Elena Langlois - Compass Massachusetts, LLC



Posted by Elena Langlois on 4/16/2020

Image by Breadmaker from Shutterstock

A fireplace is a cozy addition for a home that can add aesthetic value as well as warmth to your space. Whether you’re building new, retrofitting, or shopping for the perfect home there are options for most situations. You’ll find many design options as you start to shop but the initial consideration should be to determine a fuel source.

Wood fireplace

Wood-burning fireplaces offer the crackle of the fire, the fragrance of pitch, and the soft glow of coals. For some, there's nothing better than a perfectly lit wood fire. But along with the cozy flames and the perfect scent come some considerations. 

Potential for smoke: If the flue does not open correctly or if there is a blockage within the chimney, you may find smoke coming into your room instead of out the flue.

Chimney maintenance: The wood you burn and the temperature of your fire determines how clean your chimney stays. At least annually, have your chimney professional swept to remove the buildup of creosote that can cause house fires.

Ashes: You will need a plan for disposing of the ashes once the fire is out.

Natural gas

A fireplace that burns natural gas can either be open or closed. An open hearth appears to be the same as a wood-burning fireplace and requires a chimney. These are called "vented" fireplaces. You can easily convert a wood-burning fireplace to a vented gas fireplace if you have access to a gas line. 

An enclosed gas fireplace is a “ventless” unit. These require more intensive construction but are great to give you the “look” of an open fire without access to the flames. These can either operate on natural gas or propane.

Gel system

A gel fireplace doesn't require specialized installation. Canned gel burns in a special unit that does not need ventilation. Often available in modern, minimalist designs, these fireplaces do not need access to gas lines or electricity. They can be installed anywhere on any wall.

Electric

Outside of the gel unit, the most effortless option to incorporate is an electric fireplace. Rather than flame, they use heated coils to provide warmth and a fan to project the air into the room. They often include flickering lights and simulated flames. Electric fireplaces require no vents and can install anywhere within proximity to an electrical outlet.

No matter which fireplace you select, take care to install it properly and operate it by the manufacturer's instructions. If a fireplace is an important feature to you, make sure your real estate agent knows it's on your "must-have" list.





Posted by Elena Langlois on 6/27/2019

Moving your old apartment furniture into a new home can be awkward and frustrating. The pieces that once filled your small studio are now dwarfed by the size of each room. It seems no matter how you arrange them nothing makes them any bigger.

This also always seems to exasperate feeling that all of your furniture is boring and drab. It’s outdated, cheap looking and not nearly up to parr with your beautiful new house.

I hear you. But this doesn’t mean you need to toss it all out to start completely from scratch. And it’s not the wisest time to seek financing for swanky new pieces after just wrapping up the house buying process. Instead, try these tips:

Start by rearranging which furniture is used in which room. Just because it has always been used in your bedroom does not mean a piece needs to stay there. Simply moving it to fit in with the decor of another room could bring it whole new life. Give it a try! I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Replace and/or remove hardware from existing pieces. This can modernize an old favorite and make a cheaper piece feel more upscale. Look for either antique pulls or some sleek new t-bar handles. You may even want to remove hardware completely to create a sleek, clean look.

Ask family and friends if they have any pieces they are looking to get rid of or swap for a piece you’re tired of but they love. Keep in mind when considering these pieces what changes can be made to them if they aren’t the perfect fit at first glance. Can they be repurposed or given a facelift?

There are few things a coat of black or white paint can’t freshen up. You may also want to consider other neutral tones like grays, browns and navy blues. If the piece has millwork consider painting it two colors to give it a drastic new look.

Give outdated finishes an update with metallic spray paint. Whichever finish you have your heart set on you will be sure to find at your local hardware store. Whether you want a new metallic tone or a bright fun color painting a piece can change it into something that feels entirely new.

Add new smaller pieces that are more affordable to add to your decor. They can distract from the pieces they’re rooming with and create a more modern, updated look. Pick up items you love from your favorite stores and keep an eye out on places like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.

While browsing used pieces for sale if you find a great deal keep the above tips in mind when considering to make a bid. Many times you just need to flex your imagination to find the perfect decor for you!




Tags: home decor   furniture   apartment  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Elena Langlois on 7/27/2017

Buying a new home is an exciting experience. Who doesn’t love new things—and a new home at that? But a new home is also challenging and intimidating. If you have left a home that you adored then this new home has high expectations. And if it’s your first home then such an investment is a big step and can be intimidating for that reason. But one thing that can be agreed upon is the need for this house to feel like your home. Let’s look at a few simple tips for making your new house truly feel like your home.

Family Heirlooms: Have a family heirloom that has been passed down from generation to generation? These types of keepsakes could range from an afghan that a great-grandparent or grandparent had knit, various antiques, clocks, diaries and recipes. You can display recipes on a kitchen counter or you can even get creative and design custom wallpaper from the recipe cards. Grandfather clocks fit the atmosphere of home offices and formal living rooms. There are tasteful ways to add each one of these into your home and preserve the memory of these keepsakes.

Photos & Artwork: What better way to bring personality and familiarity into a home than photos of family and friends or artwork from a favorite artist or of your favorite place. A popular approach is a grid-like arrangement created on large, open walls. This is one way to display many beloved photos without creating clutter on tables or other pieces of furniture. A long wall along a hallway would be a great place to display larger photos or artwork that would run horizontally. This is especially nice for sequenced pieces such as change of season photos.

DIY projects: Add your personality to your home with DIY projects. Mason jars, glass vases, and wine bottles can be turned into beautiful home décor with only a few materials and a couple hours. Items like rope, artificial flowers, ribbon, and glitter are just a couple examples of supplies that can be used to turn those simple items into a homemade masterpiece.

Memories: Last, but certainly not least, create memories.This is the easiest and quickest way to make a house feel like a home. Things as simple as cooking dinner with your loved ones and as extravagant as starting a family are amazing memories to make. And the first time you remember something special happening in your home will be an amazing feeling. You’ll truly feel like you’ve left your mark and turned four walls into something extraordinary.

It’s crucial that you add your personal touches to your home, especially if it’s going to be your forever home. It’s the place you will spend most of your time, besides work. The tips above are just a couple examples of ways to help add your personality in the home. Be creative and most of all be genuine and your home will feel like it’s been yours forever.  




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Elena Langlois on 6/22/2017

You don’t have to go to a furniture store and spend thousands to find great furniture to fit your home. Secondhand furniture shopping can be a fun and creative hobby that will get you outdoors hunting for the perfect item to fix up for your home. This guide will tell you everything you need to know to help you get the best deals on furniture and how to go about making it your own once you find it.

Furniture sources

Many people think the bargain section of their local furniture store is the best they can do when it comes to saving on furniture. However, there are several better places to start your hunt.

  • Craigslist. The “for sale” section of your local Craigslist is bound to be full of furniture that people are clearing out. Oftentimes people put things on Craigslist that are still in good shape that hoping to make a bit of money from. For best results on Craigslist, sort by “most recent” and by posts that have images. This will give you the best items and ones that are most likely still available.
  • Facebook. Aside from being the go-to place for arguing with your relatives about politics, Facebook is also a great way to find cheap used furniture. Search Facebook for local buy/sell pages for your town or city. Post in these groups with what you’re looking for. Also post what you’re searching for on your own wall. There’s a good chance one of your Facebook friends has something like it.
  • Thrift stores. Secondhand stores like Savers, Goodwill, and Salvation Army all sell furniture in their brick & mortar locations. If you’re bored on a rainy day, head out to the thrift stores in your city to see what they have.
  • Yard sales and flea markets. When the weather’s nice, take a Sunday drive out to some yard sales and flea markets. At yard sales especially people are desperate to get rid of everything so you’re likely to get the best deals.

Making it your own

Aside from getting a great deal, arguably the best part about secondhand furniture is that you get to add your own personal touch to it. Whether it’s reupholstering a sofa, sanding down a bookshelf, or painting a new kitchen chair, you’ll have the gratification of putting in work on your furniture, making it that much more special to you. Here are some furniture items that make great DIY or restoration projects.

  • Tables. Since the weathered and rustic look in in style, finding used tables has become a competitive market. If you have a small kitchen you can turn a old cafe table into your kitchen table. If you need something larger an old work bench can be crafted into a long dining room table.
  • Chairs. Many people think chairs need to come in sets to be worthwhile. However, having mismatched chairs can be a fun way to personalize your kitchen. Paint all the chair legs the same color or sand them and stain them all the same color to give them a sense of unity.
  • Repurposed wood. Pinterest is filled with ideas on how to repurpose used lumber. A wine rack out of an old pallet? There’s a tutorial for that.
  • Sofas. Oftentimes the only thing an old sofa needs is some reupholstering. Buy a secondhand sofa based on its style, not color. You can focus on fitting it to your color scheme when picking a fabric to reupholster with.





Posted by Elena Langlois on 5/19/2016

The variety of candles on the market has never been greater. When it comes to shopping for candles, however, a bigger selection isn't always a good thing. Many of us have, at one time or another, come down with a case of option paralysis looking at a wall full of Yankee Candles. Aside from choosing a fragrance, there are several other options to consider. Which candles burn the longest? Which type of wax works best? And, unfortunately, now we must even find out which candles are safe for us to inhale. Types of Candle Wax There are three main types of wax widely available in stores today: paraffin, soy, and beeswax. Each type has its ups and downs, but we'll break them down so you can choose one that's right for you.

  • Beeswax - This type of wax comes straight from the hive, making it a safe and natural wax to burn in your home. It also burns for the longest duration of the three types of wax, which is good because it can be pricey. It's great for lighting a room and burns as a bright white color. But, if you spill it walking to the fusebox during a power outage good luck getting that sticky beeswax out of your carpet. Also, beeswax candles do not mix well with added fragrances, so the selection will be narrow.
  • Paraffin - If beeswax is the natural, healthy choice for candles then paraffin is the processed, junkfood option.  Paraffin candles can be very affordable, but the cheap price tag comes at the cost of additives and artificial fragrances that you might not want to breathe in. Paraffin also tends to burn quickly, so if your candles aren't just for show you might find yourself spending a lot on them anyway. One benefit of paraffin is that it combines easily with fragrances so there is a great variety of scents available.
  • Soy - Perhaps a good in-between choice for candle lovers is the soy candle. Since they're made from soybeans, soy candles are a sustainable, biodegradable option. Spilled wax cleans up fairly easily, and soy combines well with other fragrances, so there are a great variety of scented candles available on the market. Soy wax is soft, however, which means you won't find many candles that aren't in jars that you could pop into your favorite candle holder.
Types of Wicks Wire, cotton, and wood, oh wow... Who knew there were so many types of wicks out there?  You can find all of these options in stores, but which one is right for you?
  • Wire wicks - These wicks have a metal zinc core that sits straight in a candle and burns evenly. The idea of burning a metal wick doesn't seem safe, but they are harmless and do not emit dangerous gases into the air.
  • Cotton wicks - The most common wicks on the market are made from cotton. They're cheap to produce and are often braided, which looks nice. They can sometimes burn unevenly, though, and require trimming.
  • Wooden wicks - The new wick on the block. These fit in with the rustic look that many homeowners are now going for. To further that point, there are also crackling wood wicks that emit either a pleasing or distracting crackling noise while they burn. You probably won't need to trim these wicks, but they are often used in higher-end candles, so expect to pay more.




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