Treading Lightly – Creating a Home Gym from Nothing

Just because your new house doesn’t have room for a gym doesn’t mean you can’t get a workout there. Items all over your home make perfect gym props, so all you need is a little floor space—no special rooms required.

Built-in Workouts

The most natural workout in your home is to use the stairs. If you have more than one floor, design your day so that you make several trips up and down the stairs. No, don’t practice economy by trying to get everything in one load. Instead, make multiple trips and get all those steps in for the day. Work it fast for cardio or carry loads to build muscle. Either way, your steps are your workout friend.

If you don’t have a second story or basement to get your workout in gear, a single porch or patio step does nicely for an aerobic step workout. Just make sure your step’s tread is deep enough that you can keep your balance as you step on and off.

Another built-in prop is the kitchen (or bathroom) counter. In just a few strategic minutes a day, you can tone your core, chest, and arms. Place your hands on the countertop—about shoulder-width apart—and step back with your feet until your feet are as far as they can reach while flat on the floor. Creating a straight line from head to toe and with arms fully extended, press into the counter as you bend your elbows and allow your weight to shift to your toes. Do two or three sets of 10-15 “push-ups” as you stand in the kitchen waiting for your coffee to brew or dinner to cook.

Provided that your shower has a non-skid floor, get in a few reps of wall presses as you take your morning rinse.

Other items on hand

  • Cans: No need to buy costly weights. Add a full can in each hand as you do your steps to increase your workout.
  • Jugs: Milk, juice, or laundry soap jugs work great for getting a good arm workout. Try bicep curls or overhead presses. Just in case you drop one, though, it’s better to re-fill an empty one with water rather than the one fresh from the store. A full milk jug supplies about eight and a half pounds to each arm: for best results, use identical jugs left and right.
  • Chairs: Give yourself a full-body workout with a sturdy chair (kitchen or dining room chairs that don’t tip when you press on the back). Standing in front of the seat, facing away and about one foot in front of the chair, slowly lower yourself toward the chair and grab the seat with your hands. Raise and lower your body to give your arms and core some love. Or, stand beside the chair back and use it as a support when you lift one leg out to the side, front, and back.
  • You: Remember that your body weight is the perfect piece of equipment for toning and strengthening exercise. Check out online Pilates, yoga, Zumba, or kickboxing routines or do your squats, pushups, burpees, or lunges.

If a full home gym is on your wish list, reach out to your real estate professional to keep an eye out for the perfect setup for you.

Requirements For Handicap Accessibility

When a loved one needs a bit more help to get around the house, whether they have simple physical limitations or rely on the use of a wheelchair, you’re going to need to make some major changes both inside and outside the home. You may be overwhelmed with the idea that you need to overhaul your entire home in order to make suitable accommodations. The good news is that you can boost safety around the property and make your home easier for you or loved ones to get around without huge renovation projects that will take months at a time. Below, you’ll find some of the most important projects that will need to be completed in order to make a home handicap accessible as well as safe and healthy.

Check The Doorways

If wheelchair use is part of the accommodation, you’ll need to check the width of the doorways. Some doorways may need to be modified in order for wheelchairs to move freely about the home. Widening doorways can cost anywhere between $500-$1,000 to complete depending on where the throughway is in the home. 

Adjust The Showers

The safest way to make a shower handicap accessible to is make it a walk in tub or a wheelchair accessible tub. Depending upon the extent of the accommodations that are needed, you can go a cheaper route and install a bench seat in an existing shower. Hand rails can also be added to the tub for extra safety.

Think Of The Entire Bathroom

The simple addition of grab bars can make a big difference in the safety of a bathroom. Make sure that the bars are installed in easy to reach places. Also any supplies that are needed in the bathroom like soaps, shampoos, and toothpaste should be easy to reach. A toilet riser can also be considered to help people who have issues bending down in order to make the toilet easier to use. 

Don’t Forget The Kitchen     

The kitchen should be a place where accommodations for handicap individuals are definitely present. First, all supplies should be easy to reach. Next, appliances should be adjusted accordingly. Grab bars should also be installed in the kitchen to make safety a priority and accessibility easy.

Install Ramps


Whether or not a disabled person uses a wheelchair, installing a ramp can make a huge difference in the home for a disabled individual. Converting stairways to ramps actually isn’t as expensive as you might think it would be, with costs starting at just $100 for a basic ramp. Custom ramps can run a bit more expensive- as much as $1,000. These make it easier for disabled people to get in and out of the home or around the inside of the home with ease. The total cost can vary based on the size of the ramp and the type of materials being used.

Mind The Floors


To make a home handicap accessible, thick carpets should be removed. Any types of flooring that make it hard to maneuver a wheelchair or walker should be modified.

How To: Setting Up a Home Office

Working from home is a job benefit many dream of. However, despite what some may think working from home is not all fun and games. While it may make for an easier commute it also can make for more distractions that keep you from your work. Learn how you can create an office in your home that is a productivity oasis.

Function before form. It may be tempting to run out and buy all the beautiful office supplies and knick knacks, but before you do plan out the function of your office first. Create a list of must-have items. Will you need a printer, file cabinet or shelves for your reference binders? Perhaps a fax machine, large whiteboard or a sprawling desk with plenty of elbow room. Knowing what you need on hand to create the most efficient work environment will give you the ability to sit down and productively work without running out to get supplies or inventing workarounds. You will also want to invest in a good ergonomic chair since you will be spending so much of your time sitting in it. Your back will thank you.

Location. The location of your home office in your house may be more important than you think. Choosing a quiet secluded room with lots of light will create an ideal working environment. If you have children or a partner that will be home during the day you will want the room in a place where they will not have to tiptoe around like if you, for example, set up shop in the dining room. Creating some “do not disturb” signs may be a good idea to further set boundaries with your family.

Organize. Set yourself up for success off the bat by developing an organization system that works best for your home office. Since home offices tend to be set up in smaller rooms of a house make the most of your space by organizing vertically as well horizontally. Neatly manage and label cords when you set up any electrical equipment. Keep the items you use daily within easy reach so you don’t need to jump up and down all day to dig through your cabinets.

Inspire. This is your home office, after all, and not a cubicle so don’t be afraid to add personality to work your space. Pick up posters with uplifting quotes or imagery or a cork board to pin inspiration and goals. Paint your office a color that uplifts and inspires you. A calm blue paired with a vibrant yellow can help boost your focus and alertness.

Setting up a home office is an exciting house project, especially when you will have the opportunity to work from home. While it’s tempting to make your new office one that is visually appealing don’t forget to keep function at the forefront of your planning process. In the end, you’ll have the best of both worlds and may even be more productive for it!

Interior Painting Tips

Painting the interior of your home is an inexpensive way of increasing its value. It improves the overall look of your home, while adding style and allure. It is not uncommon with residential home owners to take on this task themselves.  Do it yourself projects such as painting can be fun, while saving money at the same time.  The following outline will help you get started.

Have a clear picture

Having a clear picture of what you want the end result to look like is very important. Visit each room in the house and note the look and feel you desire for each area.  Keep in mind that the new wall color should coordinate with the current  furnishings in each room. Assuming you are painting the home for resale, keep the colors neutral, and consistent throughout the house.

Discuss with others

Talk with all the members of your household, and share your painting plans with them. Ask for their ideas, discuss your choice of colors, and listen to their input. It is important to be open to new ideas, you never know who might come up with the perfect solution to a problem area.

Calculate Paint Needed

At this stage, you need to determine the area to be covered and the quantity of paint required to completely cover each area. You need to take into consideration how many coats of paint will be needed to produce your desired finish on each wall.  Estimating the amount of paint needed is quite simple. Measure the height of the wall and multiply it by the length. This will give you the area to be painted. Calculate the area of windows and doors present on each wall and subtract it from the overall area.

Make Your Budget

The price of paint varies depending on the quality.  A professional can best guide you to  the type of paint and the finish that will best meet your needs.  You will also need to allow money in your budget for the equipment needed to complete your painting project.  Much like the paint, the quality and price will vary on items such as brushes, rollers, painter’s tape and drop cloths.  Again, a professional can recommend how to best utilize your equipment budget.

Planning and Preparation

Planning is key, it is best to estimate how long the job will take before you get started. You will need to plan your household activities around your painting schedule.  Leave a little extra time in your work schedule for those unforeseen circumstances to avoid over whelming yourself.

Clear the room:

  • Remove all furniture from the room to be painted, clearing out as much as possible. For rooms that have very heavy furniture, move them to the center of the room and cover them with a drop cloth to avoid accidental paint spills/spatters.

Wall preparation:

  • Prior to painting, walls need to be prepared.  Use a scraper to remove old paint or a steamer to remove old wallpaper.  Holes should be filled and the wall surface made smooth.  Seek the guidance of a professional on how to best prepare the surface of your walls as the technique will vary based on the construction of the wall.  Tape off the trim work around the doors, windows and flooring, and use drop cloths to protect the carpet and floors.

Prime the wall:

  • The purpose of priming is to prepare the wall for the application of paint.  Priming covers irregularities and stains, making the paint adhere to the wall much more effectively. Priming makes the surface uniform for the application of the new paint,  basically giving the painter a clean canvas to start with.

Start painting:

When you are ready to paint, it’s recommended to start in the more difficult areas or larger rooms first.  Apply paint consistently with even vertical strokes of a brush or roller. Be certain to complete a wall before moving on to another area to help ensure the paint dries evenly. Observe as you go how well the paint is covering and drying.  This will help you to determine how many coats of paint you will need to apply to achieve the look you desire.

Once the painting is done, the equipment put away and the furniture back in place, you can sit back and admire a job well done.

Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are an inexpensive way to help with the heating and cooling of your home. You can find many that cost under $100 and they have little ongoing cost. And for those of you who like DIY projects, this one will take you a couple of hours to upgrade an existing light fixture.

While ceiling fans don’t drastically lower the temperature in a room, they do help to reduce it slightly as well as produce a light breeze which makes you feel cooler. The result? Less use of the air conditioner that results in 3-8% savings on cooling costs. Remember that in the summer months, your fan’s blades should be moving counter clockwise.

In the winter months, ceiling fans can take on a whole new role. When you reverse the fan’s blades to rotate clockwise, you cause the air to circulate without causing that chilly breeze. This allows for better circulation of the warm air that naturally rises to the ceiling. It’s often best to have the fan speed set to low in the winter to avoid too much air movement and the effects of a breeze.

Lastly, and maybe the most important, is the decision on which fan to purchase. There are few things to keep in mind when you are out shopping for a ceiling fan. 1. The size of the room – ceiling fans come in all sizes and choosing one that is meant for your home’s room dimension is key. It’s recommended that you choose a 40-42 inch blade span for a room 70-100 sq feet and a 42-48 inch for 100-140 sq feet. A room that’s bigger may need two small fans to be effective. 2. The location of the installation – for rooms with lower ceilings, a flush mount ceiling fan will work best, while rooms with high ceilings will need a down rod so that the fan is in the right place. You also want to make sure for areas such as an enclosed porch, that you check out the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) rating to ensure the fan has either a damp or wet rating. 3. Finally, you want to pick a fan that fits your decor and life style. Fans come in all sorts of styles and can have features from various lighting to remote controls.

Changing a current light fixture in your home to a ceiling fan can saving you hundreds over the life of the fan. Especially with Energy Star rated ceiling fans available, savings can add up quick.