Hopkinton MA Real Estate | Donna Coakley McGowan - Millennium Realty


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Giving your space a much-needed makeover doesn't have to take a lot of time or money. Whether you want to recreate the space for a party, prepare for a sale, or simply make an old room look new, here's a solution for you. Use these tips to completely transform your room in just a day.

Update the Paint

Real estate agents often say that nothing makes potential buyers drunk quicker than a fresh coat of paint. It's intoxicating the way new paint provides an instant makeover to any space. Not only does it scream newness, it also keeps your walls protected from moisture and can improve the air quality of your home. So, if you want to redo a room or an entire house, grab the paint brush and get busy.

Focus on Decorative Storage Spaces

There's no rule that storage shelves must be used for storage. Instead, use them as a decorative centerpiece by establishing a theme or motif and carrying that through with well-chosen colors, textures, and accent pieces. Have a lot of clutter that needs a home? Consider decorative woven baskets to keep magazines, accessories, toys, and more tucked away while looking naturally beautiful.

Purchase Rugs

In the time it takes to place a rug, you can have a completely new atmosphere in any indoor or outdoor space. Rugs allow you to bring texture, color, or patterns into a room without overwhelming it. They can also serve as a focal point when placed correctly, or as a backdrop when something more subtle is preferred.

Switch Out the Pillows

Similar to rugs, pillows can really make a room pop at a fairly inexpensive price point. Mix textures and patterns to create a depth and layering effect on beds, benches, and couches. To create a palette that stuns, consider adding splashes of texture with feathered pillows, tassels, or ribbing. You also may want to choose bold colors combined with neutrals to add dimension to an otherwise flat area.

Power Wash Outdoors

A complete update of a deck or driveway can be accomplished easily with a thorough power wash. Doing so can make a home feel brand new. If time allows, consider restaining any wood panels and adding furniture to a deck, or replacing worn down rockery along a driveway.

Replace the Lighting

How you physically feel in a space often comes down to the lighting. Update your space with a dramatic lighting fixture or simplify and unify a room by choosing a neutral fixture. Effective design is about pairing lighting levels with the tasks being completed in that space. Think of a brightly lit kitchen island instead of a lamp in your reading space.

If you'd like more home decorating tips or want help with an upcoming move, feel free to reach out!


Is there anything more classic and charming than an old house? One aspect of older homes that make them so cozy is all the built-in shelves, drawers and other nooks and crannies that make each house one of a kind. While houses that have been more recently built usually lack these features, it doesn’t mean you can’t add them yourself.

Today I have six custom cabinetry ideas for you to create your own charming abode, even if it’s builder-grade.

When creating faux cabinetry the only limit is your imagination. Search home magazines and Pinterest boards for inspiration. Save ideas you love to a gallery on your phone or print out in one document. With inspiration in hand head out to your local home improvement store to find millwork options that match your vision.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Install floor to ceiling bookshelves with a bench tucked in between to create a cozy reading nook. Add molding and other decorative millwork to take this D.I.Y. to a true polished built-in look.

Capitalize on any empty corners by adding corner shelves or a corner cabinet. Adding beadboard before installing the shelves and finishing off with molding. There are also many corner cabinetry options on the market to choose from today. Choose one that fits the height of your room in a color that matches the molding in your home.


For cabinetry with drawers and doors add charm by replacing with reproduction brackets, knobs and pulls. Or if you love the thrill of the hunt check out your local yard sales and flea markets for vintage sets. Sites like Ebay and Etsy are another great way to find matching sets of vintage finds.


Add personality with splashes of bold color. Blues, greens, and yellows are popular hues for a pop of color while maintaining classic old home character. Paint on of your new custom pieces a charming shade to bring a room to life. Alternatively, installing cabinetry with glass front doors allows you to put bright decor on display without committing to one particular color. Add vintage books, glassware, and small paintings to shelves for smaller doses of color.

For a luxurious touch, stained glass windows look stunning in a bathroom and allow for privacy while still allowing light shine through. Adding custom sized stained glass windows to the upper portion of a wide doorway works well in homes with higher ceilings and will have guests in awe.  

When house shopping sometimes we have to make compromises when it comes to our wants to prioritize our needs. But that doesn’t have to mean you can’t have your cake and eat it too. With a little bit of creativity and a few D.I.Y. projects, you can add a dose of old home charm to any house to make a cozy, welcoming home.


When you're a homeowner, it's tempting to save money any way you can. Oftentimes people take repairs into their own hands when they don't have the knowledge or experience to complete the job safely. What begins as a way to save money can quickly turn into a disaster--as you spend lengthy periods of time on a project and find yourself going over your initial budget. It isn't always easy to know which projects you can attempt yourself and which ones are better left to the pros. And, of course, it will depend on your comfort and skill level when it comes to various household repairs. So, if you're a plumber, disregard our plumbing advice and dive in to your DIY plumbing projects since you have the know-how. But if you're an average homeowner looking to make some renovations and repairs, read on to find out which ones you should attempt and which ones are better left to the pros.

1. Electrical work

So you've got a few faulty outlets in the new home you bought. It doesn't seem worth calling in an electrician just for those few minor issues. However, due to the dangers and complications that can arise from electric work, it's a good idea to hold off and call in the experts. Aside from shocking yourself (which can be deadly), you could also create fire hazards or damage circuitry, resulting in much higher repair costs than you initially had. Another benefit of calling in an electrician, other than having the project done correctly, is that they will be able to diagnose your home circuitry to let you know what other problems might arise in the foreseeable future. So, when it comes to power issues, always call in the pros.

2. Hazardous materials

Many people will tell you not to worry about asbestos or lead paint unless you have children. However, these are both dangerous materials than can create several chronic health problems in adults as well. If you're concerned for the safety of yourself and your family, call in contractors who will remove the lead or asbestos. What can go wrong if you try to do it yourself? Lead chips and dust will fly through the air when attempting to remove lead paint. Breathing in these fumes is dangerous initially and down the road when the dust settles into the corners of your home. Asbestos, especially in blown-in insulation can be particularly dangerous. Aside from ensuring your safety, a contractor will also be able to assess the situation and determine whether your hazardous materials need to be removed or can just be "repaired" or covered up. Simple repair jobs on asbestos or lead-containing objects can save you some serious time and money.

3. Roofing and siding

There's a reason even building contractors bring in third party companies to install roofs and siding. These are both labor-intensive and time-intensive jobs that require specialized skills and tools that only dedicated companies can accomplish correctly. Roofing and siding are both dangerous jobs that carry the risk of falling off of roofs and ladders, as well as injuring your back lifting heavy shingles. The pros have the tools and experience to avoid these injuries. When you hire the professionals to do your roofing or siding, you can rest assured that the job is done correctly and will last much longer than if you made it a DIY project as well.

Remodeling your home is something you’ve likely considered for a long time and have carefully planned. However, if you’re not an expert carpenter designer it can be easy to make novice mistakes. Learning by your mistakes is fine, but when those mistakes are an eyesore or cost hundreds of dollars, you’re better off doing your homework in advance.

Whether you’re doing a remodel yourself to save money, or just because you have a do-it-yourself spirit and like new challenges, these tips will spare you many headaches and save you a lot of money along the way.

1. Inaccurate measurements

Unless you’re a carpenter or engineer, odds are you don’t use measuring tools on a daily basis. To ensure that you get the most accurate measurements, draw plans for your remodeling project to ensure that everything will fit in the space that you have. This includes measuring for the spaces you’ll be putting appliances, cabinets, and other items. If you’re installing drawers or doors, ensure that they will be able to open fully.

2. Using the cheapest materials

Sometimes you can find high-quality materials in the bargain bin. But most of the time it’s there for a reason. Working with quality materials will not only usually give you the most aesthetically positive results, but will also likely outlast the cheaper alternatives.

3. Underestimating costs

If you’re planning a remodeling project always be prepared to spend a bit more than your original calculations. There are several unexpected expenses that could arise during the remodeling process, including damaging materials by mistake, buying the wrong materials, having to purchase specialized tools, or needing more than you initially thought.

4. Not taking appropriate safety measures

If you’re a novice remodeler, safety needs to be one of your top priorities. You may be unfamiliar with some of the tools you’re using and likely don’t know some of the common safety hazards on the job. When it comes to electrical work, there are many projects that required a licensed electrician to perform. If you’re up on a ladder, be sure the legs are fully opened and secure. And if you’re on the roof, make sure you’re wearing non-slip boots and not carrying heavy items up and down by yourself.

5. Ignoring design and style

In today’s world of quickly fading trends and online inspiration blogs it’s easy to want your home to be several things that it isn’t. When planning your interiors, try to take into account the architectural style of the house. Similarly, if you’re remodeling one room think about how it will look against the backdrop of the rest of your home. Consistency is a too-often undervalued characteristic of interior design.


Those are five of the most common home remodeling mistakes to avoid if you’re planning a renovation for your home. However, there are many more. So if you take away anything from this article, let it be this: you have to look at your home every day, so be sure to take the time to do your research and plan properly so that your home comes out just the way you want it.




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