Category Archives: Curb Appeal & Home staging

Plant an edible perennial garden to increase the market value of your Cowichan Valley home

Easy, Edible Perennial Gardens

One of the best uses for perennials plantings is edibles, especially here in the Cowichan Valley. Perennials go dormant in the winter and return each spring. Many vegetables and herbs are perennial which means you can enjoy bigger and bigger harvests from one plant as the years go by. They’re ideal for plant-once gardening that will grow and produce for many years. You can choose perennial vegetable and herb varieties from an extensive list of these amazing plants.

Asparagus is one of the most expensive grocery store vegetables. Planting just a couple square feet of this delicacy will keep it on the menu all year. Artichokes are another pricey vegetable that are perennials. Potatoes, garlic, and onions will grow each year by themselves if given minimal care.

Herbs such as chives, shallots, thyme, fennel, and spearmint are wonderful staples for a homestead-style garden. Put them in salads of sorrel and radicchio, also perennials, for free green salads through the spring and summer months. Fruit such as rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries (and many more types of berries) are easy to grow. With some informed pruning, they will produce baskets of sweet, organic berry treats.

Perennials may need a little help to get established. Choose the right spot for them based on their needs for light and soil. For example, full sun means six to eight hours of direct sunlight. For the first few years, make sure to monitor their progress and make adjustments, if necessary. Give them water regularly, keep weeds down, and fertilize according to best practices. You many need to wait two or three years before a perennial feels at home and begins to produce.

Perennials are low maintenance with deeper root systems resistant to drought. They may blossom for only a few weeks but make wonderful shrubs. Some may bloom again in the fall when the weather signals them to produce seeds or fruit. Perennials may come from seeds or bulbs.

The next time you’re at the plant nursery, check the labels to see if the plants you like are annuals or perennials. Consider how much time you spend in the garden and the space you have. Maybe there is room for some of these recurring wonders in your backyard and on your menu!

Questions or comments? Want to talk about your next real estate transaction? Contact Lorne Gait and Morgan Fisher today.

Cowichan Valley homes for sale

Most Desired Home Features

A home is defined by how we use it which means it needs to fit our lifestyle and our expectations. We need them to be trouble-free, efficient, and comfortable. Modern houses are evolving from mere dwellings to spaces that fit like a tailored garment or a fine pair of shoes. According to Realtor.com, these features are in high demand for 2021. See if any of them belong on your Cowichan Valley home shopping list.

A walk-in closet is predicted to be the most sought-after feature in a new home. Although some critics say these hidden retreats of calm are more than people need, the benefits seem to outweigh the criticism. If you love clothes and have a shoe collection, a walk-in closet is a necessity. They’re more than a big closet, they’re a dressing room with flattering lighting and mirrors for checking your look.

Energy efficiency is the sexy new feature this year. Ultra high-performance windows, LED lighting, and heat pumps put the swagger in a home buyer’s step. Going green is more than saving money. It’s a middle-class status symbol that says you’re hip with a sophisticated understanding of value for money. What could be better than near perfect climate control all year for pennies a day?

In the spirit of hygge and fika and appreciating all the good things in life, the laundry room has finally made its debut. This previously unmentionable room has come of age and now beckons the homeowner to sit, stay, and contemplate the meaning of clean laundry. Ample cupboard space, a place to iron, and intelligent appliances are accessorized with a desk and soft lamp light. Combine with a mud room and it becomes almost like a second kitchen perhaps with enough space for a gathering table.

Kitchen designers have settled on stainless and granite as the two main features of a proper kitchen. Interestingly, Realtor.com also reports that medium brown cabinets are preferred by first-time buyers—perhaps because they seem more luxurious—while repeat buyers tend to prefer white cabinetry. A classic white kitchen is hard to ignore. They’re easy to clean and white goes with everything. Pair them with white appliances if you like the look and plant to stay or stainless steel if the home is going on the market.

Architectural style is still trending to a fusion of traditional and contemporary minimalism, as seen in these examples. The Southern California-inspired philosophy of indoor/outdoor living continues to grow in popularity. The naturalistic environment of a joined living space and outdoor space is fundamental to the idea being connected with nature.

One way to achieve a sense of verdure that is an unmistakeable characteristic of indoor/outdoor design is to mirror the patio space and the living space. Choose sliding doors without a track in the floor. If the living space has a tile floor, continue the tiles outside to the patio for a seamless look. Use trees inside to harmonize the transition between the house and the yard. And, for colour inspiration, look to backyard plants and skyscapes. The goal with this method is to blur the boundaries between the house and the yard.

Questions or comments? Want to talk about your next real estate transaction? Contact Lorne Gait and Morgan Fisher today to learn more about new home construction trends.

Free home staging consultation when you list your home for sale in the Cowichan Valley

Kitchen Makeovers to Beat the February Blahs

Are you bored with your kitchen? Is a renovation out of the question? Did you know that a mini makeover can increase the value of your Cowichan Valley home? With some careful upgrades to the most touched pieces, and a colour shift with accessories, a makeover can be affordable and fun. The first step is to establish the scope of your project by considering ambition, time, and money.

New cabinets from IKEA are not expensive, especially if you can install them yourself. With a modest budget and some labour, you can transform the layout of your kitchen to something much more efficient. At the other end of the spectrum, a deep cleaning and new paint on the backsplash costs very little. Or you might find that re-grouting the tile floor and painting the ceiling are all you need to do.

A February kitchen makeover may be planned over four weekends. Here is a sample schedule to give you some ideas:

Week 1

Paint is one of the easiest ways to improve the look of a room. Clean the walls thoroughly with trisodium phosphate (TSP) to remove cooking oils and prep the surface for paint. Traditional colours for kitchens are whites, greens, light blues, and soft greys. Mix and match them to create your own style. Creamy white walls with a pale blue ceiling will expand the space and allow light to bounce around. No time to paint? Simply washing the walls with TSP will brighten them and give the space a fresh look.

Week 2

Replace the faucet with a new one. There is a faucet style for every taste and budget. Most will have a pull out or down spray tool for rinsing beyond the normal reach of a spigot. Newer ones have a touch-less feature that is convenient when your hands are covered in food. If you like your existing faucet, consider a moveable spigot head from the dollar store. It will be a small but welcome improvement.

Week 3

Cabinet pulls and knobs are a terrific way to introduce a new look to your kitchen. They’re easy to install with just a screwdriver. Unless you’re replacing the whole cabinet, try to replace like-with-like. That is, choose simple replacement hardware that doesn’t require any drilling or other modifications. If new knobs aren’t in the budget, remove the old ones and let them soak in a detergent solution overnight. You might be surprised at the difference a deep cleaning will make to their appearance.

Week 4

Window coverings can be changed with the season. In the summer, a translucent venetian blind will keep things light and, in the winter, an insulated roman blind can add a cozy feel while saving energy. The best part is you can leave both up all year round and switch between them. Avoid curtains in the cooking area to reduce the risk of fires.

Want to talk about your next real estate transaction? Need some advice on pre-listing renovations and home staging? Contact Lorne Gait and Morgan Fisher today.