Fall Decorating: 4 Tips to Make Your Home More Festive

Many locals rejoice when autumn comes to the DFW area. With milder temperatures, rain, and crisp air, fall is a welcome break from the oppressive summer months, when heat and humidity can easily raise temperatures over 100 degrees. In addition to balmy, pleasant weather, autumn is enticing to all the senses — from the sound of fires crackling in a fire pit, to the taste of apple cider, to the fragrant smell of cinnamon. To help liven up your DFW home, consider the following fall decorating tips.

1. Incorporate Fall Colors

Bring the natural beauty of fall indoors by mimicking the colors of falling leaves. Hints of amber, auburn, and olive green on throw pillows and blankets can certainly add a cozy feel to living rooms, dens, and bedrooms. Using decorative pillows and throw blankets is an easy way to achieve an autumnal vibe without making big, labor-intensive changes to your decor.

2. Bring Outdoor Elements Inside

To achieve an autumn feel in interior spaces, think natural and rustic-looking touches. HGTV.com recommends placing “faux-liage” — or silk fall leaves — in a decorative manner in your home. Consider using silk leaves on a dining room table setting or on shelving to give your home an earthy, rustic feel. In fact, your local craft store is a great place for long-lasting decorations, such as fake pumpkins, twigs, and moss — all of which can be incorporated into decorative centerpieces and baskets. For floral arrangements, chrysanthemums in hues of gold and dark red are especially popular indoors and outdoors during this time of year.

3. Decorate Your Outdoor Space

Your front porch, patio, or balcony can benefit from traditional autumn decorations. On outdoor spaces, you can place pumpkins and decorative gourds in clusters around walkways or outdoor furniture. Southern Living recommends using an assortment of heirloom pumpkins to achieve a casual yet classically autumn look.

4. Add Warmth with Candles and Distinct Fall Scents

With cooler temperatures, adding warmth to your home helps achieve a cozy environment that also celebrates the changing of the seasons. Candles in decorative votives or jars add touches of soft light throughout a room. Lighting candles is especially beneficial for those who don’t have a fireplace (or choose not to use a fireplace). Incorporate your favorite falls scents such as cinnamon, apple, or pumpkin to enhance an autumnal ambiance. Scented candles or potpourri stashed in bowls throughout your home are great ways to incorporate the smell of fall in a subtle way.

Fall decorating doesn’t mean you need to give your home a complete makeover. By incorporating small touches like pillows and earthy finds from craft stores, you can make a huge difference in your decor without having to spend a lot of time and money.

Photo Source: Flickr

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Home Tip of the Day: Turn Your Home Into a Haunted House

Boo!  Halloween is almost here and it’s time to spook up your home. Here are a few easy tricks to turn your home into a haunted house this Halloween.

For other clever home tips & tricks, subscribe to Coldwell Banker On Location to view the complete Home Tip of the Day video series.

Image Source: WPI

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We’d Like to Propose A Toast to This $1,000 Kitchen Appliance

When was the last time you heard about a “game changer” in the toaster category? Yup, that’s what I thought. Well my friends, the time has come, Bugatti (not affiliated with the car company) has finally done it! They have revolutionized the toaster as we know it.

The Bugatti Noun is a ceramic glass toaster that not only produces the perfect piece of toast but can also cook steak, shrimp and many other types of food that you normally might throw on the grill.

Take a look:

When I first saw the price tag I thought ya right, no way would anyone spend a grand on a toaster. However, after watching the video and learning about the Bugatti Noun’s technology and its other cooking capabilites it makes the price tag a bit easier to swallow.

This product will be avaible in the US in 2015.

Cover Photo www.ibtimes.co.uk

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Home Cooked: Garden Vegetable Soup in the Garden State

Welcome to dinner at the Coldwell Banker house! Come on in and make yourself comfortable.

We know that the kitchen is the heart of the home, so we’re taking inspiration from beautiful Coldwell Banker homes around the world to create home cooked meals just for you. This home recipe comes from a family kitchen in “The Garden State.”

Let us start with a toast to this gracious Mendham, NJ home listed by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. Feel free to take a tour. This european colonial features both indoor and outdoor kitchens, as well as indoor and outdoor living rooms, heated salt water pool and media, gym, billiard & game rooms.


Feel free to choose a spot in the outdoor living room, complete with a fireplace and surrounded by colorful perennial gardens. Or, cozy up to the kitchen counter and watch as we prepare the feast. You may even be able to feel the heated floors beneath your toes!




Because we’re in the Garden State, and because we have so much else to do here–a game of pool anyone?–we’re making a big pot of cozy Garden Vegetable Soup and letting it simmer on the stove until we’re ready to eat.

Garden Vegetable Soup

Recipe from Alton Brown on the Food Network 


4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped leeks, white part only (from approximately 3 medium leeks)
2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
Kosher salt
2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped into rounds (approximately 2 medium)
2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
2 cups fresh green beans, broken or cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
4 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes
2 ears corn, kernels removed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup packed, chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 to 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Heat the olive oil in large, heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium-low heat. Once hot, add the leeks, garlic, and a pinch of salt and sweat until they begin to soften, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Add the carrots, potatoes, and green beans and continue to cook for 4 to 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the stock, increase the heat to high, and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add the tomatoes, corn kernels, and pepper. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the vegetables are fork tender, approximately 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and add the parsley and lemon juice. Season, to taste, with kosher salt. Serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2004

So take a seat and let us serve you up a proper Home Cooked meal. Dig into some more amazing kitchens and homes for sale at coldwellbanker.com.

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Home Tip of the Day: A Pumpkin Cooler

This time of year there are a plethora of delicious beverages available, from spiced apple cider to Imperial Pumking beer.  Keep your beverages spine-chillingly cold at your Halloween bash with this crafty tip.

For other clever home tips & tricks, subscribe to Coldwell Banker On Location to view the complete Home Tip of the Day video series.

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What is a mortgage?

It is common knowledge that the most important purchase one makes in their lifetime is a home. While we believe that the true value of a home is priceless, it is important to understand the financial commitment involved.

In the below video, real estate professional Jessica Edwards with Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage explains the important question: what is a mortgage? Here is what you need to know about your home loan.

Your real estate professional and lender are there to answer all of your mortgage questions. Use them as your resource, but also be sure to do your own research.

Ready to find your dream home? Start your search on coldwellbanker.com.

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Halloween at Home: A Look Back

Halloween is one of our favorite occasions, not just because it gives us a reason to write about zombies and pumpkin spice lattes but it brings back a lot of memories of home. So my fellow bloggers here on Blue Matter and I sat down to hash out some of our favorite and most memorable Halloween moments from our days back home. We hope you’ll share some of yours in the comments. Enjoy.

 What is the worst Halloween costume you ever wore?
Tori: The middle school years were the worst. One tragically embarrassing year I dressed up as Salt & Pepper shakers with my best friend. All evidence has been burned.

Lindsay: In middle school I decided to be a hockey player that wore a Jason mask. This was at the height of my Tom Boy years. It was pretty ugly.

Gustavo: – In 7th grade I dressed up as Razor Ramon for Halloween. I put a ton of baby oil in my hair and drew chest hair and a five o’clock shadow on my face with my mom’s makeup. I rounded out the horrible costume with a black vest that I wore without a shirt under it.

Athena: The worst costume that I donned was being a business man like my dad one year. I dressed up in a man’s tan suit, 20 times too big for me with a short-haired wig to hide my long hair while toting my dad’s briefcase, on loan. I actually thought as we headed out for trick-or-treating that it was a great costume, but then as each person dropped candy in my bag and told me what a cute little business man I was, I realized they actually thought I was just a boy dressed up as a grown man. I remember being so upset that people didn’t realize I was a girl trying to be her dad that I took the wig part off for most of that year’s celebration to make sure everyone knew I was a girl who just wanted to emulate her father.

David: I think one year I was a mime. So lame. Maybe I’m confusing it with some sort of middle school costume party thing, but in either case it was awful…and creepy.


LindsayMouseWhat was the best costume?
Lindsay: My grandmother handmade this mouse costume for me in preschool. (image to the right)

Athena: It’s a tie between my butterfly costume one year and my “I Dream Of Jeannie” costume the next year. The butterfly wings were so sparkly and big that I think I believed I could fly to Neverland and live with Tinkerbelle. However, the “I Dream of Jeannie” pants my mom made for me that year were so fluffy and fun along with the cool cardboard hat she made me that was wrapped with the same fabric from my pants that I totally rocked it in purple vs. Jeannie’s traditional pink.

Tori: One year I was a sleepwalker. I wore my pajamas, slippers and a little makeup to simulate bags under my eyes. It may not have been the most outlandish, but I sure was comfy!

David: My birthday is Halloween so for my 30th birthday, my wife threw me a surprise Star Wars themed party. She was Princess Leia. My two boys at the time were Obi Wan Kenobi and Yoda, and she had a Han Solo costume made for me. Evidently she got my mom to sew a replica vest of what Han Solo wore in the films.

Gustavo: I was obsessed with Ghostbusters and got the full outfit, complete with the proton pack and the ghost trap they would throw on the floor. I was Peter Venkman!


Was there a specific Halloween decoration or ritual at your house that stands out most in your mind?
Tori: Every year we would host a Halloween party at our home and my parents would go just a little too far. They’d haunt up the basement and line the driveway with tombstones for all of our guests. My mom would dress in tattered clothes, a witch hat and gruesome makeup and she’d answer the door “Hello, my pretty!” in a witch cackle of a voice. For years my friends were a little frightened of the red-brick house on the hill.

Gustavo: Every weekend before Halloween we would carve pumpkins and watch scary movies that I probably shouldn’t have watched. I thought I would never recover from watching the Exorcist.

David: The cake shaped like a pumpkin. I don’t think my mom made it every year, but more than a few years my birthday cake was shaped like a pumpkin with orange frosting and a jack-o-lantern face on it. There’s a photo with me and that cakes when I was 4 or 5 years old that is cemented in my mind.

Lindsay: Pumpkin carving was something I always looked forward to. My mom would spread newspapers over the table and my parents and I would go to town. Now my husband joins in with us!

Athena: My sister and I would be joined by all my cousins at my grandmother’s house to help her make the first of the year’s pumpkin pies. My grandmother’s pumpkin pies were legendary in Sarasota where I grew up. And all the kids, because we were such good helpers, always got the first tastings of the year. Thankfully before she passed away, she finally wrote down her recipe so generations could continue to enjoy Grandma Ruth’s delicious pies.


What are the new Halloween traditions you’re creating at your home?
Gustavo: My girlfriend and I just adopted a dog in April so we’re looking forward to dressing our pup up for Halloween each year. This year she’ll be a Nathan’s hot dog.

Tori: It’s not Halloween until Hocus Pocus is watched.

David: Hocus Pocus, Tori? Really? Although I guess pretty much any Bette Midler movie is frightening to me. But I digress. My wife is a fantastic baker so there are many a pumpkin flavored treat that comes out around Halloween from pumpkin muffins to pumpkin scones to pumpkin cheesecake.

Athena: My husband and I vowed this year to stop turning off the lights in our house while we hide in some back room because we forgot to pick up treats at the grocery store. We vow to start a new tradition of being good to the neighborhood kiddies.

Lindsay: We’ve decided to go big and give out movie size Halloween candy because we want to be the cool house on the block!


Best & worst thing you’ve received while trick or treating?
Athena: Having a younger sister is a blessing (sometimes, smiley face inserted here), and Halloween is one of those good times. She loved hard sour candy, and I loved chewy stuff. So at the end of the night the treats that I didn’t like, she loved, and the treats she didn’t like, I loved. So the trading began and all was always well by the time we had to go to bed that night. Thankfully Jimmy Kimmel wasn’t around back then to encourage our parents to pretend all our treats were eaten the next morning!

Gustavo: Best are Fortune Cookies (my fave) from the local Chinese restaurant. Worst: Box of raisins

Lindsay: Best are homemade caramel apples from our neighbor. The worst: pennies

Tori: The worst thing was definitely a toothbrush. That’s just mean. The best thing was always from our house. We lived in a cul-de-sac at the top of a hill, so it was a hike to get up to. My mom always felt you should be rewarded if you made it, so she gave out giant candy bars.

David: Pencils are the worst. Really? Show some effort people. My 5 year-old has a habit of looking at what you are giving out and if he doesn’t think it’s good, he’ll just walk away. He’s got high standards. Best trick or treating was at my Aunt Fran’s house. She would give you a sandwich bag filled with candy and there’d be a $5 bill in there too. #Jackpot.

You’ve heard some our stories, now we want to hear yours. Share your answers to our questions in the comments!


Header image courtesy of Flickr user (^^RaviN^^)

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Home Tip of the Day: Make your Jack-o-Lantern Last

The last thing you want is your spooky Jack-o-lantern going bad before Halloween. Here’s a clever way to make sure your carved pumpkins last through the holiday.  Only mild sorcery is involved.

For other clever home tips & tricks, subscribe to Coldwell Banker On Location to view the complete Home Tip of the Day video series.

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Welcome Home, Amy Van Dyken-Rouen!

After a tragic ATV accident that left Olympic swimmer Amy Van Dyken-Rouen paralyzed from the waist down, George Oliphant comes to the rescue to help make her home wheelchair-accessible before Amy returns home from rehab.

George tackles the house from top to bottom, from the floors to the doorways, from the master shower to the kitchen counter, from her car to her closet. He even considers the pool, obviously a very important part of Amy’s life.  Modifications are made to every inch of the home so that Amy can go about a normal day in her own home.

The big reveal of her home’s makeover happens on the Meredith Vieira Show, which Amy joins under the pretense that she is giving an interview.  The surprise brings her to tears.

George really went for the gold with this special episode. Coming from a true athlete, Amy jokes that this is “her home on steroids.” Don’t miss this olympic episode of George to the Rescue.

George to the Rescue is sponsored in part by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC.

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Home of the Week: Southern Charm in Daphne, Alabama

In our newest ‘Home of the Week‘ we move from a home with amazing New York City views, to a sprawling waterfront compound in Daphne, Alabama.

The $3.5 million dollar French colonial home was designed to emulate the feel and charm of old Cajun country homes constructed in New Orleans a few hundred years ago. What you end up getting is a home designed to the highest standards of luxury, but with little touches that pack on warmth, charm and a feeling of southern hospitality.

When you come through the double sided gate and enter the property, you’re greeted by a 1,300 square foot guest house perfect for family staying over for a few days. Personally, I’d convert it into a music studio so I could make as much noise as possible without getting in “trouble”. The guest house is pretty fantastic, but the main residence is something to really marvel at. Designed by renowned architect Craig Roberts, the home is dominated by all pine walls and doors and 11.5 foot ceilings that open the space up wonderfully.

The 4 bedroom home has some really cool features in it, including a copper tub and a “West Wing” styled office – but the renovated kitchen is an absolute culinary dream. It’s hard to choose a star of this room, but for me it might be the one-of-a-kind LaCornue Stove and the antique cabinetry carefully curated from some of America’s finest antique shops.

This estate is located on Montrose Bay, so it goes without saying that there are plenty of fantastic ways to enjoy the outdoors. Play a game of soccer on your expansive yard and patio, or take a dip in your saltwater pool and hot tub. If swimming and playing “Marco Polo” ever gets boring for you (how could it) – you’ve got the fabulous Mobile Bay on your door step ready for you…and your kayak.

Click here to see more of this beautiful estate listed by Laura Norton with Coldwell Banker Reehl Properties, Inc.

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