Thursday, December 31, 2009

Staging the Kitchen Table

Home Staging Tips - Kitchen Nook Staging:
The Kitchen area is really the heart of the house. So this is a space that must be staged and present well to home buyers.
The Kitchen includes much more than just walls, floor, and ceiling. There are many components in the kitchen; most buyers will evaluate the condition of the house based upon this one room. A radiant, well organized and maintained kitchen speaks volumes to buyers that you have paid attention to every detail in the upkeep of your home.

The first step in staging a kitchen is to get rid of unused clutter. Home buyers look for kitchens that are functional and spacious. The goal is to maximize all counter and cabinet space. Countertops should be clear of all items except for a few neutral decorative pieces displayed in the corners. Leaving appliances on your countertops gives buyers the impression that your kitchen has limited cabinet space. Also, discard of any items inside your cabinets and pantry that you do not use. Take everything out of your cabinets and drawers and clean and wipe down out all the cabinets and drawers. Throw away all of those products that you do not use. Put back items that you just can't live without. When putting items back into the cabinetry be sure to arrange them neatly and orderly. Remember that you want the kitchen to look as organized as possible.

Staging The Dining Room

Home Staging Tips - /Dining Room Staging:
Choose a Theme.
Excite the buyer's imagination of entertaining friends, family gatherings and intimate dinners. You can do this by setting table scapes. Choose a theme and build off of it.

Above Example:

We chose a modern chic style table scape. Our colors we incorporated are silver, blue, crystal, white and black. You can choose any scheme you want; just make sure not to use to many personalized, loud or bright colors.

Dining Room Staging
Make sure when your home is on the market that each space in the home is perfect. This means clear out the clutter, clean and stage. Another area of thought is how is your home going to look in photos. This is the area of the house that you can really show off. Why do you think that model homes are fully staged and furnished? Because it sell’s the home! We want buyers to feel exciting and inspired while in your home. This increases that chance of a quick sale.

Do not forget that buyer's make up their minds long before arriving at your property. If they do not see a well-taken photograph's on the Internet, don't count on them taking any interest in you

Staging the Master Bath

Master Bathroom Staging:
Allow homebuyers to envision themselves in a spa atmosphere relaxing after a hard days work. Stage your master bathroom in way that buyer's just can't live without. This means, clear everything our thoroughly clean and organize. We want buyer's to feel like they just checked in to a luxury hotel room that is warm and inviting.

Bathroom Staging. Did you know that Kitchen and Bathrooms are on the top of the list with homebuyers? Do not overlook the bathrooms because you take the chance of scaring off the buyer. Make your bathrooms show room ready while your home is on the market. You don't want your buyers to feel like they are not walking into a dirty lived in bathroom. Clear everything out and clean. Accessorize with tasteful decor and maximize space on the counter tops. Add items like "luxury soaps and bath salts" though out the space. Be Creative!

Staging Living Rooms

Home Staging Tips - Watch the top videos of the week hereLiving Room Staging:
Stage your living to attract homebuyers. Living Room's are often the first space that a homebuyer views when walking through the front door. First impressions are crucial when selling your home. Start with a blank canvas and start removing everything from the area. Position furniture in a way that shows off the living room's potential. Maximize space by removing un-used furniture and decor. Add tasteful accessories and artwork that are neutral in color and design. Wow the buyer with your newly staged living room.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

More Shabby Chic Style Decor

My Swingin' Back Porch

My husband built me this wonderful swinging bed for my back porch by just looking at a picture in a magazine and experimenting a bit. If you would like instructions, please follow my blog and send me an email.

Selling your house without losing your sanity!

If you're thinking about selling your house, the first thing you need to prepare is your mind set before you even start on your home. Having your house up for sale is one of the most stressful things you will ever go through. Cleaning, repairing, staging, packing and keeping the house in a constant state of spotlessness is hard work and takes a toll on relationships and family time. Besides being a Realtor, my husband and I have sold 5 homes and we know that stress all too well. Even though all of our homes sold in less than 90 days, by the second week on the market I was pulling my hair out, screaming at the kids and doubting my decision to keep the house on the market. My famous last words were, "If this house doesn't sell by next week, then we're just going to forget it!" Unfortunately, one has to be more patient than that to sell a house, especially now when the average time on the market is over 120 days. So before you list your house, here's some tips to prepare yourself and your family mentally for life "on the market".

1. Make Lists. If you are like me and tend to make mental notes rather than actually writing down things, the task of getting a house prepared to sell can seem more overwhelming than it actually is. When you see a closet that is needs to be cleaned or a carpet that needs shampooing, jot it down. It will be out of your mind and down on paper where you can deal with it when you are ready.
2. Start small. When you walk by your sofa, fluff the pillows. Make the beds before you leave for work in the morning. Put the toys back in the toy box before you retire to bed at night. By taking a few minutes to start doing will start stirring up energy way deep down inside of you that you will need to call upon to get you through the next few months.
3. Visualize potential buyers looking at your home. You need to think like a buyer is going to think. Visualize the buyer walking up to your door and see their expression on first seeing of your home. It will help you be more mindful of the impressions your home will be making.
4. Talk. Have honest family discussions about how difficult it is going to be to keep the house picked up and how important everyone's cooperation will be. Lay out the ground rules as far in advance as possible. Let children know what is expected of them. Let them know it isn't forever and try and build in incentives and rewards for their help.
5. Keep a sense of perspective. Your house isn't going to be perfect. No buyer expects that. Don't psyche yourself out before you even get your house on the market. With the help of a good realtor, a professional stager, and possibly a handyman; your house will sell. Relax.

A Good Home must be made not Bought

I always explain to my clients and friends that our homes are reflections of who we are - because it's true. It says much more about you than you may have thought. Think about it. Our homes reflect everything that's happening and where we are in our lives. Our stress and our happiness permeate our space and affect our lives. I'm sure you've heard statements like. "That home has great energy" or "I didn't feel comfortable in their house". We get a real feeling about people and where they are in their lives when we literally walk into their lives at home. This greatly affects the saleability of your home, too! This concept isn't just about having lots of money to decorate either. I remember my grandparents house with great fondness and beauty. Yet, they were very simple people who very rarely bought new furnishings and lived very modestly. Despite that, my grandmother always kept a perfect home for her family- clean, warm, and loving. She created a soft place for her family to come home to - full of delicious scents flowing from her little kitchen. Her home reflected her heart and soul. So think about it. Your walls do talk. What do they say about you?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Flea Market Style Home

Part of the charm of a house decorated with repurposed items is the paradox of worn finishes against fresh fabrics, age-softened edges against crisp backgrounds, weathered metal against gleaming crystal accents. Those of us who love flea market style learn to see things for what they are. I've heard it said that Michelangelo believed that his true calling as a sculptor was to reveal the figure waiting within the block of stone. It's something like that for junkers like myself: An old door holds within it the possibilities of a mirrored plant stand; a stack of mismatched teacups waits to be transformed into a lamp; salvaged lumber reaches out to frame a family photo.

Creating Whimsy...

Every room needs a touch of whimsy. Whimsy is inventive. And creating is nothing you hire a fancy pants designer for. The element of surprise needs to be considered in creating whimsy because it's not always just a matter of what you include in your room but where you put it. Luckily the only limit to your success is your imagination, and anything short of outrageous works to your advantage. Accessories are smile-makers in your decorating scheme. Sometimes all it takes is one spectacular tongue-in-cheek accessory and you've created a look to tickle any one's fancy.

What Made You think of That?

If I was given a dime for every time I've been asked that question, my son's college education would already be paid for and he's only a sophomore. I don't think creativity can be explained in one simple answer; it's a recipe of multiple thoughts. All you need is a touch of craziness, a pocketful of mistakes, big gobs of humor and limitless imagination. And besides, southern women have always been resourceful. Remember Scarlett O'hara and her dress made out of draperies? The same is true in decorating. Reinvention is the key - whether it's taking a family heirloom and using it in a modern way or repurposing a flea market find. One thing that gets my heart beating faster is seeing something used for something other than what it's original purpose was. Don't hesitate to use quirky, one of-a-kind items in new ways; they're often the conversation pieces in the room! Here's some of my reinventions!

Shabby Chic and a Little Antique

Some of you remember my store "Shabby Chic and a Little Antique". If you blinked you missed it. I sold antique furniture that needed refinishing but instead I painted and distressed it. I still love dragging home "Ugly Betty's" as I call them and working a little magic on them. Here are some pieces that have been painted and distressed. You can pick up some great uglies at Anne's Tiques on Hargrove or at a thrift shop. I'll post a video soon showing my technique so that you can clutter up your own garage with paint, sanders, and furniture! I will also be posting pieces for sale every month soon.

The Life and Death of the Living Room

The living room has been pronounced dead - again. Cause of death: asphyxiation by fabric, furniture and disuse. Born around 1910 as an offshoot of the parlor, the living room has been survived by the family room or great room. In lieu of flowers, the house asks that you observe a moment of silence on a sofa at your nearest Starbucks.
Every generation proclaims the death of the living room, yet it keeps coming back. Now with the ever increasing popularity of the "open floor plan" of the family room and kitchen one would think the isolated living room would be less popular than ever. But think again! A year ago, my husband and I moved into our new open floor plan home after downsizing when the children moved out. We haven't watched one entire television show in the last year without one of us shouting to the other, "What did they say? Turn it up, will you?" Either the dishwasher's running or some one's clanging a pan while making supper or running the faucet. Or the kitchen counter is cluttered with heaps of paper and mail that accidentally get wet. Yesterday I tripped on my dog's Kong chew while taking a hot dish out of the oven. After averting a near disaster, I yelled at them to keep their toys picked up. The messiness and noise of the open floor plan is not something I thought of and stirs a desire in me to restore a pocket of order.
And so the living room keeps returning. It is the physical embodiment of repose amidst the whirl of daily activity. It's like the sleeping cat, whose idle purring inserts a quiet rhythm into the busy biology of the household. Like a cat, the living room sustains us simply by doing nothing at all!

Facebook has become the new Front Porch

I live in a garden home section of a large subdivision in Tuscaloosa. Built in 2006, the facades on our street all look the same and are swallowed up by the great beige blankness of garage doors. I work in my garage a lot, painting and glazing furniture and when the neighbors walk by they always stop to chat and see what piece of junk I'm attempting to rehab. I do the same when walking my dogs. We all make conscious attempts to maintain relationships in our little neighborhood. It takes effort and luck to catch your neighbor's out when you're out. Some of our older neighbors set their lawn chairs out in front of their shadeless garages and will enjoy a few hours and a glass of sweet tea while watching people, children and cars go by. A porch retreat would be a welcome addition to all of our homes. Let me clarify that - a front porch would be a welcome addition. All of our homes have back porches. Mine is even large and screened. The problem is the back porches don't allow us to look at anything but a patch of grass and a privacy fence. We want to see what's happening in our little neck of the world and wave at the mail lady and wonder what Mr. King's getting in that big box the Fedex man just dropped off. I love to take my dogs to a new neighborhood near me where all of the homes are built around the perimeter of the park and have huge front porches. I have developed a case of porch envy. If you are lucky enough to have a front porch make sure you decorate it like you would any room in your home. Make it an inviting place to sit and watch the world go by.....and don't forget to wave at the lady walking her dogs.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Budget Friendly Christmas Decorating Ideas

1. Go branch hunting outside. Spray-paint the branches in a silver or gold, pop them in a vase and voilà ... elegant holiday decor. Take it a step further and dangle some ornaments on them or tie a few bows.
2. Take red, white or green bath towels and stack three different sizes with coordinating ribbon, thus creating a "gift wrapped package." Place on bath counters or tiered rack behind toilet bowl to dress up the guest bath, says Connie Bandstra, author of Tasty Temptations
3. Fill large tubular vases with red cranberries to add a beautiful splash of Christmas red to any room. If you don't have any vases, take 3 or more clear glass wine bottles or other household bottles and fill them with cranberries. You can even take it a step further and add flowers, twigs, or greenery with water. Another easy tip is to fill candle trays with cranberries or even pour them into the center of your dining table with candles here and there and voilà!
4. Take clear vases or bottles, fill them with water, add holiday-colored food coloring -- a few drops will do -- and float candles in them or just line several up in a row to add a simple, cool holiday accent!

Home Sweet Home

My home, as the Velveteen Rabbit says, is Real. It's unpretentious and comfortable....a place I can come home to to nuture my soul after a long or stressful day. It's a place that connects with me visually and physically and like a warm smile at the front door is welcoming and friendly. Everything in my home is there because I love it, not necessarily because it's fashionable or the latest trend. And while LOVE is the underlying impetus in my decorating, my home encompasses many other emotional qualities. When you choose to furnish your home with repurposed objects, like I do, it's a decision to live surrounded by stories; sometimes our own, but also those of people we have never known - stories we imagine based on the evidence of living and loving etched into their possessions.

Living with "Trash Can Annie" by Dave (the husband)

I often laugh over the stuff my wife finds "valuable". Inevitably, when she brings home something from one of her scavenging trips, I'll question why in the world she would want such a thing. Most of the time she really doesn't know what will become of the oddities she finds; she's just sure that they needed to come home with her. Usually, they find their way to my work bench....funny how that happens. She will let her junk, er, I mean...."treasures" sit around the garage taking up valuable space for months. A few days ago, I got frustrated and asked her about a strange object that had been monopolizing all the space in the garage. She told me she's "waiting for it to tell her what it wants to be." I told her that just this morning I heard it finally say it just wanted be garbage and live at the dump instead of my garage. She just sighed and said it could live on "her side of the garage" until she figured it out. After 22 years, a man knows when he's in a losing battle.
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Beachy Bedroom

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Shabby Chic Living Room

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Shabby Chic Dining Room

Shabby Chic Dining Room