Friday, December 20, 2013

FAQ Friday: "What about my Christmas decorations when I'm selling?"

Sherri Shepherd's House  (Bing)
Trish Yearwood's House - Bing
I say decorate to your heart's content.  Yes, decorations are distracting.  Yes, decorations prevent a buyer from seeing the spaciousness of the room.

However, the holidays are sentimental and sweet.  It can be heartwarming for a buyer to see your house decked out for family and friends. Emotional appeal, ya know....

"THE PROBLEM" with Christmas decorations when you are selling:
Realtors seldom (if ever) take a set of pictures beyond the listing pictures.  If your decorated house is photographed for MLS you must follow up with your realtor.  It is essential to take new pictures sans a Christmas tree, wreaths, luminaries, mantel fringe, reindeer and stars.  Seeing these December delights is sad in April!

In Closing
Christmas is rapidly approaching.  Be good to you and don't run yourself ragged.  Enjoy the spirit of the season.

Watch What's Happening featured Sarah Jessica Parker.  Andy Cohen asked her, "What is your favorite part of The City (NYC) during the holidays?"  She thought for a moment and replied, "The Streets. The streets are magical.  It is like living in an Advent Calendar."

Perfect analogy of my experience last week!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Quick Tip to Reduce Holiday Spending

Hi folks!  Aren't we all crazy-busy this time of year?  Between work and play, I've had nary a minute to chat with you.

We just returned from a fun trip to NYC.  Christmas in New York City is magical.  The City was crowded but everyone was joyful and in the holiday spirit. It snowed while we were there Saturday.  Yippee! What fun to cruise the store fronts and Rockefeller Center in snowfall!
At Cartier's, I drooled over the display of countless sparkling diamonds. I had never seen a zillon caret yellow diamond--what a beauty!

The endless details of the couture gowns at Versace amazed me. Tiny little beading and tucks hand were sewn to perfection.

Here's were we stayed.  And, here is where our spending escalated.

Iroquois Hotel Manhatten
 I put this
in the back pocket of  these

and it plunged into this

Bye-bye 1,000 pictures and texts.  Bye-bye client contact list.  Bye-bye friends and family info.

Buy-buying a new I-phone was NOT on my holiday spending list.

Quick Tip to Reduce Holiday Spending:  Don't put your cell phone in your jeans and hit the loo.

Friday, December 6, 2013

FAQ: Do you sell the items you put in staged homes?

Add caption
I usually do not sell my staging props.  I buy items based on scale, texture, color and interest.  So, I have a group items in different categories that can work together.

When I first started staging (11 years ago), mauvy pink and powder blue accessories were still popular.  I let folks buy those funky colored items.

Do you remember balls: twig, ceramic, glass, etc?  The may still be popular but I don't use them for staging anymore.  I gifted my balls to my friends.

Stuff that goes out of style (skinny candlesticks, little pillows, those vases with lines and swirls in them--do you know what I'm talking about?) or things that don't photograph well (clear glass, smallish pictures) go to Goodwill.

How about that miserable monster storm!  Stay warm my friends!  It was 79 degrees here today.  Freezing rain forecast for tomorrow night.  Cra-Cra weather.
Happy weekend!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Color This Bedroom Re-Do Colorfully DONE!

I finally finished my client's bedroom!  It would have been faster if I weren't so 'thrifty'. 

Rug was $225 at Pier 1. Chevron throw $14.99 at Tuesday AM.  Grey bed treatment from Kohl's (client bought). Red bed treatment from Macy's $149. Two small aqua pillows (with tassels and silver medallions) from Ross $6.99 each.  Starburst $89 from Pier 1.  Four black framed prints I did myself using Michael's frames.  Lamps $69 each at Home Goods. Craigslist night stands $170 and leather ottoman $280. Sheer Voile Curtain Panels $14.99/package of two came from Tuesday AM (an exhaustive search to many of their stores to collect 5 packs). 

Wall color Benjamin Moore Tranquil Blue.  My client freaked when she saw me carry in the red rug and comforter.  She said she called her husband and whisper-screamed "Linda is putting RED in our bedroom!"  I saw the panic in her eyes and told her to trust me.  I'm sure it was a long afternoon for her as she waited until her room reveal.
Statue was $35 from TJ Maxx (years ago).  Three Aquamarine candle holders $29 from Z Gallery.
Look at this vintage tray I got at our local Thieves Market for $85! Beveled mirror with etching!  It is a beauty!  The mirror was my splurge item.
Love these little' jewelry holders' I picked up for a few dollars also from the Thieves Market.
Here is the BEFORE.
My client is very happy!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Musings: Quite the Conundrum


I am an animal lovin' carnivore. 

Thanksgiving turkey and all the trimmings are a fav.

But I make an "Ewww" face when all means of turkeys, wild, domesticated (and inflatable), guest star on CBS Morning News, Nightly News, Sunday Morning, and commercials.

North Carolina is #2 in turkey production so there tons of turkey tales on local news.

Let us celebrate the beloved turkey this Thanksgiving week.

Kinda 'dead man walking', no?

Happy Thanksgiving Week! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

After Pictures of the Purple & Green House

Here is the reveal on the 'purple and green' house. My client just sent me a lovely note and included these pictures.  He mention the trim needed one more coat of paint.  His daughters, who requested the purple and green house, are happy with the results.

Here is the before.

And, the color palatte.
The yard is a mess and he has the name of my landscaper.

I will also be working on interior design projects for him--and "The Girls".  I haven't met them yet and look forward to meeting my young clients.

Happy weekend, y'all!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Musings: I'm So Grateful for our Precious Blog Network! Thank You Nancy Powell!

I hope everyone had a grand weekend. 

Gotta tell you about last week.  I had a mini-meltdown. Yep, Mz. Positive went to the dark side.  I was dealing with a stressful client situation.  The client was not difficult.  It was me.  I have been hired to work on an interior design job.  I got S-T-U-C-K. 

Icky-sticky inner voice was screaming, "I'm only a stager."  "What if they don't like what I select?"  "Maybe I am going the wrong direction? "

I felt overwhelmed, frustrated, fatigued and pretty much like a failure.

I stepped back and realized I needed help.  I had questions.  Lots of them....

I reached out to a fellow blogger whose work and 'voice' I adore. Many of you know Nancy Powell of  Powell Brower at Home.  Never met Nancy but felt  I needed to talk to her! I called Nancy and left a rambling message about my woos.  Bless her heart, (a Southern thang) she called me repeatedly until she reached me.

Nancy talked me off the cliff.

She listened and offered great advice. Nancy caught up with me while I was babysitting, my precious 3-year old grandson.  Jack was busy bouncing off the walls and seeking my undivided attention.  Despite the distraction of Jack's "Look Mimi" chants, Nancy hung in.  She told me how she and Bethany work their business.  She was a font of knowledge and support.

I finally realized I had been relating to my client like an optometrist.

"Which is better?"

"or this?"

The next day, I talked to my client and she told me she was overwhelmed with making decisions, "I love your staging.  Just design my room like you would if you were staging it."

Have you ever over thought something?

I sure did. 

Thank you, dear Nancy!

Friday, November 15, 2013

FAQ: What is the one thing you regularly put in a staged houses?

The 'thing' I always include in houses I stage is something RED.  I love red for amping up a space.  Red photographs great.  Red is a neutral to me!  Recently I have been pairing red with bright blue--it looks delicious--trust me.

Do you use red in your houses or the homes you design?

Happy Friday, y'all!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

(Night) Stand By Me

I am working with a client to redesign her bedroom.  She requested a pair of matching night stands.  (Since 'matching' is not in my vocab--this was an arduous assignment for moi.)  It wasn't a simple search.  Her bed is higher than the average bear, so the nightstands had to be at least 31" tall.  I think the average night stand ranges from 23" to 28" in height.

After much web research and many trips to furniture stores, we agreed on this one.
Durham Furniture Company
It simply went against my frugal values that this nightstand, albeit beautiful, was priced at $805 each.

I study Craigslist everyday.  I followed a pair of nightstands for a week. At 31" in height and traditional in style, I thought they were perfect. I sent the listing to my clients for consideration.  She saw them, loved them, and purchased the pair for $180.  Score!
CraigsList Raleigh NC

Winner, winner chicken dinner!

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Green and Purple Painted House

This is the house my client's daughters (an 11 and 13 year old) requested be painted green and purple.  Not my typical color combination. 

I think I rose to the challenge.  Here's the palatte that I am presenting.

Fingers crossed....

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday Ramblings: Happy?

Friends were over Friday evening.  Conversation came up about me being so busy.  I replied, "You know me, I'm happy if I'm working and happy if I'm not."  My friend gave me a most curious look. I honestly felt like I had broached something controversial--like religion or politics.

No, my friend told me; she is not happy.

I do get it. My life was a mess for many years.  I finally discovered MY key(s) to happiness.  Yep, I have those dark days.  But basically, I am a joyful person.

I hope you are happy this beautiful fall Sunday.

May you find the things that make you happy and focus your energy on them.  Walk your dog, pet your cat, hug your kid, pat your husband's behind, read a good book, read The Good Book, breathe, stretch, get fresh air, relax, and live in the moment.

Be intentional about what you do.  Ask yourself,  'is this really going to matter in 10 years?" Listen to your 'little voice' for the answer.

Love, inner peace and joy,

Friday, November 1, 2013

FAQ Friday! "Can I leave my baby's nursery as is for selling?"

Baby nurseries are so sweet.  Remember the months you spent planning, shopping, painting and tweaking cute touches to create the nursery of your dreams.

Here's the cold hard truth:  You need to neutralize a baby nursery for selling.

"What if the buyer's have a baby?"  
  • There's only a 50/50 chance the next owners will have right sex baby for your nursery.
  • Nurseries are only applicable for a small window of time.
  • Nurseries are like toothbrushes.  Nobody wants to use yours.  A baby nursery is the personal vision of the parents.  
 Even if you spent mega dollars on hand painted murals,
buyer's want to design their own custom nursery.

Please don't shoot the messenger.

Happy Friday, y'all!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hope I'm not on your Black List!

Hi Guys!  Hope I'm not on your black list of dropped blogs. My apologies for being negligent. I don't know how you guys manage to work, have time for family, friends, etc. and write your posts.  Color me Ms. ADHD.  It is oh-so-hard for me to focus on more than one thing at a time.

Yep, Stager Linda is been a busy girl. Many unusual projects! I was asked to help on a Victorian Bedroom.  Do you have any idea how much I know about Victorian decor?  Can you say mucho research?  I tried to drag, drag, drag, Queen Victoria into 2013.  We managed to get a new bed treatment that made her Majesty happy. We are also working on recovering a settee to match.

I'm also working on this bedroom redo.  The owner's went on a trip to Italy and that is her inspiration.  She loves COLOR.  The paint color, bed treatment, bed side table and accessories shopping is ongoing.  I did find the grayish tuffed leather ottoman on Craigslist for $325.  We scored it for $290!
See the cool ottoman in the lower left?

I worked on accessorizing a bathroom renovation.  I guess I studied color for nothin'.  Everything was a go until the BB&Y (owner's coupons ya know!) shower curtain we purchased was deemed unacceptable. Mr. shower curtain was boring but it coordinated with the other accessories.   Pinky-beige marble was the bossy element in the bathroom and I tied to work with it.  My amigo went with a copper colored shower curtain. Pink and cooper--a most unusual color combo, indeed!

Here's a house I've just been hired to make exterior color choices.  The owner is NOT selling. They plan to stay here 'forever'.  His daughters 11 & 13 will have final say on the colors.  His daughters have in mind green and purple.  Non-negotiable.  Green and purple.

See the color choices under the windows before I was brought in?  I'm thinking sage green and aubergine. Do you have any idea how many sage colors exist?  Or that the purple-y pink colors on color charts don't match what I 'see' as aubergine?  Stager Linda may be marching into BM with an eggplant and saying 'match this!'

Interesting project, no?

Any ideas?  (I'm talking brands, numbers and names, folks!)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

SUNDAY MUSINGS: ORC! My weekend of Guilty Pleasures

The One Room Challenge has ruined me for a productive weekend.  It has been chilly and rainy here.  My laptop has been tuned to the ORC participants all weekend.  I can't turn it off!  So many blogs to read!

I am in awe of these creative bloggers and what their ambitious redo's. ORC could replace reality TV for entertainment!

My goodness there is so much talent out there in blog land.  Many of you I've followed for a long time.  The other wonderful folks provided me with hours of reading past posts on their blogs to get to know them.

Thanks Linda of Calling It Home for organizing this wonderful event.  I am so inspired!

Have a great week, all.

Friday, October 11, 2013

FAQ's FRIDAY: What's the difference between staging and decorating?

What's the difference between staging and decorating?

Decorating is for LIVING in a home. 
TV Guide
Decorating is reflective of the tastes and lifestyle of the people living in the home.  Decorated homes have lots of personal items--and usually too many of them.  What works for daily living may not work for selling.  Furniture backs facing entrances, windows blocked by furniture, obstructed doorways and collectibles are not desirable for selling.

When you employ an interior designer, the designer's job is to work with you to achieve your desired look.  I will work with seller's in their next home, if they ask.  But oh-honey, staging is easier for me--no trips back and forth for returns!

STAGING is for SELLING a house.

Staging is targeted to attract potential buyers in your selling demographic.

My first goal is to evoke an emotional appeal to buyers so they can see themselves living in your house.  The next goal is to highlight architectural features. Lastly, I must distract from any negatives of the house.  Smoke and mirrors, baby!

Staging does not require the owner's approval.  I've yet (knock on wood) to have a seller be disappointed or critical of my staging efforts.  I work diligently to marry the owner's furnishings to what I place in the home.

When I have finished staging a house, I want it to look like it hasn't been staged.  Huh?  I want it to appear that the owners have great taste and have furnished their wonderful home with lovely accessories. (I guess that's why I don't like contrived staging.)

Do you recognize the picture of the famous living room above?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

"Can I Pick Your Brain?"

Patty's (Patty's Epiphanies) comment on my post yesterday got me thinking....
Nichole Jordan

How many times have you been asked,"Can I pick your brain?"

"Can I pick your brain?" is friendly-code for 'I want your professional advice at no charge'.

Of course, I am more than happy to help friends and family.  But it does get tricky when the others put you on the spot. I'm talkin' about your dental assistant, dog groomer, doctor's receptionist, bank teller, and friend-of-a-friend.  Also, for me, when a realtor tries to convenience me that he will hire me for other projects if I will ''take a look'' at his current listing. You know what I'm sayin'?

I mean, COME ON, don't shoplift my brain!  We are professionals.  As professionals, we have invested time and money into education to become experts.  We've been battered about by the life school of hard knocks. Our work experience is beyond valuable. We do what we do because it is our passion and to get paid for it.

What say you, my lovelies?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Two Mules for Sister Sara

This title has nothing more to do with my post other than things ain't always what they seem to be.  If you are too young and missed "Two Mules" circa 1970, you need to rent it and and enjoy Clint Eastwood and Shirley MacClaine at their finest.

Had a realtor call me today.  He was a referral from one of my regular agents.
We talked for over an hour,  I know all about the listing he wants my help on, everything he has ever sold in his 3 years as an agent, were his wife works, where he lives and the activities his daughter is involved in.  Yes, I agreed with him, establishing relationships is essential.

But I wasn't born yesterday.  Methinks, new realtor was looking for free feedback to his lackluster listing.

He seemed to want  to hire me for a consultation.  However, all he asked of me was to look at his MLS pictures and get back to him with an opinion.

I didn't go into detail but mentioned a few things like the furniture was dated and mega-sized for the rooms. We are talking oversized Herculon recliners, dark Maple dinette table and chairs in the kitchen, a formal living room with funky 60's furniture, and old quilts on the beds.  The house shows as dated and dark.

The Realtor replied he would forward the info to his clients.  "No! No! No!" is what I screamed when I  read his email.  Our conversation was confidential information between stager and realtor.  If he wants to include my opinions to the buyers, it needs to be contained in an extensive written report AFTER I've seen the property.  I am always diplomatic in my critic and give reasons to sooth the sellers ego.

I think the realtor wanted my reaction as leverage against his resistant sellers and was using me as 'free' expert information.

It is what it is, folks.  But hey,  do go out and rent "Two Mules for Sister Sara" and let me know what ya think.

Does anybody remember that movie?

Friday, September 27, 2013

FAQ's FRIDAY! "What piece of advice do you offer that seller's resist the most?"

Happy Friday, y'all!  It is a B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L day in 'Raleighwood'!  I've been working in my studio and outside in the yard.  Don't ya just love fall!
A simple and lovely window treatment from Pottery Barn

What piece of advice do seller's resist the most?
Home owners are most resistant to removing dated and/or fussy window treatments. Their belief is that since they paid big bucks for fabric and labor that the window treatments add value to their house.  Wrong-y Dong-y.  Custom window treatments are typically only of value to the people who bought them.  Custom window treatments were purchased to coordinate with the seller's taste and decor.  It is highly unlikely that the new owner's style be the same as the sellers.  (Especially true, if the sellers are retiring and downsizing their family home to much younger buyers.)

House hunters are buying:
  • the windows
  • the view
  • the sunlight (really--their is never enough lightness and brightness to a room)

Here are a few examples of what I am talking about from houses I consulted on.

 So how do I tell seller's their window treatments need to come down? 

"While your window treatments are lovely and no doubt costly, they probably won't transfer to the new buyers furnishings. Also, we are selling the beautiful view of (insert view) your backyard and want as much sunlight streaming in as possible.  Why don't you consider prepacking the drapes for your new house?  Often, you can have them tailored to fit other windows."

Have a wonderful weekend, my lovelies!