Saturday, September 17, 2016

Joy, Bread Dough and Energy Bandits

Sending happiness and joy, Lovelies!

I am so grateful that every morning I am rallied by a chatty, sweet man with a hot cup of coffee. THE most lovely way to start my day.

After coffee (--check this out--) I PUT ON MY SWIMSUIT.  Wiggling into a swimsuit has always ranked up there with public speaking as an anxiety producer. After a year of H20 Aerobics, I can honestly no mo' swimsuit anxiety. Rock on bread-dough thighs...

Who'd a thunk I would love a daily workout?  And, it's not just the salt water pool, the jammin' music and the fabulous instructors; it's the people in the class!  My amigos!  We monitor each others attendance more than a high school principal.  We share thumbs up, knuckle bumps, and atta-girl/atta-boys while pooling it. Our Crew provides unwavering support in the gym and in our lives. They are my sunshine.

Just as shocking as cold water, it's like shifting gears to go back out into the world after class.  I do so try to hold my Joy-Aura all day.  But, dang it, the Energy Bandits lurk around corners waiting to pounce.

These misery fairies seem to slither about just waiting for the opportunity to sabotage my 'it's a beautiful day' day. Damn the horn blowers and middle finger saluters! Be gone the ding! of ranting texters. See ya later those,"Well, hello-stranger-haven't-seen-you-in-ages!" guilt-givers. (There's a reason you haven't seen me in ages...but I digress.)  Banish the flu-sneezing, cold-coughing, noise-blowing-while-standing-next-to-me-in-line sickies. Just consider cancelling you chronically Tardy-for-the-Party make-me-wait-for-you people. Please shuddy-uppy to the long-lamenting-soul-suffering-second-guessers. Hit rewind, then play to the person that done you wrong. Recanting over&over&over ain't change your mess.

Energy Bandits can suck the joy outta MY bones! Know what I mean, my joyful lovelies?

Enjoy a joy filled weekend.

Friday, September 9, 2016

An Ommission of Transmittion Could Lose An Agent's Commission

Triangle Multiple Listing Service

A friend of  mine is on the hunt for a historic home.  She has two storage units crammed full of gorgeous European antiques and unique flea market finds. She was so excited when she stumbled across this beauty. Hello, Miss Scarlett!  Let's have a picnic on the lawn.
She could picture herself waving to her guests from the balcony as the drove up the long and winding road.

There's a quaint gathering room with a cute old fireplace and french doors leading to the sun porch.  The hardwood floors throughout the house are in pristine condition.

Yeah, you aren't supposed to fall in love with a house because of the decor.....but you know about the emotional appeal of good staging.  This romantic vignette tugged at her heartstrings.

Nice layout to the kitchen. But, those cabinets were going to get a facelift with Dover White.  Look at those AWESOME light fixtures. What's not to love about those?

She was so intrigued by the listing that she had to see it.  Off they go! Husband and kid pile into the car and trek to the nearby town.

What the listing didn't mention was a utility tower and electrical lines that ran close to the house.

My friend felt duped.  

What do you think?  Is it the listing agent's responsibility to include information about the power lines? Or, do you think it is not very important?

Have a great weekend.  
More 90's for us.....come on fall!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Purple Don't Reign for Selling

Unless the bedding and drapes are selling with the house, this color won't appeal to buyers.

Hello Lovelies. I've recently returned from my fabulous month at the beach. I was able to work from my beach retreat using Facetime.  My tablet provided a large screen for viewing as the realtor walked me through the house and yard.  Gotta love being able to work anywhere.

The first thing I did when I returned home was check on our local multiple listing service. (Triangle MLS includes Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and surrounding areas.)  Checking out the latest listings helps me read the pulse of local homes for sell.

Wouldn't ya think that neutral paint colors is Staging 101?  These purple-violet-y rooms amaze me.  All of these pictures are from homes that have been listed within the last 7 days.
This Plum-delicious accent wall does liven up the boring brown decor. But, I'm thinkin' all a buyer sees is a coat of primer and two coats of paint. (Egads! Calling Martha Stewart We have a botched attempt at flower arranging. Please abort.)

Put yo sunglasses on, baby!  It's a neon orchid bonus room!

See the reflection from the window?  Here we go with a high sheen ViO-let.  Flat paint for bedrooms, please.

Toooo many toys = clutter.   Clutter + paint color = no bueno for selling.

I always tell my clients, "Do the buyer's work for them."

Think about it from a buyer's perspective. They have been forced to reveal every detail and justify every spending-gone-wrong snafu to get a loan. They've suffered through a ton of loser houses. Wrong neighborhood. Wrong schools. Bad commute. They probably did find the perfect house. Sadly, they couldn't afford it unless they put a meth lab in the basement. House hunting sucks.

Finally they found your house! Yippee! Then they had to agonize through negotiations, home inspection repairs, packing--you know the drill. And yes, due to max stress-test-squared, they snapped. After going all Kanye West on their spouse, they now live in mortal fear of a memory that may refuse to fade.

Don't make that buyer have to paint the purple room.

Adios mi amigos,


Sunday, May 8, 2016

This Day Reminds Me Of....

Butterfly kicks
Writhing pain
Miraculous joy
Drooly kisses
Sleepless nights
Riding on my hip
Bedtime stories 
Big Wheels
Hot Wheels
Cuts and scraps
Basketball camp
Catholic School
Football games
Track meets
Driving lessons
 Guy friends
Pouting silence
Screaming rage
Slamming doors
Honor Roll
Many Graduations
Appalachian dorms
NCSU transfer
Diploma & walk
Falling in love
Married man
Duke MBA
Climbing the Ladder
New father
Being a delighted mother/grandmother

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Indians on a Rampage Over A Victorian Couch with a Mirrored Coffee Table Sporting a Crown Centerpiece and a Morracan Table Between kinda-sorta Wooden Winged Back Chairs

Relax & Enjoy the Moment by Frederico Veiga

Yes Lovelies, I've missed you.  I am still alive and kicking. It's time to take, "An Affection for Staging" off of life support. With the ventilator removed, this patient will soon breathe on her own and rally. Praying to the heavens for reader-forgiveness and divinely inspired posts.

My days have been filled with some wonderous and many mundane fancies.(Sometimes felt like the woman in the Relax & Enjoy the Moment painting.) Times they are a changing and the staging business is no exception. How does this seasoned stager with 15 years under her belt appeal to a market that is saturated with newbies?  I'm working on a unique twist for my staging talents. Fingers crossed. No guts no glory.

Oh Crapola! I had to a few trips to the Doc-in-a-Box.  It seems infections find me a delightful host for throwing a party.  Money can't buy you love but it did buy me several rounds of antibotics. Killed that damn bug.

Rest in Peace?  Last rites were preformed on a seriously sick relationship that showed no signs of regaining anything akin to being healthy. RIP.  Not another nano-second shall I further invest in that Drama-Mama.

Travel anyone? What a process obtaining a passport became.There were days that I thought getting a passport was my second job. It only required 25 phone calls, call backs, waiting lists and a trip out-of-town to apply.  PTL--it should be arriving next month.

Books have been read. Classes completed. Letters written. Prayers prayed. Gardens finished. Thrifting-sifting explored. New friendships celebrated. My latest guilty pleasure is frequenting "The Junction Salon and Bar".  Picture blow outs, gel nails, fun pedi's with 20 minute reflexology foot massages.  Nothing beats being pampered with girl friends while imbibing razzel-dazzel adult beverages.
Virginia, Linda and Linda (Me) at The Junction
Back to staging.....

I have to share with you this picture of a living room. This decor takes eclectic to a new place.
This room made me go, 'Huh"?

Indians on a rampage, over a Victorian couch with fringed damask pillows and wee square ombre pillows, parked behind a mirrored coffee table sporting a crown centerpiece, a side Moroccan table, between two kinda-sorta wooden winged back chairs anchored by a contemporary textural rug. Tucked far in the corner is the floor lamp which draws attention to the olive-drab over sad-brown wall colors separated by screaming white chair rail.

I like the different pieces individually but !Yowsers! the combo seems odd. Lots of personalities in this little room. Split personality? World traveler? Curious hobbies?

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Love Songs - A Spectacular Day for Expressing Love

This is the day of LOVE! 

How can a day about LOVE be anything but great!  Music always brings back memories. Here a few fave love songs (in no particular order). 

Crazy in Love - Boyonce & Jay Z
Love Me Like You Do - Ellie Goulay
It's Your Love - Tim McGraw & Faith Hill
Love Me Tender - Elvis Presley
All You Need Is Love - The Beatles
My Love - Paul McCartney
Love Will Keep Us Together - Captain & Tinnille 
Love Letters in the Sand - Pat Boone
I Can't Stop Loving You - Ray Charles
Chapel of Love - The Dixie Cups
Baby Love - Supremes 
Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime - Dean Martin
I Would Do Anything for Love - Meatloaf
Good Lovin' - Young Rascals

Any favorites bring back memories for you?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Something's Cooking in the Kitchen and It Ain't Granite

Hi folks! Hope everyone has their Valentine cards in the mail. It's the month of LOVE. Share that love.

The kitchen above is in an $800K new construction house. The builder is right in sync with what today's buyer prefers. Current shoppers prefer a white kitchen with quartz or marble countertops.

Remember all of the grumbling over wallpaper for selling?  Now granite is taking the hit. Pinterest is flooded with design boards featuring all white kitchens.  Busy granite countertops are passe for selling.

As a comparison with the bright, clean look of the marble countertops, let's look at the following kitchens.  These kitchens are in owner occupied $800K homes for sale in my area.  How would you feel about inheriting someones granite countertops versus white quartz or marble?
(Pictures from Triangle Multiple Listing Service.)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Snowmen, Super Bowl & Super Proud Mom

How stinkin' cute is this?  What a clever winter table setting!  A friend of a friend posted it on Facebook. Jennifer's work is definitely steal-worthy. Outstanding job, Jennifer.
Jennifer Chalk Young

Happy Friday!  What an awesome week!  Our Carolina Panthers are playing in the Super Bowl!

My kid is not playing in the Super Bowl.  HOWEVER, my son will be AT the Super Bowl. As an outstanding Exec at his company, John was awarded an all-expense-paid trip to the Super Bowl. Color me, "Super Proud Mom".

John arrived in San Fran on Thursday and will be spending an oh-so-awesome weekend of pre-event fun. And, would you believe Cold Play is his favorite band? How fortuitous! I haven't seen him so excited since he was a 5 year old at Christmas.
Sunday, he will cheer our Carolina Panthers to victory.

Go Panthers! We are Panthers' Proud!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

About Those Windows and Sliding Doors for Selling

These windows and doors are perfectly staged for selling. Buyers love light, bright and airy!Those large windows are an essential selling feature and they need to be showcased.The drapes and fixtures are neutral and understated. The view is gorgeous. It draws the outside into the family room and expands the feel of the living space. That lovely view needs to be in clear sight for the buyer to appreciate it.  The furniture placement is also ideal. The buyer should be able to readily access the back door. The buyer will exit the family room from this doorway to walk onto the deck.

Can you say busy?  Everything about this arrangement is wrong for selling. The potential buyer cannot possibly appreciate the view for the assault of the overbearing floral print and heavy window treatments. There is only limited light flowing into this room. I often advise that window cornices be removed for selling. They block light and views. Most homes cannot bear the visual weight of a boxy cornice. And, cornices are typically considered dated.  The winged chair is in an awkward position. The buyer will have to maneuver around the winged chair to access to the back door.

What's a seller to do?
  • Remove the the cornices and drapes. 
  • Add a solid pillow or throw on the chair to break up the print.  
  • Move the chair to the far right of the window.
Plus: Anytime a buyer bumps into furniture or has to walk around it, the room registers as 'small'.

Hope you are having a fabulous week.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Our Dr. Doolittle Did It!

Izzie at the beach last summer
Happy Weekend!

Izzie is home from her surgery.  Prayers answered!  Our Vet spent 2.5 hours tediously, carefully, skillfully removing our little girl's tumor
Success!  Our girl appears non-the-wiser about her ordeal. Izzie is begging for outdoor adventures and eager to play ball. 

Dr. Fisher say she needs to remain quiet and no jumping. A tall order for a dog who doesn't know she just had life-threatening surgery.

We are the happiest two dog parents on the planet. Our worry and concern on Thursday no doubt aged us a few years.  My lifeline was Facebook.  For the first time, I realized the wonder of having love and support pouring in from near and far.

Thanks to everyone for your prayers.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Do You Believe in MAGIC for Selling your house?

Right before Christmas I staged this house.  It has been on the market for a few months, has had lots of showings with no offers.
After staging, the activity picked up--but still no offers.

Then Tina, the seller, tried the unorthodoxed.  She planted a statue of St. Joseph in their yard. St. Joseph is the patron saint of the house. Joseph was a carpenter, and because of his role in raising Jesus and providing a stable, happy home for Jesus to grow up in, he is the go-to saint for selling your house.

Tina buried the statue last Thursday afternoon (in frozen ground,the day before our Winter Storm).  On Saturday, (2 days later, people!) the house received 2 offers. On Monday, a third offer was forthcoming.

I have never tried the St. Joseph tradition.  But, hey--if that is where your intention goes and it works--then give St. Joseph a try.

We need some magic and some prayers.
Our beloved baby, Izzie, has a malignant tumor on her thyroid.  She is being operated on in the morning.  It is a very challenging operation because of the location. We would so appreciate any healing energy or loving prayers you end. She has been our love for 9 years.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Winter Adventure

Maybe you have to be a Southerner to appreciate our love of snow days.  All rational reasoning is tossed aside. Snow Days are a revered event that only happen maybe once a year.  There are rituals to be followed:

SHOP: It is essential run to the grocery store just prior to the storm.  It is important to be in the fray of folks wired up for being house bound a few days. It is important to discuss what provisions you are stocking up on with neighbors in aisles or strangers in long lines. This is the only event that allows you to flaunt your junk food and be admired instead of judged.

COOK/BAKE: Everyone cooks during a Winter Storm. I made Chicken Noodle Soup the first day.  I'm working on Vegetable Beef Soup for tomorrow. Karen made Black Bean Soup and Beef Stew.  Next door neighbor, Dawn, is making chocolate chip cookies and delivering them to us!

IMBIBE: Need I say more?  Pick your poison.  Then post silly-selfies on Facebook.

EAT: Anything eaten during The Winter Adventure is fair game. Absolutely no New Year's Resolutions allowed during Winter Adventure. Calories don't count and it ain't my fault the gym is closed!

BE NEIGHBORLY:  We had the three neighbor boys (9,6 and 4) over to play. Their Mom and Dad needed a break. They were so much fun! Sled. Sled. Sled. OK, I don't sled. But I watched! And tonight there is a bonfire at the lake below our house tonight.

The fact that the storm hit on a Friday is double awesome!  Long weekend!  Woot! Woot! Monday it will all be a distant memory.

Have an awesome rest of the weekend.

And remember, we are Panthers Proud!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016



Hello! Hello! It looks like we are gonna get SNOW!

Riddle du jour:
What has as much uncertainty as the weather? REAL ESTATE
I work with both sellers and agents.  Today, I thought I would address the complaints I hear most frequently from sellers.

5. The realtor makes unfulfilled promises.  These Pretty Woman/Studdly Man Agents look sharp, professional, confident and in control. They woo the seller to get the listing.  They promise grand free services: the best stager, a professional photographer, a free appraisal or inspection, 24/7 availability, exquisite marketing publications and dedicated online sites,open houses, buyer's caravan's,etc. The seller figures the agent must have a network of equally beautiful and dedicated people to help with their lofty ambitions. After the Listing Papers are sign, the many of the promises can vanish.

4. The realtor turns the listing over to a subordinate. Big Listing agent signs the seller then hands it over to someone else in their office. These big shot agents love to transfer the messy follow-up details to another agent or a "Listing Coordinator"."Listing Coordinators" typically don't last long. When blame must be passed the lowly Listing Coordinator gets the ax, a cardboard box and is asked to clear her desk.

3. "I'll find out."  The agent does not have the education or experience to provide the right answers on important details. "I couldn't believe we had to wait for days for him/her to get back to us."

2. "We should lower the price."  ahhh...the mantra heard round the world.... The answer to every problem: lack of showings, no offers, home repairs, to"lower the price".  Sellers are outraged that agents think dropping the price by $5K-- $10K+ is no big deal.   

1.  THE AGENT GOES DARK. The agent does not return phone calls or emails. No contact drives sellers bonkers.  It is the cherry on top of the Bonker's Sundae.  And, agents please don't bother with the excuses. Even if they are legit--sellers don't want to hear them. (P.S. Agents:"On Vacation" is the biggest offense to sellers.They agree everyone needs a vacation--just not while they are selling their house.)

Have you more to add? Have you ever run into any of these problems when you sold a house?

Friday, January 15, 2016

Joanna Gaines Would Lust These Beauties

Awesome Hand Painted Antique Basket

Hello Lovelies! What a great week! Have you seen "Sisters" with Amy Pollard and Tina Fey? It is a silly, funny movie that Virginia and I laugh until we cried over. Tuesday, my buddy Karen had a BD and we celebrated over Thai Pad. Yum. (Diet, next week?) Tomorrow, I'll be hitting the road to have a little fun with some very special people. Great weekend ahead!

Here's more primitive (a la Joanna Gaines style) or as I call it, 'authentically' distressed furniture.
An old church pew. Talk about uncomfortable. A dozen parishioners could be crammed in this pew.

Here's a time-worn table and bread bowl. BTW, I can hear my mother (from heaven) saying, "I wouldn't put that piece of junk in my house is somebody gave it to me!"
How about this old stool the owner is using as a plant stand? 
The owner decidedly has a knack for displaying and incorporating these old treasures.
Have a great weekend.  Go Panthers!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Tips on How To Distress a Kitchen Table and Chairs

I am not a big fan of distressed furniture.  Let me clarify.  I am not a big fan of DIY distressed furniture. You know, the pieces that folks pick up at Flea Markets or off Craigslist and then paint, sand and seal. The distressing tends to be very balanced, matchy-matchy, and intentional.

Check out this authentically distressed kitchen table and chairs.

The table has variations of color. The nail holes are recessed and dark. There is a bit of white on the back sides of the leg turns. (What's it from? Sap, you think?).

Notice the left side of the tabletop.  Apparently, for years, people preferred this side of the table.  It  shows circles from hot plates and is more worn than the right side of the table. The wood is much darker on the back end of the table (where the there is a jug and 2 small lanterns). I wonder what was originally placed there to keep it from becoming worn and faded?

The carvings in the table top reminded me of the old wooden desks from my elementary school days. There is so much character and history to this table. Do you think these patterns be replicated?

Obviously, the chairs weren't bought with the table.  I love how this chair is more distressed on the back.  Look at that wood grain. One post is more worn. I guess it was on the end and subject to the most abuse.
I admire folks that are talented enough to DIY.  I'm especially in awe of my friend Heather, of New House New Home.  Heather has mad skills and her furniture looks amazing.

I'll share more pieces from this house in my next post.