Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Entryway Woes

I'm a very informal person. When we moved to our empty nester home last year, nothing we owned seemed to "fit" this house. We have always lived in the typical relaxed southern style homes. This house is much more formal with soaring ceilings at the entryway and fancy crown moldings everywhere. Pretty. Just not me. I visited my neighbors homes to get decorating ideas for the soaring walls in the entryway and most of them had beautiful antique chests and gorgeous artwork. Pretty. Just not me. So, as in typical Trash Can Annie style, I found an old ladder - make that half of an old ladder; and hung it fairly high on the wall. For a while I had old baskets hanging from it, but it always felt too country for me. This weekend I concocted a new use for it. I put some ribbon on some greenery and distressed picture frames and hung them. Now I just need to put some pictures of people I know in those frames. They come with such attractive little children these days! Pretty children. Just not mine.

You Are How You Live

I'm reading Kathryn Robyn's book "The Emotional House" and want to share over the next few weeks how Robyn believes that by redesigning your home can change your life.
"How you live defines who you are. Not just to yourself, but to others as well. Your home can indisputably affect your position in the world and the quality of your relationships. If your home is in chaos, you are likely often running late for work or other events. You might feel frustrated or in a constant rush for time, forever feeling pressured by those around you. But your home defines you in other ways as well. The design and functionality send you daily messages about your talents, your work, your relationships, and your worthiness. It shouldn't define you in negative or limiting ways, rather it should support you, enliven you, and move you toward greater personal growth and a brighter future." When you start creating a Well Loved Home - one that supports you instead of weakening you- by shaking loose from the old labels that don't fit, defining yourself and your dreams, and making room for that in your home. Own who you are at home just like the rest of your life, and you will send ripples of your true spirit outward - into both your professional and social circles. every giant snowman began with a small handful of snow, so get ready to take a baby step toward your goal today. Then take another tomorrow. That is how you start to gather mass.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Kitchens of Consequence

What a Fun Day! The Board of the Friends of WUAL presented their 15th annual Kitchens of Consequence today as a fundraiser for Alabama Public Radio. This year six of the finest private kitchens in the Tuscaloosa area were featured along with tantalizing treats from some of our area's finest caterers. The tour allows the public to see new ideas in kitchen design while enjoying the efforts of local caterers who volunteer their time and food for the tour. My girlfriend and I schmoozed with the owners and got to see a full tour of many of the homes. So pretty! I wanted to share some of the pictures with you. Our winner for fanciest kitchen went to Dr. Carlos and Angela Berry. They had double dishwashers, double ovens, self opening and closing microwave and a butlers pantry to die for. I got a kick out of their teenage son who, while showing us the china in the butler's pantry said, "This is where we keep all the dead peoples dishes." Leave it to a teen boy to tell it like it is! Our favorite home was Kelly and Paul Horwitz's converted historic duplex. We loved the pine cabinets and overall simple clean lines of the home. Every home was beautiful!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chalkboards...all the rage!

Have you seen chalkboards springing up everywhere? If not, where have you been hibernating this winter? I made a few of my own last weekend on some old galvanized buckets. I love them! If you can't write well with chalk (like me) they now sell chalk "markers" in hobby stores that write like a marker but look like chalk when you're done. Chalkboard paint is available at any hobby or home store. Don't forget to prime if you are painting directly onto metal or an unpainted surface. Have fun and be creative!

Before you paint that wall pink or purple....

Little girls love brightly colored walls. I don't have any little girls, but I've been in enough homes for sale to know that if there's a girl in the house, odds are there is a purple or pink room lurking around the corner. I think that when you are living in your home, you should do whatever tickles your fancy. It's your home to enjoy and create. But as a realtor, I'm afraid I must be the bearer of bad news. Brightly colored walls are a real turn-off to potential buyers. So, if you are going to paint boldly, just be prepared to repaint a more quiet, neutral type color before you put your home on the market. Or better yet, put the color in your bedding and accessories that can go with you and paint the walls neutral to begin with. You will save yourself a lot of work. Here is an example of a charming little girls room that has color galore! It's all in very smart places, too. Notice the walls? You didn't? That's the whole idea

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Is your house trying to tell you something?

I get frustrated as a realtor when people complain about how long houses sit on the market these days. Have you been in three-fourths of the homes out there? Their current owners have let them "sit" for five, ten or fifteen years without caring for them, and then wonder why they are now "sitting" on the market not attracting buyer's. Hello? Do people really think that I have clients out there who are just waiting to find that special dirty, outdated house with a bright purple room and stained carpet? Before you think that you wouldn't be included in that group, take a stroll through your house and look at it through the eyes of a buyer. Better yet, a great reality check is to attend some open houses in your area and the go home and look at your house. I know it's hard. I know we are busy. But sometimes our houses can be the gauge to tell us whether we are just too darn busy. I just read Kathryn Robbyn's book "The Emotional House". I would highly recommend it for anyone who is feeling "stuck". It is a must read for those of you who haven't put much effort into maintaining your house and now are thinking of selling it. What Robbyn's refers to as an emotional house is basically the same as what I call a well loved home. A well loved home is not about the "wow" factor. It's all about the "ahhh" factor. As she states, "it's the special feeling you get when you enter a room and suddenly find yourself at ease. A well loved home carries the heart and soul of the people who live there, because their lifestyle and life principals are important enough to infuse their home with them. The benefit is simple physics: every action has an equal and reciprocal reaction-the house gives back."
People aren't looking for "show case" houses that are dressed up to impress but are really a fake environment that no one could comfortably live in. The well loved house nurtures your soul from the moment you step foot inside the front door. Over the next month, I'm going to post a series of steps to get there if you are lost in the haze of half finished house projects, neglected maintenance, and live-in dust bunnies that seem to be multiplying in leaps. You can get there from here. Baby steps, a plan and a little vision is all you need. I'll try and provide the last two and we'll hold hands while taking the baby steps. Remember, the house gives back!

More Hot Decorating Trends 2010

In case you hadn't noticed, flour sacks and burlap are hugely popular right now! Pillows, ottomans, roman shades, handbags.....anything and everything is chic when it's made out of these two fabrics. I caved and finally bought a pillow from Restoration Hardware (love it) and found some homemade ones on Etsy. If you need to add a touch of personality to your home, get a flour sack pillow! You can find them among other places at Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, and Ballards Design.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Beds that say "Sweet Retreat"

Hop on my Real Estate Caravan!

Each week I've decided to post a house on the site that as a Stager and a Realtor, I feel is a great buy and nicely staged house. This week I've chosen an old schoolhouse (that just happens to be on the lake with 12 acres) that was totally gutted and redone. I've begged my husband to buy me this home but I don't see his checkbook out. This home is listed by Sea Talantis of Realtysouth, Tuscaloosa, Al. It's located on Floyd Blackmon Road in Northport, Al. Enjoy this beautiful and historic spot of heaven. This is a well loved home!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sue Stages Opryland Hotel!

Okay, not the whole hotel And they didn't exactly ask me to do it. But what's a Stager to do when the convention is over and she's sitting back in her room? Stage it, of course! Relax, I'm really not that obsessed with staging. I just thought this might give you a laugh or two. Everything I used was in the room. Make that in the hotel. I did have to do a miniature version of dumpster diving. Not real dumpsters. I needed some props. Do you know they glue their pictures to the wall? Like somebody is really going to try and take them off! (on second thought, never mind) After I had exhausted pulling out everything out in the room, I took to the hallways. First stop was the room service tray outside the door down the hall waiting to be picked up. Yuck. But it had some pretty little flowers in a teeny tiny vase. Perfect. I'll take that. The flower arrangement that I placed on the desk took a little bit more hunting down. Hmm, which room were my friends Todd and Sarah staying in? (Palin, that is. They're here for the Tea Party Convention) Using a bit of detective work, I found the "everybody-who's-anybody floor." They didn't have rooms, they had suites. And just as I expected, a (once) beautiful bouquet of purple tulips was set outside the door on bombay chest. (Sorry, Sarah. I owe you one.) I did add my pashmina shawl to look like a throw and my traveling blankie. But that's it. I'm debating whether to leave it this way for the maid to appreciate or move it all back. I'll sleep on it. Bed Before
Bed After
Desk Before
Desk After

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Never underestimate the power of curb appeal.

Look at what a difference a front porch makeover can have! Remember, you only get one shot to make a good first impression. If a potential buyer has found faults before stepping foot inside your home, he or she will have formed a mindset that will continue to negatively influence how they see the rest of your home. In other words, make the outside pretty, too!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Well Loved Daughter

I am a Well Loved Daughter. Look what I just opened! Four HUGE bottles of the tulip scented Fruits and Passions fabric softener by Art Homes that I searched like a mad lady for and never found. Leave it to my mom to find these! She is the single most resourceful mother anyone could possibly have. I really believe she could beat any private detective with her hands tied behind her back. She can find little know medical facts for rare dog diseases and then educate her veterinarian. She's found strange dead relatives and rewritten our entire family tree correctly. And she always - let me stress always, figures out her Christmas presents. This sixth sense or detective quality used to irritate me when I was younger. I couldn't pull anything over on my mom. She had already figured out what I was going to do before I did it. She just didn't tell me. And she didn't tell me about this great surprise either! I didn't even know she was looking. Mom, you know you are officially an "enabler" now. Sending a fabric softener addict her drug of choice qualifies you. However, I tried to figure out where she ordered it from and the writing is all in french. So unless she reveals her sources, she can limit my obsession (which is probably recommended.) I washed my sheets and all my blankets yesterday .When I crawled in to that heavenly smell last night, knowing I had used almost the very last of my tulip softener, I started getting a bit panicky. Today, I'm the happiest little blogger in Tuscaloosa. I'm leaving Friday for Nashville for a blogging convention to learn how to pitch to advertisers to my blog and turn it into a lucrative sideline. I really think Fruits and Passions needs to be my first advertiser, don't you? Thank you again, Mom! What can you say about a daughter who's favorite present ever is four jugs of fabric softener?
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