Unveiled! Check out how to add a secret room to your home.

You walk into what appears to be an ordinary house, but looks can be deceptive. That candelabra by the fireplace? It makes the hearth swivel 180 degrees, revealing a speakeasy bar. “White Noise” by Don DeLillo on the bookshelf? Pull it and the bookshelf swings to reveal a private theater.

This isn’t a movie set, it’s a living room. It could even be yours, if you have the space and the cash. Apparently, many people do. Secret passageways and rooms are surging in popularity in homes across the country.

“Secret doors have definitely become more popular in the past few years,” says Elissa Morgante, an architect and co-principal of the Chicago-based architectural firm Morgante Wilson Architects. “We’ve been in business for 28 years, and it’s only in the last five years we’ve seen them requested more often.”

Continue reading the article via realtor.com here

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Skip the fine. Here are 7 Ways to Save Water in Your Yard

By Jennifer Gravely – aolrealestate.com

Brown grass, dead shrubs, puny gardens — they’re an eyesore for sure. But keeping your yard in pristine shape can be quite a burden, especially in the summer heat, when drought conditions are rampant.

Here are seven tips to keep your yard looking its best, without wasting water.

1. Be sprinkler savvy.

Your automatic sprinkler can be a huge help when it comes to keeping your yard looking its best, but it can also be a huge water — and money — waster.

First, make sure your sprinklers are watering your lawn, not the driveway or road, and frequently check the system for leaks. Consider installing rain and/or moisture sensors that will turn sprinklers off if it’s raining or if the ground is already saturated.

2. Water when it matters.

Water your lawn only in the morning. In the heat of the day, that water will touch the surface and then quickly evaporate — leaving you with less than ideal results.

A rain gauge can help you track how much water your yard is getting — about an inch of water per week is all it really needs. During especially dry times, it’s best to just leave the yard alone. Yes, it will brown, but it will be dormant and bounce back once it gets cooler, saving loads and loads of water.

3. Use a drip system.

For the ease of a sprinkler system but with far less waste, opt for a drip-irrigation system. With this type of system, a hose riddled with tiny holes is placed throughout your yard, allowing small amounts of water to seep directly into the ground over long periods — exactly what your yard needs to thrive.

4. Collect rainwater.

Stock up on water when you can to use around your yard and garden. Turn gutters into your own personal watering system by directing them into much-needed areas in your yard. Or, install a rain barrel to collect the runoff from your gutters.

Check local laws first, as there may be restrictions on water collection. Continue reading the full article here.

5 Home Updates for $10,000 or Less

Whether you’re moving in, moving out or just looking to move up without leaving your current home, a mini-makeover can be every bit as satisfying as a complete renovation. At the right price point, it can also provide a great return on investment.

“If you focus on the right elements, you’ll be amazed how $10,000 can transform your home. Here are five great ideas that show just how far your investment will go.” – Zillow

Check out the 5 home updates here.