Fall Home Improvement 2021

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2021 FALL HOME IMPROVEMENT A Special Advertising Section by The Bangor Daily News | September 10, 2021


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FALL HOME IMPROVEMENT • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • September 10, 2021

SHOULD I BUY OR SHOULD I RENOVATE? Options for home upgrades in a hot housing market

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My husband and I have lived in our home outside of the Bangor area for 10 years, and during this time, we have turned our little place into a homestead. My husband has built fences for ducks and chickens, constructed raised beds for strawberries, converted sheds to coops and rehabilitated our soil. We have planted blueberry bushes, raspberries, apple trees and pear trees. There are so many things we love about our home—but there’s a problem. Our house has a tiny kitchen. This may not be a problem to some, but for us, the tiny kitchen is a big problem. We process food from our garden and cook everything from scratch. We spend a good portion of our lives in that kitchen, and when two of us are in there, it becomes an exercise in frustration as we dodge each other and look for any little bit of counter space we can find.

estate agent from The Rock Team at ERA Dawson-Bradford Co., Realtors in Bangor, says that, indeed, the housing market in the Bangor area is something like he has never seen. He says, it’s more like we are in “uncharted territory.” In speaking with agents who have been working in this area for as long as 50 years, Morrison says they have never seen anything like this. Although all of Maine is seeing an influx of people moving here from across the country, the Portland and Bangor areas are seeing some of the highest rates of growth. He emphasizes that the massive wave of migration to Maine is having a powerful impact on the housing market. When I asked him about the theoretical possibility of selling our home and finding another, Morrison said that it would be easy to sell but made it clear that it would not be so easy to buy another. Talking with Morrison helped me better understand that our concerns about selling and then buying in our area were valid. It seemed we were stuck with a tiny kitchen, but we began to wonder about the possibility of remodeling, which was beginning to look like the best option for our family.

SHOULD WE BUY?

SHOULD WE RENOVATE?

As much as we love our home, we considered the possibility of selling and looking for a new home, only to find there were no homes available, at least not homes that were already set up for homesteads—and in our price range. We would essentially have to start over building a homestead if we wanted a house with a bigger kitchen. The housing market seemed to be so hot that we also worried about the possibility of selling our home and simply not being able to purchase another one in this area. We heard stories of people trying for months to purchase a home with no luck—and we heard stories about bidding wars. It turns out we are not alone in our concerns about finding a different home. The market in Maine has been extremely competitive for some time. Louie Morrison, real

Remodeling may be the best option for others as well, especially people like us who are happy with our property, just not our house, and there are resources in our area to help those who are interested in remodeling. Fred Perkins is the Senior Vice President of Sales at Hammond Lumber Company. He says that Hammond Lumber Company offers a variety of services to help those interested in remodeling, and he says it’s been a busy year, despite the high cost of lumber. Perkins says, “2021 has been a year of extremes. We are having a record-breaking year in all aspects of construction. Remodeling and renovations of existing homes is a substantial part of our business. Kitchen and bath renovations are up dramatically as well as window replacements, siding and roofing projects.” continues on page 4

BY CRYSTAL SANDS


FALL HOME IMPROVEMENT • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • September 10, 2021

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FALL HOME IMPROVEMENT • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • September 10, 2021

continued from page 2 Of course, those who have heard about the skyrocketing prices of lumber may have concerns related to costs of a home remodel, but Perkins says that costs are settling down a bit and that it can be worth it to upgrade your home. “In 2020, many consumers reflected how and where they spent their time,” Perkins says. “Many determined that they should invest in their families and their personal property based on travel restrictions and the fear of additional, potential limitations due to the pandemic.” As a result, Hammond Lumber has seen record construction years for both 2020 and 2021. Of course, with the supply chains for lumber and other materials interrupted due to the pandemic and this increase in demand, prices for construction have been inflated. But Perkins emphasizes that prices are coming down a bit, though they are not yet—and may never be—at pre-pandemic prices. “We began to see some projects being canceled or down-sized. Nationally the pace began to slow some and now we are seeing the cost of material settle down. They are not yet to the old levels however we may be at our ‘new normal.’ Time will tell,” Perkins says. It’s true that we have all been spending more time at home, and as COVID-19 cases are on the rise again and many of us are looking at the possibility of more time at home, making our home spaces more comfortable and inviting seems like a good idea, and local banks are responding to this trend as well. One perk of the hot real estate market is that our home values are increasing, and many Mainers are using that increase in their home’s value, coupled with historically-

low interest rates, as an opportunity to refinance their homes. Bruce Ocko, Senior Vice President and Director of Mortgage and Consumer Lending at Bangor Savings Bank, says while there hasn’t been an increase in people applying for home equity lines of credit for renovations, there has been an increase in refinancing in our area. “Home values in most areas are significantly appreciating and inventories are at historic lows…what we are seeing is an uptick in refinances of mortgages,” Ocko explains. “Customers are taking advantage of the appreciated value in their homes and low interest rates to complete home renovations, consolidate debt, pay off existing higher rate equity lines and make large purchases.” Ultimately, the good news is that there are options for people like my husband and I who have a home with a tiny kitchen. We made the decision to stay put, and though we refinanced to take advantage of the lower interest rates, we have decided to keep our debt low and pay for our renovations out of pocket. But, for those who may not have that option, it’s good to know that the rising prices of homes in our area has at least some benefits. Home renovations can make a big difference in how happy we feel in our homes, and it’s good to know we have such valuable resources in our area. Fred Perkins from Hammond Lumber emphasizes they are there to help. He says, “These days construction projects can proceed all year long. Plus, prices are lower and inventory levels are coming back up.”

“Customers are taking advantage of the appreciated value in their homes and low interest rates to complete home renovations, consolidate debt, pay off existing higher rate equity lines and make large purchases.”

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FALL HOME IMPROVEMENT • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • September 10, 2021

POPULAR RENOVATION PROJECTS DURING THE PANDEMIC COURTESY OF METRO CREATIVE Spending so much time at home during the pandemic led many homeowners to spruce up their homes. According to HomeAdvisor’s 2021 State of Home Spending report, spending on home improvements increased by an average of $745 per household in 2020. In the face of travel restrictions and social distancing guidelines, many homeowners pivoted in 2020 and spent money they initially intended to use for vacations on home improvements. Though many such projects required the services of a professional contractor, others, including the most popular project among the 5,000 homeowners who participated in the HomeAdvisor report, were do-it-yourself endeavors. That not only gave homeowners’ homes a new look, but also gave them something to do during quarantine. The following are the five most popular home improvement projects of 2020 according to the HomeAdvisor report. 1. INTERIOR PAINTING: Just under 35 percent of participants reported taking on an interior painting project in 2020. Interior painting projects can be perfect for DIYers, but homeowners also can trust this task to skilled professionals. 2. BATHROOM RENOVATIONS: Real estate professionals routinely report how much prospective buyers love updated bathrooms, so it’s no surprise that roughly 31 percent of homeowners who took part in the HomeAdvisor report indicated they renovated their bathrooms in 2020. 3. FLOORING: Floors took on a lot of extra traffic during the pandemic, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that flooring projects were popular in 2020. More than one-fourth of participants told HomeAdvisor their homes were updated with a new floor during the pandemic. 4. LANDSCAPING: With nowhere else to go to escape the daily grind in 2020, many homeowners took to their yards. Twenty-four percent of those homeowners reported making their backyard retreats more appealing by repairing or upgrading the landscaping outside their homes. In fact, the average homeowner reported completing 3.4 landscaping projects in 2020. 5. KITCHEN: Another project that makes sense given the circumstances, kitchen renovations were the fifth most popular home improvement project in 2020. Restaurant closures and social distancing guidelines led many people to dine in more often than they otherwise would, and just under 23 percent of homeowners reported renovating their kitchens in 2020. As the world gradually emerges from the pandemic, many homeowners who caught the renovation bug while in quarantine also will be emerging with what feels like an entirely new home.

a special advertising section of the Bangor daily news To advertise in our next special section, please call 990-8036 or email jorcutt@bangordailynews.com. Advertising Sales JEFF ORCUTT jorcutt@bangordailynews.com Special Sections Editor AMY ALLEN aallen@bangordailynews.com

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PO Box 1329, Bangor, ME 04402

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FALL HOME IMPROVEMENT • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • September 10, 2021

HOUSEPLANTS 101 Bring some green into your home with these easy plants for beginners

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BY SARAH COTTRELL This year may go down in history as the time that houseplants finally got the glow-up they deserve. In prepandemic days, houseplants were akin to a decor garnish, but in 2020 when many Americans were tallying the days they spent in lockdown, houseplant sales exploded. Consumers purchased $8.5 billion more houseplants in 2020 than they did in 2019, and it looks as though the trend is not slowing down any time soon. The hyped-up houseplant market has many folks asking themselves how to get started with indoor gardening and which plant should you choose? We’ve taken the guesswork out by creating this quick start guide on the best houseplants to test out your green thumbs. GOLDEN PATHOS VINE This plant is hard to kill and incredibly easy to grow. Pathos vines do well growing from a hanging basket and can make a lovely cascading decoration down the sides of bookcases or walls. These sturdy plants can handle low light, however, they do best with medium or bright, indirect light. Make sure to add some fertilizer at least once a month to keep your pathos happy. SNAKE PLANT These tall, dramatic plants with their sword-like leaves

are beautiful statement plants that can add class and drama to any space. Like the pathos vine, they can handle low light but prefer moderate to bright, sunny rooms. One notable advantage for beginner gardeners is that it isn’t exceptionally thirsty and won’t die if you forget to water it. Snake plants don’t like to be over-watered, though, so be careful to keep the soil from getting too saturated. ASPARAGUS FERN If you have a bathroom that tends to get steamy when you shower, then you might love the Asparagus fern. These delightful plants might look wispy with their lacelike branches that can reach as long as six feet, but they are also rugged air purifiers that were once used in NASA experiments on how to clean the air with plants. Try planting these in hanging baskets or set them up high where pets and small children can’t get poked from the hidden thorns. WEEPING FIG TREE If you have the kind of living space that doesn’t have turbulent temperature changes, then you might love the weeping fig tree. These lovely trees can fill up an empty corner and are super easy to care for — just remember to give them some light, plant food and water, and you’re good to go. One fun aspect of having a fig tree is that they are sturdy enough to decorate with string lights or lightweight ornaments during the holidays.

SUCCULENTS Succulents are hugely popular right now. Just one search on Etsy alone garnered 340,000 results. These are possibly the most beginner-friendly plants, and for a good reason — they are nearly impossible to kill. If you have a sunny window that sees direct sunlight, you can fill that sill with bright and colorful pots of succulents. One beautiful variety, String of Pearls, does well in a hanging plant; with the proper care, you can end up with long, pearly tendrils of green cascading down the side of a window frame. VENUS FLY TRAP If you have kids, this is a super fun plant to keep in a sunny window. The Venus Fly Trap is a carnivorous plant that eats small bugs like mosquitoes and houseflies. With one gentle brush against the teeth-like spikes on the edges of the mouth, the trap will snap shut, capturing its prey. But don’t worry, it won’t hurt your fingers. WINDOW HERB GARDEN If you love to cook, consider growing herbs indoors. Not only are herbs easy to grow, especially in bright light and with regular watering, but they are fragrant and beautiful. When you live in Maine, there is nothing better than fresh herbs in the dead of winter to add magic to your dinner.


FALL HOME IMPROVEMENT • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • September 10, 2021

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FALL HOME IMPROVEMENT • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • September 10, 2021

ADOBE STOCK PHOTO

HOW TO PICK PAINT FOR HOME INTERIORS COURTESY OF METRO CREATIVE Many components combine to define a home’s interior. Some homeowners may be partial to certain styles, such as ultra modern or farmhouse, while others may opt for a more traditional look that cannot necessarily be categorized as one style or another. Though many homeowners spend considerable time and devote a lot of energy to making their home embody a certain style, those who aren’t willing to commit to a particular look can lean on one component to make a stylish statement all their own: paint. Color can be a part of every homeowner’s design arsenal. Bold colors can be used to create a stunning accent wall, while homes with open concepts often utilize color to define rooms. Homeowners who want to revitalize their home interiors can do so with paint, and this approach doesn’t require homeowners to commit to a whole new design style. Though paint may seem simple to novices, homeowners who have painted home interiors in the past recognize how complicated the process of picking paint can be. Paint retailers have a seemingly endless swatch of paint colors to choose from, and before long homeowners heads may be spinning as they try to narrow down their options. The following tips can help homeowners pick the perfect paint for their home interiors. · TAKE STOCK, AND PHOTOGRAPHS, OF YOUR CURRENT FURNISHINGS. Many interior designers rely on a simple technique when recommending color schemes to their clients. Choose a standout color from existing furnishings, such as the dominant color from a patterned decorative pillow or piece of furniture, and then look for the same shade to paint the walls. A photograph of the item can be handy when visiting the paint store.

· LIGHTEN COLORS AS YOU GO UP. The home renovation and design experts at HGTV recommend picking darker color values for the floor, medium color values for the walls and light values for the ceiling. This approach mimics the look of the great outdoors, where the ground tends to be darker than the trees, and the trees are darker than the blue sky. · UTILIZE PAINT TO CREATE THE VIBE YOU WANT. The home renovation experts at This Old House note that colors evoke an emotional response. Cool colors like blue and green give off a relaxing vibe, which makes them ideal for bedrooms and bathrooms. Red is an intense color that can up the energy ante in any room, which can make it an option for homeowners who want to spark debate around their dinner tables. · GIVE PERSONAL PREFERENCE ITS PLACE AT THE TABLE. Though interior designers may have years of experience picking paint colors for a home and researchers may have determined how certain colors can be utilized to create a desired ambiance in a given room, ultimately homeowners are the ones who will be living in the home. So it’s important that homeowners pick colors they like for their home interiors. Paint is an inexpensive way to transform a room. Homeowners can rely on a combination of color strategies and their personal preferences as they try to decide which colors they want on their interior walls.


FALL HOME IMPROVEMENT • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • September 10, 2021

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FALL HOME IMPROVEMENT • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • September 10, 2021

HOW TO MAKE YOUR BEDROOM FEEL LIKE A SANCTUARY THIS WINTER

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KATIE SMITH

We all need a retreat in our home. Whether it’s a small corner or an entire room, it can make all the difference when you have a place you can go to and completely unwind. Why not make that place your bedroom? After all, rest is one of the most important things when it comes to our health. How nice is it to wake up and feel calm and happy in your surroundings before you start a busy day? Turning your bedroom into a sanctuary doesn’t have to be time consuming, nor does it have to cost a lot of money. Here are a few tips that go a long way when it comes to turning your bedroom into the most coveted space in your home this winter.

COLOR Think about what kind of lighting you’d like in your boudoir. Do you prefer dark and moody, or do you like it to be as light and bright as possible? Maybe you feel best when you’re around pops of color. If you are going for light, whites and off whites will make your space look bigger and brighter. If you prefer something a bit more moody, grays are a great neutral that are cozy and will go with any decor — whatever makes you feel most alive, do that. The walls that surround you can quickly be changed out by paint. The investment is small, but the payoff is huge. And if you aren’t interested in painting your entire space, work on one accent wall. It will give your room the pop of color which just might be the perfect thing to cheer you up during the darker months of winter. BEDDING When it comes to sheets and blankets, there is no right or wrong color nor is it necessary to change it for each season (unless you want to of course). If you love your

lighter linen bedspread, layer it with cozy knit blankets when it gets chilly to warm it up a bit. Lots of pillows also give your bed that “Get in here and get comfy” vibe we all want to see at the end of a long, chilly day. It can make your bed a great place to read, sit and talk, and of course curl up and watch your favorite movie or television show. RUGS Even if you have carpet in your room, layering rugs is a quick, stylish fix if you are looking to add some drama to your bedroom. Think of different textures and patterns — you don’t have to be matchy-matchy here. This is a great way to change things up in your space without redoing your entire floor. TEXTURE Don’t be afraid to mix metals like silver, gold and bronze. They are all neutrals so they all go together. In the fall it’s nice to bring in some woven textures like baskets for plants to warm up your space. When it comes to fabrics you can mix them all. Silk pillow cases are a great compliment to faux fur blankets. Flannel is great


FALL HOME IMPROVEMENT • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • September 10, 2021

with a heavy knit blanket. Leather throw pillows are a great way to winterize your bedroom. PLANTS If you want some greenery in your room, replace the fresh cut bouquets of flowers and herbs with faux plants. You don’t have to worry about watering them, or wonder if they will get enough sun in the winter. These days faux plants look so real, no one will be able to tell the difference and it makes you feel like you have life in your room all year long. CLUTTER It’s easy to let our bedrooms become a catch-all and close the door. However, think about how good you feel when you retire each night and wake up in the morning to a clean room. Find a place where you can store the laundry basket, papers, books and anything else that makes you feel overwhelmed. Once it has a designated area, it will become much easier to keep up with the messes that can get created in the bedroom in a matter of minutes. A good rule to follow is there are no rules. Bedrooms are very personal and there are no right or wrongs when it comes to choosing your favorite things. Make sure you choose colors, accessories and finishes that make you feel relaxed and comfortable.

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FALL HOME IMPROVEMENT • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • September 10, 2021