Friday, August 31, 2012

A Flip-Flop Farewell

Labor Day weekend....the last official weekend of summer.

I had a collection of pictures to show you of  many of the things I will miss come the end of summer: my all time love--the beach (the only place I've found that makes all-things-right-in-the-world), vine ripe tomato sandwiches on white bread with real mayo (it's a Southern thang) , driving with the sunroof open and music ("Call Me, Maybe" to the Beatles) blaring, silly fruity cocktails--this year's fav: pink lemonade and Belvedere, the smell of coconut suntan lotion, crazy pastel toe nail polish (I sported "Lotus" this summer), the smell of charcoal waiting for burgers or shrimp, colorful wide brimmed sun hats, sitting on the porch, and so much, much more.

But then I decided to edit.

The one thing I most will miss the MOST about summer is wearing flip flops.


I am a bare-foot-flip-flop-lovin'-mama.  So the single thing I will hate the most at the end of summer is giving up my flip flops.

How about you, my lovelies?  What will you miss the most about summer 2012?

Happy Labor Day Weekend, all!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

New Hardwood Floors!

House Beautiful

We are getting new hardwood floors!  I am crazy-over-the-moon-excited; the Cowboy--not so much. He doesn't like his world rocked.  The installation means our lives will be topsy turvy for a while.  Three rooms of furniture (and 2 overflowing closets) must be totally evacuated.  The new floors are scheduled to be installed in a couple of weeks.

The foyer and family room have 2 1/2" inch oak.  The dated wood floors have the original honey-orange stain from 1985.  The oak will be striped and stained to match the new floors in the living room and master. 

Chestnut Stain?
My plan is to go with the same oak planks and use a medium chestnut stain.  Our kitchen has dark Chestnut cabinets.  I would love the dark chestnut for the hardwoods.  However, we have pets, rowdy friends, rowdy friends with dogs, and a grandchild.  Also, our house has many windows and skylights which bleach stain.

Do I go for beauty or function.  What do you think?  The living room and family room adjoin the kitchen.  This is an example of the color of the kitchen cabinets.

Mannington Dark Chestnut

 This is an example of the medium Chestnut stain.

Yeah, I know the darker looks prettier......



Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mirrors: Botox for Wrinkled Rooms

Mea Culpa-
Holy Moly- what I've been through just to get you a post!  Sorry for the delay.  I've missed you! Don't give up on me, baby.

Mirrors Are Magic
I love me some mirrors! Mirrors are my favorite accessory for staging. I collect 'em in all sizes, styles and frames.  Mirrors are crazy amazing for making any area in a house ooze appeal.  And, mirrors are a big bang for the buck. Of course, their reflective power is great for increasing light in a room.

Hocus Pocus: Mirrors create the illusion of more space. 

House Beautiful


Jennifer Brouwer
Funky and Fun Mirrors

Check out these mirrors now on sale on the Joss and Main website. Talk about a pop of color and a design statement! I can see these mirrors in an entry, power room, a girl's room or one of those McMansion master closets. The price of these mirrors blows me away.  The sale price is $279.95, reduced from $562.38 (or that's the price that has a line drawn through it).  For heaven's sake, the frames are resin!

StagerLinda Copy Cat
Here is a funky mirror I bought at a consignment shop for $16.  Looks kinda like the ones above, no?  (Talk about funky, I tried to wiggle out of the shot and managed to get the reflection of  the top of my outdoor umbrella.)

Linda Beam

What funky color do you think I should paint my find?  (I'm leaning towards turquoise....)  I want it to look fun and fresh.  Love to hear your suggestion!
(I have no idea why this print is so small I am hitting the Publish button and will figure it out later!)

Thanks so very, very much for reading my blog and hanging with me during technical issues!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

3-D Vignette Staging Around a Picture

One of my favorite vignettes when staging is to use a picture and 3-D accessories.  I like to take the subject of the picture and 'pull it out' with accessories that reflect the theme of the picture.

Here's a porcelain kitty  gazing into a crystal ball with similar flowers to the painting inside the crystal.  I thought it looked kind of ethereal with the flowered canvas.

For this rustic pencil drawing of jugs, I arranged a variety different shaped vases. I like the way the tall vase has similar lines as the large pitcher in the picture. (pitcher in a picture?) The glaze of the vases complements the gray tones of the drawing.  Also, the brownish tones in the vases picks up the color of the matting and the sticks relate to the wood frame.

With this painting of a vase filled with flowers, I surrounded it with pottery vases in similar colors.  The vases pick up accent colors used in the painting: shades of green, rust and crimson.

This picture is from my house.  I don't load up 7 vases for a single vignette when I stage!  I've collected these vases over the years and all of them have been used for staging in many, many houses.

I'd love to hear what you think!  3-D a GO or a NO?



Looks like I'm back in business with pictures!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Gift of Thoughtful Words

This poem was sent to my by my best friend many years ago.  I think the feeling behind the words is rich. I pay it forward to other friends.  Handwritten, in a beautiful card, I believe it is a precious gift to receive...

                    Oh, the comfort--the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person,
                    Having neither to weigh thoughts,
                    Nor measure words--but pouring them
                    All right out--just as they are--
                    Chaff and grain together--
                    Certain that a faithful hand will
                    Take and sift them--
                    Keep what is worth keeping--
                    And with the breath of kindness
                    Blow the rest away.

                                                                                                    Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

Do you share this sacred bond with someone special?  Where you can spill and they get it without you having to explain yourself?

Who would you pass these words on to? 

Still having technical problems....
I have no clue why I can't post pictures to my blog.  Maybe it's the internet, maybe it's my new blog design, maybe it is something I am doing or not doing....anyway, I intend to keep postingWhat does this poem have to do with staging?  It is my POV that everything from relationships to selling your house is based on the power of emotion.


Friday, August 17, 2012

A Stylist with Style

My hair stylist, Amber, was planning to move to a larger studio. For months, we poured over floor plans, pictures, layouts and color chips. When the move didn't work out she decided to update her current wee space.  No need for the plans go to waste!  I knew that you would enjoy seeing her cute place.

Here is Amber's "waiting area".  The  cute little glossy white tucked chair came from Amazon.  The wall color is Benjamin Moore Original Gray.  The mirrored table from HomeGoods.

Chandelier was a CraigsList find for $125. It is in the corner above the white chair. Amber was going for "Hollywood Glam". She is not a color girl.  Amber wanted white, gray, mirrors and black and white photography.

For the Gallery Wall, Amber used black and white pictures from "W" magazine and framed them herself.

Her wash station has an arched mirror. 

Cute little sconces flank the station mirror.  It is so nice not to have awful florescent lighting!  See the the movie  reels atop her color station--more Hollywood glam!

Here's Amber mixing my color.  She bought an ugly  brown entertainment center from Craigslist.  She uses it for color storage.  A fresh finish with BM White Dove made it come of life.  See the huge mirror behind her? Another Craigslist find that she repainted in silver.

This is a jewelry chest.  She keeps scissors, combs, etc. in here.  Amber is going to give it a coat of white paint when time allows.  I love the curves!

Do  you see the very subtle stencil on the wall?  The  overlay was done in Benjamin Moore's Galveston Gray.

Sharing some love after my cut and color! Ummm... hugging and laughing made my bangs fall.

Didn't she do a great job?

Happy weekend, y'all!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mule Days for StagerLinda


Having some technical difficulties with my new blog. 

It's slow going....but I'll get there.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Do You Ever Fake It?

Designers typically pooh-pooh artificial flowers for being low-rent.  

True Confession: I am an offender. Yes, I use fake flowers for staging.  But, here's the deal, I add fresh greenery.

My flower arrangements photograph well for MLS shots. The internet is first place 90% of home buyers shop.

Here is an arrangement of silk poppies in a foyer.
Linda Beam
I incorporated ivy and asparagus fern fronds from live plants.  The ivy and fern help camouflage the stems of the artificial flowers--a dead giveaway.   Here's a close up. 

Linda Beam
See the yellow flower peeking out of the bowl of Gerber Daisies?  It's fake!  I needed a spot of color for the picture.

Linda Beam

For all you you DIYer's, here is the vase used in the first picture with the Poppies.  It is a Goodwill find--loved the pattern and shape--hated the color. 

Linda Beam
Again, the after.
I spray painted it bronze to pick up the darker shade in the mirror.  I added the gold satin ribbon to pick up the ligher gold in the mirror and to contrast to the dark vase.

What do you say? Yay? or Nay? to artifical flowers. 



Sunday, August 12, 2012

Don't "Call Me Maybe"... Call Me about Paint Colors

A realtor asked me to quote vignette staging for her vacant house listing.  She said the house is getting showings but 'nobody is sticking around'.   It is a cute house and has a lot to offer.

HATE this color!
Could I just give her a simple pricing quote for the staging?  Nooooooooo....I had give her my opinion. I can't stage a house when there are obvious problems that need to be addressed. 

This house suffers from poor paint color choices.  (Again, I reinterate poor paint colors for selling.) The Family Room is the first room you enter. 

Linda Beam
It is a taupey-mauvey-brown.  This Family Room feels dark and depressing. The color does nothing to showcase the wood floors or brick fireplace. It desparately needs a new paint color!

Black for Drama!
I also recommended that the staircase banisters and railings be painted because they look dingy, are dinged and dated. 

For drama, I would paint them black to coordinate with the fireplace insert, the chandelier in the dining room  and the Ventian Gold granite countertops in the kitchen.

The owners are going with the trim-white color. It is the more conservative route and will, no doubt, be a vast improvement.

Nicely Updated Kitchen & Spacious Dining Room

Linda Beam
Linda Beam
Here are the adjoining rooms that a potential buyer sees after entering the front door:
Linda Beam
Good News/Bad News
The good news is I will be vignette staging the house after it is repainted.  The bad news is the owners weren't receptive hearing any advice on color.  The owners decided to repaint
all the rooms using the neutral color beige they repainted the kitchen. (The kitchen walls were Kelly Green before it went on the market.) 

The realtor told me, "They have leftover paint."

And, that's ok--at least that color in the Family Room is going away....

Look at This Big Porch
Have to show you the great screened porch and large fenced back yard.  Somebody is going to be very happy in this house!
Linda Beam
What is your reaction the the color in the Family Room?  I love hearing your opinions.



Thursday, August 9, 2012

New Design! What Do Ya Think?

Hey y'all,
Yippee! I have a new blog design. It is still in process but I am thrilled!  I feel like it is 'me'.  Hope you like my new look.  Tiffany blue-ish for lux,  green because it says 'fresh', and  the finger print on the header because I put my fingerprint on everything that I do.

Happy Friday, y'all!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Repurpose Dumpster-Bound Vases into Yard Art

Occasionally, my accessories get broken in transit for houses I stage.  Today, I unpacked some items to restock and found two broken vases.  I set them to the side to be thrown away.

For some reason, I couldn't bring myself to get rid of these pieces.  What to do with them?  Maybe I could cleverly disquise the chips with some carefully placed ivy.  No....using something broken is bad Feng Shui (not to mention, tacky). 

Walking out of my studio, I grabbed the long vase by the neck--then it hit me.  Yard art!  I love me some yard art!  I literally ran to my Koi Pond.  There, next to the trunk of Japanese Maple, I buried broken vase #1 up his shoulders.  He became my new 'garden tower'.
Then I scurried to the natural area in the front yard.  Broken vase #2, I nestled, bottom up, under an evergreen bush.  Check out the doppled red glaze against the green needles!
My yard art may look a bit eccentric, but I gotta tell ya, I LOVE 'EM! (BTW, in the far right corner there is something shaped like a Hershey Kiss.  It was a hanging bird feeder (Goodwill)  that I took the chains off and turned upside down.  The glaze has weathered but I still think it is cool!)

'Cowboy' returned from work and simply stated, "I see you have been busy in the yard today."  Poor guy, he never knows what he is going to come home and see.

What do you think of dumpster-bound vases being flipped and used as yard art?



Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Anniversary of My First Staging: August 7, 2003

This date is firmly imbedded in my mind. I had been going door-to-door peddling my staging business to local realtors since May.  In 2003, NOBODY in Raleigh was even familiar with the concept of home staging.  I had no bites until a couple, relocated here from California, (where everybody stages) contacted me they were moving.

Here is the only picture I have from that day.

The staging looks pretty dated and elementary by today's standards. I was so proud of myself for opening up the space and placing the furniture on an angle!  (I don't know what I was thinking hanging that stupid wreath up near the ceiling.)

My then-assistant called me a couple of days before and informed me that the California couple was insistant the house be staged by August 7.  There was a Parade of Homes starting that weekend and California couple wanted their house ready for the hoards of people touring Show Homes in the surrounding neighborhoods.

I was out of town at my father's funeral when I got the call.  The house, "must be staged."  Back when I let the tail-wag-the-dog, I rose above my grief, went home, put on my professional hat, and got the job done.

By the way, nobody viewed their house that week.

The hoards were only interested in seeing the gorgeous new builder homes.

Live and learn,


Monday, August 6, 2012

The Lorissa Pump - Staging for Your Feet (I guess...)

I like shoes as much as the next girl.  I even wear some pretty funky and fun shoes for a chick of my advanced years.  But, Holy Hannah, these shoes cracked me up!  I just opened HauteLook to check out their daily specials. Behold the Sam Edleman Lorissa Pump:

Pointy spikes! Pointy spikes! Pointy spikes!

I have 'Lucy' tendencies. 

I can't imagine the damage I would do to myself when crossing my legs or getting into a car.  (No driving in the Lorissa Pump, I  presume.) 

My cat is constantly rubbing against me.  She would be injured and half of her coat would be attached to my pointy spikes. (What ya think Sam? A new look for Winter? Fur attached to the back and heel--call it the Linda Pump?)

Can you see me descending my carpeted stairs when suddenly the pointy spikes from the Lorissa Pump catch in the carpet nap?

Please do correct me if you see folly in my rant. 

Would you wear the Lorissa Pump? 

Hurry!  You can get them for a great price today!



Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Importance of Looking the Part to Convenience Your Audience

I'm consistantly ranting about the importance of staging a house for it to sell.  It's not always what sellers want to hear, but it is what they need to do to get their house market ready.

Actors often undergo radical transformations to sell us on their character in a role.

Photo by Janet Meyers

I'm not asking sellers to do anything as painful or drastic as shaving their head...but in order to appeal to your target audience--the buyer--your house has to look 'the part'.

If you don't recognize her, that is Cynthia Nixon.  Earlier this year, she shaved her head for a Broadway play, Witt, portraying a cancer patient.   Did you recognize her?  Big difference since Sex and the City (oh, how I miss the girls!), huh?

Get your house looking the part so it a can bring in the big bucks.



Friday, August 3, 2012

Beds in front of Windows? It doesn't work for selling.

When you house is on the market, you are selling the architecture and the view.   A house needs to show as light, bright and airy. Blocked windows can impede that feeling.

In this beautiful bedroom, we are selling the fireplace, the windows, and the view.  The furniture configuration is not condusive for selling.
Lisa Sherry
High headboards are very on-trend right now. They are a great design look, but please put them on a wall and not in front of windows when you are selling your house.


The bed in this picture is simply too big for the tiny space.  It is literally 'eating' square footage as well as blocking the windows.  This room would show better with a day bed.


If your room is too small to prevent placing the bed in front of the window, you should rethink the furniture and its placement in the room.  How you live in your house and how you sell your house are two completely different things.



My blogger friend, Lisa Meade of Lisa Meade Designs in Charlotte, was asked to create a design board for Olioboard.  The winner of the challenge gets to be a Style Spotter at the High Point Furniture Market this fall!  This is a highly coveted honor in the design world.  Please vote for her.

Lisa Mende Design/Aqua Delight


Happy Friday, y'all,


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

An Accidental Gallery Wall - Economical Inspiration

I like gallery walls but never have put one up.  Gallery walls are typically too distracting for  staged houses.
All pictures from Pinterest
As mentioned in my last post, I am gathering fabrics and resources for redecorating my living room.  The living room sofa needed pictures for selling on CraigsList.  

Here, a picture with a bed pillow, shows that the sofa is deep enough for sleeping. (I am a hopeless stager.)

This picture shows CraigsList folks it is a brand name piece of furniture. (Former career in Sales and Marketing.)
I was moving a painting behind it to get a better 'full frontal' of the sofa when I happened to scanned the tall cathedral ceiling wall.  Little Linda (inside my head) said, 'that would make a great gallery wall'.  I immediately started hunting and gathering from every room in my house: water colors of the beach, oils of landscapes and flowers and an abstract of a 'blue man', a pencil drawing of a beautiful nude,  and pastels of New England scenery.

I grabbed a ladder, my tool bag and went to work .  No plan, no forethought.  Just nail and go. Up and down. Up and down.  Stand back. Up and down. Stand back. Adjust. Level. Repeat.  (That wall has more holes in it than Bonnie and Clyde post posse shooting.)

This is the best picture I could get. (Skylights are not condusive to great photography.)  I am so delighted over my new gallery wall that I am going to postpone my redecoration for a while.

Hmmmmm..... don't you agree reinventing a space is much more economical!