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MARCH 25, 2020 • Volume 15 • Issue 13

RE WEEKLY RESIDENTIAL • ACREAGE • FARM • COMMERCIAL • AREA DEVELOPMENT 515-233-3299 • 317 5th Street, Ames • All REALTOR® ads within are REALTORS® licensed in the State of Iowa

O n l i n e a t w w w. A m e s Tr i b . c o m / r e a l e s t a t e w e e k l y

Page RE2 • REAL ESTATE WEEKLY • Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Make your yard a

SONGBIRD HABITAT By Melissa Erickson


More Content Now


ecause of migration it’s common to see different birds in the backyard during different times of year, but bird lovers across the country most likely have noticed seeing fewer birds overall. The most recent general report, published in the journal Science, found that bird populations have declined by nearly 3 billion since 1970, said Bob Sallinger, director of conservation at Portland Audubon. “It paints a very dire picture for North American birds, including many species that people think of as common,” he said. “The numbers are staggering, but not all that different from what we’re seeing with insects,” said Becca RodomskyBish, nest record archivist with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology who also works on the annual Great Backyard Bird Count, which took place Feb. 14-17. Scientists are piecing together just what has led to the decline in North American songbirds, pointing to habitat loss, climate change and human intervention including pesticides and free-roaming cats, Rodomsky-Bish said. Because they are easy to see, identify and count, birds are excellent indicators of habitat and environmental health, she said. While it can seem difficult as individuals to make a difference on environmental factors, homeowners can work to create habitat and participate in activities that benefit local bird populations. Provide food While some birds come and go, resident birds such as cardinals, blue jays, starlings and junkos can be found everywhere. These birds are like us: If there’s food and habitat, they’re happy to stay, Rodomsky-Bish said. If there’s a reliable food source even migratory birds can be lured into staying

put in a home’s backyard, she said. Bird feeders seem to be a great way to make your yard more welcoming, but they should be used to augment native plants as a food source. “Feeders are awesome, but they’re like low-hanging fruit. The bottom line is, we want to do things to make the yard a more sustainable habitat,” Rodomsky-Bish said. Help nature thrive by adding nutand berry-producing native plants and shrubs, which provide food and protection for birds, she said. Avoid using pesticides in your yard or garden. Make windows safer One billion birds are estimated to die each year because of flying into windows, according to a 2014 study from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. “Collisions are a huge problem,” Rodomsky-Bish said. An easy fix is simply closing curtains or installing screens or store-bought decals, which break up the window’s reflection. “Birds see like people see,” she said. Go outside your house. If you look at a window and see a reflection of a tree, that’s what birds are seeing. Be a citizen scientist Watching and counting what birds live in your yard or community can help scientists track the health of bird species. In addition to the annual Great Backyard Bird Count, other citizen scientist programs include ebird, Project FeederWatch, Christmas Bird Count, Breeding Bird Survey and the International Shorebird Survey. “It’s easy to see ourselves as different, but birds are the literal canaries in the coal mine,” Rodomsky-Bish said. “When we see these declines, we should take pause. We are part of the same food web. What does their decline mean for other animals and ourselves?”

REAL ESTATE WEEKLY • Wednesday, March 25, 2020 • Page RE3

Page RE4 • REAL ESTATE WEEKLY • Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Expert tips on bedroom decor, design By Melissa Erickson More Content Now


mprove your bedroom with these tips from interior design experts. • Face bed toward door: “Sometimes this just isn’t possible, but if it is it should be your go-to,” said Justin Riordan, interior designer, architect and founder of the Portland, Seattle and Los Angeles home staging company Spade and Archer Design Agency. “Ideally your bed should be placed on the wall you immediately face when you walk in. It should welcome you into the room, gently persuading you to jump right in.” • Mix it up: “I think one of the biggest mistakes people make when decorating their bedrooms is wanting all of the furniture and/or bedding to match,” said

interior designer Doreen Amico-Sorell of Sorell Interiors, Long Island, New York. “Over the past few years we have gotten away from that design aesthetic to where it is OK and actually preferred from a design standpoint to have things not match but instead go well together, where it is pleasing to the eye in a cohesive manner.” • Light it up: “The biggest mistake I see in bedrooms of any size is not enough lighting,” said Jill Hosking-Cartland, owner and principal designer of Hosking Interiors, Windham, New Hampshire. “A good general lighting plan will assure you have enough task lighting (nightstand lamps), ambient lighting (to find clothes or get dressed) and accent lighting (like wall sconces). Put every fixture on a dimmer to have complete control over both the functional and the mood lighting.” • Attach a bath: “Having an attached bathroom in a master bedroom is no longer a luxury, but an expectation in modern homes,” said Brad Little, president of Case Design/Remodeling in Charlotte, North Carolina. “So whether you’re planning your remodel for resale or to increase your home’s comfort, we strongly advise including your bathroom in your master suite upgrade.” • Avoid clutter: “Especially in smaller homes, it can be convenient to outfit your bedroom for things other than sleep,” said Karin Sun, founder of Crane & Canopy, an online provider of luxury bedding, bath and lifestyle goods. “While we understand the merit of an office or exercise space in the bedroom, related items can often distract and clutter. If this separation is impossible, keep stylish storage readily available to keep clutter out of sight and mind.”

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REAL ESTATE WEEKLY • Wednesday, March 25, 2020 • Page RE5


WICKER, RATTAN back in style By Melissa Erickson More Content Now


hat goes around comes around. Wicker and rattan are in style again to add a laid-back vibe to your decor, in a updated and sophisticated way. This long-lasting, natural medium keeps dipping back into fashion. Introduced to the United States in the mid- to late 1800s, wicker and rattan popped up again during the arts and crafts movement in the early 20th century. Most recently their popularity surged with the kitchy ’60s style, and never really left among those trying to capture the feel of island or resort-style living. “Nowadays, design-savvy consumers are placing less importance on specific periods or styles of furniture and more emphasis on materiality. As we move to more plant-based products, much like in the food space, the same holds true in the design arena,” said designer Mark Brunetz, spokesman for Design For A Difference, a community-based design movement that makes over spaces at local charities in the United States and Canada. “Derived from plants, the resurgence of wicker and rattan furnishings reflects a increased consumer awareness and desire to connect to nature,” said Brunetz, author of “Take the U Out of Clutter.” As humans we possess an innate tendency to connect to living things, Brunetz said. “In addition, the making of wicker and rattan furniture also stems from the art of basket weaving, one of many ancient art forms having a moment in the design world,” he said. “As consumers strive for authenticity and artisan-quality goods, it’s only appropriate that these materials are having a moment. Everything old is new again.” Traditionally found in outdoor settings and adapted to interior spaces, lightweight wicker instantly connotes a feeling of

relaxation and vacation, said interior designer Joan Kaufman of Interior Planning & Design in Naperville, Illinois. “The natural material adds texture and life to spaces exuding charm, triggering pleasant thoughts of comfort and ease,” she said. To add this timeless classic to your interior design, Kaufman suggests starting small. “We love using wicker accent pieces such as a nightstand, console or accent chair that add character to a space. Depending on the space, one piece can be just the right touch to add a wow factor to the total design,” she said. For a show-stopping effect, go all out with a full dining set, which works well when combined with other materials such as a stone top or upholstered cushions, Kaufman said. Beautiful and versatile, wicker plays well with different design styles and can be an eye-catching addition to any room. “Virtually any piece can be found in wicker or rattan, from bedroom sets to mirrors to sofas, chairs, tables and dining sets and accent pieces,” Kaufman said. When shopping for pieces, consider that as with all furnishings there are varying levels of quality and design style. “Selecting pieces that suit your budget and taste from reputable manufacturers typically yields high satisfaction,” Kaufman said. Wicker and rattan are not the same. Wicker is a style of woven fibers while rattan is a vine-like material. While the product may be natural, the process of weaving can be labor intensive. “Learn about the source of the piece and where it is made. Learning about the manufacturer’s fabrication process prior to making a major purchase is beneficial,” Kaufman said.

Page RE6 • REAL ESTATE WEEKLY • Wednesday, March 25, 2020



kitchen trends

“Now more than ever people are looking to bring the dining table back into the kitchen so you can sit facing each other and communicate while eating.” Anna Gibson, AKG Design Studio

By Melissa Erickson More Content Now


tandout kitchen islands, statement backsplashes and vinyl flooring are all popular choices among homeowners adding or upgrading, according to the 2020 Houzz Kitchen Trends Study. Nearly two-thirds of kitchen renovations include an island, which is a hub of activity for dining, socializing and entertainment. In today’s very virtual, social media world people are looking to connect when it comes to dinnertime, said Anna Gibson, owner and chief designer of AKG Design Studio in Great Falls, Virginia. “Now more than ever people are looking to bring the dining table back into the kitchen so you can sit facing each other and communicate while eating,” she said. The push will be to create seating on at least two sides to restore a sense of family and connection. Kitchen islands are growing, with a third measuring more than 7 feet and another 39% 6 to 7 feet, according to the study. “As for the style, we are moving more toward the contemporary and clean lines, so there are great elements like a waterfall edge that make a big wow factor and a finished look,” Gibson said.

While two-tone colors continue to be popular, we’ll see a return to the organic with walnut and dark wood and natural stone, especially quartzite and granite. “Natural stone is organic, green and most of all unique. Every slab is different, and it’s letting us create one-of-kind islands and space for our clients,” Gibson said. Making a statement One in 10 homeowners upgrading a backsplash goes bold, installing it all the way to the ceiling, with white being the most popular color followed by multicolored and gray, according to the study. “I love this trend and hope it will continue,” Gibson said. “For me, tile is always the cherry on top since it is the focal point and can set the tone for space and style.” Install the same kitchen cabinets and granite with two different backsplash tiles, and it will be a completely different-style kitchen, Gibson said. “Running tile to the ceiling really adds the extra touch and interesting factor to the design. It works great with the open shelving and cabinets because it helps define the space and really dress up the wall, especially when we use floating shelves,” Gibson said.

Vinyl on the rise Vinyl flooring, the third overall choice in renovated kitchens, continues a three-year climb from 10% in 2018 and 12% in 2019 to 14% in 2020. Vinyl flooring fits busy and active homeowners’ lifestyles. “For someone looking for materials that are durable and easy to maintain it’s a big plus,” Gibson said. “For years we didn’t have the good midway material between tile and hardwood, and the luxury vinyl tile⁄luxury vinyl plank closes this gap. It is great for basements, high traffic areas and can withstand kids, dogs, heavy traffic and is water-resistant. “With the added wood look, it’s making a great option for families across different stages of life. It is easy to install, which is an added bonus for the DIY market.” No hands “Cabinet and drawer handles will be very discreet in 2020 — even non-existent,” said Gibson, referring to manufacturers’ pushto-open options. Streamlined and elegant, handleless cabinets complement the minimalism and clean lines of Scandinavian and contemporary design, Gibson said.

REAL ESTATE WEEKLY • Wednesday, March 25, 2020 • Page RE7

When is it time to



By Melissa Erickson More Content Now


ou may plan to live in your home forever, but sooner or later you’ll need to replace your roof. Heat and ultraviolet rays from the sun, rain, wind, snow and ice are just some of the weather factors that can affect a roof’s longevity and performance, said Mark Graham, vice president of technical services for the National Roofing Contractors Association. Tree branches can damage shingles; fallen leaves, moss and algae can mold and rot them. The key to long-term roof performance is regular maintenance, so get outside and take a look at your roof. Use binoculars to see from the safety of the yard, then get out your ladder for an up-close inspection. The National Roofing Contractors Association recommends checking your roof twice a year in the spring and fall. “It’s also a good idea to inspect your roof after hail, high winds or major weather events,” Graham said. If you don’t like heights, call a professional. A typical asphalt shingle roof, which is the most common type, will last about 15 to 20 years, possibly 25, Graham said.

Replacement triggers The biggest “replacement triggers” to watch out for include leakage, broken or missing shingles and discoloration, Graham said. If water is coming into your home it’s probably time to replace the roof, Graham said. You might notice water stains or water coming in through a skylight. Check gutters to make sure they are not packed with leaves and debris. “Overall appearance — broken or missing shingles — is probably the most common roof replacement trigger,” Graham said. Aesthetic issues such as discoloration may not be a significant reason to replace a roof, Graham said. Moss and algae can grow on moist wood roofs, but a bit of discoloration doesn’t mean a new roof is necessarily needed. When in doubt call for a professional inspection. Bandwagon effect A neighbor getting a new roof after a big storm can also be a reason for homeowners to consider roof replacement. “After a hail storm suddenly everyone in the subdivision is talking to the insurance people. It might not even cause damage, but if my neighbor is getting a new roof people

think, ‘I deserve one, too,’” Graham said. Be wary of roofing contractors who prowl around offering their services after a big storm, Graham said. “Some of those guys probably shouldn’t even be up on a roof. Work with a professional contractor,” Graham said. Go with a pro When choosing a contractor check with the city to see what permit or other licensing is required. Get references and referrals. Get a detailed, written contract with a complete description including specific products — including color and manufacturer — the scope of work, cost, and start and end dates. “The more specific the better. Don’t assume anything. If it’s not in the contract it’s probably not going to be done,” Graham said. Make sure the contractor is properly licensed or bonded and financially stable. About 70% of American roofs are asphalt shingle, but newer roofing products offer consumers a range of color choices and options, Graham said. Wood lookalike synthetic shingles, metal-seamed and zinc roofs, as well as lighter colors are all popular for 2020.

“After a hail storm suddenly everyone in the subdivision is talking to the insurance people. It might not even cause damage, but if my neighbor is getting a new roof people think, ‘I deserve one, too.’” Mark Graham, National Roofing Contractors Association

Page RE8 • REAL ESTATE WEEKLY • Wednesday, March 25, 2020

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03-25-20 Real Estate Weekly  

03-25-20 Real Estate Weekly