Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Trick!

Happy Halloween everyone. 

My laptop has decided to play a trick on me.  I've known for a while that it was tired of being tap, tap, tapped, edit, edit, edited, misusing insert, insert, INSERT and delete, delete, DELETE (damn it, delete!) at all hours and for years and years.

The hard drive is now making SPOOKY noises. Spinning, whirling, and whizzing.....this can't be good.

I so wanted to share pictures of my grandson, Jack, for Halloween.  Mr. Hardass Hard Drive really had a fit when I tried to download pics from my I-phone.

So all my blogging buddies, if you don't see a post for a couple of days, it is because because my computer is haunted.

Hoping this will pass when the goblins and ghouls leave.

Glad Sandy is gone.  Continued prayers for everyone in the Northeast suffering.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Staging Solutions for a Stodgy Living Room

The living room of this house was basically a storage station for some vintage 50's furniture.  The heavy Maple furniture would be better suited to a cabin than in this living room. It had to go!

Living Room Before
Living Room After
We used Sherwin Williams Killam Beige above the chair rail. See how it makes the architectural details of the room pop?


We moved two bookcases from upstairs to the back wall.  The bookcases were staged with minimal accessories. A vignette of large picture, candlestick lamp, and a couple of finals give the piano instant appeal.  I brought in two chairs from the dining room and added lovely lumbar pillows.  The coffee table from the family room was used between the chairs.  The rug is a bit squat for the size of the room. But, staging is not decorating and the light color draws attention to the beautiful hardwood floors.

That's it!  A room simply staged using furniture from other areas of the house and supplemented with accessories.
Continuing to pray for those of you in Sandy's path.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Prayers for You and Your Families

To all of my blog buddies in Sandy's path; my prayers are with you.

Heed the warnings.  This is serious, stuff my friends.
Little Tip: We used solar lights. They are safer and easier than flashlights and candles. Hoard ice. Fill cola bottles to freeze.  They help keep frozen food.  Also, you can drink the water later if you need to.

Hurricane Fran devastated us in 1996.  I know first hand the havoc of being in a hurricane's path.

Best wishes and prayers for a safe outcome for everyone.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Feast Your Eyes on this Dining Room Staging

The Dining Room was my favorite transformation of the house. We painted Benjamin Moore's HC-115 Georgian Green above the chair rail.  Love me some Georgian Green! It is a bright, vibrant green that lends life to a room. Gone are the days of keeping paint colors 'Builder's beige' for selling.

I made a centerpiece to pick up the rose colors in the rug border and incorporate them with the crimson used throughout the rest of the house. The tapestry runner anchors the centerpiece and adds texture.

 I love little details like placing tassels on handles of the china cabinet.

The back wall sports jumbo abstracts of a gold apple and pear. The accent colors are a great blend of rose to rust.  A gilded apple and pear were staged in the kitchen to connect the rooms.

A canvas of wild roses is displayed between the windows. I love the vintage look near the contemporary apple and pear.
The AFTER and BEFORE Comparison

Oh yeah, I took out two of the side chairs to create the illusion of more space. Buyers are smart. It is easy for them to figure out they can add more chairs to the table.

I love my job.

Happy Friday, y'all!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Staging a Kitchen to Sell

Here is the kitchen reveal! There is a tapestry runner on the kitchen table and a copper urn with silk orchids (lower left).  The staging items complement the colors in the valance.
Kitchen After. Shot from Family Room
The picture below showcases the new backsplash with  a few stating items. In the corner, is a colorful rooster plate with blue vase and live Pathos vine. The jumbo gilded pear brings in the dining room staging (next post). I also included a ceramic tray with bottles of mixed peppers next to cooktop.  
Kitchen After Backsplash Installation and Staging
Across from the custom valance, above the cabinets, I placed another blue vase that corresponds to the blue vase on the countertop. The crimson platter, gold dinner plate and green salad plate continue  the colors of the valance on this side of the kitchen. 
After Staging Above Kitchen Cabinets Opposite Window
In every house I stage, I  a place a platter of Granny Smith Apples. The wooden platter is layered with a copper plate. These organic items lend warmth and vitality.

Island Centerpiece
The small lamps on the island add extra light, height, and design. I also removed a barstool to make breathing room between them. On the far right countertop, I placed a cookbook (same green as apples, of course!) and a jumbo gilded apple which, again, brings in the dining room motif.

Lamps and Centerpiece on Island

Before pictures:
Kitchen Before Backsplash and Staging
Kitchen Before Backsplash and Staging
What a fun kitchen to stage!  I think the kitchen has new life and vitality.  It should appeal to potential buyers, don't you think?


Monday, October 22, 2012

Staging Solves Problems for Open Concept Spaces

Last post I showed the staged makeover of a family room.  Today, I am going to concentrate on some of the challenges of the kitchen.  Because the kitchen adjoins the family room, as part of the open concept floor plan, both areas had to be considered in tandem.

Visual Weight Was Off Balance

Open Concept Family Room and Kitchen BEFORE Staging
The visual weight of the combined spaces was off. The family room read as 'white' and the kitchen, in contrast, read as 'dark.'  The family room was 'soft' with an upholstered sectional and wall-to-wall carpet.  The countertops, appliances, cabinets, table and chairs made the kitchen read as 'hard'. These two spaces needed to be married to make them flow as a cohesive unit.

No Backsplash?
The kitchen did not have a backsplash. A backsplash is an expected amenity in a house this price. As a design element, the backsplash will counterbalance the fireplace surround in the family room.  
Love my tile guy, Ken! He did an awesome job staying within the home owner's budget. We went with an inexpensive travertine tile and didn't spring for the diagonal install.  Since the house is for sale, the owners did not want to sink a lot of money into updates for selling.

After Backsplash Installation

Awkward Window Placement

This kitchen has an unusual architectural element.  The area above the windows is quite tall.The top of the sill looks wanky with the line of the top of the cabinets. Then there is a jump in the space to the ceiling.

Valance to the Rescue!
I found my inspiration for uniting the family room and kitchen through (gulp...expensive) fabric.  I found a gorgeous Mill Creek Fabrics material that included all the colors I was using to stage: greens, golds, crimsons, and a bit of blue. I had a valance custom made for the kitchen. Karen did an outstanding job with the construction of the drop and top 'ruffle' depth.  Also, she sewed it so that the back fabric matches the front and looks pretty from the deck. The  window valance was the single piece that created cohesion between the two rooms.

Close Up of Valance Fabric

Awkward Window After

The valances picks up the same colors used to stage the family room.  Most importantly, it add softness and warmth on this side of the two adjoining spaces.  The valance does the perfect job of distracting from the awkward window placement.

What do you think about the valance?

Next post, I'll do the full reveal of the kitchen after staging. 


Friday, October 19, 2012

Buyers Are Going To Love This Family Room Makeover

Hello everyone.  I am in bed, riding my heating pad with a cup of coffee.  I staged the 3-story 'vanilla' house yesterday!  I'm a bit sore and achy but full of satisfaction.  The owners and realtor are happy--so I'm doing the Hokey Pokey cuz that's what it is all about.

I'll post several before and afters of this house.  Today, I'm going to show you the family room. Here are the after pictures.

Staging is about BIG accessories and pops of color.  I used those groovy black lamps I recently posted about.  The green vases on the mantle I found at a home store--one was in housewares and the other was in the garden shop.  To the vases I added rust colored twigs for height. Each vase sports a chunky tassel. The tassel adds a another layer of color and texture.  The picture on the mantel is an abstract of assorted vases.  The pictures has all the colors I used in the house: green, gold, crimson, with a spot of blue. The picture mat is black which coordinates with the fireplace surround, the lamps, two printed pillows and one solid pillow.  I also had to consider the black of the large screen TV. The frame is a gold/copper color.  I picked the gold/cooper up with the candlesticks, a copper pot of ferns and the rim of a vintage saucer on the coffee table. The pot of ferns was used to hide the wires and outlets for the television.  The coffee table is very small in scale compared to the sectional.  Staging is not decorating.  I wanted the room to appear as large as possible.  The small glass coffee table accomplishes this goal.  The owners had a massive rectangular coffee table that literally ate square footage.

Here are the before shots.
Happy Friday, y'all!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Picture This!

Remember this house that I consulted on?
The good news is I got the job!  I am staging it tomorrow!
The not so good news is, according to the realtor, the husband is concerned about me making nail holes in his freshly painted walls. (I also did a color consultation to try and take some of the vanilla out of this house. Yes, a house can be too neutral for selling.)

This is a 5,000 square foot house.  I probably have 25 pieces of artwork to display throughout the house.

I have tried the Command Strips and not had much luck.  It's pretty scary when you hear a piece crash to the floor.  There is also the problem of the art angled out from the wall because the hook is so massive.

In ten years, this is a first!  I've never even had a seller ask me to patch my nail holes when I destage and remove pictures. 

I wish I could say, "Mr. Client, in the words of Mick Jagger: ' You can't always get what you want...but you just might find you get what you need. Trust me. The staging will be worth it!''

That's my story, folks.  Any ideas on how to handle this snafu?


Monday, October 15, 2012

Warning: Throws Are Alive

Throws are a savvy style statement.  Throws add color, texture, and warmth to a room.
I probably have 25 throws in my inventory.  When I started staging, I always used throws. Now, not so much.  Why?

Throws are alive.

Throws move and never, ever stay in the same position.

Throws are deft at grabbing any person, animal, or bag that skims by them.
The rooms above were styled by a photographer's assistant.  Each drape carefully placed.  I can say from experience that the flat throws had a thousands swipes to work out the lumps  It is blow-your brains-out-maddening to get fringe straight.  Notice that most of the pictures don't show the bottom edges of the throw.

It's because throws are alive and they can shift whenever they are inclined. 

So beware if you are staging your house for sale, styling your house for photographs or even getting it pretty for visitors.  Omit the throws unless they are caged in a basket.

Have a great week!


Friday, October 12, 2012

What Do YOU think of These Lamps?

Shrink wrap on shade and price tag still dangling
I bought a pair of these lamps for a house I am getting ready to stage.  The house is huge, the couple is young and have a sectional in their family room.  What a great statement these lamps will make!

I thought these lamps were AMAZING.  I mean I actually sprinted to the checkout to get a cart to buy them.  Of course, I can 'see' the whole room staged--including a large piece of contempory art with a bold black frame over the mantel.

My husband thought they were absolutely awful and pleaded for me to never use them in our house.  I like them so much I almost don't want to take them to the other house (hazard of the trade.)

So, you know what I think.  I want to know what you think.  Are they over-the-top-crazy?

Happy Friday, y'all!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Honey Boo Boo Make Over

In my last post, I showed pictures of Honey Boo Boo houses.  Blogger Buddy, Patty Day, of Patty's Epiphanies asked if anyone (in these 'challenging houses') would take my staging advice.  The first picture "Messy Master" I did end up staging after the seller's cleaned out their mess.  The only non-negotiable was the bedspread had to stay.  They had a small child and lounged (wallowed) in the bed.

Here are the after shots:

And, the before shots:

There is hope for staging even the Honey Boo Boo Houses out there.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Honey Boo Boo Home-y's

A friend was over this weekend and mentioned her guilty pleasure of watching "Honey Boo Boo".  I went to On Demand and caught a couple of episodes.  While the show is funny and shocking it 'ain't got nothing' on some of the houses I've consulted on.  In each case, the home owners knew I would be paying them a visit well in advance.

Messy Master Bedroom

Ewww,,,,Powder Room

Bonus Room? Check out the port-a-potty.

Stuffed rooster and chamber pot with greenery in corner

Garage displaying weird signs
His and her vinyl recliners, inverted heart pillow, upside down lamp
Handgun on the night stand
Hope you enjoyed the tour!