Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Top 5 Accessories You Need to Buy for DIY Staging: Day 1 #1

Many sellers don't have the resources to hire a stager.  My intention is to help you by offering tips on the top items you can purchase for do-it-yourself-staging.  You don't have to spend a lot of money to make your house appeal to potential buyers.  And, you can take these items with you to use in your new home.  Now that's a great return on investment!
1.  New Bed Treatments

Selling your house is the perfect time to say bye-bye to those shabby bedspreads--especially in the Master. Master Bedrooms are a 'hot spot' with potential buyers.  It is the place your new owners will begin and end their day. A Master Bedroom needs to read as cozy, comfortable--literally a retreat from outside stresses (kids, jobs and their new mortgage payment on your house).  Bed treatments should be sumptuous.  Some bed-N-bag treatments are a good bang for your buck.  However, you will need to cull through crappy fabric, ugly prints and poor construction to find a keeper.  Shopping online for bed treatments can be risky.  Good reviews on the product can help you make a decision.   A simple coverlet and shams can work wonders as well.  Down comforters and faux down comforters are currently on Winter Clearance.  Down comforters are look lux and opulent.

Bed treatments should never appear skimpy.  I always recommend buying a size up: King size for a Queen bed, etc  A King bed can be 'cheated' by adding a dramatic dust ruffle.  You can also place sheets between the mattress and box spring to create a bed skirt.  (WARNING:  the 'sheet treatment' is tedious business and you will need help.)

All the fancy lumbar, Euro, and decorative pillows are pretty but not necessary.  The object is for the bed to look great.  Crooked, casually tossed pillows look messy.  If you have the time and inclination to perfectly position all pillows, everyday that your house is on the market--have at it!
Down Comforter


Before I sign off, I have to show you this bedroom picture I found under my Bing search "Beautiful Bedrooms".  Bad staging makes my head spin! This is a great example of everything not to do. 
Stay tuned for my #2 on my list of Top 5 Accessories You Need to Buy for DIY Staging.

Terrible Bed Treatment

Monday, January 28, 2013

Obsessed or Possessed by my Perfect Staging Vision

Have you ever had an obsession for the thing you envision and then can't find it?

I'll be staging a traditional kitchen soon. (Same one we are painting the cabinets, and installing new granite and backsplash.)  See the walls on either side of the windows?  I want images of garlic on those walls. Yep, I said garlic.  I was cooking this weekend and decided a garlic bulb was the perfect shape, textures and 'color' for this kitchen staging.  This traditional kitchen needs contemporary art to freshen it up for young buyers.  I typically go for large colorful prints.  What can I say, I am completely locked-in on garlic.

And, oh yeah, my garlic can't be too pricey.  I am always willing to spend time shopping and  researching online. I do love the thrill of the hunt for something I consider a 'must have' for a house I am staging.
Here are a few garlic images from Pinterest.





Staging art needs to be bold and dramatic.  The last garlic has great dimension.  I love it. I need 2 a pair... or quad.  I'll continue my search.  If you have any ideas, please let me know.  (I wish I was an artist....)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Cone Sisters Collection

Lucky me!  I went to the Nasher musuem of Art at Duke University yesterday to see "Matisse and the Modern Masters".  Art has such transformative powers.  I use a lot of 'art' in the houses I stage. I am picky about the prints I use--they must have dimension and interest.  I also have a collection of original art from my home that I cycle through particular houses.  I made a gallery wall in my living room last year and am less reluctant to use any of them for staging now.

The crowd was well dispersed so I could get up close to each painting, sketch and sculpture.  I was positively giddy over being so close to fabulocity.  The brush strokes seemed alive and the colors magnified.

This pen and ink was one of my favorites.  The expression Matisse captures from her eyes was amazing.  (Hard to see it from the reproduction.)

The Cone sisters were interesting!  Their collection started in Matisse's early career--before the family became wealthy from Cone Mills. As their wealth grew, so did their collection over the span of their lifetimes.
They became close friends with Matisse.  Here are some of their acquisitions.

In addition to Matisse, there were Paul Gauguin paintings.
And, VanGogh
I have no doubts that if I had unlimited financial resources, art collecting would be at the top of the list.  Until my fortune arrives, I must be content with going to museums to see the originals.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

5 Focus Points for Selling in the Future

I've seen a lot of  homes for sale in 10 years of staging. Based on my experience, these are my top 5 Focus Points you need to conquer if you plan to sell your house in the future.

1. Home Inspection Report.  Be proactive!  Don't wait for your buyer's inspection report to divulge problems.  Invest in a professional home inspection.  Start working on the repair projects before you want to sell.

2. Curb Appeal.  Your buyers have to see your house to appreciate it. Stand at the street and take a good hard look at what your buyers will see on the approach.  Update landscaping, remove dead trees and low limbs. Manicure your yard to perfection!  Exterior paint faded and chipped?  Fix it.

3. Updates.  Now is the time to invest in new appliances if yours are old. Update light and plumbing fixtures. These are relatively inexpensive when compared to the bang you get for your buck when selling.  Worn and soiled carpets must be replaced. Paint, paint, paint your interior. Paint is the least expensive of updates. Appliance, paint and carpet allowances are relics in today's market. 

4. Garage Maintenance.  Often overlooked, garages are a top amenity for buyers. Clean it up and clear it out. Scrub shelves and countertops. Remove grease stains. Painted garage floors entice buyers and look great in MLS photos. Rent off premises storage for household overflow. Don't pile what you are taking to your next house to store in the garage.

5. Edit. Begin to sift through through your belongings.  Sell, share and/or donate extra furniture, accessories and clothes.  Rooms need to appear large and spacious. We are selling square footage and it must show to be appreciated! 

Remember that 2013 is a unique buyer's market.  If potential buyers don't like what they see, they simply move on to the next house.  You hire a mechanic to fix your car and get your hair cut and colored by a professional.  Your house is one of your biggest investments.  Spend the money!  Hire a professional stager, organizer, and contractor for advice and to get the work DONE!

Friday, January 18, 2013

What's Up with The January Bug?

Years ago, I worked for a newspaper.  We typically referred to January as a 'slow news month'. Scrambling for stories, we had morning 'Brainstormings' resulting in random ideas for stories.  Almost anything was game to fill the white space.

From what I read, and see on TV, January, continues to be a 'slow news month'.  Today, the Today show featured a segment on a staff member's daughter getting bangs cut on air (a la Michelle Obama.)  Fascinating, huh?
 The Bang Cutting segment was followed by a variety of popular YouTube videos. Crazy cats and dancing baby... Really?
(the white space above courtesy of my new computer cursor not cooperating.)

I read lots and lots of blogs everyday.  I think the January Bug is becoming viral.

No judgment peeps, I'm just saying...

if you feel apathetic and uninspired, I get it.  The Bug has infected me.  I'm juggling a cavalcade of crappy ideas.  I pray for The Bug to be over and replaced by resplendent creativity.

The better news is that I do have some cool newly purchased Botanical prints, an exciting trip to Duke University's Nasher Museum of Art to see "Matisse and the Modern Masters", and an interesting staging do-over in the hopper to share.

(Do you think Mrs. President's bangs could be the result of a slow-news-month?)

Hope you escape The Bug.

Happy Friday, y'all!.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Updates for Kitchen Remodel

Hello friends. Long time-no chat. The hard drive on my laptop crashed.  I'm no techy and there is definitely a learning curve on my new mo-chine.  The most irritating thing is the arbitrary deleting of text.  I digress...

Good News! Remember the kitchen in my long-ago-last post?

The Seller's agreed to paint their kitchen cabinets!  My painting contractor quoted $1,900 contrasting their contractor's $5,000 bid.  We are going with BM's Ballet White.  They used that color in their master bath (and I am a Consistency Girl in a house for sale).
Benjamin Moore Ballet White

Master Bath with Ballet White

Then more good news. Check out the special above. ("Above" because I can't get the flippin' picture to move....grrr...)

The tile company is running a special on 10 styles of granite.  We went with NEW Venetian Gold.  The NEW Venetian Gold is creamier, less gold (verses 'old' Venetian Gold). It will look great with the painted cabinets. ANDdddd, our sales person threw in the Ogee edge upgrade for free! I love me some Ogee edge.
Ogee Edge-Bay City
The upgrade will really make the kitchen look cha-cha!  Details, don't ya know.

This picture ain't all that--but you get the idea for the color combo and they are keeping their Burnished Bronze hardware.

We are going with "Biscuit" subway tile for the backsplash.Biscuit is a delicate off-white that is the perfect companion to the Ballet White cabinets and New Venetian Gold granites countertops.

Here's our before again.  Won't it look great?

Can't wait to show you the reveal.
Please pray for the computer God's to smile on me.

Friday, January 11, 2013

What IS the Best Day to Put Your House on the Market?


Have you considered that there is a 'best' day to put your house in MLS?  Most sellers are antsy and anxious to get their house listed "immediately!"  Nay, Nay sellers.  There IS a best day for listing.

My agents prefer to add the listing to MLS on Thursday.

Typically, I stage houses on Thursday.  The MLS pictures are taken that same day. (Before one single pillow is squished, vase moved a smidgen, or bed wallowed on or slept in.)  Then the agent uploads the info into MLS. Voila! A new listing.

The rationale being that home buyers and buyer's agents plan their weekends on Thursday evening and Friday.  The 'fresh meat' or newest listings are the first to get appointments booked.  Even in a buyer's market, if you find your dream house, you want first dibs.


What day of the week did you view your house?

Happy Friday, y'all!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

2012 Recap and 2013 Wish List

I managed to make progress in my little abode in 2013.  I had hardwood floors installed on the first floor. (Bye-Bye ugly Berber carpet.)

Here's the Family Room before the hardwoods.

Here's the after.  Of course, I was inspired to rearrange furniture!

Family Room After Hardwood Floors
I was always embarrassed and ashamed of the sofa below.  For 15 years, my husband has enjoyed naps, snacks, meals, pet sitting, and endless TV viewing on this ole Wesley Hall. It was sunken, sprung, dented, dirty, and threadbare.  After many years of torture, I persuaded him to allow me to reupholster it. 

Pitiful Sofa

Sofa after its makeover!  LOVE! (Husband, not so much...) The upholsterer basically had to rebuild it.

Here is our Master Bedroom while still sporting the Berber.
Master Bedroom BEFORE Hardwoods
Here's our Master after the hardwood installation.  BIG difference!

Master Bedroom AFTER Hardwoods

Finish Sitting Room
This room has been in transition for a while now.  It still sports the popcorn ceilings original to the house. We've had the ceilings scraped throughout the house a room or two at a time.  For this room I want: smooth ceilings, the wood crown molding, door frames and floor boards painted white, and a new coat of wall color.  I still like the BM Powell Buff and will probably stick with that color.
New Windows
It ain't sexy but we must replace the floor-to-ceiling-windows in our family room.  The windows are original to my 1985 house and the sills are rotten and leaking. (Oh boy, I am telling you all my dirty secrets!)  The French Doors were replaced in November but the enclosed shades broke so we have to get the whole set replace. Pella is doing the work so it will be $$$!

Family Room Before Hardwoods
New Carpet
I want to replace the upstairs carpet which includes the steps, landing, and 2 bedrooms. This the same ugly Berber carpet that that was replaced downstairs.

Completely Reinvent Our Office
This feels a lot like True Confessions...the picture shows only a corner of the office space I share with my husband.  I am desperate to give it a make over: new paint, furniture, built-ins, carpet--the works.  This will be a huge undertaking.  I want a pretty desk, lamp, and art.  I lust a sassy Mary McDonald-style of office but I MUST have my treadmill!  My husband is an IT person and needs a no-nonsense area to set up computers and work.
Yikes! Is there a solution?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Detour in Design Plans

This is a great house that is coming onto the market soon.  When I met with the clients, I urged them to update their kitchen. Kitchens sell houses. The house has gorgeous features and the kitchen needs to compliment the overall appeal of the house.
Linda Beam

This is the "feeling" I want for their traditional kitchen.  (Remember I'm always saying buyers look at the house based on stats: location, price, and amenities. But they buy based on emotion.)
House Beautiful
Here's the seller's current kitchen.

The Original Plan:
#1 Paint the Golden Oak Cabinets white.
#2 Replace ivory Corian Countertops with Carrera Marble. (See example below.)
#3 Add white Subway Tile backsplash.

Well, the clients emailed me and told me they would not be painting the cabinets.  The price was over-the-top-crazy-high. (I will to send my painting contractor out to give them a quote.)  At this point, it looks like the cabinets will remain Golden Oak.

Truthfully, I don't have a problem with Corian countertops.  The realtor requested they be changed to granite.  The owner's are leaning towards Venetian Gold.  I think the Venetian Gold granite with the Golden Oak cabinets will be too GOLD-N-Y.

So, my lovelies, what would your approach be to updating this kitchen?  I toss this out to all of you wonderfully creative folks to get your opinions on what you would do to update this kitchen.  What would you use for a backsplash?  Countertops? 

Please remember:  This is updating for resale.  It needs to be neutral and budget friendly. The sellers already changed all of the cabinet hardware and won't be replacing it again.

I look forward to your take. Thanks!

Happy Monday, y'all.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Home Office Horror?

Hello 2013.  It's back to work time for me.  Had my first consultation of this year.  The couple hopes to put their house on the market the first of February.  There is lots of work to do before that happens.This house reminded that it is time to clean and organized my office.  Here's one of Mary McDonald's office's that I covet.
Mary McDonald
... a couple of other lov-er-ly ones:
House Beautiful
House Beautiful
And, here's my client's office.
Linda Beam
Doesn't this make you feel better?  It's like reality TV.  "My office isn't THAT bad!"  In all fairness, my client is busy writing his dissertation.  

I hope to show you an improved AFTER picture before they go on the market.

Did you start 2013 with a clean and organized office?