3 Easy Barbecue Sauce Recipes to Up Your Grilling Game

barbecue-bbq-beef-597422Grilling season is upon us, and we’re prepping by giving our grills a good scrub and stocking the pantry with things like dry rubs and seasoning salts. And while we always love a good homemade meat glaze, there is no shame in going out and buying a bottle of barbecue sauce when you’re strapped for time. Or maybe you’re simply feeling a little bit lazy. Don’t worry, we’re not judging. There are plenty of top-notch bottled barbecue sauces on the market these days, many of which are made without high-fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors. But making a grilling sauce from scratch doesn’t have to be a big production.

We turned to three chefs across the country to get their easy barbecue sauce recipes that don’t require a lot of time to put together. Though the ingredient lists can look a little daunting at first, it’s likely you have most of the components in your pantry already. Plus, after stocking up on the rest of the ingredients, you can make these delicious meat glazes all season long. Whip up these big batch recipes, store them in the fridge, and reach for them anytime you break out the grill.

South Texas Mustard Base BBQ Sauce

(By Jason Dady, owner of Shuck Shack, Tre Trattoria, Two Bros. BBQ Market, B&D Ice House, and The Bin Tapas Bar)

A post shared by Villani J (@jvillans) on

“This is a classic South Texas mustard base barbecue sauce,” Dady says. “It is the Texan staple, from brisket to ribs, turkey to cabrito. It’s a tried and true Texas barbecue sauce. I love using the Maille mustards because of their finesse and sharp flavors.” Ingredients:

  • 3 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 lb fresh peaches, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 cup worcestershire
  • 1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup coarse black pepper
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp dry mustard

 

Method:

    1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, sweat onions, garlic, and peaches until soft.
    2. Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer for 1 hour over low heat, being careful not to scorch.
    3. Puree and strain. Chill immediately and use as needed.

A post shared by Molly R. (@mollyr33) on

 

Read More

3 Reasons Your Rent-vs-Buy Math Might Be Wrong

A post shared by elcuttlo (@elcuttlo) on


It’s common knowledge that owning a home is cheaper than renting (at least in the long term), but anyone who has ever sat down to try and figure out the numbers knows that finding out how much you’ll save is harder than it looks. There are so many factors to consider.

To try and help you come as close to the real number as possible, we’ve outlined three ways your rent-vs-buy math might be wrong — and how to straighten things out to give you the best picture possible. Keep these details in mind as you weigh your decision and you’ll have a much clearer vision of which path is right for you.

You’re only looking at the mortgage payment

Anyone who’s ever looked at a mortgage calculator knows that seeing that number can be shocking – in a good way. For the most part, the number you’ll see there ends up being far less than monthly rent. Unfortunately, though, it only tells part of the story. It only accounts for your mortgage payment.

In addition to a loan payment, homeowners need to account for supplemental costs like their homeowners insurance and property taxes. Be sure to include those costs into your estimates. To estimate property taxes, you can take the property tax percentage in the area where you’ll be living and multiply it by the value of a potential property you’d buy. For homeowner’s insurance, the Federal Reserve Bureau estimates that premiums typically fall between $300 – $1,000, annually.

You need to account for closing costs

The term “closing costs” simply refers the fees that are incurred during the buying process. They’re unique to each sale, but could include things such as the costs of inspections and appraisals, the cost of running a title search, or an association fee. These costs are paid at settlement and typically add up to a few thousand dollars, so they should absolutely be accounted for in your home-buying budget. For instance, if you expect to stay in your future home for around 5 years (before you outgrow it or take off to a new city), add in one-fifth of the closing costs to your annual expenses when considering whether renting or buying ends up cheaper.

Luckily, there are a few ways to cut down on these costs. While some fees are fixed according to the home sale regulations in your area, others are negotiable. Try your best to buy when mortgage interest rates are low and to go research professionals (like your inspectors and loan rep) who have low fees. During sale negotiations, you may also be able to ask the seller to cover a portion of the costs in exchange for a higher sale price.

Read More

Before and After: A Cheap Collage of Browns & Creams Gets a Bold, Blue Modern Remodel

Peggy Wang, Buzzfeed’s founding editor, decided one day a few years ago she was ready to move out of tiny apartment living. “It was like a weird sudden existential outburst in my usual lazy put-everything-off-forever mindset,” she writes. When she purchased this 1100-square-foot home in Queens, it felt like the right fit. But boy it needed a face lift. She worked closely with White Arrow—Keren Richter and her husband Thomas Richter—to remodel this home.

Keren shared more information about the renovation in her own words: “When we first began, the rowhouse had been stripped of nearly all the original period details. The interior finishes were cheap and in bad condition, with a collage of browns and creams and questionable wallpaper. We had a few goals in mind—to bring back the house’s character, to make the home feel light and fresh, and to create a refreshing mix of finishes, fixtures and furniture that was youthful and fun. We appreciate historic homes but are equally interested in creating spaces that reflect our clients’ tastes and don’t feel like time capsules to an earlier era. The play between old and new is what excites us.”

“The floor plan of a rowhouse is long without windows for a large stretch of the interior. If not done right, it can feel quite dark. So we lightened the floors and brought in antique frosted glass and large pocket doors to keep the light bouncing and making interior rooms feel brighter. We also added sconces and dimmers everywhere. We tore down some walls to open up the kitchen and dining room and unified furniture and finishes in the spaces that would now be seen simultaneously.

Our initial plan had bathrooms and the kitchen’s gas and plumbing in new locations, but the budget was quite tight so we kept things in place and minimized the existing asymmetry of certain architectural elements through a strategic array of cabinetry.

We collaborated closely with the owners during the course of renovating a charming old rowhouse in the historic district of Ridgewood, Queens. Peggy Wang, Buzzfeed’s founding editor, had all sorts of ideas and cost-cutting strategies. We dove deep to find solutions for the gut renovation of her apartment (and a downstairs rental unit—not photographed). It was an exercise in resourcefulness and shared creativity. Our goal was to design a home that felt luxurious on a cost-conscious budget. To embrace the house’s historic bones, we used a mix of architectural salvage (doors, knobs, fireplace mantel, and lighting), and we created period appropriate millwork. We sourced a fresh mix of vintage and contemporary furniture from the internet and auction houses along with some custom-painted vintage pieces and a few White Arrow-designed furniture.

A post shared by FAVI.CZ (@favicz_krasnebydleni) on

To save money, we refinished and bleached the existing subfloor. What resulted was an airy and light atmosphere that offsets the black painted antique doors and deep blue Shaker cabinetry. The lights are a mix of Schoolhouse Electric, Cedar and Moss, Park Studio LA, and salvaged holophane glass pendants from…

Read More

How to Decorate Your Home Like It’s an Art Gallery

by KELLY PHILLIPS BADAL

Living Color

Kaleidoscope wallpaper, colorful lacquered furniture, hip-hop lyrics made into artwork: For Paul and Mikaela Hayama, these design details work harmoniously in their custom-built modern home. “A monochromatic, neutral, soft palette was an absolute no-no for me,” says Mikaela, a legal-operations director and mother of two in Manhattan Beach, California. “With young kids, we wanted our home to feel energetic and alive. It just made sense to embrace big bold colors and textures.” To pull off this overachieving color agenda, the couple teamed up with architect Jonathan Starr of Starr Design Group and interior designer Caitlin Murray of Black Lacquer Design and promptly let loose with some daring decor decisions. “Our whole idea was to go modern but approachable, livable, and warm,” says Paul, a partner at a private debt firm. “It’s not the easiest combination.”

Set the Tone

With a palette of pink, turquoise, purple, black (and more) drawn from a 1970s abstract painting Murray found at 1stdibs, the 4,100-square-foot house now teases its sense of style right from the get-go. Step inside and an electric-blue entryway acts as a backdrop to a vignette that includes an oversize mirror, a console desk, and two magenta twisted-cube chairs by Frank Gehry.

Balance Your Colors

Few spaces in the house embrace vivid hues edge to edge. Most of the walls are white—though in the case of an upstairs recreational room, mint accents accompany the clean blank backdrops. The neutral tones are a deliberate choice to help vibrant art and furniture pop and avoid clashes. “A common misconception is that if you like color, you shouldn’t paint your walls white; you should paint them blue, red, or whatever—but it’s completely the opposite,” insists Murray. “Paint your walls white, like an art gallery. Color needs to be incorporated in a balanced way. After all, you don’t want your home looking like a box of Crayolas.”

Read More

 

Home Staging Ideas for Your Garage

    Need some home staging ideas for you garage? Yup, this grease-covered dumping ground that serves as a “home” for your car (at least we hope your car fits in there) is not overlooked by home buyers. A good-looking garage is worth its weight in gold, and can be a strong selling point. In fact, a recent realtor.com® survey found that 32% of home buyers say the garage is one of the most important rooms in a house! As such, in the same way you might try a little home staging to make your kitchen and living room look their best, it’ll pay to learn how to stage your garage. Here are some garage staging ideas that’ll wow buyers even before they’ve entered the more civilized parts of your home.

Declutter, of course


Gather all the items in your garage, and divide them into three piles: keep, donate, and toss. Once you’ve purged, it’s time to restore what you need in a better way.

“Resist the urge to stack bins on top of one another,” says Jennifer Snyder, a professional home organizer and owner of Neat as a Pin in Waco, TX. Instead, hang tools on a pegboard ($50), store boxes on a ceiling storage rack ($160), and mount a Spoga Wall Organizer ($8) for your mop, broom, and other cleaning equipment. Clean up When’s the last time you cleaned your garage? Never?! Well, you’d better take time now to dust the walls and corners and sweep the floor. Find an oil stain on the ground? Pour paint thinner on the stain, and then apply an absorbent material (e.g., cat litter, baking soda, cornmeal, or sawdust) over the saturated spot. Let the mixture set overnight, and sweep it up in the morning with a heavy push broom with sturdy bristles. Check garage safety

Make sure all flammable products and poisonous chemicals are stored out of reach of children and pets. (You don’t want potential buyers to wonder what else you may have handled irresponsibly.) And if you don’t already have one in your garage, install a smoke detector.
Read More

 

Second-Time Homebuyers Would Rather Have a Laundry Room Than a Living Room

Nearly three out of four (72%) house hunters who have owned a home before say a laundry room would be an “essential” feature of their next home, compared to just 59% who deem a living room necessary. That’s according to a new survey by the National Association of Home Builders that asked potential home buyers what features they’d consider “essential” in the next house they buy. Responses varied between first-time home buyers and veteran homeowners, which offers some interesting insights into what young, novice homebuyers value compared to presumably older buyers for whom this is not the first real estate rodeo. For example, only 61% of first-time buyers consider a laundry room essential — the same number who demand a living room. It makes sense that second-time homebuyers are more keen on a dedicated laundry area; a lot of renters are just forced to put up with it, but once you own your own house — especially if you’ve got kids, who are basically clothes-soiling machines — you get pretty tired of hauling baskets to the basement or down the street to a laundromat.


But the fact that so many buyers place a laundry room on par with or even ahead of a living room is pretty astonishing to me. Either lots of people just assume a living room is present in any given house, or maybe they really don’t care. (Would they go so far as to convert their living room to a laundry room?) Or, perhaps what they really want is a “great room” — considered an essential feature among 43% of first-timers and 40% of second-time buyers.

Another difference between the two groups is that existing homeowners can afford to be pickier, considering more items to be “essential” — even finishes, like granite countertops (40%) and hardwood floors (41%).

Some features that first-time buyers consider essential don’t even register for more seasoned homebuyers, and vice versa. While 44% of first-time buyers said they must have a front porch, it didn’t crack the top 14 for veteran buyers. They’d rather sip lemonade on a patio (44%), which wasn’t a top concern among first-timers.

Laundry isn’t the only feature that seems to get more essential the second or third time around. While 43% of first-timers listed a two-car garage as a must-have feature, that number climbed to 54% among second-time homebuyers. Similarly, 45% of first-time homebuyers consider a walk-in closet in the master bedroom essential, compared to 56% of existing homeowners.



Meanwhile, veteran homebuyers were less inclined to care whether their next house has a proper dining room (45% vs. 52% of first-timers), and instead require an eat-in kitchen (43%).

Read More

 

Spring House Plants Add New Life And Color!

pexels-photo-271795

It might be spring, but warmer weather is not exactly here yet for much of California which means we’re still not spending as much time as we’d like outdoors.  This set the scene perfectly for spring projects around the home, like spring cleaning. Spring is also a great time for new beginnings, it can be a great time to buy a new property and make a move.

Whether you’re moving or staying put, spring is a great time to start fresh; getting rid of clutter, adding a fresh coat of paint or changing the layout of your place are all great ideas to get into the spring of things.  As you’re making changes, consider bringing new life into your home with fresh houseplants!

The right houseplant can be really beneficial to the overall environment in your home; plants add just enough moisture to the air to help you breathe, they add fresh air and even clean the air of some of the air pollution.  Houseplants also bring the room together adding both color and texture that really set the mood.

Areca Palms are some of the best when it comes to cleaning the air, according to a NASA study.  Not only are they great at removing toxins from the air, they’re also a great humidifier which helps keep you healthy.  This plant is perfect for anyone looking to add a tropical vibe to their home décor. If you have less than a green thumb, don’t worry!  This plant is very easy to take care of and is very drought resistant.

Peperomia plants are easy to grow, compact and uniquely alluring.  They grow heart-shaped leaves that would rather be neglected than meticulously cared for.  These plants are most adaptive in spring when they’re in their sprouting phase. The plant does well under fluorescent lights and prefers an east-facing window where it will receive light to moderate light.

Snake plants go by a variety of names depending on which part of the globe you’re standing and are native to tropical Africa.  This plant is hassle-free, you can set it and forget it because it can withstand almost any condition. These plants like humidity and low light, so they make a great plant for the bathroom.  The shape of their leaves and color is absolutely alluring and they’re great at cleaning the air.

A post shared by Brandon (@brandon_nxs) on

Pothos plants stay contained to a few feet in a shrub-like diameter when potted and are great house plants not only because of their size but their uncommon leaf coloring.  A wild mix of green, white and yellow which dazzles the eyes, it is easy to see why this houseplant is so popular. Just like the rest of the plants mentioned, it is very easy to take care of and luckily it thrives even in dimly lit rooms.

A post shared by RUBY LEAF CO. (@rubyleafco) on

Dracaena plants also called the Madagascar Dragon Tree, can stay smaller if potted or grow to be as many as 6 ft. tall.   They do well indoor or outdoor with very little care and are popular for their strappy, colorful, palm-like leaves.

No-Fail Kitchen Color Combinations

pexels-photo-276554Walking down the paint aisle at the home improvement store can be overwhelming. With so many paint chips to choose from, where do you start? Let us help you whittle down the choices with our picks for the best kitchen color palettes.

Make your kitchen an expression of your personal style by drenching it in the colors you love. For a no-regrets approach, choose neutral tones for the expensive foundation elements (cabinets, floors, countertops, appliances) and introduce color on the walls, backsplash, window treatments, lighting, and other less-expensive accents. With this strategy, you can easily and affordably swap out the color scheme as your taste and popular trends change.

Chomping at the bit to pick the perfect palette for your kitchen? These delicious color combinations are sure to please.

Blue + Orange

Bring your kitchen to life with this energetic duo. Bold and juicy citrus orange pairs perfectly with soft blue. Plus, both colors complement bright white woodwork and provide lively punctuations against the austere backdrop of modern design.

Red + Yellow

This regal combination has been popular in Europe for generations, and it has found its way into modern design. Pair a deep red with golden yellow to evoke the sense of a stately English manor, a relaxed French country cottage, or a beautiful Tuscan villa. To make your kitchen feel larger, use yellow as the room’s anchor color, then add red accents to punctuate the design.

Gray + Purple

When paired with a deep charcoal gray, purple doesn’t seem quite as intimidating. A neutral base helps royal purple accents stand out without overwhelming the space. Balance rich, royal colors with plenty of white.

Black + White

Few color combinations are as balanced as black and white. Make use of the timeless duo by pairing white foundational elements with black accents. Further amp up visual interest by incorporating a black-and-white backsplash, wallpaper, or tile flooring.

Blue + Brown

This color combo has universal appeal. For modern or transitional homes, pair chocolate brown with crisp sky blue, and throw in a few bright accent colors for visual interest. In a country kitchen, pick robin’s egg blue and wheat brown, then layer on cream-color accents for a warm and cozy look. To give the duo a traditional feeling, choose deep shades of both colors and break up the dark tones with crisp white and rich gold accents.

Read More

Does Your Home Staging Look Too Sterile? How to Warm Things Up

living-room-1517166_960_720

Home staging—the practice of arranging furnishings and decor in a house so buyers can envision living there—is becoming an ever-more important tool for home sellers. In fact, studies show that staged homes sell 88% faster and for 20% more money than those that aren’t staged.

And yet: Home staging can be taken too far. Home sellers sometimes clear out every last family photo, pillow, and doo-dad until their house looks like a hotel for Scandinavian robots. How do you stage your home with warmth, so it looks as though humans live there? And by humans, we mean very tidy people with excellent taste but who still do stuff like eat and entertain? Here’s how to strike that warm yet aspirational balance, so that buyers feel that your house is the perfect place for them.

You still need to declutter

Even if you think you’re a minimalist, the truth is, we all tend to collect a lot of stuff. And that stuff is going to distract people from seeing the best features of your home. So reduce, reduce, reduce. You will probably end up adding a few things back in, but it’s easier to see what to keep if you’re starting with a nearly empty slate, so to speak.

Corcoran real estate agent Dennis Margulies, who stages most of the homes he sells, has edited back the belongings of clutter-loving clients “just for the photograph.” And when his clients see how amazing their decluttered home looks, they tend to want to do even more. So be merciless in your editing before you start adding the details that will warm up your space.

Furniture: Keep only the right stuff

How do you know how much of your furniture to keep? When Margulies works with estate sales, he keeps this principle in mind: “You’re trying to highlight the best attributes of the space.” So he’ll rearrange furniture (and remove some pieces) in order to make a room look and feel as spacious as possible. You want enough furniture to make the room comfortable, but not so much that people miss architectural details and the feel of the space itself.

If you are renting furniture to stage your home, don’t pick sets. That matchy-matchy look can create a sterile atmosphere, Margulies says. “Personality comes in when you mix things. There needs to be a sense of style.”

Warm up your lighting

“Changing the lighting makes a big difference,” says Margulies, “and it’s one of the simplest things you can do.” He says you should particularly consider this if you have directional lighting, such as spotlights or track lighting, which can create shadowy corners. What you want instead are rooms that are evenly lit throughout. This is especially important in the front entryway and in kitchens, Margulies says.

You also want to make sure that the light casts a warm glow. Triplemint agent Sam Lazar likes dimmers to create what he calls “golden hour” lighting, explaining, “You want to show that an apartment is bright, but doesn’t look like a hospital, with superbright lights.” So avoid those harsh, blueish LED light bulbs. Once you’ve got your primary lighting set, you can add in a subtle glow. “Literal warmth, like candles, or if possible, the fireplace if it’s winter, go a long way,” says Lazar.

Don’t be afraid of color

All the walls should be white, right? Not necessarily. While you don’t want to hit prospective buyers with a kaleidoscope of different colors in every room, one accent wall of color in the right place can be effective, says Margulies.

Bring in the green

Another way to make a minimalist space feel warm and vibrant is to add plants. “Definitely add flowers,” says Lazar. “Place flowers in several areas if you can, since they’re a touch of freshness that brightens the space.” So grab an arrangement, or opt for easy-to-care-for houseplants in attractive pots.

Now add some personal details

Contrary to conventional wisdom, you don’t have to banish every last personal object from your home before you show it. “Some family pictures are fine,” says Margulies. Just not all of them. Find the best ones, in the best frames (or have quality portraits reframed).

Yes, you can have a few throw pillows out. “Throw pillows and blankets project the fact that people live here and sit in those areas,” says Lazar. Just make sure they’re in good repair and in bright, harmonizing colors (this is another area that shouldn’t be matchy-matchy). And, if you have a dining area, “Set the table, and maybe add a centerpiece,” Lazar says. This could be a candlestick, or fresh flowers.

In bedrooms, Lazar likes a few well-edited personal items, like a ring dish or a small stack of books. “This also works in the bathrooms, which should have towels on racks and soap next to sinks.”

Read More

How Big a Home Do You Truly Need? 5 Questions to Ask to Figure That Out

living-room-2732939__340

When it comes to homes, the popular credo is that bigger is better. More square feet = a larger slice of the American dream, right?

Not necessarily. For one, bigger homes obviously cost more, and oversized McMansions can be harder to sell. As such, you’ll want a home that’s neither too big nor too small. But how do you strike that balance?

Here are five questions to ask yourself that will help you determine how much space you really need.

1. Is this my ‘forever’ home, or is ‘right now’ good enough?

While you can’t predict the future (darn those unreliable crystal balls), it is possible to evaluate the likelihood you might be moving in coming years. If so, then maybe you don’t need to buy that perfect “forever home” where you’ll grow old; maybe a “right now” home is good enough.

“There’s a common perception that you should be searching for your ‘forever home,’ and that pressure to find a place that has all the space you might ever need often leads buyers to purchase a home that might be too big,” warns Jackie Hinton, a real estate agent with Center Coast Realty in Chicago. “It’s OK to know that you’ll only live in a home for the next five or six years, and to buy a home that will serve your needs during that period. You can always re-evaluate and upgrade to a bigger space later.”

2. What will my income look like later?

If you’re early in your career, odds are decent that your income will increase over the years. Or, if you’re reaching the end of your career, you may be looking at flattened or declining income. In either case, it’s never a good idea to get a mortgage at the max of what you can afford; it’s better to go small and have some wiggle room.

“Nothing causes more stress than financial strain,” says Bill Rice, president of MyPerfect Mortgage.com. “A mortgage on a home that is a size too large is most likely to be your biggest burden, and a hard one to overcome. Happiness is often one size smaller than your dream home. That way, you can enjoy your home without dreading your monthly mortgage payment.”

Also, remember more space means more time and money spent on upkeep and maintenance, more rooms to fill with furniture, and higher utility bills to heat and cool the home.

“Any future improvement projects, like installing new floors or replacing windows, will cost more when the space is bigger,” says Hinton.

3. What are my priorities?

Another question to consider is what you’ll use all that space for—and be honest: While you might dream of hosting epic dinner parties in that big formal dining room, will you really? Can you say with certainty that your in-laws will descend on you during the holidays and need a guest bedroom to crash in, or might they be just as comfortable in a nearby Airbnb?

Aside from justifying what you’ll use each space for, ask yourself what you’re giving up. If you dream of having a secret “travel fund” so you can see the world, that may be possible only with a smaller mortgage (and house). Or, perhaps you value things other than space, like school district or a walkable location. So make sure to factor in those variables, too—and make sure you aren’t sacrificing them for space you don’t need.

This is why real estate investor Kathy Fettke decided to buy a smaller home so she could live in her “dream location” near the beach. “Being open to a smaller home allowed us to be in a higher-priced market we wouldn’t have been easily able to afford otherwise,” she says. And best of all, her home doesn’t feel cramped—particularly since she can pop out and stroll along the ocean anytime.

4. How much space do I want from my own family members?

If you absolutely must have privacy—to, say, get work done in a home office or chill out in your man cave—then that extra square footage may be well worth the money. But if you’re more the type who loves having their family members nearby, a large home gives people plenty of alone time … sometimes too much.

Fettke, for one, is glad her home is small because it keeps her in close contact with her kids. “I’ve found that my daughter’s friends who live in large homes rarely even run into their parents,” she says. But since her own home is smaller, her kids are constantly underfoot—just the way she likes it.

“Plus it seems that most of our daughter’s friends hang out at our place, even though it’s tiny,” she says. Sure, the beach nearby may be one draw, but so may be the cozy, close-knit family environment a smaller home forces you to have. “Maybe they like the homey environment and being able to smell the cookies being baked around the corner,” she says.

READ MORE