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.)
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!