Cathy Stewart - KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY / Merrimack Valley | 978-270-2280 | cathystewart@kw.com


Posted by Cathy Stewart on 10/2/2018

Technology is getting smarter. Nowadays it seems everything has AI built-in. And why not? It makes your home have a clever assistant in every room of your home without the expense of paying hourly wages. Hereís how to have a smarter kitchen, because letís be honest this is the room where we can always use an extra set of hands.

The Mr.Coffee coffee pot can start from your phone. Letís be honest the alarm feature most pots boast are greatÖ but not everyone has the same schedule every day. This pot allows you to create a custom schedule that matches your own. Have a fresh, hot cup waiting for you right when you get out of bed when you wake up at 5 am on a Monday and 7 on a Wednesday.

Want more control of your appliances from your phone? Crock-pot now has a slow cooker you can adjust settings with from your phone. Control temperature and cook times from anywhere so if youíre running late getting home it wonít be too an overcooked meal.

Both the Mr.Coffee and Crock Pot devices run off of Wemo technology. While both of these devices have built-in tech that doesn't mean the fun has to end there. Wemo offers devices you can plug into any outlet so you can control any appliance from your phone. With the Wemo app set lights to turn on for your family to come home to a well lit welcoming home even on a Winter night.

You can also use Google Assistant, Alexis or Siri (with the necessary extender) to control these devices and even set timers and reminders. Ask your smart speaker to set a timer for dinner, add an item to your grocery list or that you want to use that hamburger in the freezer by Friday. You can even ask for help with ingredient conversions. If you like to listen to music while cooking you donít need to worry about touching controls if you want to skip a song, turn the music down or up. Just ask your assistant to do it for you, and it will happily oblige.

Have fun with your pooch from anywhere with the Furbo camera. With camera, access make sure your dog isnít up to no good while youíre away. Use the microphone to remind them the rules still apply while you are away. The best part, however, is that you can reward them for being well-behaved, or cute, with the built-in treat dispenser.

Keep your home safe with the Nest Protect system, a smart smoke, and carbon monoxide alarm. This alarm alerts your phone as soon as it detects signs of danger. It also warns you with a human-like voice when the alarm is about to go off so you arenít startled by the typical high pitched screaming of alarms.




Tags: kitchen   home technology   tech  
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Posted by Cathy Stewart on 6/12/2018

The kitchen is one of the busiest rooms in a home. Not just a place to cook meals itís also often the entrance to a home and where families gather together at the end of the day. Arguably, itís also the most important room in the home and the one home buyers should be most astute of.

The kitchen is one of the most expensive rooms to remodel ranging between $20,000 and $50,000. Whether youíre eager for some renovation projects or looking for a move-in ready home, youíll want to assess the level of work this room will need as your shop potential houses.

Start with perhaps the most obvious - is the room large enough for your daily needs? Is there plenty of counter space or room to expand cabinetry? Do you have a lot of kitchen tools that call for plenty of storage space or perhaps prefer an island to prep dinner at? Know what your ideal kitchen space ahead of time, especially if it is a priority, so your realtor can help you find the perfect fit.

Check that all appliances to ensure they are in working order as per the disclosure statement claims. Appliances are a big expense and youíll want to have a good idea of what will need replacing or to be installed. Consider if they are an easy color to match when it comes time for replacement and if any are under warranty.

Youíll also want to examine the cabinetry. Check to ensure all drawers and cabinets are properly aligned and open smoothly. If they are wooden cabinets you can easily swap out hardware or change the color if youíre not a fan of the current style. However, other materials are not as convenient so consider replacement costs if youíre unhappy with the current installation.

Countertops can be another major expense. Have the granite countertops been properly taken care of? If they are laminate are they scratched or chipped? If this isnít an upgrade youíre looking to make, be sure to look closely at what each home already has in place.

Kitchens are one of the busiest rooms in your home, especially if you love to cook. Check flooring for loose tiles, discoloration or poorly maintained wood flooring. This tells you a few things. Firstly, the quality of the materials used to build the home. And secondly, how well the house has been maintained over time.

Remodeling isnít on everyone's list when house shopping. And with kitchenís being one of the most expensive to renovate, this is one room you want to pay extra attention to as you view each potential home. Happy house hunting!




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Posted by Cathy Stewart on 2/28/2017

Humans have used herbs to season foods for thousands of years. While the most obvious benefit to using herbs is added flavor they are also packed with vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants. Fresh herbs are even more nutritious and flavorful than their dried out counterparts lining grocery store shelves. We may think of dried out herb to be more convenient but with a little preparation, you can have access to fresh herbs in your home year long! Hereís how to create more flavorful, healthier dishes on the cheap without stepping into the seasoning aisle at the store: Know your directions - knowing which windows are facing north, south, east, and west will set you up for success. The direction your window is facing will determine how well a plant will do there as you will have a guideline as to how much sun that window receives each day. Each plant has itís own sunlight requirements and knowing how much sunlight is coming through each window will make it easier for you to know which plants will do best in your home. Most herb plants prefer around six hours of sunlight a day and will do well in a southern facing window. You will also want to make sure your plants stay warm and are not in a draft or if in a window, are not directly touching a windowpane. Pick your pots - Choose pots that have drain holes as most herbs will require moist, but not drenched, soil. Other than that, feel free to get creative with your potting arrangements! This is a great way to add a little decorative interest to a room, so whether you choose a uniquely shaped pot or roll up your sleeves for a little DIY paint project! Pick your plants - To create your year round supply of herbs look for plants that tout labels of ďevergreenĒ and ďhardy.Ē Plants to look for are chives, mint, cilantro, bay leaves, rosemary, sage, dill, parsley, and lavender. Many of these plants have the added bonus of throwing off wonderful smells so along with fresh seasonings for your cooking you will also have a natural air freshener! Keep in mind that opting for starter plants will get your indoor herb garden rolling along much more quickly than starting with seeds. Maintenance - When a plant has reached about 6 inches start to cut off around one-third the herbs every so often to use for cooking and maintain a healthy plant. If you cut off any more than one-third you will put your plant at risk of dying. To create an evenly growing plant, turn it every week or so. While starting an indoor herb garden takes a bit of time and investment to get started the benefits will far outweigh the minimal effort they require. You will not only have more flavorful herbs to season your home cooked meals with, but also plants that throw off a pleasant aroma and add more visual interest to your home!




Tags: kitchen   herbs   indoor garden  
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Posted by Cathy Stewart on 2/16/2016

If you have been packing on the pounds it may be your kitchen that is to blame. New research has shown that it could be your kitchen making you gain weight. Here are some tips on how to keep your kitchen from contributing to a growing waistline. No Media The TV in the kitchen is now a media snack station. Parking yourself in front of the TV with food all around you makes snack time a lot easier. Computers in the kitchen can also lead to mindless munching and web surfing. It's too easy to grab a bite when all the food is within armís reach. Stand Up Who doesn't love an island prep station? But all the handy seating around the island is an invitation to linger over snacks. So lose all the stools to help resist temptation to gather in the kitchen. Open Invitation The so-called great room isn't so great for your weight. Combination living/kitchen areas make your kitchen the focal point of the home. Add a few partition walls or screens to keep the fridge and cabinets out of sight when relaxing, and watching TV in the living room. Skimp on Storage Pantries, large cabinets are so appealing and offer a great place to stockpile food. They also offer lots of temptation. Too many trips to bargain bulk stores will have your storage full in no time and also create a mentality of surplus. More is always more especially when it comes to food.




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