Real Estate


Published on

Published in: Business, Technology
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Real Estate

  1. 1. ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ House Advice Rentals Open Houses Property For Sale Recent Sales Commercial Property TIPS ON WEEDING OUT WEEDS A Well-Cared-For Lawn Will Resist Weed Invasions CONSERVING WATER You Can Keep Your Lawn & Garden Healthier, While Using Less A beautiful lawn is supposed to be thick and green. It's not supposed to have bright yel- low dandelions, red blooming clover and scraggly crabgrass and nutgrass. H20 Although it's impossible to kill every single weed, most can be prevented, says Lance Walheim, author of quot;Lawn Care for Dummiesquot; and Bayer Advanced™ Garden expert. quot;Weed control is more than making a pretty yard. Weeds compete with grasses for water and nutrients,quot; says Walheim. quot;A well-cared-for, vigor- ous lawn will resist weed invasions.quot; Here are five steps to keep your yard in top shape for weed resistance: 1. MOW HIGH Mowing at the upper end of the recommended F rom space, our blue planet seems rich in water. In reality, 97 percent of the planet's water is saltwater, 2 percent is in the form of — when the sun is low, winds are calm and temperatures are cool. Midday watering tends to be less efficient because of water loss due system, make sure the sprinkler heads are adjusted properly to avoid water- ing sidewalks and driveways. A cor- rectly adjusted sprinkler head should height for your grass type encourages deeper roots and better heat and drought tolerance, since the grass helps shade the soil to reduce evapora- tion and maximize soil moisture content. This can help reduce the need for more frequent watering. snow and icebergs, and just 1 per- to evaporation and windy conditions spray large droplets of water instead Set your mower at 1½ inches high for common cent is usable freshwater. during the day. Watering in the of a fine mist, to minimize evapora- Bermuda; 1 inch high for hybrid Bermuda; 3 inch- evening isn't a good idea either, es high for tall fescue; 2½ inches for Kentucky Water conservation should be tion and wind drift. because leaves can remain wet bluegrass; and 2½ to 3 inches for St. Augustine. practiced at all times and not just in overnight — an open invitation for CONSIDER DRIPPING times of water shortages. Using it 2. WATER PROPERLY fungus to grow. By watering in the When it comes to watering individ- more efficiently can start in the yard, Wet the soil down to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. morning, leaves have a chance to dry ual trees, flowerbeds, potted con- Shallow watering results in a shallow root system. and done correctly, it's possible to out during the day. tainers or other nongrassy areas, con- keep your lawn and garden healthier To check the depth of moisture, insert a rod or sider applying water directly to the screwdriver into the soil; it will stop when it while using less water. DIVIDE BY ZONES roots using low-volume drip irriga- reaches dry dirt. Different plants need different tion. This will reduce water waste To get the most out of your lawn and garden, the experts advise fol- amounts of water. Divide your yard through evaporation or runoff, and 3. FERTILIZE and landscape areas into separate will prevent unwanted weeds from Fertilize at the right time of year for your particu- lowing these tips: irrigation zones so that grass can be growing. lar type of grass (usually fall or spring for cool-sea- DON'T DROWN watered separately from and more son lawns and late spring and early summer for The greatest waste of water comes PROTECT TREES AND warm-season lawns) and control insects such as frequently than ground cover, shrubs from applying too much, too often SHRUBS FROM INSECTS grubs that eat grass roots. and trees. Both sprinkler and drip irri- — much of the water is never Many insects are attracted to gation can be incorporated to drought-stressed plants and trees. 4. AERATE absorbed. Instead of watering for achieve more-efficient use of water. Aerate (remove small cores of soil) and one long session, water a few times Keep in mind that insect damage in CHECK SPRINKLERS lawns can also look like drought dethatch as needed for better water and nutrient for shorter periods, and take 15- penetration. minute breaks in between each ses- A little work now will prevent damage. sion. This will allow water to soak in stressed plants and dead spots in the LET IT RAIN 5. KILL WEEDS while minimizing runoff. Remember lawn later this summer. Fix clogged or Install a shutoff device that auto- Many products on the market require you to first to check on your town's local broken sprinklers. Make sure you matically detects rain. They are inex- know what kind of weeds you have in your lawn. watering guidelines, especially dur- have enough sprinkler heads to cover pensive and let you take advantage Are you dealing with dandelions, clover, crabgrass ing periods of dry weather. the entire lawn. of nature's precious gift without or dollarweed? Always read and follow label paying for it. instructions. WATCH THE CLOCK WATER ONLY THINGS THAT GROW Water between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. If you have an automatic sprinkler — North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.; — North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.; Your Perfect House Is Just Around The Corner. Log Onto / HOMES
  2. 2. ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ House Advice Rentals Open Houses Property For Sale Recent Sales Commercial Property THE SIMPLE PLEASURE OF SUBTLE FRAGRANCES Inviting Scents into Your Home Will Make a Suprisingly Enjoyable Environment for You and Your Guests By Kit Davey CTW Features T he aroma of freshly baked bread, the pine scent of a Christmas tree, your grandmother’s eau de toilette – all are fragrances that soothe and please us. home after an absence of an hour or more, take a deep sniff upon re-entering. If you notice any odors, you can be sure your guests will be even more aware of them. However, we sometimes neglect our noses when decorating our homes. By subtly introducing scent into Smoke, pet and cooking odors cannot be our environment and eliminating unpleasant odors, we successfully masked. The only solution is to can enhance the enjoyment of our home. clean (or remove) anything in the home FRAGRANT SURPRISES that absorbs odor: Carpeting, uphol- When at home working or reading, it is pleasant to stery, window coverings, bedding, notice fresh air subtly laced with natural scents. Install clothing and other fabrics. Paint and olfactory surprises throughout your home: wallpaper also absorb odors. • Plant odoriferous perennials just outside your SEND BAD SMELLS UP IN SMOKE windows. Their scent will gently waft through your If you’re a smoker and want to open windows on warm days, and their cuttings can reduce cigarette odors: brighten your table. Unusually potent plants include: • Smoke outside or near an French or English lavender (whose blossoms may be open, curtainless window; don’t • Keep recycling bins in garage. dried and used in flower arrangements and in potpour- smoke near a linen chest, clothing • Change dish towels and sponges regularly and often. ri), lilac, star jasmine, honeysuckle, eucalyptus, bay lau- closets or in bed. rel, lemon verbena, lemon balm, gardenia and freesia. • Scrub cooktop drip pans (under the heating ele- • Empty ashtrays in a garbage can outside the house. ments) weekly. • Bundle dried lavender with other dried flowers, and hang the bundles from your curtain tiebacks, or lay • Have carpeting and upholstered pieces cleaned every OFFER A SUBTLE AROMATIC EXPERIENCE them on your dresser top or bathroom counter. 3 to 4 months. Remember the last time your went to the movies and • Use mini-blinds instead of fabric curtains. got overpowered by the perfume worn by the lady sit- • Make a dream pillow: Sew two handkerchiefs ting next to you? A too-strong fragrance can be objec- together, fill with dried herbs or potpourri and stitch • Launder bedspreads often. tionable or downright uncomfortable for sensitive visi- shut. tors. To offer a subtle dimension of scent, try doing one • Air out your house weekly, even in the winter. • Spray your favorite cologne on shelf paper. When or several of the following several hours before your (Suggestion: Leave all windows and a locked screen you open your drawers you’ll get a pleasant whiff. guests arrive: door open when you go on a walk or you are working • Place a cluster of small- to medium-sized vases out in your yard.) • Mist the guest bathroom with a pleasant perfume. brimming with fragrant blossoms, on your kitchen win- • Boil cinnamon sticks in a pan of water on your stove- ELIMINATE DOGGONE ODORS dowsill. top. If canine or feline scents are making your home smell • Make your own sachets by putting two tablespoons less than divine, employ these tactics: • Burn a scented bayberry, cedar or pine candle. of potpourri in the center of an antique hankie and tying with a pastel bow. Place in a linen cabinet, inside your • Have carpeting and upholstered pieces cleaned every • Light incense sticks. shoes or in your sock drawer. A less dainty but highly six months, and sprinkle pet deodorizer on your carpets effective sachet: Place a bar of scented soap in a thin and furniture between professional cleanings. • Plug in a room deodorizer for 10 minutes (“plug-ins” sock. Lay it on the top shelf of your closet or under the are available at most stores). • Cover sleep/nap areas with a towel or sheet; launder couch in the living room. often. • Daub a drop of vanilla or an essential oil on a light • Place a small tray of perfume bottles or a bowl of bulb in the living room. • Bathe and groom your pets regularly. fresh soaps on the counter in your guest bathroom. Eliminate unpleasant odors and have fun offering sub- FOODIE FRAGRANCES tle olfactory experiences to your family and friends. RESPECT YOUR GUESTS’ NOSES For chefs who need to cover their tracks: Unpleasant odors can overpower your guests and © CTW Features make their stay uncomfortable. If you have a pet, if you • Clean filter over fan monthly. Kit Davey, an interior designer based in Redwood City, Calif., helps clients redeco- rate their homes through the creative use of their existing furnishings. Send your smoke or if you cook meat using strong spices, it’s likely • Scrub drip pan in refrigerator. design questions to that these odors are perceptible to others. Give your house the “sniff test” – the next time you enter your • Store trash in a lidded container under sink. Your Perfect House Is Just Around The Corner. Log Onto / HOMES
  3. 3. ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ House Advice Rentals Open Houses Property For Sale Recent Sales Commercial Property 3 STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TO PRESERVE THE VALUE OF YOUR HOME Set a Budget, Do Your Research, Pick a Project — and Enjoy the Benefits I f you're like most Americans, your greatest asset is your home. So, naturally, a top priority should be maintaining your home's value. Here's how to make that happen: The cost recouped on a given remodeling project also depends on the value of similar homes nearby and the rate at which property values are changing in the surrounding area. Even the availability and cost of new and existing homes in the immediate STEP 1: WHERE TO BEGIN — vicinity can be a factor. INDOOR VS. OUTDOOR You may want to consult with a local remodeler Preserving the value of your home can be achieved in or real estate agent to learn more about the specific many ways, but your home's exterior should be your initial issues affecting the value of home improvements in focus. Remodeling Magazine's annual Cost vs. Value your area. Report shows exterior and replacement projects bring the biggest return. Before you decide where to begin, you STEP 3: PICK A PROJECT should consider the following: Now that you've set a budget and completed • Budget — Set one, and be realistic. your research, it's time to select your project. A great place to start is your roof. quot;A roof used to be • Goals — Narrow your scope by determining exactly nothing more than protection for your home from what you want to achieve. the elements,quot; says Stephen McNally, vice president STEP 2: DO YOUR RESEARCH of sales and marketing for TAMKO Building Products, Depending on the region of the country in which you Inc. quot;Today, homeowners look to their roof as a way live, the value you gain from exterior home improvement to increase their home's curb appeal and overall projects can vary widely. Consider this: A mid-range sid- value.quot; ing replacement recovers 92 percent of its cost in the When selecting a roofing material it is important to Another potential exterior project is the addition of a Northeast, but only 77 percent in the Midwest, according remember the following: deck. When selecting a decking material that will help to the Cost vs. Value Report. Exterior projects that typically preserve your home's value, it's important to think about recover cost well include a roof replacement and the • Performance — It's as the following: addition of a deck. important as curb appeal. • Durability — You want a prod- • Warranty — Select a uct that performs well, and will last. product that is backed by a solid warranty. quot;Today, homeowners • Maintenance — Deck mainte- A majority of homeowners look to their roof as a nance can be costly. Consider low- maintenance materials like compos- prefer asphalt shingles because they perform well and are typi- way to increase their ite (a combination of wood and plastic). cally the most cost effective option, but many alternatives home's curb appeal A natural wood deck can lead to are now available. One alterna- costly, time-consuming, annual tive growing in popularity, and overall value.quot; maintenance. Composite decks, which could potentially which may cost more initially, gen- increase the value of your erally never require painting or home, is composite roofing. staining. After all, you should spend more time enjoying your deck than caring for it. Composite roofing products are typically backed by Composites typically come with a longer warranty as well. longer warranties. Some of these composite shingles can create the authentic look of a classic slate roof without the No matter what project you choose, maintaining the high-cost and performance issues. Other alternatives value of your greatest asset, your home, should be a top include metal, rubber and concrete. Be sure to do your priority. research before selecting a roofing material that will work for you. — Courtesy of ARAcontent Your Perfect House Is Just Around The Corner. Log Onto / HOMES
  4. 4. ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ House Advice Rentals Open Houses Property For Sale Recent Sales Commercial Property SECRETS OF THE HOME SALE What it Takes to Sell a House in Today’s Market E very seller wants to move fast and get top dollar. In today's increasingly competitive real estate market, homeowners are going to great lengths to differenti- ate and distinguish their homes. CLEANING: The Number One Rule of Staging Is to Get Rid of Unwanted and Unused Items. Whether packed away until the sale or permanently donated, de-cluttering allows interior doors are two inexpensive remodeling options that can make a dramatic impact for prospective buyers,quot; says Peggie Bolan, vice president of sales and marketing for CMI in Chicago. So, if you're getting ready to sell, among the best ways buyers to see more of the home. This also includes moving Over time, the exterior trim around your windows and to improve your odds on both ends is to make sure you furniture out of rooms that may seem overcrowded. Less is doors, at the corners and along the roofline, may have have great quot;curb appealquot; and an inviting inside decor. always more. become warped, split or cracked from rain, snow, ice and NEUTRALIZING: exposure to the sun. For many areas of the country, termite According to experts, there are a few simple tricks that damage is also a concern. can help create a more appealing space and a more When Getting Your Home Ready to Sell, Going attractive listing. Neutral is the Best Way to Go to Appeal to the Most Remember, your home's exterior makes the first impres- Buyers. Painting is one of the most cost-effective ways to sion, so make it a good one. LISTING: transform a room back to its natural state. Warm, neutral What's In a Word? When putting your home on the colors tend to be a stager's preference, because they keep — Courtesy of ARAcontent market, the right phrasing in your listing can be the key to walls inviting while adding a touch attracting potential buyers. According to the 2008 MSN of color in the room. Buyers can article, quot;What's 'beautiful' worth? About $12,500,quot; better imagine themselves living in researchers have found that listings with the words quot;beau- a home when it is neutral. tifulquot; or quot;gorgeousquot; sold homes 15 percent faster, while quot;landscapingquot; bumped sales 20 percent faster and quot;move- LANDSCAPING: in conditionquot; expedited the sale by 12 percent. Although the Inside of the Contrary to popular belief, sellers should steer clear of Home Can Create Atmosphere, words that highlight desperation such as quot;motivatedquot; and the First Impression Can Be a quot;must sell.quot; The study found the inclusion of those words Lasting Impression. The outside in the listing slowed sales by up to 30 percent. of the house will set the tone for what a buyer perceives is inside. BRANDING: Create a pleasant yard that is well- If You've Got It, Flaunt It. Brand names create a point kept and full of life. Plants and of differentiation and should be used as selling points for flowers also should be brought your home. There is no doubt that buyers will put more inside the home to help acces- weight in brands they trust. If choosing to make upgrades sorize and accent high traffic areas before listing your home, consider quality, recognizable such as the kitchen and living products, because they will ultimately provide the best room. return. SMALL CHANGES, BIG STAGING: DIFFERENCE: The Ultimate Showcase Showdown. When getting Before You Put Up the quot;For your home tidied up for potential buyers, there are some Salequot; Sign, Walk Around Your specific tips that will help your home appeal to a wider House and Inspect the Trim. range of buyers. quot;Replacing your exterior trim and Your Perfect House Is Just Around The Corner. Log Onto / HOMES
  5. 5. ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ House Advice Rentals Open Houses Property For Sale Recent Sales Commercial Property FINDING AN OFF-RAMP ON THE ROAD TO FORECLOSURE Op tion s to Help Prese rve You r Credit & S ave Your Home D oes the housing crisis have you worried about losing your home? If so, you may want to find out if you're at risk and develop a plan to deal with duced a positive return 95 percent of the time,quot; says David Katkov, president of PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. quot;Our calculations were based on index results, so talk to your lender about a rein- statement plan. These plans allow you to repay missed payments over time and bring your loan cur- rent. Most lenders allow you to loans, credit cards and new mort- gages. Employers, landlords and insurance companies will also often check your credit before hir- ing you or signing an agreement lieu can help reduce the damage to your credit. Important note: Foreclosure and many of the workout options listed above may have an impact your situation. individual results may vary, but slightly increase monthly payments with you. on your tax liability. Therefore, be what this shows is that homes can until you're caught up or extend To avoid the pitfalls of foreclo- sure to speak to a tax adviser or MORTGAGE be an excellent way to build the length of your loan. MAINTENANCE MATTERS sure, talk to your lender about any attorney about your particular situ- wealth, if you treat them as a long- • Forbearance agreements — one of the following work-out ation before proceeding. Think of your mortgage as if it term investment.quot; were your car; regular maintenance Forbearance agreements allow options: WARNING LIGHTS those facing a temporary financial GETTING BACK is the best way to avoid unexpect- • Loan assumptions — In a loan ON THE ROAD ed problems. If you have the ability to make crisis to enter into an agreement assumption, your lender allows a that suspends their mortgage pay- If you're in trouble, you're not If you're unclear about the terms your payments, but see that a rate qualified borrower to assume the alone. Moving quickly to take reset is in your future or have ments for a set period of time, terms of your home loan. You may of your loan, facing a rate reset you until the financial hardships are advantage of assistance options can't afford or behind on pay- missed payments due to an have buyers, family members or can improve your chances of stay- unforeseen problem in your past, resolved. friends willing to assume your loan. ments, contact your lender or the ing on the road and moving in the NeighborWorks America nonprofit you still have options to save your • Loan modifications — In a loan • Pre-foreclosure sales — A pre- right direction. group at (888)995-HOPE(4673), or go home. modification, your lender agrees to foreclosure sale is far less damag- revise the terms of your loan, in — North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.; online to quot;If you've missed mortgage pay- ing to your credit than a foreclo- order to make it easier for you to There are programs and options ments because you lost your job, sure. In a pre-foreclosure sale, you available to help preserve your got sick or had some other unfore- afford your payments. sell your home — even at a loss — credit and save your home. seen problem, it's important to and the lender agrees to accept BROKEN DOWN OILED UP AND contact your lender right away,quot; ON THE ROADSIDE less than the total amount READY TO ROLL says Rick Harper, vice president of owed as complete or par- Program Services for the Consumer If your mortgage is beyond tial satisfaction of your If your mortgage is in good repair, you still have options. Credit Counseling Service of San loan. In some cases, the shape, you may still be concerned Francisco. quot;There are a number of Far too often, borrowers who lender may ask that you about the long-term value of your options available that can help you can't make their payments simply sign a note for some por- home, as prices are declining in save your home, but you can only give up on their home and go qui- tion of the shortfall. many parts of the country. quot;We take advantage of them by con- etly into foreclosure. But there are • Deed-in-lieu — studied the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight's tacting your lender or a nonprofit programs available to help you sell Foreclosure can add house price index over a 20-year group like HOPE NOW. Your your home — even for less than accrued interest and period from 1986 to 2005, and options will decrease the longer you owe — and avoid foreclosure. expenses to your outstand- found that owning a home for 10 you wait.quot; Foreclosure should always be a ing debt. As a last resort, years or longer during that period • Reinstatement/repayment last resort, because it impacts your you may avoid this by vol- produced a positive return on plans — If you've missed pay- credit score for as long as seven to untarily turning over the investment 99.6 percent of the ments but have the ability to pay 10 years and may limit your ability deed for your property to time. Owning for five years pro- your bills going forward, you can to finance car purchases, student your lender. The deed-in- Your Perfect House Is Just Around The Corner. Log Onto / HOMES
  6. 6. ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ House Advice Rentals Open Houses Property For Sale Recent Sales Commercial Property 7 DAYS 7 PROJECTS FOR A KITCHEN=THAT Buyer Interest Small Investment + Elbow Grease Enhanced SELLS I n today's market, selling a home involves much more than posting a quot;for-salequot; sign in the yard. Preparation is key. In fact, experts agree that property off countertops. By eliminating clutter and personal effects, your kitchen will look neat, clean — and even larger. 4. BECOME ULTRA-ORGANIZED Be prepared! Potential buyers will open your closets, cabinets and drawers to be sure to update your hanging chandelier with a model in a finish that coordinates with the rest of the room. A variety of clas- sic-designed light fixtures in stainless steel appearance and condition play a big role in the home-sale process. 2. FIX UP YOUR FAUCET The faucet is the workhorse of the assess the storage availability in your home. Be sure that you organize each of these or oil-rubbed bronze finishes are available at local home improvement and lighting stores and will instantly light up your While home improvements can increase areas to make your kitchen look like a stor- buyer interest, many sellers hesitate to ren- kitchen — and a focal point. So add new age dream — not a nightmare. Many cabi- kitchen décor — literally. ovate, fearing they may not recoup their life to your sink area with a fashionable and net manufacturers offer custom shelves to costs in the sales price. However, with strategic updates in key rooms, such as functional new faucet. For an affordable price, you can find beautiful pulldown help organize, or you can find simple orga- nization systems at local retailers. No mat- 7. COSMETIC COVER-UPS You've lived in your kitchen so long that kitchens, sellers can increase the value of a models, which make performing everyday ter what system you choose, your hard tasks — such as filling large pots, pitchers you may not notice the small paint chips in home – giving them a leg up on their work won't go unnoticed. the trim or stain on the carpet — but to neighbors to sell more easily and com- and vases in and around the sink — sim- prospective homebuyers, these stick out mand a higher selling price. With just a week's time, a small invest- ple. Sleek, contemporary lines and high-arc spouts coordinate well with today's mod- ern interiors. And, potential buyers will be 5. CURTAIN CALL like a sore thumb. A fresh coat of paint on Windows are a selling point in any room walls and trim will always add more value ment and a bit of elbow grease, you can amazed how the functionality and updat- — allowing nature into a home by provid- than its cost and let buyers know that your easily turn your kitchen into your best sell- ing a source of sunlight. Be sure that win- home is well kept and clean. ed styling boost the whole room. ing feature with these seven projects: dows and blinds are free of dust, finger- Within a week you can easily increase the 1 CLEAN UP! . Although you may love your children's 3. PULL IT TOGETHER Once you've updated the faucet, pull prints or pet nose prints for a bright and cheerful display. Adding a neutral, but classic, curtain can be a nice touch to value of your home in the eyes of potential buyers — as well as provide an enjoyable artwork or favorite magnets on the fridge, the rest of the finishes in the room together frame these focal points of the room. space for yourself prospective homebuyers want to envision by updating the hardware. Drawer pulls until you sell. a home as theirs – not yours. Start your kitchen update by making a clean sweep and knobs in a beautiful stainless finish are a simple project and can add a finishing 6. FOLLOW THE LIGHT Does your kitchen still have the quot;builder- — Courtesy of ARAcontent of the room. Remove everything from the touch that dramatically updates the look of top and sides of your refrigerator, and clear older cabinets. ‘‘ basicquot; or outdated brass lighting fixtures? As a focal point above your kitchen table, Your ‘‘ With strategic updates in key rooms ... sellers can increase the value of a home – giving them a leg up to sell more easily and command a higher selling price. Perfect House Is Just Around The Corner. Log Onto / HOMES
  7. 7. ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ House Advice Rentals Open Houses Property For Sale Recent Sales Commercial Property HEAVY-HITTING DECOR Doorstops and Bookends Give You a Chance to Pull Out All the Stops With Your Creativity By Kit Davey CTW Features F rugal decorators enjoy expressing their creativity using unusual objects in unusual places. Why buy decor, when it's so much fun to • Are you a sports star? Trophies are usually heavy enough to support a few leaning tomes. Why not sprinkle an entire bookcase with your symbols of prowess? • Do you empty your pockets of coins at the end of the peeled for oddly shaped or unusually colored stones. I found a heart-shaped rock that I use to hold the bathroom door open in my office. • Any metal sculpture piece — for instance, animals or scrounge for it or make it from what you already have? day? Why not fill a small crock or canister with pennies and sports figurines — can prop open a door. use it as a bookend on your dresser-top or bookcase? In my never-ending search for places • I haven't tried this one but really wish I had the equip- to display all my cool stuff, I have • If you don't have anything unusual to prop up your ment to do it. I love bowling balls, especially the swirly recently focused on two often-overlooked decorating pos- books, simply lay three or four volumes flat on the shelf, ones, or ones with names like quot;Bunnyquot; or quot;Irwinquot; engraved sibilities: bookends and doorstops. Both must be heavy pushed up against a row of vertically displayed books. in them. Wouldn't a ball cut into a quarter of a sphere make enough to perform their functions, and they don't have to a smashing doorstop in a playroom? • Any of the ideas for doorstops can be applied to book- fit any stuffy standard. Pretty much any heavy object will ends. • Small garden sculpture pieces, such as doves, rabbits or work to prop open a door or hold up a stack of books. finials, can be brought indoors and placed in front of your Here are few ideas to get you going. DOORSTOPS living room or dining door. If a door is used frequently, it's not a good idea to use a BOOKENDS • Do you love old tools? An anvil or large metal cog would doorstop, as it will end up scratching the floor, may cause Bookcases look less imposing, and more interesting, when be a great conversation piece in a den or workshop. stubbed toes and will probably not get used. Doorstops you leave a few openings for bookends with pizzazz. Don't are great for public rooms or seldom-used spaces. Make • Place a stack of leather-bound books in front of the door neglect other flat surfaces for storing books, such as your sure whatever you place by the door is not breakable and leading to your library or den. mantel, kitchen counter, vanity, dresser or an etagere. doesn't have pointy edges, as it may get kicked or knocked over by accident. • Make your own gift-box doorstop. • In a child's room, fill a pair of plastic jars with a marble Sew six, five-inch squares of pret- collection, foreign coins or buttons, and place a few refer- • Is your son or daughter a cowpoke? ty fabric into a cube. Fill the ence books between them on a desk. Convert a pair of outgrown, kid-sized cube pillow with pinto beans • Convert a birdhouse into a bookend cowboy boots into a doorstop by and stitch closed. Tie a fancy by nailing a thin section of sheet metal stitching the boots together at the top ribbon around your package on the bottom of it. and partially filling them with pebbles and place by your guest or pennies. room door. It won't hurt if • Do you have an antique postcard, you kick this stop! greeting card or photo collection? • I inherited several antique irons which prop open the doors to our © CTW Features Store it in an old wooden box or square basket, and keep it handy on den and guest room. The same grand- Kit Davey, an interior designer a shelf in your family room. mother willed a heavy embosser to based in Redwood City, Calif., my parents, which stamps the family helps clients redecorate their • Not very glamorous but very name into paper, now used in their homes through the creative effective, a used brick can home office. use of their existing furnish- ings. Send your design ques- hold up a row of fat books tions to in a rustic bookcase. • I'm a rock hound and keep my eyes Your Perfect House Is Just Around The Corner. Log Onto / HOMES