Wellesley & Weston Real Estate News

June 7, 2019

5 Simple Kitchen Cleaning Hacks

No one likes cleaning the kitchen. It's a tedious chore. However, there are ways to make it less grueling. Check out our five kitchen cleaning hacks so you can save time to do the things you enjoy!

 

Oven hack

 

There are many techniques for cleaning your oven that involve a few household ingredients and a little patience while you wait for the grease to slowly release. But an even quicker way to a clean oven is to never get it dirty in the first place! Buy yourself an oven liner so that the next time you make your famous roast chicken, you have only the liner to clean. 

 

Sticky cabinet hack

 

You know that layer of sticky dust that settles on kitchen cabinets or on top of your refrigerator? It is almost impossible to remove with just about any type of cleaning product, except one — mineral oil. Just spread a thin layer of it on surfaces, and then a little dish soap and warm water on a cloth will wipe off all that nasty dust!

 

Stainless steel sink hack

 

Your sink is a catchall for every type of food, oil and acid that you use to cook with or consume. It's seen its fair share of diverse ingredients, so it deserves some TLC. However, it can be difficult to cut through the grease that settles on the bottom and sides of your sink. The best way to remove it is with some baking soda. You will be amazed at how well this ingredient cuts through the grime and reveals a sparkling clean sink.

 

Stove hack

 

Your stove sees it all, including your forays into different types of cuisine. Also, the stove is one item in your kitchen that needs to be cleaned often, especially if you're an avid cook. The best and quickest way to get it clean is by using a combination of dish soap, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. First, put a layer of dish soap on the surface and follow it up with the baking soda and then the hydrogen peroxide. Use some kind of soft bristle brush to gently scrub away dirt.

 

Microwave hack

 

Sometimes the microwave gets overlooked because the mess is concealed behind a closed door. But you definitely want to keep this appliance clean so that old food spills don't seep into the new food you heat up in the microwave. Here's the hack: Put water and lemon in a bowl and bring the water to a boil in the microwave. Then let the steam work away at the dirt and grease. Follow up by wiping everything clean with a cloth. 

 

Looking for even more household tips? Give us a call today! We love spreading our knowledge.

 

June 4, 2019

5 Lawn Care Mistakes That Can Destroy Your Lawn

5 Lawn Care Mistakes That Can Destroy Your Yard

 

Everyone wants a lawn covered with lush green grass and verdant plants. But what mistakes are preventing you from achieving this? Read on to learn about some common lawn care mistakes and how to prevent them. 

 

1. Cutting Grass Too Short

 

Experts advise cutting off no more than 30 percent of the grass blade in a single pass. Cutting your grass too short or trimming it down to half of its previous size might be appealing—after all, if your grass is shorter, it will take longer to grow back—but this is not good for the long-term health of your lawn.
In addition to damaging the blade, cutting your grass too short can indirectly damage the root system. This damage will limit the grass's ability to collect light and absorb water, leading to wilting or even plant death. Keeping your grass longer will help it to grow fuller and become more lush. 

 

2. Using Only One Type of Seed

 

Using a mixture of seeds will result in a mixture of plant types. Different types of grass will survive better in different conditions. The different species will balance out each other's strengths and weaknesses, resulting in a more resilient lawn overall. This will make your turf more likely to survive extreme weather conditions such as prolonged heat or drought. 

 

3. Ignoring the pH of the Soil

 

The optimal pH for grass is between 6.0 and 6.5. For reference, a neutral pH, such as that of water, is 7.0. This means that your lawn's soil should be slightly acidic in order to bolster plant growth. Sending away a soil sample for testing can be an easy way to get a gage on your lawn's pH. If the pH is out of whack, it can easily be adjusted using sulfur or lime treatments. 

 

4. Forgetting to Sharpen Your Lawn Mower's Blade

 

A sharp blade will cut your grass more cleanly, while a dull blade can cause bruising and other damage to each blade of grass. Damaged blades of grass are more susceptible to death or disease, so using a sharp lawn mower blade can contribute to the overall health of your lawn. 
Most people should sharpen their lawn mower blades approximately twice a year. A good sign that your blade is too dull is that your lawn mower is tearing or crushing your grass instead of cutting it cleanly. 

 

5. Collecting Grass Clippings

 

Many lawn mowers come with an attached bag that will gather up the grass as it is cut. This is a visually appealing strategy, but it is not good for your lawn's long-term health. Instead, you should leave the grass clippings spread around your lawn. This self-mulching strategy will help fertilize your remaining grass. In particular, this is useful in maintaining your soil's nitrogen levels—a key factor in lawn health. 

 

If you can avoid making these 5 common lawn care mistakes, you will enjoy a lush, green lawn throughout the year.

 

May 29, 2019

Planting an Edible Garden

While flower gardens are beautiful and peaceful, homeowners today are increasingly interested in planting small-scale edible gardens. The resulting produce may be better tasting than anything you can get in a supermarket. While you aren't likely to create a sustainable farm, you can have access to fresh produce straight from the garden whenever it's ready to harvest. From leafy greens to herbs and from fruits to vegetables, what you put into an edible garden is exactly what you get it out of it. Here are some tips on planting an edible garden.

 

The Style of Your Edible Garden
If you plan to sell your home in the future, it's especially important to pay attention to the style of your garden. For example, some people create an edible garden around already existing flower beds in their yard. Or they may use raised beds or pots if they're concerned about the impact of planting on their lawn. 

 

Some cities allow homeowners to have a vegetable garden in their front yard. If that is a part of the culture of your city, it could be seen as a benefit for future resale. Before you plant anything, decide how you want it to look now and in the future. 

 

What to Plant in Your Edible Garden
As long as you can eat it and it can grow in your climate, anything is possible in an edible garden. Popular home garden plants include:

 

  • Tomatoes.
  • Herbs.
  • Peppers.
  • Potatoes.
  • Carrots.

 

If you have the yard for it, consider planting a fruit or nut tree. These take a longer time before your first harvest, but there's nothing like apples fresh off the tree in the fall. 

 

Soil and Sun Considerations
You'll need to take into account the amount and timing of the sunlight in your yard to determine how to plant your edible garden. Different plants require different levels and hours of sunlight, so start tracking how the sun hits your property throughout the day during the summer. 

 

You may also want to evaluate your soil and supplement it with additional nutrients if it isn't conducive to growing things. An issue with your soil is also a great reason to consider using raised beds or pots, because they allow you to choose whatever type of soil you need. 

 

Involve the Whole Family 
The idea of planting an edible garden is to enhance your life. It's a great activity for all ages, and you can get the entire family involved. Everyone can have a job, no matter how young or old. Gardening together can be a great bonding experience for the whole family. 

 

You also get the satisfaction of your harvest. You can share your bounty with friends and neighbors, especially if you plant more than you can use before it spoils. Edible gardens pay for themselves very quickly. 

 

Do you want more tips on growing an edible garden for you home? Contact us today.

 

May 17, 2019

A Look at Different Options for Roofing

What's Over Your Head?

 

No roof lasts forever, and if it's time to replace yours, give a lot of thought to how best to do it. Notice the wear and tear on your neighbors' roofs over time to help figure out which materials are durable and look good on houses like yours. Observation is a great tool — and it's free!

 

 

That said, there are basic qualities of every material that you should consider when making your pick.

 

Asphalt shingles

 

  • Most popular roofing material.
  • Lightweight and easy to install, which reduces labor costs.
  • Inexpensive; cost from $70 to $120 per 100 square feet.
  • Lifespan is shorter than that of other materials, about 20 to 30 years, depending on maintenance and brand quality.
  • Work with many styles of homes, especially suburban ones.

 

Slate

 

  • Classic beauty and elegance.
  • A heavy material that requires extra framing and must be installed by a professional.
  • Expensive; costs about $600 per 100 square feet.
  • Lasts for more than 50 years.
  • Durable, fire-resistant and recyclable.
  • Fake slate looks just like real slate but is made of polymer, clay, rubber or asphalt instead, so it's more lightweight and less costly (although it will not last as long).

 

Metal

 

  • Often made of aluminum, stainless steel, zinc or copper (which fades to green).
  • Installation is easy because metal is half the weight of asphalt; comes in panels or shingles.
  • Expensive; costs anywhere from $100 to $800 per 100 square feet.
  • Lasts for 40 to 70 years, and is resistant to extreme weather.
  • Can be noisy when rain falls on it.
  • Dents easily but unnoticeably, as the texture of the roof hides any dings.
  • Reflects sunshine, which keeps your home cooler during summer.
  • Recyclable, and can be used to collect rainwater.

 

Synthetic

 

  • Made out of rubber, plastic and polymer to imitate natural materials at a lower price.
  • Lightweight and strong, making installation easy.
  • Costs $300 per 100 square feet.
  • Somewhat durable and fire-resistant, but some may absorb water.
  • Quality can differ greatly from supplier to supplier.

 

Of course, the style and geographic location of your house may affect your choice. Also, the quality of the contractor you employ may matter more than the type of material you choose. Getting the best person for the job ensures your roof will be installed correctly and that it will serve you for a long time. Venture out of your yard, do some research, and ask friends and neighbors about their roofs to get started today!

 

May 12, 2019

Wellesley Wonderful Weekend 2019

Wellesley's 21st Wonderful Weekend will be held May 17-19 and will feature a packed schedule of events for the whole family to enjoy. Be sure to  check out the list below or visit the official Wellesley Wonderful Weekend website.

Can't wait to see you there!

Friday - May 17th
  3:05p.m. - 6:00p.m.

Annual Hunnewell Fun Fair*  Hunnewell School PTO
Hunnewell Elementary School, 28 Cameron Street, Rides, games, crafts

  All Weekend D-Day Historical Displays
Main Wellesley Library, 530 Washington Street
Saturday - May 18th
  8:00a.m.—1:00p.m. Pancake Festival* at the Wellesley High School Wellesley Kiwanis Club and Wellesley High School Key Club
50 Rice Street
 
  8:00a.m.—1:00p.m. Free Eye Exams at the Wellesley Lions Club Eye Mobile at the Wellesley High School Wellesley Lions Club
50 Rice Street
 

 

9:00a.m.—10:00a.m.

Lower Falls Walk— Wellesley Trails Committee
Meet at 9:00am at the River Street parking lot off of Washington Street

 
  10:00a.m.—4:00p.m.

"Price of Freedom" D-Day Film Festival
Main Wellesley Library, 530 Washington Street
Films running continously: Eagles of Mercy, D-Day: Over Normandy, and D-Day at Pointe-du-Hoc

 

 

10:00a.m.—11:30a.m.

Dog Contest — Fun and Health for Pets and Their 'People' *
Wellesley Health Department, Wellesley Animal Control, Stray Pets in Need, and Unleashed by Petco
Warren School Playground, 90 Washington Street (Route 16)

Prizes awarded in various categories including "shaggiest", "best grooomed", "best tricks", "wiggliest", and many more!

 
  10:00a.m.—1:00p.m

Open House at the Tollhouse Shop -- Wellesley Historical Society
229 Washington Street

 
  10:00a.m.—2:00p.m

Wheels of Wellesley VII @ Wellesley Community Center
219 Washington Street

 
  10:00a.m.—2:00p.m

Plant Sale -- Garden Clubs
Includes Displays, Crafts, and Presentations
Simon's Park, Corner of Washington and Brook Street, left of library

 
  10:00a.m.—3:00p.m

Spring Carnival at Unitarian Universalist Church (UU Wellesley)*
309 Washington Street, Sprague Tower Park

 
  11:00a.m.— 3:00p.m. Open House at "Re-imagined" Fells Branch Early Learning for Children — 308 Weston Road  
  11:00a.m.— 3:00p.m. "Touch a Truck" - Open House at Wellesley Department of Public Works — 20 Municipal Way (off 455 Worcester Street, Route 9)  
 

11:00a.m.— 3:00p.m.

Open House at Wellesley Municipal Light Plant — 4 Municipal Way (off 455 Worcester Street, Route 9)

 

 

11:00a.m.— 3:00p.m.

Open House at Wellesley Police Station
485 Washington Street

 

 

11:00a.m.— 3:00p.m.

Open House at Wellesley Main Fire Station #2
457 Worcester Street (Route 9)

 

 

1:00p.m. — 3:00p.m.

Build Your Own Woodland Troll & Fairy House — Wellesley Conservation Council
Cochituate Aqueduct, Russell Road / Kendall Road (for elementary school kids)

wcc
  1:00p.m.—4:00p.m. Art in the ParkWellesley Community Art Project & Wellesley Women Artisans
Simon’s  Park (Corner of Washington & Brook Street, left of the Library)
 
  3:30p.m.— 6:00p.m.

Magic Show in Support of Cure Alzheimer's Fund* @ Wellesley Community Center Young Magicians of Boston
219 Washington Street

Enyour a fun-filled afternoon of Family Entertainment featuring a select group of close-up and stage magicians who will amaze and astound you. In support of Cure Alzheimer's Fund, $10 individual, $25 family available at the door.

 

 

 

4:00p.m.

Veterans’ Ecumenical Memorial Mass at Saint Paul Church
Wellesley Veterans’ Council
502 Washington Street

 
Sunday - May 19th
  8:00a.m.—10:00a.m. Bird Walk Locally, with Natalie Starr — Wellesley Conservation Council
Meet at the Cameron St. Parking lot at the Main Library
wcc
 

8:30a.m.-5K Run
9:30a.m.-Kids 1K Run

6th Annual Wonder Run 5K and Kids Fun Run 1K* —Wellesley Hills Junior Women's Club
Wellesley High School, 50 Rice Street
Click for registration.
 

 

1:00p.m.—3:00p.m.

51st Annual Wellesley Veterans’ Parade
2019 Theme: 75th Anniversary of D-Day
Wellesley Celebrations’ Committee

The parade starts at the intersection of Route 16 (Washington Street) and Route 9 and continues westbound along Route 16 to Wellesley Square. The reviewing stand is in Wellesley Square.

 

 

5:00p.m. — DUSK

Picnic in the Park at Hunnewell Field
Food*, drinks*,kid’s rides*, crafts, games, pony rides & other fun
Food by Charles River Rotary, Captain Mardens, and others

 

 

6:00p.m. — DUSK

Concert for Wellesley at Hunnewell Field
Featuring the Reminisants and WHS Jazz Combo

 

 

DUSK (around 9:00p.m.)

Fireworks —the Biggest Ever! at Hunnewell Field
Sponsors: Roche Brothers/Sudbury Farms and Wellesley Dental Group, Drs Ali and Ali

 

 

 

*Please note, asterisk indicates a small fee may be charged.

 

May 10, 2019

7 Water-Friendly Plants to Keep Your Summer Water Usage Down

With summer comes high temperatures and high water restrictions. If you want a garden that will bloom in the smoldering heat and save you money on your water bill, look no further. All the flowers listed below are known to bloom in summertime.

Here are 7 water-friendly plants to keep your summer water usage down.

1. Black-eyed Susan

This flower, also known as the Gloriosa Daisy, lives up to its name in design: Its center or "eye" is a dark brown that looks black next its bright, yellow petals. It can also grow up to almost four feet tall, so it can tower over the other flowers you plant, creating depth in your garden.

2. Marigold

Marigolds offer the same bright, yellow color as the Black-eyed Susan and will create a lively and inviting appeal to your garden. If you’re hoping for an exceptionally bright summer garden, this is the flower for you.

3. Surprise Lily

This flower is just as fun and inviting as it sounds: It blooms white, soft pink or a mixture of both. Not only is it lovely, but it also grows in extreme conditions, including hurricanes. If you’re having a hard time finding this flower, you might look for it under its aliases: Hurricane Lily and Resurrection Lily.

4. Peonies

Peonies are not only beautiful and aromatic, they’re also the sea turtles of the flower world. They can live up to 100 years in the harshest conditions. Take that, Crush from Finding Nemo. Leave your green thumb at home with these pretties. You'll hardly need it.

5. Daffodil

Planting Daffodils is another great way to brighten up your summer garden. When they bloom, their petals are either completely yellow or white with a yellow trumpet center. These flowers bloom in springtime but last into the hot summertime.

6. Lavender

With all the white and yellow in your garden, you might shake things up a little by adding some purple. It’s also a natural potpourri – just walking by your garden can make your home seem more inviting to guests. Lavender loves hot weather, so this flower is perfect for your water-friendly, summer garden.

7. Periwinkle

Add a little more color to your garden by planting Periwinkle. You’ve heard of periwinkle pink, but this flower actually blooms in a variety of colors – eleven to be exact. This is another flower that can grow tall, eye level with the Black-eyed Susan. Periwinkle is a great flower to plant in any season, but it has great adaptability to the dry heat of summertime.
If you’re selling your house in the summer, you want to make sure your garden is in tip-top shape. Water-friendly flowers can make that happen for you. If you’re trying to sell your home now, reach out to us for more tips and advice.

 

May 6, 2019

WHJWC Kitchen and Home Tour

This past weekend I was thrilled to sponsor and be a part of the Wellesley Hills Junior Women's Club Kitchen and Home Tour. It was a day all about design and gorgeous homes. So much fun and such an honor to be part of! Here I am with Rockstar builder extraordinaire Brendon Properties and the fab designer of one of the homes, LeBlanc Design

To see more pictures of the gorgeous homes featured on this amazing tour, be sure to check out the Wellesley Hills Junior Women's Club official Kitchen and Home Tour Instagram page.

 

May 1, 2019

6 Steps to Creating a Fabulous Raised Garden

Ready to put your green thumb to good use? Try making your very own raised garden. If you’re a natural gardener or if you’re a beginner, you can create a raised garden that will make your backyard look like a professionally landscaped dream. Here are six steps to creating a fabulous raised garden.
 
What you’ll need

 

2 8-foot 2x12 boards
2 4-foot 2x12 boards
3 ½-inch deck screws
12 32-quart bags of potting mix
Shovel
Cordless drill
 
Step 1

 

Mark off a 4-by-8 foot rectangle where you would like your raised bed to be. Pull up the grass and ensure that the ground is level. Some people prefer not to pull up the grass, figuring it will die eventually, but leaving the grass poses the risk of weeds growing there later on.
 
Step 2

 

Fasten the boards at the corners by screwing together in 3 or 4 spots with 3-inch desk screws. Then, pre-drill the holes to make building the bed easier and to prevent the wood from splitting.
 
Step 3

 

When you have completed building the frame, look to see that it fits level on the ground and doesn’t move back and forth. If it does move, then push the frame aside and level any high points in the soil with a shovel.

Step 4

 

Put your frame back into the spot you’d like and fill it with the potting mix. You can purchase garden soil or potting mix in bags or you can mix your native soil with homemade compost. Just mix half soil and half compost.
 
Step 5

 

Wind a hose that is at least 25 feet up and down the bed for easy watering. Hold your hose in place with pins used for landscape fabric or you can create your own pins from 1-foot lengths of baling wire that’s folded in half.
 
Step 6

 

Choose the veggies and plants that you’d like in your garden and place them alongside the soaker hoses. Mulch your plant bed with an organic mulch to keep your soil hydrated and to prevent pesky weeds. Don’t use fine mulch like compost, because that can clog soaker hoses. Turn on your soaker to water the bed deeply. You may have to use a sprinkler the first time to make sure the soil is moist evenly throughout. 

 

Enjoy your fabulous raised garden!
 
What are you going to plant in your new raised garden? Contact us and let us know!

 

April 13, 2019

7 Ways to Keep Your Lawn Green but Your Water Bill Low

As we begin to spend more time outside and curb appeal season starts ramping up, let's talk about seven tips for keeping your yard green without doubling the water bill. 
 
1. Determine if the type of grass in your yard is the best variety for your climate

There are dozens of unique classifications of turf grass, and all varieties respond differently to their environment. A few basic examples are cold or heat-tolerant, saltwater-tolerant and grasses that stand up to wear and tear. Start by asking a lawn expert what you have (be prepared to discover there are several kinds) and which is the easiest to keep green.
 
2. Mow it at a higher setting 

Blades of grass act like satellite dishes for the roots. They attract sunlight, convert the energy into food and feed the roots. Raising the height of your lawnmower will prevent damage to the crown (just below the green part) and give the grass a bigger receptor to the sun's energy.
 
3. Pick the best time to water 

On hot summer afternoons, water evaporates quickly, so it will take more water to saturate your lawn compared to other times of the day. On average, 5:00 a.m. is the best time to run the sprinklers or hose.
 
4. Go with a rainwater collection system

Rainwater collectors don't have to be fancy — some are in the shape of barrels — but they do help cut back on the water bill while keeping your yard healthy. But if you want to go fancy, there is a company that makes a system that doubles as a fence.
 
5. Prevent disease by applying the appropriate chemicals

Grass blades are susceptible to disease, like any other living organism. If you notice brown spots in a somewhat regular pattern in your yard or mushrooms in a circle, that could be a symptom of a fungus. The fungus could spread and possibly destroy parts of your lawn. An expert can advise you on what is appropriate for your variety and environment.
 
6. Fertilize it 

Healthy yards stay green longer, are less prone to contamination and recover from foot traffic better than their counterparts. Feeding your grass is one way to keep it healthy. Going back to the first tip on this list, determine what kind of grass you have in your yard and buy the appropriate fuel for it. You'll see the blades grow faster and thicker when properly nourished.
 
7. Overseed it in the fall or winter

This strategy applies mostly to folks who live in mild or warmer climates, but cold-weather lawn-lovers can overseed as well. Overseeding means just that — seeding over an existing yard. You'll have a green yard in the winter, but those seedlings will also help insulate your existing grass.

Soon your lawn will be the envy of the neighborhood!

April 7, 2019

Spring cleaning time has arrived! Are you ready?

Are you looking for some cleaning products that will do a great job, but that won’t break the bank or hurt the environment? Read on for DIY spring cleaning agents that are good for the environment and budget friendly.

Pillowcases
Pillowcases aren’t just a place to lay your head, it turns out that they also pose a way to collect dust while you are cleaning. Just toss the pillowcase over your fan blades and gently pull it off so that the dust and dirt will remain inside the pillowcase and not all over the floor below it.

Stove Burner Cleaning
Looking to clean stubborn foods and stains off of your stove burners without putting in the extra elbow grease? There’s an easy solution for this. Just place the burners inside a Ziploc bag along with a ¼ cup of ammonia. Then leave them there overnight and in the morning, gently wipe them clean with a sponge.

Mattress Cleaning
Mix a few drops of essential mattress oil with one cup of baking soda. Sprinkle the mixture onto the top of your mattress and let it sit for one hour before vacuuming it up. The baking soda will absorb any dirt, moisture and odors while the essential oil will leave the mattress smelling fresh when you retire to bed.

Vinegar Cleaning Solution
If you’re looking to get things really clean, everyone knows that vinegar is the go-to solution. However, it is just as easy to make this solution at home. Make your own citrus vinegar cleaner. Place citrus peels in a jar and cover with vinegar. Let the solution sit for 2 weeks. After the 2 weeks, strain and dilute it 1:1 with water. Use this cleaner on any surface and it will renew it quickly and easily.

Removing Hard Water Stains
Remember the power of lemons when trying to remove stubborn hard water stains. Just cut up some lemon and rub it on the stains. They should come right up with the power of the lemon juices.

Cleaning Stainless Steel
If you want to make your stainless steel shine, mix a solution of borax and lemon juice. Once mixed, they will produce a paste that you can rub on the surface. Let the paste stay there for a bit, then and rinse with water. Dry the surface and you are well on your way to a sparkly clean kitchen.