Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith - Kinlin Grover Real Estate



Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 3/29/2018

New England is infamous for its old homes and with old homes comes gorgeous, original hardwood floors. Maybe homebuyers have original flooring at the top of their wishlist when home shopping. While you may know how much you adore your hardwood floors, you may not know how to properly care for them. Keep reading for tips on how to keep your new to you hardwood floors in boast-worthy shape. Preemptively prevent scratches and tough to clean buildup by adding mats to any doors leading outside. Not only do they add a nice visual touch, but more importantly they help prevent dirt and outdoor grime from being tracked over your hardwood floors. You will make daily clean up easier on yourself while saving your floors from potential scratches. Institute a no-shoes in the house policy to further prevent any debris from finding their way throughout your home. You will especially want to avoid wearing high heels and cleats in any rooms with hardwood flooring. These types of shoes can put dents and scratches in to the floor that will require a professional to help resuscitate your floors back to their former glory. Create a mudroom area in your home with a bench and shoe rack. This will make it easy for your family members to follow the no shoe rule. Investing in a mat that catches water and slush run off from shoes on bad weather days is also a great way to prevent water damage to your floors. Sweep your floors daily to catch any dirt they may have found it’s way into your home and onto your hardwood floors. Vacuum once a week for a more thorough clean. Once a month you will want to clean your floors with a microfiber cloth and light mist of water. Ensure that you do not soak your floors as water can cause them to swell and become damaged with time. Avoid cleaners for tile or vinyl surfaces and never steam clean your hardwood floors. Install felt pads to the bottoms of any furniture you have in rooms with hardwood flooring. This will help prevent scratches from everyday furniture use. You will want to regularly replace these pads however since dirt can build up on the bottoms and create a sandpaper-like surface that can lead to damage. When rearranging furniture lift the piece off the floor to carry it over to where you would like it placed and then carefully set it down instead of pushing it across your hardwood floors. While this may entail extra help from a family member to do, it will prevent unsightly gashes along your floors from dragging your furniture across the room. Original flooring in an old New England home is a major selling point for many homebuyers. Restoring old hardwood floors to their original condition can be pricey, however, by taking preliminary measures to prevent damage you can avoid bringing an expert in to fix your mistakes. And when all it takes to maintain your floors is a few minutes each day it’s a win-win situation!





Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 10/20/2016

If you're like me, cleaning isn't something you regularly schedule into your day. When I clean it's usually a last minute scramble to tidy up before company arrives. What's more, cleaning often involves going out to buy costly supplies and potent smelling chemicals. That's why I've compiled a list of cleaning hacks that avoid harsh chemicals and can be done with items you probably already have laying around your (messy) house. Cleaning the kitchen is an unending battle. In my house of four inhabitants, we are constantly piling high dishes into the sink and dishwasher and pretending we don't notice how dirty the microwave has gotten. These hacks will help you spend a less time scrubbing in the kitchen: Cleaning the blender You wake up in the morning, go for a run, drink your refreshing shake and then your bright mood is ruined at the thought of having to scrub peanut butter out of the bottom of your blender. The hack: Rinse it out once lightly, then add a few drops of dish soap and fill it up a quarter of the way with water, then blend. You're basically turning your own dirty blender into a dishwasher (just don't toss any silverware in there). Washing your dishwasher Speaking of dishwashers, does yours seem like it's getting a bit discolored and have a sort of musty smell? Just because the dishwasher cleans the dishes doesn't mean it also doesn't need to be washed every now and then. The hack: Take a measuring cup and fill it with 1cp of vinegar and place it upright on the top rack of the dishwasher. Then sprinkle some baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher. Run it on the highest heat setting and you've got a sparkling clean dishwasher. Glass baking dishes Who could go for some freshly baked brownies? Everyone could, obviously. But no one wants to scrub the pan of charred brownie remains afterward. Sponges just don't seem to cut it, so what's to be done? The hack: You have two options, here. If you have a minute to wait, you can put a few drops of dish soap and some water in the dish and microwave it for 1-2 minutes, then wipe it clean with a sponge. Alternatively, you can roll up a ball of aluminum foil, add soapy water, and scrub the dish clean with ease. Degreasing your appliances Is your microwave splattered with sauce? Does your toaster have unexplainable coffee stains dripping down the sides? Avoid looking at the walls of the oven when you put in a roast? We've put this moment off for far too long... it's time to scrub the appliances. Our food goes in these items, so it makes sense to be hesitant about using harsh chemicals on them. Luckily, you probably have everything you need to get them shining again. The hack: Three ingredients are all you need to make a great cleaner/degreaser. Water, lemon, and baking soda. In a spray bottle, combine 2 cups of warm water, a tablespoon of baking soda and 20 drops of lemon juice. Spray it onto the surface liberally, let it sit for a few seconds and then wipe it away along with all the grease. Now roll up your sleeves and get to work cleaning. Or, better yet, share this with your family and have them do it.





Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 1/28/2016

How frustrating is it when the drain is clogged? It really doesn’t matter which drain and whether or not it is in the kitchen or bathroom but inevitably there will be a clog. It seems to be at its worst when it is your turn at the sink. First let’s look in the cabinet and see if you have what we need to remedy the problem. Do you have baking soda? If you do, you are half way to an unclogged drain. Do you have vinegar? If yes, get your gloves, we are off to unclog the drain(s). First if you want to remove the hardware, that little drain stopper, go ahead. Keep in mind, it might be a yoga position of sorts to get under the sink. Sometimes the piping under a sink is so tight that it isn’t worth the effort, even if you are a yoga instructor. If you do opt to remove the drain plug, do remember to screw the cover back on the hole so that when you start this project, water isn’t pouring out under your sink and soaking your floor. Start with two to three teaspoons of backing soda. Baking soda is a “lifter” and letting is work its magic will begin the unclogging and lifting of all blockages. Once the backing soda is down the hatch, pour the same amount of vinegar, two to three teaspoons, into the drain. Can you hear the cleaning process, maybe even see the science experiment taking place? Let this home remedy sit for thirty minutes and return with hot water. Boil water in your tea kettle to ensure the proper temperature. You should be ready to put the hardware back under the sink in no time.





Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 11/2/2014

Take a drive down any residential road in your town or city, and you're bound to notice a neglected porch or two. Is your porch giving your home the best face it can have? Could your porch use a little spice? Here's how to get the most out of your porch, whether it is only a few feet, or a covered area spanning the length of your home. 1. - Replace things when needed. New welcome mats, address numbers, doorknobs and deadbolts can breathe new life into your porch space. All of these experience significant wear-and-tear in only a short time, and replacing them when needed shows passers-by and potential home buyers that you live in a house that is well taken care of...Even down to the last detail. 2. - Don't be afraid to paint. Often times, painted areas on a porch can be overlooked. If you are in the middle of a deck painting, then don't hesitate to touch up your porch as a part of your project. 3. - Bring a little life onto your porch. Consider buying a few weather-hardy plants that could complement the color scheme of your home. Tasteful plant window boxes installed on the windows closest to your porch can make your porch appear much bigger than it is, and is an optical effect that will definitely work in your favor. Just be sure to pick plants that don't run afoul of your home's outdoor color scheme, and you'll find that bringing a little plant life onto and around your porch is a very enjoyable investment. 4. - Lighting is not only important for looks, but for safety as well. Make sure that your porch light is always in working order, and be sure to choose quality bulbs that match the wattage of the outlet. Some homes have faulty porch wiring, and sometimes lack proper lighting. If you are in one of these homes, consider making a project out of it. Proper lighting will show off your porch at night in all the right places, and will be a welcome safety addition for your family and visitors.





Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 1/19/2014

It seems everyone has an opinion on the best way to wash hardwood floors. Some say soap and water, others polish, or wax. It can all be very confusing.
These tips will help you have your hardwoods happily gleaming in no time.

In order to know how to clean your floors you will

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first need to determine the finish. In other words, you will need to know how your wood floor is sealed. It is the finish, not the wood type that determines how you clean and care for the floor.

Surface-sealed floors: If your hardwoods are newer they are most likely sealed with urethane, polyurethane or polyacrylic. These floors are the easiest to clean. All they need is a sweep, a quick mop and just like that you are done!

Penetrating-seal-treated and oil-treated floors: Another type of common hardwood floor is a penetrating seal or oil finish. These soak into the wood grain and harden. This type of floor can be difficult to maintain, these floors must be be protected with liquid or paste wax.

Lacquered, varnished, shellacked and untreated floors: Another fussy floor to deal with, these floors need to be protected with liquid or paste wax. They are not as resistant to moisture, spills and wear and tear.

If you don't know what kind of finish you have rub your finger across the floor. If no smudge appears, the floor is surface sealed. If you do create a smudge, the floor has been treated with a penetrating seal, oil finish, shellac, varnish or lacquer, and then waxed.