping them warm and ready for serving. If you're a fan of the Great British Baking Show, you can also use your warming drawer as a proofing drawer to let bread doughs rise.

    3. A Produce Washing Station
      You can wash your fruits and vegetables in the sink, but that's the same place where you're putting your dirty dishes. If you happen to drop something, it will end up even dirtier than it was. Consider installing a second, smaller sink off to the side, just for washing produce. It will help keep your prep work separate from your cleanup and keep your food a lot cleaner and more sanitary.

    4. Lighting
      There are three types of light you want in the kitchen. Ambient light is like what you have in every other room - a simple overhead fixture to illuminate the room in general. Accent lighting adds more illumination to a specific area of the kitchen. If you have a kitchen island, you may want a light above it to turn on when the family is sitting around it to eat. Finally, task lighting is a direct light that shines on a particular workspace to help give you a better view of what you're doing. You may have a task light above the counter for when you chop vegetables or above the stovetop to help you see what's on the back burner. 

    5. Storage
      There's nothing more frustrating in the kitchen than having to take apart an entire cupboard to find the one pot or pan you're looking for. Fortunately, there are plenty of simple ways to make container storage more convenient. Install a few sturdy hooks a couple of feet above the stove, and hang your pots and pans from them for easy access. You can add extra shelving to the kitchen walls, too. Try putting in a single shelf, right at eye level, that goes all the way around the kitchen. Use it for herbs, spices, flour, sugar, and other non-perishable ingredients that you want at hand. It will make things easier to find and make cooking easier and quicker.

    These are just a few of the ways you can update the kitchen in your new home. Whether you want to add a few finishing touches or a complete remodel, our real estate agents can help you find the best way to make your new kitchen your own. Contact us and let us help you find the perfect house for you.

    Latter & Blum
    430 Notre Dame St.
    New Orleans, LA 70130
    (866) 794-1022
    Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 12/04/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 12/04/2022. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of Houston Association of Realtors (last updated Sun 12/04/2022 12:32:26 AM EST) or Fort Polk MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:30:06 PM EST) or Greater Southern MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:35:12 PM EST) or Greater Baton Rouge MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:30:40 PM EST) or GSREIN MLS (last updated Sun 12/04/2022 1:09:58 AM EST) or Bayou MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:20:45 PM EST) or Pearl River MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:24:17 PM EST) or GCLAR MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:12:09 PM EST) or MGCMLS (last updated Mon 10/04/2021 9:31:53 AM EST) or Realtor Association of Acadiana (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:22:29 PM EST) or Southwest Mississippi MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:15:23 PM EST) or MLS United (last updated Sun 12/04/2022 1:36:09 AM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Latter & Blum may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

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