Five easy ways to give your home an au­tum­nal makeover

Tips from the Prop­erty Broth­ers on how to take the chill out of fall

Richmond Hill Post - - Homes - THE PROP­ERTY BROTH­ERS Post City Mag­a­zines’ columnists Jonathan and Drew Scott host The Prop­erty Broth­ers, on the W Net­work, thescot­tbroth­ers.com.

It’s a bit late in the year to start a roof-rais­ing reno, but au­tumn is a great op­por­tu­nity to do some sim­pler up­grades and get your home ready for win­ter. Here are some sea­sonal ideas to spruce up your nest:

• Ex­tend the life of your out­door par­ties. ( Who doesn’t want that?) To cope with cooler temperatur­es, add an out­door firepit. Even the sim­plest metal-bowl de­sign (which can dou­ble as an ice-filled drinks cooler on hot sum­mer days) can be a warm­ing, festive fo­cal point — and an in­vi­ta­tion to toast s’mores! Propane space heaters (the kind used on restau­rant ter­races) are an­other op­tion. Add to the cosi­ness with blan­kets. Au­tumn is also a great time to plan ahead. Re­mem­ber that oxy­gen-giv­ing trees and shrubs are good for the en­vi­ron­ment as well as your prop­erty value. Plant them in fall, and they’ll have time to set­tle in be­fore the first freeze and be ready to flour­ish in spring.

• The in­ter­val between sum­mer va­ca­tion and hol­i­day en­ter­tain­ing is a good time to up­grade your kitchen. Be­fore you tackle a to­tal makeover, re­mem­ber that smaller fixes also can make a kitchen look and func­tion bet­ter: new drawer and cabi­net pulls and sink faucets, fresh paint on walls and/or cab­i­nets, more stylish light­ing. Re­plac­ing coun­ters can be a big plus (and cost), but even with­out do­ing that, putting in a new tile back­splash can have a strik­ing im­pact. Make sure that all your choices har­mo­nize with each other, and your kitchen will look bet­ter than ever.

• An af­ford­able way to mark the change of sea­sons: new throw pil­lows or pil­low cov­ers and slip­cov­ers. A pal­ette of warmer, richer hues and pat­terns com­ple­ments the shorter days and cosy nights of fall and win­ter. You can even add new ac­ces­sories that com­ple­ment the feel of the fab­rics. This is a fun way to keep things fresh with­out tear­ing down any walls or com­mit­ting to an en­tire de­sign over­haul — store what you’re re­plac­ing, then swap it back into the mix to her­ald spring and sum­mer.

• It’s a good idea to have your chim­ney in­spected and swept pe­ri­od­i­cally — some­thing we tend to ne­glect be­cause we don’t see the re­sult. And con­sider up­grad­ing what you do see: your fire­place sur­round. If it’s dated or dis­coloured, a new fin­ish or cladding can re­ally dress up the fire­place and the room. For a tired brick fire­place, this could range from paint­ing it to resur­fac­ing it with a sur­round of tile, stone, metal or what­ever strikes your fancy (and con­forms to code safety stan­dards!). You can find good­look­ing pre­fab chim­ney sur­rounds in a wide ar­ray of sizes, styles and ma­te­ri­als — or hand­some vin­tage ones from ar­chi­tec­tural sal­vage deal­ers. Up­date your fire­place and you’ll en­joy it more this win­ter — and even with­out a fire, it will en­hance the room. There’s noth­ing bet­ter than a round of board games with the fire crack­ling in the back­ground!

• Now — be­fore cold weather comes — is when you want to check for en­ergy-wast­ing leaks around doors and win­dows and stop them with caulk or weath­er­strip­ping. Re­plac­ing a leaky, weath­ered front door is one of the most cost-effective changes you can make. The lat­est metal and fi­bre­glass doors of­fer greater in­su­la­tion and se­cu­rity with­out sac­ri­fic­ing style, and a well-crafted wood door has time­less ap­peal. What­ever the ma­te­rial, com­ple­ment it with durable hard­ware that com­ple­ments your home style.

Early fall is the ideal time to spruce up the fire­place and give it a clean­ing

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