Planning a Low-Maintenance Garden for Spring

What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you hear about gardens? It could be a row of gorgeous flowers, fruits and vegetables growing from the soil, or all of the back-breaking labor that comes with maintaining a garden. While effort is required for this outdoor activity, it doesn’t have to be so difficult. You’re the one who gets to decide what goes where after all. Why not start by planning a low-maintenance garden for spring? Here’s how you can do just that!

Choose Between Mulch and Rock

The best way to avoid having to do more work later on is to start off your garden strong. Sure, you could simply buy plants and stick them anywhere in your backyard. Not covering the ground around them, however, will come back to haunt you when the plants are completely surrounded by weeds. That’s why you should choose either mulch or rock for your gardening spaces. Each has its own pros and cons, but both will be effective at combating weeds from growing.

Purchase Low-Maintenance Plants

If you’re the type of gardener who would rather step out into the sunlight on occasion, then you should find plants that are a breeze to care for. HGTV offers a list of 13 Can’t-Kill Flowers for Beginners so that you can “watch your beginner’s thumb turn green.” This list includes:

  • Sunflowers
  • Marigolds
  • Begonias
  • Daffodils
  • And more!

Looking for plants that are a bit more edible? Sweet bell peppers are the perfect fruits to grow in your backyard. You can even decide if you want green or red ones just by allowing the pepper to mature longer. Raspberry and blackberry bushes are also easy, only requiring a bit of pruning once a year around wintertime – that’s it!

Invest in a Mix of Perennials and Annuals

Did you know that not every flower you plant will need to be replaced each spring? The ones that don’t are called perennials. These flowers tend to bloom once a season for three or more years after remaining dormant throughout the colder months. Annuals, on the other hand, live to the fullest for one season and try to leave as many of their seeds behind as possible. While you may want more perennials so that they’re almost guaranteed to be back the following year, their blooms are shorter than that of annuals. Mix in a combination of both and research deadheading flowers to get the most out of their blooms.

Leave Room for Family, Friends, and Fun

Remember to leave enough room for fun activities that you, your family, and friends can enjoy when placing a garden. The middle of the yard may seem like the best place for your petunias to soak in as much sun as possible, but it will always be in the way. Try your best to find open corners or areas that stretch along the fence, house, or shed. This way, there’s less of a chance you’ll have to eventually move the garden when someone accidentally steps in it.

Don’t Underestimate the Versatility of Potted Plants

Let’s say that you don’t want to pick just one spot for your garden. There’s an easy solution for that – craft an arrangement of potted plants! Ditch the shovel for a hand trowel and purchase soil along with pots that are big enough for as many plants as you want. Place a few near the patio, another out on the old stump you still need to remove, and anywhere else you’d like because, hey, it’s your yard!

New Home, New Garden

Maybe it’s just time to move on from your current home and you’re looking for places that already have the perfect setup for a potential new garden. There’s a decent chance the homeowner could have even recently had the landscaping done for someone like you. You’ll never really know what’s out there without the professional guidance and resources that The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties has to offer.

Check out our current listings or call us (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 today.

11 Easy Ways to Refresh Your Home on a Budget

Have you found yourself itching for some change in your home? Do you feel uninspired looking at the walls that surround you? We’ve all been home a lot more often because of winter and the pandemic, and it’s common to feel restless and frustrated. Freshening up your space a bit – whether to invite the incoming season of spring or to celebrate the impending light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel – can do wonders for your mental health and your home. Best of all, it doesn’t have to cost much of anything or take too much time to do! Fall in love with your home all over again with these 11 easy, budget-friendly tips:

Rearrange the Furniture

If your couch, love seat, and entertainment center haven’t stirred since you’ve moved into your home, now’s the time to shake things up a bit. Try rearranging the furniture in your living room, dining room, and bedrooms to make things feel brand-new again! It costs nothing but a bit of elbow grease and creativity, and it can make you feel much more at home. Who knows? You might wind up liking your new setup!

Swap Out the Throw Pillows

You’d be surprised how much of a difference this one little change can make! Give your space a tiny makeover by simply switching up the pillows that adorn your couches, chairs, and beds. Choose colors that suit your mood or welcome the new season – anything goes!

Paint Old or Dated Items

Tired of looking at those oak cabinets every morning? Instead of spending a lot of money on remodeling or buying all-new furniture, why not give paint a try? Just a little bit of time and effort can breathe new life into unattractive furnishings around your home. Try your hand at regular paint, chalk paint, or even spray paint to get the job done!

Replace the Hardware

If you’re sick of looking at those tarnished bronze door handles or those ho-hum beige outlet plates, then it’s time to jazz it up with some new hardware! The options are nearly endless and quite affordable. Switch out your door handles, cabinet handles, or even the kitchen faucet for a quick and easy fix.

Update the Window Treatments

When’s the last time you splurged on some new curtains? Do you still have those plastic sets of blinds up in the bedrooms? Bid adieu to the old and say hello to some new, beautiful, and chic window treatments! Try pairing sheer curtains with a set of Roman shades or treat yourself to a few sets of bamboo blinds to perfect each room!

Switch Out a Light Fixture

Light fixtures aren’t just there to illuminate the room – they are also an integral part of your home’s décor. If you’ve been feeling unsatisfied with the quality of light in the living room or feel that your dining room is rather lackluster, consider switching out the light fixtures there. This simple change doesn’t have to cost much and can absolutely transform the tone of any room!

Try a Fresh Coat of Paint

We love paint because it makes everything new and exciting again! Grab a can of your favorite color, break out the brushes, and start working on that room you always seem to ignore or dread. Whether you focus on the entire room or create an accent wall, paint can really make your space feel brand-new again!

Change Up Your Bedding

Looking for a super simple makeover for your bedroom? Swapping your bedding could be the answer. It won’t just make your bedroom feel new – it can also help you sleep better and feel more relaxed. Treat yourself to new sheets with a hefty thread count and add a quality comforter or quilt that makes you smile every morning and night.

Do a Bit of Spring Cleaning

Sometimes getting rid of dust and unwanted items is all the change you need to feel satisfied and comfortable in your home again (and also make your space feel bigger!). Roll up your sleeves, break out the trash bags, crank up your favorite playlist, and tackle the dust bunnies and clutter! You’ll feel so much better once it’s all done.

Bring Home a Few Houseplants

If you can’t get outside, bring the outdoors inside with you! Choose a few cute, no-fuss plants to perch on your windowsills or hang out on your desk while you work from home. Caring for plants can boost your mood, alleviate anxiety, and purify the air in your home. All they need is a little water and sunlight. If you’re a beginner, try a snake plant, philodendron, or a beautiful succulent like jade!

Invest in a New Rug or Two

Perhaps the easiest way to tie up a room’s look is investing in an area rug. It adds warmth and definition to any room and can help the space feel complete and cozy. Try a texture that speaks to you – plush, shag, faux fur, and more – and see how you feel! Your home is your sanctuary and you should always feel relaxed and at peace. If you find that you’ve outgrown your home in one way or another, however, it might be time for a whole new house. Trust the experts at The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties to help you find the perfect place for you! Call us at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 to get started, or check out our current listings here!

7 Ways to Utilize an Extra Room at Home

Musician's room interior with drum set, guitars and piano.

There’s a good chance that you’ve been home more often than ever before and you’re now wanting to shake things up a bit. As you look around the home, you realize that you’ve already painted the entire place, the furniture has been rearranged more times than you can count, and that backsplash you’ve been dying to install is finally in the kitchen. Now what? Maybe you have an extra room that’s currently just storing all of your junk. Let’s dive right into our 7 ways to better utilize that room!

Create a Home Office

Working from home has been a difficult transition for most people this past year. Your private living quarters used to be just that, but now we’re virtually welcoming co-workers from our living rooms and even bedrooms. While there’s no shame in where you log in, having a special place to work, like a home office, can boost your productivity significantly. All you really need is a desk, chair, and computer. For decorating tips, check out 27 Ways to Create a Stylish Small Home Office.

Incorporate a Craft Room

Speaking of decorating, have you been feeling more creative lately? There are so many artistic hobbies out there to try like painting, scrapbooking, and crocheting. Try having an entire room dedicated to these kinds of activities. Unless you want to become an expert, don’t just limit yourself to one hobby. Make a corner for an art easel, put in a desk so that you can sort through all of your old photos, and add a futon for somewhere comfortable to sit while you attempt to make hats and mittens.

Set Up a Home Gym

Who wants to pay for a gym membership when you have enough room for your own workout equipment? Think about all of the possibilities an extra room brings to your fitness routine. One day it could be a yoga studio and the next it can turn into a space for weight lifting. With all of the virtual, instructor-led classes out there, you can also add a TV to your home gym for an optimal viewing experience.

Soundproof a Music Room

Whether you used to play the drums, guitar, or even piano (or still do), now’s the time to bring in your equipment from the garage to start rocking once again. If you’re worried about interrupting the rest of the household, there are ways to design a music room to avoid that. This would also create a perfect environment for someone in the family who wants to start learning to play an instrument. You’ll especially want to look into soundproofing if that’s the case.

Construct a Home Theatre

Almost every movie ever made can be streamed to your home as of today. With a plethora of film studios joining in on the action, all you need to do is pay for a subscription of your choice. You might enjoy watching a flick from the couch or bed, but imagine what it would be like to have your own private home theatre. This could include installing surround sound, adding reclining chairs, buying a popcorn machine, and plugging in a mini fridge.

Ready a Guest Room

Most of the major holidays have come and gone, and were even held virtually for the first time in history. Setting up a guest room may be the last thing on your mind for now, but there are ways to have the best of both worlds. The first option is to look into Murphy beds, which can fold up and lie out with ease. These help people who always want to have a bed ready for guests just in case. The other option is to store a bed inside of the shed, basement, or garage. Mattress covers are inexpensive and will keep yours clean while it’s tucked away. See above for what you can now do with all of this extra room.

Storage Space

Lastly, you can simply make an extra room into a proper storage space. Wired shelving and customizable organizational systems will help you set yourself up for success by organizing from the ground up. Give yourself some room to walk around freely, especially for when it’s finally time to put all of your winter gear away.

Contact The Massey Team

If you’re experiencing the opposite problem of filling an extra room by not having enough space, reach out to The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties! We’ll help you begin your search for as many rooms as you can possibly want. Call us today at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298.

6 Steps to Help You Get Over the House That Got Away

how to get over the house that got away

It’s finally happened. After a seemingly long house hunt, you’ve found the home of your dreams, the place that seems to check off all your boxes. You’ve begun envisioning where your furniture will go, which paint colors you’ll choose, and the types of future get-togethers you’ll plan with your friends. Then suddenly, the rug is pulled right out from under you. You’ve been outbid, your finances didn’t shake out, or the deal simply fell through. Your heart is shattered, and you don’t know how you can cope. You’re not alone – this happens to countless homebuyers. If you find yourself in this situation, we’ve got your back. Here’s how you can get over the house that got away – and maybe find something even better!

Accept Your Emotions

We get it – you just lost out on your dream home, and you’re feeling all sorts of emotions: anger, regret, sadness, shock. It’s common to feel this way when you’ve had the possibility of what could have been stolen from you. Acknowledge your feelings because they are valid! The trick is to allow yourself to feel your feelings and then begin thinking of ways you can make changes in the future.

Try Not to Dwell on One Dwelling

Losing out on an amazing home is like your first breakup all over again. You cry, you wonder what you did wrong, and you can’t help scrolling back through all the photos you took of the home, sighing wistfully. As tempting as it can be to daydream about what could have been, it’s time to begin moving on. Delete the listing of the snatched house, erase the photos you took on your phone, and stop driving by the house – you’re only torturing yourself. There are plenty of houses on the market with so many amazing possibilities waiting for you!

Resist Buying a Home as a Rebound

You no doubt might be feeling spurned from losing a home with so much potential. In fact, you might even be feeling pretty tempted to just buy the next house you see, even if it doesn’t meet all your wants or needs. No matter what, don’t settle or purchase the wrong home on the rebound! Doing so may lead you to homebuyer’s remorse. Stay true to your wish list, stick to your budget, and trust your instincts to help you find the right home.

Learn From What Went Wrong

Think back to what happened when you found out you weren’t getting that home you loved. Did you move too slowly in putting down an offer? Was it too far out of your budget? Did a lucky homebuyer outbid you? Analyze what went wrong and turn your loss into a future win. After all, if you learn from defeat, you didn’t actually lose!

Set New Goals for Yourself

Now’s the time to head back to the drawing board and re-evaluate your priorities. Make a list of your wants and needs to help narrow your search (and keep you aligned with your wish list when an attractive house tries to steal your attention). Double-check that your credit score is where it needs to be and that you’re financially prepared to make a down payment in the future. If you can, get pre-qualified before you head back on the hunt. Being ready and knowing exactly what you need and want will really help you narrow your search and score your dream house!

Celebrate Your Current House

In the meantime, take time to appreciate the home that you’re in right now. Spend time in your favorite rooms, add a fresh coat of paint to the kitchen, or spruce it up with a little inexpensive décor. If you’re staying there for a longer time, perhaps consider investing in some landscaping or a remodeling project. It won’t just boost your mood, but it will also add value to your home when it comes time to sell it! Finding the right home is much easier with a knowledgeable real estate agent by your side. If you’re on the hunt for that perfect home, leave it all in the hands of The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties! Call us today at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298, or get started by viewing our amazing listings!

7 Crucial Tips for Staging Your Home in Winter

staging your home in winter

Selling your home in the winter can present its own set of challenges. While you might be at the mercy of Mother Nature more at this time of the year, there are plenty of ways you can turn up the heat on your listing and set it up for success. Check out these 7 easy ways you can stage your home to wow potential homebuyers in winter!

Clear Out the Clutter

Even though you should always aim to keep a streamlined and neat home when you’re trying to sell, the colder months can make it more difficult. Resist the nesting urges that winter often brings and pare down heavily on your personal items. Doing so helps potential homebuyers really imagine themselves living in your house – and it also showcases your home’s strongest features! Place personal belongings in an offsite storage space if possible, and decorate simply with a vase of flowers, chic accessories, and tasteful art.

Let in the Light

There isn’t as much natural light in the winter, so lighting up your home is even more crucial during this time of year. Throw open your curtains and shutters to let the sunlight in, and flood your home with warmer, brighter light bulbs. Layer your lighting with overhead bulbs, table lamps, and modern floor lamps to illuminate every corner. Proper lighting can make all the difference in captivating a homebuyer’s heart!

Create a Cozy Space

Take advantage of the plummeting mercury and howling winds by making your home feel warm and inviting! Drape a textured throw over your favorite armchair. Place a shaggy rug in the bedroom to make it feel extra cozy. Create a comfy reading nook with a stack of books or magazines, a faux-fur throw, and a few choice pillows. These tips can draw buyers in and make them feel right at home!

Focus on the Fireplace

If you have a fireplace, now’s the time to put it in the spotlight! Dress it up with seasonal greenery, a string of white fairy lights, and a few battery-operated candles. Of course, you’ll want to make sure that it’s clean and well-maintained as well!

Set Out Mats for Wet Shoes

The snow, ice, and slush that winter brings can make floors awfully messy in no time. Set up a bench or chair near your home’s entry for guests to take off their shoes before viewing your home. Leave a mat near the door for their wet boots and shoes to dry on while they see what your home has to offer.

Don’t Forget Your Curb Appeal

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – first impressions begin outside, even in the winter. Ensure that all walkways and the driveway are clear of snow and ice at all times, especially before showings. While you’re at it, add a few tasteful winter porch décor pieces. A new doormat, a pinecone or evergreen wreath, and planters with natural, winter-hardy greenery are all inviting touches you can add!

Choose Inviting Scents

It can be challenging to get fresh air in your home during the winter. Instead of reaching for air fresheners, choose to diffuse natural scents like lemon or lime or seasonal ones such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or pine. If you have pets, keep on top of any scents they may leave by washing blankets and bedding and steam-cleaning carpets. When in doubt, whipping up a batch of cookies works wonders!

Thinking of selling your home this winter? Leave it in the hands of the knowledgeable experts at The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties! Give us a call today at either (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 to get started! On the hunt for your dream home? Check out our current listings!

10 Ways You Can Maximize Coziness in Your Home

how to make home cozy this winter

Now that the excitement of the holiday season has passed, many homeowners often find themselves feeling a bit more melancholy, wishing only to hibernate until the first hints of spring arrive once more. But there is true joy and warmth in the winter season that you can enjoy, especially in the comfort of your home! Don’t let the gray skies get you down. Instead, try these 10 handy ways you can embrace the season and make your home warm, cozy, inviting, and, most importantly, comforting:

Make Delicious Comfort Food

Now is the perfect time to break out the old recipe book and whip up your favorite comfort food! Whether you’re making your grandma’s chili or baking some delicious scones, creating comfort foods is one sure-fire (and tasty) way you can up the cozy factor in your home. Feeling unmotivated? Even sipping your favorite cup of hot cocoa or herbal tea will bring the same result!

Add in Soft Lighting

Bright cool lights might help you be more productive, but they aren’t very conducive to relaxing. Switch out harsh lighting for a warm, inviting ambiance. Candles and table lamps work well in creating a comforting space. Find extra cheer by hanging string lights in your living room or bedrooms, which will help add soft lighting when you’re listening to music, reading your favorite novel, or cozying up with a loved one as you watch the snow fall outside.

Incorporate Touchable Textiles

Think of how you feel when you cozy up in something soft and plush. Gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling, right? Bring that feeling to your home with shaggy rugs, faux-fur pillows, and cable-knit throws. No room on the floor for rugs? You can always add comforting textures to the walls!

Light Up the Fireplace

Winter was made for fireplaces – and the opposite holds true, too. If you have a working fireplace, what are you waiting for? Strike a match and gather ‘round to create instant warmth. If your home doesn’t have a fireplace, you can recreate the warm feeling with plenty of your favorite candles. Electric fireplaces are also easy to install (and relatively inexpensive, too!).

Choose Grounding Earthy Colors

We can all use some comfort right now. Trade brighter, bolder tones for more neutral, earthy colors. Muted colors in teak, chocolate, rusty red, burnt orange, olive, and slate blue can help ground and calm you at the end of a hard day. Choose fabrics, pieces of furniture, or accent pieces in these colors to help you find serenity this winter.

Bring the Outdoors Inside

Speaking of calming, keeping real houseplants indoors can help make your home more peaceful and also breathe more life into your space. Pick a few cute potted plants and bring them into your home this winter to help you feel more relaxed. Got a brown thumb? Easy plants like snake plants, philodendrons, and aloe vera plants are good, low-maintenance choices!

Streamline Your Space

It’s hard to relax and find peace in a home that’s messy. Bring joy into your space by tidying up. Consider throwing out or donating the things you no longer need or use, and keep the items that you truly love in your sights! Get started by checking out our blog about tidying up like Marie Kondo!

Choose Your Favorite Scents

Adding the right scent to your home can act as an incredible mood booster. Place and light incense or a delectable-smelling candle in your living room or kitchen so the scent can carry throughout the whole house. Vanilla is a favorite for making your space feel cozier, and lavender works wonders in helping you feel more relaxed. Choose seasonal scents to celebrate winter, or coconut-scented or floral candles to help stave off any winter blues you may be feeling.

Keep Plenty of Soft Blankets and Pillows on Hand

What would a cozy home be without soft blankets and comfortable pillows? Now is the time to break out your favorite throws for cuddling with your pets or snuggling up beside a roaring fire with a good book in hand. Keep them in a beautiful woven basket near your couch, recliner, or bed!

Don’t Forget the Music

Remember the last time you lounged about listening to your favorite music? We’re betting you felt pretty darn relaxed. Spin a few happy records on the turntable or curate a few playlists of those feel-good tunes and keep them accessible for anytime you want to up the cozy factor in your home! Everyone wants to feel comfortable and safe in their home. If you’re on the lookout for a space to make your new sanctuary, call on The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties to help! We can find the perfect home for you. Call us today at either (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 or view our listings online!

7 New Year’s Resolutions Homeowners Should Make

new year's resolutions homeowners should make

You’ve undoubtedly been spending more time at home this year in light of the global pandemic. With the New Year on the horizon, you might be starting to think of the resolutions you want to make and stick to next year. Why not dedicate next year to bettering your home? Here are 7 New Year’s resolutions homeowners should consider making next year:

Streamline Your Space

Want to feel great about your home without spending much of anything? De-clutter. It’s always healthy to reevaluate your possessions and remove the items that no longer bring you joy. Go through each room next year and donate the gently used items that you no longer want or need. Tackle closets, your garage, bookshelves, cabinets, and more. You’d be amazed how fulfilled you’ll feel once you’re done!

Drum Up a Realistic Cleaning Plan

If you’re the kind of person who cleans the house whenever company comes over, it’s probably safe to say that your home might have been on the messier side this year. Clean homes aren’t just good for your physical well-being; they’re also great for your mental health! Come up with an easy cleaning plan you’ll be sure to stick to next year. Start by keeping all of your cleaning supplies in one place and curating an upbeat playlist to blare whenever it’s time to spruce up your space!

Boost Your Curb Appeal

Even if you don’t plan on moving anytime soon, taking care of your lawn and your home’s exterior can give you a greater sense of pride in your home (and possibly increase your home’s value!). Start with something easy like planting a few pretty flowers, updating your outdoor furniture, or repainting your front door. Then, tackle larger projects like replacing old fencing, pulling out weeds in the garden, or staining and varnishing your deck.

Make Extra Mortgage Payments

You might think of mortgage payments as more of a monthly affair, but there’s nothing stopping you from paying it off more frequently if you want! Reevaluate your financial situation and consider making some additional mortgage payments next year. It’ll help you pay off your house more quickly and save you on interest. Even just a little bit extra can go a long way!

Learn to Clean Tough Spots

When was the last time you cleaned your dishwasher, window screens, showerheads, or dryer vents? If you can’t remember (or have never cleaned them), make next year the year you learn how to clean them. Make a list of all the appliances and features in your home that you don’t know how to care for, then ask an expert or do some researching online to find out! Take notes, and then get to work!

Make Your Home More Secure

Since you’re spending more time at home, now is a great time to ensure your space is as safe as possible. If you haven’t already, install a carbon monoxide detector on every floor with a working fireplace or gas appliance. Test your home for radon, a colorless, odorless gas that can cause lung cancer. Don’t forget to clean dryer lent from the vents and ducts behind your dryer. It’s highly combustible but easy to remove!

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint Making some eco-friendly changes won’t just help the environment – it can also reduce energy costs and save you money! The best part is you don’t even have to spend a lot to make many changes. Get into the habit of turning the lights off when you leave a room and turning off power strips when they’re not in use. Hang your laundry on the clothesline rather than relying on the dryer all the time. Switch out your incandescent lighting for LED bulbs, and install a low-flow showerhead in your bathroom. You can also try composting in your garden!

How will you be showing your home some love next year? Did we miss any important tips? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Welcome 2021 into Your Home With Pantone’s Unexpected Colors of the Year!

Illuminating and Ultimate Gray

As much as we might’ve hoped otherwise, 2020 was a difficult year for many in the face of the global pandemic. It’s safe to say that many of us are ready to welcome in the New Year. Pantone noticed the anxiety, frustration, and helplessness that so many have experienced in this unprecedented year and has now offered not one but two colors to help us usher in a new (and hopefully brighter) year. This ground-breaking selection might be just what you need to help put a pep back into your step or create a cheerful space in your home. Introducing Pantone’s Colors of the Year for 2021: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating!

The Psychology Behind the Duality

We know at first glance that gray doesn’t sound terribly exciting (in fact, this is the very first time that any hue of gray was chosen as a Color of the Year!). Ultimate Gray (17-5104), however, is definitely not as bleak as it appears – quite the opposite. It’s a warm gray that conveys a sense of grounding, practicality, dependability, and sagacity. Its jovial counterpart, the sunny-yellow Illuminating (13-0647), is uplifting and infused with joy; it’s virtually impossible to see this color and not smile! It’s only the second time in 22 years that yellow was chosen as a Color of the Year – the last time was in 2009 following the Great Recession that rocked the Americas and Europe.

Pantone’s intention behind selecting these two very different colors as their choice is immersed in resilience and hope. By combining two colors into a unified pair, Pantone is expressing that there is unity and solidarity in coming together as one – a message that our tired country yearns for. Additionally, these colors can offer a soothing and uplifting feeling that so many crave in the face of this long-lasting pandemic. In their own words, “It’s a combination that speaks to the resilience, the optimism and hope, and positivity that we need, as we reset, renew, reimagine, and reinvent.”

Ways to Welcome Illuminating and Ultimate Gray in Your Home

If you want to find a sense of joy and security in your own home, there are plenty of easy ways you can incorporate these two colors in nearly every room! Here are a few of our favorite quick tips:

  • Add a quick splash of happiness by painting an accent wall in the sunny Illuminating. We love the idea of inviting the color into your home office to motivate you while you continue working from home!
  • Looking for a chic yet versatile piece of furniture? Choose or reupholster a chair, couch, or love seat in warm Ultimate Gray. Add a finishing touch with yellow pillows or throws!
  • Pops of happiness are always welcome in accent pieces! Invest in a few accent pieces in Illuminating to bring joy in your daily life.
  • If it’s time to update your bedding, choose a quilt or bedspread in cheerful Illuminating with Ultimate Gray sheets.
  • Make a bold statement and invite positivity into your life by painting your front door in Illuminating yellow!

Find a Home That Makes You Happy We are optimistic in looking forward to sunnier days ahead in the upcoming year. If you’ve been wishing for a home that makes you feel happy and comfortable, trust the experts at The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties! Call us at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 to get started!

7 of the Most Bizarre Houses in the United States

the most bizarre houses in the United StatesHave you ever wondered what it would be like to live in your very own private castle or maybe a seemingly endless tower that kisses the sky? You might think that these types of homes can only be found in the depths of your imagination – but many of them actually do exist! If you’re looking for a trip into the fantastic, quirky, or otherwise odd marvels of architecture, we’ve got what you’re looking for. Here are 7 of the most bizarre homes ever built in the U.S.!

The Winchester House

Perhaps the quintessence of mystery, the Winchester House is like no other and for good reason. The structure, which stands in San Jose, CA, was originally an eight-room farmhouse until Sarah Winchester, a widow and heiress to the Winchester Rifle fortune, began renovating it in 1886. The story goes that a psychic told her that her family passed away because of the angry spirits that were killed by Winchester rifles, and the only way to give the spirits a place to go was to continue adding rooms and wings to the home. Sarah created a sprawling 24,000-square-foot, 160-room mansion, complete with staircases to nowhere, until she died in 1922.

The Dr. Seuss House

Also known as Goose Creek Tower, this 12-story-tall private home is nestled north of Anchorage, Alaska near Talkeetna and is the tallest house in the entire state. Attorney Phillip Weidner began constructing this home, seemingly stacking cabins atop of cabins until it became a regular skyscraper. Why stop there, though? Federal air space begins at 200 feet – the home reaches 185 feet. From the top, which is still unfinished, you get a glorious, 360-degree view of Denali and the beginning of the Aleutian chain. Although the home was made without any blueprints, Weidner insists his “poem to the sky” is structurally sound.

George Stickney House

In our very own Illinois stands a building that once had absolutely no sharp corners – they were all rounded. That’s because former owners (and staunch spiritualists) George and Sylvia Stickney believed spirits could get caught in traditional corners. In order to make spirits more comfortable, the Stickneys rounded the corners in their two-story home. Located just east of Woodstock in the village of Bull Valley, the Stickney House was built in 1836. The entire second floor was once a ballroom, and the couple regularly invited guests for extravagant séances to speak with the dead.

Today, the building is home to the Bull Valley government and police force, and only the exterior corners remain rounded. The structure, however, is said to be haunted, and supernatural goings-on are rumored to have occurred there ever since the Stickneys vacated the home.

The Paper House

Visit Rockport, Massachusetts, and you can actually set foot inside a house made from paper – literally. Mechanical engineer Elis F. Stenman, who designed machines to make paper clips, built the home in 1922. He began using newspaper primarily as insulation, then used it for the furniture, and then the walls, and… well, you get the idea. It’s even wired with electricity! Check out this interview with Stenman’s grand-niece for a more in-depth look on the house.

Mother Goose House

Have you ever just looked at a goose and thought, “I want a house that looks like that!”? George Stacy did in 1935. After his wife, Ollie, cooked a goose for Thanksgiving and laid its skeleton on a table near her husband, George came up with the idea, took the skeleton, and began crafting the house to scale. The roof features a large goose head, complete with egg-shaped windows and car lights that serve as the goose’s eyes. Head over to Hazard, Kentucky to see the Mother Goose House for yourself!


You might not have heard of Fallingwater, but you’ve probably heard of the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. He designed this home in 1935 to be used as a private weekend getaway for Edgar J. and Liliane Kaufmann, a prestigious couple from Pittsburgh. Located in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, which is around 70 miles east of Pittsburgh, Fallingwater marries art with nature. Wright used natural materials to create the unique structure, which sits above a waterfall that naturally flows beneath the home. Today, the building, which the American Institute of Architects named “the best all-time work of American architecture,” is open to the public as a museum!

Rainforest Castle

Have you heard the proverb “a man’s home is his castle”? Someone took that adage literally and created an actual 3,000-square-foot castle nestled in 20 acres of beautiful rain forest in Washington back in 1997. Visit Sedro Woolley, Washington and you could get a glimpse of this ornate, one-of-a-kind home. Although it only boasts 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, you can enjoy a magnificent great room, a modern kitchen, and a large billiards room. Besides, you get to enter your castle through your own private drawbridge, which sits atop a beautiful creek!

Maybe you don’t want to live in a home that attracts a line of gawking drivers, but you might want something with some personality and charm. The experts at The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties can help you find the home of your dreams! Call us at either (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298, or start checking out our listings at!

8 Signs Your Kitchen is Ready for an Upgrade

signs you need to upgrade your kitchenWho doesn’t love the kitchen? It’s the place where our loved ones gather to share food and stories, relax in one another’s company with a glass of wine, and help make memories (and Grandma’s homemade cookies) together. Just like any other room in your home, however, your kitchen will age and show signs of wear and tear. But when is it time to go for an upgrade or two? Here are the biggest signs that it’s time to upgrade the heart of your home:

Your Appliances Are Old

Maybe your appliances came with the house, or maybe you’ve relied on your trusty old stove to cook dinner for decades. We know that change is hard, but if your appliances are from last century, it might be time for some new ones. Newer appliances don’t just boast attractive features that turn potential homebuyers’ heads, but they’re also much safer and use up less energy than their older counterparts. Remember, when you choose to upgrade your appliances, rely on a professional electrician to get them set and up to code!

There’s Never Enough Counter Space

Does it feel like your countertops have been taken over by your appliances? If you’re struggling to prepare your meals on your crowded countertops, your kitchen could probably use a bit of a facelift. An easy way to add more space? Install an island, if your floor plan allows for it! If not, consider bidding farewell to your cabinets in favor of larger, deeper cupboards.

There’s Noticeable Damage and Wear

Your kitchen won’t stay pristine forever. The cabinets are bound to accumulate scuffs as time goes by. But if you’re noticing water damage, stains on the walls, cracked, peeling, or chipped countertops or floors, or mold, you should consider an upgrade. Mold and bacteria are tenants that should never take up residence in your kitchen!

The Lighting is Bad

Lighting in the house is probably the most crucial in the kitchen. After all, you need to see what you’re doing. If you’re having a hard time reading instructions from your recipes or can’t tell how much salt you’re adding to your pasta dish, add or upgrade the lighting! Under-cabinet lights work wonders in illuminating the space without straining your eyes.

You Just Can’t Find Anything

We don’t have to tell you that your home should – ideally – be clutter-free, but life happens. You’re bound to have an untidy kitchen here and there. But if you’re spending more of your time trying to find the right utensils as opposed to making dinner, then your kitchen is begging for a redo. Freshen it up with an organizational system so you can spend more time enjoying your food, not finding the can opener.

You’re Struggling to Sell Your Home

Which room is usually the most popular for potential homebuyers? The kitchen, hands down. An upgraded kitchen is a wise investment that will capture the hearts of many would-be homeowners. Make sure your appliances are newer, the lighting is bright, and the space is as tidy as possible. The investment oftentimes pays for itself!

Your Family is Bigger

Whether your family has grown or you have more friends visiting and spending more time with you these days, a cramped kitchen makes it hard for loved ones to congregate and enjoy one another’s company. If this is the case for you, your kitchen is probably in need of a makeover – even knocking down a wall to create a more open space can make a big difference!

You Just Don’t Want to Be There

Does your kitchen make you cringe every time you see it? Do you find yourself working as quickly as possible to assemble your sandwich or sneak a snack, just so you can eat it elsewhere? Let’s work on fixing that. Take baby steps first to see if you’ll begin falling in love a little more with the space. If that doesn’t work, try bigger changes until you have a kitchen that makes you sigh dreamily when you shuffle in to make your morning coffee. Have we missed any important tips? Let us know in the comments below! If you’ve been having a hard time selling your home, let us cook up a plan for you. Trust the experts at The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties to sell your property! Call us at either (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 to get started.