Spruce Up For Spring!

 In Features, Home Decor & Remodeling

Interior and Exterior Home Revitalizations

There’s something special about spring on the Outer Banks as it comes to life with vibrant flowers, first-class fishing, breezy hiking, and outdoor evenings warmed by campfire. Of course, spring also has a way of kicking homeowners into high gear when it comes to repairs, upgrades, and maintenance.

It’s not only because spring cleaning is a time-honored tradition or that it’s the most popular time to start a renovation — according to the Home Improvement Research Institute, 42 percent of homeowners start projects in the second quarter of the year — here, it’s about getting homes ready so they can function their best all summer long. “Spring is the perfect time to make new plans so that you will be able to use your new space when the weather warms and the days become longer,” says Susan McClanahan, owner of Carolina Casual Furniture in Point Harbor. Need some inspiration? We’ve gathered the best tips from McClanahan and seven other Outer Banks home experts for revitalizing your home or rental property this spring.


Coastal Elements Heating & Cooling

Coastal Elements Heating & Cooling owner, Brian Parks attending to a clogged condensation drain line, which can lead to system downtime. Having these lines cleaned on an annual basis via Coastal Element’s Preventative Maintenance Agreement can save big money in the long run.

Clean the Drain Lines on Your A/C Unit
Many people don’t know there is a condensation drain connected to their air conditioner, where it’s located (hint: it’s often a white PVC pipe leading from your air handling unit to the outdoors), or that spring is the best time to flush it out.

This is something that’s easy to overlook, according to Brian Parks, owner of Coastal Elements Heating & Cooling in Kill Devil Hills, but just a few minutes spring cleaning the drain could save your A/C in mid-summer. “For people getting ready for the spring and summer, it’s condensation drain line blockage prevention,” says Parks. “Clogged drain lines are one of the simplest things to fix, however they can cause the most unnecessary service calls and equipment downtime if not properly maintained.”

Spring is the perfect time for this task because in most cases, as we come out of winter, the condensation line has gone unused for several months. This can result in any remaining water in the line becoming stagnate and congealed, explains Parks. He recommends getting on a preventative maintenance service program so that drain lines get cleaned on a regular basis by a pro. It’s one of the best ways to ensure your A/C runs smoothly when you need it most.

Coastal Elements Heating and Cooling
252-548-4202; cehvacouterbanks.com

Reverse pleat drapes on decorative traverse rods were designed specifically for sliding glass doors in beach houses. The simple pleat draws to one side using a hand-drawn baton and stacks back neatly in 12 inches to maximize views. Top-hinged plantation shutters are designed to imitate exterior Bahama shutters on houses.

Invest in Quality Products to Avoid Mid-Summer Repairs
Home products that stand up to the daily wear and tear of most residential situations are not always enough for an Outer Banks home, especially if it’s a rental property.

Consider your delicate, yet all-important sun-blocking blinds, drapes, and shutters. “I often see ‘off the shelf’ products installed in homes that do not hold up to the harsh elements or abusive guests,” says Jonathan Daniels, president of FullTilt Blinds & Shutters in Kill Devil Hills. He often finds himself spending hours on the road in peak summer turnover day traffic in order to repair or replace damaged window treatments.

In many cases, it’s something that could have been avoided with the right preparation and investment ahead of time. “It is important for homeowners to start their window treatment projects in the spring,” says Daniels, noting that last-minute summer fixes are “grossly inefficient for both my business and for the homeowner.”

He encourages people shopping for window treatments to expect to save money and time in the long run by having an in-person consultation and installation, and by spending a bit more up front. “The difference is in the details,” he says, noting, “Window treatments are often one of the last items installed during a project, but they are the ‘turning’ point when a house becomes a home.”

FullTilt Blinds & Shutters
506 W. Lake Dr., Unit 1, Kill Devil Hills; 252-220-5732; FullTiltBlinds.com; facebook.com/fulltiltblinds
Photos by Jonathan Daniels

simple kitchen upgrade spices in drawerMake Simple Kitchen Upgrades
The design team at Cozy Kitchens in Kitty Hawk is busy at springtime helping homeowners with kitchen renovations large and small, from complete overhauls to small adjustments. If your kitchen is in need of some freshening up, here are a couple of their favorite tips: “We’re seeing a lot of homeowners do away with their old laminate countertops and upgrade to stone surfaces like quartz and granite,” says the design team. “Stone tops are durable, heat resistant, and add a crisp, modern look to your kitchen or bathroom. Plus, quartz and quartzite materials are available in an array of beautiful colors.”

For those looking to make a minor upgrade, consider adding pullouts and organizers to your kitchen cabinets, like a spice insert or a cutlery divider. These are great in both personal and vacation homes, advises the team. “A little organization goes a long way, meaning you spend less time rummaging around your drawers and more time dining on the deck.”

Cozy Kitchens Group
921 W. Kitty Hawk Road, Kitty Hawk, 252-261-2696
CozyK.com; facebook.com/cozykitchens;@cozykitchensgroup
Photos by Cozy Kitchens Group

Introduce a Pop of Color
Major home renovation overhauls take planning that begins well before flowers begin to bloom, but if the season’s already here and you need an immediate refresh now, the design team at Kitty Hawk Carpets & Furniture recommends using accessories or accent furniture to add a dash of beachy color to your home.

The flooring and furniture store gets new shipments of sofas, end tables, area rugs, and artwork in every March in preparation for spring shoppers looking for a fresh pick of goods. This could be an area rug in Caribbean blue, new artwork in vibrant coral, a pair of end tables in sunshine yellow, a lamp in bright teal, or even a sofa with cheerful orange stripes.

“Artwork is easy to change out and adds a pop of color to your home, and area rugs can change the appearance of a sofa very quickly,” says the design team, who works with homeowners both on location and remotely to infuse bright coastal design hues into their homes. “It’s something you can do without a lot of planning ahead.”

Most furniture and accessories are in stock and can be delivered within a week; they are listed online and updated frequently, as well as posted regularly on social media, because so many customers are shopping from afar. “Generally people’s cottages are already set up with a color scheme and they just want to add to it,” says the team, noting that “Everybody likes something beachy.”

Kitty Hawk Carpets & Furniture
3506 N. Croatan Hwy., Kitty Hawk
252-261-0496; KittyHawkCarpet.com
Photos by Kitty Hawk Carpets & Furniture

Clean your Rugs to Breathe Easy
If springtime is when your allergies pick up, this time of year is when you may be thinking about ways to ensure the air inside your house is as pure as a cool ocean breeze. Consider having your rugs cleaned by a professional. “A lot of people have seasonal allergies, and getting rugs cleaned can minimize their allergies,” says Adi Wahi, owner of Wahi Fine Rugs, which offers pickup and delivery throughout most of the Outer Banks. If allergies are a major concern, Wahi advises investing in a good quality hand knotted wool or silk rug, which are made of natural fibers and don’t cause allergies.

For all types of rugs, cleaning is something many homeowners overlook, or don’t even know they should do at all. Wahi recommends cleaning by a professional every two years for high traffic areas and every five years for low traffic areas. Not only does rug cleaning remove dust, stains, and germs that vacuuming can’t; it can prolong your rug’s life and help it look new again. “Clean rugs provide freshness in homes after winters,” says Wahi. “The look of freshly cleaned rug and fringes without stains and dust amazes our clients.”

Wahi Fine Rugs
724 First Colonial Road, Virginia Beach, VA; 757-457-1857
WahiRugs.com; facebook.com/wahifinerugs; @wahifinerugs

Reassess How You’re Using Your Space
Spring is the perfect time to step back and take a big picture look, not only at how you’re currently using the spaces inside and outside of your home, but how you plan to in the future.

“My favorite tip for people getting their home ready for spring is for them to ask themselves, who’s going to use the area, and how is it going to be used?” says Susan McClanahan, owner of Carolina Casual Furniture in Point Harbor, which makes environmentally friendly, long-lasting outdoor furniture from high-density polyethylene (HPDE) lumber. She continues, “Are your plans for a dining area for entertainment? Or a more intimate, cozy seating area for your lounging and outdoor living? This is important because you want to make the most use out of your time and resources.” And since recycled plastic outdoor furniture is designed to last a lifetime, carefully considering the use of a space can also help determine which color to invest in.

Classic colors include white, cedar, black, and light gray. Bright red, tangerine, or turf green can add a lively color statement to any deck or patio.

Carolina Casual Furniture
9085 Caratoke Hwy. Point Harbor; 252-491-5171; CarolinaCasual.com
facebook.com/carolina.casual; @ carolinacasualfurniture
Photos courtesy of Carolina Casual Furniture

Revitalize Your Outdoor Furniture
“Spring is a great time to assess the condition of your outdoor space and furniture,” says Ryan Williams, general manager of Nags Head Hammocks, which has stores in Kill Devil Hills, Duck, and Corolla.

This time of year Williams encourages customers to not only stock up on wood oils and cleaning products, but on expertise. He recommends bringing pictures of your existing outdoor chairs, tables, swings, and hammocks into the store to speak with a pro. “We can help you make decisions on the next best steps,” says Williams, which might include replacing hardware, oiling wood furniture, washing pillow covers and cushions, and oiling or refinishing your hammock’s weathered spreader-bar.

Be sure to ask which kinds of varnishes and oils are suitable for different types of woods and metals. If the upkeep of outdoor furniture is more work than you want to take on, Williams suggests replacing worn-out pieces with Durawood® furniture, which is virtually maintenance-free and manufactured by Nags Head Hammocks in North Carolina. No paint, stain, or sealant needed means more time enjoying the easy days of spring.

Nags Head Hammocks
1801 Croatan Hwy., Kill Devil Hills; 1212 Duck Road, Duck
799 Sunset Blvd., Corolla; 252-295-0405;NagsHeadHammocks.com
facebook.com/nagsheadhammocks; @ nagsheadhammocks
Photo courtesy of Nags Head Hammocks

power washingPower Wash Your House
You might be surprised at the number of potential problems an annual power wash of your home’s exterior can prevent. “People don’t realize how many problems a dirty home exterior can hide,” says Matt Brauer, president of Beach Painting Contractors in Kill Devil Hills. “Wood rot in particular can be very costly. The key is to catch it early.”

Other under-the-surface issues that power washing can reveal are peeling paint, rotten siding and trim, failing caulk, and damaged deck boards. Plus, removing mold, mildew, and dirt can preserve your paint job. Brauer says early spring is the best time for an annual power wash because mold and mildew can flourish during a mild winter, and because if any problems are uncovered, you’ll have time to deal with them well before the busy spring repair and rental season begin. “Our clients are often amazed at how clean and new their houses and decks look after power washing,” Brauer says. “It provides a lot of bang for the buck.”

Beach Painting Contractors
1496 Colington Road, Kill Devil Hills; 252-441-8224
BeachPainting.com; facebook.com/beachpainting
Photos provided by Beach Painting Contractors

No matter the project you’re taking on, the best home revitalization tip of all is to plan weeks, maybe months, in advance. Be sure to account for the time needed to order materials, schedule contractors, and troubleshoot any issues that may arise during your project. “Planning your renovations in advance is the key to home improvement success,” says the Cozy Kitchens design team. “Working out a solid game plan ensures a less stressful install, and makes for an end result that is exactly what you want.”

Dana Nichols
Author: Dana Nichols

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dirtPhoto Courtesy of Worrell 1000 Race, Inc.