Dorrinda O’Keefe-Shea - CENTURY 21 Toomey-Lovett, Inc Centurian 2012 Top Producer Diamond Award


There's a lot to love about a builder grade home, for example, the fact that it is newly built and doesn't come with the host of issues of an older home. However, these homes can lack in the personality department since the focus when being built was on the budget and not magazine worthy style. Keep reading to discover how you can add stylistic flair to your home without draining your bank account. Light fixtures. Changing light fixtures by either replacing them completely or painting them can make a huge difference in a room. Picking up a few cans of rubbed bronze or satin nickel spray paint will give a modern touch without breaking the bank. Doors. Replace or reface generic hollow core doors. You can reface flat doors by adding molding or get creative with a can of paint and a roll of painter’s tape and make the illusion that you have a raised panel door. Beadboard paired with molding is another great combination that adds personality to your doors without the major price tag. Stairs. Strip carpeting to expose treads and risers. Here’s where you can let your imagination go wild. Pick up some cans of paint and add a unique touch to your staircase by painting railings and  risers to add a pop of color. Avoid painting your stairs all one color to avoid a bland look. You can even paint a faux runner to really add a unique touch. Cabinets.  Replacing cabinets is always an option albeit a pricey one. If you’re happy with your cabinet layout you have a few diy options available. Variation can be the spice of life. Try removing some cabinet doors to keep things open or installing some glass paneled doors. Paint is always an option whether professionally sprayed or done by yourself. Another easy way to add some personality to builder grade cabinets is by updating hardware. Look for knobs and handles at antique shops to add a unique touch on a budget. Millwork. Molding, wainscoting, and beadboard. Oh, my. With this trio on your side, the possibilities for customization are endless. Frame a plain bathroom mirror, add chair rails or extend baseboards. With a little creativity, you can even recreate the look of coffered ceiling or paneled doors. If you are unsure of where to start, try looking through some home magazines for inspiration. Wallpaper. Wallpaper gives you endless options for adding flair to the walls of your home. Add a pop of color with bright, bold patterns or texture with paintable varieties. If you don’t want to make a commitment to wallpaper or the idea of scrapping it if you change your mind fills you with dread there are now a plethora of temporary wallpaper options. Tile. Hexagon and subway tiles are both guaranteed to add a modern feel to your home. However, your options today are endless no matter your budget. Explore the selections at your local home improvement store and don’t rule out materials fabricated to recreate a stone or wood finish. After all, there’s no need to empty your wall out just to get the look you want. Just because you’ve fallen in love with a builder grade home doesn’t mean it needs to stay quite so basic. If you want to add a touch of modern style to your home a little creativity and paint can go a long way. Don’t forget to sit back and enjoy all your hard work when you’re finished!

Fireplaces can serve as a focal point in a room, provide a source of heat and add to the comfort of your home. They can also help you to save on energy costs. There’s so many different kinds of fireplaces that you can either install or find in a home. If you’re shopping for a home, you may want a home with a built-in fireplace. You don’t necessarily need one to get all of the benefits that a fireplace can provide. There’s different types of fireplaces that are made to suit the many different needs of homeowners. Here, we’ll show you some different kinds of fireplaces along with their pros and cons. 


Wood Fireplaces 


The most commonly thought of fireplace is the wood-burning fireplace. This will be built-in to your home, or you can install them in your home to use as a heat source. You may even install a wood stove in the upstairs part of your home and another in the downstairs in order to keep an even heat throughout the home. In some homes, however, just one wood stove is enough to heat the entire house! 


This type of fireplace requires maintaining from time-to-time including cleaning the chimney. You’ll also need to clean out ash from the inside of the fireplace. The material that’s being burned- wood, needs to be stored somewhere. Rain and inclement weather can cause a problem, as you’ll need to dry the wood some before it can be burned effectively. You’ll need a screen to protect you and your family from the ash and embers that may be blown around form the inside of the fireplace while it’s burning wood. These fireplaces are advantageous for a classic look and feel but can often be a pain to clean.   


Gas Fireplaces 


If your home is fitted with a gas fireplace, you’re lucky because these types of fireplaces are cleaner and provide a more even heat source. Gas fireplaces, true to their name, burn gas instead of wood. A vented gas fireplace will look very similar to that of a wood- burning fireplace. There is a firebox present in the chimney that allows for ventilation with these types of heating sources. You can use a variety of things to give the appearance that you are “burning” them in a gas fireplace. This includes beads that will bring flames up and ceramic logs that appear just like the logs that would be present in a wood-burning fireplace. You can even easily convert a gas burning fireplace to a wood burning one. This is, if you seem miss cleaning up all of the ash that they create!   


Direct Vent Fireplaces


These fireplaces don’t require a chimney. They draw in outside air and feed off a gas line that’s attached through the wall. The flame of these fireplaces is secured behind a piece of glass. The big advantage to these kinds of fireplaces is that they emit a large amount of heat and don’t lose much heat in the process, since there’s no chimney to lose air through.  


Faux Fireplaces

If you choose, there’s a variety of options that you have in getting a fireplace that doesn’t actually create a flame at all. These fireplaces are typically run on electricity and give the same effect of a fireplace but are much easier to install anywhere in your home. Consider these if you really would like a fireplace without the hassle!




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