Betty White’s House Tour — 3 Takeaways to Improve Your Home on a Budget

Betty White’s House Tour — 3 Takeaways to Improve Your Home on a Budget

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MOBILE, Ala., Jan. 17, 2022 — In 2017, legendary actress and comedian Betty White gave a tour of her beloved house in Carmel, California. 

The 3,600-square-foot property — which White briefly shared with her husband, game show host Allen Ludden — had two bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms, according to Realtor.com. 

The couple purchased the home in 1978 for $170,000, but now it’s now reportedly worth $2 million, according to the real estate authority’s website. 

Watch KineticTV’s house tour above, and read along for how to live large on an average homeowner’s budget. (The following photos aren’t from White’s home; they’re examples of how average homes can enjoy high-end style.) 


Sunshine bouncing off hardwood floors in beautiful modern home
Open the curtains or raise the blinds during the day to make the most of natural light. (©Javani LLC, stock.adobe.com)

1. Simple Things Make Any Home Feel Spacious

During the house tour, Betty White opens her door to reveal her “crib” and we see an open layout bathed in sunlight streaming inside from large windows.   

Those windows make a spacious home feel even larger when the curtains are open, revealing a patio view. So do hardwood floors that reflect the sunlight, along with a space-saving built-in oven in the kitchen. 

You don’t need to be a celebrity to achieve such a warm, inviting look. Just open the curtains during the day and regularly maintain your wood floors to keep them clean and shiny. 

Try Rejuvenate Wood Floor Restorer and Rejuvenate Shine Refresher to get the look! (These are affiliate links. If you purchase a product from these links, we will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.)

And if a built-in oven’s not in your budget, just tidy up the kitchen and declutter to keep spaces clean and clear, and ensure the décor is intentional. 

Read, How to Declutter Your Home in Record Time and 3 Tips to Benefit from Natural Light in Your Home for more information.


House plants on display below hanging pots and pans, purifying kitchen air
Fill rooms with houseplants to help enhance a room’s design and clean the air. (DepositPhotos)

2. House Plants Soften a Room’s Hard Features

During Betty White’s house tour, the camera passes through a sitting room and we see various house plants on end tables, in corners, and on the mantel. 

Growing houseplants adds living décor to any room — green leaves soften the room’s appearance and contrast well with hard features like drywall and wood trim. 

Placing houseplants throughout your home is also the easiest way to start gardening, even if you don’t think you have a green thumb. 

And there’s a bonus benefit for adding some green: certain tropical houseplants can remove and process harmful chemicals from your home’s indoor air. 

Read our Guides, 8 Tips for Choosing and Growing Houseplants and Best Houseplants to Improve Indoor Air Quality for more information. 


Oversized vase on a kitchen table
An oversized pitcher can add height, dimension and texture to a kitchen. (©tashka2000, stock.adobe.com)

3. Oversized Décor Adds Instant Opulence 

While White passes through her kitchen, we see oversized rooster figurines flanking a bowl of flowers and an oversized yellow pitcher on the countertops. 

These strategically placed items look great for a reason: they add height, dimension and texture, not to mention a pop of color amid mostly earth tones. 

Oversized pendant lights have been trending for years, and you can add oversized décor for instant impact. 

In the case of the roosters and flowers, note that if you have two identical or similar items, you can balance them out with a third object. 

Design your kitchen with simplicity and strategy in mind so it looks intentional. 

These are our favorite takeaways from Betty White’s house tour. What are yours? Let us know in the comments!


Further Reading

Report: Best and Worst State Capitals to Live In (2022)

Report: Best and Worst State Capitals to Live In (2022)

Austin, Texas, landed at the top of WalletHub’s Best State Capitals for their Public Safety and More report. (@techiemamma/pixabay)

MOBILE, Ala., Jan. 17, 2022 — State capitals aren’t just for lawmaking. They can also be some of the best places to live in America.

But that depends on the capital.

17 cities are the largest in their states, but the biggest population doesn’t always represent the best quality of life, according to personal-finance website WalletHub, which released a report on 2022’s Best State Capitals for Safety & More.

To find the most livable seats of state government, WalletHub compared all 50 cities across 49 metrics, ranging from the cost of living to safety.  


Ranking the State Capitals

Top 20 State Capitals
1. Austin, TX 11. Des Moines, IA
2. Raleigh, NC 12. Denver, CO
3. Madison, WI 13. Nashville, TN
4. Boise, ID 14. Atlanta, GA
5. Lincoln, NE 15. Helena, MT
6. Concord, NH 16. Olympia, WA
7. Salt Lake City, UT 17. St. Paul, MN
8. Columbus, OH 18. Montpelier, VT
9. Bismarck, ND 19. Annapolis, MD
10. Oklahoma City, OK 20. Santa Fe, NM
Source: WalletHub
Hartford, Conn., ranked No. 48 on WalletHub’s list of Best State Capitals for Public Safety and More. (Balazs Busznyak/Unsplash)

Bottom 20 State Capitals
31. Pierre, SD 41. Providence, RI
32. Tallahassee, FL 42. Little Rock, AR
33. Frankfort, KY 43. Montgomery, AL
34. Topeka, KS 44. Augusta, ME
35. Richmond, VA 45. Carson City, NV
36. Harrisburg, PA 46. Baton Rouge, LA
37. Indianapolis, IN 47. Jackson, MS
38. Lansing, MI 48. Hartford, CT
39. Honolulu, HI 49. Dover, DE
40. Charleston, WV 50. Trenton, NJ
Source: WalletHub

To identify the best state capitals to live in, WalletHub compared all 50 states across four dimensions: Affordability, Economic Well-Being, Quality of Education & Health and Quality of Life.

Best vs. Worst 

  • Concord, New Hampshire, has the lowest violent-crime rate per 1,000 residents, 1.92 — which is 9.6 times lower than in Little Rock, Arkansas, the city with the highest at 18.50.
     
  • Austin, Texas, has the highest median household income (adjusted for cost of living) — $70,310, which is 2.2 times higher than in Hartford, Connecticut, the city with the lowest at $31,851.
     
  • Montpelier, Vermont, has the highest share of adults 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree — 61.60 percent, which is five times higher than in Trenton, New Jersey, the city with the lowest at 12.20 percent. 

To view the full report and your state capital’s rank, click here


Further Reading

The Top 25 Cities with Mosquito Problems
Home Maintenance Costs You Can Expect, State by State
The Top 25 Termite-Infested Cities

Lumber Prices Nearly Triple Going Into 2022

Lumber Prices Nearly Triple Going Into 2022

lumber prices
Lumber prices show no signs of falling, as of January 2022.

MOBILE, Alabama, Jan. 14, 2022 — Experts forecast lumber prices to continue rising well into 2022, following supply shortages resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lumber prices have nearly tripled in the last four months, causing the average price of a single-family home to increase by more than $18,600, according to the National Association of Homebuilders.

The price of framing lumber topped $1,000 per thousand board feet on Dec. 29. That’s a 167 percent increase since late August, according to Random Lengths, an organization that provides price assessments for the wood products industry.


Lagging sawmill production is keeping lumber prices high in 2022.

Why Lumber Prices Have Surged

Prices began to rise in April 2020, when production at sawmills declined in anticipation of reduced demands.

Experts who forecast lower demand for new homes and residential remodeling projects missed the mark, but that was just one problem.

After the Covid-19 pandemic hit, quarantine life changed everything. While more people than ever tackled home improvement projects, lumber mills failed to ramp up production in time to meet the demand of do-it-yourselfers. 

Lumber prices peaked at a record-breaking $1,500 per thousand board feet in May 2021, before beginning a gradual decline through late August.


New stick-built home under construction, but delayed due to rainstorm
Lumber prices have nearly tripled in the last four months, causing the average price of a single-family home to increase by more than $18,600, according to the National Association of Homebuilders. (DepositPhotos)

What to Expect in 2022

Three factors are contributing to the increase in U.S. lumber prices:

• Supply chain disruptions
• Doubling of tariffs on Canadian lumber
• An unusually strong summer wildfire season

But there is hope.

The National Association of Home Builders is working with the White House, Congress and lumber producers to resolve lumber supply chain disruptions, increase production and drive down prices. 

Click here to read more about their efforts to lower lumber prices.


Further Reading

• Using Composite Building Materials to Save Trees
• Selecting the Right Lumber
• Wall Construction Tips for a Home Renovation

The Most Family-Friendly Places to Live in 2022: Report

The Most Family-Friendly Places to Live in 2022: Report

Some states are more family-friendly than others. A report from WalletHub breaks down all the factors you need to consider before moving. (©stock.adobe.com)

Choosing a family-friendly state can be challenging because a certain area may not meet all your wants and needs. 

For instance, one state might offer a low income-tax rate but have an unimpressive education system.

Because there are many factors to consider when deciding where to put down family roots, WalletHub released a report comparing the 50 states to determine how family-friendly each one is.

The report focuses on 51 key indicators of family-friendliness across these dimensions: Family Fun, Health & Safety, Education & Child Care, Affordability and Socio-economics.


Most and Least Family-Friendly States

According to WalletHub, the list of states in the left column, below, are some of the best places for families to call home. And the states listed in the right column are some of the worst.

Best States for Families Worst States for Families
1. Massachusetts 41. Georgia
2. New York 42. Nevada
3. Vermont 43. Alabama
4. Minnesota 44. Arkansas
5. Nebraska 45. West Virginia
6. New Hampshire 46. Oklahoma
7. Connecticut 47. South Carolina
8. Washington 48. Louisiana
9. North Dakota 49. New Mexico
10. New Jersey 50. Mississippi
Source: WalletHub

WalletHub analyzed eight key categories to create its list of the most and least family-friendly states.

Key Takeaways

Best vs. Worst

  • Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, Kansas and Ohio have the most affordable housing. Colorado, Oregon, New York, Hawaii and California have the least affordable housing.
  • Utah has the lowest separation and divorce rate, 15.74 percent, which is 1.7 times lower than in Nevada, where it is highest at 26.07 percent. 
  • New Hampshire has the lowest share of families living in poverty, 4.60 percent, which is 3.4 times lower than in Mississippi, where it is highest at 15.50 percent.
     
  • South Dakota has the lowest average annual cost of early childcare (as a share of median family income), 7.22 percent, which is 1.8 times lower than in Nebraska, where it is highest at 13.19 percent. 
  • Maine has the fewest violent crimes (per 1,000 residents), 1.09, which is 7.7 times fewer than in Alaska, the state with the most at 8.38.   

View the full report and your state’s rank here.


Further Reading

Keep Your Home Safe and Secure With Cync’s Innovative Systems

Keep Your Home Safe and Secure With Cync’s Innovative Systems

“Today’s Homeowner” host Danny Lipford, pictured with Paul Williams, Cync by GE's Vice President of Experiences & Professionally Installed Lighting
“Today’s Homeowner” host Danny Lipford and Paul Williams, Cync’s Vice President of Experiences & Professionally Installed Lighting

In this special episode of the Today’s Homeowner Podcast, I’m talking with Paul Williams, Vice President of Experiences and Professionally Installed Lighting at Cync by General Electric Lighting.

Smart home technology has made life at home more efficient — and safe, for that matter! And what homeowner doesn’t want their house to be secure and provide peace of mind at all times?

Cync has a wide array of smart home innovations that do just that. Listen to learn all about them!


Cync Full Color Bulb

Full Color Direct Connect Smart Bulbs

These aren’t your ordinary light bulbs — and they’re not even like a typical smart bulb. That’s because they have a library of more than 16 million color options!

It’s fun to add color to a room for celebrations, holidays or just to make any space cozy. And that’s easier to do now more than ever since you can control the bulb’s color output from any Wi-Fi connected mobile device.

Additionally, these bulbs can do a white-light balance across 2,000 kelvin to 7,000 kelvin. This means the bulb can mimic sunlight!


Cync Indoor Smart Camera

Indoor Smart Camera

Monitoring your home’s interior is just as important as keeping an eye on the structure from outside. And Cync takes the safety and uniqueness of having an indoor camera to another level.

This smart camera has a lens cover that you can slide up or down to cover the camera — and protect your privacy. In the camera, the mechanics behind it will shut the lens and microphone on or off at your discretion.

You can also store recordings on an SD card, the cloud, on the camera itself or not at all!


Cync Smart Motion Sensor

Smart Motion Sensor

Cync’s motion sensors are an essential part of home automation. When you walk into a room, the lights will turn on and when you leave the room, the lights will turn off — that’s convenience!

Smart motion sensors also are great for folks who make late-night, half-asleep trips to the bathroom.

Blinded by the usual white light? No problem — you can program the sensor to dim the light at your preferred percentage.


Want to Learn More?

Go to gelighting.com and choose the Smart Home tab. There you can find all of the awesome smart safety products we mentioned and more.

Listen to this special-edition Today’s Homeowner Podcast for more home improvement tips!

How to Keep Pets Safe from Your Christmas Decorations

How to Keep Pets Safe from Your Christmas Decorations

Cat gazing at Christmas tree ornaments while nestled in a Christmas tree

If you have pets, you’ve likely had some Christmas tree disasters.

But can you really blame our furry friends? All those climbable branches, swattable glittery baubles, and scented chewable branches are just too much to resist!

Not to mention the wonderfully crackly ribbons and wrapping paper, just begging to be ripped open before Christmas. It’s a wonder that cats and dogs can contain themselves at all!


Orange cat stares, from a distance, at a Christmas tree, tempted to paw at it
Look, but don’t touch! You can take steps to prevent cats and dogs from pawing at holiday decor. (©Brittany, stock.adobe.com)

Take the “Ir” out of Irresistible

Many an animal lover has given up on Christmas trees until their pets grow out of their curiosity, but here are some things you can try that can discourage your pets:

Scented Repellents: Before decorating your tree, spray it with a scent or flavor that repels pets. Examples include bitter apple, clove oil, citrus oil, and vinegar — experiment to see what your pet hates (just make sure you don’t hate it too!)
You can also sprinkle dried orange peels around the base of your tree. Avoid hot pepper — it can get into your pet’s eyes and cause severe pain.
You may need to reapply the repellents as they wear off, just don’t spray anything wet onto your lights, or you might have more twinkle than you hoped for!

Paw Repellents: Surround the base of your tree with something your pets don’t like to walk on. Aluminum foil is a classic cat repellent (they usually hate to walk on crackly things), and you can also purchase spiky mats that are unpleasant to animal paws. This is a good way to recycle those plastic mats that go under office chairs — turn them spiky-side-up and hide them under your tree skirt.

Climb Blockers: Attach dark mesh or plant netting on the underside of your tree to keep your pets from climbing into the branches. You can also use netting to protect wrapped gifts or the tree itself when you’re away. To discourage climbing and scratching, wrap the base of your tree in double-sided tape.

Training Sessions: With some diligence, you can train your pet to stay away from the tree. For safety’s sake, stay away from squirt guns, but you can try clickers, compressed air, or noisemakers to discourage unwanted behavior.

Go High Tech: If all else fails, try a motion-activated repellent that uses compressed air to train your pet to stay away.

Jack Russell terrier looks up at Christmas tree, tempted to paw at Christmas ornaments hanging from the branches.
Secure your Christmas tree to the wall using fishing line — then it won’t topple over if curious pets try to climb on it (©Evrymmnt, stock.adobe.com)

Tips for a Pet-Safe Christmas Tree

Aside from keeping your pets in another room, there is no surefire way to keep them away from Christmas trees. Be sure to keep your pets as safe as possible by following these tips:

  • Tuck lights and cords deep within the tree — make sure there are no electrical wires dangling from the branches. Also, tape down any cords running across the floor.
  • Use the bottom third of your tree for sturdy, shatterproof ornaments (and bells!) that won’t hurt your pet if they do pull them off.
  • Don’t use additives in your tree water. You don’t need them anyway, and your pets may drink the water.
  • Use a fishing line to tie your tree to the wall so that it won’t topple over.
  • Make the tree inaccessible to pets when you’re not home to supervise. Close doors or use door gates to keep them away from danger. It’s up to you to intervene if your pet gets curious!
Christmas candle and potpourri on display
If you’ve got pets, avoid placing Christmas candles and potpourri anywhere within their reach. (©Silvano Rebai, stock.adobe.com)

Keep these decorations away from pets:

Tinsel, Angel Hair and Ribbon: These items can pose choking and strangling hazards for your pets.

Plants and Floral Arrangements: Poinsettias, hollies and mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and illness. Lilies can be deadly if eaten. Even so-called “nontoxic” plants can upset your pet’s tummy, and floral arrangements may be sprayed with preservatives.

Potpourri, Scented Oils and Candles: can be harmful if ingested and dangerous if spilled.

Candy and Human Treats: Common ingredients such as chocolate, raisins, alcohol and xylitol can be toxic to dogs and cats, not to mention the hazards of candy wrappers!

Snow Globes: Imported snow globes may contain highly poisonous antifreeze (ethylene glycol).

Bubble Lights: Contain methylene chloride, which can be harmful if swallowed or spilled on skin.

Invite Your Pet to the Party!

As the festivities kick into high gear, don’t forget to include your pet in the fun. Remember these tips:

  • Dogs love to unwrap their own gifts, and cats will play for hours in piles of tissue and gift paper.
  • Have plenty of pet toys on hand to encourage your pet to play appropriately.
  • Take your dog for long walks, to help dispel extra energy.
  • Reward your pet with healthy dog/cat treats rather than “people food.”
  • Also, make sure they have a familiar crate or bed nearby so that they have a place to calm down when they need to.

A little preparation on your part will ensure that your pet enjoys the party without crashing it!

Further Information