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6 DIY Spring Home Improvement Tips for Your Northern Virginia Home

Are you looking for spring home improvement tips for your Northern Virginia home? Let us face it, DIY repurposing is not going anywhere anytime soon. Why, because there is so much to love about repurposing old items. Not only can you explore your inner creative self but you can usually save a lot of money by going this route. Pretty much anyone can dig around their house and find some old scraps that can be put to good use to recreate something new. Additionally, purchasing raw materials from a hobby shop or hardware store can be much more affordable (and usually higher quality) than the premade knockoff décor lining store shelves these days. The main point of finding a passion for repurposing is less waste. We do not need to throw out everything we own every 3-5 years and replace it with new stuff just because. Not only is that expensive, but it is incredibly wasteful. So when building the décor for your home, think about each room and each piece of décor strategically. Will this item last? Will it stand the test of time? Can I repurpose it down the road? Below you will find some tips for adding new DIY décor to your Northern Virginia home as well as repurposing what you already have.

Spray Drip Canvas Wall Art

If this brings to mind urban graffiti–that is not this. This stylish DIY wall art is very easy and is something you can do yourself with a trip to the hobby shop. Simply purchase a blank canvas and a few cans of spray paint. Think about complementary colors like black, pink, and gold for example (choose any colors you like of course). First, test out a few looks on sheets of paper to make sure you are getting the color scheme you want. Then, when you are ready, prop your canvas horizontally and simply apply the paint in a somewhat random design. Do not overdo it though. Then, prop the canvas up vertically and spray generously with water. From there allow the paint to drip down. Once dry, apply gold to the surface using metal leaf adhesive and a small paintbrush. You may choose to frame the piece or hang as is but either way it will be a cool (and custom) addition to your home.

Stenciled Doormat

This is a fun way to update your doormat and personalize it to your lifestyle. Simply purchase a blank coco coir doormat, a stencil of your choosing, black latex paint, a paint brush, masking tape, and something to protect your paint surface like a drop cloth or newspaper. To get started cover your surface area to protect it from paint splatters and spills and arrange your coco coir doormat and supplies accordingly. Next, use the masking tape to secure the stencil to your mat in the position that you want. Using the brush and latex paint, carefully paint the area inside the stencil until fully coated. Allow the paint to dry and consider adding a second coat depending on how well the first coat dried because coco coir is very absorbent. Allow to fully dry and then remove the stencil. Place your new mat out front and get to stepping toward your next project!

Style the Bookshelves

This is a really fun way to spruce up a room! Gather any hardcover books you have around the house and arrange them neatly by size and color to create depth, texture, and vibrancy on your bookshelf. The important thing to know here is you want to pair like colors together. If you do not have a lot of books, spend a Saturday and hit some yard sales or thrift shops. If you are able to put together a few bundles of different colors, consider tying the bundle together with burlap for a little added pizazz.

Repaint the Front Door

Assuming you have a front door that can easily be repainted, this can be an easy way to give you front entryway some pop. However, you do not want to go crazy here. Do your research and make sure the color you choose compliments the rest of your house. Sometimes adding a crazy color can be overkill if the rest of your home does not really jive with the color you choose, particularly if you have siding, shutters, or custom trim. If your home is made of siding for example and is a bold color, you are not going to want to also make the door bold. If you have green shutters you probably do not want to paint the door purple.. Of course it really just depends but absolutely do your research and look at a lot of ideas online before making this change. When you finally choose a color, make sure to use a premium door paint for the best results.

Spring Door Wreath

These days I really love the idea of making a door wreath using mostly greens with just a few flowers added. It is simple, elegant, and transcendent. To make the wreath you will need a wreath form, boughs of greenery, floral wire, and complementary flowers (white works well). To start, take a few boughs of greenery and bunch them together at the base of the branch. Place the bundle against the wreath form and use your floral wire to secure the form–be sure to wrap the bundle base several several time until it is well secured.  Experts recommend that you do not clip the wire right away. Instead, simply layer your next bundle over the last one, wrap with wire and repeat until you have filled the entire wreath form. Then. wind your wire several times around the base and then clip. From here, you can fill the wreath in with a few flowers by sliding the stems into the greenery wire bundles. Ta-dah! Hang and admire!

Succulents and More

Love it or hate it, succulents are all the rage right now—and honestly, they are pretty cool especially if you are into making a custom DIY repurposed pot for it. Succulents are popular because they are able to survive on limited water resources making them ideal house plants. However, you will need a very well-draining pot, a sunny location (at least 6 hours of sun per day), and good planting soil. Because succulents are part of the cactus family, they need a well-draining mix of potting soil, coarse sand, and pumice. The biggest things to consider with a succulent are that people are prone to over-watering them and that they need to be fertilized once a year in the spring. But, with minimal care and nice pot, you can easily add a little life to your home with these popular plants.

For more tips and information feel free to contact me and follow me on social media on Facebook @mmkrealtyllc, Twitter @MMKRealtyLLC, and Instagram @mmkrealty.


Michelle Williams Earns Military Relocation Professional Certification

For Immediate Release: Military Relocation Professional Certification

Military Personnel and Veterans Benefit from Realtor® Expertise in Military Benefits, the Relocation Process, and Support

FAIRFAX, VA MAY 20, 2019. Michelle Williams of MMK Realty LLC has been awarded the nationally recognized Military Relocation Professional Certification.  The National Association of Realtors® awards the MRP certification to Realtors® who help military personnel, veterans and their families find housing that lets them make the best use of their benefits and serves the unique needs of military life.

Military Relocation Professional Certification

When military staff and their families relocate, the services of a real estate professional who understands their needs and timetables can make the transfer easier, faster and less stressful.  Realtors® who earn this certification know to work with active duty military buyers and sellers, as well as veterans.

“Service members may only have a couple of days to view properties and make an offer, and others might be deployed at the time and need someone who can represent them while they’re away. Working with a Realtor® who understands the singular complications that arise with military service can help make the home buying process simpler, faster and less stressful,” said National Association of Realtors® President Tom Salomone, broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Coral Springs, Florida. “The MRP certification lets home buyers and sellers know that a Realtor® knows the ins and outs of military housing benefits, such as zero-down payment loans, and the specific needs service members and veterans have when searching for their new home.”

The certification provides NAR’s members with resources to accommodate current and former military service members at any stage of their military career and is an approved elective for NAR’s Accredited Buyers Representative designation. To earn the MRP certification, Realtors must be in good standing with NAR; complete the MRP Certification Core Course; complete a reading providing background information on the military, included acronyms and understanding military culture; and complete two webinars.

For more information about the MRP certification, visit


New Year New Home: Decluttering Tips for Northern Virginia Homeowners

Are you looking for decluttering tips to help get you motivated and organized? It is 2020 after all, and while you may still may be decompressing from the holidays you are probably at least thinking about how you want to improve your home in the New Year. You might be considering buying/selling or renovating and/or redecorating, but whatever you are thinking about doing, there is probably some degree of decluttering that is required in order to advance any new agendas you might have. The problem with decluttering is it can feel daunting, which often leads to procrastination, which then leads to distraction and next thing you know your house is still a mess. It can be a vicious cycle, especially in busy Northern Virginia where free time is a precious commodity. The good news is that the difficulty of decluttering can be minimized by breaking tasks and projects into small and manageable chunks.

I am going to give it to you straight. If you want to declutter your house, you have to be ready and willing and then get off your butt and make it happen. There are no two ways about it, but that does not mean that you have to overhaul your entire house in one day. Be reasonable (and kind to yourself)! As a busy mom, business owner, Realtor, and connoisseur of anything that involves fun, decluttering certainly is not my favorite thing to do, but I always feel better when my life is less cluttered. Here are my decluttering tips for Northern Virginia homeowners.

How to Organize Your Project 

My recommendation for getting started is simple: make a list. However, I have never been a big fan of going overboard when it comes to list making, mainly because lists needs to be flexible because life can be unpredictable sometimes. I see people creating excel flowcharts, color pinwheel graphs, extremely detailed and specific calendars and so forth. In my opinion that is waste of time and a great way to procrastinate your projects (because you are stuck in list design mode). If you are someone that needs that level of detail, then by all means do what works best for you, but in my opinion it is easier (and more productive) to keep it simple. Sit down with a pen and paper (or digital memo) and write down your decluttering goals by area/room. For example, master bedroom closet, office desk, kitchen junk drawer, basement, garage, and hall closet. If you want to declutter your entire house, write down every room/area as a goal. From there start breaking areas into small chunks. For example, my hall closet is not huge but it is messy and I think I can reorganize it in under an hour, so it is first on my list because it is fairly manageable. From there, I will continue ordering the smaller and easier areas first because not only can I address them reasonably, I can build motivation from the sense of accomplishment I get upon finishing an area.

When you get to the larger areas on your list it is really important to break those areas into smaller chunks too. For example, if you are anything like me, adding the basement to your decluttering list is terrifying because it is probably quite a mess down there. However, if I sort areas of my basement into smaller chunks and treat those areas the same way that I treated the hall closet, suddenly the basement is a lot less daunting–and there is a good chance I will actually follow through with my goals. Another benefit of sorting areas into smaller chunks is it makes it easier to recruit help from your family who would otherwise find any excuse possible to get out of helping. If you are able to delegate and give family members small areas/boxes/bins to go through, you are more likely to clear all that clutter faster.

Timeline and Motivation

When it comes to major decluttering projects, we all have the best intentions and we all have different availability so no one set schedule will work universally. However, the critical factor here is momentum. Once you develop some momentum you have to find a way to keep that going until your finish your list. For me, I set aside a few time chunks each week to dedicate to my project and give myself a reasonable but short deadline. For example, for my list outlined earlier I would give myself a 4 week deadline because that is reasonable for my life. On my list I would itemize the small chunks and divide it by four weeks based on how much I thought I could accomplish per week. I personally tackle projects of this nature in the morning because I have more energy and motivation. The trick is sometimes you are estimating and guessing and if your plan does not work out perfectly, you have to be kind to yourself and flexible. But, you also need a contingency plan if something comes up or you lose momentum. How will you keep yourself on track?

Reward-Based Motivation 

We humans love rewards, especially for a job well done. Thus, I highly recommend as you write your project list that you also determine a reward system for yourself. I personally like to give myself smaller rewards at the end of each week (assuming I accomplished some goals) and then treat myself to a larger reward and the end of my project. For example, if after week one I have decluttered my hall closet, kitchen junk drawer, and office desk I would consider that a big win and deserving of a treat. So, I might book myself a massage, splurge on those new athletic shoes I have been eyeing, or get a pedicure—whatever makes you happy. Also, oftentimes my decluttering projects involve selling used items that we no longer need, and sometimes I use that extra cash to reward myself—though I have also been known to save that money and choose more budget-friendly rewards (like a cupcake from my favorite bakery). Even if you decide that weekly rewards are not necessary, you do need a big carrot waiting for you at the end. Maybe you plan an overnight trip—or shopping at your favorite store, a spa day, a new gadget, a night out—again, whatever makes you happy and is reasonable within your budget. The point here is to be flexible and kind to yourself but also give yourself a way to stay on track.

For more tips and information feel free to contact me and follow me on social media on Facebook @mmkrealtyllc, Twitter @MMKRealtyLLC, and Instagram @mmkrealty.


12 Most Popular Interior Design Trends in 2019

Looking for the most popular interior design trends in 2019? With each passing year there are interesting developments when it comes to interior design and decorating. There are 12 interior design trends that are capturing the attention of people interested in upping the look and feel of their homes. Perhaps you will find some of these design concepts and strategies inspiring as you contemplate what to do with your own residence in 2019.

Natural Wood

In 2019, natural wood is at the forefront when it comes to residential interior design. Natural wood is being incorporated into residential interior design in a number of different ways this year. These include:

  • furniture
  • walls
  • kitchens, including cabinets and flooring

Earthy Colors

More stark colors that have been popular in recent times are giving way to earthy colors in homes in 2019. Indeed, the rise in popularity of earth colors goes hand-in-hand with the expanding use of natural wood in residential properties. Earthy colors give a home a warm feel, a true sense of hominess.

Live Plants

Along the same themes as natural wood and earthy colors, live green plants are becoming ever more popular when it comes to home interior décor in 2019. Synthetic plants, no matter how lifelike, definitely are taking a back seat to living greenery. Plants selected for a residence need be nothing exotic. They can be plants that are easy to tend to and require no special care and assistance.

Curvilinear Furniture

Furniture designed with curvilinear cuts or rounded corners are becoming highly popular as we move deeper into 2019. This type of furniture, in living and great rooms, tends to provide a space with a more relaxed feeling, a more comfortable space.

Furniture with Bold Colors

One interior design trend that parts from the natural themes mentioned previously involves the colors that will be featured on furniture. In 2019, there will be an increase in home furnishings that are fashioned with bright and bold colors. In fact, the combination of other 2019 home design trends like the use of natural wood works well with home furnishings that feature bold colors.

Welcoming Sage Green

Speaking of color, one hue that is garnering significant attention in 2019 is sage green. Sage green provides both a natural feel that harmonizes with some of the other trends discussed a moment ago. When applied to a wall in a room, or even all walls in space, sage green creates a warm, welcoming effect.

Hanging Textiles

When it comes to wall applications and extensions, there is a slow but sure movement away from pictures to tapestries. These tapestries come in many designs and stem from a multitude of traditions. In other words, when it comes to tapestries, a homeowner will have little trouble in finding items that will work well with any type of decorative theme or concept in a residence.

Terrazzo Beyond the Floors

In the 1980s, terrazzo flooring was highly popular. In 2019, terrazzo design is making a strong comeback, but not on floors. Terrazzo design is being incorporated into walls and even different decorative objects that are being incorporated in the design themes of residences.

Silver Remains Supreme

Silver remains an important design element when it comes to home décor in 2019. Silver is being incorporated into light fixtures and is a major feature in art and other decorative items placed in roos in 2019 homes. One of the reasons why silver is being so widely used in 2019 is because it harmonizes well with all of the other design components that are proving very popular in 2019. Indeed, silver — the color and the metal — works well with nearly any type of decorating concept or theme imaginable.

Basic Black is Not Just Basic

Black is back and it’s not just basic. Black is being used in ways never before imagined in residential properties. Accent walls are becoming more commonplace in decorating themes in homes. This tactic adds a level of bold design that ups the look of any space. Black is being incorporated into everything from furniture to flooring and to many other design elements in between.

Statement Ceilings

Another interesting home design trend for 2019 is what is being called the statement ceiling. Statement ceilings essentially are what historically have been accent walls. In other words, the design concepts historically used in accent walls have moved upward to the ceiling.

Your Own Personal Touches

Finally, personalizing spaces is also a trend in 2019 home décor. For example, as mentioned, silver is being incorporated into room design. Rooms are being personalized with such items as silver picture frames.

As you go about making decisions regarding your residential décor, these trends may work perfectly in your home. Indeed, so many of the 2019 trends work well with one another and can be part of an overall home décor plan for your residence.

For more tips and information feel free to contact me and follow me on social media on Facebook @mmkrealtyllc, Twitter @MMKRealtyLLC, and Instagram @mmkrealty.


21 Great Things To Do In Northern Virginia

Looking for great things to do in Northern Virginia?

Growing up a Navy Commander’s daughter, I have seen a lot of places over the years but one thing is for certain, Northern Virginia is a great place to live. One of the things I love about living here are all the great things to do in and around Northern Virginia! Seriously, there is always something fun and interesting going. Whether you are looking for culture, action, adventure, nightlife, or history, Northern Virginia truly has it all! Certainly a visit to Washington D.C is always an option but Northern Virginia is has kept its own character and often you will find a blend of colonial history mixed with chic shops, upscale dining, and historical gems. Northern Virginia also features a number of urban mixed-use walkable neighborhoods featuring funky coffee bars, craft breweries, fast-casual dining, and cosmopolitan shopping. Further, day trips to area wineries, mountains, parks, and other landmarks are equally popular. So, without further ado, below are 21 of the most iconic and popular things to do in Northern Virginia. And be on the lookout for future blog posts featuring more niche local favorites!

21 Great Things To Do In Northern Virginia

Air Force Memorial

This stunning memorial features three memorial stainless steel spires ranging from 201 feet to 270 feet high designed to replicate the soaring contrails of the Air Force Thunderbirds as they peel back in a precision ‘bomb burst’ maneuver. Located in Arlington Virginia, this visually iconic landmark honors the United States Air Force and its heritage organizations.

Algonkian Regional Park

Featuring 838 scenic acres of outdoor adventures, locals enjoy picnics, hiking trails, the Volcano Island Waterpark, an 18-hole golf course, and boating on the picturesque Potomac River. Located in Sterling Virginia, the park also offers riverfront vacation cottages, miniature golf, and plenty of fun in the sun.

Arlington National Cemetery

The most iconic cemetery in America, Arlington National Cemetery is the final resting place for many of our America’s greatest heroes including some 300,000 veterans. Spanning 624 acres, the cemetery includes the Tomb of the Unknowns, former presidents William Howard Taft and John F. Kennedy, some 360 recipients of the Medal of Honor, and numerous five-star officers.

Bull Run Regional Park

Offering 1,500 acres of natural space, locals enjoy large picnic areas, campgrounds, cottages, historic hiking trails, disc golf, and more. Located in Centreville, Bull Run also features waterslides at Atlantis Waterpark and numerous annual events including cross country races, food and drink festivals, cultural festivals and more.

Birchmere Music Hall

Considered a legendary music hall, the reputation of the Birchmere is renowned. This famous music hall is known for booking performers in the rock, blues, bluegrass, country, folk, and jazz genres. Several well-known bands have recorded live albums from the Birchmere including The Johnson Mountain Boys, The Four Bitchin’ Babes, Riders in the Sky, and Dave Matthews Band.

Carlyle House Historic Park

Located in Old Town Alexandria, this eighteenth-century historic house museum is one of the nation’s finest examples of Georgian residential architecture. It is architecturally unique as the only stone 18th-century Palladian Revival style residence in Alexandria.

Frying Pan Farm Park

Located in Fairfax and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, one of the most popular features of Frying Pan Farm Park is Kidwell Farm. Kidwell Farm recreates a 1930s farm and still has many animals including cows and horses. Fun fact, for many years turkeys pardoned in the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation were sent to live at Frying Pan Farm Park.

George Washington Masonic Memorial 

Located in Alexandria and rich in interesting history, this memorial is a Masonic building dedicated to the memory of George Washington, the first President of the United States and a Mason. The tower is constructed after the ancient Lighthouse of Alexandria in Egypt and is a National Historic Landmark for its impressive architecture.

Great Falls National Park

A popular attraction located in Fairfax County, Great Falls is a sight to behold. The combination of the dropping and narrowing of the Potomac River as it passes over jagged rocks create a dramatic series of stunning waterfalls and rapids. Great Falls National Park also features numerous hiking trails, a visitor center, and plenty of beautiful views.

Manassas National Battlefield Park

Located in Prince William County, Manassas National Battlefield Park preserves the site of two major American Civil War battles: the First Battle of Bull Run and the Second Battle of Bull Run. Today the National Battlefield Park offers the opportunity to explore the historic terrain of the Civil War.

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

A gem of Vienna, visitors enjoy 95 acres of gorgeous ornamental display gardens and unique native plant collections among lakes, forests and meandering walking trails. Known for its majestic views, the main attractions include of the Piedmont hills, the Korean Bell Garden, and the restored 18th Century log cabin.

Morven Park

Known as the “Central Park” of Loudoun County, Morven Park is a 1,000-acre historic estate and horse park in Leesburg. Visitors can explore the grounds of the Morven Park Mansion, the Winmill Carriage Museum, formal boxwood gardens, and enjoy miles of hiking and riding trails.

National Museum of the Marine Corps

Located in Triangle, Virginia near MCB Quantico, the National Museum of the Marine Corps is the historical museum of the United States Marine Corps. Situated on a 135-acre site, the Museum’s impressive design evokes the image of the flag-raisers of Iwo Jima. Visitors enjoy outstanding interactive exhibits, historical artifacts, immersive sights and sounds of Marines in action, and much more.

National Inventors Hall of Fame & Museum

Another interesting Alexandria gem, The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) recognizes individual engineers and inventors who hold a U.S. patent of highly significant technology. The center is dedicated to “honoring the people responsible for the great technological advances that make human, social and economic progress possible.”

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Located in Chantilly, this is the companion facility to the National Air & Space Museum on the National Mall. Visitors can marvel at the large hangars displaying thousands of aviation and space artifacts, the Airbus IMAX® theater, the Donald D. Engen Observation Tower, the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar, and much more.

The Pentagon

Located in Arlington, the Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense. Shaped like a pentagon to symbolize the U.S. military and leadership, visitors can enjoy an inside tour illustrating the history of the four branches of the military and the opportunity to see the indoor memorial near the Sept. 11 crash site and the Sept. 11 Memorial chapel, as well as the Hall of Heroes, and more.

The Workhouse Arts Center

Set on 55 acres of land in Lorton this property used to be the historic D.C. Workhouse and Reformatory.  Today, the Workhouse is home to the area’s best professional and emerging artists and is a nationally recognized visual and performing arts center. Guests can enjoy impressive exhibitions, arts education, visits with artists, and even a tour of the prison museum.

Torpedo Factory Art Center

Located in Old Town Alexandria on the banks of the Potomac River, the Torpedo Factory Art Center is a naval munitions factory that was converted into an art center. Guests can enjoy a wide variety of including painting, ceramics, photography, jewelry, stained glass, fiber, printmaking, and sculpture in over artists’ studios.

US Marine Corps War Memorial

Located in Arlington, The United States Marine Corps War Memorial is a national memorial representing this nation’s gratitude to Marines and those who have fought beside them. The memorial design was inspired by the iconic 1945 photograph of six Marines raising a U.S. flag atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II.

Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens

Located in Fairfax County, Mount Vernon was the plantation of George Washington. Visitors can tour the 18th-century plantation, the beautiful gardens and grounds, George Washington’s Distillery & Gristmill, and the Museum and Education Center which houses a comprehensive collection of Mount Vernon artifacts.

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts

One of the most popular music venues in Virginia, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts is situated in a uniquely majestic outdoor setting. Architecturally stunning, the Filene Center is a great place to catch a summer concert while the 117-acre park offers amenities including hiking trails, picnic areas, and sledding. Also enjoy year-round programming at The Barns at Wolf Trap and the Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods.

Be sure to follow MMK Realty on social media on Facebook @mmkrealtyllc, Twitter @MMKRealtyLLC, and Instagram @mmkrealty