Friday, February 28, 2014

New Life for a Blah Living Room and Foyer

HAPPY FRIDAY!  Spring starts tomorrow.  I know most of us are having a difficult time wrapping our heads around that tidbit from Mr. Meteorologist.

Continuing with my last staging... here is the living room that was reworked.  The owner's had a sofa in the Master Bedroom.  I asked them to lug it downstairs to use in their living room.  Living Rooms are considered a formal area and need to show as such.

The following is the before shot.

I used their other furniture in a new way.  They had 'stools' that were being used as end tables.  I took two of them, brought them together sideways, and placed a mirror from the foyer on top.  My attempt was to make a cohesive look, similar to a contemporary coffee table.  Staging is all about using what you have when you can.  The shutter window mirror above the sofa had to be wired open. (Thank you, Karen!)  The big pillows on the sofa (see the red ones underneath?) add life to the space. Notice the second shelf of the console table is empty. When staging it is not necessary to fill every nook and cranny.

Here's the mirror from the foyer before staging.
The foyer after staging.
The console table is mine.  That is the largest furniture I carry!  Isn't it a pretty addition to the previous vacant foyer.  If you look closely at my staging, you will notice that I am big on layering and texture. This lamp is on a white pedestal (that picks up the white in the picture). The vase below is on a engraved brass plate.  In the living room, the lamp is on a book.  On the opposite end of the living room console a large brown box has a brass 'sun' sculpture atop.  Layering creates dimension.

My team, Karen and Jane, my realtor and I are celebrating!  The house has an offer!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

An Abstract Answer to a Difficult Dining Room

Love the colors in these pottery pieces

I am going to share a Dining Room I staged last week.  Changing the paint color, which I mistakenly referred to as 'mauve', was not an option. The house seller, Lori, was quick to correct me that the wall color, 'is named Wet Cement' and she was keeping it!  Here are before pics:

The owner's used their dining room as a playroom for their young daughters..  They did agree to move out the toys.  The rug got the heav-ho, too.  We ended up with an empty room.  I only supply accessories and small furniture when I stage.  I persuaded the owner's to invest in a dining room set. They found a table and chairs for $250 on Craigslist.  It wasn't in great shape but with some staging smoke and mirrors I was able to disguise the blemishes. Check out the afters:

I found a picture with china blue, turquoise, and 'mauve' and used it as my inspiration for the tablescape.  This abstract painting was perfect for my mauve room makeover.  My anxiety over how I was going to possibly make this work was replaced with a sigh of relief and satisfaction!

Thursday, February 20, 2014


It's almost the weekend! Hope everyone is having a great week. I am one picture shy of finishing my client's dining room.  My client is a realtor that has used me to stage houses for eight years.  This is a decorating job--not staging. The family eats meals in the dining room every night.  She did not want the furniture changed.  We painted and added accessories.
Dining Room After

Dining Room Before
I replaced the Very Large floral centerpiece on the buffet. (I posted about that project before.)  The candlestick lamps were exchanged for two mother of pearl lamps.'

Check out the new centerpieces.  I used a matching ceramic pitcher and vase that I hunted down in two different in Steinmarts.  The bowl in the center is the clients.  I gave the client two sets of placemats.  Green for the Fall/Winter and Yellow for the Spring/Summer.  We jumped the gun and decided to use the cheery yellow mats now.

Below, the tea cart was cluttered with a bunch of small items.  I used a large glass platter ($14.99 at HomeGoods compared to $29.99 at Pier1) and 2 chunky mercury glass candlesticks.

Dining Room Tea Cart Before

Tea Cart After

Buffet After

View from Kitchen of Dining Room After
This was a fun project for me! 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Musings: Lampshades and Freebies (NOT!)

Happy Sunday!  It is warm and sunny and beautiful--finally.
Lamps Plus

I'm prepping for a staging next week.  I'm sitting here cleaning lampshades to be packed.  You know how nasty lampshades get with dust and dirt?  How do you clean them?  I use alcohol and cotton pads and gently rub, rub, rub, down, down, down.  Then I hit the tops and bottoms which is often tricky where the cording is attached.  It is a very zen activity that I find quite satisfying. 

During my swiping, an incident popped into mind.  This week, a friend asked me if I would like a small table and some other accessories for my staging loot. I'm not typically a skeptic, but I have a history of being put in an uncomfortable position.  One time I was 'offered' two beautiful pottery urns.  I oooed and aaaahed over them and gushed profuse thanks.  "I thought you might want to buy them from me!" Even second hand, they were not a bargain.  Being a coward, I picked one up and told him, "Wow! These are sooooo heavy!  You know I am going to have to pass. It is difficult to lug heavy items around for staging."  Lame, I know but it was the best I could come up with.

Then I reached deep in the recesses of my memory and remember another time I felt 'burned'.  (Or maybe I'm just stupid and can't read between the lines.)  Anyway, someone invited us to their beach house, gave great details about the dates, location, etc.  When I said, "That sounds divine!" The beachcomber told me that her husband would be in touch with our portion of the rent.

(Least you think I am a loser magnet, I have been the recipient of many gracious offerings.)

So, how do you handle it when someone offers you tickets to a concert, show, or sporting event and you don't know the deal?  Do you offer to pay for something you don't particularly care to pay for but would go to if it was a freebie?

Thanks for listening lovelies!  Appreciate your thoughts!

Friday, February 14, 2014


Happy Valentine's Day!
Associated Press
Historic Images
TV Guide
TV Guide
Do you recognize everybody?  #1 is from my childhood and REALLY dates me.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sunday Musings: 50 Years, really?

I'm watching The Beatles: The Night That Changed America.

Wowie Zowie.  I am taking a trip down memory lane.  I was 'there'' that night in 1964 perched on the floor in front of the Ed Sullivan Show. I remember, my parents rolling their eyes and blowing cigarette smoke with impatience for The Beatles to get off the stage.  My older my brother, a  Beach Boys fan, groused about The Beatles being crap.

You know they say that music is the history of your life?  Well, Beatles' music was my sound track.

Every word, to every song is popping out of my mouth.

I'm doing that crazy head-bob thing (although I think Keith Urban has me beat on range of motion).

I'm still enamored with Paul and wondering who that (young) woman sitting next to him is.

Ringo is being quite the showman.

The Ed Sullivan theatre is filled with happy, joyful, jammin' people.  There is nothing on earth quite like experiencing a live concert.  The audience (a who's who in music) is smiling, clapping, and fist pumping to the music.  Their eyes are catch someone's and they give that "can you believe this!" look.

The Beatles was the sound track to their lives, too. The lucky folks in the audience know they are witnessing a piece of musical history.


How lucky am I to have grown up (and old) with the greatest band in the world?

What music was the sound track of your life?

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Heartbreaking Tale of Valentine Fraud

I worked part-time at a florist years ago.  Of course, Valentines' was the busiest time for the store.  The shop I worked for had been in our area for over thirty years and was a family run business.  This florist was consider THE florist in town.

I didn't realize when I started working there, that it had been bought by a New York man who owned a string of discount floral shops across the East Coast.  When the new owner took over the quality and service began to diminish.  Employees were even forced to shop other florists when our flowers ran out!

It is no secret that the price of roses sky rockets by 40% for Valentine's Week.  Roses are in high demand and orders from suppliers must be placed early.  The new owner failed to order sufficient roses to fill the demand for our orders.

No, we did not turn away business so customer's could shop at another florist.  We even continued to take FTD and online orders knowing we didn't have product.  We were instructed to keep our mouth shut and take all orders.

The owner demanded that when the complaints poured in because flowers weren't delivered, we were to apologize and tell the customer we would immediately send out a replacement order.  No biggie?  Oh so wrong.

Ya see, the owner was able to pocket the money for the triple price roses when they were ordered.  The week after Valentine's filling the replacement orders would only amount to pennies on the dollar.  We were not allowed to give any refunds.  We could only replace the customers undelivered orders with product.

I happened to be working the Saturday after Valentine's fell on a Friday.  A lovely, elderly man came into the shop.  He patiently waited his turn in line. When he got to the register, he explained (not complained) that his wife had not received her dozen roses for Valentine's Day.  My co-worker gave him the company pitch about 'a new arrangement will be sent out next week with a note of apology'.

The gentleman's eyes teared-up and he said in a soft voice,  
"She won't be here next year.  My wife is dying of cancer.  
She thinks I forgot her on Valentine's day."

I know there is a special place in Hell for the owner.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Salute to Spring with Faux Flowers & Butterflies

I've been spending lots of time in stores shopping for clients. The Spring decor is popping up on shelves.  The colors make me hap-hap-happy. Wait until you see the what I bought. HA! I was drawn to some clusters of colorful mixed faux flowers. Holy Jeepers they even had butterflies bobbing about on top. Fake flora and fauna with bobbing insects. (I must have Spring Fever.)  Fakes have a reputation for being tick-tacky. I did not care.  I had to have them. I marched to the register and purchased two clumps.
See, I had recently bought two B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L Mother-of-Pearl lamps for a client's buffet.  (You know, I love me some big-ole-honkin lamps.)  But the space between the lamps begged for 'something'. After an exhaustive search, I found this very longgg arty-farty banana boat thing-y.  The banana boat sported a similar finish to the lamps!

"Ahhhhhh......" said I.

I could make a centerpiece!  But, it might be tricky.  The sides of the boat slope.  Hmmmmm.....what to do?  Boxed moss to the rescue.  The moss I bought is REAL.  So it kinda has a bit o' funk to it.  It's a very organic (kinda reminiscent of the 60's) smell.

Here is the before picture.
Here's the centerpiece in my client's dining room.

The flowers have a bit of violet in them and coordinate with this awesome toile picture I found.

I bought this picture for my client.  This weekend I am going to experiment with framing some fabric!

Have you ever made artwork from fabric?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Fabulous February!

Love bugs and Valentines - Highlights
Yea! Begone January doldrums.  January is my month of hermit-ting, researching, making resolutions, and regrouping.  February is the month for lovers, my sisters' birthday, my aunt's birthday, the President's birthdays, my birthday, and my blogs anniversary. 
When I turn 50 (again), I want this cake from Sweet Picasso Cake Creations

I have a renewed burst of energy today! February is my month to plug back in.  Hope the beginning of this month finds you hap-hap-happy and raring to go.

Let's kick our heels up in February.
Any of you lovelies have a renewed sense of vigor and vitality this month?