Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday Musings: Overwhelming Grief in Our Small Community

It has been a time of sorrow for a little neighborhood.  Two of our beloved families suffered a double-hit of loss.

Faye and her husband Bill live down the street from me.  They have been residents of our 'hood since its inception.  Faye was 78 and full of life.  She was fun and funny.  Not to mention cute!  I remember one of the last things I told her was that her butt looked good in her (designer) jeans. She wiggled her behind and laughed a wicked giggle. 

Faye and Bill have a son, Alvin. Alvin and his wife, Kathi, bought a house in our neighborhood in 2005.

Kathi's mother has been sick and was in the hospital in a nearby town.  Kathi's mother passed at 1:55AM on Thursday morning.  Faye had a reoccurrence of cancer was in a rehab center for a few weeks. Faye passed at 5:30AM Thursday morning.  Alvin got the call that his mother had passed while they were in the car on the way back from the hospital for Kathi's mother.

The coincidence of one couple losing both mothers within hours on the same day is mind boggling. I visited Kathi and Alvin's home Friday afternoon.  They were not home but making Kathi's mother's arrangements.  Their daughter, Allison, was home and said she was simply in shock over losing both grandmothers.

When I stopped by Bill's house, his eyes were glassy from tears.  He lost the love of his life.  "She put up with me for 60 years".  His loss was palatable.  Then Bill said, "I guess you heard about Kathi's mother?" and shook his lowered head.

Please pray for our families.  They have an incomprehensibly difficult week ahead of them.

The Good Times
Here we are at a neighborhood "Hat Party".  That's Ms. Faye on the back row with her wine glass!
We will miss our Faye.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Staging Virginia's Bookshelves

Happy Friday, y'all.  Can't believe the summer is zooming by at warp speed.

Last time, we looked at the staging of Virginia's Family Room.  Her Family Room has wonderful bookshelves.  Virginia had some great accessories that were fun mix and match with a few things I had.  I kept the mid-section of encyclopedias. The books are beautifully bound, add elegance and ground the other sides.

Virginia comes from an old Southern family and has tons of beautiful silver pieces.  I raided her silver closet (yes, really--she has a closet for her silver) and picked out some to-die-for-pieces.  The silver was tarnished. I decided to let the patina stand alone.  The older ladies in our neighborhood turned their nose up at my audacity to display silver without polishing it.

Take a look.

Since the bookshelves are darker wood, the silver trays, bowl, candlestick and small cup really pop.

Sorry about the poor quality of the before picture.  It will give you an idea of how we started.
Virginia reports that she loves gazing at the shelves while she watches TV.  She says she never payed  attention to the bookshelves until after they were staged. Since the built-in shelves are part of the architecture of the house, it is important to draw attention to them as a selling feature.
If you look closely, you will see that the second shelf has two silver trays, a smaller tray mounted in front of a larger tray.  Displaying one-in-front-of-the-other gives dimension.  The top shelf holds a small silver bowl with two stone balls and a small pronged piece of driftwood. I stole a picture from the hallway for this shelf. Four small square mirrors were used to the back of a few shelves.  The reflection of the mirrors adds light to this fairly dark corner of the room.
I used a small galvanized bucket next to an ornate silver tray.  The juxtaposition of the silver with the tin works--industrial with elegant.

So my friends, must silver be polished before it is put on display?

Yea? or Nay?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Staging Virginia's Family Room

Virginia's fireplace is GORGEOUS.  The stone is rich in dimension and color.  The mantle extends the full length of the fireplace.  This fireplace is definitely one of the outstanding selling features of the house.

Part of the deal with staging is to accentuate architectural features for the buyer to appreciate.  I removed everything that was on the mantel and started from scratch.  Here's the after!
When you stand directly in front of the pictures the background disappears into the stone and the flowers appear to be growing out of the stone. (Really....I'm not on mind altering drugs!) I added a gorgeous silver tray behind the chunky mellow-yellow candle holders. The two vases are from my staging loot. The large triangle pottery piece is Virginia's and was hidden in an unused guest bedroom.

Here's the before.
I eliminated the wing chair because it blocked a door to the deck.  The two huge leather sofas had to stay in the same L shape.  See the white mirror behind the sofas?  It was added.  It is mother-of-pearl and was purchased at Pier 1.  Next, check out the lamp between the sofas.  It came from Home Goods and with a price tag of only $29! 

Similar lamp for $150

Virginia's favorite project in the house are the bookshelves in the family room.  Stay tuned next time and we will visit her staged bookshelves.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sunday Musings: The Best Way to Discourage Business.

This is what I envision for our living room.  Our living room has a fireplace and is about the same size.
Southern Living
Or this one.  A bit more formal.  I have the same floor to ceiling windows....
Cote de Texas
It would be fabulous to have clients over to my house. But I don't encourage it. Since staging is design/decor related, folks expect my house to be amazing.
Wrong-y Dong-y.

I've been bitching about my living room for years.  It is a small room that is hard to arrange--lots of windows and doors.  I have two full-size-coordinating-but-not-the-same-sofas. I have shopped and shopped to replace them to no avail. There are are generous chairs, an upholstered ottoman, a 39" square coffee table, and an entertainment center.  As I post this (making a mental inventory). I realize there are also two console tables, three occasional tables and h-e-l-l-o two full size Ficus trees.  Truth: my trees have strings of lights on them (I am a recovering redneck, ya know).
I could just show you a picture.  Why don't I do that?

Cuz I'm embarrassed. 

My living room does not reflect the attention to detail I give my work. When I stage, I create flow and cohesion. Furniture editing is premo.  There is no clutter.   My rooms are pretty.  If I had to evaluate my living room, as I do my clients, I would give me a "D".  (I do love my art gallery wall.) 

What I am coming around to acknowledging, is that my hodge-podge living room fits the way we live.  I never cringe when my neighbors come by to share a glass of wine and bring in their dog.  I  don't scold my grandson when he spills.  We lounge, eat, drink, and wallow in our living room.

A friend was over Friday night. She arranged a nest of throw pillows, threw her feet up and had her beer precariously perched on the sofa. She was comfortable and happy and so was I.  I'm baby sitting my grand dog Cooper.  Cooper curled up with my friend.  On the opposite sofa, my pooch, Izzie, settled in with me after 'digging' the perfect spot.  Good times my peeps. Good times.

So there you have it.  I don't practice what I preach.  Of course, I'm not selling my house but somehow that doesn't satisfy my insecurity over being judged for my not-so-grand living room.

I covet a beautiful Traditional Home living room.  It would be smart to show case my talent and entertain clients....

But, it ain't gonna happen anytime soon.

So, stop in for a glass a wine.  And bring your dog.

Friday, August 1, 2014

FAQ: What's the Worst Chore When Moving?

Mr. Clean

The absolute worst chore when moving is

........drum roll......





You have prepped your house for sale, staged it :), kept it clean and show ready, weathered critical remarks from agents and buyers, been stood up and let down, negotiated price, made repairs, packed and closed.

You are exhausted from the whole process.  And let's face it, after that offer is a sealed deal, most likely housekeeping is the first thing you let go!

Don't try to save money by cleaning your own house after it is sold.  Hire a cleaning service.  I recommend a service that specializes in cleaning vacant houses.  You know that a vacant house shows every particle of dirt, wall nicks and dings from moving furniture, mold previously covered by shampoo bottles, etc.

 The job that my sellers despise the most is cleaning out the refrigerator.
I hate cleaning the refrigerator even when I'm not moving.  Check the dog in this picture.  Love those booties!
If you know someone who is moving, do them a favor; gift them a house cleaning service.
Did you clean your old house when you moved?  What's your vote? 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Staging Virginia's Dining Area

Hi everyone.  It is hot-o-la in Raleighwood.  Hope you are fairing better.  The humidity and mosquitoes are making it difficult to spend time outdoors.  The real estate market continues to be busy--thus keeping moi busy.  Hard to believe I was a lazy slug just a few short weeks ago.

I digress.  Here is Virginia's dining room after staging.
The house has an open floor plan.  The kitchen is on the other side of the bar stools (right hand corner of picture).  The family room is in the adjacent area.  My staging goal was to make this a more designated space as a dining 'room' versus an 'area'.  Since it is the only dining space in the home I wanted show that it could accommodate many people (if you added table panels and chairs). 
Love this runner!  Picked it up a Ross for $7.  Sooooo lovely with Virginia's two tiered metal baskets and my signature Granny Smiths....The candlesticks came from World Market.  (Dang! I never remember to light candles for pictures--probably because it was 100 degrees and daylight.)

Here's the dining area before.

 I turned the table allowing more space on either side. I brought in the etageres from the kitchen to flank the windows.  You can see I went a bit crazy with metal work.  The metal arch over the windows centered with the table worked out absolutely fabulous. Thanks Jim-V's DH, for hanging it.  StagerLinda was to chicken climb the ladder and hang that sucker!  (I would have been dead it I'd said, "no, I don't think so--take it down.)

The bottom of the chair seats is woven, as are the shelves of the etageres and the bamboo bar stools.

Ain't it cra-cra how I get high from coordinating pieces?

Here is a centerpiece I just finished.  Remember when I made a similar one for Realtor Sandi's dining room?  Well, her Mama took a shine to it and wanted a similar one.  Finding a boat vase was a mission. Then, wouldn't ya know, the same flowers were nowhere to be found.  I bought tons of  stuff, tore it up, then arranged and rearranged.
Hey y'all, thanks.  I am SO GRATEFUL for all of my readers.  I know I'm delinquent with posts.  Can't seem manage to put something out if my heart ain't into it because I'm busy or distracted.

Love y'all!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Staging Virginia's Kitchen

Big changes were made in Virginia's kitchen.  The good news is that none of them were expensive.

This cute and cozy little Bistro set was placed in front of the windows.  It replaces a rather hefty butcher block island that floated in the middle of the floor.  Buyers LOVE large kitchens.  I wanted this kitchen to look as large as possible.  Late summer is the perfect time of year to purchase a bistro table and chairs on sale.

I also moved the pair of metal etageres flanking the windows into the dining room. The etagers added to the cramped feel of this kitchen.There was a bevy of counter top appliances, utensil holders, and accessories in this kitchen. We transferred boxes and boxes of stuff into storage.  I made two fresh floral arrangements from $16 grocery store flowers and greenery from Virginia's yard.  I bought the large urn and smaller vase at a consignment shop while vacationing.  
I removed all the little doodads on top of her cabinets. Yes, that is a leftover Christmas Poinsettia on the island trying desperately to hang on.  RIP Poinsettia.  It went to the backyard compost.

This is the kitchen during transition.  Look how large it is! 
This is a better picture of the cool pottery I used for the flower arrangements.

 Here is a wee counter top vignette. Using a see through glass canister creates the illusion of more counter space. 
I love to add edibles when staging.  I think it sends a subliminal message of 'this is a fun house'.  We went for jelly beans.

Next posting, I'll reveal the dining room!