Snow continues to fall in Loudoun County, but it’s never too early to start planning for the spring to come. As many of us have spent more time in our homes these past 12 months than ever before, it’s never the wrong time to do some spring cleaning—and home improvements.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, there are a lot of simple, DIY home improvement projects you can tackle to help get your home spring-ready.

1. Build a High Rise Vegetable Garden

An empty raised vegetable garden box

If you’re interested in planting a vegetable garden this spring, now is the perfect time to build a raised bed. There are a lot of different tutorials out there on how to build one, and we opted for this taller version which was made in less than 90 minutes using 4x4s and 1x6s. We laid some landscaping fabric then added soil before planting some jalapeno plants!

2. Install Weatherstripping

Flowers sit in a wooden vase next to the window

While spending more time at home, you might have noticed some drafts coming from your windows. It’s easier than ever now to install permanent or temporary weatherstrippping around your windows and doors to help eliminate those drafts. You’ll also lower your heating bills by making sure your furnace doesn’t have to work so hard. A great time to do this right after you finish letting the paint dry on your freshly painted front door…

3. Paint Your Front Door

A quaint home with a bright red door and white picket fence

If you’re looking to instantly improve your home’s curb appeal, consider a fresh coat of paint on your front door. Front doors often take a beating from and fade over time because of the elements, and a fresh coat of paint is easy to apply and will instantly give your home new life. Make sure you check with your HOA in case there are any rules about colors or a specific type of paint.

4. Upgrade Your Builder-Grade Shower Head

A rain shower head runs next to a window

Most builder-grade shower heads work just fine, but if you haven’t replaced yours in a while, or if you’d like to upgrade your showering experience, a new shower head can make all the difference. For the most part, replacing shower heads is relatively easy—just make sure to follow the instructions!

5. Swap Your Shower Curtain

A new floral shower current hangs in a bathroom

Since you’re already in your bathroom, it’s also ridiculously easy and affordable to change your shower curtain. Your shower curtain takes up a lot of visual real estate in your bathroom, and a brand new one can freshen things up.

6. Frame the Bathroom Mirror

A framed mirror hangs in a gray and wood bathroom

This bathroom DIY project takes a little bit more patience than upgrading your shower head and swapping out your shower curtain, but framing your bathroom mirror can help add some brilliant finishing touches to your updated bathroom. With a tape measure, some molding, paint, wood glue, and a little patience, you can turn your boring mirror into a piece of art.

7. Install (Magnetic) Carriage Garage Doors

Magnets transform a standard garage door to a carriage-house look

We saw this hack on social media recently, and it’s probably the quickest, easiest, and least expensive DIY home improvement project on this list. Carriage house garage doors offer an excellent aesthetic to your home, but they can be expensive. However, you can order some magnetic garage door hinges and handles to give your garage door that carriage-house look for less than $12—and in less than 12 minutes!

Have you completed any home improvement projects recently? Send us the pictures on Facebook or Instagram so we can showcase your work!

I recall reading somewhere recently that homes with a home office sell for 9% more on average than homes without.

This is not at all surprising, especially right now. At no time has a home office been more necessary. With so many people working from home — and many likely to stay in that routine even when, God willing, this pandemic is over — claiming a room or even a quiet “nook” as one’s workspace is essential. And, in fact, many households may need 2+ offices for working spouses and even kids.

Fortunately, there are some creative things you can do to repurpose space into a home office. Of course, if you’re lucky enough to have a home built with a room intended for a home office, that’s perfect. You can customize the space with cabinets or bookshelves — either built-in or freestanding — as needed.

Here’s an example of a “traditional” style office with some nice built-ins…


You can even claim a loft or “retreat” space and install some inexpensive shelving and a nook for a desk, as shown in this photo. By being smart about utilizing wall space in this way, you also leave plenty of square footage for a couch, as shown, or even other office furniture if you have multiple people sharing the space.


This particular loft is light-filled due to the skylights above and makes a quiet getaway for productive work-time, far away from any noise and chaos on levels below! You could even fashion a home office in an attic, providing you are able to finish the space with heat and air conditioning. With the desk off to the side, you have room for a comfy sectional sofa, too!


If you’re limited on space in the home and need to have a “shared” workspace, I love the idea of this table with his/hers chairs on either side. If that’s too distracting for you, you can always situate his/her desks against opposite walls. It’s fun to put a small sofa, chaise lounge or comfy chair in this space as well — for times when you want to relax and read or just take a break from working at the desk.


One of my favorite home offices I’ve run across recently was the one below, in a model home. Upon entering the foyer through the front door, you see this “wall” of wooden slats. It affords a degree of privacy but allows some natural light to filter into the office and prevents it from feeling closed off. It adds a cool design element as well.


Another favorite — for a relatively small space — was this long, narrow space off the front foyer fashioned into a home office.


The office above is on the left once you walk in the front door, and I love the barn door that is both functional and decorative.


Here’s a third view of this room…The first thing you’ll notice when looking into this room is the functional bookshelves framing the beautiful window.


And finally, there are always creative ways to maximize even little nooks like this one under a staircase (it reminds me of Harry Potter’s “cupboard under the stairs!”).  While not large, it’s functional and private — with few distractions.


Similarly, many years ago we had one of two large closets in our older son’s room converted into a nook with a built-in desk and shelves above. After all, a boy doesn’t need two big closets! Our contractor removed the sliding closet doors and crafted a beautiful desk with file drawers on each side and shelves above — and with track lighting shining down on the desk. Our son has actually used this desk regularly over the years (especially when he was home from college finishing up the spring semester online!)

So, as you can see, all it takes is thinking outside the box. You needn’t have a big budget, either. Feel free to email me at [email protected] if you need some ideas of how to better utilize your home’s rooms as your lifestyle adapts to the increased amount of time spent at home.

I’ve heard wine consumption is up during our current stay-at-home orders. It’s no surprise, but I’m sure many of you miss your local wine bar or restaurant. I know I miss going to our own favorite spot, Wine Styles in South Riding. While they’re open for purchases and the monthly wine club shipments, the in-store sipping and socializing has been halted, as have the tastings.

As my husband and I enjoy favorite Italian varietals of Nero D’Avola or Barbera d’Alba at our kitchen table, I’ve found my mind wandering to some of the model homes I’ve toured over the past year…many of which had innovative wine bars or wine displays.

Create Your Own Wine Bar In Your Home

The great news is that many of these wine set-ups need not involve a fancy wet bar or expensive renovation of your basement. While you can certainly go that route, there are also simpler ways to turn a corner of your rec room — or even the wall of a family room — into a wine-themed nook.

These spots provide great little “getaways” within your own home when you just need to relax and unwind — and have a change of scenery from your home office, kitchen, or couch! You can buy some new varietals from a local wine shop to create your own wine tasting…in your own wine bar! And hopefully, before too long, you’ll be able to invite friends and family over to join you.

For inspiration, take a look at all of these innovative ideas. This is one of my personal favorites and puts me in the mood to pair some wine and cheese…

Wine Tasting Area in Basement

Notice how there are no permanent fixtures needed here, just a long table. The concept concept below also utilizes a long table as the focal point and pairs it with a cool wall display of clear bottles…

Wine area with bottles on wall

Because these arrangements aren’t permanent structures, they can be moved or replaced with other uses of the space in the future.

This one is certainly pricier and gives the appearance of more of a “permanent” bar with the stone work backdrop….but still keeps things simple since it doesn’t involve plumbing for a wet bar.

Bar in basement

You can go an even simper route with a sports-bar type counter and stools in your rec room. Even though it’s basic, it still lends a festive touch to the space and gives people a place to set their bottle or glass while playing pool…or sit down for a beer tasting.

Rec room with counter and bar stools

This is a more traditional set-up for a basement bar, but again, you can keep the cost lower by not incorporating a sink, refrigerator or dishwasher. You still end up with the look and feel of a full bar.

Basement bar

If you’re tight on space, you can always go with a type of baker’s rack or simple, clean cabinets and shelves tucked in a nook…and stocked with your favorite spirits.

Bar for small spaces

Another trend I’ve been seeing is opting for a small wet bar in an upper level “loft” space off the bedrooms. It creates a little retreat where you or your guests can relax with a cocktail while snuggling up on the couch.

Bar in upstairs loft retreat

You can even incorporate the wine theme in a Dining Room, giving it an elegant and creative touch. No need to worry about where to store all your wine…this is utilitarian as well as beautiful!

Dining room wall wine rack

And then, of course, you could go over-the-top with a full-fledged wine cellar like this…

Wine cellar

Stay tuned for other fun trends we’re seeing in model homes. And if you’re in the market for a new home, let us know. While model homes aren’t open for anyone to just drop in right now, most builders are scheduling private appointments so that serious buyers have the opportunity to browse in a safe setting. We can handle all the details for you!