Planter Boxes

Looking for a quick and inexpensive update to the front of your flat-faced house? Window boxes are a relatively inexpensive and simple fix that can help take your front facade from flat to fab!

Looking for a DIY project? This blogger gives a nice tutorial for how to build your own boxes. (This is on my to do list over the winter; I just might try my hand at recording the project. We’ll see!)

Looking for beautiful boxes that are ready and waiting? Check out this link for window and planter boxes galore! 



This blogger made a huge difference on her garage by adding these simple DIY window boxes. Click here to link to her blog and see how she did it!  Source: JessicaNDesigns

It’s pretty amazing what a difference a few small boxes can make, but they do wonders at giving depth and dimension to and otherwise boring surface.

If you have window boxes and before/afters to share, please send them to me. I’d love to put them on my blog!

American Housing: Mid-Century Modern


Mid-century modern housing is one of my favorite styles* to admire. These homes were built between 1950-1970 and can usually be identified by their clean lines, minimal roof pitch, and large windows. They are usually single story or bi-level houses. There is a ton of interesting history that explains how the minimalistic, nature-driven look came to be. To me, mid-century modern is a fun period in residential architecture because the homes can easily be styled in so many different ways. You can do a retro look, or you can do a a streamlined contemporary look. You can be completely out of the box and unique, or be as traditional as they come, and all of these styles make sense within the structure of the house.

Here are links (Trulia) to pictures of different mid-century modern houses.

This Riverwoods, IL house is a gorgeous example of how this style brings the outside in. 

This Seattle property was designed and owned by an architect and is a great example of how a mid-century build works well with a contemporary interior.

Beautiful lines and impressive views in Reno, NV! 

Just outside of Ann Arbor, here is a mid-century ranch with a lot of the original features. 

I absolutely love this mid-century modern bi-level in Doraville, GA! 

What do you think? Is mid-century modern your style?

*I am not a designer, nor am I an architect. Therefore, I will refer to this as a style even though technically, the professionals don’t consider it as such (it’s a time period consisting of multiple styles that meet similar criteria.)

For Sale: Loves Park

Oh, this is so pretty! The front porch; I love the front porch! 

Wow, it’s sparkling clean inside. Why can’t I ever get my house to look li- …

This kitchen! I WANT THIS KITCHEN! 

Ooh, they have a fenced backyard. I need a fenced backyard. I need THIS backyard.

Did they just say it gets better? I can’t even imag- …

A THEATER ROOM?! I don’t even care about watching movies BUT THIS IS AWESOME!

And so on. That’s pretty much what was going on in my head as I toured this fantastic property. It’s for sale, and it’s awesome.





My Very First QR Code!

I’m trying to come up with a general marketing design for print ads. This is what I’ve come up with. I’m hoping to give off a “friendly but professional” vibe. (I’m especially proud of the QR code!) Thoughts?


Family Fun in Boone County


Aug. 8-13th

You know in movies how small towns will have these great big events that are THE thing that everyone attends? That is most definitely what I see from the Boone County Fair. A few years back I had jury duty during the fair days and I kid you not, there were jurors who were ready to riot because they were stuck in court instead of at the fair. Our fair is a very big deal!

I can’t say it enough. I LOVE living in this wonderful little county. If you want to come and check out our gigantic awesome fair (and maybe do some house hunting while you are in the area,) here is a link to the Boone County Fair calendar. You’ve got a few more days to check it out!

Aug. 27th

Candlewick Lake is hosting the first ever “Lake and Links Fest” open to residents and non-residents alike. There are going to be activities for kids and adults, including (what I am most excited about) a giant kite exhibition (think parade balloons but with kites instead.) Put it on your calendar now and I hope to see you there!





Best Small Towns: Real Estate Edition

In April, Country Living posted an article entitled, “18 Best Small Towns Across America.” I thought it would be fun to virtually visit these towns and see what a $350k(ish) home looks like, since we all know markets can vary widely across this gorgeous country of ours. All pictures and links are from Trulia’s website, and each of the properties sold at roughly the same time (whenever possible.)

How does your town compare?







CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA, CA (This half-million dollar condo was the closest to $350k I could find.)




JACKSON, WY (I had to go with one that is currently on the market, as the already sold data isn’t given.)


KETCHUM, ID (Clearly Idaho and Wyoming are in cahoots. Again, I had to go with the current for sale market instead of already sold.)



MARFA, TX (For sale in a neighboring town on a street named End of Pavement!)


SITKA, AK (For sale, along with the rest of the island!)


So, what do you think? Do you have a favorite on the list? Do any of them shock you (I had no idea Jackson WY is so expensive!)

Three Nearly Free Updates For Sellers

Thinking about selling but feel like you need to get prepared? Here are a few low-cost ways to quickly update your whole house:

1. Freshen UP. Look up. Could your ceilings benefit from a fresh coat of paint? Bright white ceilings make a room look brighter, cleaner, fresher, and photograph better. I found THIS BLOG which shows how they painted their popcorn ceilings and what a difference it made (as well as tips and more.)

2. DECLUTTER! Decluttering is different than cleaning. A house can be perfectly clean and still have too much going on. This doesn’t mean anything negative about the homeowner- what is “clutter” to a stranger may be full of sentiment and usefulness to the person inside. The problem with a room filled with stuff is that it hides what you are actually intending to sell. If I am bogged down with all the trinkets and colors and interesting items you have in the room, I can’t possibly focus on the walls, the floor space … the part that I am actually considering purchasing.

My favorite tip for decluttering: Get a few big lidded totes (the storage kind) and start with one of the lesser used rooms in the house. Enter the room, and start with the space immediately to your left. Your goal is to remove 50% of what is in that area. If you are willing to unpack it when you move into your new house, pack it into the tote. If you realize that it will most likely never make it out of storage, stick it in a donate box. (It’s okay to part with stuff that you don’t really love. Let it go to someone who will appreciate it.)

Once you have gotten rid of at least 1/2 of the stuff on that wall, move to the next wall (clockwise.) Your goal is to work one wall at a time, left to right, top to bottom, with items either getting packed in totes or going to be donated. Once you have finished every wall, walk out of the room and in again. What do you notice? Is there still too much? Does it feel much “lighter?” The feeling you are trying to invoke is a guest space. Picture a hotel room- furnished, but not with too much. Minimally decorated to provide a homey feel without being visually overwhelming. You are preparing to leave this space, so it is time to depersonalize it. Use this same technique in each room, making sure to label the bins so you know what is inside.

Once a room is finished, put your totes in a basement or other space that can serve as your storage room. The benefit to decluttering using these totes is that they are heavy duty and easy to stack and store. If you sell your house soon, you are already at least 50% done packing! If you don’t sell right away, or you change your mind and decide to stay put, your belongings are easily organized room by room so unpacking and “re-personalizing” shouldn’t be terribly difficult.

THIS WEBSITE  has a bunch of photos of how different a space appears before and after decluttering. Remember, decluttering doesn’t mean you have to get rid of all of your belongings. Don’t be scared of the process. By working one wall at a time, you won’t make a giant mess of the room and then get distracted before being able to finish the job. Go slow and steady and remind yourself that this stuff is just being packed away “for now” and you can always access it again if needed.

3. Invite an (honest) friend over (or maybe your mother-in-law.) You need someone who won’t mince words, because buyers are going to find things to nitpick and your job is to give them less to complain about. Invite your guest into your home for a tour of the space. Tell them to use all their senses to take in each room, and to be nice but find something to criticize in every room. Your goal in this exercise is to figure out what outsiders notice. When we live in a house, we get used the smells, the creaks, the missing outlets or whatever other little quirks are going on in a well loved and well lived-in space. It isn’t until we have company that things those tend to stand out and we realize we never finished the project.

By getting this feedback ahead of time, you can get a head start on whatever little inexpensive projects can be done around the house. It might be something quick and simple such as brightening up a dark room (a fresh neutral coat of paint does wonders for a space.) For the bigger, costlier projects, you know what people are going to notice, so you can start planning for what is going to be worth changing, versus what you think they would care about, but maybe they don’t.

Since the outside is just as important as the inside, make sure you include that on the tour. If you need ideas for inexpensive updates to add curb appeal, here are photos that can serve as inspiration. 

I hope these tips provide a good starting point for you!



Congratulations Liz!


Homeowner and Proud of It!


She’s the owner, I’m the agent. Team effort all the way!

I have to share a bit of Liz’s story of how she found home. Liz had decided to move to Boone County and had chosen a house which she felt was a good fit. The day of the closing came, things fell apart on the sellers end, and suddenly, Liz was without a house to move into. Talk about stress!

What sounds like a bit of a horror story was really a blessing in disguise. That same day Liz went back and looked at other houses for sale, and found a couple that “could work.” “Could work” isn’t good enough when you are looking for home, so it was back to the drawing board.

A week later, the two of us went back out to look at some different houses. The first one we saw was the one. I knew it probably even before she did. She had tears in her eyes as she walked through the house. She opened a closet and gasped. (My first thought, “Dead body?!?!” because who gasps when they open a closet, right?) She looked at me and said, “Look what the owners did. It’s something I have prayed for.”

Every little detail was an answer to her prayers, from the unique closet to the backyard garden patch. Before closing, she had already met the neighbors and made new friends with the previous owners.

After finishing the closing, Liz and I headed back to her new house to celebrate together (we may have been running through the house giddy with excitement, which explains our sweaty photos.) We talked about how she felt God leading her to this house and giving her all the little signs that helped her know that this was home, and how that very unusual failed closing had to happen in order for her to find exactly where she is meant to be.

I’m grateful for the new friend that I have made, and I’m proud of the role that I’ve been able to play in this new chapter in her life.

Liz’s story is exactly what I love about real estate. It’s about relationship building, and dream making, and recognizing when good enough isn’t really good enough, because there is something better out there.

Congratulations, Liz. You found home.


Open Houses: Boone County Edition

These are not my listings, but if you are in the market for a house, I’d love to show them to you, so contact me please! ALL PROPERTY COMMENTS ARE MY PERSONAL OPINIONS. THESE ARE NOT LEGAL DESCRIPTORS AND SHOULD NOT BE USED AS SUCH. 

Click to view 702 Maple Ave. Belvidere

702 Maple Ave

The house is currently for sale by owner. The owners have done an incredible job of tying the house’s vintage charm with modern comforts. I stopped by their Open House today and was absolutely stunned with each and every room.

Even though they aren’t my clients (I would love to have them, of course!) I want to share their listing because I am so impressed with what they have done to this sweet-as-can-be 1930s charmer. If you want to see it in person, let me know and I can schedule a showing. I don’t expect this one to be on the market for long, so if you like it, let me know asap! I would like to note that, in my opinion, these photos don’t nearly do it proper justice. If you like what you see here, you are going to LOVE it in person.


Click to view 11360 Lindbergh Lane, Poplar Grove 


This condo is spectacular in person! There is just so much PRETTY going on in this place. The cabinets are beautiful, the backsplash is beautiful, the sunroom is where I would sit down with my coffee and a good book (or my laptop,) every single day.  Every room felt so peaceful and serene. There are high ceilings and lots of open space, but not so much that it would be overwhelming to maintain (as a mom that is always my number one thought!)

If you are looking for a condo in a quiet neighborhood with easy access to shopping and the highway, you will definitely want to check this place out. The link provides the listing agent’s name (I met her, she was very nice and knowledgeable about the area.) Of course, I’m also nice and knowledgeable, and I would love a good excuse to visit this beautiful place all over again. This place in move in ready so I can’t imagine it is going to sit on the market for long. If you are interested, contact me sooner rather than later so that you don’t miss out!


Click to view 11825 Lerwick Rd. Caledonia

11825 Lerwick

Who doesn’t love a gorgeous front porch? I think I’m going to download some of these pictures and just copy their exterior look as best I can, because I’m kinda sorta in love.

This house is BIG, and I mean that in the very best way. Every room has ample space, but not so much that you feel like there will be an echo when you speak. The owners have done a great job of creating a warm, inviting space and making great use of each and every room. Speaking of which, the laundry room deserves mention all its own. It is wonderfully big and bright. I am certain I would actually finish our daily loads of laundry if this was my house.

If the front porch is beckoning you, be sure to contact the agent (info on link,) or even better, send me a message letting me know you’d love to check it out for yourself.


Sarah, can you help me? YES, I CAN! Click here so we can connect!








Fencing: Yay or Nay?

Fences. Love ’em or hate ’em, it seems people are generally on one side of the fence or the other (see what I did there?)

Fences, like any other exterior fixture, can add or detract from the aesthetics of a property. Likewise, they can add or subtract value or desirability to a potential buyer. A well-maintained fence can bring visual dimension that enhances one’s home. A fence that is tied to the tree may make a buyer and the neighbors wonder what the inside of the house looks like (true story; our first house that we bought actually did have one portion of the fence falling over, held up only due to being tied to the trunk. We still bought it, and yes, that fence was a good indicator of the projects that were waiting on the inside!)

When you live in a neighborhood, it is important to take into consideration how your choices will impact your neighbors. Like it or not, what you do to the exterior of your property CAN impact their property values (ever heard stories of the “neighbor from hell” kind of situation where someone can’t sell because the neighbor is making it impossible?)

So. All that being said, I personally feel that each property owner should have the right to take care of his or her own property within reason. Meaning, as long as it isn’t negatively impacting the rest of the owners nearby, to each his own.

If you are considering fencing but are “on the fence” (again! haha!) as to what it might look like, here are a few options I recently found that move beyond the typical chain link option. None of these photos are my property. All photos courtesy of various internet sources (but I’ve had them in my collection for too long to specifically identify sources for each one.)

Waterfrontfencingfencing3Pet Playground Fence This last one is an option I recently found online that looks really neat. Here is the link if you want to know more about the product. Pet Playgrounds Fence

I hope this gives you some new ideas for your home!