November 30, 2020 December 4, 2020 by Alison Bentley
Updated on December 4th, 2020
One of the best perks of becoming a homeowner is making the space your own. From furniture choices, to paint colors and décor – the style options are endless. But what happens if your home is missing some key architectural details to go with the style you have in mind?
Architectural details are small design elements – like a stone fireplace or decorative trim – that have the power to characterize and define your entire home. Choosing the right architectural style for your home may seem overwhelming, but don’t worry – we’re here to help. So, whether you’re living in a new construction home in Sacramento, CA, or a modern condo in Atlanta, GA these 10 ideas will help you add the perfect architectural details to your home.
1) Start with classic crown molding or wainscoting
Crown molding is likely the first architectural style that comes to mind, and for good reason. Details like crown molding or wainscoting are timeless additions to your walls that will stick throughout the years. If you’re into DIY projects, you can install a peel-and-stick crown molding to your walls, or add a faux wainscoting look with a chair rail molding and some paint. For a different take, you can frame your windows with a type of molding called casings. Not a DIY-er? Talk to an architect or licensed contractor who can help design and install crown molding or wainscoting to your home without the hassle.
2) Choose contrasting colors
When deciding on a color palette for your home, choose contrasting colors for added depth. You can easily create contrast throughout your home with stark variations in paint or furniture choices. Think white walls against a black floor or dark-finished cabinets with light-colored countertops.
3) Add textured walls for architectural details
If contrasting colors aren’t your style, consider texture when it comes to your walls. Many painters can add texture to an otherwise plain wall with paint techniques to help add dimension. If texture isn’t your game, think about adding an accent panel using stonework or mosaic tiles.
4) Create a gallery wall or picture rail
Get creative with your photos and art by making a gallery wall. Strategically placing your photos on the wall is an art on its own, one that an interior designer can help you out with. Consider adding a picture rail to your wall if you’re looking for something a little more permanent. That way you can display your art and décor along the walls while also incorporating crown molding. A picture rail will be a statement detail no matter how many times you’ve changed the photos.
5) Hang drapery for high ceilings
One of the easiest ways to add architectural style to your home is by hanging drapery around your windows. By hanging drapes a few inches below the ceiling it will draw your eyes upward, making your walls and ceilings look taller. Bonus, adding drapes will highlight any windows in your room and create a cozy feel no matter the season.
6) Replace the hardware on your cabinets
Another quick DIY home project to change up your interior style is to switch the hardware on your cabinets and drawers. From sleek silver handles to intricate bronze knobs, the options are endless. Replacing the hardware on your cabinets is a quick way to add simple, yet eye-catching architectural details to your home.
7) Incorporate reclaimed wood
If rustic is what you’re looking for to spruce up your home’s character, think about adding reclaimed wood throughout your home. Whether that’s having a contractor or remodeler add wood beams to your ceiling or as simple as a new table, reclaimed wood will give you the architectural style you’ve been looking for. Also, investing in reclaimed wood pieces is a great way to support the environment while achieving your style vision.
8) Get creative with your doors
Upgrading the doors in your home can bring a whole new architectural dimension to your space. For a simple approach, a fresh coat of paint can make a big impact on your home’s style. However, if you’re looking for a larger project, think about having your doors replaced with something more unique. Think reclaimed wood doors, sleek sliding doors, or reused barn doors. These changes will instantly transform the architectural details of your home from the moment you step inside.
9) Natural stone works wonders
If you’re looking to bring a rustic architectural style into your home, incorporating natural stone finishes will do wonders. Think about framing a fireplace with bricks or adding a custom stone design as a backsplash. You can also achieve this rustic feeling by creating a feature wall with faux bricks or a sleek slate.
10) Upgrade or install a fireplace
Adding architectural details to your fireplace will bring warmth – literally and figuratively – to your living space. Spruce up your fireplace’s mantel by painting it a contrasting color to your walls, or frame your fireplace with bricks or natural stone. If your home doesn’t have a fireplace, contact a handyman or contractor who can discuss your options for installing a fireplace in your home. They can also give you advice on what style will work best for your space.
For many years, Michael Stock said he never considered selling his handsome Beaux-Arts Revival-style home on Washington, D.C.’s prestigious Embassy Row—not even when representatives from a nearby embassy stopped by with a case of wine and an unsolicited bid of interest.
Then the pandemic happened, sending the local luxury real-estate market on an unstoppable hot streak. The rise in prices, combined with the promise of fresh demand spurred by an incoming presidential administration, proved too good to pass up: Mr. Stock listed his home, which he bought in 2008 and spent years restoring, for $5.5 million earlier this month.
Like many other cities whose luxury housing stock is dominated by single-family homes, Washington, D.C.’s market has only benefited from the Covid-19 crisis, as buyers—often spurred by ultralow interest rates plus the desire for dedicated home offices and large gardens—move to larger homes. As a result, the D.C. real-estate market is pricier than it has been in years, according to local agents.
Now, with a new administration taking over the White House, those agents say they are busier than ever. “I’m on meetings and showings all day long,” said Daniel Heider of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, noting that he’s already shown Mr. Stock’s house to a couple relocating to the area to serve in President Biden’s administration.
“We didn’t know where we were going to be when Covid hit in March,” said Robert Hryniewicki. The luxury agent with HRL Partners of Washington Fine Properties said he is currently handling a bidding war for a Massachusetts Avenue Heights property priced at $5.65 million. “But after April, it really took off.”
The median price of a home sold in Washington, D.C., was $641,300 in December, a 1% increase from the same time a year prior, according to data from real-estate firm Long & Foster. The volume of sales was up 16% during that same period. The number of signed contracts in December was 731, up 40% from December 2019.
Michael Stock’s property spans nearly 6,000 square feet and is used as a home as well as an office and reception area.
A dining room in Mr. Stock’s D.C. home.
An office space.
Mr. Stock spent several years restoring and upgrading the property.
In December, there were just 1.7 months of housing supply available in Washington, D.C., down 12% from the prior year.
The ultra-high-end saw even more of an uptick. There were 72 transactions priced at $4 million and up in the capital region in 2020, compared with 53 in 2019, according to Washington Fine Properties. There were eight sales priced at $10 million or more, compared with zero the year before.
Coe Magruder, a 67-year-old hedge-fund and asset-management entrepreneur, is one of the many beneficiaries of the hot market. He sold his Massachusetts Avenue Heights home, a redbrick Colonial formerly home to the embassy of Swaziland (now known as Eswatini), for $4 million in August after receiving an unsolicited offer, he said.
He said he and his wife Denise Magruder had already relocated to Vero Beach, Fla., and were planning to do some work to their home, including a paint job and a redo of the bathrooms, before listing it for sale.
Michael Stock’s home sits directly across from the Japanese embassy in Kalorama.
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The market wouldn’t wait. Mr. Hryniewicki, the couple’s agent, soon had a client for whom the house was perfect. Mr. Magruder agreed to a single showing and threw in a caveat: The buyer would have to meet the fixed asking price of $4 million, or he would continue with his plans to spruce up the property and list it publicly later.
Within a week, a contract was signed for $4 million. Mr. Hryniewicki said the home sold for a notable premium over what it might have sold for prior to the Covid-19 crisis.
Being home with their two young children amid the pandemic made real-estate developer Michael Rocks and his wife Dana Rocks, who was pregnant with their third child, rethink their space. In November, they listed their four-bedroom Tudor in the leafy Wesley Heights neighborhood to move to a larger home in McLean, Va., where the children could each have their own rooms and a bigger yard.
“Little kids have a lot of energy they need to expend,” said Mr. Rocks, 35, who became a father of three in December. “They want a jungle gym, and since they couldn’t go to the playground we wanted to create something like that for them in our own yard.”
The Rockses hosted one open house and about 12 separate tours and received four offers over their $1.795 million asking price, Mr. Rocks said. “What was shocking to us was how many offers there were,” he added. The house went into contract for $2.022 million just four days after it was listed.
While they reveled in the success of a quick sale, the flip side of the market was trickier; the purchase of their new home in McLean required winning a three-way bidding war. “Everything is just so expensive and in such limited supply,” Mr. Rocks said.
Real-estate agents project the market will become even tighter in the next few months, as Mr. Biden continues to roll out new appointments.
Neighborhoods expected to be especially in demand include fashionable areas like Kalorama and Massachusetts Avenue Heights, which are known for drawing Washington high society, including major political donors, lobbyists and wealthy elected officials, as well as billionaires like Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos. In these neighborhoods, a short drive from the Capitol, high-end classic homes are clustered together on tree-lined streets.
Despite for a heavy security presence in some pockets, designed to protect residents like Jared Kushner and first daughter Ivanka Trump, the Kalorama neighborhood was quiet on a recent Sunday. A few walkers with their dogs paid little attention to the security as they passed.
Mr. Stock, 44, leads a nonprofit that trains peacekeepers and military forces in troubled parts of the world. While his home is close to the one owned by President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama, he said the security is basically discreet and somewhat reassuring. “You couldn’t find a safer block probably anywhere in the country,” he said. “Sometimes, when there are people over for an event, I don’t lock the door.”
During the last presidential transition, administration officials like Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway all bought homes within the same tiny area.
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“This current administration threw everyone in the housing market for a loop,” Mr. Heider said. “There were people coming from New York and Palm Beach, who were extremely wealthy and that upper bracket market went on fire,” Mr. Heider said.
It isn’t clear if Mr. Biden’s cabinet will be as affluent, or if those Trump administration officials will leave D.C. following President Donald Trump’s departure; as of now, none of their homes are publicly listed for sale.
As for the recent riot at the Capitol, Mr. Heider said he expects it to have little to no effect on demand for homes.
“Obviously, a breach of the Capitol building is not something to brush off, but Washington has been home to protest after protest for decades,” he said, though he noted that the curfews imposed because of the riot were inconvenient for residents. “This summer, there was looting and businesses being set on fire and it didn’t impact the real-estate market. It’s just part of living in Washington.”
The Trump Administration
After Donald Trump triumphed in the 2016 presidential election, real-estate agents reported a significant bump in interest in high-end homes in Washington, D.C., as some of President Trump’s wealthy appointees relocated to the district.
Some of the transactions included those by:
In 2017, Kellyanne Conway, a longtime adviser to President Donald Trump, and her husband, attorney George Conway, purchased a roughly 15,000-square-foot mansion in the Massachusetts Avenue Heights area for $7.785 million, according to records and people familiar with the deal. The eight-bedroom house dates back to the 1920s and had previously been owned by Moeen Qureshi, once the acting prime minister of Pakistan, who first listed it for $22 million and then dropped the price several times.
In 2017, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin paid $12.6 million for a nine-bedroom mansion near Rock Creek Park, also in the Massachusetts Avenue Heights area, according to records and a person familiar with the deal. Built in 2001, the property spans about 16,000 square feet with a wine cellar and a media room.
In 2017, then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his wife Renda St. Clair bought a four-bedroom Colonial Revival-style home in the Kalorama neighborhood for $5.5 million, according to public records, which indicate the couple still owns the property.
At the close of 2016, President Trump’s Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and his wife Hilary Ross paid $10.75 million for a gated limestone Beaux-Arts mansion in Massachusetts Avenue Heights, records show. The property, which dates back to 1927 and sits on over an acre of land, was formerly owned by philanthropist Adrienne Arsht. The house had been on the market for $12 million, Zillow shows.
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner
During her father’s administration, presidential adviser Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner rented a house in the Kalorama neighborhood from a company controlled by Andrónico Luksic. Mr. Luksic’s family is the wealthiest in Chile and controls a mining, banking and industrial empire worth billions of dollars, the Wall Street Journal reported. The company had purchased the home for $5.5 million in December 2016. It wasn’t clear how much the couple was charged in rent.
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Selling this Encino home was as easy as ABC. The Hamptons-style compound, which was once owned by Marlon Jackson of Jackson 5 fame, has sold for $3.45 million, finding a buyer just two days after relisting.
The deal closed a few weeks after Michael Jackson’s famous Neverland Ranch sold to billionaire Ron Burkle for $22 million. It’s no Neverland, or even Hayvenhurst — the Encino home where the entire Jackson clan lived in the ’70s — but it still boasts a unique place in the family’s lore.
Records show Jackson sold it for $1.16 million in 1992, but in previous years, the family used it as a recording studio, according to listing agent Carl Gambino of Compass. This time around, it was sold by Demian Lichtenstein, the director behind the 2001 black comedy “3000 Miles to Graceland.”
The exterior. (Carl Gambino)
The living room. (Carl Gambino)
The kitchen. (Carl Gambino)
The bedroom. (Carl Gambino)
The bathroom. (Carl Gambino)
The back patio. (Carl Gambino)
The tennis court. (Carl Gambino)
The double-gated estate. (Carl Gambino)
The one-acre compound. (Carl Gambino)
The estate spans just over an acre and fits in as many structures and amenities as possible including a 6,700-square-foot main home, three-story guesthouse, swimming pool, spa and lighted tennis court.
A gated 300-foot driveway approaches the Cape Cod-style home complete with a chef’s kitchen under custom lights, voluminous living room, wet bar and staircase lined with wrought iron. It holds four bedrooms, and the guesthouse adds two more and an office.
Upstairs, the primary suite expands to a marble bathroom and private terrace. It overlooks the entertainer’s backyard filled with covered lounges and dining patios.
Jackson, 63, rose to fame as a member of the Jackson 5 with hits such as “ABC,” “I’ll Be There” and “I Want You Back.” He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the group in 1997 and also released a solo album titled “Baby Tonight.”
Templeton Walker hasn’t been in real estate long, but heâs already making major waves in Arizonaâs hottest housing markets. Last year, Templeton sold 180 properties, and 70 of them were off-market homes that he found himself. On todayâs Real Estate Rockstars, Templeton shares exactly how he built a hugely successful real estate business in just a few short years, including the three things he did as a new agent to jump-start his career. If youâre a new agent or an agent looking to take your real estate business to the next level, you NEED to hear this podcast.
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What goes up must come down, right? For some prices, yes — but not all.
Money Talks News analyzed the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest Consumer Price Index data, which is for December, to find out which things actually cost less going into 2021 than they did one year prior.
Overall, the price of all things rose overall by 1.4% between December 2019 and December 2020, according to the BLS.
So, rejoice at those products that cost a bit less than they once did. Click through the slideshow to see all the products with prices that were at least around 10% lower going into this year than they were going into 2020.
7. Women’s dresses
Price decline from December 2019 to December 2020: 11.2%
As a whole, the price of apparel fell 3.9% last year, but some types of clothing saw much steeper drops. For example, women’s apparel fell 7.7%, while men’s apparel fell 2.6%
Of all the types of women’s clothing included in the Consumer Price Index, dresses saw the biggest drop in price between December 2019 and December 2020, at 11.2%.
Many of the stores where women bought dresses also tumbled last year, with Ann Taylor and New York & Co. among the clothing retailers we cited in “15 Major Companies That Filed for Bankruptcy Due to the Pandemic.”
6. Men’s suits, sport coats and outerwear
Price decline from December 2019 to December 2020: 13.4%
Of all the types of men’s clothing included in the Consumer Price Index, the category that includes men’s suits, sport coats and outerwear easily saw the steepest drop.
Of course, 2020 dealt quite the blow to the formal business attire industry in particular. Men’s Wearhouse and Brooks Brothers were among the many retailers that filed for bankruptcy protection as stores shuttered and scores of employees started working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Price decline from December 2019 to December 2020: 15.2% (for all types of gasoline collectively)
Gas prices fell dramatically in 2020, as Americans spent more time at home due to stay-at-home orders and their own desire to avoid the coronavirus. In fact, before March was up, 25 states had seen their average gas prices drop below $2 a gallon.
All three types of gasoline included in the Consumer Price Index fell in price last year — after seeing a 7.9% increase the prior year — according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Regular gas saw the steepest drop:
Unleaded regular (meaning gas with an octane rating of at least 85 but less than 88): 15.6% price decline
Unleaded midgrade (octane rating of at least 88 but no more than 90): 13.1% price decline
Unleaded premium (octane rating of more than 90): 12.9% price decline
4. Telephone hardware, calculators and other consumer information items
Price decline from December 2019 to December 2020: 16.3%
Consumers are enjoying a drop in costs in this category.
Shopping for the latest deals on smartphones? Start by checking out “20 Cellphone Plans That Cost $21 or Less.”
3. Other motor fuels
Price decline from December 2019 to December 2020: 17.6%
Gasoline isn’t the only type of motor fuel that fell on the Consumer Price Index last year. A category called “other motor fuels” saw an even steeper price drop than gasoline.
As the Bureau of Labor Statistics defines it, this category includes “automotive diesel fuel and alternative motor fuels such as propane, natural gas, kerosene, alcohol, and electricity that is sold for use in consumer automobiles.”
2. Airline fares
Price decline from December 2019 to December 2020: 18.4%
While 2020 was a tough year for the travel industry in general due to the pandemic, consumers saw a particularly big effect on the cost of airfare, which fell by 18.4% — more than almost any other type of expenditure included in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index.
1. Non-motor fuel oil
Price decline from December 2019 to December 2020: 20%
Residential fuel oil prices saw the steepest decline last year on the Consumer Price Index. This category includes fuel oil used for heating, cooling, lighting, cooking and other household equipment. However, it excludes propane, kerosene and firewood, which collectively saw a price decline of 2% in 2020.
Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.
Here’s what food and drinks the major U.S. airlines are currently serving
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Who doesn’t love Amazon? Not only can you find just about anything on the site, but you also can find it at a great price.
If you’re a fan of Amazon, you’ll probably love scoring free Amazon gift cards. And there are many ways to get them online. Following are some of our faves.
And for more ways to score Amazon freebies, also check out “10 Things That Really Are Free on Amazon.”
1. Amazon Trade-In
Why not turn your “trash” into treasure? Send books, video games, tablets, e-readers, smart home devices and more to the Amazon Trade-In program. You’ll get Amazon gift cards in return, as we detail in “9 Companies That Sell Your Stuff For You.”
It’s also a great way to clear out the clutter.
Shop online, fill out surveys, watch videos — these are all things you can do through Swagbucks to earn points. Earn enough points, known as “SBs,” and you can redeem them for free gift cards, including Amazon gift cards.
Your options currently range from a $3 Amazon gift card, for which you’ll need 300 SBs, to a $500 Amazon gift card, for which you’ll need 50,000 SBs.
To learn more about Swagbucks, check out “6 Ways to Score Free Gift Cards and Cash in 1 Place.”
3. Amazon credit cards
To be clear, we are not suggesting that you open a new credit card just to get a free Amazon gift card. Depending on your current financial situation, it might not be a wise money move for you. And no matter your situation, opening a new credit card can cause your credit score to dip temporarily.
But if you happen to be in the market for a new rewards credit card and you prize free Amazon gift cards, you might want to consider the Amazon Rewards Visa Cards. Get approved for one and you’ll get a free $100 Amazon gift card.
If an Amazon credit card isn’t the right fit for you, you can check out other options by using Money Talks News’ free credit card comparison tool.
Raise is an online marketplace where you can buy new (full-priced) or used (discounted) gift cards and also sell your own unwanted gift cards.
If you buy new gift cards through Raise, you will earn rewards called “Raise Cash.” And you can redeem your Raise Cash when buying gift cards — including Amazon gift cards — in the future.
Shopkick is a free app that enables you to earn rewards points called “kicks” for doing tasks while shopping in stores or online — such as walking into a store, scanning a product bar code or buying something online.
You can redeem kicks for gifts cards, including Amazon gift cards.
One of the oldest rewards sites, MyPoints offers opportunities to earn points in a fashion similar to that of Swagbucks. And you can redeem points for free gift cards. The Amazon gift card options range from a $1 card, for which you’ll need 250 points, to a $100 card, for which you’ll need 15,500 points.
You also can get a $10 Amazon gift card just for signing up.
If you really want to earn gift cards fast, try doing an internet search, shopping online, taking surveys or watching videos to rack up points at InstaGC. You can redeem points for gift cards that this site says you will receive instantly.
The Amazon gift card options start at just $1 and go up to $100, with a custom amount also an option. You only need to earn 100 points before you can start redeeming them for Amazon gift cards.
Answer a few questions on the SurveyMonkey app, and you earn rewards that can be redeemed for Amazon gift cards. Surveys take five minutes or less to complete.
Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.
Rohit Chopra, President Biden’s choice to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is expected to hit the ground running at the CFPB by quickly undoing Trump administration policies and moving aggressively to protect consumers during the pandemic.
Chopra is seen as a strong consumer advocate who will push for fairness and financial inclusion for minorities, one of the Biden administration’s priorities.
“Rohit is a dynamic leader who knows the agency, understands the issues and will be ready to set a new course on day one,” said Michael Gordon, a partner at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings.