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How to make your home wheelchair accessible

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Renovating a home to accommodate the needs of someone in a wheelchair can be challenging. Undoubtedly, you’ll require the help of professional contractors. Here’s a brief look at the modifications you’ll need to make.

• Bathroom. You’ll need sufficient clearance space and a sink and toilet adjusted to the appropriate heights. A stand-alone shower or walk-in bathtub will also be required. In both cases, grab bars are a must.

• Doorways. Modifying your doorways by installing offset hinges or removing the door and trim may be sufficient. However, widening the doorways might be necessary. Handles may need to be replaced with ones that are easier to use.

• Kitchen. A true wheelchair-friendly kitchen will include modifications to the countertops, sinks, cabinets, appliances, and possibly the overall layout.

• Flooring. The ideal floor in a wheelchair accessible home is one that’s slip-resistant, easy to maintain, wears well, and provides good traction. Laminate, vinyl, ceramic, and low-pile or commercial carpeting are all good choices.

• Lighting. Glare is often an issue for people who use a wheelchair, but this can frequently be resolved by altering the position or angle of lights. Another consideration is the location of light switches, which should be placed at a height of 36 inches.

Keep in mind that other modifications may be needed. Depending on the configuration of your home, you may require a chairlift, elevator, ramps, and even structural changes to the house’s layout. For help remodeling your home, contact a local specialist in home adaptation projects.

Good to know
Most wheelchairs have a seat width of 18 to 22 inches, however, comfortable passage typically requires at least 36 inches of clearance. In addition, a turning radius of 60 inches is required in order for a person using a wheelchair to comfortably navigate a space.

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Real Estate

A brief look at bathroom trends

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Marble bathrooms are timelessly elegant, and in 2021, interior designers are increasingly using this type of stone. Here are some other trends to consider for your next bathroom remodel.

• Gold fixtures, faucets, and mirrors are taking the spotlight. A matte or brushed finish is the way to go.

• Natural elements like loose stones, wood cabinets, and plants are lending bathrooms an organic feel.

• Open showers are on-trend, especially those with luxurious features like an integrated bench, a misting system, ambient lighting, an anti-fog mirror, and a linear drain.

• Island vanities that feature two sinks sitting back to back rather than side by side are a chic upgrade for a large bathroom.

Lastly, technology is playing an increasingly important role in bathroom design. If you’re planning a remodel, you can ask your contractor to incorporate features like USB chargers in vanity drawers, app-controlled speakers, and smart shower heads that conserve water.

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Real Estate

How to use architectural lighting to revamp your home

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Architectural lighting enhances the structure of the space to create a cohesive experience. It’s something to be considered during every building and renovation project, and the earlier the better. This is because this type of lighting is integrated directly into space, blending in with the features of your home. Here are some ways architectural lighting is used.

To emphasize ceilings
If you have architectural ceilings, rather than installing pot lights consider adopting lighting that blends into the millwork and molding. This could work well on a beamed, coffered, coved, or tray ceiling.

To set the mood with wall wash lighting

Wall washing is a technique that directs light at a wall to draw attention to the smooth, vertical surface. The fixtures can be recessed in the ceiling or mounted to it. If you prefer to create an uplighting effect, install the lights on the floor.

To light your way
Illuminate stairways by adding pot lights on both sides of the bottom step, either on the lowest riser or the wall. Alternatively, add lighting within each riser. Uplighting can create height and drama, and when used to illuminate staircases, it also focuses light where it’s most needed.

There are many other possibilities when it comes to architectural lighting, from illuminating the underside of kitchen counters and cabinets, to lighting up built-in shelving and other custom features. For the best possible results, make sure to speak with an architect before you start your renovation or building project.

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3 smart home features that buyers want

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One of the best ways to gain an edge in the real estate market is with smart technologies that provide improvements in comfort, convenience, and security. Here are three smart home features that home buyers are increasingly interested in.

1. Smart home security
Smart security systems provide robust all-round protection. They consolidate various security tools — burglar alarms, fire alarms, locks, surveillance cameras, and lighting — in one wall-mounted touch panel and smartphone app, allowing you to fine-tune your home security and manage and monitor your system from a distance.

2. Smart thermostats

Smart thermostats allow homeowners to remotely adjust their heating and air conditioning using an application on their phone. Many can also be paired with ventilation systems and humidifiers. These devices help homeowners save energy and enjoy optimal comfort by automatically adjusting the temperature according to their usage needs and preferences.

3. Smart appliances
Homebuyers appreciate that smart fridges, washers, dryers, stoves, and other appliances are generally more energy-efficient and offer various useful features. For example, a smart stove allows users to preheat the oven from their smartphone and receive alerts when the cooking has finished. Additionally, certain smart washer and dryer units use artificial intelligence to determine the weight and fabric softness of each load in order to select the optimal wash cycle.

If you have any of these home technologies, flaunt them when selling your house. If not, consider upgrading your home to make it “smarter.”

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How to spot a bike-friendly neighborhood

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Are you buying a new home? If your main mode of transportation is a bicycle, it’s a good idea to determine how bike-friendly a neighborhood is before you decide to live there. Here are five factors to consider.

1. Designated bike lanes
It’s safer to ride in designated bike lanes than on the road. The ideal neighborhood for cycling has bike lanes separated from roads with a barrier. Conversely, the most unsafe routes for cyclists are those where riders are sandwiched between moving traffic and parked cars.

2. Road conditions

As a cyclist, it’s best to steer clear of routes with large cracks and potholes. Look for a neighborhood where the roads and paths are in good shape and well-maintained.

3. Traffic volume
It can be unpleasant to bike in heavy traffic. In addition to being less safe, busy roads are noisy and more polluted.

4. Speed limits
Residential streets with low vehicle speed limits are ideal for cyclists, especially if they must share the road with drivers.

5. Flat terrain
If you use your bike for long commutes, a hilly neighborhood could be a problem, as it can make your daily ride excessively grueling.

Lastly, if you love to bike in nature, choose a neighborhood with bike paths that pass through parks, waterfronts, and other scenic areas.

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5 DIY painting projects to refresh your home

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It’s amazing what a little paint can do. Here are five fun and easy projects that can have a major impact on the look and feel of your home.

1. Garage. Elevate your home’s curb appeal by giving the garage doors a facelift. Choose a color that matches the trim and shutters and complements the house’s other exterior features.

2. Dresser. If you have a dingy old set of drawers or want to give a boring room a boost, consider refurbishing your wooden dresser. Use a punchy color if you want to create interest, but opt for a neutral if you prefer the piece to blend in.

3. Front door. First impressions matter. Make a great one by choosing a bright, welcoming color for your front door.

4. Cabinets. In a kitchen, painting the cabinets can completely redefine the look and feel of the space. When choosing a color, consider the hues in your backsplash, countertop, floor, and walls.

5. Shelves. If you have built-in shelves, consider painting them a bold color to draw attention to your collections, photographs, and books.

To find paint and brushes, visit your local hardware and paint stores. For bigger painting projects in your home, consider hiring a professional.

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Virginia’s housing market off to a strong start in 2021

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According to the January 2021 Home Sales Report released by Virginia REALTORS®, strong demand and low mortgage rates led to a strong start to Virginia’s housing market in 2021. While home sales typically slow in the winter months, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended the traditional seasonality of the home buying market.

There were 8,806 home sales in Virginia in January, which is more than 2,000 more sales than January 2020, an increase of 31.1%. The median home sales price statewide was $315,000 in January, up 12.5% from a year ago. This is the 6th consecutive month of double-digit price increases, a trend that has occurred across most regions in Virginia.

The greatest challenge for buyers continues to be the shrinking levels of available inventory. While the inventory has been on a downward trajectory for years, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused more would-be sellers to delay selling their homes. At the end of January, there were just 16,280 active listings across Virginia, which is 12,259 fewer active listings than there were at the end of January 2020, a 43% drop. Inventory declined by 7.2% between December and January alone.

Due to the dwindling inventory, homes are selling quickly, and multiple offers and bidding wars are increasingly common. “It’s a challenging market for buyers in Virginia right now,” says Virginia REALTORS® Chief Economist Lisa Sturtevant, PhD. “Some would-be buyers have put their home buying on hold or have decided to remain renters. Sales activity could slow in the months ahead, not because of a softening of demand, but rather as a result of insufficient inventory.”

The Virginia Home Sales Report is published by Virginia REALTORS®. Click here to view the full January 2021 Home Sales Report.

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Upcoming Events

Mar
9
Tue
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 9 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]
Mar
13
Sat
10:00 am HSWC Polar Plunge @ Culpeper Lake at the 4-H Center
HSWC Polar Plunge @ Culpeper Lake at the 4-H Center
Mar 13 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
HSWC Polar Plunge @ Culpeper Lake at the 4-H Center
The Humane Society of Warren County “Polar Plunge” delayed from February 20 due to “too-polar” weather here in northwestern Virginia has been rescheduled to Saturday, March 13 – Don’t worry, it will still be a[...]
Mar
16
Tue
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 16 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]
Mar
23
Tue
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 23 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]
Mar
28
Sun
2:00 pm Pictures with the Easter Bunny @ Warren County Community Center
Pictures with the Easter Bunny @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 28 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Pictures with the Easter Bunny @ Warren County Community Center
Come join the staff of Warren County Parks and Recreation and get your picture taken with the Easter Bunny! Pictures will be taken and printed on site; upon departure you will be given an Easter[...]
Mar
30
Tue
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 30 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]
Apr
3
Sat
12:00 pm Egg-stravaganza! @ Sky Meadows State Park
Egg-stravaganza! @ Sky Meadows State Park
Apr 3 @ 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Egg-stravaganza! @ Sky Meadows State Park
Eggs are popping up all over Sky Meadows State Park. Visit our egg-laying free-range chickens by taking our Chicken Walk. Go on an egg-citing Geocache adventure. Kids, use your scavenger hunting skills using clues from[...]
Apr
17
Sat
all-day Shenandoah Epic @ Caroline Furnace
Shenandoah Epic @ Caroline Furnace
Apr 17 all-day
Shenandoah Epic @ Caroline Furnace
This tried and true Epic 24-hour AR will test your biking, paddling, trekking, and navigation skills as you explore two state parks (one of them brand new!) and national forest lands. Join soloists and teams[...]
Apr
24
Sat
10:00 am Earth Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Earth Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Apr 24 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Earth Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
On this Earth Day, celebrate safely by doing your part to restore our earth and joining the Great Global Cleanup. Stop by one of our tables at the Explorer Outpost, Picnic Area, or Lost Mountain[...]