If you are anything like me, there is little that compares to the sated feeling of a clean, fresh and inspired living space. De-cluttering and donating unwanted items, and giving attention to those annoying little fixes that we didn’t have time to address over the holidays are obvious items on our Spring cleaning “To Do” list. I have created a Top 3 List from a Realtor’s perspective as I see so many people wait until they are ready to sell their home to invest time and money into it. The reality is that our house is actually always on the market…we are just waiting for the right offer! So put in the effort now and enjoy your your hard work, you never know who may be looking! I’ve included a recipe for one of my favorite poolside drinks to enjoy when you are finished.
1. Think first impressions: The exterior front entry way is often overlooked. We spend most of our time on the inside looking out and neglect that space that our neighbors walk by and our visitors stand in as they wait for us to arrive at the door. What does your entry way space say about you right now? Clear away spider webs and wipe down accumulated dust on window sills. Check to see if your light bulbs need to be replaced and if your light fixtures need a bath. Perhaps the door needs a coat of paint or the stain needs to be touched up. Replacing outdated/faded house numbers makes a big improvement visually. It’s all in the details so polish the hinges and knobs and put out a clean, new welcome mat.
2. Take advantage of the perfect weather and start planting! Go dual-purpose in your gardening by planting attractive flowers that will brighten up your yard and strategically placing clusters of flower pots and/or bushes to hide unsightly HVAC units, utility boxes and pool equipment. I am obsessed with drought resistant succulents for their low-maintenance care as much as for their incredible sculptural qualities. To create a beautiful and inexpensive centerpiece, along with some other fantastic ideas for succulents, check out this link.
3. My goal for Spring is to spend as much time outdoors as possible. This means morning coffee on the lounger, family dinners al fresco and Sundays poolside with friends. To make your outdoor space feel fresh and inviting, start with renting a pressure washer at Home Depot for as little as $40 for a full day’s use. Use the washer to clean the patio and to de-grime your garage. If you have stucco, pressure washing will bring your exterior back to life. Before washing make sure there aren’t any cracks or chips in the stucco so water can’t seep through them, potentially leading to structural damage down the line. Patch the cracks and chips and allow at least a week to dry. Spray a fresh coat of paint on furniture and replace sun-faded cushions. Need inspiration? I am in love with the outdoor furniture line at Restoration Hardware https://www.restorationhardware.com. For a more budget friendly option try West Elm http://www.westelm.com. Target also has a lot of great outdoor accessories available online, think an outdoor rug to warm up your sitting area or a bold pattern on accent pillows.
Basil Lime Cooler
For the Basil Syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
6 basil leaves
For the Cocktail:
1 ounce basil syrup
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed juice from 1 lime
1 1/2 ounces vodka
3 basil leaves
2 to 3 ounces seltzer
Garnish: basil sprig
1 For the Basil Syrup: Combine water, sugar, and basil leaves in a small saucepan. Heat over high heat until boiling, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce to a simmer and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Basil syrup will keep for one week in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
2 For the Cocktail: Combine 1 ounce basil syrup, lime juice, and vodka in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Fill a collins glass with ice, then strain the cocktail into the glass. Add extra basil leaves to the glass, top with seltzer and stir gently. Garnish with straw and basil sprig.