Nikki Carter | Orleans Real Estate, Eastham Real Estate, Chatham Real Estate, Brewster Real Estate


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In the modern home, nothing combines practicality and style like a cubby bookshelf. Children can keep books or toys organized. They set the perfect backdrop for a display of photos, figurines, delicate dishes or other collectibles.

And if you size them right, just add some baskets to turn some of your shelves into drawers. Here's how to create a cubby bookshelf from scratch.

Plan your Shelves

There's no reason to recreate the wheel. You can find precise diagrams online that help you understand what you're going for. You can then adapt these plans to fit your space. 

For our guide, we'll create nine same size cubes each one x one x one foot. But if your skill is more advanced, you might choose the alternate larger and smaller cubbies both to fit different types of items and because it adds visual appeal.

Gather Supplies

You'll need:

  • A-1 red oak plywood (One 3/4" 4' X 8') - This product is more expensive. But it's high-quality. It comes in many hardwood shades. You may need to go to a lumber yard to find A-1 red oak plywood, but it's worth it. Alternatively, you can use 3/4 pine and treat it.
  • 1/4" plywood for the back
  • Banding veneers (around 25 ft) 
  • Clamps
  • Pocket hole screws
  • Wood plugs that match
  • Wood glue
  • Tung oil
  • Drill
  • Table saw - a manual saw could work. But you'll need a lot of elbows grease to accomplish it. *Pro tip* Check around with friends to see if you can borrow before buying a table saw for this one project.
  • Eye/Ear protection when using power tools

Measure & Cut your A-1 Plywood 

Measure and mark lightly with a pencil. This mark is on the cut line, so it shouldn't be seen on the finished product. You need:

  • A top 1'X3'
  • A bottom 1'X3'
  • Two sides 1'X 2'10.5"
  • Three shelves 1'X 2' 10.5. Note that each shelf and the top need two dadoes (grooves) where you'll slide in the dividers
  • Six dividers 1' X varies. This depends on the depth of your grooves

Coat each piece with two to three coats of tung oil for extra luster. And let it dry completely, eight hours between coats.

Piece the Shelf Together

Take your time. Glue and clamp one side at a time minus the dividers. Get some help if needed. It can be tricky. Let the glue dry before drilling and inserting screws for more permanent stabilization.

Now the dividers should slide right in. Use wood plugs to cover up your hardware.

Add Finishing Touches

Attaching band veneers on cut edges gives the shelf a professional, finished look that many DIY projects lack. Generally, you'll simply iron these on carefully. Add the back and secure your shelf to studs. Cubby bookshelves will look like a jungle gym to some children, so take this precaution if children ever visit.

And that's how to create a cubby bookshelf. For more fun and DIY-friendly home projects, follow our blog.


You know that you want to buy a house, but you also don't want to break your day-to-day budget to acquire a residence. As such, you're in the market for inexpensive housing – something that can be tough to find in any real estate sector, at any time.

Buying a house can be difficult, especially if you're operating on a tight budget. Fortunately, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of finding an inexpensive house that matches or exceeds your expectations.

Let's take a look at three tips to help you streamline your search for an affordable residence.

1. Evaluate How Long a Home Has Been Available

When it comes to finding an affordable house, it pays to check out how long a residence has been available. By doing so, you may be able to discover a bargain, even in a highly competitive real estate market.

If a home that has been available for many weeks or months, a seller may be more motivated than ever before to accept an offer that falls below his or her initial expectations. Thus, if you submit an offer below a seller's initial asking price, the seller may accept your proposal in the hopes of getting rid of his or her residence quickly.

Of course, you should always ensure that a home offer is competitive based on a house's age and condition, along with the current state of the real estate market. Because if you submit a "lowball" proposal, a seller likely will respond with an immediate "No" to your offer.

2. Look at Fixer-Uppers

A fixer-upper is unlikely to have everything that you want in your dream house. On the other hand, a fixer-upper likely is more cost-effective in comparison to a new house.

If you're on the lookout for affordable housing, you should consider fixer-uppers. These houses may require some work, but buyers who are willing to allocate the necessary time and resources to perform myriad home repairs can transform these properties into dream homes.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

For homebuyers who want to acquire a house without spending too much, it usually helps to hire a real estate agent. In fact, by working with a real estate agent, a homebuyer can streamline the process of acquiring an affordable residence.

A real estate agent first will meet with a homebuyer and learn about his or her homebuying goals. Then, this housing market professional can tailor a home search to complement a buyer's budget.

Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent provides throughout the homebuying journey, either. A real estate agent will set up home showings, negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf and do whatever it takes to help you purchase an inexpensive house.

Ready to find a cost-effective house? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can accelerate the process of discovering an affordable home that you can enjoy for years to come.


Composting is well known among garden enthusiasts for providing a sustainable and rich fertilizer for plants. However, if you don’t have the time or space for a compost heap, there are still some types of food waste you can use to fertilize your garden. Hang on to these food scraps rather than throw them away and you’ll have a cost-effective way to add important nutrients to your garden.

Here are 3 common forms of food waste you can use in your garden:

Eggshells

Just like humans, plants need calcium to grow. Calcium goes into the structural tissues of the plant, essentially creating and maintaining their “bones” and helping them grow big and strong. Most soil naturally has calcium, but if you want to give your garden a boost, adding a little extra can help. Luckily, dry eggshells are almost entirely made of calcium carbonate and it’s easy to repurpose that growing power into the soil.

To prepare eggshells for fertilizer, rinse them out and allow them to dry completely. Then, smash them into tiny pieces using whatever tools you have on hand in the kitchen. To get the best results, try to make the shell fragments into a fine powder. The best tools for this are a mortar and pestle or food processor. Once you have your eggshell powder, simply sprinkle it into the soil of your garden.

Calcium takes a long time to decompose, so you won’t see results overnight. Try adding calcium two to three months before planting if possible.

Coffee Grounds

The leftovers of your morning coffee can also help energize your garden. Coffee grounds are full of nitrogen and also contain other important minerals like potassium and copper. Because coffee is highly acidic, use it sparingly as a fertilizer unless you have plants that specifically thrive in an acidic environment or if your soil pH specifically needs it.

The best way to use coffee grounds is to allow them to dry out again completely to avoid any chance of mold. Then sprinkle into the soil before watering your plants. This will slowly introduce nitrogen into the soil and help your plants grow and process fuel for themselves through photosynthesis. Just be careful not to add too much too soon or you might disturb the soil pH.

Banana Peels

Bananas are an excellent source of potassium and so are their peels. Plants use potassium to process water efficiently and build strong support systems for flowers and fruit. Potassium is especially important for edible crops, particularly those that are rich in carbohydrates like potatoes. A healthy amount of potassium in a plant’s diet will make it grow healthier and higher quality fruit, veggies and tubers.

To use banana peels to help your garden grow strong, you have a couple of options. You can take the entire banana peel and simply place it in the soil at the base of the plant to wait for it to decompose. You can also liquefy it in a blender and mix it with water and apply it like any liquid fertilizer. This method is suitable for quicker absorption and less chance of hungry pests investigating the peel.

These are just a few ways to transform food waste into nourishment for your garden. If possible, testing the soil is a great way to determine what type of nutrients your plants will need. While a balanced amount of all the above can help, it’s always best to know the chemical composition you’re starting with.


If you intend to sell your house, you may want to let your family know about your decision. In fact, there are many reasons why you should consult with family members before you add your house to the real estate market. These reasons include:

1. You can address any concerns or questions.

Family members may have concerns or questions about your decision to sell your home. Fortunately, you can address their concerns and questions before you list your residence.

Remember, family members care about your well-being. If you involve them in the home selling process, you may be able to avoid potential conflicts down the line. Perhaps best of all, if you share your decision to sell your residence with family members, you can help them get on board with your decision.

2. You can plan ahead for the home selling journey.

The home selling journey may prove to be long and difficult, particularly for an individual who initially tries to work alone. Luckily, family members can offer lots of assistance as you get ready to sell your house.

If you inform family members about your decision to sell your home, they can help you prep for all aspects of the property selling journey. For example, family members can help you clean your residence and ensure that it looks great both inside and outside. As a result, telling your family members about your decision to sell your house may enable you to speed up the process of selling your house.

3. You can receive home selling guidance and support.

Family members are ready to help you in any way they can. Thus, if family members sold houses in the past, they may be able to share their house selling experiences with you. And as such, you can learn from their past experience so you are better equipped than ever before to streamline the home selling journey.

Lastly, as you prepare to enter the housing market, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional is happy to help you break the news about your decision to sell your home to family members. Also, he or she will provide comprehensive support as you navigate each stage of the house selling process.

Typically, a real estate agent will craft a personalized home selling strategy based on you, your home and your house selling goals. He or she next will set up property showings and open house events to promote your residence to prospective buyers. If a buyer submits an offer to purchase your house, a real estate agent will help you review this proposal so you can determine whether to approve, reject or counter it.

For home sellers who want to enjoy a fast, profitable house selling experience, it often is beneficial to hire a real estate agent. If you have a real estate agent at your side, you can quickly stir up interest in your home and boost the likelihood of maximizing your property sale earnings.



Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Flat roofs are common on large industrial or commercial buildings. Thanks largely to modern design movements, flat roofs are a popular choice for residential buildings as well. There are several other advantages as well besides the aesthetic appeal. However, a flat roof might not be the right choice for every home design. Here we’ll go over what to consider when trying to decide between a flat or pitched roof for your home.

Cost - Now & Later

Your choice of roof style will make a big difference to your overall home building budget. Flat roofs have a low upfront cost and are relatively quick to install. There is less surface area to cover and therefore less raw material to pay for. Labor costs are low for installing flat roofs both because of the ease of the process and how quickly they can be completed. Overall, of the two choices, a flat roof is the cheapest and quickest.

However, pitched roofs last longer and require less maintenance in the future. A flat roof will usually only last around 10 years compared to 20 or 30 for a pitched roof. This comes down to the materials used as well as wear and tear from weather. Flat roofs are notorious for leaks, which means you might pay for repairs in times of heavy moisture. Flat roofs might be easier to inspect and access (because they’re easy to walk on) but definitely consider the potential cost of repeated visits for leak repair and other damage.

Climate

A major factor in whether a flat roof is the right choice is your climate. Depending on where you’re building your home, a flat roof might be more trouble than you’re expecting. Areas with heavy snowfall and rain year-round are far tougher on flat roofs than pitched roofs. The sloped angle of a pitched roof allows snow and water to wash down and away rather than let the moisture and weight collect. A flat roof will accumulate all of that weight and water, potentially leading to drainage issues.

However, in hot and dry climates flat roofs can have their advantages. Desert homeowners often prefer flat roofs because it’s easier and more affordable to add solar paneling compared to pitched roofs. Flat metal roofs can also reflect light and heat up and away from the house efficiently.

Aesthetic

The modern aesthetic of a flat roof is undeniably its major draw. Made famous by the iconic mid-century modern homes in Southern California and elsewhere in the United States, a flat roof adds that streamlined and minimalist look many homeowners love. A sprawling single story home with a flat roof and window walls to let in the beauty of nature might be the guiding vision for many people designing a dream home. Pitched roofs are certainly not without their charm and aesthetic appeal, but some homeowners will call them “dated.”

Cost and climate are important to consider for practicality’s sake, but in the end the choice between a flat or pitched roof comes down to your preference. If you need help with the decision, it’s always a good idea to consult a professional home builder to go over any other factors you might not be aware of.