Category Archives: Home Improvement & Maintenance

home improvement and maintenance

Updating an Oak & Laminate Kitchen


Many buyers find that their wish list features aren’t always in their price range when house hunting. “Updated kitchen” is high on the desirable list, but what happens when a buyer finds the perfect house in the perfect neighborhood at the perfect price–without an updated kitchen?



The “before” picture above shows a South Richland home with features typically found in nearby homes built in the 1990’s:  honey-oak cabinets, 12″ space above cabinets, almond appliances, small 2 person breakfast bar/island cramped with 3 stools, cream colored laminate counter tops, and thin oak baseboards/trim. The checkered floor may look interesting at first glance, but those are individual adhesive vinyl squares stuck down on the floor! The answer in this case was to purchase the home, which has great features such as skylights, bay windows, a large deck, a good sized yard, and a great neighborhood–then update the home on a reasonable budget. To keeps costs down, the existing layout was kept to avoid replacing cabinets and much of work was DIY. The renovation began by removing the appliances, island, counter tops, flooring, cabinet doors, and the oak cabinet faces.



The update included new engineered Acacia wood flooring, new stainless appliances, 6″ white baseboards, flat craftsman style trim, and our favorite white subway tile back splash with pale gray grout. The cabinet door style didn’t fit the new design, so the existing cabinets were refaced with white shaker style doors, and a new larger island was designed and installed. Personal touches include the glass-front bookcase for cookbooks, a staggered hood cabinet over the microwave (that lifts on hinges for extra storage), and thoughtfully designed extensions with small glass cabinet doors to fill in the previous 12″ empty space to the ceiling.

The new cabinet color and trim is “Creamy” colored (SW 7012). The open wall was already painted with pale green “Grassland” (SW 6163).  It had originally been a quick fix for the flat white wall, with leftover paint from the powder bathroom.  The plan originally included repainting the walls a gray or greige color, but the green added a touch of unexpected color to the otherwise white kitchen, so for now it’s going to stay.


Venetian Gold granite counter tops and white subway tile with gray grout

The counter tops are called New Venetian Gold. It’s a common/standard granite, but the pattern was perfect– it’s peppered with a beautiful rust color that ties in the color of the flooring, and a large rust & black streak runs diagonally through the island. The color adds warmth to the overall appearance, and crumbs, chocolate chips, or raisins can be spilled on the counter tops without being noticed–they never look dirty!  đź™‚


Glass door cabinets lined with bead board.

The glass-door cabinets with the heavy duty drawer slides to the right of the sink are a favorite addition–they look great lined with white bead board and filled with cream colored stoneware. Brushed nickel hardware was chosen to complete the look–round knobs on cabinet doors, traditional  pulls on the drawers, and hanging tassel pulls on the island bookcase. The look was capped off with a unique faucet that fits perfectly with the traditional/craftsman style.


Of course this is not quite the final product…the pantry door is getting a chalkboard paint overhaul, the perfect new stools have not materialized yet (maybe a fun color or silver industrial style?), and perhaps someday there will be an Edison-style pendant light over the island, but it’s come a long way baby!

We’d love to assist in your home search by finding a home in your price range and helping you visualize affordable updates that will make it your own! Call Nick or Valerie (509)845-4570 to get started!



Our Most Popular Re-pin on Pinterest


1-Fullscreen capture 332014 73826 PM

Photo from

We’d like to report that our Pinterest site Kunde Real Estate is up and running for the benefit of our clients.  We are using the site to share remodeling, decorating, landscaping, DIY and staging ideas with clients.  Ideas that are useful whether buying, selling, or simply improving a home.

It is interesting to note which pictures attract the most attention, and therefore get the most re-pins.  One particular image that has been re-pinned many times is this photo from

The photo depicts the owner’s solution to painting a living room with soaring cathedral ceilings–they added chair rail trim molding at ceiling height, then painted just the bottom portion (Slate by Restoration Hardware).  We think it’s a brilliant way to add a punch of color without having to bring in scaffolding!

Jones Design Co. specializes in paper products & design, but take a look at their house tour and you’ll see great home decor as well…our favorites are the stenciled walls and the giant vintage window hanging as a room divider.

Original pictures and living room story here:  Jones Design Company

Updated home tour here (including new paint color):  Jones Design House Tour

Follow us on Pinterest for more great home ideas:  Kunde Real Estate Pinterest


1-Fullscreen capture 652013 114513 PM

Our Favorite Upgrades at the Tri-Cities Home & Garden Show

We had a great time at the Tri-Cities 2012 Regional Home & Garden Show.  There were so many fun things to see–a perfect place to gather ideas for building, remodeling, or even just selective upgrades like this backyard pool!

If we could pick just one upgrade for our own home…

 There were over 200 businesses represented including builders, remodelers, landscapers, roofers, painters, plumbers, & closet organizers, as well as flooring, cabinet,  glass, window covering, insulation, cleaning, HVAC, & morgage companies.   We ran into many friends and companies we’ve worked with, and enjoyed the fun, functional, and informative displays! 

If you have plans to build, update, remodel, or just spruce up your house, please let us know.  We can help you select upgrades that add value to your home and find contractors or companies to suit your specific needs. Hire the pest control in Mornington for an inspection and a cleaning service

Tips for Making Repair Requests
You’ll generally want to focus on bigger-picture items if you’re going to make repair requests. Remember that sellers are on their way out of the home (they may already have a new one), and they probably don’t want to put much time or cash into a property they’re just about to leave. They may also be on a tight timeline.

Here are some general tips for making repair requests as a homebuyer:

Don’t nitpick small items unless the home is brand new. Address major issues and safety issues first.
Don’t make repair requests for items that could have been readily ascertained on your initial walk-through of the home, such as cracked sidewalks, a bad paint job, or uneven floors.
Consider asking the seller to pay for a home warranty. Home warranties cover major defects for a year and provide added peace of mind.
Sellers don’t have to agree to any repair requests. In fact, if it’s a seller’s market and there are lots of buyers vying for the property, they may reject them altogether.





Ideas for Current or Dream Home at Regional Home & Garden Show

 One of our favorite annual events in the Tri-Cities is the Regional Home & Garden Show.  Vendors have been hard at work setting up displays for their products & services, including gorgeous landscape displays!  An incredible amount of time & effort go into some of these displays, and it’s always fun to see the new ideas, products, & services that are available.  Whether you are looking for ideas to improve your current home or to build your dream home, you’ll find plenty of inspiration at the 2012 Home & Garden Show! 
Fri Feb 24th 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Sat Feb 25th 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Sun Feb 26th, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Adults (13+)   ————-$6
Children (12 & under) — Free
$1 discount if you bring a nonperishable food item for the Salvation Army
Located at TRAC:
6600 Burden Blvd, Pasco, WA
We’ll be there gathering ideas for our continous home improvement projects and staying up-to-date on home trends in the Tri-Cities so we can better assist our clients.  See you there!

Give Your House a Little Love

Easy & inexpensive home maintenance

February is Valentine’s month, so why not give your house a little love?  Protect and maintain your investment with these easy & inexpensive maintenance tips, and get a head start on your spring cleaning too!

  • CLEAN REFRIGERATOR COILS.  Located on the bottom front or back of the refrigerator, clean coils keep the unit running efficiently.  While you’re at it, clean the top and underneath the fridge to jumpstart to your spring cleaning!
  • HVAC FILTERS.  Filters should be cleaned or replaced monthly.  Disposable (cardboard) filters can be thrown away and replaced with new; reusable filters can be cleaned, dried, and replaced.  Regular maintenance will lower utility bills, improve system productivity, and keep dust, allerens, & bacteria out of the air you breathe. 
  • CLEAN DRYER VENT.  Unplug your dryer and scoot it away from the wall to access the vent.  Clean the vent and flexible hose (a shop vac works great).  While you’re there you might as well clean underneath the dryer–maybe you’ll find all those socks you’ve lost!  The exterior vent should be kept clean and lint-free as well. 
  • CLEAR DRAINS.  Shake 1-2 Tbsp of baking soda into each drain, then pour 1/4 cup white vinegar on top.  Let stand for 30 minutes, then pour hot water down drain to rinse it clean. 
  • CLEAN CARPETS.  Occasionally your carpets will need a deep cleaning.  A professional cleaning can extend the life of your carpet, remove dirt and allergens, and freshen the look of your whole house.  If you’re in the Tri-Cities, we recommend Pur Clean for fantastic professional cleaning.
  • CHECK SMOKE DETECTORS.  Check each smoke detector and have a plan to replace batteries regularly (Daylight Savings time works well for biannual checks).  Keep batteries on hand for easy replacement when you hear the high-pitched chirp that signals a low battery! 
  • CAULKING.  Check caulking inside and out.  Exterior–recaulk along windows and doors as needed using exterior caulking.  If you can’t match the color of your house or trim, make sure you get paintable caulking.  Interior–check caulking along windows, bathtubs, showers, and toilets.  Cracked or discolored caulking can be scraped off and reapplied for a clean look and improved seal. 

Besides maintenance, you can also show love to your house by remodeling a room or perhaps installing new features. You can try searching for solar powered gate opener installers near me.

These easy maintenace chores will keep your home safer, cleaner, protected, running more efficiently, and ready to sell when the time is right.  Homes that are properly maintained are more desirable to buyers. That’s why most homeowners contact a well-known cleaning company to ensure the cleanliness of their homes. Give us a call for more information on keeping your home maintained or to prepare it for sale. 



“Prep, paint, stage, scrub, improve, repeat.”

A client recently asked us what should be done to prep their house for sale.  Paint the exterior?  Re-carpet?  The answer depends on location, condition of the home, how much effort and money you can invest, and price range. We recommend renovating only if it will bring a higher return than the cost of the upgrade, and that varies according to buyers’ expectations of condition and price. If most comparable homes have vinyl windows or granite countertops, an upgrade may attract more buyers and a higher sales price than the cost of installation. Since the situation is unique for every seller, we like to assess the house, review the possibilities, and suggest upgrades only if they add to the seller’s profit.

The prep work for this West Pasco sale included removing clutter, touch up paint, shampooing carpet, cleaning grout, maintaining yard, and staging the back patio.

The best prep work is to have your home as clean, well-maintained, and desirable as possible. Think model-home desirable. Thoroughly clean and eliminate clutter and unsightly problems that could draw negative attention. Invite someone to walk through with a fresh point of view (we’d be happy to!), then make a punch list to work on. If you need help cleaning the house, you can contact house cleaners to give you a hand with your home. 

Many small and inexpensive improvements can make a huge impact: touch up paint on walls and trim, fill nail holes, shampoo carpets, caulk bathrooms, power wash the exterior, stage for efficiency and attraction, remove most personal photos, knickknacks, clutter, and papers from the refrigerator door. If there are any repairs needed, feel free to seek aid from local handyman services.

We love this quote:  “Prep, paint, stage, scrub, improve, repeat. Efforts can include caulking, plastering, planting flowers, adding potted plants, making the windows spotless, pressure washing that oily driveway, edging the walks, trimming the bushes and trees, and mending the fences. None of these is excessively capital-intensive, but when applied en masse, they say “buy me.”  (Steve McLinden, And one thing all sellers can agree on is that they want their house to say “buy me!”

For more advice on prepping your home for sale, give Nick or Valerie Kunde a call at (509)845-4570–we’d love to help you prep your home to sell.