Home of the Week: An Astounding Mountain Retreat in Aspen

In our newest Home of the Week we move from a modern home in Paradise Valley, Arizona to an incredible mansion surrounded by mountains in Aspen, Colorado.

This beautiful $5.4 million dollar home is definitely unlike anything you’ve seen before. Its close proximity to all of the hottest shops as well as recreational activities like golfing and skiing make this home a dream realized. Within its warm and inviting walls you’ll find 5 bedrooms which offer plenty of room for your family and friends. With features like a home theater, formal wet bar and a wine room you’d be hard pressed for reasons to leave.

On warm nights, you’ll be drawn to the impeccable outdoor space which offers a covered patio and fireplace. Click here to see more of this beautiful home listed by Brian Hazen with Coldwell Banker Mason Morse Real Estate.

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Stop Losing Your Keys By Giving Them a Home


You may laugh but don’t act like this hasn’t happened to you! Running around the house looking for your keys in the morning isn’t a fun way to start the day. Give your keys a home and get out of your house on time with these unique key holder ideas.

(If this fails you can always try this route)



Flickr Jameson Gagnepain








Cover Photo via www.cih.org

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Water Wise

On any given day, one might find several front page news articles covering the topic of water – whether it’s the political debate taking place in Detroit, Arizona officials introducing beetles to kill a particular tree that consumes a lot of water, or the drought in California. The lack of water is alarming and lately has me feeling guilty every time I run the dishwasher or washing machine. I want to be a good steward to our planet, especially in ways I can control in and around my home. So how can I (and you) lessen our water footprint so future generations don’t have to face an even worse situation? Here are some ways I’m going to start incorporating into my daily routine to reduce my home’s excess use of water.

Checking leaks: I plan to watch my water meter this week after work (and before daily tasks like dinner preparation or a load of laundry get going) for an hour. If during that hour I notice the meter changing while no water consumption is taking place then I know I need to contact a plumber to identify a leak.

Piping insulation: Speaking of calling the plumber, it’s been on my to-do list since we moved into our new home. It takes the hot water forever to flow in our bathroom, which leads me to believe our pipes need some insulating. All that water going down the drain each morning while we wait and wait and wait for the water to be reasonably warm is wasteful.

Washing the veggies: I’m guilty of letting the water run while I wash our fruits and vegetables in the kitchen sink. I’m vowing now to end this nasty habit and will partially fill the sink with some water and white vinegar to further help reduce our home’s water consumption.

Running a bath: Another confessional item here: I don’t plug the bath tub until the water temperature is to my liking. Yes, shame on me. From now on I’m making sure to stop up the bathtub right away and adjust the hot/cold as the bath fills.

Ideas for the shower: There are several ways to reduce this activity’s water consumption. One, set your phone timer for five minutes so you know for each minute over you’re wasting anywhere between seven to 10 gallons of water per minute. If you’ve gone over the five-minute mark and still haven’t washed your hair or lathered up, turn off the water and resume for rinsing.

Reusing pet’s water: Although I do use our cat’s discarded water to feed outside potted plants, I never thought to also use Salvador’s (our fish) tank water as a means to water my outdoor or indoor plants. This too is going on my list.

Things your mom always told you: For some reason these types of things sunk in for me but not so much for my husband (don’t be mad honey for spilling the beans here). I’m going to leave some colorful post-it notes next to the sinks that say “turn the water off while you brush your teeth or wash your hands.” And maybe adding an amendment to the note saying “fill up the sink up when shaving or doing dishes.” Oh, and of course an “I love you” or “you’re the best” at the bottom to be sure I don’t end up in the dog house.

Main image photo credit: Flickr user Emily

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Real Estate Headlines with Real Life Wall-E, Zombie Houses and More

How is July almost over already? Didn’t we just start summer? I’m feeling the need to spend more time in the pool in order to appreciate these days of summer. But before you get your swimmies on, here’s your weekly dose of real estate headlines to start your week.

Good news. Foreclosures down and home sales are up slightly in June.

An apartment made from shipping containers is being erected in Washington this week.

What are the top 10 home features for which buyers will sacrifice location?

This New York building shows perfectly how mod design can look incredibly cool in real estate.

How can buyers look for signs that a home hasn’t been well maintained?

Somebody call Rick Grimes. Zombie houses are stalking central Massachusetts.

Can you renovate a kitchen as a renter?

I want a Jibo! It’s a robotic assistant for your home that looks like it came straight out of Wall-E.

And finally, here are some simple and thrifty was to deck out a patio.

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Beautiful Glass Homes

Not only are these glass homes beautiful but they are incredibly cool as well. Today, it seems that the glass home trend is on the rise. I love them because they make enjoying your surroundings so much easier. Imagine looking out from almost any room in your home and catching an unobstructed view of the sunrise or even the sunset in the evening? Priceless.

Could you envision yourself living in one of these glass homes?


A fireplace set within a wall of glass with views of a lake and the Canadian mountains. 

Poplar Point Dr
Kelowna, BC

This home is a modern masterpiece. Its unique geometric design and glass structure are truly incredible. 

Huntington Avenue
Saint Louis Park, MN

 This, glass, seaside estate is a dramatic expression of contemporary architecture and captures 270 degree panoramic views of the shimmering ocean and Santa Catalina Island.

Macapa Dr
Los Angeles, CA  

Stunning contemporary design paired with expansive views make this residence a standout on Red Mountain. A very tasteful design with a great floor plan – living, dining, kitchen, family room and master suite all on the main level opening to the outdoor living room terrace with a fire pit and a terrace off the dining room.

Draw Dr
Aspen, CO   

Stunning panoramic ocean and Malibu countryside views from every room of this 4 bedroom, 3 bath, 3400 sq.ft modern architectural home designed by award winning architect Patrick Killen and Widmann Development.

Stagecoach Rd
Malibu, CA

Designed by Vassos Demetriou, this gated home offers the ultimate in lakeside living and entertainment opportunities. The finest of materials and hand-picked tradesmen created a standard of excellence rarely seen. The home’s indoor-outdoor connectivity is enhanced with sophisticated sliding doors, covered terraces and expansive  views.

SE 41st Lane
Bellevue, WA   

A magnificent gated waterfront estate, elegant yet warm, comfortable and lushly landscaped. A cascading garden Koi pond surprises your guests and enchants your arrival! 70 feet of low bank waterfront has year round deep water moorage. 

E Mercer Wy
Mercer Island, WA

Located on one of the most desirable beaches in Malibu, this Paradise Cove beach home is an architectural masterpiece. Originally designed by Steven Ehrlich and completely remodeled by interior designer Michael Lee, this double gated, multi-level four bedroom, four full baths and three half bath home boasts privacy and quality in a truly sensational setting. 

Pacific Coast Hwy
Malibu, CA

Spectacular modern property, recently constructed home with panoramic ocean views of the Santa Monica bay and city lights by night. High-end finishes throughout make this sexy and chic home a masterpiece of both form and function. Retractable walls of glass bring the Santa Monica Mountains and blue Pacific into your living space.

Lockwood Rd
Malibu, CA

Pass under the columned portico through towering doors into overwhelming beauty as you stand in the high-ceiling, grand living room with fireplace and look out toward manicured tropical lawns to the blue Pacific. 

Cliffside Dr
Malibu, CA

For more remarkable homes, be sure to check out our Pinterest page.
Follow Coldwell Banker’s board Incredible Homes on Pinterest.

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7 Pantry Staples You Can Make At Home

You don’t have to be the Next Food Network Star to make pantry items from scratch. Here are 7 foods that are not only healthier, but more cost-effective to make at home.

1. Bread

Before you go running in the other direction, let me explain. There’s no need–or knead–to be afraid of making bread at home. Bread can actually be a very simple kitchen project with this No Knead recipe. The steps look intimidating at first, but the process is actually very hands off. 4 ingredients (one of them is water!) and a hot oven are about all it takes!

2. Hummus

Trust me on this one. Homemade hummus is so delicious you’ll have a hard time keeping it stocked in your fridge for very long. You can even go one step further and cook the chickpeas in your slow cooker.  Not only will this stretch your dollar further, you’ll avoid the additives sometimes included in canned beans.

3. Salad Dressing

For a simple foolproof salad dressing, combine 1 teaspoon good dijon mustard with 2 teaspoon acid (any kind of vinegar or citrus juice). Whisk in olive oil until you reach desired consistency (3-4 tablespoons). Taste. If the dressing is too tart, add a dash of honey.  You’ll taste the difference!

4. Broth

According to Reuters, Americans throw away nearly half of their food a year. Shocking, right?! Take a note from the pros. Professional kitchens are masters at creating something from small budgets. Keep a gallon plastic bag in your freezer for vegetable scraps–ends of an onion (even the peels), carrot peels, herb stems, celery tops. Once you have a full bag, throw the contents into a crock pot, cover with water, add a bay leaf and peppercorns and turn it on low for 6-8 hours. Strain, cool and store. That’s all there is to homemade vegetable broth. Use the broth to flavor soups, grains or sauces.

5. Applesauce

With apple season around the corner, keep this idea handy. Your crock pot is about to become your best friend. Follow this slow cooker recipe for a sweet and healthy dessert you’ll be adding to everything–warm on vanilla ice cream, stirred into oatmeal, served alongside pork chops or straight out of the bowl with a big spoon.

6. Nut Butters

I was quite shocked to discover that the peanut butter I grew up eating was packed with added sugar and oils, especially when making your own is about as easy as pressing the on button on your food processor.

7. Pasta Sauce

You don’t have to have an Italian grandmother to make great marinara. Try this simple 4 ingredient recipe tonight. Now that’s amore!

Being a home cook doesn’t have to be difficult. These pantry staples you can make at home are simple and delicious!

Image Source: Flickr

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Use Accent Walls to Add Some Oomph to Your Decor

Accent walls can be the subject of fierce debate. Some design experts think they look dated, while others think the walls are a great way to add some excitement to a room or improve an otherwise dull interior. Creating an accent wall in your home lets you play around with a color you like without committing to using it everywhere or experiment with wallpaper without committing to covering the entire room. An accent wall can also be a great way to highlight a particular interest or to tie the room’s purpose into its decor. For example, if you’re decorating a game room, you can devote one wall to a mural featuring Philadelphia sports teams.

Choose the Right Wall

Accenting the wrong wall can derail your decorating efforts, according to licensed property staging consultant Kristie Barnett. Start off by choosing a wall that deserves to be accented. It might have some architecture on or around it that demands attention, such as a fireplace, a picture window, or molding. The accent wall can also be a wall anchored by a large piece of furniture, such as your bed or a couch.

Select a Visual Approach

Although a single bold shade of paint might be a popular pick, it’s not the only way to accent a wall. You can also use paint to create a pattern on your wall, such as thick stripes, a chevron design, or a checkerboard. Accent walls give you a chance to have some fun with wallpaper, too: You might choose a bold pattern that’s visually striking but would be too overwhelming spread over all four walls of the room.

If you’re renting your home and can’t make permanent changes to the walls, you might use removable wall decals to create your accent wall. Wall decals are available in a number of different designs and patterns, from inspirational quotes to wall-filling silhouettes of trees or cityscapes.

Getting It Right

Beyond choosing the right wall to focus on, you want to make sure what you do to the wall coordinates with the rest of the room. If you’re sticking with paint, pick a color that complements whatever color you’re using for the rest of your walls and with your furniture. A bright pink accent wall might be overwhelming if, say, you have a lot of bright pink furniture but if you have ivory walls and gray or neutral furniture, a pink wall might work nicely.

The same rule holds if you’re using a pattern or design on the accent wall. The design should complement the other areas of the room, both in terms of color and the size of the pattern. For example, a very large mural might overwhelm a small bedroom in a Philly rowhome, but it might be a lovely approach for an expansive living room wall.

Accent walls are a low-commitment way to add some visual interest to a room, and one of the great things about them is that it’s a snap to update them. While it might not be a project you take on every season (or even every year), changing up or removing your accent wall is easy: Simply paint over it or peel off the wallpaper, and start over.

Image Source: Flickr/Nancy Hugo

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10 Design Ideas to Help Freshen Up Your Bathroom

One of our favorite boards on our Pinterest page is our gorgeous bathrooms board. This collection of bathrooms from coldwellbanker.com listings includes an interesting variety of modern, traditional and unique decor styles that inspired us to create a round up of our favorites. Whether you are looking for ways to refresh your decor or seeking remodeling ideas, this compilation has a little something for everyone.

Medina, WA 

Issaquah, WA 

Chicago, IL

Bellevue, WA 

Westport, CT 

Bellevue, WA 

Portland, OR 

Bellevue, WA 

Portland, OR 

Lake Country, BC 

To see more lovely bathrooms check out our Pinterest page.

Follow Coldwell Banker’s board Gorgeous Bathrooms on Pinterest.

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Optimizing Your Small Kitchen to Reach Its Potential

Contribution by Andrea DavisHomeAdvisor

Small kitchens can be difficult to work in, especially when you need to cook meals for families or host parties. You need everything to be accessible, and you don’t want to be squeezing past others as you’re preparing meals. You’d like a bigger space, but the cost of a complete kitchen remodel might not be in your budget. So how do you compromise?

The answer: small kitchens can be bigger if you’re willing to make adjustments and downsize in a few areas. Here are some recommendations for optimizing your small kitchen space so everyone can cook without compromise:

Create more storage space

To make sure all of your spices, herbs and dinnerware are easily accessible in a small area, optimize your cabinets by installing lazy susans and pull-out shelves. That way you can easily roll them out without having to be right in front of the cabinet, and you’ll have more room for storage than just what you can reach in the cabinet with your hands. It’s quick, efficient and doesn’t require installing new cabinets.

Install built-in cabinets

image via Guthrie Kitchen and Bath Plus, LLC

To save on space around the kitchen and avoid hitting your head, built-in cabinets are an effective storage option. They are long and tall, but they’ll be a bit thinner. A cabinet specialist can also cut out a space in the wall itself for additional shelving. That will maximize space while still optimizing for storage. Other built-in cabinet options include underneath the countertops, sink or an island. They should open up space for more storage rather than eliminate room.

Add more by decreasing sink size

Sinks are good for washing vegetables, meat, fruits and sometimes dishes. However, they don’t need to be as large as they often are when installed in kitchens, especially small ones. Consider replacing your large sink with a smaller one to save counter space. You will still have room in the sink to wash vegetables and meat, and there’s an even better appliances for washing dishes: a dishwasher.

Consider a pull-out countertop extension

image via Kopke Home Enhancement, Inc

If you need more countertop space for preparing meats, pastries or other dishes for dinner, it’s always possible to have a pull-out countertop installed underneath the edge of the counter to use when needed. That way you optimize the kitchen space while having the added luxury of more prep space. It will take a countertop professional to install this, but it won’t take them long or require being out of the kitchen like a remodel would.

Replace some appliances with their smaller counterparts

Large appliances—stoves, ovens, ranges, dishwashers, refrigerators—take up a good amount of space and can take away from other items living in a small kitchen. It might serve you better to replace some with smaller alternatives. If you don’t need to do dishes very often, it might be better to have a smaller dishwasher. If you don’t need a lot of groceries at any one time, consider a smaller refrigerator. The same applies if you don’t cook very often with stoves, ovens and ranges. One of the best options for microwaves is to install a built-in one above your range, which will save on countertop space without compromising on kitchen necessities.

Photos courtesy of DesignMine

See more of the home featured in the cover photo here.

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DIY: Installing a Pet Door

If you have a pet, you probably know the little story called “In. Out. Repeat.” Want to stop playing doorman for your dog or cat? Maybe it’s time to consider installing a pet door in your home. Here are a few things to think about before taking on this pet project.

Start outside
Before you start doing any research on pet doors, you’ll first need to address what your pet will do with his new-found freedom. Does your dog or cat have a tendency to run away? Do you live on a busy street? Will your neighbors mind if your pet is outside unattended? Keep all of these things in mind before installing a free pass to the outdoors. Whether you opt for a physical fence or an invisible one, a barrier will give you piece of mind that your furry friend won’t get lost or hurt.

Choose the Right Door
Now that we know your pet will be safe once he gets outside, let’s discuss what kind of pet door is right for you. Just as there are many things to consider when choosing a front door for your home, there are plenty of elements to consider when selecting a pet door. A pet door can be installed in the wall, storm/screen door, garage door or sliding glass door. Cost of installation and complexity of the project varies with each, with storm door installation being the most cost-effective.

You’ll need to take your pet’s measurements before making your door selection. Consider that your pet will duck his head when entering and exiting, so you’ll want to find a door that is slightly taller than your pet’s shoulder height and at least two inches wider than his body. Creating a mock door out of cardboard is an easy way to test your measurements.

Ready to install? Hire a professional, or follow this step-by-step guide from Lowe’s.

Consider Resale
Most “tips for resale” lists recommend removing anything that says “a pet has lived here,” but according to the Humane Society, 62 percent of American households included at least one pet in 2012. Needless to say, there is a large population out there that may appreciate the upgrade. That said, if you don’t want to commit to a permanent pet door, consider opting to install the pet door in your storm door or screen door, so it can easily be removed or replaced should you no longer need it.

For me, home isn’t home without a furry friend. It appears many agree, just check out some of these other pet-centric home upgrades.

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