Real Estate News


    • 4 Defining Features of Victorian-Style Homes

      27 October 2020

      There are many ways to describe Victorian architecture. Grand, eclectic and ornate are just a few of the frequently used terms that come to mind. While it should come as no surprise that the iconic architectural movement emerged during Queen Victoria’s reign over the British Empire from 1837 to 1901, it can actually refer to several different styles that were prevalent during this period, such as Queen Anne, Second Empire and Romanesque. There are, however, certain features that have become synonymous with Victorian-style homes. Here are a few such characteristics that contribute to the endless appeal of these residences.

      Towers and Turrets
      The first thing you’re likely to notice when arriving at a Victorian-style home is a magnificent tower or turret defining the exterior. Often rounded, though sometimes squared, they typically rise above steeply pitched roofs and create an asymmetrical façade. Scalloped shingles are also commonly used for the outside of the home, though some styles, like Romanesque, are built from stone.

      Wraparound Porches
      Everyone loves a wraparound porch. Or at least, everyone should. Many Victorian-style homes are designed with such a porch in order to greet visitors with a spacious, covered seating area. In addition to providing an elegant outdoor living space, this feature sets the stage for the grandeur that continues throughout. 

      Meandering Floor Plans
      If you want an open floor plan, then a traditional Victorian-style home may not be for you. The interior of these homes often have elaborate layouts with rooms of various proportions, from grand parlors and reception rooms to intimate nooks and alcoves. These days, however, it’s not uncommon to find a Victorian that’s been renovated with an open living space on the main floor. 

      Intricate Details
      An ornate aesthetic is always front and center. Outside, you may see stained glass windows and intricately-carved eaves, while the interior usually has impressive wood finishes and decorative moldings. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Combat Cool Days With Comforting Dishes

      27 October 2020

      (Family Features) From filling dinners to favorite desserts, comfort foods can bring smiles to friendly faces. As temperatures drop, lean on recipes that add flavor and bring warming scents to your kitchen. 

      Loaded with comforting ingredients like READ German Potato Salad, this Cheesy German Potato Soup can appease appetites with tantalizing taste. Ideal at dinner parties or festivities throughout winter, Mini Chocolate-Beet Cheesecakes with Maple-Orange Glaze combine Aunt Nellie’s Sliced Beets with familiar cheesecake flavor for a tempting treat. 

      Visit readsalads.com and auntnellies.com for more comforting inspiration. 

      Mini Chocolate-Beet Cheesecakes with Maple-Orange Glaze
      Servings: 12

      Crust:

      • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
      • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
      • 3 tablespoons salted butter, softened

      Cheesecake:
      • 1 jar (15 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Sliced Beets
      • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
      • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
      • 1 large egg
      • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

      Topping:
      • 2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
      • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
      • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
      • whipped cream (optional)

      Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 12 medium muffin cups with foil liners.

      To make crust:
      In a medium bowl, combine flour and walnuts.

      Using a fork or pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Place about 1 tablespoon mixture into each lined muffin cup. Lightly press crumbs into the bottom. Bake for 5-6 minutes, or until the crust begins to brown.

      To make cheesecake: Drain beets, reserving 2 tablespoons liquid. In a blender, puree 1/2 cup beets and reserved liquid until smooth; set aside. Dice remaining beets; set aside.

      In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and syrup. Beat until smooth. Add egg; mix until blended. Stir in reserved pureed beets. Add melted chocolate; mix well. Spoon about 3 tablespoons cream cheese mixture into muffin cups over warm crusts. Bake for 15 minutes, or until filling is set. Let cool to room temperature. Place cheesecakes in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

      To make topping: In a small saucepan, combine reserved diced beets, orange juice concentrate, syrup and cinnamon. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to boil, stirring frequently. Continue cooking and stirring until mixture thickens and appears glossy, 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool to room temperature.
      Remove cheesecakes from muffin liners. Top evenly with glazed beets. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

      Cheesy German Potato Soup
      Recipe courtesy of “Today’s Creative Life”
      Servings: 8
      • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
      • 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
      • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
      • 8 slices bacon, chopped 
      • 3 large carrots, chopped
      • 1 medium onion, diced
      • 2 cloves garlic, minced
      • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
      • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
      • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
      • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
      • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
      • 2 cans (15 ounces each) READ German Potato Salad
      • 1 cup heavy cream
      • 1 cup whole milk
      • chopped parsley or chives (optional)

      Place cheeses and flour in a gallon-size zip-top bag. Close bag. Shake until cheese is covered with flour; set aside.

      In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp, stirring occasionally. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate; set aside. 

      Pour off all but 2-3 tablespoons bacon drippings. Return Dutch oven to medium heat. Add carrots, onion and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent and carrots are softened, 3-4 minutes. Add chicken broth, black pepper, red pepper flakes, thyme and parsley. Stir in potato salad. Continue cooking over medium heat 5 minutes, or until potatoes are heated through, stirring occasionally. 

      Reduce heat to low. Slowly stir in cream and milk. Cook 5-8 minutes until blended and heated through, stirring frequently. Slowly add cheeses, stirring until melted.

      Top with bacon. Garnish with parsley or chives, if desired.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Design a Meditation Space at Home

      27 October 2020

      Luxury homeowners have increasingly embraced wellness in their living spaces. While some features will require working with a professional to install, such as a water purifier or a steam room, there are also DIY projects that you can tackle to promote healthy living around the house. One way to do so is to create a meditation room where you can escape for a few peaceful moments each day.

      Meditation is believed to have far-ranging benefits, from reducing stress to boosting cognitive function. If this sounds like something you could benefit from in your life, here are a few tips for designing a meditation area at home. 

      Pick the Right Location
      It all starts with finding the ideal space. This should be somewhere you’ll be free from any distractions, meaning you probably don’t want to set up your meditation area near a part of the home that gets a lot of traffic. All it really takes is a small room or quiet alcove, however, if you have a tranquil view to help you settle into a relaxing mindset, that’s certainly a bonus. During the warmer months, you can even design your meditation space outside. 

      Create a Zen-Like Atmosphere
      Focus on the energy of the room. Meditation studios tend to be designed with a minimalist aesthetic. One reason for this is that removing clutter and chaos from your surroundings can help to promote mental clarity. A simple cushion or mat where you can sit comfortably is all you’ll really need, but a few plants and objects can contribute to the ambience and allow you to disconnect from your daily stress. 

      Tap the Senses
      Another way to make this a tranquil space is to tap into your senses with warm lighting, relaxing aromas and peaceful sounds. Candles or an essential oil diffuser can fill the room with your favorite scent to help you focus on breathing and reflection. If you want some gentle background noise, a small water feature and meditative music are excellent ways to set the mood.

      And remember, this is a place to unplug, so ideally, there won’t be any screens nearby.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Screen-Free Art Projects for Curious Kids

      26 October 2020

      With many kids still at home and learning remotely—or for any kid who spends too many hours glued to a computer screen—here are five fun art projects using materials found in most homes that are guaranteed to get curious children offline and engaged in gratifying activity.  

      • Sidewalk Chalk Rainbows - Create a giant chalk rainbow in your driveway for walkers to enjoy and/or spell out hopeful messages on the sidewalk, such as, “We can do this,” “Love our community,” or “Stay strong,” decorated with colorful doodles.  
      • Painted Rocks - Take a walk around the neighborhood, or in your own backyard, and collect a few smooth rocks that fit in the palm of your child’s hand. Decorate them with tempera paint or paint pens, then leave them on your walking route as little fun treasures for others to find—or leave one or two on your neighbors’ doorsteps. It’s a great way to build a sense of community as we spend more time apart. 
      • Painting Unlimited - On cold or rainy days, lay out a sheet so the floor doesn’t get messy and break out the paint pens, markers or watercolor paints, along with a selection of supplies—paper cut into various sizes and shapes, like hearts or seasonal and holiday cutouts, and even gift boxes to be decorated as your little Picassos see fit.
      • Salt Painting - Create a ‘magical’ experience for little ones. Using any poster board, card stock or art paper you have on hand, squeeze on a design with white glue. Sprinkle with salt until the glue is totally covered. Tip to let the excess salt fall away. Then, dip a paintbrush into liquid watercolor paint and touch the brush gently to the salt-covered glue lines and watch the paint magically travel in both directions.
      • Paper Plate Art - Paper plates make great palettes for budding artists. Lay out a selection of colored markers, white glue, buttons, cotton balls and pasta in various shapes and let your kids’ imagination run wild.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 4 Elegant Surfaces to Improve Your Driveway

      26 October 2020

      Upgrading your driveway with a new material can be a quick and relatively easy way to improve the exterior of your home. From curb appeal to practicality, there are many benefits to be enjoyed. Asphalt and concrete are two of the most common options these days, but if you’re looking to set your home apart from the moment a potential buyer pulls into the driveway, here are several surfaces that are worthy of being used outside any luxury home. 

      Natural Stone Slabs
      Beautiful and long lasting, natural stone slabs are an excellent choice that can work with a variety of architectural styles. There are certain considerations to take into account when selecting the right type of stone, such as how slippery it gets when wet and its ability to endure freeze-thaw cycles. For this reason, travertine, bluestone and flagstone are solid options that will provide you with a beautiful driveway for years to come, as long as it’s installed properly.  

      Brick
      Some materials have to be resurfaced every three to five years, but a brick driveway is likely to last at least 25 years. Although it’s one of the more expensive options, this classic style can instantly add endless charm and appeal to the outside of any home, making it a sound investment. 

      Gravel
      There are plenty of elegant options when it comes to picking out the type of gravel for your driveway, like pea stone or bluestone, but for environmentally conscious homeowners, you can feel good about going with the one that’s locally available. If you love the look but you’re worried about the general upkeep and having to regularly lay more gravel every couple of years, then you can always go with the “tar and chip” method, where the gravel is sealed in place. 

      Pavers
      If you’re looking for a surface that checks all the boxes—aesthetically pleasing, long lasting and low maintenance—you simply can’t go wrong with pavers. With many different patterns, textures and colors to choose from, you can get just the right look to upgrade the outside of any property.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.